Name in Ukrainian: 
Чортків (Chortkiv)
Name in Polish: 
Name in German: 
Name in Hebrew: 
Name in Yiddish: 
Historical-cultural region: 
Eastern Galicia
Administrative District : 
Ternopil Region
49°01' N, 25°48' E
Administrative History: 



 Years Town   District  Province Country 
 1772-1918  Czortków  Czortków  Galicia  Austrian Empire
 1918-1939  Czortków  Czortków  Tarnopol  Poland
 1945-1989  Chortkov      Soviet Union
 Since 1989  Chortkiv      Ukraine


Population Data: 


Jewish Population

General Population




























Before the First World War there was a Teachers' Seminar in town of Czortkow. (CAHJP, Hm2/9138.4).



אפריים זוננשיין, פרקים מתולדות היהודים בטשורטקוב,  ורשה תרצ"ח

Yizkor Book of Chortkiv

A memorial website for the Jews of Chortkiv

Chortkiv on Virtual Shtetel

Chortkiv on the Kehila links project

The city of Czortków is located about 80 km. south of Tarnopol. It is the largest city in Podolia.

on the eastern bank of the Seret River, one of the tributaries of the Dniester River. In 1522 the Polish noble Jerzy Czartoryski was granted the right to turn the small village into a town.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the town held two annual fairs as well as a weekly market day. Despite this seeming economic stability, the town underwent many disturbances throughout the 17th century, due to its location. The city was captured by the Tatars, the Cossacks and even the Hungarians, and in the final quarter of the century became the property of the Ottoman Empire. Under the rule of the Ottoman sultan Czortków was designated the capital of the region and became the seat of the deputy pasha. The city was recaptured by the Polish noble Andrzej Potocki in 1683, and following the Treaty of Karlowitz, in 1699, was transferred to the Potocki family.


The Jews of Czortków

We do not know when Jews began settling in Czortków, but we do have evidence, from 1616, of a Jewish wine merchant from the city who was killed during a business trip to Wallachia. Relatively late testimonies tell of 50 Jewish citizens of the city who were killed by its Polish lords in the 1648 massacres, with the remaining Jews being driven out of the city.

In 1705, however, the Polish lords of the city again began encouraging Jews to return to Czortków. Similarly to other cities in the Podole region, Czortków’s Jews were also granted economic and civil rights by the Potocki family at the beginning of the 18th century and, apparently due to these rights, the Jewish community of the city strengthened. These rights included economic freedom in the fields of trade and real estate, a tax exemption for the community’s institutions and legal and penal immunity and preference.

During the period of Austrian rule, Czortków’s Jews, like other communities under Austrian rule, also suffered from an increase in taxes and from various edicts. However, we do know of 35 Jewish families from the city who were engaged in agricultural work in 1821. During the second half of the 19th century some factories were built in the city, including a factory for the production of agricultural tools, an olive press, a brick factory and more. Many of the employees of these factories at the beginning of the 20th century were Jews. In 1874 the first free elections for the city council were held, and eleven of the 24 elected officials were Jews. From then and until the First World War the posts of mayor or deputy mayor were consistently held by Jews. Beginning in the 1880s, many of Czortków’s Jews began emigrating to the United States.

Since the Jewish community of Czortków was renewed only at the beginning of the 18th century, a rabbi was not employed in the city until 1717, when Rabbi Shraga, the son of the local halakhic authority (more-zedek), was appointed the Head of the Beit Din and the city rabbi. A short time later, two additional rabbis were appointed, but they occupied these positions for only a brief while. The institutionalization of the city’s rabbinate began sometime in 1726-1754, the period during which Zvi Hirsch Segal Horwitz served as the city’s rabbi. Rabbi Zvi Hirsch was one of the greatest of Podole’s rabbis, and is mentioned in several places in the works of Rabbi Yechezkel Landau, the ‘Noda BeYehuda’, as an halakhic authority. Both of Horwitz’s sons, Rabbi Pinchas and Rabbi Shmuel (Shmelke), who were famous early Hassidic leaders, served as rabbis of large European communities. Rabbi Pinchas served as the rabbi of Frankfurt-am-Main and authored the book ‘Sefer Ha-Hafla’ah’, and Rabbi Shmelke was the rabbi of Nikolsburg and wrote ‘Nezir Hashem’ and ‘Imrei Shmuel’. In the dispute with the Frankist movement, at the end of the 1760s, no Jews from Czortków are mentioned; however, one of the city’s rabbis, Avraham Zvi Hirsch, who served as the city’s rabbi during the years 1767-1769, is mentioned in the community’s registry as one who’s ‘name should not be mentioned’. One can deduce from this that Rabbi Hirsch either converted to Christianity or became one of Frank’s followers.    

Czortków was an important city in terms of its religious leadership also during the Austrian rule, although, from the middle of the 19th century, the city became the active center for two opposing movements. In 1858 Rabbi Yeshayahu Meir Kahana-Shapira, who possessed both religious and secular training, was appointed the rabbi of the city. Rabbi Shapira believed in secular education as an accompaniment to more traditional education, and built a school in this spirit in the city, even sending his own son to learn at the Stanislawow secondary school. Rabbi Shapira was a member of ‘Kol Yisrael Haverim’, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, in Vienna and in Paris, of ‘Hashomer Haza’ir’ in Lvov and of ‘Hevrat Mefitsei Haskalah’  (The Society for the Promotion of Culture among the Jews of Russia) and of ‘Mekitze Nirdamim’ in Russia and was a member of ‘Ezrat Nidahim’ in Land of Israel and one of Hovevei Zion (the Lovers of Zion). In addition to all these, Rabbi Shapira instituted a ‘bikkur holim’ and a ‘gemilut hasadim’ organization in Czortków, the latter functioning as a sort of bank for the extension of loans to small businesses. He also founded ‘Hevrat Yad Haruzim’, a union for various Jewish tradesmen in the city, the first of its kind to exist in Galicia.

At about the same time, in 1864-1865, Rabbi David Moshe Friedman, son of the famous Hasidic leader Rabbi Israel Friedman of Ruzhyn, settled in the city. Friedman’s followers purchased the palace and part of the estate of the countess Hyronima Borkowska and turned the city into the central seat of the Hassidic rebbe. Rabbi Shapira’s opposition to the rebbe created much unease in the Jewish community, which led, among other things, to family disputes, divorces and mutual rejection of kosher supervision. Among the many supporters of Rebbe Friedman were some of the most influential and wealthy members of the community, and these eventually brought about Rabbi Shapira’s dismissal as the city’s rabbi. Most of Rabbi Shapira’s supporters were the simpler and poorer members of the community, and many of them left the city to emigrate to the United States in the big wave of immigration from the region. Rabbi David Moshe Friedman of Czortków lived in the city until 1903 and his son, Rabbi Israel, inherited his Hassidic court after his death. With the outbreak of the First World War, Rabbi Israel relocated to Vienna, where he lived until his death in 1934, but continued to visit Czortków throughout the entire period.

Amongst the city’s natives is the author Karl Emil Franzos (1848-1904), who wrote in German, and whose book, ‘The Jews of Barnow’, was based on his childhood city Czortków.

At the beginning of the First World War the city came under Russian rule, where it remained until 1917, when it was again captured by the Austrians. During the war about 20% of the city’s Jewish  inhabitants died as a result of illnesses and plagues, as well as 35% of the Jewish refugees from the surrounding region who sought refuge in Czortków. Between the two World Wars Czortków experienced economic distress due to the War, and many of the city’s Jews were supported by members of their families who had emigrated to the United States. During this period, Zionist activism in all of its different forms was very active in the city, as well as the participation of the Czortków Hassidim in ‘Agudath Israel’ and the activities of the Bund movement members.  

During the Second World War, the city was first captured by the Soviets. The Soviets greatly increased the taxation on the Czortków Jewish community, and severely limited the activities of various persons of the community’s rank and leadership. Immediately following the fall of the Soviet defenses and the beginning of the German occupation in 6.7.1941, Ukranian youth led a pogrom against the city’s Jews in which more than 300 Jews were killed. The first Judenrat was appointed in the same month, and its members were executed about two months later. During the years 1941-1943 the Jews who were fit for labor were sent to labor camps in the area, with concomitant, intermittent roundups taking place in the ghetto, as a result of which the Jews of Czortków were transported to the Bełżec extermination camp and executed there, until the final annihilation of the Czortków ghetto in September 1943. The Soviet army liberated the city from the Nazis in March of 1944, after which about 100 of the city’s surviving Jews congregated there. Most of the Jews left the city in 1945, heading for Palestine or other countries.



אפרים זוננשין, פרקים מתולדות היהודים בטשורטקוב- על פי פנקסי הקהילה עם הקדמה מאת פרופ' מאיר בלאבן, ורשה תרצ"ח.

פנקסי הקהילות, ב,  צ'ורטקוב, עמ' 445-443.

Karl  Emil Franzos, The Jews of Barnow, Translated by M.W Macdoeall, New-York 1883.