Last Sunday, I set out with a few friends to find the Jewish cemetery in Balti. There is a long history of Judaism in Balti. As of the end of the 19th century, more than 10,000 jews, lived in Balti; meaning that over half the city’s total population was jewish. Yad Vashem (the Israeli holocaust museum) has a great history of the jewish community in Balti, which can be found here and is definitely worth a read.
It took us about two hours to find the cemetery, but it was worth the hike. The cemetery clearly is no longer cared for and would be almost impossible to get to if the hills weren’t covered in a blanket of snow. The view of the city from the cemetery was awesome and seeing the graves was a great look into the history of Balti’s jewish community. Most of the graves were from the end of the 18th century and all were from pre-WWII.
During WWII many of the jews from this area ended up in camps, such as the one in Chisinau or fled. The majority of the jewish population, however did not exit the area until after the fall of the Soviet Union. One Moldovan friend here tells me the story about his mother’s best friend as a child, who was jewish, and who was there one day and then a week after the USSR fell, moved to Israel. There is currently, still a small jewish population in Balti and a synagogue.