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Torgovitsa

Torgovitsa

Torgovitsa is a village of Novoarkhangelsk district, Kirovograd region.

Before the Revolution it was a shtetl of Uman uyezd, Kiev province.

We visited Torgovitsa in 2017 and took a few photos of the Holocaust mass grave and the remains of the Jewish cemetery.

Most of information for this article was provided by the descendants of Yakov Gorbatov (b. 1921, Torgovitsa – d. 2013, New York). He was a WWII veteran who left Torgovitsa before the war. His whole family perished during the Holocaust.

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According to 1897 census, 1299 Jews lived there (35% of total population).

Torgovitsa entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Torgovitsa entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Former Jewish street in Torgovitsa

Former Jewish street in Torgovitsa

Before the Revolution, Jews lived mainly on Novaya Street, which included Market Square.
There are no pre-revolutionary buildings in the village.

Yakov Gorbatov (b. 1921, Torgovitsa – d. 2013, New York). Photo provided by Emily D. Slutsky

Yakov Gorbatov (b. 1921, Torgovitsa – d. 2013, New York). Photo provided by Emily D. Slutsky

Volko Solomonovich Golberg was a teacher in the village before the war. He had daughter Betia and son Yosef.
Shmil (unknown surname) was a worker in the collective farm.

Before WWII, Iosef Gorbatov was the head of the local mill and saved many local Gentiles and Jews during the Famine of 1932-1933.

All the Jews of Torgovitsa were exterminated during the Holocaust….

Holocaust mass grave in Torgovitsa

Holocaust mass grave in Torgovitsa

 

After the occupation, all the Jews of Torgovitsa were gathered together and shot outside the village. In 2017, a woman who remembered how Jews were driven to be shot still lived in the village. She recalled only one name – Rosa Kozlenko.
Only local Ukrainian policemen were involved in the mass shooting.

Yakov Gorbatov’s entire family was executed – father Iosef, mother Hanna, sister Frida (18 yo) and brother Uzik (15 yo).

During the shooting, Hanna Gorbatova covered her daughter with her body. Frida was injured in her leg and remained alive. At night, she escaped from the mass grave. She begged for protection in the house of her neighbors, but was betrayed and shot.

In 1946, Yakov Gorbatov visited Torgovitsa for the first time since 1940. He identified and tried to kill a local former policeman who took part in the execution of the local Jews. However, somebody warned him that Yakov had returned and he narrowly escaped from Torgovitsa.

Yakov constructed the first temporary wooden fence around the Holocaust mass grave.

In 1953-1954, Yakov built a monument on this place. Aaron Suholitko, who lost all his family in the Holocaust, and David Rodovskiy donated money for the construction of this monument.

In 2017, we noticed that the Holocaust memorial consisted of 3 parts:
– old monument in the shape of the tree with trimmed branches with a destroyed inscription
– Soviet-style granite plate
– metal fence with small plate with exact number of victims

Holocaust memorial in Torgovitsa, 2017

Holocaust memorial in Torgovitsa, 2017

We are unaware of the cases of local Jews who survived in the Holocaust.

After the war, several families returned. These families had small shops situated in the center of the village. Soon they all went away.

During our visit in 2017, no Jews lived in the village.

A synagogue had existed where Marusya Bagriy’s property is now. It was destroyed after the war.

Site of the synagogue

Site of the synagogue

Jewish cemetery

After the war, stones from the Jewish cemetery were stolen by the local population.

Memorial on the grave of Rabbi Nahman's disciple was constructed by Meir Gabai.

Memorial on the grave of Rabbi Nahman’s disciple was constructed by Meir Gabai.

View from the site of Jewish cemetery

View from the site of Jewish cemetery

Tombstone

Tombstone

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