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Piatigory

Piatigory
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Piatigory is a village in the Tetiyev district of Kiev region.
In the XVI – XVIII centuries, it was a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Starting in 1793 it was in the Russian Empire.

In the XIX – early XX centuries, it was a shtetl of Tarascha uyezd, in the Kiev gubernia.

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In 1787, there were ten traders among the Jews. In 1873, a synagogue was functioning in Piatigory. In 1865 – 1910, Moyshe Lerman (? – 1910) was a rabbi in Piatigory. When M.Lerman had died his son Tsvi-Itskhok (1866 – ?) took his place and was a rabbi in the shtetl starting in 1910. In 1914, two synagogues were opened in Piatigory. There was a Jewish cemetery in the shtetl.

Jewish population of Piatigory:
1847 – 603 Jews
1897 – 1385 (31%)
1923 – 244 Jews
1926 – 531 Jews
2018 – 3 Jews

Jews owned both chemists’ warehouses, both mills, and 46 stalls in Piatigory, including all 15 groceries, all nine manufactories and all 11 bakeries.

During the Civil War the Jewish population of Piatigory suffered pogroms, including the pogroms committed by the parts of the Volunteer Army in 1919. The majority of Jews left Piatigory.

In 1925, a society of immigrants from Piatigory was organized in the USA which helped the Jews living in Piatigory.

Piatigory entrepreneurs list  from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Piatigory entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

In the 1920’s, a Jewish school was open in the shtetl.
In the end of 1930’s, Klotsman (his name is unknown) was a head of the village council.

Former shtetl center, 2018

Former shtetl center, 2018

Piatigory local school 7th grade, 1937. Some children are Jewish...

Piatigory local school 7th grade, 1937. Some children are Jewish…

Holocaust

Before the war Piatigory had the largest Jewish population in the Tetiyev district.  200-300 Jews lived here and there were about 50 Jewish houses. (Tetiyev Jewish community was exterminated in pogroms in 1919-1920.)  Because of this, Jews from the entire Tetiyev district were brought here to be killed.
The majority of Jews hadn’t evacuated and stayed in their village.
On July 19 1941, Piatigory was occipied by Wehrmacht regiments. On the 31 of July 1941, two Jewish hostages were killed in Piatigory. On August 28 1941, all Jewish men age 14 and older were ordered to come to school for a meeting. The 17 Jews who came were all killed. Bunia Klotsman and Avram Strizhevsky were among them.

Grave of 17 Jewish man in Northern outskirst of Piatigory

Grave of 17 Jewish man in Northern outskirst of Piatigory

In November – December 1941, Piatigory was incorporated into Tarascha gebit , Kiev general district.
Soon a ghetto was formed. On April 25 1942, all able-bodied Jews of Piatigory were deported to the labor camp in Buki The rest of the Jews (133 people) were shot on November 16 1942 in the local park.

Grave in the park - "At this site, on the 6th of Kislev 5703 (November 15/16, 1942) the mass murder of the Jews from surrounding villages took place. Merciful Father, who is in Heaven, in his great mercy. He will keep the memory of the pious, upstanding and righteous holy communities, who gave up their souls in the name of God. Those who are beloved and dear during life, are not parted after death. May their souls be bound in the bond of life". Monument was erected in 2008

Grave in the park – “At this site, on the 6th of Kislev 5703 (November 15/16, 1942) the mass murder of the Jews from surrounding villages took place. Merciful Father, who is in Heaven, in his great mercy. He will keep the memory of the pious, upstanding and righteous holy communities, who gave up their souls in the name of God. Those who are beloved and dear during life, are not parted after death. May their souls be bound in the bond of life”. Monument was erected in 2008

Afterwards, some of the police went to the relatives of the Jews who had been killed and demanded money for having buried their dead relatives. In the spring 1942, mass arrests of the Jews took place on the territory of Tetiyev district, the village of Kashperovka. Some Jews, women in particular, who had little children were allowed to go home. The rest of the Jews were sent to Tetiyev. The next arrest of women and their children took place in the fall 1942. In August 1942, two Jews were shot in the village of Kashperovka. The old blacksmith I.Kh. Kuperman was arrested and sent to Piatigory. On December 15 1942, all the Jews who lived in the villages of Tetiyev district were arrested and sent to Piatigory. They had to live in a house that belonged to Grebeliuk, who had been shot earlier. The people had been told that they would be sent to work. However, the doors and windows were nailed shut at night. The house was guarded by police. At 6 o’clock in the morning on December 16 1942 all the Jews were escorted from this house to the territory of Piatigory machine tractor station (MTS) and locked in the barn. The Jews were taken out of there in groups. German police officers ordered each of the local police to short at least five people. All the police in the district and the neighboring Buki district were present at the the shooting. As a result, 300 people were killed.

Eight women managed to survive during the shooting. With the help of some Ukrainian police officers, they were able to prove they were Ukrainians. A chairman of Hilfspolizies of Kashperovka village and one local resident adopted two girls whose mothers had been shot. Eight people were saved in total.
The Katz family had been warned about the shooting and manage to escape, however,during this escape. The police wounded the mother and caught the daughter. The mother died in Piatigory. The father had been hiding but in July 1943 he was caught by the local police and sent to Belaya Tserkov. However, two brothers and a sister survived. R.L. Kleyner, a citizen of Piatigory survived with the help of Galina Mikhaylova, a clerk of the village council. The latter testified that Kleyner’s father and husband were Russian. Later she worked in the village and on November 25 1943, she entered partisan detachment “Iskra”. Kh. M. Shvartsman also managed to survive. She was hiding with her child at F. Muzyka. K.L. Kogan also stayed alive. She escaped to Aleksandrovka village together with her daughter and left in an unknown destination.
Several Jews fought against the occupation and were participating in with Soviet fighting groups. A member of the underground from Tetiyev K.A. Simis died in the fight against the occupants. More than 300 Jews living the villages of Tetiyev district died on the territory of the local MTS in Piatigory. Piatigory was liberated on January 3rd, 1944.

Site of the synagogue in Piatigory

Site of the synagogue in Piatigory

Local Jews were gathered in at Khil Grebeniuk’s house prior to the shooting and then taken to the place of shooting. This house was still in the center of the village in 1999.
Local teacher Sizerin Klotsman (maiden name – Bit) together with her two children were among those who had been killed.
Khil Aletko was the only one who had survived among those who were taken to Buki for work. After the war he lived in Piatigory.
A woman Anna Khrypa saved Sonia Shvartsman.

Holocaust memories which were published in local newspaper in 2000:

Before the war the Shangayt family owned a bakery in the center of the village, its bread was delivered to Zhashkov to be sold. There were ten children in the family. Only one of them, a daughter Anna, managed to survive. She was a wife of the a Ukrainian man She and her son Yosef were saved by her husband’s relatives. The son Yosef was called up to the Soviet Army. The rest of the family, including eight children , was were shot by Ukrainian police.

Holocaust victims list from local village council:

The monuments on the grave of Holocaust victims were established in the 2000’s. Prior to that time the graves had been marked only by small hills.

After WWII

After the war there were only five Jewish families return to the village. Those were the Jews who had come back from the evacuation and those who had survived in occupation.
– the Khmelinsky family – a head of the family, Yosif Matveyevich with a wife and three children;
– Nemchenko
– Shvartsman
– the Aletko family with two children
– Buzevsky – a glazier, later moved to Uman.

Rebuilded PreRevolution Jewish house in the center of former shtetl

Rebuilded PreRevolution Jewish house in the center of former shtetl

There were also several families where one of the spouses was Jewish.
There was a market square surrounded by Jewish inns and shops in the center of the Jewish shtetl.
Last three wooden inns were dismantled in the late 1970’s when all the Jewish inhabitants had left the shtetl after the war.

There used to be a water mill which belonged to a Jew on the other side of the river.

Old Jewish house in the center of former shtetl

Old Jewish house in the center of former shtetl

During our visit in 2018 only one Jewish woman with children and grandchildren lived in the village.

Genealogy

The State Archive of Kiev region – District Courts of Kiev Province – Taraschansky, f. 803, 1782 – 1871, 2047 d. contains lists of Jews living in Piatyhory. The State Archive of the Russian Federation has the case f. 8114, ??.1, case # 944, pages 61–83 – memoirs of Raisa Zelenkova on life in the shtetl of Piatyhory. These materials were used when compiling the book “Unknown Black Book – Testimonies of the Eyewitnesses on the Holocaust of the Soviet Jewry (1941-1944)”.

Memories about Holocaust in Piatogiry by Raisa Zelenkova can be found here.

Jewish cemetery

A Jewish cemetery of Piatigory is situated on the hill of a local park. After the war there were up to 200 gravestones there.
Many matseyvas were stolen by local population and used in for building materials. things. Many of the graves have been dug up by people trying to find something of value.
In 2018, during our visit, the territory of the cemetery was so totally covered with the bushes that it was impossible to enter it.

Bushes and trees on the Jewish cemetery, 2018

Bushes and trees on the Jewish cemetery, 2018

The head of the village council, told us that a part of the matseyvas was just taken away from the graves and put in a pile in the park.
Expeditions of Lo-Tishkah managed to take a few photos of Piatigory Jewish cemetery in 2009.

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