The old Jewish cemetery (“besojlem” in Hebrew) was first mentioned in municipal records on May 27, 1414. Over the next two centuries, plots of land surrounding the original site were acquired, and by the seventeenth century, the cemetery covered a territory that remained unchanged until its destruction during and after the Second World War. 

The cemetery was closed for burials on August 22, 1855, but during its nearly four and a half centuries of use, it was among the most renowned Jewish cemeteries in Europe. The cemetery was given the status of “Historic Landmark” by the Austrian authorities in the early twentieth century. Between 1928 and 1931, 532 gravestones were cleaned and restored by the Curatory for the Protection of Jewish Arts Monuments, which was established in Lviv in 1925. When the Nazis occupied the city in 1941, they imposed their genocidal policies, which included the obliteration of Jewish cemeteries, and the Lviv cemetery is one of the hundreds that were destroyed in Galicia during the war. Following the liquidation of the Lviv ghetto in June 1943, the city’s building department, under instructions from the German occupiers, made plans for a new road junction at the center of the old Jewish cemetery. This particular plan was not realized, but in 1947, a food market officially known as the Central, or unofficially as the Cracow (or Krakivskyi) Market, was established on the site.

"Besojlem" Memorial Park is located behind the former Jewish Hospital building, and was once part of a large Jewish cemetery. Like many other Jewish sites in Lviv, the place contains no reference to its history or former function Some of the original headstones were taken from the graves they marked and used in the construction of the walls around the site. The rest were removed and either demolished or used for constructing roads, the whereabouts of which are as yet unknown. Today, no traces of the cemetery can be seen. There is no clearly defined entrance: visitors have to go through the hospital’s emergency ambulance gateway and around the corners of the building to access the area, which is currently used by the hospital’s patients and their guests, and by nearby residents. That this site has extremely important religious and historical significance cannot be recognized and is rarely understood.

Jewish hospital constructed in 1903The site nowadaysThe site nowadaysOld Jewish cemetery. Beginning of the XX ct.