Zolotyi Potik

Name in English: 
Potok Zloty
Name in Ukrainian: 
Zolotyi Potik
Name in Polish: 
Potok Złoty
Name in Hebrew: 
פוטוק זלוטי
Name in Yiddish: 
פּאָטיק (Potik)
Historical-cultural region: 
Eastern Galicia
Administrative District : 
Ternopil province, Buchach district
Administrative History: 

District Bohorodczany

Population Data: 

 

Year

General Population

Jewish Population

1765

(?)

335

1880

3142

1247

1900

3369

1036

1921

3174

895

 

Zolotyi Potik is situated about 20 km. south of Buczacz. The Polish name for the city - Potok Złoty - means ‘golden stream,’ and is apparently a reference to the location of the city in proximity to the Dniester, as well as to family's surname of its founder - the voivode of Breslav Jakub Potocki. A settlement was apparently founded at the site in 1570,  and already in 1600 King Zigmund the Third granted to it Magdeburg city rights, including the license to hold annual fairs and weekly markets. Stefan Potocki built a fortress in the city, surrounded by a moat and watch-towers. During the war with the Ottomans, the city was captured in 1672 and again in 1676. In 1772, Potok Złoty was captured by the Austrians and became part of Galicia. During the 19th century, the city’s economic status deteriorated, and it was sold and passed from hand to hand. During the First World War, the city was captured by the Russians, who housed their regional command headquarters there, leading to many bombing attacks on the city. The historical parts of the city, the citadel and the castle were mostly destroyed, and with the retreat of the Russian army the Dominican monastery was plundered, and many locals were also robbed. In addition, about a hundred houses were set on fire by the retreating Cossacks.  

 

The Jews of Potok Złoty

Jews are mentioned in various documents relating to the city already in 1635 and, in documentation relating to the Khmelnytsky Uprising, a Rabbi Wolf, who was apparently a leaser of lands in the city, is mentioned by name. The Jewish community of Potok Złoty was an independent community, and in the census of 1765, it included Jews from 111 surrounding villages. The Jews of Potok Złoty appear to have engaged in similar occupations to those in other Polish cities. They primarily supplied various services, were small vendors and tradesmen, and were involved in agriculture, land leasing and various handicrafts. In the middle of the 19th century, Rabbi Israel Friedman, the Ruzhyn Rabbi, purchased an estate in Potok Złoty in order to avoid exile from Austria. Following his death, his estate was sold again by his children, who did not wish to maintain it due to halakhic issues pertaining to observing the Sabbath while managing the estate. In 1866, Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Schwadron, the Maharsham, who would later become the rabbi of Berezhany and one of the most important halakhists of the early 20th century, served as the city’s rabbi.  

Toward the end of the 19th century, Jews began leaving Potok Złoty, as part of a general movement of Jews from Galicia to larger cities in Austria and overseas, in America.

During the Russian occupation, the entire city suffered greatly at the hands of the Cossacks who occupied it, but even after the war, during the final days of the ‘West Ukrainian People’s Republic,’ Ukrainian soldiers and local villagers robbed the Jewish inhabitants of the city of their remaining food and clothing. During the first years following the war, many of Potok Złoty’s Jews suffered from near-starvation, despite financial assistance from former friends and neighbors who had emigrated to the United States.

Beginning at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, Potok Złoty, too, was home to widespread Zionist activity, and during the 1930s a farm for the training of Zionist pioneers was constructed by the ‘Ezra’ movement.

 

The Second World War

With the German occupation of 10.07.1941, responsibility over the Jews of Potok Złoty was transferred to the Ukrainian police, who would arrive at Jewish homes and rob and beat their inhabitants. A Judenrat was established in the city and forced to provide the Germans with ransom in the form of property, jewelry and money, as well as with man power for different forms of forced labor. In autumn 1942, the Jews were commanded to remove to Buczacz, and from there taken to various concentration camps on 17.10.42 and 27.11.42. The Jews who remained in Buczacz suffered from very difficult conditions in the ghetto constructed in the city. Around 30 Jews from Potok Złoty survived the war, either by hiding in the woods or by being hidden by Christians.

(Roee Goldshmidt)

Sources:

דוד אסף, דרך המלכות: רבי ישראל מרוז'ין ומקומו בתולדות החסידות, ירושלים 1997.

מיכאל ואברהם יעקב ברוור, זכרונות אב ובנו, ירושלים 1966

פנקסי הקהילות, ב, פוטוק זלוטי, עמ' 416-415.