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Slavuta

Slavuta
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Slavuta, has been a city in Khmelnitskiy district, Ukraine since 1938.

Slavuta was annexed by Russia after the second partition of Poland in 1793 and was part of the Volhynia province until the Revolution of 1917. In 1932 Slavuta was assigned to Vinnitsa district, in 1937 Slavuta became a part of Kamenets-Podolskiy district. In 1954 the city became a part of Khmelnitskiy district.

 

Where it all began

Slavuta was founded as a family seat of the Sanguszko princes. In 1633 Slavuta received Magdeburg self-governing town rights.

The first mention of a synagogue in Slavuta appeared in the archive documents in 1731. In 1765 poll tax was paid by 246 Jews registered in Slavuta.

Mosheh Shapira was a rabbi in Slavuta towards the end of 18th century. As his rabbinical position was unsalaried, Mosheh made his living by establishing a large press in 1791, specializing in handsome editions of religious books—in particular, volumes of the Talmud and of Halakhah and responsa. Mosheh’s two sons, Shemu’el Avraham Abba and Pinḥas, operated the press with him, and the business flourished because of their activity and the prestige of their lineage. The press was identified by maskilim as Hasidic, even though works of Hasidism and Kabbalah were not the major part of its output.

Three magnificent editions of the Talmud printed at Slavuta earned particular fame and were highly regarded outside Russia as well. In 1834, Menaḥem Mann Romm began to publish a rival edition of the Talmud in Vilna, complete with approbations by important Lithuanian rabbis; this edition was soon identified with Misnagdim and their circles. The Slavuta printers considered this edition an infringement on their exclusive right, guaranteed by numerous rabbis, to publish the Talmud for a fixed span of 25 years. Dozens of rabbis and tsadikim, from all parts of Eastern Europe, played a part in the great dispute that ensued, and in the mutual recriminations and bans; economic considerations of copyright were involved, as well as ideological and social tensions between Hasidim (who supported the printers of Slavuta) and Misnagdim (who supported the Vilna printers).

A book published by Slavuta printers

A book published by Slavuta printers

In 1835, when the controversy was at its height, the Slavuta printing press was closed down by Russian authorities, after the brothers had been denounced for their part in the death of a bookbinder working for them, who had been found hanged in the town synagogue of Slavuta. Even though it was clear that he committed suicide, the brothers were charged with being responsible for his slaying as an informer. They were arrested, imprisoned in Kiev for three years, and finally condemned to harsh physical punishment and deported to Siberia. After intercessions, their sentence was reduced and they were banished to Moscow, where they lived for about 20 years in strained circumstances. Only in 1855, following the death of Tsar Nicholas I, were they pardoned and permitted to return to the Pale of Settlement. Many popular legends were associated with this event; particularly well known in this connection is Y. L. Peretz’s short story “Dray matones” (Three Gifts).

There were 1,658 Jews registered in the community in 1847 and 4 ,891 in 1897 (57% of the total population).

In 1905 there were 3 synagogues. Before the Socialist revolution in 1917 there was a heder (a religious school) on Shkilna Str, not far from the marketplace.

Slavuta enterpreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1903 and 1913:

In 1910s a famous ethnographer S. An-sky visited Slavuta and produced the following photos of Jewish life just before the Pale of Settlement was abolished:

In the JDC archive (here) an interesting document about the pogroms in Slavuta during the Civil War of 1917-1920 was discovered by Ukraine Jewish Heritage.

A report by the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from June 1929 on Slavuta gave a short outline of what happened in the city during the pogroms and the economic situation in 1920s.

Slavuta is a large, well-preserved town. It is surrounded by beautiful villas built within a pine forest. Economically Slavuta used to thrive. Its picturesque setting, healthy climate and comfortable accommodation made it a desirable summer holiday destination. Nearly one third of the population used to be able to earn a living from the tourist industry.

In 1917 the total population of Slavuta was 12,000 and this number has remained unchanged. The number of Jews is also the same as it was then, 6,000.

Slavuta. PreRevolution postcard

Slavuta. PreRevolution postcard

Before the pogroms there were 500 Jewish houses which all still exist. However, the number of Jewish shops increased from 160 to 200, though the shops offered much less choice. Slavuta was less affected than other nearby towns by the wave of pogroms. Armed robbery, however, periodically assumed threatening proportions. There were three organized pogroms: 1. In March 1919, organized by Petlura, ten people murdered and 40 wounded 2. In August 1919, one was organized by the Polish troops, seven murdered and three wounded 3. In September 1920, an unaffiliated partisan band murdered three people and wounded 30.

A lot of women were raped during the 1920 pogrom, but the precise figure was not established. The total number of people who suffered from the pogrom was about 60. The number of widows is about 30 with 15 orphans and 40 half orphans. Fifteen Jews were left disabled from their injuries.

There are very few pogromised refugees in the town. The number of such from Nicolaev, Kherson and Elizabethgrad Gubernia does not exceed 50. There refugees were delayed on their way to Poland and are now unable to cross the frontier or to return home. A number of them have already settled down in Slavuta.

Though Slavuta has lost a good deal of its economic significance, the economic conditions are satisfactory. Some social-economic changes have taken place, – but its results are favorable.

"Slavuta. Beginning of XXcentury".Picture by M. Perytskiy

“Slavuta. Beginning of XXcentury”.Picture by M. Perytskiy

The most important industries represented in Slavuta, alongside with the data about its workers are listed as follows: four basic weaving factories with 40 staff (10 Jews), before the war there were eight such factories with 80 workers; a pottery with 300 staff (120 Jews); a paper mill with 75 staff (15 Jews); two saw mills with 130 staff (5 Jews); a tannery with ten staff (5 Jews); an electricity generating plant with seven staff (no Jewish workers); a foundry with ten staff(eight Jews); two steam powdered flour mills with 12 staff (six Jews) and a metal work workshop with 12 staff (5 Jews)

Factories not currently have not been included.

The Jewish working population of the time could be split into the following rough groupings: about 800 people could be described as tradesmen, shop-owners, property owners and persons without any source of income. This group forms the majority. The number of artisans is also comparatively large at about 350 people. There are also about 60 laborers and 170 professional industry workers.

RELIEF RENDERED : The Jewish population of Slavuta has been greatly assisted by the Polish Section of the JOINT during the time of the Polish occupation. The JOINT organized three child feeding stations where about 800 children were fed. It maintained three schools, two children’s homes, a Jewish Hospital, several Homes for the Aged and also constructed a public bath. It delivered loans and administered individual relief. A limited amount of relief was given by the Evocom in 1921 which subsidized the kitchens, the orphanage and the school.

Slavuta. PreRevolution postcard

Slavuta. PreRevolution postcard

The only children’s institution in Slavuta is the public school where 80 children (40 boys and 40 girls) from 7 to 13 years of age are taught. These children are from the poorest families. This group of 80 children is comprised of two orphans, 25 half orphans and 53 children with parents.

CREDIT: Before the pogroms a mutual credit society was in operation but at present there is no such organization, though a large number of artisans and workmen are in great need of such an institution.

After the Civil War

A Jewish school was founded in 1918. In 1928-1929 there were 334 pupils (children of laborers – 57, children of clerks – 43, children of artisans – 161, children of bourgeoisie – 30, others – 40). This school was mentioned in JDC report. In this Jewish school in 1929-1932 a future Hero of the Soviet Union L.H.Papernyk was a student.

The Jewish population of Slavuta:
1765 – 246 Jews
1847 – 1658 Jews
1897 – 4891 (57%)
1926 – 4701 Jews
1932 – 4925 (42%)
1939 – 5102 (33%)
1945 – 2026 Jews
1965 ~ 3000 Jews
1999 – 985 (0.2%)

In 1921 the Soviet authorities confiscated most businesses and residential homes belonging to the wealthy residents. In January 1921 Derman and Kapetskiy power plants and Zimmerman’s Phinhas were nationalized. In May 1921 the Executive Committee decided to move Slavutsky Lyskom (Forest Committee) to Foyhel house, a kindergarten was set up in the Shapiro house.

Under the Soviet rule all community institutions were destroyed. In 1926 the Jewish population stood at 4,701 or 44 .9% of the total population. In June 7, 1,929 Jews set up an agricultural association. Their names are Berko, Kaplan, Leyb Barash, H.Smolyar, L.I.Biderman, B.Blits, I.Kats, H.Shvartsman, Gres Ishiya, and Margulis Numa.

In 1935 three synagogues were closed: Novomistna Synagogue (Gorinskaya Str.) became a library, the Great Synagogue (Shkolniy Str., 1) became the House of Defence, and Kozak Synagogue (Dzerzhinskogo Str.) became a museum.

Grave of Moshe Shapiro - legendary founder of Slavuta printing press.  Photograph by <a href="http://photohunt.org.ua/Slavuta.html">photohunt.org.ua</a>

Grave of Moshe Shapiro – legendary founder of Slavuta printing press. Photograph by photohunt.org.ua

Despite all of this, the Jewish community still has three functioning synagogues. (Zavodopromishlennaya Str., 80; Dzerzhinskogo Str. 16; Shkolniy Str., 2).

Jewish woman-artisans in Salvuta, 1925

Jewish woman-artisans in Salvuta, 1925

Political repressions of 1937-39 also affected the Jewish population of Slavuta. The following people were repressed: Brandis Moses Avrumovych (born 1902), Broder Moses Mordkovych (born 1903), Broder Jankel Mordkovych (born 1899), Broder Basia Mordkovna (born 1909), Borushko Berko Davidovich (born 1883), Buntsis Ayzik Shayovych (born 1903), Hehblit Avrum Meyerovych (born 1895), Halperin Borukh Shmulevych (born 1906), Hrinvald Itzik-Aron Hershkovych (born 1863), Katsyv Azril Leibovich, Potashnyuk Phinehas Shmulovych (born 1904), Shmuter Moses Yonovych (born 1903), Shmuter Leiba Iosifovish (born 1888), Shteynfeld Judas Samoylovich (born 1895). Bern Srul Yankelevych (born 1903), in charge of the city power generation unit, was shot on September 19, 1938 only because on May 1, 1937 there was no electricity in the officers’ accommodation. These city residents were later rehabilitated.

Slavuta. PreRevolution postcard

Slavuta. PreRevolution postcard

Holocaust

With the start of World War II some Jewish families managed to evacuate, but most Jews stayed in the occupied territories. The German forces occupied Slavuta on July 7, 1941. On August 18, 1941 the Nazi administration registered 1,390 Jews in Slavuta (this list of names of those destined to die was found in Khmelnitskiy archive).

On August 22, 1941 the Nazi authorities forced the Jewish population to pay 20,000 rubles in contributions.

From August, 15 to September 3, 1941 45 Reserve Police Battalion conducted the second “action”: on August 18, 1941 322 Jews were killed, on August 30, 1941 911 Jews were killed.

Slavuta in the list of destoyed communities in Yad Vashem

Slavuta in the list of destoyed communities in Yad Vashem

A ghetto was created on 2nd March, 1942. The Jews from Slavuta, Berezdov and Krasnostav were relocated there and the total population was more than 5,000 people. The elderly and over 200 newborn babies were killed in the first days after the ghetto was established. The babies were thrown into the well. Most people in the ghetto were starving and many died. The ghetto was located around present-day Khmelnitskogo Str., Zlagody Str. and Volinskaya Str. 500 Jewish women were sent from the ghetto to concentration camps between Slavuta nad Shepetovka.

On June 25, 1942 about 5,000 Jews from Annopol, Berezdov, Krasnostav, and Slavuta, re-located to the Slavuta ghetto, were killed on the site of a former Soviet military base near the town by SD men with the assistance of the Ukrainian police.

After the mass killing the Nazis captured 13 Jews who were hiding and killed them.

In September 1942 a number of Jewish craftsmen from Slavuta, who were still alive after the liquidation of the Slavuta ghetto in June 1942, were killed near the town. Over 5,000 Jews were killed in Slavuta and Slavuta region during WWII. We know the names of only 1,595 of Slavuta Jews out of 2 ,296 who were killed during the war.

The Lushnikov family hid a Jew B. Farman and received the status of Righteous Gentiles Among the Nations in 2001.

The details of the mass killings in this area have been described by a local historian Stanislav Frantsovich Kovalchuk in his book.

Slavuta was liberated by the Red Army on January 15, 1944.

After the war

After the liberation the Jews began coming back to the city from evacuation. In early 1945 the city’s population was 7,922 citizens, including 2,026 Jews. The Jewish families who lived before the war in the rural area and in other areas settled in Slavuta.

Hendmade calendar of Slavuta's Rabbi Liberzon which was presented by member of "Right Sector" to Brodskiy Synagogue in Kiev during Euromaidan Revolution in 2014

Hendmade calendar of Slavuta’s Rabbi Liberzon which was presented by member of “Right Sector” to Brodskiy Synagogue in Kiev during Euromaidan Revolution in 2014

Jewish religious community was registered in September 4, 1945. The following were the founders of the community: Liberzon Yitzhak-Hdal Benyaminovych (born 1904), Barash Itskhok Shapsovych, Moishe Ihelevych Vinokur, 1898, Moshe Gutman I. (born 1888), Zokenmaher Shama Abramovich (born 1892), Kaplan Shmulevych Berko (born 1882), Kaplun Yitzhak Meyerovych (born 1883), Kelzon Aron Pinsahovych (born 1874), Korchik Avrum Wolfovitch (born 1900), Krantman Moishe Shmulevych (born 1902), Peltsman Itskhok Srulevych (born 1893), Tuler Itskhok Moishe-Hayimovych, Ferdman Aron-Shloma Froyimovych (born 1892), Tsam Shmul Meyerovych (born 1879), Shleper Ayzik Simhovych (born 1897), Schuster Simon Abramovich (born 1898).

A synagogue, the only one in Khmelnitskiy oblast, was opened in Slavuta in 1945.

The following were elected the Heads of Slavuta religious Jewish community in the postwar years: Chaim Kramer Mardkovych, Krel Michel Berkovich, Buntsis Ayzik Itskovych, Shoyhed Boris Evseyevich, Shleper Hedal Shleymovych.

Rabbi Itshak-Gdal Liberzon (1904-1982)

Rabbi Itshak-Gdal Liberzon (1904-1982)

Liberzon Yitzhak-Hdal Benyaminovych (born 1904) became a Rabbi after the war. He received his early education in Slavuta and Chisinau Heder and Iyeshuva, had a good knowledge of tradition. Before the war, Liberzon I-H.B. worked in the city as an artisan-bookbinder, during the war he evacuated in Kazakhstan where he worked as a baker. His father Liberzon Nuhim (1882-1941 years) was a Rabbi in Slavuta synagogue before the war. Many years before his maternal grandfather Chaim Shapiro used to serve as a rabbi. According to Liberzon M.I., the daughter of the last Slavuta rabbi, their family derives its roots from the founder of Hasidism Baal Shem Tov.

Yitzhak-Hdal Liberzon was a deeply religious man and retained a good memory until his death. He died in Slavuta in 1982. Sheyhed Boris Evseyevich (born 1912 – died 1998 in Israel) became the next rabbi.

All actions of the Jewish religious community were always under the radar of the Soviet regime. The religious community reported to the district executive committee on its work annually.

In 1974 approximately 250 Jews visited the synagogue (25 people for every day prayer, 50 for a Saturday prayer, 200 for Rosh Hashana, 250 for Sukkot). Matzos were not produced at the synagogue. The duties of shames were performed by Kramer Yenya and Zeylikman Pesa, of the mourners by Tsam Shmul, Verstat Leyb and Krel Meyer.

In 1965 the decline of the Jewish population in Slavuta began. According to the 1979 census 1,340 Jews were residents, declining to 943 in 1989.

This video shows prayers in Slavuta synagogue in 1988. The video was made by the Ethnographic Expedition from S.-Petersburg.

The next video is an interview with an old Slavuta Jew in 1988 which was made by same expedition.

In 1990s Jewish population decreased significantly due to the Jewish mass migration to Israel, the U.S. and other countries. 369 Jews left between 1992-1998.

However, a Jewish community is still in existence in Slavuta. Jewish Sunday school was opened for the study of Hebrew. Some Jewish children went on holiday breaks in summer camps organized with the Israeli support , where history and culture of the Jewish people were taught.

Genealogy

Architecture

Most information available below was taken from the book of local historian Stanislav Frantsovich Kovalchuk.

In the beginning of XX century the Slavuta Jews used to live mainly on the left side of the river Utky around the present-day Shevchenko Square, Volimskaya, Danla Galickogo, Zlagody, Khmelnytskoho, Cerkovna and Kozacka.

Wealthy Jews, shops owners, industrial tenants lived on the main street in middle class homes (Foyhel and Shapiro houses on B.Khmelnitsky Street and similar). The poorer population used to live in overcrowded wooden houses with earth floors. There were only two wells with drinking water in the Jewish part of Slavuta. One of them was on the market square, the other was at the end of Zameyskoyi Str. (now Volynska Str).

Synagogue

Only few photos of the synagogue exist. More info was here. The synagogue is very old, built over 200 years ago. It was closed only during WWII and was in operation during the Soviet times. After the war a lot of Jewish texts were brought there from other destroyed synagogues and prayer houses of Rovno and Khmelnitsliy regions. The building is used as a synagogue and as an office for the Jewish Community.

Synagogue in Slavuta. Photograph by <a href="http://photohunt.org.ua/Slavuta.html">photohunt.org.ua</a>

Synagogue in Slavuta. Photograph by photohunt.org.ua

Address: Sholo-Aleihema Str., 19

Slavuta Jewish Cemetery

Parts old and new.

The new part: the Jewish cemetery was established in 1902. Tsadic of Hasidic Dynasty Shapiro and Rab. Itshak-Gdal Liberzon (1904-1982)were buried here. It is open to all, accessed via Town Street. A continuous fence with a non-locking gate surrounds the cemetery, which is not signposted. The cemetery is not divided by sections. Some gravestones have traces of paint on the surface, iron decorations or lettering, with bronze decorations or lettering, other metallic elements, portraits on stones and/or metal fences around graves. The site belongs to the municipality and is for exclusive use as a Jewish cemetery. The cemetery was vandalized before World War II. Some Jewish individuals from Ukraine and abroad and local Jewish groups restored some stones, patched up broken tombs, did some clearing of vegetation, fixed the wall and fixed the gate in 1990. The Jewish community employs a caretaker. Vegetation overgrowth and water drainage are seasonal problems.

The old part: the oldest graves are from 19th century.

Address: Volinskaya St., 100

Holocaust Mass Graves

Around the former Army settlement

This place is now called a Memory Field. The Jews from Slavuta ghetto were killed here on June 25, 1942. After the war a special committee found 11 mass graves here. A memorial was erected in 1986.

Nearby a German Grosslazaret 301, a military camp for wounded prisoners of war was set up. According to the Soviet investigation committee over 150,000 Soviet Army soldiers were killed here.

The area of a sewing factory

More than 300 Jewish children were thrown into a well during ghetto liquidation in March 1941. There was a building with a basement where the elderly and disabled Jews were killed. Among them were Jews from Annopol Ghetto. A memorial was erected in 1990.

A monument to 300 Jewish children who were murdered by the Germans

A monument to 300 Jewish children who were murdered by the Germans

Holocaust victims from small villages around Slavuta:

Golovli village

Perenshteyn Zus Avrumovich, born 1925 Gershman Haїm Yankelevich, born 1889 Gershman PEPPER Azdrіleva, born 1897

Comments

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10 Comments

  1. Добрый день!Пишет Вам Иосиф Кокет из Израиля.У меня к Вам просьба.Мои родители до войны жили селе Красностав Каменец Подольской обл.
    Во время оккупации немцами, все родственники, по линии отца и матери, были уничтожены.Из воспоминаний моей мамы,до войны из их местечка ,
    уехали ее родственники в г .Славута.Фамилия их Гринфельд .Нейх и его женаБетя
    Сообщите пожалуйста ,может что -то известно о их судьбах.
    С уважением Иосиф

    • Иосиф,
      Также существует страничка Красностава на английском:
      http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Krasnostav/
      и Facebook группа:Our_Diaspora:Krasnostav_roots

      Michael Levin
      http://www.Michaellevin.me

    • Уважаемый Иосиф!
      Девичья фамилия моей бабушки со стороны мамы – Гринфельд. В замужестве – Рудык Райцл.Бабушка жила в Киликиеве. Была дважды расстреляна. Фамилия Гринфельд часто всречается в списках погибших в гетто по Киликиеву и Славуте. Можно вбить Яд-Вашем и посмотреть.
      С уважением Раиса Непомнящая

  2. Добрый день, Иосиф!

    О Красноставе есть отдельная статья http://jewua.org/krasnostav/
    Что касаеться Ваших родственников, то в Книге Памяти Славуты значиться:
    Гринвальд Ноех Ушерович, 1912 года рождения, портной, расстрелян фашистами 27.06.1942 года. Похоронен в братской могиле в г. Славуте

    Из погибших женщин, с похожими именами и фамилией, есит только по с. Красностав, но не по г. Славуте:
    Гринфальд Бейла Иосифовна, с.Красностав, крестьянка, расстреляна фашистами в 1941 году, похоронена в брасткой могиле в с.Красностав

    Больше никаких доступных сведений у меня нет :(

  3. Помогите узнать о семье Стекцер из Славуты. Зисл и Йонтель Стекцр бежали во время войны.

    • Добрый день,
      Вы имеете вввиду Первую Мировую или Вторую?
      Такие сведения, скорей всего храняться в архиве. Если Вам интересно, могу предоставить человека, который занимаеться такими генеологическими поисками…

      • Во вторую, в 1941. Остальные вроде погибли. Как можно связаться с архивом?

  4. Vitaly, собираюсь приехать в Славуту.
    Как Вас там найти?

    • Шалом! Я сам живу в Киеве,советую обратиться к директору краеведческого музея в Славуте – Ковальчук Станислав Францович slav-museum@ukr.net Если не ответи по e-mail, напишите мне на vibu@jewua.org , я с ним созвонюсь. Всю информацию о Славуте у меня на сайте я взял у него, он написал книгу о еврейях Славуты и Славутского района. Он Вам все покажет и расскажет )

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