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Malin

Malin

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Malin is a historic city located in Zhytomyr region, center of Malin district. The city’s estimated population is 26,934  (as of 2013).

In 1793, when Poland was divided for the second time, the town of Malin became part of Russia. Four years later, in 1797, government authorities formally incorporated Malin into the Radomishl district of Kiev Gubernia.

Although the first mention of Jews in Malin was in 1784, many historians believe the community existed earlier. By the late XIX century, records show a synagogue, two Jewish prayer houses and a Jewish hospital there. In addition, we know that a Jew named Yakov Rabinovich and his brother Aron owned a furniture factory, dairy farms, and a dairy plant.

PreRevolution center of Malin

PreRevolution center of Malin

Malin entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913. Part 1

Malin entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913. Part 1

Malin entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913. Part 2

Malin entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913. Part 2

At the turn of the century Nakhum Vaisblat (born in Narodichi in 1864) ,became a rabbi in Malin. Researchers have found references to his popularity, due to his brilliant sermons, his wise and fair decisions in disputes, his excellent teaching in the yeshiva, and his charity work. In 1902, he became the first rabbi in Kiev, where he died in 1925.

PreRevolution photo of the market in Malin

PreRevolution photo of the market in Malin

During this same period, and before the revolution, I.L. Doktorovich was a very popular physician in Malin. People said that there was no disease that he couldn’t cure.

During the revolution, the town’s governing council changed often reflecting political realities on the ground.

In April 1919, Sokolovskii’s band carried out a pogrom in Malin. The number of victims is unknown.

In the early 1920’s, in the village of Ksaveriv (in the Malin district), authorities formed a department of culture, identified in documents as the “Culture League”.

Youth group of Jewish activists in Malin, 1925-1928. Head of the group was Srulik Volkovich Kamenir (1905, Malin - 1964, Lvov). He is sitting in the middle. His brother Ydka Volkovich Kamenir(1906, Malin - 1972, Malin) is standing in the middle. Photo provided by Emil Kamenir in 2017

Youth group of Jewish activists in Malin, 1925-1928. Head of the group was Srulik Volkovich Kamenir (1905, Malin – 1964, Lvov). He is sitting in the middle. His brother Ydka Volkovich Kamenir(1906, Malin – 1972, Malin) is standing in the middle. Photo provided by Emil Kamenir in 2017

We also know that a Jewish school was functioning in Malin in the 1920-30’s.

Jewish theatre in Malin, 1928. Photo was found in archive of Iliya Levitas (1930-2014), Kiev.

Jewish theatre in Malin, 1928. Photo was found in archive of Iliya Levitas (1930-2014), Kiev.

Although there is little information about the Jewish schools themselves, we do know a “second” Jewish school had 315 pupils in 14 forms and a third Jewish school had 352 pupils in ten forms. It is also known that 65 teachers were working in Malin Jewish school during this period.

There was a Jewish school in this building before the WWII

There was a Jewish school in this building before the WWII

Group of pupils in Malin second Jewish labor school, PreWWII photo. Teacher: Maks Davidovich Gitman, pupils: Roza Privaratskaya, Dosia Aizman, Siniya Rabinovich, Manya Nushechik, Buzya Slabodoetskaya.

Group of pupils in Malin second Jewish labor school, PreWWII photo. Teacher: Maks Davidovich Gitman, pupils: Roza Privaratskaya, Dosia Aizman, Siniya Rabinovich, Manya Nushechik, Buzya Slabodoetskaya.

Students of different nationalities studied in three Ukrainian schools. A breakdown of students’ nationalities shows 197 Ukrainians, 12 Russians, 133 Jews, 16 Poles, and eight Germans attended the first school.

Jewish population of Malin:
1784 – 28 Jews
1847 – 1064 Jews
1876 – 1719 Jews
1897 – 2547 (59%)
1959 ~ 1200 Jews
2017 ~ 30 Jews

In 1939, 3,607 Jews (32% of the population) lived in Malin proper and 226 Jews lived in the district outside town.

Holocaust

Soon after Malin was occupied 120 people, mostly Jews, were taken from their homes to the territory of the town’s chair factory, which was later referred to as the furniture factory. They were kept outdoors in the factory yard for several days and then were murdered. The adults were shot while the children were buried alive. According to some sources .the victims included 30 women with young children. The exact date of the murder operation remains unknown. Some sources say the victims’ bodies were taken to Shcherbov Yar and buried there.

Shcherbov Yar in the end of 1940's

Shcherbov Yar in the end of 1940’s

Most of Malin’s Jews were shot in the course of a number of murder operations during August and September 194 by members of Zonderkommando 4a. Among the victims were children and old people. According to Soviet reports, the Jews who were shot (numbering between 670 and 1,000) were buried in five mass graves in the area of Shcherbov Yar.

Monument in Shcherbov Yar, 2017

Monument in Shcherbov Yar, 2017

According to official information 1,113 people were shot in Malin, most of them were Jews.In addition, occupants shot 50 Jews including elders, women, and children in the nearby village of Ksaveriv.

1953, local Jews reburied the remains of martyred Jews who had been shot in the Jewish cemetery and transferred the monument with its Yiddish inscription from the ravine to the cemetery as well. Today, the ravine is filled in and the land has been designated for development.

Holocaust mass grave in Malin New Jewish cemetery

Holocaust mass grave in Malin New Jewish cemetery

After the WWII

After the war, survivors who returned to the community erected a small monument in the Shcherboviii Yar (ravine) in memory of those Jews who perished there. In addition, they purchased a private house and used it as a synagogue. Zus Abovich Cherniakhovskii served as its rabbi. The community was registered on the 25th of April 1945.

Building of the synagogue in Malin

Building of the synagogue in Malin

According to the census of 1959 1,200 Jews were living in Malin. However, the Jewish population continued to dwindle as young Jews left to seek better educational and work opportunities and did not return. A list of Jewish families living in Malin during the 1950’s-60’s has been compiled by Emil Kaminer.

With the break up of the USSR, most of the remaining Jews of Malin emigrated to the USA, Israel, and Germany.

Former Jewish house in the center of Malin, 2017

Former Jewish house in the center of Malin, 2017

The community was officially reorganized in the 1990’s. Leonid Budilovskii, a chief power engineer of local paper plant, took a leadership role in this process.

In 2017, there were less than 30 Jews. Most of them are elderly people…

Famous Jews from Malin

Malin Jews of note include Shmuel Aba Gorodetskii, a Jewish historian and researcher of Hasidism and Kabala. He was born into a Hasidic family in 1871. Although he had traditional Jewish education, at the age of 18, he learned about the ideas of the Haskala and engaged in many years of self-study. He moved to Western Europe (namely Switzerland and Germany) in 1908 and survived the war, Gorodetskii died in Tel Aviv in 1957.

Batya Lishanskaya (b. 1910), a sculptor, who died in Tel Aviv in 1992;

Tsvi Fridland (b. 1898), an actor, and theatrical activist, who died in Tel Aviv in 1967;

Solomon Osipovich Kotliar (b.1890), a political activist. Kotliar began his revolutionary activity in 1907 as a member of Bund and held several important administrative positions in the USSR. In the purges of 1949, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his activities with the Jewish Antifascist Committee. He was freed in 1956 and died in Moscow in 1967.

Shloyme Brianski (1899–?), playwright, educator, and literary scholar. Shloyme Brianski was born in Malin, Ukraine. In the 1920s, he produced plays in Vinnitsa and Kiev, and in the 1930’s he published critical and bibliographical studies of Dovid Bergelson, Moyshe Kulbak, Osher Shvartsman, David Edelstadt, and Itsik Fefer. His career ended abruptly in 1935 due to his mental illness.

Jewish cemeteries

The old Jewish cemetery in Malin was founded sometime in the XIX century. The last recorded burials there were in the late 1930’s. It is reported that in 2016, all the trees had been cut down and the cemetery was overgrown with bushes.

The new Jewish Cemetery organized after WWII and is very neat. A watchman is constantly living in the cemetery.
There is a mass grave of Holocaust victims in the center of the cemetery.

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