KAMENETS-PODOLSKI, city in Khmelnitski district (until the 1950s district capital), in Ukraine.
Under the rule of Lithuania from the 14th century, and after the union with Poland (1569) under Poland-Lithuania (but for the short though important and formative interval of Ottoman rule there, 1672–99); it passed to Russia in 1795, and from then until the 1917 Revolution was capital of the province of Podolia.
For a long time the municipality of Kamenets-Podolski prevented attempts of Jews to settle in this important trading and communications center in southeast Poland-Lithuania. In 1447 Jews were prohibited from staying there for more than three days. In 1598 King Sigismund III prohibited Jews from settling in the city and suburbs and from engaging in trade there; their visits were again restricted to three days only.
During the Chmielnicki uprising, many Jews sought refuge in the fortified city which withstood attacks by the Cossacks in 1648 and 1652. Subsequently King John II Casimir permitted Jews to reside there, and they apparently continued to live in Kamenets-Podolski despite repeated prohibitions in 1654, 1665, and 1670.
Under Ottoman rule Jewish settlement was permitted and grew to a considerable size. After the city’s return to Poland in 1699, the Christian citizens resumed their opposition to Jewish settlement.
In 1737 the city council submitted a request to the state and Church authorities to banish the Jews from the city, maintaining that they had no right to settle there, and were competing with the Christian inhabitants and impoverishing them. King Augustus III expelled the Jews from Kamenets-Podolski in 1750. Their houses passed to the town council and the synagogue was demolished. The expelled Jews settled in the suburbs and in nearby villages, which were under jurisdiction of Polish noblemen, and developed extensive trading activity there which led to additional complaints on the part of the citizens.
In 1725 the Council of Four Lands met in Kamenets-Podolski. In 1757 a public disputation was held by the Church in Kamenets-Podolski – enjoined by the local bishop – between the representatives of Podolian Jewry and Jacob Frank and his supporters. After it took place the Talmud was publicly burned in the city on the bishop’s orders.
After Kamenets-Podolski passed to Russia, Czar Paul I confirmed in 1797 the right of Jews to reside there. At that time 24 Jews belonging to merchant guilds and 1,367 Jewish inhabitants were registered in the tax-assessment books of the city. Two years later, in 1799, 29 merchants and 2,617 Jewish inhabitants were registered.
In 1832 the Christians in Kamenets-Podolski petitioned the government to expel the Jews from the city, basing themselves upon their ancient privileges. The petition was rejected but in 1833 the government restricted the right of the Jews to build shops and new houses, or to acquire houses, to two suburbs of the city only in order to prevent them from residing in the city itself. The restriction was rescinded in 1859.
In 1857 Kamenets-Podolski and the county there were 67 Jewish merchants of the 1st and 2nd of guilds (the Christians were not), merchants third Guild – 933 (Christians – 10).
The community numbered 4,629 in 1847, 16,211 (40% of the total population) in 1897, and they were busy in small industry, trade, and artisanship. Rabbis who served in the city were Pinkhas of Koretz, Itshok Moizels, Zalman Lerner, Dov-Berish Eliash, David Wasserman, a disciple of R. Levi Isaac from Berdichev, S.Y. Abramovitsh (Mendele Mokher Sforim), and Menakhem Poznanski; the poets Aharon Ashman and Avraham Rosen were active for various periods.
List of entrepreneurs. Kamenets-Podolskiy's 1913
In 1905 pogrom take place here. In 1910 there were 22,279 Jews and 33 synagogues. Four private schools and modernized hadarim were operating, and later also two Hebrew schools and a library. All major Jewish parties were active there.
After 1918, during the civil war, the Jews in Kamenets-Podolski suffered severely and 200 Jews were killed there in pogroms by Petlyura’s gangs in July 1919. In February 1921, 16 Jews from Kamenets-Podolsk were shot by Red Army soldiers. Rabbi Akselrod was killed too.
Before 1921 Rabbi was Israel Gutman, one of the Besht’s descendants.
From 1917 to the middle of 1920s in there acted different Zionist organization, including “Tzeirei Zion,” “Poale Zion”, “Ge-Halutz,” “Tarbut”. Hebrew Schools, evening classes, Jewish library and Jewish folk house were organized. In 1920 a union of Hebrew teachers was organized. In 1920 there existed Jewish comedy troupe led by A.M.Sigalesko. Z.Zhabotinsky vizited city at that times.In the beginning of 1920′s opened a branch of publishing house “Culture League”.
At the beginning of the Soviet period, most local Jews were traders, artisans, officials or workers. After the establishment of the Soviet regime, many wealthy Jews led across the frontier and the economy of the Jewish population was ruined. Jewish cultural and communal life was entirely suppressed after a protracted struggle with the Yevsektsiya.
In 1922 ORT opened vocational schools to train Jewish youth in crafts. By 1926 only 12,774 Jews remained (29.9% of the total population). In the 1920s 76 families let to settle in Crimea, and 80 to settle in Birobidzhan. Three Yiddish schools and two teachers’ colleges opened there, but only one school was active in 1938.
In 1926 Jews (100 persons) Organized agricultural group “Work and Bread” and later agricultural collective “Product”. By the beginning of 1930, when private business was restricted, most merchants shifted to crafts and industry. Many local Jews left for larger cities, while Jews from shtetls came to live in Kamenets-Podolsk. The 15 synagogues and prayer houses were closed after 1936, though synagogue officials managed to conceal some 30 Torah scrolls, which survived the Holocaust and were later used by clandestine religious communities. Minyans met in private houses. Mikvah was organized in private bath.
In January 1939 the Jewish population of Kamenets-Podolskiy was 13,796 or 38 percent of the total.
Holocaust in Kamenets-Podolskiy
The Ukrainian administration was responsible for registering the Jewish population of the city, appointing members of a Jewish council, and forcing the Jews to wear a Star of David. August 5, 1941 the Jews of Kamenets-Podolsk were forced into a ghetto on an island in the Old Town.
At the end of July 1941 Hungarian occupation authorities began to deport Jews from Carpatho-Rus (later they all were named as Hungary Jews but really they were from territory of current Zakarpatska region of Ukraine). By the end of August more than 10,000 of these Jewish deportees had arrived in Kamenets-Podolsk, where they were put in castle and later in ghetto together with local Jews.
These deportees were shot on August 26, 1941. On August 27 and 28, 1941 about 10,000 Kamenets-Podolsk Jews were murdered. The remaining 5,000 Jews of the city were put into a new ghetto located in the area of a former chemical institute in the neighborhood of Polskie Folvarki. Later, Jews with specific skills who had been spared in the massacres in the Kamenets-Podolsk area were forced into this ghetto as well. In the summer of 1942 about 800 Jewish children and old people were murdered. The killing of Jews from Kamenets-Podolsk continued throughout 1942.
In the second half of that year the remaining Jews were transferred to the former military camp of the Soviet borderguard training unit. In October, 30 or early November 1942 about 4,000 last ghetto inmates were shot. 500 Jews escaped from ghetto before liquidation but most of them were caught and killed.
The murder of those Jews who had survived the massacres of 1941-1942 but were caught by Germans and local auxiliaries, and that of Jews brought to Kamenets-Podolsk from surrounding localities continued in 1943. There were killed Jews from Orinin, Zhvanec, Lyanckoryn, Kitaygorod, Old Yshitsa, Chemerovci, Smotrich and many others unknown places which we don’t know.
A total of almost 30,000 Jews were victims of the Nazi genocide in Kamenets-Podolsk (~12 000 of local Jews and 18 000 Jews from Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania ).
The city was liberated by the Red Army on March 27, 1944.
The Kamenetskoy Commission, [established after liberation to investigate crimes of the Nazi invaders] discovered seven mass graves for the Jews [in the area], including a grave with the bodies of 500 children
Jews who returned to Kamenets Podol’skii after the war tried to organize a community in 1946–1947. However, authorities turned down their application to restore the only surviving synagogue building, forbidding them to gather for prayers in private premises, and refusing to legalize a community organization.
In 1947 the community bought two rooms in a private home for prayer assembly. In March 1953 was arrested a group of Jews (A.M.Perel, Shteynshrayber, Kleinerman, A.I.Berlyand), accused in the Jewish natsionalizme.
In 1979 about 1,800 Jews lived in Kamenets-Podolski.
Most of Jews let Kamenets-Podolski in the 1990s for Israel or the West.
In 1992, the Shalom Jewish Cultural Club was organized with more than 1,000 members. The first head of community was Yefim Abramovich Hayat (b. 1940), from 1997 head of community became Moses G. Lam (born 1933, Kamenetz-Podolsk). . From 1995 to 1999, a monthly regional Jewish newspaper, Shalom Aleikhem, appeared. The Jewish Agency opened an office in the town and in 1999 the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee organized a local branch of the Ḥesed Besht society, which performed social services for about 500 Jews and their families and became the central Jewish cultural and educational institution of Kam’ianets’-Podil’s’kyi.
In 2003 there lived 233 Jews.
Community contacts: Gryshevskogo St., 32-93 Phone: +38(03849) 32500, +38(03849)34387
Big Artisan Synagogue
Big Artisan Synagogue
I find another name of this building – Tailor’s Synagogue but not sure that it is true.
Dovga Street was a religious center of Kamenet’s Jews during centuries and there were located 6 synagogues: Big Artisan Synagogue, Great Synagogue, Synagogue of Gravediggers, Sandegutskaya Synagogue (in 1924 it has address Dovga Str., 39) and Zinkovskaya Synague.
Great Synagogue was an oldest synagogue of Kamenets-Podolskiy and was build in the middle of XVIII century. It appeared on city plan in 1808. In documents of 1884 year it decribed as two-storey building from stone for 300 persons. In 1886 was build third floor. It is possible that togetherwith construction of the Great Synagogue in the canyon of the river was built a mikvah. I didn’t find year of closing and destroying of this Syangogue.
Shelter was located on this street too. From all Jewish buildings on this street now we can see only the buildings of Big Artisan Synagogue and crafts school, but I didn’t find photo of this school.
Old Jewish Cemetery
Old Jewish Cemetery
New Jewish Cemetery
There are two part – old and new. New part is well maintained but old part abandoned.
New Jewish Cemetery
One day in the summer of 1942 all able-bodied Jews from the ghetto of Kamenets-Podolsk were taken out to work. After they left, about 800 children and old people who remained in the ghetto were taken by truck and on foot to the New Jewish cemetery on the northeastern outskirts of Kamenets-Podolsk. There they all were shot by members of the Kamenets-Podolsk branch of the security police and SD head quarters, the 1st Police Cavalry Detachment, and local auxiliary police.
According to eyewitnesses, approximately 300 more Jews of all ages and both sexes were shot there at the end of 1942.
Munitions depot mass grave
On August 26, 1941, between 12,000 and 14,000 Jews deported to Kamenets-Podolsk from Hungarian-controlled Carpatho-Rus were murdered in the area of the munitions depot on the eastern outskirts of Kamenets-Podolsk. Jews of all ages and both sexes were ordered to assemble at the city’s train station on the pretext that they were either going to be returned home or resettled in Palestine. Instead they were taken to the murder site. There they were forced to run a gauntlet of policemen and to surrender their valuables. Some of them were ordered to undress and then lay face down in a pit and were shot in the back of the head. The executioners were members of the 320 Order Police Battalion, as well as members of a unit formed especially for this massacre by Friedrich Jeckeln, the High SS and Police Leader of the South, from his personal bodyguards, a guard platoon from his headquarters, and members of his staff.
The next day, August 27, 1941, early in the morning, the Jews of Kamenets-Podolsk were driven out of their houses by Germans and local auxiliary policemen. They were told they were going to be resettled. The Jews were then taken on foot to the former munitions depot area, a huge territory on the northeast outskirts of Kamenets-Podolsk. Craters left by explosions of munitions were visible there. The Jews were ordered to undress, to hand over their money and valuables and, then, taken in groups to the craters, and shot by automatic weapons fire. The perpetrators of this massacre were members of the German 320 Order Police Battalion and of a special unit formed by Friedrich Jeckeln, the High SS and Police Leader “South,” from his bodyguards, a guard platoon from his headquarters, and members of his staff. The massacre continued on the following day.
According to some eyewitnesses, during the murder operation of August 26-28, 1941 Jewish deportees from Hungary were murdered at Polish cemetery too. The exact number of Jews murdered and buried here is impossible to establish.
At 30 August, 1941 Friedrich Jeckeln reported to Himmler that 23600 Jews were killed in Kamenets-Podolskiy.
After the transfer of the surviving Jews of Kamenets-Podolsk to the ghetto in the area of the former Soviet military camp of a Soviet borderguard training unit, in the every Saturday in the second half of 1942 small groups of the ghetto inmates were shot at the munitions depot area nearby.
In early November 1942 the inmates of the ghetto totaling about 4,000 persons of all ages and both sexes, were brought by truck, in groups of 40 to 60, to two pits. There the victims were forced to completely undress, enter the pits, and lie face down. They were then shot in the back of the head with sub-machine guns.
At the end of 1942 and throughout 1943 the munitions depot area served as a site for the murder of those Jews who either had succeeded in avoiding the previous massacres of Kamenets-Podolsk Jews or had been brought to the city from nearby localities.
After the war Jews from Kamenets-Podolsk tried in several ways to commemorate their relatives who were murdered in the Holocaust. In August 1946 an attempt was made to hold a meeting to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the mass murder of the Jews of their city. The local authorities, however, categorically banned such a meeting. In July 1948 members of the Jewish community of Kamenets-Podolsk petitioned Nikolai Shvernik, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR, and Nikita Khrushchev, the Chairman of the Council of Minsters of the Ukrainian SSR, to allow them to publicly commemorate the Jewish victims, but to no avail.
Nevertheless, local Jews later succeeded in erecting several monuments at the murder sites of members of their community. Two monuments were set up at the site of the former munitions depot where, in late August 1941, thousands of Jews from Kamenets-Podolsk were murdered. The Russian and Yiddish inscription on the larger of the monuments reads as follows “Eternal memory to the fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters tortured to death in a barbaric way on 5th of Elul 3040 [sic], 1941 by German-Fascist monsters”. Jews still living in Kamenets-Podolsk are gathering annually at this monument to commemorate Holocaust victims. Some of them gather according to Hebrew date, on 5th of Elul (in late August or early September), others gather on August 5, taking 5th of Elul for 5th of August.
One more monument erected in Kamenets-Podolsk commemorates Jewish children perished in Holocaust. The monument has a shape of small obelisk fenced off by chains.
Memorial stone for the Holocaust victims of Kamenets-Podolsk was erected also at the Holocaust Memorial Park in New York.