Zabolotiv

Name in Ukrainian: 
Zabolotiv [Заболотiв]
Name in Polish: 
Zabłotów
Name in German: 
Sabolotiw
Name in Russian: 
Заболотов [Zabolotov]
Name in Hebrew: 
זאבלוטוב
Name in Yiddish: 
זאַבלאטאוו
Historical-cultural region: 
Eastern Galicia - Prikarpattia
Administrative District : 
Ivano-Frankivsk District
Administrative History: 

 

Years State Province District
Untill 1772 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Kingdom of Poland  

Rus Voivodship (Województwo ruskie)

 Ziemia halicka

Stanislawów starostwo;Sniatyn powiat
1772-1918 "Hapsburg Empire", since 1804 - Austrian Empire, since 1867 - Austro-Hungarian Monarchy  

Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien)

Sniatyn powiat, Galicia
1914-1915 Under Russian occupation General-Government Galitsiia  
1915-1918 Austro-Hungarian Monarchy  

Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien)

 
1918 - May 1919 West-Ukrainian People's Republic    
May 1919 - September 1939 Republic of Poland Stanislawów wojewódstwo Sniatyn 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 Stanislau Kreishauptmannschaft
1944-91 USSR: Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Stanislavov (Stanislaviv) oblast'; since 1962 renamed Ivano-Frankovsk (Ivano-Frankivs'k) oblast'  
Since 1991 Republic of Ukraine Ivano-Frankivs'k oblast' Снятинський р-н
Population Data: 
Year Total Jews Percentage of Jews
1765  ?  986 -
1870s      
1880  3,523  1,730  49.10%
1890  4,054  2,009  49.55%
1900  4,232  2,092  49.43%
1910  4,758  2,171  45.62%
1921  3,583   1,454  40.58%
1931  ?  1,700  
2001  4,129    

Zablotiv is situated on the northern bank of the Prut river, about 20 kilometers east of Kolomyia, on the route between Ivano-Frankivsk (Stanislawow) and Chernivtsi. This city is first mentioned in a document that testifies to the building of a church at the site by the owner of the city, in 1630. Following the construction of a factory for tobacco, most of the agricultural lands around the city were shifted to tobacco production. This factory led to financial flourishing for the area’s farmers, but no Jews were involved in this branch. At the end of the 19th century the railway between Lvov and Chernivtsi passed through the town, and at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1905 and in 1911, two fires broke out in the city, destroying many homes and injuring several people.

The Jews of Zabolotiv
Jewish settlement in Zabolotiv apparently began when the site first became a city, and already in 1717 we find 200 Jews in the city, paying a fine of 335 gold coins. Until the end of the 19th century, the Jews of Zabolotiv worked in leasing related to the field of alcohol production, in moneylending and in the financial management of the manors in the area. Additionally, Jews traded in leather, wood and agricultural produce, and worked in different artisanal occupations: as tailors, bakers, woodworkers, furriers, cobblers, builders and as producers of soap and candles. In addition, the city boasted a small factory for the production of brushes, and a factory for the weaving of tzitziyot and flax cloths. It seems that the Jews of Zabolotiv got along fairly well with the non-Jewish inhabitants of the city, aside from a few isolated incidents. In 1877, during a Christian parade in the city, several Jews kidnapped a young woman from a nearby village who they thought was Jewish and had converted to Christianity. The Christian farmers were livid, and it was a miracle that no riots resulted from the incident. Similarly, in 1903, after the pogrom in Kishinev, riots broke out against the Jews of Zabolotiv, who, it was claimed, had murdered a Christian woman. This, after vigorous work on the part of the Ukrainian national movement, which operated in the city’s tobacco factory, and with the aid of Polish officials, who channeled the Ukrainians’ rage toward the Jewish community. Several Jews were seriously injured during this event, but the court ended up letting the attackers go with light sentences. Additional attempts to attack the Jews of Zabolotiv occurred in 1931, an attempt that was blocked by local police, and in 1937, when several bullies rioted in the city. Toward the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, R. Meir Rate, a follower of Kosov Hassidic rabbi, was appointed mayor of the city, and he served in this role for many years. Rate was accepted by Jews and non-Jews alike.
At the beginning of the 19th century, R. David Hager, R. Menachem Mendel of Kosov’s son, arrived in Zabolotiv. R. David managed a Hassidic court in Zabolotiv, which attracted Hassidim from many different places. His grandson, R. Avaraham Yehoshua Heschel, who was later to serve as rabbi of Zabolotiv, edited the work ‘Tzemach David’ (Chernivtsi, 1929), from the letters R. David left behind. When R. David died in 1848, his wife, Pese-Leah, continued to function as leader of the Hassidic court, accepting notes (‘kvitels’) and requests for prayers from Hassidim. R. David’s son Yaakov (‘Yakeli’) continued to run the Hassidic court with courtly mannerisms, and served as the rabbi of the city until his death in 1884. Upon his death, a dispute arose regarding the identity of his heir, leading to the formation of two separate Hassidic courts in Zabolotiv, the ‘Kosiv’ court, headed by R. Mendeli Hager and the other, a ‘Vizhnitz’ court, headed by R. Menachem Hager, R. Mendeli’s cousin. The battles between the two courts over the leadership of the city brought each side to appoint its own rabbi, thereby diminishing the standing of both. At the beginning of the 20th century, a branch of the World Zionist Organization was also established in Zabolotiv, as well as a ‘Safa Berurah’ Hebrew school. 

The First World War
During the War, Zabolotiv was at the battlefront for a long time. As a result, a typhoid epidemic erupted in the city, killing many people, and the city was quarantined. With the intensification of battles, many of Zabolotiv’s Jews ran from the city, leaving their possessions in the hands of trustworthy Ukrainian neighbors. During the Ukrainian Republic (1918-1919), the ‘National Assembly’ represented the Jewish community, headed by Zionist activists. With the end of the war, Jewish organizations such as the Joint Distribution Committee and other charity organizations operating in Poland aided the Jews of Zabolotiv in rehabilitating themselves. In addition, many of the city’s former inhabitants who had emigrated to the United States sent money to their families and trusted friends, to be distributed to the needy. One of the city’s Jews, Yissachar Tau who was a Kosiv hassid, refurbished the communal institutions and even established a community center, a library and reading room, as well as additional rooms that served the local youth movement. Tau also aided the city in the building of a Hebrew school and a Talmud Torah. A new field, carpet weaving, was started in Zablotiv, and this branch provided a livelihood for several hired workers. In 1935 the tobacco factory in the city stopped buying Jewish products altogether, and began purchasing products only from the Ukrainian cooperative. The unionizing of the Jewish producers and merchants was unsuccessful in acting against this move, and many Jews lost their source of income.

 

The Second World War
With the outbreak of the war and the Soviet conquest in September 1939, the political and communal activities of Zabolotiv’s Jews came to a halt. Jewish businesses were nationalized, including rental apartments, small factories and places of business. Merchants were forced to unionized, wholesale trade was completely obliterated, and even various artisans were forced to unionized due to a shortage in raw materials. Some of the political activists in the city were exiled to the Soviet Union, and some had restrictions placed on their movements.
With the retreat of the Soviets at the end of June 1941, a few Jews managed to escape into the Soviet Union together with Red Army forces. At the beginning of July 1941, units of the Hungarian army entered Zabolotiv and began kidnapping Jews for forced labor. They were accompanied by Ukrainian militias, who also abused the Jews of the city. At the beginning of September of that year, Zabolotiv passed into the hands of Nazi Germans, who began passing various decrees on the Jews, taking Jews for forced labor and limiting their movements, both inside and outside the city. In the middle of December 1941, the Jews discovered there were pits being dug close to the city, and many escaped the city and hid in the surrounding forests and at Christian friends’ houses. On the 22nd of December, German army units, in cooperation wit Ukrainian units, blocked the entrances to the city and began gathering the Jews in the city square. Elderly and infirm Jews were murdered in their beds. Around a thousand Jews, who had not managed to escape the city, were marched to the pits that had been dug for this purpose and killed there, despite attempts at resistance on the part of some Jews. The winter of 1942 brought about the death, through disease or starvation, of many Zabolotiv Jews, who were used as forced labor on the surrounding farms. On 11.04.1942 an additional roundup took place, in which about 400 Jews were caught and send to the Belzec extermination camp, together with Jews from surrounding villages. A few weeks later almost all the Jews of Zabolotiv were transferred to a ghetto in nearby Kolomyia, and their belongings were taken from them. About 250 Jews remained in Zabolotiv to carry out forced labor, and to arrange for the Jews’ confiscated belongings to be shipped to Germany. They were eventually sent to Sniatyn an from there to Belzec. Zablotiv was declared ‘Judenrein’ – clean of Jews. A small portion of the remaining Jews were transferred to the ghetto in Kolomyya, were almost all died in January 1943, with only a few survivors remaining from the city.

(Roee Goldschmidt)

מקורות:
פנקסי הקהילות, ב, עמ' 193-190
עיר ומתים: זבלוטוב המלאה והחרבה, תל אביב 1949.

See gallery of Zablotow