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Kovshevatoe

Kovshevatoe

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Ківшовата – Kivshovata (Ukrainian), Ковшеватое – Kovshevatoe (Russian)

Kovshevatoe is a historic village located in Kiev region of central Ukraine. The village’s estimated population is 2,400 (as of 2001).

In XIX – beginning of XX century it was shtetl of Tarasha Yezd of Kiev Gubernia. 

Beginning

The village was founded in the 1560s by a Polish noble called Chernysh. The first official written evidence dates from the 31st of May 1571 when King Sigismund Augustus confirmed the property rights for “the village Chernyshky called Kovshovatitse” to a boyar (Slav nobility)Tymofiy Tyshkovych from Bila Tserkva.

It was a part of Rzeczpospolita (the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795) until the XVIII century when in 1793 it became a part of the Russian Empire.

During the war of liberation headed by Bohdan Khmelnitskiy Kivshovate passed from one owner to another several times.

We can assume that the Jewish community at that time was completely destroyed.

Jewish population of Kovshevatoe:
1765 – 47 Jews
1788 – 117 Jews
1897 – 1265 ( 22%)
1926 – 311 Jews
1950’s ~ 20 Jews
2016 – 0

During the XVIII century the Jewish population of the village was growing steadily. According to the regular census of the Jewish population conducted to collect taxes more effectively, the following figures were recorded: 1765 – 47 Jews, 1775 – 91 Jews, 1778 – 86 Jews, 1784 – 166 Jews, 1788 – 117 Jews.

In 1763, Jews paid a hearth tax of 300 zloty from each household. There was a Kivshovate kahal (a Jewish community council), including the Jews not only from Kivshovate but also from a number of nearby villages (Lukyanivka, Stanyshivka, Dubivka, berezianka, Antonivka, Zakutyntsi, Luka, Sich, Stepka, Kyslivka, Buda, Kruti Horby, Synytsia). According to the 1784 census, there were 238 Jews in the kahal. Jewish households were also recorded outside Kivshovate, in Luts (18), Sich(14), Berezianka (six), Kyslivka and Buda(seven). The synagogue in Kysvshovate was built approximately in the middle of the XVIII century.

Kovshevatoe in the beginning of XX century

Kovshevatoe in the beginning of XX century

The surname Koshevatsky appears in later documents, denoting the Jews from this area. Thus, Mordko Gershkovich Koshevatsky was the resident of Bila Tserkva and the names of David Koshevatsky and Sura Koshevatska are found among those who were murdered in the village of Medvyn. There are four Koshevatskys in the telephone register of Kyiv.

There is an archive record of quarantine and an enforced blockade of all movements out of Kivshovate in 1778 as a result of some epidemic. A scheduled census of the Jewish population was canceled because of it. When the quarantine was over, it was confirmed that a number of Jews had died.

The famous Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem used to visit Kivshovate in 1877-1880 when he worked as a teacher for the rich Jewish tenant Avimelech  (Elimelech) Loyev in his “Sophiyivka” estate near Brane Pole (now Sophiyivka, Bohuslavskyy district).

In 1865, there were two synagogues in Kivshovate. In the XIX – early XX centuries, the main occupation of the Jewish population was craft, small and medium trade.

Some Kivshovate inhabitants were referred to as commoners, or lower middle class. The social status was passed from parents to children and only those whose assets did not exceed 500 rubles were classed as such.  In Kivshovate this meant mostly Jews and Poles. This social category had its own council with an elected head.

Kovshevatoe entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Kovshevatoe entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

In the early XX century, Mykola Antonovych Pozharnitskyy was elected the head of the common council, Yakiv Liudvihovych Voytovskyy and Yankel Beniovych Shepetovskyy were recorded as its members and in 1913 Berko Berkovych Kravchenko became its head, with Petro Fedorovych Slavinskyy as a clerk. Another name of a village elder in Kivshovate is recorded– Yosyp Yakovyna (1885).

In 1914, the Jews from Kivshovate owned a mill, a drugstore, and 37 stalls including 20 groceries, seven shops selling manufactured goods.

Civil War

During the early twentieth century turmoil (1917-1921), the power in Kivshovate changed hands several times. 27 changes were reported in Tarashcha, a nearby village, and it is likely that Kivshovate faced the same fate.

V Sergiyenko in his book “Pogroms in Ukraine: 1914-1920” published the following report from 1920 on the Jewish pogroms in Kovshevate:

“Kovshevate had suffered several attacks since the revolution began. The attacks on the heads and the backs of the Jews by the squads of Grebenko, Zeliony, Denikin and other various rebel groups under different guises, such as Tsvetkovskiy, Marusia, grigoryevtsy and others. The property of the Jews who live in Kashevate and the area was often destroyed or burnt down. It would happen several times. There were about 70 destroyed buildings burnt by the bandits. To add to the outrageous atrocities committed by the gangs, the Jews also suffered raids by a local Tsvetkovskiy’s gang night and day. 30 people were killed. During pogroms 63 people were killed, 42 wounded, and 50 raped mostly by the Zeleny and Grebenka gang members.

After all that, the remaining Jews had to run without any means of livelihood, without clothes and barefoot, and they are living in unsanitary conditions in Boguslav now. They are sharing small rooms with seven or eight people in basements and synagogues.”

A Jewish self-defense unit of 20 people was organized by the villagers during the revolution. It was trying to resist the pogrom-makers. One of its members was Favel Gershovich who died in one of the fights.

Between the Wars

In the 1920s, the Jewish tradesmen were organized into a cooperative.

Pogroms and a difficult economic situation in the village forced some Jews to leave Kovshovate and move to other towns.

In the 1920s, the synagogue was still open in Kovshevate. In 1926, there were 311 Jews in the village.

In 1928, a Jewish collective farm “Der Emes” was founded which later became part of a larger Ukrainian-Jewish collective farm “Lenin”. 30 Jewish families settled in the village by the end of the 1930s.

In the 1920s, a Jewish school was founded in the village, only to close in the 1930s.

In 1927, the Department of Land Use for the Working Jews (“OZET”) was opened which supported the program of organized resettlement of Jews to the Kherson province to work on land.

Nobody knows how many Jews left Kovshovate for the steppes in the south in this period but approximately 90 Jewish families left Tarashcha at the time.

Leonid Maliar (1925-2013), a native of Kovshevate, the participant of WWII remembers:

“My father Shaya Itskovich Maliar (1891-1944) was an artisan before the revolution and as people say he was a jack-of-all-trades, a blacksmith, a saddler, a ropemaker. He fought in the First World War and even got the George’s cross. In 1916, he was captured by the Austrians. There he managed to graduate from the Yeshiva so he became an educated person. Since he had a good natural singing voice, he was appointed to be a cantor in Kivshovate synagogue. My father held my bar-mitzvah in 1938. The solemn ritual was kept in secret from the authorities otherwise I could have been expelled from the school.”

Shaya Itskovich Maliar (1891-1944)

Shaya Itskovich Maliar (1891-1944)

The last synagogue was closed in 1932 and the building was destroyed.

Shaya Maliar hid all religious accessories, scrolls and books at home. Then all Jews from Kivshovate gathered for prayers at the Maliars’ place.

They baked matzos together and distributed it among the Jewish families.

On the 24th of March 1930, a public meeting took place in the village, dedicated to the start of the harvesting season. The photo of the meeting was taken by the photographer from Tarashcha M.Yurovskiy, which was published by the “The Banner of Communism” newspaper on March 25th 1967.

Public meeting in the Kovshevatoe, 1930

Public meeting in the Kovshevatoe, 1930

Stalinist purges of the 1930s did not pass by the Jews from Kovshevate: the collective farm foreman Yankel Volfovich Spektor (born in 1914) was arrested and sentenced to four years of camps.

In the neighboring village of Luka, the chief engineer at the local sugar factory Karasyk was declared a saboteur and an enemy of the people, and the director of that factory was charged with “liberal indulging the saboteur Karasyk”.

Among the victims of the state-organized famine of 1932-1933, there are two Jewish names, Ashot Shliomovna Aptekar (1922-1933) and Itsko Yonovich Maliar (1858-1932), the latter refused to eat non-kosher food and died of starvation.

The last heder was closed by the authorities in Kovshevate in the mid-1930s.

Holocaust

At the start of the war many Jews were called up to fight with the Soviet Army, and young men born in 1925 or later were evacuated miles away from the front line.

The last minyan in Koshevate took place at the house of Shaya Maliar in July 1941. Shaya Maliar called for a prayer meeting of all local Jews on 25 June 1941 to consider their future actions.

Leonid Maliar remembers the meeting:

“In our prayers we all asked the Lord to protect and save Jews. After the prayer we started to talk about what to do. As old people do in the shtetls, they began recalling the previous war when the Germans did not touch Jews. The collective farm issued dray carts [to move the belongings] but most Jews decided to stay”.

In July 1941, the head doctor of the Kivshovate hospital Vasyl Ivanovych Danilin and his Jewish wife Fayina Solomonivna Hryshko, were shot.

In September 1941, 48 Jews were ordered to gather in the field as if ready to collect the harvest. The local Polizei Ukrainian Nazi collaborators led the column of people to the outskirts of Kivshovate where pit had been already dug. The Polizei proceeded to murder the Jews. One German officer watched the execution. According to the eyewitnesses account, there was a bottle of vodka in front of the officer during the killing. Before the death, Zamanskaya Roza started to sing “Internatsional”. Pasha Kagan was a pregnant. She gave a birth to the child on the execution site and was killed together with baby…

Monument on the Holocaust mass grave in Kovshevatoe, 2016

Monument on the Holocaust mass grave in Kovshevatoe, 2016

Local Jews were shot by the SS division “Operational Detachment Five”. The SS Colonel Shults was in command and the SS Lieutenant Jung was in charge of the shootings in the Tarashcha district. The houses of murdered Jews were later looted by the locals.

The last Jew who was shot in Kovshevatoye was Pinia Kagan, the only Jew in the village who had married a Ukrainian woman before the war. When the war began he was taken to the Soviet Army, escaped the encirclement and returned home. He remained in hiding for a long time but he was discovered and betrayed to the police by his former colleague turned informer Leontiy Yasinovy. He was sentenced to ten years in prison after the war. Yasinovy served his time and then went back to live in the village.

List of Holocaust victims in Kovshevatoe

List of Holocaust victims in Kovshevatoe

The Jews of Kovshevate who died at the front:

1. Blinder Shai Avramovych, 1920-1942
2. Gubenko Davyd Solomonovych, 1921-1944
3. Zaslavskyy Boruch, (?)
4. Zaslavskyy Yefym Hryhorovych, 1925-1945
5. Zaslavskyy … Name and dates are unknown
6. Zaslavskyy Matviy Sruliovych, 1923-1944
7. Kahan Davyd Petrovych, 1913-1944, sen.lieutenant
8. Kahan Hedal Isakovych, 1921-1941
9. Kahan Chaim Faveliovych, 1921-1944
10. Podolskyy Volko Sruliovych, 1914(?)-1941
11. Podolskyy Usher Sruliovych, 1924-1944
12. Podolskyy Moysha Sruliovych, (?), a.k.a. Monyk
13. Spektor Shlomo, (?)
14. Sandler Ayzyk Matviyovych, (?)
15. Kravets Mychayil, (?)
16. Tryliser Volodymyr Petrovych, 1925-1945
17. Chalyy Matviy, (?)
18. Chalyy Beniamin Matviyovych. (?)
19. Shechtman Moysha Meyerovych, (?)
20. Shepitovskiy Nusim Manevich (1925-1944)
21. Gudsblat Iliya Borisovich (1893-1943)
22. Blinder Moisey Abramovich (1914-1942)
23. Blinder Boris Bentsionovich (1916-1942)
24. Spetor Shlomo

The Jews of Kovshevate who survived the war and returned to the village (most of them have passed away since):

1. Blinder Volodymyr Avramovych, disabled, worked at the aircraft plant after the war. Died in Kyiv.
2. Zamanskyy Mychaylo Serhiyovych, became an officer, was wounded, served as a mortar sub-unit commander, worked in Kyiv. Now lives in Israel.
3. Kahan Oleksandr Isakovych – served in the Navy, captain second rank, was wounded. Lives in Israel.
4. Kahan Avram Faveliovych – lives in Israel.
5. Levit Iosif Velvylovych – lives in Rokytne, Kyiv region.
6. Lemberskyy Solomon – was wounded. He lived and died in Boguslav, Kyiv region.
7. Mazurytska Rayisa lvivna – was in the Army communication service. Lives in Kyiv.
8. Maliarov Leonid Shayovych – a political worker, lieutenant colonel, chairs the veteran organization in Maykop, Republic of Adygeya in Russia.

Leonid Maliar (1925-2013) with his wife

Leonid Maliar (1925-2013) with his wife

9. Lomazov Semen Avramovych – served in aviation, worked as a coach driver and a mechanic after the war. Lives in Israel.
10. Mezhybovskyy Borys Beniaminovych – served in a military communication service during the war. Lives in Israel.

Mezhybovskyy Borys Beniaminovych, 1943

Mezhybovskyy Borys Beniaminovych, 1943

11. Mezhybovskyy Hryhoriy Biniaminovych – remained in the army until retirement. He died in Kyiv.
12. Mezhybovskyy Kyva Beniaminovych – had been working for a furniture company in Kyiv. Now working in the same capacity in the US.
13. Putiyevskyy Dmytro Faliovych – after the war worked as a reported for regional newspapers and broadcaster all his life in the Kyiv region.
14. Putiyevskyy Hryhoriy Faliovych – was wounded at the front. He died in the USA.
15. Putiyevskyy Oleksandr Faliovych – was a worker at the aircraft plant after the war. He moved to the USA.
16. Serebriakov Leonid Borysovych –joined up in July 1941. South-Western front, rifle division 301. Survived the disastrous first years of the Soviet Army retreat, was captured and escaped from four German death camps. After the war worked as a reported and editor in regional newspapers. Has a disability as a result of his war wounds. Published five books of humor and satire, with hundreds of publications in the media. Lives in Kherson.

Leonid Serebriakov

Leonid Serebriakov

17. Stanislavskyy Ayzyk – after the war he lived and worked in the public procurement in Kharkiv. He died in Kharkiv.

After the war

After the war those Jews who managed to survive came back to the village, such as the local barber Solomon Lemberskiy who stayed and worked in Kivshovate for some time before moving to Boguslav with his wife.

Man Shepetovskiy worked at the farm shop. Petr Triliser , Kagan (a turner in the collective farm), and Grigoriy Smilianskiy used to live in the village with their families as well. Also in village lived Srul Podolskiy, who lost 4 sons during the war.

There were about 20-30 Jews in the village after the war.

Shops in the center of Kovshevatoe, 2016

Shops in the center of Kovshevatoe, 2016

The names of those who had suffered from the Holocaust were collected by the local History teacher Pavlo Prochorovich Yasenov (? -2002) in Koshevate in the 1960s. A handwritten list of 58 names had been kept by the village council for more than 50 years before it was published in the book of the local historian V.I. Sergiyenko in 2011.

Older Jews, survivors of the Holocaust passed away and younger people moved to other towns and countries.

According to the unconfirmed data, there are about 15 Jewish families left who live outside Koshevate in different countries. Eight families live in Israel, two in the USA, three in Ukraine, one in Russia and so on.

Kovshevatoe Jews in Kiev, 1980's

Kovshevatoe Jews in Kiev, 1980’s

The last Jew in Kovshevate died in the 2010s .

Jewish cemetery

Cemetery was located in the north-western outskirts of the village, 800 meters form the edge of the village along the road to Tarascha, on the right-hand side. There is no remaining trace of the cemetery.

Cemetery was destroyed during the war. Gravestones were used to pave the road. In 1950’s, site of the cemetery started to use as an agricultural field.

Approximate site of Kovshevatoe Jewish cemetery

Approximate site of Kovshevatoe Jewish cemetery

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