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Khoroshev

Khoroshev

Khoroshev is an urban-type village, a district center in the Zhitomir region.
Khoroshev has been a part of the Russian Empire since 1793. In the XIX – early XX centuries it was a shtetl in Zhitomir uyezd, Volyn gubernia.
The settlement has been renamed several times: by 1607 – Alexandropol, in 1607-1912 – Goroshki, in 1912-1923 – Kutuzovo, in 1923 – 1933 – Volodarsk-Volynskiy, and in 2016 – Khoroshev.
We gathered information about post-war Jews of Khoroshev during our summer expedition in 2017.

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The first mention of Khoroshev dates back to 1545.
Jews have been living in Khoroshev since the XVIII century. Their main occupations were crafts and petty trade. In 1912, a Jewish service and credit society was established in Khoroshev.
In early September 1919, the 44th Soviet Division retreated through Khoroshev. For three days and three nights they terrorized the Jewish population. They broke into stalls, took goods out of them, entered homes and committed robberies and murders.

Jewish population of Khoroshev:
1897 – 2018 (62%)
1926 – 2068 (51%)
1939 – 988 (28%)
1989 — 76 Jews
2017 – 1 Jew

After this, the shtetl was looted repeatedly by the local bands.
In the 1920’s., kheders were closed, a mikvah was destroyed. In the late 1920’s, a Jewish community rebuilt a new mikvah with the help of Y.-I. Shneyerson’s representatives.
In 1928, two synagogues were closed.
In the 1920’s, Bentsion Fridman was a rabbi in Khoroshe.
In the 1920’s, a Jewish school was opened in the shtetl.
In the 1930’s, it was a center of the Jewish national village council.

Former Jewish house in the centre of Khoroshev

Former Jewish house in the centre of Khoroshev

 

Holocaust

In 1939 there were 988 Jews (28% of the population) living there. Anarchy came to the village when the Red Army had left it. Robberies of the shops and houses began. An announcement was made that all citizens ( ‘except Jews”) were invited to a meeting in a local theater
By the time of the occupation (August 12, 1941) there were not only local Jews living there but now also refugees from the other places in Khoroshe Occupants changed the name of the town back to its old name , Goroshki. The Jews were sent to dig the trenches, clean the streets, and do other types of hard work.

On August 20, 1941, one of the German officers, with the help of a local girl, warned the Jews that their detail would soon leave Khoroshe and then a punitive detachment would come to the shtetl to destroy all the Jews. He also said that not far from the shtetl, in the village of Kropivna there was a military detachment of the Red Army. At night three Jews went to Kropivn. The next morning the Germans did indeed leave the shtetl. Soon the Red Army soldiers arrived in Khoroshev by a lorry. All the Jews were asked to leave the shtetl. They were given only half an hour. They could take only the things which they could carry themselves. Children, the sick, and the elderly were loaded into the truck. The rest of the Jews walked in two columns along different roads escorted by the Red Army soldiers. They came to Kropivna, then to Korosten and then went further to the east by trains. As a result, hundreds of Jews were rescued in such a way.

Centre of Khoroshev, 2017

Centre of Khoroshev, 2017

In late July – early August 1941, 15 people were killed in Kutuzov park, in late August 70 people more were killed in the same place. 30 people were killed on the territory of a Jewish cemetery. Almost at the same time 20 Jewish men were shot in the sand quarry 1 kilometer away from the town to the North-West, to the right from the road to Dashinka village.
In fall 60 Jews were arrested , mostly women and children. They were shot in the territory of the Jewish cemetery. In a few days 12 Jews were also shot there. On September 10, 1941, 40 people were shot outside the Jewish cemetery. The names of 144 Jews from the district center, one – from Kropivna village, two – from Kamennyi Brod, three – from Liska, four – from Malyye Goroshki, 14 – from Toporische, 5- from Korytische are in the list of holocaust victims.
The village was liberated on January 1, 1944.

After the war, the bodies of the Jews who had been shot in the territory of the Jewish cemetery were reburied in two mass graves at this cemetery.

2 mass graves near the enterance to Jewish cemetery

2 mass graves near the enterance to Jewish cemetery

In Staryi Bobrik, a village in the Khoroshev district, there is a mass grave of Hungarian Jews, who had been killed here.

In 1958, local police officer Mikhaylenko was caught in Ural. He showed the places of mass shootings which hadn’t been located before. He also provided details about the destruction of the Jewish population of Khoroshev. He said that he didn’t want to waste bullets on communists and Jews so he smashed their heads with a piece of scrap metal.
One day Mikhaylenko went with the Germans to a nearby village where there was a small orphans’ house. He selected 11 children who he thought looked like Jews and shot them. Mikhaylenko was sentenced for these shootings.
One more policeman, named Tsepov was hung by the locals after Germans had left the shtetl.

After the War

After the war 400 Jews returned to the town. The street, which led to from the center to the Jewish cemetery was inhabited by Jewish families.
Sofya Kuperman, Faina Shnayder, Yakov Trosman were the teachers at school.
Illegal minyan was gathered in Fania Goncharenko’s house. Among those who often took part in the prayers were elders Shleyfman, Fabrikant, Bulakh, Raditin.

In the 1950’s, people recalled that the Jews kept their windows closed because the memories about the pogroms during the Civil war and about Holocaust were very strong.

Every year on May 9, the community gathered at the mass graves at the Jewish cemetery and the graves near the forest to honor the memory of the relatives who had been severely killed.
Soon elders died and youth left the town for bigger cities. The amount of the Jews in the town was reducing gradually.

In the 1990’s, Jews began to immigrate to Israel and Germany.
The community wasn’t formed here officially in the 1990’s. However, Khesed organization was opened here. It helped Jewish elders.

Inna Shleyfman could have given more information about Jewish history of Khoroshev but she had died before our visit in 2017.

In 2017, one elderly Jewish women lived here. Her children lived in Israel.

Famous Jews from Khoroshev

Veniamin Borisovich Pinchuk(1908, Khoroshev – 1987, Leningrad), a sculptor.

Khoroshev Jewish cemetery

The Jewish cemetery was well cleaned at the expense of the Jews from Zhitomir in 2016.

Panorama of Jewish cemetery

Panorama of Jewish cemetery

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