Шепетівка (Ukrainian), Шепетовка – Shepetovka (Russian), שעפּעטיווקע (Yiddish), Szepetówka (Polish), Schepetowka (German), another pronunciations – Shchepetovka, Schepetiwka, Szepietowka, Sepitivka, Shepetifke
Shepetovka is a city located in the Khmelnitskiy region. It is located on the Rivers Guska and Kosetska. The city’s estimated population is 43 661 (as of 2010). Shepetovka is approx. 100 km from Khmelnitskiy and in 270 km from Kiev.
The first mention of Shepetivka appears in Polish sources dating from 1594. It was given Magdeburg Rights at the end of the XVI century. We can assume that the first Jewish community of Shepetivka, was destroyed along with Polish population during The Khmelnitskiy Uprising of 1649.
Following the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, the city became a part of the Russian Empire.
Before the Revolution it was a shtetl of Izyaslav yezd, Volyn guberniya.
View of Shepetovka on postcard, 1902. Synagogue is a tall white building.
We can assume that Jews appeared in Shepetovka at the end of the XV century. The town was taken by Cossacks during Khmelnytsky uprising in June 1648. We can suppose that the Jewish community was exterminated by Cossaks at this time. (you already mentioned this earlier)
Jews appear in Shepetovka again in the XVIII century.ation in the U.S. fund
A cheder in Shepetovka. Picture courtesy of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Shepetovka was a Hasidic center, particularly in the time of Rabbi Pinhas Shapiro of Korets (1726-1791). Rabbi Pinkhas was a successor of the founder of Chassidism, Israel Ba’al Shem Tov.
Jewish population of Shepetovka:
1847 – 1042 jews
1897 – 3880 (48%)
1926 – 3640 (24%)
1939 – 4844 (20%)
1959 – 2009 (6%)
1989 – 1017 (2%)
2015 ~ 120 jews
According to revision by 1846 in Shepetovka lived 1042 Jews.
In 1897 its 3,880 Jews comprised approximately 48 percent of the total population.
A private Jewish secondary school and a relief society “Misgov Le-Doh” were mentioned in historical sources dating from 1910.
Before the revolution Shepetovka housed 7 synagogues and 4 cheders for children.
Shepetovka enterpreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1903 (16 Jewish names) and 1913 (104 Jewish names):
In 1912 An-sky etnographic expedition visited Shepetovka andtook next photos:
Yacob Kryzhak was official rabbi here in 1913.
Under Soviet rule a number of Jews in the town continued to work in their professions as artisans while others formed trade cooperatives or worked at state-owned enterprises, such as the local sugar and bread factories. A 7-year Yiddish school operated in the town.
This report I find on JDC website where was descibed a total state of Jewish population after Revolution:
REPORT ON SHEPETOVKA VOLYN GUBERNIA
Shepetovka is a large town on the Polish Border. Before the war the inhabitants totalled 15,000 persons, but now there are 20,000.
Like most of the towns in the Gubernia of Volhyn, Shepsbovka did not escape from any pogroms. These were as follows:
Spring, 1919 (Petlura’s Troops) 5 wounded, 6 killed, 4 violated;
May, 1919 (Disorganized Insurgents) 15 wounded, 6 women violated.
During the first pogrom the entire Jewish population, without exception, was robbed, all movable property in Jewish houses being sent to other districts. About 100 families suffered from the pogroms. There are about 30 widows, 40 full orphans, 70 half orphans and 20 invalids.
A group of Zionist from Shepetovka who came to Lvov on their way to Palestine 1920
Shepetovka has about 100 families of refugees from surrounding villages and from the towns of Podolsk, Kiev, Ekaterinoslav and Kherson Gubemias, who fled from pogroms, hunger and disease. The majority of the refugees who are workers are unemployed handicraftsmen.
At one time Shepetovka, was an important commercial center. It had a sugar refinery which gave earnings to 20 Jewish families of workmen and other employees, as well as to a group of contractors, who, in turn, enabled a large number of laborers to earn a livelihood by carrying raw materials to the factory and sugar from the factory to the railway station. The closing of this refinery has deprived all of these people of their means of existence. The town now has one steam flour mill and two saw mills, one of which is functioning. Most of the workmen employed in these mills are Jews.
The railway station, which is about two versts from Shepetovka, played a great part in the economic development of the town. It was the central station for three Uyezds and about 1,000 carts came to the station daily with products which were shipped to other points by rail. The presence of this activity naturally enabled many commission merchants to earn a good living. Shepetovka, however, has lost half of it’s trade and its importance as a commercial center.
The Jewish population, which, before the pogroms, stood at 4,000, remains the same. The number of shops owned by Jews, however, has decreased from 100 to about 20. The Heads of about 150 Jewish families are artisans,
there are many small merchants and shopkeepers, and about 30% of the Jewish population consists of persons with undefinite occupations, and unemployed.
Center of Shepetovka, 1920s.
Relief Rendered: In 1920, during the occupation of Shepetovka by the Poles, relief was administered to the pogromized refugees by the JDC. A kitchen was organized for 250 children, a Jewish school for 250 children was opened, and medical and individual relief were given to the poorest population in the form of clothing, shoes and foodstuffs.
Children’s Institutions: Although there are about 100 needy children, Shepetovka has no children»s home. It is essential that such a home be organized for 50 children who are full and half orphans, and to reconstruct the public school for 200 children which existed at one time. The equipment of this school is still intact and premises are available.
Hospital: The town has a Soviet Hospilsl (formerly the Zemskaya Hospital) for 50 beds, which is supervised by the Uyezd Zdravotel. In conjunction with the hospital there is a dispensary which takes care of from 15 to 20 patients daily. The hospital and dispensary are badly equipped and have no medicaments to speak of. This deprives the poor from getting free medical attention. It is our recommendation that the hospital be equipped with medicaments which are urgently required and with medical equipment.
Bazarnaya Str., 1920’s.
Bathhouse: The bathhouse is in disrepair and should be put into working order.
Old Age Home: A home should be organized to accomodate 40 people who are either aged or unable to care for themselves. The premises of the former Home for Aged still exist.
Credit: Before the revolution, Shepetovka had four kassas of Mutual Relief, together with a Society of Mutual Credit, which have gone out of existence. An acutual need is felt for the organization of a Credit Institution. Former members of the above organizations have taken steps to organize a Loan and Savings Society.
Cooperatives: The town has a Joiners Cooperative with 10 members. It cannot develop its activities because of lack of funds required for the purchase, of raw materials so as to enable it to work for the market. At present it must limit itself to insignificant private orders. The presence of a Loan and Savings Society would be a blessing for the cooperatives.
FUTURE BUDGETARY REQUIREMENTS …
Abother information regarding the pogroms was acquired through the Kiev Oblast Archive (Fond 3050). Reports written in the summer 1921:
…The population of Shepetovka consisted of 4,000 Jews and 11,000 gentiles…
The local hospital was not accessible to Jews because of overcrowding by soldiers and POWs.
Jewish hospital was closed due to lack of facilities.
Records indicate that in the city of Shepetovka there were employed two Jewish doctors, two Russian paramedics and three accoucheurs (Jewish women). There were no children’s hospitals in Shepetovka but more than 100 children needed urgent medical help…
In 1923 Shepetova became a center of Shepetovka region.
All synagogues and cheders were closed in 1920’s-1930’s.
In 1939 the town’s 4,844 Jews comprised 20 percent of the total population.
Before the WWII unofficial Jewish almhouse existed in Shepetovka.
Most information about the Holocaust in Shepetovka was collected by members of Yad-Vashem’s project “The Untold Stories”.
The Germans occupied Shepetovka on July 5, 1941. In the ensuing days Jewish refugees from Poland, Western Ukraine, and other areas in the vicinity fled to the town. Some Jewish families evacuated and many men were drafted in Red Army but more than 3000 Jews remained in town. The head of the local Ukrainian police unit was Stanislav Kashperyk but in the end of 1941 he was fired because his wife was Jewish. The Germans then appointed a new police chief, the ethnic German, Eduard Miller. In 1942 a new Ukrainian criminal police unit was established, headed by German Konstantin Neiman.
On July 28, 1941, on the pretext that they would be relocated (or sent to work),a large group of young men and several young women, were taken away and shot to death by a German unit outside the town, in the forest near the village of Tsvetukha. Over 800 Jews were killed during this action. On August 23rd, a small-scale murder operation was carried out. After their valuables were seized, another group of Jews were shot to death outside the town. On September 1st, 45 Jewish men were probably shot to death outside the town as well. According to one testimony, during the summer of 1941 some Jews from Carpatho-Rus, deported by the Hungarian occupation authorities, were living in the former military barracks in the town. They were, apparently, murdered in Kamenets-Podolsk, along with other Jews from Carpatho-Rus, at the end of August 1941.
Monument on grave of Holocaust victims in Shepetovka
In December 20, 1941 a ghetto consisting of three streets surrounded with barbed wire and guarded by Ukrainian policemen, was set up in the central part of the town near the synagogue. Inmates of the ghetto were forced to wear the yellow star of david patches. The ghetto was overcrowded. Between 6-8 families lived in any given housing unit. (35-45 person). About 600 Jews from Sudilkov were resettled Shepetovka ghetto in January 1942. The adults performed forced labor outside the ghetto. Philip Svoyachenko, the ghetto commandant, imposed a number of taxes on the Jews, threatening those who didn’t pay with death. Due to the overcrowding in the ghetto an epidemic of typhus broke out, leading to many deaths. According to one testimony, those who were ill, as well as those who had recovered but were still weak, were taken from the ghetto and shot to death.
Members of Zilberman family in Shepetovka, 1930. Most of them were killed in 1941-1942
Dr. O. Stetsyuk, a Ukrainian physician, was appointed as head of sanitation for the ghetto. Though he was forbidden to treat patients, he defied that order, filling out prescriptions and delivering medication to the ghetto. Also paramedic, N.Ivanets, helped ghetto prisoners in the same way.
According to Stetsyuk’s testimony, during the period of the ghetto’s existence, children and old people were frequently shot to death.
In March 1942, a group of young Jewish women from the ghetto was shot to death outside the town.
On June 25, 1942 most of the ghetto’s inmates, mainly women, children, and the elderly, were shot to death outside the town in the Tsvetukha Forest. One this day more than 2500 Jews were killed.
From the 6th-10th of September 1942, the remaining skilled workers and artisans and their families, who until then had been kept in the ghetto, along with those caught in hiding were shot to death, apparently at the same murder site.
On September 10, 1942 the buildings that once constituted the ghetto, were requisitioned to people who had served the Germans. At this point no Jews left in the area…
Among local policemen, the most cruel was Boleslav Kovalevskiy who personally killed dozens of Jews.
The Germans also established within the territory of Shepetovka two camps for Soviet POWs:
– Stalag 301, existed from September 1942 till July 1944, now it is military area #5 (12,000 prisoners perished within the camp)
– Stalag 357, existed from January 1942 till November 1942 and was located on Sydilkovskaya Str., now it is military area #12 ( 9,000 prisoners died)
Soviet POWs in Shepetovka camp
Shepetovka was liberated by the Red Army on February 11, 1944.
I found only one list of Shepetovka Holocaust victims on Yad Vashem web-site which contain names of 272 Jewish families. As I know in Yad Vashem store more than 4000 names of Shepetovka Jews which were perished during Holocaust but I haven’t find them in one place.
Total number of killed is unknown but not less than 4000 person.
Schema of POW’s mass grave in Shepetovka, 1992
After the war
Many Jewish families returned from evacuation. Synagogue was opened for short time but was closed by authorities again.
Local Jewish community was registered in 1990’s. First chairmans were Shluger (emmigrated to Israel), Berengolts (emmigrated to USA) and Blinder Zinoviy Efimovich (emmigrated to USA).
Freilihman Zinoviy Efimovich became the Head of Jewish Community in 2003.
You can call him +38 03840 4-22-33
Famous Jews from Shepetovka
Jacob Ingerman (1922, Shepetovka – 2007, Israel) was a young Jewish communist, a mathematics teacher, when WWII broke out. After being wounded in a battle against the Nazi invaders, he was recruited by the Red Army Intelligence and sent on an assignment behind enemy lines.
In 1945 he emmigrated to Israel where he was on service in intelligence service for 30 years.
He described his qnique story in book “A Jew in the “service” of the Reich“.
German soldiers and Jacob Ingerman (top right) in Ukraine
in a German uniform
Jaboc Interman (fifth from the right) with Polish soldiers
Jacob Ingerman (on the left) with troops fleeing the Red Army
Iosef Ostrovskiy (1935, Shepetovka – 1993 , Sderot), was a famous painter. His main work was more than 200 pictures of Jewish elderly.
David Kirzhner (1877, Shepetovka – 1962, Moscow), was a mining specialist. He was an organisator of Donbass restoration plan after WWII.
Moses Goldshtein (1868, Shepetovka – 1932, Paris), was a famous Russian lawyer. He emmigrated to Paris in 1918.
Tzvi-Girsh Preygerzon (1900, Shepetovka – 1969, Moscow), was a writer and mining engineer.
Yuriy Hamretskiy (born in 1930, Shepetovka) is a historian.
Aizek Vaiman (born in 1933, Shepetovka) is a specialist in Sumerian-Babylonian writing and math.
Theodor Teplits (1875, Shepetovka – 1937, Warsaw), was a specialist in civil constructing in Warsaw.
Arkadiy Anin (born in 1925, Shepetovka) is a doctor and poet, member of “Union of Israel Russian-speaking poets”.
Old and New Jewish Cemeteries
The old cemetery was founded in ХVIII century and destroyed by communists in the beginning of 1920’s. Some tombstones were not destroyed but instead moved to the New Jewish cemetery.
After the war local unofficial gabai Pugach and Bunim Kleiner kept maintenance on symbolic tzadikim grave on New Jewish cemetery.
The head of the Jewish community stands at the entrance New Jewish cemetery in Shepetovka, 2001
Detailed information was taken from asimplejew.blogspot.co.uk:
Rebbe Pinchas was buried in the old cemetery. After the Russian Revolution, that cemetery was destroyed. A landsmanschaft organization in the U.S. funded the construction of a new cemetery in 1928. The tombstones were transferred to the new cemetery, where they were photographed by ASJ during his visit a few years ago.
The Jewish community of Shepetovka poses in front of the new cemetery gare funded by the Shepetovka landsmanshaftn society in New York, 1928
However, the actual tomb of R’ Pinchas was not moved. As the town of Shepetovka grew, the site of the old cemetery was now near the center of the town and was used for a police station and a house. When Rabbi Gabai began his restoration, he first confirmed that the tomb was not located near the tombstone. His organization purchased the property where the old cemetery had been, and he confirmed that the grave was still there. He then constructed the ohel, as well as a small guest house to accommodate visitors.
Ohel on original grave of Rabbi Pinchas (photo ):
Photograph by photohunt.org.ua
Ohel on the grave of Graves of Rabbi Pinchas and his two sons.
Original tombstone of Rabbi Pinchas at Shepetovka (photo undated, probably circa 1913
Move of Tzadikim’s gravestones from New Jewish cemetery
Ohel during construction, 2004
Rabbi Y.M.Gabai at ohel in Shepetovka.
In 2001 New Jewish Cemetery was reconstructed for the cost of local maecenas Mikhail Shyster. Cemetery was vandalised in the same year.
The head of the Jewish community, 2001
The graves of Rabbi Pinchas of Korets and his sons, who were rabbis in Shepetovka and Slavuta, 1991. Photograph by Miriam Wainer.
Rivka Shuster (1894-1973), daughter of Arye, 1991. Photograph by Miriam Wainer.
Old cemetery address: Kotika St. 9
New cemetery address: Shevchenko St. 44
I haven’t find the date of construction but can suppose that it was build in XIX century.
An-sky make a few photos of synagogue during his visit in 1912.
Shepetovka Synagogue from XIX century, 1912. Photo by An-sky expedition in 1912
According to the testimony of O. Stetsyuk, a Ukrainian doctor who took care of the ghetto inmates of Shepetovka, Gendarmerie men used to come daily to the ghetto, randomly select several children and old people and shoot them to death at the square near the synagogue. The bodies of the victims were buried at the site.
Next photos were taken from photohunt.org.ua and jewishgen.org:
Aron Kodesh, 1912
Synagogue was opened after liberation but closed by authorities in 1960’s and used as a gym.
Building of the synagogue was returned to community in 1991.
Rededication ceremony celebrating the return of one room of the synagogue to the Jewish community, 1991. Photograph by Miriam Wainer.
Address: Linnika Str., 2
Holocaust mass grave
On July 27, 1941 the Jews of Shepetovka were ordered by the commandant of the town to appear the next day at the town’s square near the local clinic. On July 28th the Jews who had been collected at the square were surrounded by Ukrainian auxiliary policemen and a selection was carried out. The artisans and craftsmen, along with their families, as well as some other Jews, were allowed to return to their homes. On the pretext of them being taken to work or being relocated a large group of young men and women (and apparently some teenagers) were loaded onto trucks and, under the guard of Ukrainian policemen and members of the 45th Reserve Police Battalion, were taken to a pine forest about 2 kilometers northwest of the town, near the village of Tsvetukha at the junction of roads leading to the towns of Novograd-Volynsk and Slavuta. On their arrival at the pits (or anti-tank trenches), the Jews were made to get out of the trucks and stripped naked. Then they were taken in groups of 4-6 to the edge of the pit. The victims were shot to death in the back of the head by members of the Order Police 45th battalion. According to testimony given in a German court in the 1970s, at least 70 Jews were killed in this murder operation. However, this figure appears to be much too low.
Soviet schema of mass grave, 1992
On the evening of June 24, 1942 Ukrainian auxiliary policemen surrounded the ghetto (according to one source, the Jews were locked into the synagogue in the ghetto). The next day, in the morning, Ukrainian policemen drove the inmates of the ghetto onto the street. After being deprived of their valuables and other possessions, the Jews (mainly women, little children, and the elderly) were loaded in groups of 30 onto several trucks and taken to the same murder site. According to one testimony, some were taken on foot. Those who tried to escape were shot to death on the spot by the Ukrainian policemen. Upon their arrival at the forest, the Jews were made to strip naked and, in groups of 3-4, were taken to the edge of pits that had been prepared beforehand. The victims were forced to their knees with their faces towards the pit and shot to death with machine-guns at close or point-blank range by members of the SD and of the Gendarmerie, and some Ukrainian policemen. According to one eyewitness, nursing infants were killed before their mother’s eyes. The murder lasted until evening. Graf, the head of the local security police and the SD, and Eduard Miller, head of Shepetovka’s Ukrainian auxiliary police, were present at the site during the killing. After the murder operation Ukrainian auxiliary policemen covered the pits with earth and lime. The clothes of the victims were loaded onto trucks and taken away. Gebietskommissar (regional commissar) Dr. Worbs was in charge of this murder operation, during which at least several hundred Jews were shot to death. In early September 1942 the remaining Jews in the Shepetovka ghetto – craftsmen and other specialists, with their families, apparently along with several Jews who had been caught in hiding, as well as some Jews from the surrounding localities, were taken from the ghetto and shot to death, apparently at the same location.
Holocaust mass grave, 1998. Photograph by Miriam Wainer.
During this period and until the liberation of the region by the Red Army, local partisans and other civilians were murdered and buried at this site as well.
After the war the Jews who returned to Shepetovka tried to obtain permission from the local authorities to fence off the murder site of the Jews from Shepetovka, Sudilkov, and the surrounding area and to erect a monument at the site. Since there was no response on the part of the authorities, the Jews themselves collected money, fenced off the site, and on May 9, 1966 erected a monument that indicated that Soviet civilians were murdered at the site.
In 2004, a monument was erected at the site in a shape of a lit menorah, the symbol of the Jewish people, thus clearly indicating the Jewish identity of the victims. On the left side of the monument there is a black marble plaque with an inscription in Ukrainian that reads as follows:
“At this place during the years of World War Two over 9 thousand civilians of the Jewish nationality from the town of Shepetovka and nearby localities were shot to death by the Fascists.”
Near the monument there is also an obelisk commemorating all those who fell in the struggle against the Germans.
Location: Grave locates in 3 km from the city, on the right off the road to Novohrad – Volynskyi. There is a memorial sign at the site. Grave size is 50m x 30m.