Horodna (Polish), Городня (Ukrainian), Городня – Gorodnia (Russian)
Gorodnya is a historic town (since 1957) located in Chernihiv region of northern Ukraine, center of Gorodnya district. Gorodnya is located on the Chibrizh River. The city’s estimated population is 12,766 (as of 2011).
Gorodnya became a part of Russia Empire in 1667, in XIX – beginning of XX century it was center of Gorodnya Yezd of Chernigov Gubernia.
In 1764, more than 300 Jews lived in Horodnia, mostly artisans and merchants.
A Jewish burial society existed in Horodnia in 1845. According archival documents a synagogue was erected in the city in 1863.
Jewish population of Gorodnya:
1863 — 525 (15,6%)
1886 — 1587 Jews
1897 — 1249 (28,9%)
1920 — 1965 Jews
1926 — 1359 (27,2%)
1939 — 731 Jews
2014 ~ 10 Jews
From 1878-1900 the spiritual Rabbi was Shmuel Lerner.
1861 – Simon Rabinovich
02.1883 – ? Ruvim Gilelevich Tartakovskiy
1885 – 1887 Ruvim Gilelevich Tartakovskiy
1888 – 07.1890 Moses Markovich Sokolovskiy
08.1890-1894 Aaron Shmerkovich Lisicyn (1840-?)
03.1894 09.1894 Aizik Moiseevich Dimentman
09.1894-1897 Dashoshevskiy Iosel Abramovich
10.1897 – ? Morduh Borisovich Feigin (1871 – ?)
06.1911 – 1907 Itzhak Zalmanovich Shneerson (1879, Kamenets-Podolskiy – 1969, Paris)
07.1911 – 1917 Nahim-Gershon Yankelevich Berlin
In February 15, 1905 members of the Bund participated in the anti-tsarist revolt. In October 1905, attempts at pogroms took place but were stopped by Jewish self-defence units.
In the beginning of XX century David Bukhdruker was appointed chairman of the burial society – Nevelev, shochet – Abram Runin.
There were 2 synagogues in 1910, one wooden and one stone (these were built in the end of XVIII – beginning of XIX century), 2 Jewish cemeteries also existed.
In 1912 there was a Jewish savings and loan association.
In 1918 soldiers from the directorate (Petlura) carried out a pogrom that killed two Jews in Gorodnya. Between 1918 and 1920 several additional waves of pogroms staged by various armed groups forced Jews to leave the town.
In the 1920s, the gangs of ataman Galaka committed pogroms in the villages of the district.
In 1921, due to activity of temporary Jewish self-defence units local Jews managed to prevent pogroms in Gorodnya.
Most Jews in Gorodnya were artisans or merchants (until private commerce was forbidden by the Soviet authorities at the beginning of the 1930s); others worked at Gorodnya’s porcelain factory.
The number of Jews in the town was 731 in 1939, when they comprised 8 percent of the town’s total population. Small communities existed in villages Solonovka, Ivashkovka and Makishin.
Gorodnya was occupied by German troops on August 28, 1941. By this time many Jewish families had already managed to leave. The remaining Jews were required to register with the German authorities, who ordered the Jews to wear a white arm band with a yellow star and recruited them for forced labor. In September 1941 21 Jews were shot by Sonderkommando 7b in the Gorodnya area and in October 24 there was a mass shooting of Jews near the village of Aleshinskoye when 49 people were killed. Some Jews from Gorodnya were shot by Germans in early November 1941; the location unknown.
Monument on the Holocaust mass grave near khutor Aleshkinskoe
In November 25, 1941 the last Jews of the village of Solonovka were killed.
In mid-December 1941 Jews in Gorodnya were forced to live on a single street in the town. A few days later they were arrested and imprisoned by Ukrainian police and Hungarian soldiers. On December 20, 1941 at least 82 Jewish women and children were murdered in the yard of Gorodnya Prison No. 4 by a German murder squad with the assistance of Hungarian soldiers and Ukrainian policemen. First the women, then the children were shot in small groups in a particularly brutal manner.
In the beginning of 1941 Jews of village Makishin were deported to Chernigov and killed.
According to different sources (Archivs and local historian’s research) on the territory of Gorodnya district 203 Jews were killed, we know names of only 150 persons. Also we know of 73 names of soldiers which were killed during WWII. Both lists you can find here.
Gorodnya was liberated by the Red Army on September 24, 1943.
After the war Jews returned in Gorodnya. In 1948 were was an illegal minyan.
Jewish community was registered in middle of 1990’s. First Community Chairman was Azbel Iosef Davidovich (deceased), second – Matvei Leonovich Tsadikovich (deceased), third – Lubov Borisovna Krutik (immigrated).
As of 2014 only 10 Jews live in Horodya.
Famous Jew from Gorodnya
Faina Borisovna Vahutinskaya (1932 – 2014)
Faina Borisovna Vahutinskaya (1932 – 2014) – An English teacher and poet, Faina Borisovna wrote the anthem for Gorodnya as well as many other songs and poems. Faina was also responsible for organizing the construction of a memorial for Gorodnya’s Jews.
Joseph Alexandrovich Serebryaniy (1907 – 1979) – Famous painter who lived and worked in St. Petersburg.
Bentsion Lazarevic Katamanin (1900 – 1984) – Famous for being the architect of the Moscow subway system. One of the organizers of Pioneer and Komsomol organizations in the Gorodnya in the 1920s.
Joseph Semenovich Yufa (1915 -1974) – Artilleryman and Hero of the Soviet Union.
Abram Isaakovich Katsnelson (1914 – 2003)
Abram Isaakovich Katsnelson (1914 – 2003) – Famous Ukrainian poet and literary critic.
Abram Samoylovich Pertsovskiy (1897 – 1970) – Military doctor attached to the squadron “Normandy – Neman”.
Abraham Ayzykovych Eidlin (1939 – 2008) – Famous scientist and member of the faculty of Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute. Abram Eidlin later Emigrated to the United States.
Ilya Isaakovich Stebun (1911 – 2005) – Famous literary critic.
Holocaust mass graves
– Old prison
Monument located at Lenin Steet, near the old prison building. There is a marble plate on the stone memorial about 50 cm high. “Here lie buried 78 residents of the town of Horodnia, who were killed by the German fascist invaders in the years 1941-1945”.
– khutor Aleshkinskoe
Monument is located on the northern outskirts of khutor Aleshkinskoe, 5 km to the centre of Horodnia. At this place in October 24, 1941 were killed 49 Jews.
Information was taken from pages Lo-Tishkah web site here and here.
Cemetery was established in first half of the 19th century. It is located on the southern outskirts of the town in Chernousa Street, on the right of the Horodnia – Chernihiv road.
The cemetery is partly surrounded with an old wooden fence. The rest of the territory is separated with trees and bushes.
Date of the oldest known gravestone is 1932. Current Size & Measurement Unit: 21,600 meters
At the cemetery there is a mass grave of pogrom victims from the nearby villages of Ivashkovka, Tupichev and Khripovka killed by White soldiers in 1920. The Whites were prevented from entering Horodnia itself by self-defense units of Jewish and Russian youth.
Iosef Davidovich Asbel (1924-2000) cleaned up and took care of this cemetery. After his death Nelya Havko performed same duty.
Information taken from Lo-Tishkach web-site and gorodnya.net