“I will give them an everlasting name” inscriptions were found in Odessa hospital

During the renovation work in the main building of Odessa Hospital No. 1, inscriptions from the 19th – early 20th centuries were found on the walls of the former X-ray room. Apparently, this is a list of donors.

There are 57 inscriptions in total. These are the names and surnames of people written in Russian and Yiddish, as well as a quote from the biblical book of Isaiah in Hebrew. The oldest inscription dates from 1871, and the newest one is from 1909. In Soviet times, this unique marble plaque was hidden and even partially destroyed.

With a high degree of probability, we can say that the memorial inscriptions in this room are nothing more than “a list of donors who have participated in the formation of the hospital’s inviolable capital since 1865”.

The dates we see here are most likely donation dates. Sometimes they really coincide with the dates of death of the indicated persons, but this is explained simply – the donation was made by will.

Sergey Kotelko, Odessa historian
Photo: City Council website

Among the people mentioned in the inscriptions are representatives of wealthy Odessa families and many famous personalities, such as the “tea king” Wolf Vysotsky, the founder of the first hydropathic establishment in the city, Moses Shorshtein, as well as the doctor and leader of the Zionist movement Lev Pinsker.

For more than three months a team of restorers led by architect Anatoly Izotov has been restoring the table. The names are written in two languages ​​- Russian and Yiddish, and at the top there is a quote from the Torah:

Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 56:5

It is noted that the process is not finished, many surnames in Yiddish have not yet been completed due to data clarification, and the rest of the list is to be restored.

This is the real memory of the city of great people: part of the list of donors who participated in the formation of the sacred capital of the Jewish Hospital.

Anatoly Izotov, architect and restorer
Presentation of the restored wall in the hospital

Local historians do not exclude that there may be other inscriptions in the office, although it will be difficult to restore them, since repairs have already been made here.