Khorol is a town in Poltava region, the centre of Khorol district. Its population is 14,643 according to the 2001 census.
In the early XX century it was a center of Khorol uyezd (district), Poltava province.
Jews probably first settled in Khorol at the beginning of the XVII century but in 1648 during the Chmelnitsky uprising the local Jewish community was apparently annihilated.
Jews settled in Khorol againl in the early XIX century.
Map of Khorol from the middle of XIX century
According to archival data, in 1800, 44 Jewish peasants lived in the town. The revision in 1847 showed that there was a “Khorol Jewish Society” containing 78 people in the region.
Jewish population of Khorol:
1897 – 2,056 (25% of total)
1926 – 2,089 (19,7%),
1939 – 701 (6.4%)
2016 ~ 10 Jews
According to the 1897 census, more than 173,000 residents lived in the region. Among them there were about four thousand Jews including 2,056 Jews from Khorol (25% of the total population).
In 1910, there were four Jewish colleges in Khorol, one private mens college, two private women and a co-educational one.
Two synagogues were functioning in the town. These buildings haven’t been preserved.
The Jews of Khorol constituted a typical community of Chabad ?asidim, described by B. Dinur, a native of Khorol, in his memoirs Be-Olam she-Shaka (1958). Dinur’s grandfather, Abraham Madeyevski, was Rabbi of Khorol in the second half of the XIX century.
In October 1905 a pogrom occurred.
Many of Khorol’s Jews were mentioned in 1901-1916 business calendars of Poltava province:
In the 1900’s the headmen of the synagogues at different times were Gersh Avramovich Khotimskiy, Iosif Aronovich Shteingart, Grigoriy Samuilovich Leybovich. The rabbis were Kiva Yankel Mont, Iosif Avramovich Suponitskiy, Isaak Fishelevich Malkin. The headmen of a prayer house were Abel Zakharovich Mikhlin, David Moiseyevich Yerusalimskiy. The rabbis were Veniamin Moiseyevich Braginskiy, Leyzer Zaturenskiy.
Boguslavskiy was a ritual slaughterer at the local synagogue.
A Jewish mens college was founded by Pinkhus Ulitskiy, Simon Levin and Aron Auchleipter were the teachers (“melameds”).
A Jewish women college was founded by Feyga Pavolotska, she was a teacher as well.
Khorol entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1903
In 1911, Shmul Leybov Gurariy, Korklinskiy, and Moisey Abramovich Madiyevskiy were the rabbis.
Rozaliya Yakovlevna Mont, Sheyna Zelmanovna Goldinova (Khotimskaya) were the midwives. Shmul Moiseyevich Levin owned the drugstores. Nison Fridman was the owner of a private library, where people could rent a book. Khatskel Berkov Yevseyev and Malka Leybovna-Itskovna Shukhet were the photographers in Khorol. Lipa Malkin owned the only hotel in the town. Iosif Shapsovich Epshtein was a doctor. Sarah Yankelevna and Esther Yankelevna Mont were midwives.
Shmerk Leyzerovich Zaturenskiy, Shelia Davydovna Khaykina, Avraam-Itsko Israilevich Tsonarovskiy had the printing houses. David Gershkovich Khotinskiy and Motel Veniaminovich Braginskiy were the insurers.
Zakhar Rogachevskiy owned a windmill in Khorol, he inherited it from his father. David Akselrod was a pharmacist in Khorol; later he owned a drug store.
Jews constituted the major part of the population. Basically, the inhabitants of Khorol were craftsmen and farmers. All tailors and shoemakers in Khorol were Jews. Jews also ran small stores where they sold food products, clothing and shoes, etc
Khorol before Russian Revolution
In 1919 another pogrom was organized by soldiers of General Denikin.
From memories of Rozalia Akselrod:
With the beginning of the Civil War, gangs began to come to Khorol. The gang of Denikin came, for instance. Our family ran into them twice. One time we ran directly into them. There was a landowner in Khorol. I don’t remember his name now. During pogroms he always gave refuge to Jewish families. So, when Denikin’s soldiers came to Khorol again, this landowner threw a great ball at his house and invited all officers of Denikin’s gang. On the upper floor music played and guests danced, while in the basement several Jewish families sat as quiet as possible. I was the only baby there. And when I began to cry, somebody pressed a pillow upon my face to suppress my crying so that I wouldn’t reveal our whereabouts. Since that time I have had problems with breathing.
Another incident took place after we left Khorol. Denikin’s gang entered the town and ordered all the Jews to come to the main square. They said those who would not come would be brought by force. A lot of Jews were shot in that square on that day.
Bandits robbed, raped, beat and murdered Jews around Khorol, but none of them came to shtetl. There was a fighting squad that included Jews and young people of other nationalities and they didn’t allow one single bandit to come to town.
I couldn’t find much information concerning Jews of Khorol in the period between the wars.
In 1926 the Jewish population numbered 2,089 (19.7%), but dropped to 701 (6.4% of the total population) in 1939.
On the 13th of September 1941, Khorol was occupied. In late October 1941, the nazi commandant ordered all the Jews to collect their valuable things, warm clothes, and products for two days and gather in a market square to be evacuated to Lubny. 460 people came to the square and were shot by the second division of the 45th reserve police battalion in the ravine outside the town. On the 15th of May 1942, Sonderkommando detachment “Plath” shot about 50 Jewish artisans and about 450 Jewish captives who were selected from the prisoners of war.
All the children were taken aside and poisoned by smearing an unknown substance under their noses.
The extermination of Jews took place in the concentration camps. A notorious concentration camp operated out of Khorol, it was called “Khorol pit” (Dulag #160). Approximately 90 thousand prisoners of war and civilians including Jews died there. The occupants treated Jews the worst. All who looked like a Jew were stained with paint, a star was drawn on their backs, their faces were covered with minium, and heads with tar. They were tortured to death.
Built on the grounds of what used to be a brick factory, the Khorol camp had only one barracks; it was half-rotten and rested on posts that were leaning to one side. It was the only shelter from the autumn rains and storms. Only a few of the sixty thousand prisoners managed to cram in there. The rest had no barracks. In the barracks people stood pressed tightly against each other. They were gasping from the stench and the vapors and were drenched with sweat.
Memorial on the Holocaust mass grave, Khorol
There was a group of female POWS in the camp. Only seven or eight of them had survived by the spring 1942. In the summer 1942, they all were shot for hiding a Jewish woman.
The town was liberated by the Red Army on September 19, 1943.
After the war the following Jewish families returned to the town: the Slavutskiys, the Yurovskiys, the Senderovs, the Kapilsons, the Vitkans, the Glushkovskiys and others. However, the life of the community hasn’t revived because of anti-Semitism.
Memorial was erected on the Holocaust mass grave in 1980’s only.
In the 1990’s, about 20 people left for Israel and Germany.
In 2016, approximately ten Jews lived here.
Famous Jews from Khorol
Aryeh (Arie) Dvoretzky (1916, Khorol – 2008, Israel) was a Russian-born Israeli mathematician, the winner of the 1973 Israel Prize in Mathematics. He is best known for his work in functional analysis, statistics and probability.
Ben-Zion Dinur (born Ben-Zion Dinaburg; 1884, Khorol – 1973, Israel) was a Zionist activist, educator, historian and Israeli politician. He left a momories about Khorol and few shtetls of Poltava region which will be used for articled of this page
Old Jewish cemetery
The Jewish cemetery was established in the XIX century and was located in the southern outskirts of the town, which is named «Zyiar’e» in Lermontova Street. The cemetery is under houses and gardens.
After Wold War II, all tombstones were removed so only one common tombstone remains. Location of any removed tombstones is unknown.
Jewish section in general cemetery
The cemetery is located on the western outskirts of the town in Lenina Street. It forms the Jewish section of a general cemetery.