Smolensk Cemetery

Smolensk Cemetery

The Smolensk Cemetery or "Smolenskoe cemetery" (in German "Smolenski Friedhof") is one of the largest and oldest "non" orthodox cemeteries in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Until the early 20th century it was one of the main burial grounds for Lutheran Germans from Russia. It was the initial burial site of Ukrainian painter and poet Taras Shevchenko.

Origins

The cemetery was founded around 1747.

Partial destruction in the 20th century

During the 20th century, sometime between 1918 and 1998, two parts of the cemetery were destroyed. The first was a small section at the entrance which was replaced with a petrol station! The second was a large section in the far north west corner of the cemetery which was entirely flattened to make way for a building for the local fire department.

Current research

The person who has done the most work in investigating the current status of the cemetery is Robert Leinonen, a long time resident of Saint Petersburg who moved to Germany in 1991.

Between 1988 and 1991 Leinonen went on countless personal visits to the cemetery itself and compiled an inventory of all those graves which are still standing today copying the "exact" writing on each headstone.

He has published a 2 volume book on the cemetery detailing its history. The second volume contains a list of all those buried there whose graves are still standing today with the writing on each headstone.

The publications are used by genealogists for family research in pre-revolutionary Russia and the early soviet period when vital records are missing or prove difficult to find. Historians use them to research the social histories of the city.

See also

*Volkovo Cemetery
*Vvedenskoye Cemetery
*List of cemeteries
*Germans from Russia

References

*Deutsche in St. Petersburg: ein Blick auf den deutschen evangelisch-lutherischen Smolenski-Friedhof und in die europäische Kulturgeschichte, 1998, Robert Leinonen & Erika Voigt, ISBN 3932267044 (Volume 1) and ISBN 3932267141 (Volume 2)

External links

* [http://smolenskoe.com/ Photos of cemetery]
* [http://www.d-inter.ru/RG-ACAD/en/cmtry/smol.htm History of the cemetery (in very poor English) with a further link to a list of names of gravestones which had fallen into disrepair and were removed in the year 1882]
* [http://www.encspb.ru/en/article.php?kod=2804009142 A further site dealing with the history of the cemetery and others in the nearby area. The information relating to this cemetery is towards the bottom of the entry.]


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