Definition: Revisionists

Revisionists - A right-wing faction in the Zionist movements headed by Zeev Jabotinsky. It was established in 1925, and in 1935 left the World Zionist Organization.

Definition: Hitahdut

Hitahdut - A Zionist labor party established in 1920 as a result of union of the Ha-poel Ha-tsair party and the Tseirei Zion movement.

Lysiec - Rabbis


The first rabbis of Lysiec are unknown.

Apparently, Rabbi Matityahu son of Dov Ber, buried in the ohel in the Lyciec cemetery, served as the rabbi of the community until his death in 1831.

In the mid-nineteenth century there was a local Rabbi Shaul Aharon. His grandson Leibish received the right to sell alcohol in Lysiec (Wunder, 5:1). 

Rabbi Menachem Mendel David was invited to Lysiec from Tlumach in 1869 (Pinkas Kehilot, p. 301). 

In 1870, Rabbi Yehudah Gershon son of Israel Yoel Pickholz became the rabbi of Lysiec; he served the community till his death in 1912 (Ohalei Shem, 250; Wunder, 4:66; his tombstone). 

After him the local rabbi was Rabbi Nahman, son of David Ha-Levi Hurvits.

He moved to Halich, and Rabbi Efraim Fishel, son of David Hurvits (probably his brother) became the rabbi of Lysiec (Pinkas Kehilot, p. 301).

In the 1920s the rabbi of Lysiec was Rabbi Ben-Zion son of Shmuel Shapira (1900-1941). However, he left to take his father's position as the rabbi of Złoczew in 1928 (Wunder, 5:456).

Among Lysiec Jews there were many talmidei hakhamim. On of them was Rabbi Shlomo son of Yehoshua Schechter (Wunder, 5:276).

Rabbi Mordechai from Lysiec was among the pupils of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch of Nadworna (Alfasi, p. 250, no. 108).

Definition: Council on the Matters of the Religious Cults

The Council on the Matters of the Religious Cults at the Council of Ministers of the USSR was established on 19 May, 1944. The council controlled relations between the state and various religious unions (except for the Russian Orthodox Church), elaborated legislation on religious matters and supervised its implementation by religious unions, registered religious communities and clergy, opened/closed religious facilities. In 1965 the Council was united with the Council on the matters of the Russian Orthodox Church (established on 14 September, 1943) in the Council on the Matters of Religion at the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The Council operated through its commissioners at the republican and regional level.

Definition: Dvatsatka

"Dvatsatka" (Russian - двадцатка; literary, twenty people) is a group of at least twenty adult believers, which served as the core of every religious community. According to the decision of the All-Union Central Executive Committee and the Council of the People's Commissars "On religious unions" from 8 April 1929, a declaration of at least twenty adult believers was needed in order to register a religious community.

Definition: Council of the People's Commissars

Council of the People's Commissars - from 1917 until 1946 the name of the council of ministers of Soviet Russia, since 1922, of the USSR.

Lysiec - Jews in the interwar period


Only ca. 70 Jewish families lived in Lysiec during the interwar period (Pinkas Kehilot, 301). Most of them worked in local trade and maintained grocery stores. A Ukrainian cooperative store was established in Lysiec in 1926 (Pinkas Kehilot, 301). The cooperative competed directly with Jewish businesses that suffered from the competition.

The society for free credit "Gmilut Hasadim" (Gmah) was established in 1924 but its activity was limited. Only four loans were granted in 1928 and twelve loans were given in 1934-35 (Pinkas Kehilot, 301).

A Jewish secular cultural association "Tikva" (Hope) was established in Lysiec by the end of World War I. It existed for only two to three years (Pinkas Kehilot, 301). In 1924, a branch of the "Ezra" (Help) society was established in Lysiec (Pinkas Kehilot, 301). In 1933, a branch of the "Achva" (Brotherhood) society was opened, it included a library and a drama circle (Pinkas Kehilot, 301).

Jewish political activity also flourished in the interwar period. Six Jews were elected to the town council in 1927 and two became members of the town administration (Pinkas Kehilot, 301). In the elections to the Seventeenth Zionist Congress in 1931 in Lysiec, the General Zionists received 15 votes, the Revisionists 14, the Hitahdut faction 5, and the radical Zionists -2 (Pinkas Kehilot, 301). Likewise, a Zionist was chosen as head of the Jewish community of Lysiec in the late 1920s (Pinkas Kehilot, 301).

Lysiec - Holocaust


Most of the local Jews were murdered in September-October 1942 (Pinkas Kehilot, 301). Some of the Jews were sent to the ghetto in Stanisławow and others were probably sent to the Belzec (Bełżec) death camp (Pinkas Kehilot, 302).


The wooden synagogue was burnt down during World War II (Pinkas Kehilot, 301).

Lysiec - after WWII


There was no Jewish population in Lysiec after World War II. The Jewish cemetery with approximately 100 tombstones from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is preserved to this day (Grandeur and Glory, 1:151-2).

Photographs of Lysiec and its Jewish cemetery made in 2009 are available here.

Lysiec - Jews in the 19th century


The wooden synagogue was erected in Lysiec in the late nineteenth century and was burnt down during World War II (Piechotka, 414; Pinkas Kehilot, 301).

Solotvin - general information


Solotvin was established in the second half of the seventeenth century as a local gentry's estate (Pinkas Kehilot, 350). A wooden Roman-Catholic church existed since 1666, and was rebuilt in 1740 (Słownik, 11:66). In the eighteenth century, there were three Greek Catholic (Uniate) churches (Słownik, 11:66).

Solotvin was an important source for mined salt (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

Solotvin - Jews in the 18th century


Documentary evidence of a Jewish presence in the town dates from 1717 when local Jews paid a tax of 387 zloty (Pinkas Kehilot, 350). The local community (kahal) was most probably connected to the Bohorodchany (Brotchin) community, but by the middle of the century this formal relationship ceased (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

In the 1740s, Rabbi Moshe Heilprin (d. 1752), the rabbi of Berdichev, settled in Solotvin. According to a local legend, the Besht spent a Saturday in Rabbi Heilprin's house (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

In 1765, Jews owned eighty-four houses in Solotvin (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).


The Polish census of 1764 gives the following information regarding the Jewish population of Solotvin (Stampfer, 121). The community included 471 Jews of both genders and 19 infants under one year of age. 361 Jews with 15 infants lived in the town of Solotvin itself, and the rest (110) were dispersed among surrounding villages accordingly:

Monastyrczyzna - 6
Rakowice - 7
Krzywiec - 15
Jabłonka - 5
Porohy - 5
Krzyczka - 5 (and one infant)
Staruń - 41 (and 3 infants)
Żuraki - 26

Solotvin - Rabbis


Until his death in 1833, the Moreh Tzedek in Solotvin was Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh son of Yosef from Kalush (his tombstone). 

Until his death in 1848 the Rabbi of Solotvin was R. Pinhas son of Yeshayah (his tombstone).

In the 1850s, Rabbi David Berl son of Yaakov Brenner served as a dayan in Solotvin. In 1873 the rabbi of Solotwin was Rabbi Haim Ratzer (Wunder, 4:1024).

Until 1875 a moreh tsedek was Rabbi Israel son of Barukh (his tombstone).

In the late nineteenth century the rabbi for several years was Rabbi Elimelekh son of Efraim Mordechai Porila (d. after 1948) (Wunder, 4:18).

Rabbi Tzvi Arie son of Israel Yaakov served as the rabbi and the head of the rabbinical court for 32 years, from 1852 until his death in 1884. He was a hasid and his father was a hasid too (his tombstone).

Rabbi Nahum Uri son of Rabbi David Yitzhak Gellis (b. 1852) was the rabbi of Solotvin from 1884 until his death (Ohalei Shem, 522; Pinkas Kehilot, 350; Edward Gelles, "An Ancient Lineage: European Roots of a Jewish Family", Vallentine Mitchell, London, 2006). He was active in the Orthodox politics as well as in the Religious Zionist Mizrahi movement.

Rabbi Yoel Babad was elected in 1936 as the rabbi of the town and he held the position until the Holocaust (Pinkas Kehilot, 350). The elections of the last rabbi led to a conflict between the dayan and moreh tzedek Rabbi N. Tanensaft, who wanted to become the rabbi of Solotvin, and the head of the community Meir Haller. The official institutions were forced to get involved in the conflict (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

Solotvin - Jews in the 19th - early 20th centuries


In the nineteenth century, the Solotvin Jews made a living mainly from small businesses and craftsmanship. Jews lived mainly in the center of the town and suffered greatly from the fire of 1888 in which some 600 houses were burnt (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

A state-run school was established in Solotvin in 1804 (link). In the 1880s, there existed a state-run two-grade school (Słownik, 11:66).

A vocational school for Jews was established by the Baron Hirsch foundation in 1894 and existed until World War I (Ha-magid, no. 30, 26 July 1900, p. 349; Ha-magid, no. 22, 6 June 1901, p. 247; Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

In the 1890s, two fires undermined the economic stability of the town. Many Solotvin Jews began to work in the ozocerite mines in the surroundings villages Dzwiniacz, Starunic, Molotkow as supervisors and as miners. However, the economic crisis of 1899 caused the closure of the mines, and many Jewish workers became unemployed. A "Committee for Supporting the Unemployed Jewish Workers of the Dzwiniacz, Starunic, Molotkow ozocerite Mines" was established and it appealed for help to the broader Jewish public (Die Welt, no. 26, 30 June 1899, p. 12).

On June 14, 1903, a service for the victims of the Kishinev pogrom was held in the town's synagogue. It was accompanied by a choir of the students from the Baron Hirsch school. The school's director, Händler, gave a speech, comparing the recent pogrom with the Khmelnitsky massacre of the seventeenth century. Jewish businesses in the town were closed on that day (Die Welt, no. 26, 26 June 1903, p. 9).

A private school for teaching Hebrew was opened in Solotvin in 1906-07 by the association "Safah Brurah" (Pure Language). In 1911, there were 100 students and one teacher, Michael Kleiner (Gelber, Toldot, 2:726; cf. 712).

Another Hebrew school was established in the same year by the local committee of the Austrian Hebrew Teachers Association; there were 46 students in 1911, who were taught by the same teacher Michael Kleiner (Gelber, Toldot, 2:727).

The Russian occupation during World War I in 1914-1915 was harmful to the Jewish community. As a result, almost all Jewish homes destroyed, much property was stolen and several Jews were killed by Russian soldiers (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

Solotvin - Jews in the interwar period


The local Jewish community did not recover in the interwar period. Many local Jews left the town. Those who stayed in Solotvin were supported by the Joint Distribution Committee and relatives from abroad. The society for free credit "Gmilut Hasadim" (Gmah) was established in 1929. However, it ceased to exist after four years because of economic difficulties (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

Jewish communal and political life was revived after the World War I. This revival included a Hebrew school that was reestablished in 1922, and the "Ezra" (Help) Society which was created in 1928 (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

A branch of the left-wing Zionist party Hitahdut appeared in 1923, and it sponsored a Zionist youth organization Gordoniya (Pinkas Kehilot, 350). The Zionist movement was very strong in Solotwin and the majority of Jews elected to the municipality in 1927 and 1929 were Zionists (Pinkas Kehilot, 350). Among the Zionist parties the most influential was Hitahdut, which received the majority of votes, 171 out of 209, in the elections to the nineteenth Zionist Congress in 1935 (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

In the interwar period, Jewish children were also enrolled in the Polish school, the new building for which was built at expense of a local Jewish donor, the oil businessmen Kaufmann in 1931 (link).

The interethnic tensions were influenced by economic competition throughout the interwar period. In 1924, a Jewish shoemaker and his wife from a village next to Solotvin were killed by peasants when they came to get payment for their work (Pinkas Kehilot, 350). In 1937, a riot broke out in Solotwin as the result of a conflict between a Jewish merchant and a peasant. The riot was suppressed by the authorities (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

The head of the community was Meir Haller; he ruled the community in an aggressive way (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).


















The destruction in Solotvin after WWI. 

Solotvin - Holocaust

With the outburst of World War II in 1939, Solotvin was occupied by the Red (Soviet) Army. However, in the first days of the Soviet occupation there were no authorities in the town and Ukrainians began to rob Jewish houses and shops. The plunder came to an end when a Jewish self-defense unit arrived from neighboring Nadworna (Israel Carmi, "Tahat ha-kibush ha-sovieti," Sefer Nadworna, 150).

Most of the local Jews were exterminated in September 1942. Some of the Jews were sent to Stanisławów ghetto; and some of them were probably sent to the Belzec camp (Pinkas Kehilot, 350).

Solotvin - after WWII


There were only two Jews in Solotvin after World War II.

Already in 1946 the local authorities wished to liquidate the Jewish cemetery, but they were stopped by the Council on the Matters of the Religious Cults (see document). 

The synagogue (1, Kotliarevskogo St.) and the large Jewish cemetery are preserved. The synagogue was documented by the Center of Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The cemetery was partually document by the Center of Jewish Art in 1999; the full documentation was performed by the participants of the Field School in August 2009 and could be viewed here.

On 16 October 2005 a monument to the Holocaust victims was opened in Solotvin (link).

Definition: Dayan

Dayan (דיין) - literary, "judge" - A member of the rabbinic court and a person responsible for making everyday halakhic decisions. He was subordinate to the rabbi of a town.

Definition: Moreh Tzedek

Moreh tzedek (מורה צדק) - literary, the teacher of justice - an "auxiliary" rabbi who is responsible for making halakhic decisions. He is subordinate to the rabbi of a town.

Definition: Besht

Besht (Baal Shem Tov) - Rabbi Israel Son of Eliezer (1698?-1760), the founder of Hassidism.

Definition: moreinu

Moreinu (מורינו) - literary "our teacher" - a higher-ranking religious title in the Midlle Ages and Early Modern Period.

In the 19th lost its meaning; in some communities the title was granted almost to every boy reaching the age of bar-mitzva.

Definition: rabbani

Rabbani (הרבני) - unformal religious title, used for persons well versed in the religious canon, especially in the post-Talmudic literature.

Definition: Torani

Torani (התורני) - a religious title, used for the persons, well versed in the Talmud.

Definition: Vatik

Vatik (ותיק) - literary veteran, senior - a title used for Hasidim, expressing one's long time belonging to a certain Hasidic court.

Bohorodczany (Brotchin) - general information


The town of Bohorodchany was mentioned for the first time in 1441, as the property of Jan from Buczacz, the Elder (starosta) of Terebomlia (Istoriia Bohorodchaniv, 81). Since the second half of the 15th century, the town belonged to the Potocki  family (Istoriia Bohorodchaniv, 81). The first Roman Catholic Church was built in Bohorodchany in 1691 by Konstancya Potocka (d. 1714), the widow of Dominik Potocki (1646-1683), the King's Treasurer (podskarbi nadworny koronny) and the Elder (starosta) of Chmelnik. At the same she also established a Dominican monastery (Słownik, 1:287). The current buildings of the church and the monastery were built between 1742-45 (link). The date of the establishment of a Greek Catholic (Uniate) church in Bohorodchany is unknown. However, it existed already in the 1870s (Słownik, 1:287).

On August 17, 1744, the forces of the Carpathian opryshky of Oleksa Dovbush (1700-1745) captured the town and ravaged its castle (Hrabovets'kyi, 106-8; Babii, Zamki, 5-9). It is reasonable to assume that Jews also suffered greatly during this invasion.