A New International Research Project on the History of Jews in Galicia

(On the picture: Jewish family near it's house in the village of Maniawa, Solotvin district. All members of the family captured by the photograph were murderd in the Holocaust)

 

The Jewish Galicia and Bukovina Organization has launched a new initiative: to investigate the past and fate of Jewish communities in rural Eastern Galicia.

Jewish settlement in Galician villages began before the partitions of Poland and existed until the Holocaust. Outside the confines of cities and towns, small communities arose in the heart of rural Ukrainian populations, and over time, developed unique cultures and lifestyles. Close ties existed between these communities and those of nearby cities, and this, together with the rural environment and living conditions of agricultural areas, left its mark on shaping the special image of village communities. Despite the cultural, social, and demographic significance of Jewish settlement in the villages of Eastern Galicia, this phenomenon has not been addressed in modern research. The goal of this new project launched by the organization is to present researchers and the general public with a vivid and diverse picture of the lives of Jewish families in villages in Eastern Galicia for their generations, including their living conditions, their character, and their relationship with the environment.

The starting point of the research will be the Maniawa community (in the Solotvyn district). Researchers will make an effort to locate all of the Jewish families who lived in the area, to trace the life stories of these families, the circumstances of their settlement in the village, their occupations, their education, their social, cultural, and economic activity, their relationship with other Jewish communities, directions and causes of their migration to other cities, et cetera.

This research is based on genealogical material found thus far, on interviews with locals from the area and their descendants, on local press in various languages, on additional archival material found in Israeli, Ukrainian, and Polish archives, and on other sources. The research will be conducted in collaboration with genealogists specializing in Jewish past at the area.

The situation in Maniawa will serve as a case study for the project. The insights gained and conclusions drawn from this case will make it possible to expand the research to other rural areas, and to come to a more comprehensive clarification of the issue of the settlement and life of Jews in rural Galicia. Here, too, the research will focus primarily on the history of families and social networks.

The study will be conducted by a team of researchers from Israel (from the Hebrew University) and from Ukraine (from the Catholic University in Lvov) and will include two young scholars (following submission of a doctoral dissertation) who will engage in the search for material and writing the research, and two veteran scholars specializing in new age Eastern European Jewish history, who will lead and guide the work of the younger scholars.

Ukrainian participants: Dr. Vladyslava Moskalets (Senior Researcher, The Catholic University), Nadia Skokova (The Catholic University).

Israeli participants: Dr. Semion Goldin (Senior Researcher, The Hebrew University), Dr. Blanka Gorecka (The Hebrew University).