Bolechow

Name in English: 
  • Bolechow
Names in Ukrainian: 
  • Bolekhiv [Болехiв]
Names in Polish: 
Bolechów
Names in German: 
Bolechow
Names in Russian: 
Bolekhov [Болехов]
Names in Hebrew: 
Bolekhov [בוליחוב]
Names in Yiddish: 
Bolekhov [באלחוב]
Historical-cultural region: 
Eastern Galicia
Administrative History: 
Years State Province District
Till 1772 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Kingdom of Poland Rus Voivodship (Województwo ruskie)
Lwów Land (Ziemia lwowska)
1772-1867 "Hapsburg Empire", since 1804 - Austrian Empire
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien)
 Dolina powiat
1867-1914 Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien)
 Dolina powiat
1914-1915 Under Russian occupation General-Government Galitsiia  
1915-1918 Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien)
 Dolina powiat
1918 - May 1919 West-Ukrainian People's Republic    
May 1919 - September 1939 Republic of Poland Stanislawów wojewódstwo  Dolina powiat
September 1939 - June 1941 USSR: Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic

Stanislav oblast'

 
June 1941 - July 1944 Under German occupation:
General Government (Das Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete)
Distrikt Galizien  
1944-91 USSR: Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Stanislavov (Stanislaviv) oblast'; since 1962 renamed Ivano-Frankovsk (Ivano-Frankivs'k) oblast'  Bolekhiv rajon
Since 1964: Dolina rajon
Since 1991 Republic of Ukraine Ivano-Frankivs'k oblast' Bolekhiv mis'ka rada [municipality] (from 1993)
Population Data: 
Year Total Jews Percentage of Jews
1765 - ca. 1,300 -
1859  3,704  2,700  72.8%
1870  ca. 4,000  2,900  72.5%
1890  4,237  3,323  78.4%
1910  3,958  3,085  77.9%
1921  3,150  2,433  77.2%
1931  ?  2,986  
Early 1990s     2 families  
 2001  11,300  0  -
Remarks: 

For photographs see Gallery section.
 

Bolechow is a town on the banks of the Sukil River (a tributary of the Dniester), at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, about 70 km west from Ivano-Frankivsk and about 17 km north-west from Dolina.

Bolekhiv was a relatively large city, established at the beginning of the 17th century, which served as an important center of social and economic life in the Dolina region. Jews inhabited the city from its inception, and during the second half of the 19th century comprised about 75% of its population (3,323 out of 4,237 inhabitants in 1890). Among the Jewish inhabitants of Bolekhiv were those involved in major trade and industry (particularly tanning), scholars and famous rabbis. Jews played an extremely important role in the city’s economic and public life, and in 1874 Israel Hauptman, the Jewish owner of the city’s tanning factory, was elected mayor. One of the most notable figures in Bolechów’s Jewish community was the wine trader and public figure Dov Ber Birkenthal (1723-1805), the author of a memoir which serves as an important source of data regarding Jewish life in the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom during its final years. The Jewish Enlightenment and processes of modernization reached Bolechów in the 19th century, finding expression in the activities of a local chapter of the Enlightenment movement, which managed to take over communal leadership, and in the establishment of the progressive Jewish school in the city in the 1850s. Alongside these developments, the majority of the Jewish population of Bolekhiv continued its traditional lifestyle and was even influenced by the spread of Hasidism. In the city center, near the marketplace, where Jewish life was centered, a large fortress-like synagogue was built at the beginning of the 19th century; near it operated several halls of study and Hasidickloizes.  

Following the killing of all of Bolekhiv’s Jews by the Nazis, not many testimonies to the formerly vibrant Jewish life of the city remained. The large synagogue served as a worker’s club and the old cemetery was targeted by acts of vandalism by local inhabitants. Only recently have various Jewish organizations initiated the fencing in of the cemetery and the refurbishing of the synagogue.