Field School 2015 to Kuty

The seventh annual expedition of the Jewish Galicia and Bukovina Organization set out on August 2nd, 2015. The 15 members of the expedition – students and graduate of hesder yeshivas, students from the Catholic University of Lviv and staff members from Israel and St. Petersburg guided by Dr. Boris Khaimovich (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)– spent two weeks working in the Jewish cemetery in Kuty, a town situated on the border between Galicia and Bukovina. Kuty was a relatively small town, numbering a general population of about 6,740 at its peak, around 1910. About half of this number were Jews. However, the community of Kuty earned a reputation far beyond its modest size due to famous personages who originated from there. The best known of these was the rabbi of the city and a famous kabbalist, R. Moshe ben Menachem Mendel Kitever, who headed a group of kabbalists during the first half of the 18th century. No less famous was the name of his most notable student, R. Abraham Gershon of Kuty, a kabbalist and scholar and the brother-in-law of the Ba’al Shem Tov. According to Hassidic tradition, the Ba’al Shem Tov spent the years of his “hiding” close to Kuty as well, where he supported himself by digging up and selling clay.

The Jewish community of the town began to develop at the beginning of the 18th century, when Kuty received city privileges, leading to its settling by Armenian and Jewish merchants and tradesmen. The Jewish cemetery was consecrated at this time, and the building of the central synagogue begun.

The Jews of Kuty made their living through trade, tannery, carriage making and different crafts. Toward the end of the 19th century the Jewish population of Kuty also included industrialists and owners of flour-mills. A small number of Jews occupied administrative posts in governmental and municipal institutions.

Most of the Jews in Kuty lived in the center of the town, near the market square and west of it, where the central synagogue and two smaller prayer houses were situated. The city also included study halls and Hassidic kloizes, of the Vizhnitz, Kosów and Czortków Hassidic strands.

During the First World War the city suffered greatly: Following the invasion of the Russian army and the passing of control between Ukranian, Romanian and Polish hands, many of the citizens of Kuty left the city and its population declined. The Polish rule between the two world wars brought a period of calm and development: the city was connected to the railway system and became a popular vacation destination. Many Jewish institutions operated in the city: a supplementary Hebrew school, a girls’ Beit Ya’akov school, a tradesmen’s guild, a branch of Wizo, a sporting association and public libraries. Lively political activity also took place in the Jewish neighborhoods.

In September of 1939 Kuty was annexed to the Soviet Union, but with the outbreak of war between Russian and Nazi Germany the city was captured by Romanian and Hungarian army forces. In September of 1941 the city came under direct German control and the Jewish population began being heavily persecuted. In a Nazi roundup on 10.4.1942 about 950 Kuty Jews were murdered. These victims were buried in the Jewish cemetery in the city. The Jewish community of Kuty was completely wiped out when, on 7.9.1942, all of the Jews were ordered to move to the ghetto of Kołomyja, from whence they were sent to the Belzec extermination camp.

It is difficult, nowadays, to find traces in Kuty of the well-developed Jewish community which existed there for over 200 years. The old Jewish cemetery, however, still stands. Parts of it were destroyed and some of the headstones were used for the construction of a Lenin monument in the city and for other construction purposes, but it still offers a most important testimony to the lives of the Jews of Galicia during the 18th-20th centuries.

The members of the expedition discovered, documented and photographed around 2,100 tombstones – all of the tombstones which were available without extensive digging on the grounds of the cemetery. Many tombstones, including some very important ones on the historical or artistic level, were in very bad shape, due either to natural causes or to human intervention. Some of them had been broken or had sunk into the earth, some were in advanced stages of decay. However, the majority of the tombstones (including R. Moses ben Menachem Mendel’s) survived. The artistic variegation of these tombstones, the many folkloristic and heraldic elements and the impressive quality of stone carving on many of them make the Jewish cemetery of Kuty a heritage site of the first importance.

Photographs of all of the headstones and inscriptions deciphered and transcribed by the members of the delegation will soon be available on the JGB Organization’s website.

Site collections: 

The Yidish Sonnets by M. Freed: Notes on the History of Literary Yiddish in Bukovina

Attached files: 

The Semantic Aspect of Slavic-Yiddish Language Interference in the Light of Cross-Cultural Differences

Attached files: 

The Study of Lurianic Kabbalah in the Circle of the Baal Shem Tov - R. Moses Shoham of Dolina's Saraf Pri Es Hayyim

Community: 
Attached files: 

Goldshmidt-CV

Attached files: 

Gate to the Lord: Symbolic Language of East-European Synagogue Art

Course Discription

Attached files: 

Gate to the Lord: Symbolic Language of East-European Synagogue Art: Selected Bibliography

Attached files: 

Conflicts in Jewish history in the Early Modern Period

Attached files: 

Conflicts in Jewish history in the Early Modern Period- Presentation

Attached files: 

Hasidism: Between Heaven and Earth (Syllabus)

Attached files: 

Changes in the Homiletic Rhetoric used by Local Rabbinates in Eastern Europe during the Nineteenth Century

Attached files: 

Mein Shtetele Wizhnitz

Community: 

Published in: Mishpaha magazine, 7.10.2016

Attached files: 

Field School 2016 to Vizhnitsa

Community: 

 

The organization’s seventh annual delegation moved beyond the borders of Galicia. This time, our goal was to document one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Bukovina – a cemetery located in the village of Chernohuzy next to Vizhnitsa. Residents of Vizhnitsa (Wiznitz) were buried here beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century.

The delegation conducted its work from August 1-15. It was composed of a diverse group of volunteers: Herzog College students, Hesder Yeshivas students, archive workers (from Yad Vashem and from the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem) as well as students from the Jewish Studies department in the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. As usual, the delegation was headed by Dr. Boris Khaimovich, an expert in Jewish art, Dr. Ilia Lurie, a scholar of Eastern European Jewry (both from the Hebrew University), together with Ms. Marina Bruck ,—a researcher of Jewish cemeteries from St. Petersburg

Vizhnitz hold a unique position in the history of Eastern European Jewry: at the end of the nineteenth century, Jews made up more than 90% of the population of this small town. Mayors and council members, government officials and professionals, merchants and craftsmen – the vast majority were Jews, a very unusual phenomenon even in those parts of Eastern Europe where there was a visible Jewish presence. Even more impressive, one of the great admors of the Hassidic movement – Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager, the son of the Admor of Kosov – settled in Vizhnitz in 1854. From that time until the Holocaust, Vizhnitsa was an important center of Hassidism and a focal point of mass religious pilgrimage.

During the Holocaust, the Romanian government drove all of the Jews of Vizhnitsa eastward, across the Dniester River, and many of them died under the inhuman conditions on the road and in the forced labor camps in Transnistria. At the end of the World War II, when Bukovina was returned to Soviet rule, survivors began to return to the city (about a third of the pre-war population). But community life was never reestablished. Today only a few Jewish families remain.

The cemetery where the delegation's work was conducted was established in the 1860s after the old cemetery was filled to capacity. The old cemetery was demolished during the Holocaust and totally destroyed under the Soviet regime. Therefore, the cemetery in Chernohuz remains as the single monument in memory of a once-glorious and vibrant community.

In the course of its work, the delegation fully documented the historical part of the cemetery – about 2,200 tombstones. The tombstones were cleaned, marked, and photographed and, on occasion, excavated. Their inscriptions were deciphered and copied. Finally, the cemetery was mapped with all of the recorded tombstones marked. These findings will soon be uploaded to the organization’s website.  

Roi-dissertation abstract

Attached files: 

Stanislawow Census 1939

     Rare archival material, including important biographical information regarding the residents of Stanisławów (now Ivano-Frankivsk) before the onset of the Second World War, was discovered in the State Archives of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.

This is the documentation produced by the last census taken by the Polish rulers of the city:  thousands of registration cards filled out by home owners or by city officials, canvasing  the city door to door, during  the second half of August 1939.

 The preparation of lists of residents in the city was intended to serve as groundwork for a new stage of general recruitment to the army, announced by the Polish government on August 13, 1939, following the escalation in tension between Poland and Nazi Germany. This explains why the census cards included a special paragraph defining the army classification of the resident.

The cards include the following  paragraphs:

-          Precise address (street name, house number, apartment number)

-          First and last name of the resident

-          Date of birth

-          Religion

-          Army classification

-          Profession and place of employment

-          Resident status (permanent or temporary)

and additional information regarding family members, employment, etc.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of these materials for a reconstruction of the image of the Jewish community of  Stanisławów on the eve of its destruction and eradication during the Holocaust. An analysis of the data included in the census cards enables an examination of many issues relating to the socio-economic character of the community. This data is also enormously important to all aspects of genealogical study.

The new project recently completed by the JGB Organization makes the census data easily accessible to the public, in an easy-to-use format which enables searches according to different criteria.

All the usable information on Stanisławów  Jews found in the census cards was processed and entered into a special table organized by family names. 

 

See the Family index of the Jews of Stanislawow based on the 1939 census data

 

See the General index of Stanislawow citizens based on the 1939 census data

 

See the matching table of Stanislawow (Ivano-Frankivsk) streets names in 1939 and in 2017

 

 

 

Stanisławów jews before and during the holocaust

stanisławów census 1939

Jewish community on the eve of the Holocaust

Full data on Stanisławów residents according to the last Polish census of August 1939.

 

For more details >>

 

with the jews of stanisławów in the Holocaust

Avraham Liebesman

A chronicle of the murder of the Jews of Stanisławów from the first day of the Nazi occupation till the final destruction of the Jewish Ghetto in 1943

To the book >>

 

Synagogue in Solotvin

Community: 
Building type: 
Synagogue
Denomination: 
Ashkenazi
Address: 
Solotvin, near the central square, 1, Kotliarevskogo St.
Date built: 
1910
Direction Axis: 
East <~> West
Torah ark: 
Women's section: 
First floor above the vestibule
Material: 
Brick
Architect: 
unknown
Architectural Style: 
History: 

The preserved synagogue in Solotvin was apparently built in the late 19th century. Today it is used as a storage.

A protruding on the eastern façade indicated the interior placement of the Torah ark. The division of windows into an eastern prayer hall and western vestibule with women's section above it is preserved. The original interior is completely lost.

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 (Die Welt, no. 26, 26 June 1903, p. 9).

Condition: 

exists, used as storage

Researched by: 
Vladimir Levin
Reseach date: 
2009

First Synagogue in Halich

Community: 
Building type: 
Synagogue
Denomination: 
Ashkenazi
Material: 
Brick
Architectural Style: 
Condition: 

preserved, used as office space

Researched by: 
Vladimir Levin
Reseach date: 
2009

Second Synagogue in Halich

Community: 
Building type: 
Synagogue
Denomination: 
Ashkenazi
Material: 
Brick
Architectural Style: 
Condition: 

preserved, used as office space

Researched by: 
Vladimir Levin
Reseach date: 
2009

Wooden Synagogue in Solotvin

Community: 
Building type: 
Synagogue
Denomination: 
Ashkenazi
Material: 
Wood
Architect: 
unknown
Architectural Style: 
History: 

It was burned down during the World War II (interview IF_Sol_09_19).

Condition: 

Does not exist.

Researched by: 
Alex Valdman
Reseach date: 
2010

First Synagogue in Bolshovtsy

Community: 
Building type: 
Synagogue
Denomination: 
Ashkenazi
Material: 
Brick
Architectural Style: 
Condition: 

Was rebuilt as a culture house (interview IF_Bilshivtsy_09_Boris).

Researched by: 
Vladimir Levin

Second Synagogue in Bolshovtsy

Building type: 
Synagogue
Denomination: 
Ashkenazi
Material: 
Brick
Architectural Style: 
Condition: 

Was demolished during after the World War II (interview IF_Bilshivtsy_09_Boris).

Researched by: 
Vladimir Levin

Kolomyia, Gmina

Community: 
Building type: 
Other
Address: 
Spitalna (now: Shukhevycha) 78
Architectural drawings date: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Description: 

House of the Community administrative council (Gmina), Spitalna (now: Shukhevycha) 78

Documentation date: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Reseach date: 
2013

Kolomyia, Jewish Hospital

Community: 
Building type: 
Other
Description: 

Building of the Jewish hospital founded in 1854

Documentation date: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Reseach date: 
2012

Hospital and community nursing home

Community: 
Building type: 
Other
Address: 
Spitalna (now: Shukchevycha)74 and 76.
Description: 

 Buildings of the Jewish hospital founded in 1854 (on the right) and the "Moshav Zkenim",community nursing home, built in 1913 (on the left), Spitalna (now: Shukchevycha)74 and 76.

Documentation date: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Reseach date: 
2012