Schtschors (German), Snovsk (Formerly called), Snowska (Polish), Коржовка – Korzhovka (Formerly called), Щорс (Ukrainian), Щорс – Schors (Russian).
Schors is a historic town located in the Chernihiv region of northern Ukraine and is the center of the Schors district. Schors is located on the Snovsk River, a tributary of the Desna. The town’s estimated population is 11,471 (as of 2013).
Schors appeared after the building of the Libavo-Romen railway line in 1878. The location was convenient as the city was built around a major railyard. It was renamed to Snovsk in the end of XIX century. Snovsk get status of city in 1924. In 1935 the city was renamed to Schors in the honor of famous red army general of the Civil War, Nikolai Schors (1895 – 1919).
Jews first appeared in the city at the end of XIX century.
Jewish population of Schors:
1939 – 1402 (16%) Jews
1970’s ~ 200 Jews
2000’s ~ 90 Jews
The names of several Jewish individuals appear in the Gorodnaya yezhed enterpreneurs list published in 1903:
Nehlin Asriel Hertzov (drugstore), Pulner Mendel Leibovich (drugstore), Geselev Iosel Leibovich (grocery store), Golovchiner Sim.Boruh. (metal trade), Karasik Hatskel Froimovich (grocery store), Lubin Leiba Aaronov and Margolin Haya-Estra Tevel (haberdashery), Klebanov Morduh Nohimovich and Yankovskiy Akiva Samoilovich (timber store), Veinbalt Liba Avramovich and Shybich Mairim Davidovich(draper’s shop).
Snovsk before Revolution
Before the revolution the Jewish population of Snovsk was estimated at about one thousand.
Shneur-Zalman Gorelik (1880-1984) was Berezna rabbi in 1901. After this he became a rabbi in Snovsk.
I have thus far been unsuccessful at obtaining any information related to Jewish life in Schors between the Civil War and the Holocaust…
Former railwayman’s club
During the Second World War, many Jewish families were able to evacuate due to the presence of the railway. Of the Jews who remained in Schors, most were the elderly and sick.
German troops entered the city on September 3, 1941. The first anti-Jew action was held on November 4, 1941. On this day thirty eight adult men were arrested and shot. Throughout December and January, the Germans continued arresting Jews. All were sent to Chernigov to be killed.
The biggest “action” was held in January 1942. The remainder of the Jewish population was taken to a forest (name of forest?) outside the city and executed. Some Jews tried to hide among the local populace. Most were found and shot by the local Ukrainian police.
Last synagogue in Snovsk, now it is a library
The total number of Holocaust victims in Schors is still unknown. According to eyewitnesses, there were more than 100 people killed in the first action. We can assume that the Nazis killed more than 150 people.
Of those killed we know of only 112 names of civilians in Schors and Schors district and 102 names of Solider’s from the area who died in battle. You can find both lists here (in Russian). Other names are still unknown…
After the liberation many Jews returned from Red Army and evacuation.
Jewish community was creatred again in 1990’s. First Head of community was local journalist Mark Spektorov (emmigrated to Israel). After this position was occupied by Mark Lustikman.
Marina Abramovna Pismennaya became the Head of community in 2006.
In 2007 a movie “Heavy sand”, based of Anatoliy Rybak’s novel was shot in Schors. For the film, the production team rebuilt a set based on the the pre-revolution shetl.
Creation of “Heavy sand” movie…
Famous Jews from Schors
Natan Grigoryevich Rakhlin (1906 – 1979)
Natan Grigoryevich Rakhlin (1906, Snovsk – 1979, Kazan) a Ukrainian conductor.
Pulner Isai Mendelevich (1900, Snovsk – 1942, Leningrad) a Russian ethnographer and bibliographer.
Mark Davidovich Maximov (real surname Lipovich, 1918, Snovsk – 1986, Moscow) was Soviet poet, playwright, essayist and translator.
Mark Davidovich Maximov (1918 – 1986)
Chaim-Shaul Bruk (1894, Snovsk – 1965, Rishon LeZion) a famous Rabbi. He studied at the yeshiva “Tomhey-Tmimim” (Lubavitch). In 1928-29 he led a illegal Lubavitch yeshiva in Novograd-Volynskiy. He was arrested and sentenced to forced labor. From 1931-1936 he was engaged in illegal Jewish education in Berdichev. In 1936 he left the Soviet Union for Palestine and spent the remainder of his days in Tel Aviv.
Samuil Davidovich Berman (1922, Snovsk – 1987, Kharkov), a Ukrainian mathematician.
Yehuda Slutsky (1915, Snovsk – 1978, Jerusalem), historian and writer.
The former Synagogue is new ” The Schors District Public Library”.
The cemetery is located on the north-eastern Outskirts of the town in Chervonoarmiis’ka Street, on the left side of the road towards the village of Mykhailivka. The entire perimeter of the cemetery is surrounded with a low wooden fence. There is a gate, but it does not lock. No road or entrance sign mark the site.
Most of the gravestones found in the cemetery are legible. The oldest identified gravestone in the cemetery is dated 1921. The inscription on the oldest tombstone reads: ‘Avrum Chaim Iosifovich Litvin, 1873-1921. To the dear father, from his wife and children’.
After the War the remains of the Jews killed in the various actions in Schors and Schors county were relocated to this cemetery. A monument was erected in their memory.
Cemetery still in use. Photo were taken from Lo-Tishkah website.
Holocaust mass grave
Located in the south-eastern section of the cemetery is a mass grave. It is where the victims of the various “actions” in Schors and Schors district were reburied. The site is marked by a memorial, which was erected in 2007. Funds for its construction were donated by Moscow Studio.