of Tluste/Tovste’s Jewish Cemetery
The following pages display a selection of nearly 40 tombstones
that I photographed in the Jewish cemetery in October 2006.
I estimate that this represents about 10 percent of the total.
My aim was to test the feasibility of properly documenting
all of the tombstones remaining in the cemetery. I am very
grateful to Sara Mages, who has done a wonderful job to transcribe
and translate these tombstones from Hebrew into English, with
Only three of the 40 tombstones I photographed were virtually
illegible. Most of the others were completely or almost completely
readable; except for the year and/or month of death (in about
10 instances). In some of these latter cases, the missing
details may have resulted from obstructive vegetation or an
unclear image, which might be ameliorated on another visit.
Although the sample of tombstones selected was not random,
and may well have been biased towards stones that were more
clearly readable, this result holds out the promise that a
substantial proportion - I would guess at least 2/3 to 3/4
- of the tombstones will yield substantial information.
The tombstones shown on the following pages have been organised
chronologically, ranging from the oldest to the most recent
year of death: 1839 to 1935. This arrangement might be useful
if one is looking for an individual, and one knows approximately
when that person died. However, it's easy to see how this
system might become unwieldy for a complete listing of 400
or more tombstones.
Also, reordering them by year could have the undesired consequence
of concealing useful information: for example, by "displacing"
tombstones relating to family members buried close together
in space (and therefore photographed together), but not in
time. If organised instead according to spatial proximity
of the tombstones, some educated guesses might be made about
missing data (such as year of death), if it were the case
that individuals in nearby graves were buried during approximately
the same period.
Looking ahead, if this exercise were extended to cover all
of the tombstones in the cemetery:
Ideally, all of the information collected would be entered
into a database, that would be searchable by name, year of
death, location in the cemetery etc. The latter would require
at least a rudimentary grid system, to allow one to pinpoint
with reasonable accuracy the location of each tombstone. An
aerial photograph would be extremely useful - and perhaps
essential - for this purpose. The field work involved in documenting
some 400+ tombstones would benefit from having two people
on hand - one to clear away any obstructive vegetation and
record the tombstone locations systematically, and another
to take and eventually process all of the photographs. Sara
Mages has demonstrated that, with experience and proper image
enhancing software, the transcription and translation work
might not be quite as time-consuming as one might expect,
but it is still a big job nonetheless. The same is true for
preparing the material for display.
The present exercise has demonstrated that, in principle,
with sufficient time and resources, all of this can be achieved.
If you consider the project of documenting the entire cemetery
a worthwhile endeavour and would be prepared to help underwrite
some of the costs - for example, of securing an aerial photograph
and setting up a proper database for easy retreival of the
information - please don't hesitate to contact me using the
Finally, a few notes from Sara Mages about the transcription
and translation process:
A good portion of the Hebrew text on the tombstones is abbreviated.
There are instances where only part of a word was inscribed
on the stone, due to lack of space. The transliteraton reflects
the original Hebrew grammar, as it was written. Note also
that the term Reb is an honorific title, akin to "Herr"
in German or "Mr" in English - it does not imply
that the person was a Rabbi (the same is true for the expression
"our teacher the rabbi"). However, one instance
was found of a Ha'Rav [the Rabbi], and perhaps this person
was indeed a Rabbi.
Links to Jewish Cemetery Tombstone pages:
Page 1 of 5: Selected
tombstones from 1838/39 - 1902
Page 2 of 5: Selected
tombstones from 1906
Page 3 of 5: Selected
tombstones from 1919
Page 4 of 5: Selected
tombstones from 1933
Page 5 of 5: Selected
illegible year of death