Korop is a historic town located in the Chernihiv region in the north of Ukraine and is the center of the Korop district. Korop is located on the Desna River. The town’s estimated population is 5,600 (as of 2005).
Korop became a part of the Russian Empire in 1667, and in 1796 it was a shtetl in Krolevets Yezd of Malorossia Gubernia and further Chernigov Gubernia.
In 1862, there were 218 Jews living in Korop, reaching to over a thousand by 1920, although this figure dropped slightly in the subsequent decade with the Jewish population of 787 in 1926, accounting for some 12% of all Korop residents.
Jewish population of Korop:
1865 – 255
1897 – 873 (13,9%)
1910 – 1102
1920 – 1014
1926 – 787 (12,1%)
1939 – 350 (5,6%).
In the late 18th century, Korop was the centre of the tanning industry in the region, which employed mostly Jewish workers. Of the 119 trade enterprises in Korop, over half were owned by Jews.
In 1862, there was a wooden synagogue in Korop, and another stone-bulit one by 1886. In 1894, Jacob-Joel Sorkin (1850 -?) was appointed rabbi.
The business directory from 1903 lists several names of Jewish entrepreneurs from Korop:
Grocery stores: Korabelnikov Aaron Zalmanovich and Mitelman Motiy Shlemovich
Haberdashery: Zaitsev Mordehai Berkovich and Khotimskiy Nohim Nisonovich
Fish and kerosine: Ratner Sim. Evseevich
Leather: Rogovaya Chernya Leibovna
Household goods: Volovich Leya Pinhusovna, Polunovkiy Uda Mordkovich and Urevetskiy Vulf Abramovich
Building of the synagogue in Korop
In 1910, there were two synagogues and a Jewish cemetery. In 1912, a Jewish credit and savings society operated in Korop.
On 10 and 18 November 1917, the town suffered two pogroms.
In 1918, the retreating Austro-German troops led a pogrom in Korop, when Jewish homes and shops were looted. The pogroms occurred again during the Civil War in October-November 1919 led by the Denikin’s gang.
According to the 1939 census 350 Jews lived in Korop. Small communities also existed in the nearby villages, Ponornitsa and Vyshenka.
Korop was occupied by the Nazi troops on 28 August, 1941.
A local police detachment, led by its commandant Cmdr. Shilo, instigated a number of killings in the surrounding villages. The first victims were the Jews of Vyshenka who were taken to the village of Rybotin to be shot on 5 September, 1941.
Memorial: Obelisk in a forest near Budenovsk village where two Jewish teachers were killed (together with their children).
The first mass killing was held in late November 1941 in Ponornitse by a Korop police division. All the Jews were herded into the basement of the village’s communication. The police then proceeded to hurl grenades into the basement. A total of 26 people were killed. On the second day the bodies were loaded on wagons, taken along the Solotopka tract to be buried there. At the same place the local Communist party members were also killed, making the total amount of victims shot at Solotopka stand at around 127 people.
On 9 February 1942, the local Ukrainian police shot all remaining Korop Jews, 174 people in total, in the local woods. On 8 February several people were killed in the villages of Obolonie and Gorodishe. On 13 February, the Jews of Budenovka and Karilskoe were also killed.
Grave of 26 Ponortitsa Jews killed in 1941
On 11 April 1942, the last Korop Jew (a dentist) was killed.
The Jews of Vyshenka village managed to survive until 3 November 1942 when they were shot in Zhernovskiy forest.
The location of the mass execution sites in Obolonie and Zhernovka villages has been lost to history.
Korop was liberated by the Red Army on 9 May 1943.
We know the names of only 230 civilian Jews killed in Korop (179 people) and Korop district (27 Jews from Ponornitsa and 24 people from another villages) and 24 names of soldiers who were killed in the Second World War. You can find both lists here (in Russian).
Other names are still unknown…
After the war many Jews returned from the Army and evacuation.
Famous Jews from Korop
Grigory Markovich Korabelnykov (1904 – ?), a Russian literary critic.
The cemetery was founded in the first half of the 19th century and almost totally demolished during WWII. The only remaining pre-war gravestone is that of 1911, with the following inscription:
“Here is buried our dear son and brother, Yakov Moiseevich Ilyin, who died in 7 April 1911 at the age of 20. May your soul rest in peace”.
The cemetery is located in the north-east of the settlement in Zavods’ka Street, near an agricultural factory. There are only 35 gravestones.
Information was taken from Lo-Tishkah website.
Holocaust mass grave
At this site the local police killed 174 Jews on 9 February 1942.
The mass grave is located in the north-eastern part of the settlement, along the Korop – Krolivets’ road, 300m from the road, in the woods. 200m from the road sign “Korop”.
Before 1989, there was a brick memorial. In 1990, a concrete memorial stone was erected.
There is a granite oblong with an inscription: «To the civilians, shot by the fascists in 1942. From the employees of Korop cheese factory” which was installed here in 2006.
Information was taken from Lo-Tishkah website