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Norinsk is a village in the Ovruch district, Zhitomir region (Ukraine), first recorded in 1545. In the XVI-XVIII centuries, it was a shtetl in the Ovruch district of the Volyn voivodship in the Commonwealth of Lithuania. In 1793, it became part of the Russian Empire and until early XX century, it remained a shtetl of Ovruch uezd in the Volyn gubernia.

According to the 2001 census, its population is 1,360 people.

Some information in this article was provided by Aleksandr Efman. He was born in Norinsk before the war and has been living in Ovruch since 1955.

Norinsk Jewish cemetery surrounded by peasants houses

Norinsk Jewish cemetery surrounded by peasants houses

In 1847, 566 Jews lived in Norinsk, in 1897, this number went up to 584 (34.7%), in 1923, to 329. Jews have been living in Norinsk since the XVIII century. The Jews of Norinsk were mainly engaged in different crafts, retail trade, and rent. In the XIX century, the local Jews took up such occupations as tailoring, shoemaking, and joinery.

In 1867, two synagogues were open in Norinsk. In 1883, Iyeshua-Falik Kipnis (1848 – ?) was a rabbi in Norinsk.

Norinsk entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Norinsk entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

In 1911, Shmuel Kipnis was a rabbi.

In 1914, the local Jews owned all six grocery stores, all four hardware stores, and the only millstone shop in Norinsk. In 1918 – 1920, the Jewish population of Norinsk suffered from the pogroms carried out by various gangs.  Some Jews left Norinsk.

JDC report about Jews of Norinsk in the beginning of 1920’s:

Norinsk is a small town, about 60 versts [an old Russian Imperial measure, roughly equivalent to a kilometer] from the railroad station of Korosten. The distance separating the town from the railroad and lack of industry prevented the town from further development. The majority of the population is wage earners, such as black-smiths, shoemakers, and joiners. The artisans used to sell their produce in surrounding villages which provided a relatively good standard of living. The remaining population consisted of small traders, farmers and shop-keepers. There used to be 10 shops in Norinsk, with only one remaining nowadays!

Norinsk greatly suffered from a pogrom perpetrated on February 19 by the Petlura gang, when 13 people were killed, and almost all the Jewish property looted; in Norinsk there are presently 10 widows, 16 orphans, 26 half-orphans and 10 disabled people.

The Jewish population may be classified as follows: . 20% artisans, 30% peddlers, 50% wage-earners and unemployed. Some relief was administered to the pogrom victims. There are no children’s institutions in Norinsk. There is also no hospital: there is a dispensary, but as it has no medication, the locals do not use it.

In the 1920s – 1930s, the remaining synagogue was closed. It was a wooden single-story building. Later it was knocked down and a school was built from taht materials. In the 1990s, the building was used as a church.

Jewish population of Norinsk:
1847 – 566 Jews
1897 – 584 (34%)
1923 – 329 Jews
1950’s ~ 30 Jews
1990’s – 0

The following Jewish families lived in the village before the war: Elenkrik, Efman, Gurevich, Gokhman, Sapozhnikov, Rozenstein, Gerstein, Aysman, Grinspun, and others.

In the summer of 1941, Wehrmacht divisions entered Norinsk.

Most Jews managed to evacuate. I was able to find information on six victims of Holocaust in Norinsk.
– a cobbler Baitman, his wife, and their grandson were buried alive by the local Ukrainian collaborators. The Germans protected this family and even provided a document so that they would be spared. However, as soon as the Germans left the village, local policemen murdered the family.
– old Golda was killed by local Ukrainian shepherds
– Gershl (his surname is unknown) was shot near the hill in the village

No other information about Holocaust in Norinsk was available.

After the war about 15 families returned from evacuation to Norinsk. An informal minian was held in the village.

Jews in Norinsk after the WWII, end of 1940's

Jews in Norinsk after the WWII, end of 1940’s

However, the young people were leaving the shtetl with only the elderly remaining. Later they all passed away or moved in with their children. In the 1990s, no more Jews remained in the village.

During my visit to the village in 2017 it was impossible to get any information about the local Jews.

Famous Jews from Norinsk

Menakhem Nakhum Tverskiy (1730, Norinsk – 1797, Chernobyl, the Russian Empire) – a Hassidic Tsaddik, Besht’s student, a founder of Chernobyl Hassidic dynasty.

Shmuel Kipnis (1883, Norinsk – ?) – a rabbi. He was born to the local rabbi family. He studied in Lubavich yeshiva in Bobruysk. In 1907, he passed his exams and became a rabbi. In 1907-1920s he was the rabbi in Ovruch. From 1934,  he became a rabbi of one of the districts in Jerusalem in Israel.

Norins Jewish cemetery

Only two graves of Feldman families are regularly tended. Those are Roza Feldman’s parents from Ovruch. The cemetery was overgrown with shrubbery.



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