Uman is a city in Cherkassy region.
A Jewish community appeared in Uman in the early 18th century. The first mention of Jews in Uman relates to the events of Haydamaks’ uprising. In 1749 the Haidamacks massacred many Jews of Uman and burned part of the town.
In 1761, the owner of Uman, Earl Pototsky, rebuilt the city and established a market, at which time around 450 Jews were living in the city. During this time, Uman began to flourish both as a Jewish town and a trade centre.
In 1768 Haidamacks annihilated the Jews of Uman, together with the Jews from other places who had sought refuge there.
On June 19, 1788, the peasant revolutionary, Maxim Zheleznyak, marched on Uman ater he had butchered the Jews of Tetiyev. When the Cossack garrison and its commander, Ivan Gonta, went over to Zheleznyak (despite the sums of money he received from the Uman community and the promises he had made in return), the city fell to Zheleznyak, in spite of a courageous defense in which the Jews played an active role. The Jews then gathered in the synagogues, where they were led by Leib Shargorodski and Moses Menaker in an attempt to defend themselves, but they were destroyed by cannon fire. The remaining Jews in the city were subsequently killed. The massacre lasted three days and did not spare old men, women or children. Gonta threatened death to all Christians who dared to shelter Jews. The number of Poles and Jews who were killed in the “massacre of Uman” is estimated to be 20,000. The anniversary of the commencement of the massacre, Tammuz 5, thereafter known as the “Evil Decree of Uman,” was observed as a fast and by a special prayer.
Uman became a part of Russia in 1793.
In the late 18th century, there was a strong and numerous Jewish community in Uman and by 1806, there were 1,895 Jews recorded as living in the city.
In the early 19th century, Uman became a centre of Hasidism, particularly associated with the famous tzadik, Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav (April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810) who spent two years in Uman. He settled in Uman and before his death there he said, “the souls of the martyrs (slaughtered by Gonta) await me.” His grave at the Jewish cemetery has become a pilgrimage site for Bratslav Hasidim from all over the world. After Rabbi Nachman’s death, the spiritual leader of the Bratzlav Hasidim was Rabbi Nathan Shternharts.
Uman had the reputation of being a city of klezmerim (“Jewish musicians”). The grandfather of the violinist Mischa Elman was a popular klezmer in the city, and the tunes of Uman were widely known.
It was also known as one of the first centers of the Haskalah movement in the Ukraine. The leader of the movement was Chaim Hurwitz. In 1822 “a school based on Mendelssohnian principles” was established in Uman and several years before the schools in Odessa and Kishinev. The founder was Hirsch Beer, the son of Chaim Hurwitz and a friend of the poet Jacob Eichenbaum; the school was closed ater a few years.
In 1842 there were 4,933 Jews in Uman; in 1897 – 17,945 (59% of the total population), and in 1910, 28,267. In 1870 there were 14 big synagogues and prayers house.
Uman entrepreneurs in 1903
At the turn of the XIX-XX centuries Uman has become an important trading center. In 1890 the railway station was opened. This have greatly enlivened the development of local industry and commerce. In the beginning of the XX century, there were 4 big synagogues, 13 prayer houses, three private boys’ schools and a Talmud Torah in Uman.
In 1905, as a result of the pogrom 3 Jew were killed .
During the Bolshevik Revolution, the Jews of Uman endured great suffering. In the spring and summer of 1919, a number of troops passed through the city and perpetrated pogroms; there were 400 victims in the first pogrom and more than 90 in the subsequent one. More than 400 victims of the pogrom 12-14 May 1919 were buried in the Jewish cemetery in three mass graves. This time the Christian inhabitants helped to hide the Jews. The Council for Public Peace, most of whose members were prominent Christians, with a minority of prominent Jews, saved the city from danger several times; in 1920, for example, it stopped the pogrom initiated by the troops of General A. Denikin.
In the 1920′s and 30′s, many Jews moved from Uman to Kiev and other major centres with the Jewish community reducing by some ten percent in size by 1926 to 22,179 people (49,5%).
In 1936, after a long period of plotting against the Jews, and after the imposition of unduly heavy taxes levied upon them by the Communist government, the era of the synagogue came to an end. The late Reb Levy Yitzchok Bender, who was in charge of the synagogue at the time of its closing, pointed out that the synagogue was the last synagogue in the area to be shut down. It had become a repository for all the Torah scrolls of the regional synagogues.
In 1939, there were at least 13,000 Jews (29,8%) in Uman.
On August 1, 1941, when Uman was occupied, around 15,000 Jews were in the city which included refugees from the surrounding villages and towns. During the first shootings, six Jewish doctors were killed. On August 13, the Germans executed 80 people from the local Jewish intelligentsia. On September 21, several thousand Jews were herded into the basement of the prison building, with around a thousand dying from suffocation. On October 1 1941, a ghetto was set up in the area known as Rakivka. But October 10 1941 (Yom Kippur) ghetto was practically eliminate. Police battalion 304 from Kirovograde killed 5400 Uman Jewish and 600 captive-jews. Only specialist with families were left in ghetto. Head of Judenrat were assigned Samborskiy and Tabachnik. Prisoners in ghetto regular brutally tortured. All prisoners of ghetto ( 1,500 Jews) were killed April 22 1942 near the village of Grodzevo. Totally during 1941-1942 more than 10000 were killed in Uman. After ghetto liquidation in Uman was created labor camp for jews from Transnistria, Bessarabia and Bukovina.
During summer-autumn 1941 in Uman exist POW camp “Uman pit” where thousands people died or were killed. Video you can find here.
Uman was liberated by Red Army by 10 March 1944. Jewish victims were 80 percent of the total number of civilians in the Uman who died during WWII. Righteous of the Nations from Uman and region who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust: Victor Fedoseevich Kryzhanovskii, Galina Mikhailovna Zayats, Galina Andreyevna Zakharova.
In 1959 there were 2,200 Jews (5% of the total population). In the late 1960s the Jewish population was estimated at about 1,000. The last synagogue was closed by the authorities in the 1957, and the Jewish cemetery was badly neglected. A monument to the memory of 17,000 Jewish martyrs of the Nazis bears a Yiddish inscription.
Jews still visit the tomb of Nahman of Bratslav. Ater the breakup of the Soviet Union, pilgrimages to Rebbe Nahman’s grave were renewed, with thousands arriv ing from all around the world on Rosh ha-Shanah.
Now in Uman exists 2 jewish communities: community of Uman jews and community of Breslov hasidim who permanently lives in city. They arent contacting with each over.
The business part of the city was located on the central Nikolaev street (now Lenin Street). Jewish Quarter was located south of the historic city center, along the road leading to the bridge over the river Umanka. A distinctive feature was its high density od settlement. Jewish poor mostly lived there. Several families lived in the same house and occupying and basement floors. These houses were more like huts, placed very close, hung one above the other on a steep slope without distinguishing fences. The narrow winding streets converge to the market square. City Centre has Choral Synagogue on the Upper Jewish street (now territory of “Megaommetr” factory). This whole messy building housed on the lower terrace plateau that drops off to the river Umanka. This block is called – Lower Jewish or Rakovka (now Sholem Aleichem street). The Jewish population Rakovki was craftsmen (processing of wood, metal, leather, making shoes and clothing). Jews were actively involved in commercial activities related to the fairs. There were a lot of small shops and stalls. Another Jewish quarter in Uman exists today and was formed around the city center, in an area between the streets Uritskogo and Lenin. Here is a shopping street, where lived exclusively Jewish population of Uman. The synagogue was destroyed during World War II and on this place was built a house.
Rabbi Nahman grave
The cemetery has existed since the founding of the Jewish community in the early 18th century. According to Hasidic sources, the victims of the Uman massacre in 1768 were buried here. It is likely that the old cemetery used to be located on the same site. In 1811, Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav was buried next to the victims of the Uman massacre. In the 20th century, the cemetery was destroyed. No tombstones from the old cemetery have survived.
Rabbi Nahman grave
The history of the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav (according to Bratslaver sources).
The tradition of visiting the grave of Rabbi Nachman was established among his students almost immediately after his death (when dying, Rabbi Nachman commanded his disciples to visit his grave, especially on Rosh Hashana). In the 1920s-30s, adherents of Rabbi Nachman from the local community took care of the grave. After the war, when the cemetery was almost completely destroyed, several local Hasidim decided to restore the place of pilgrimage. Meanwhile, it was decided to use the cemetery territory for construction. One of the Uman Hasidim took the piece of land where the grave was situated for construction of a house (the place was determined due to the tombstone that has been preserved and which used to be near the grave of Rabbi Nachman). The construction was planned in such a way that the tomb was under the wall and the window of the house.
Not a single monument in its original form has survived. The cemetery contains a reconstructed tomb of Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav, built into the wall of the house, according to Bratslaver tradition. This stone lies just over the grave of Rabbi Nachman, the original monument was destroyed during the war.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslav – (1772, Medzhibozh – 1810, Uman), a famous tzadik, grandson of the Besht, the founder of Hasidism, had lived in Uman for two years. His tomb has became a pilgrimage site for Hasidim from all over the world.
Inscription on the ohel:
Gravestone sign of our holy rabbi
devoted to the merits of our friend, the great philanthropist,
Rabbi Pinchas, the son of Rachel, let the Lord save him.
Let the merits of our holy teacher protect him forever.
will burn until the arrival of the Messiah.
Of a flowing stream, a source of wisdom,
our holy master, Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav, may G-d bless the memory
of the holy and righteous,
son of Feiga and Simha.
Let his merits protect us, amen.
Two synagogues on the territory of “Megaommetr” factory
Two Synagogues on Megaommetr territory
According to Breslov hasidim Rabbi Nahman pray in Hasidim Synagogue but from another sources it was built after his death.
Address : Sovetskaya str., 49
Old and new Jewish Cemeteries
Old and New Uman Jewish Cemeteries
They burried on old part of cemetery:
Rabbi Nathan Shternharts (1780-1845) – spiritual leader of Uman Jews after the death of Rabbi Nachman.
Rabbi Avraham ben Nahman ha-Levi Hazan – a hasidic rebbe, died in 1917, buried in the Jewish cemetery in Uman.
Rabbi Eliyakum Getsil (Elyakum Getsil, a.k.a. Rabbi Getsi) – son of Abraham, died in 1918, is buried next to Rabbi Avraham Nahman ben ha-Levi Hazan.
During the pogrom of May 12-14 alone, up to 400 Jews were killed. The exact number of victims cannot be determined. Victims of pogrom are burried there too.
Cenotaph contain following inscription: “This site is a mass grave of about 3000 Jews from the neighbourhood, May God avenge their blood, Killed during the pogrom in the year 5680 (1920). Ohaley Tzadikiim, Jerusalem”.
Adress : Osvoboditeley str., 14
Sukhyi Yar mass grave
“Here Lie The Ashes Of 25,000 Jews From Uman, Killed In Autumn 1941. Let Their Souls Be Bound With Our Lives Forever. ETERNAL MEMORY.”
במקום הזה נרצחו באכזריות 25000 יהודים צדיקים על קידוש השי”ת, תש”א – תש”ד. תנצב”ה.
Adress : Zaliznyaka str., at the outskirts of city (see map below)
Buildings of 2 synagogues
Synagogues in Uman
Adress : Shevchenka str., 1
Adress : corner of Telmana str. and Telefonnaya str.
Now second synagogue is a sport club “Spartak”.
On 1941 September 21, approximately one thousand Jews were herded into the basement of the prison building and dying from suffocation.
Currently, one part of the former prison is occupied by the Department of Culture, and the second by a branch of “Privat-Bank”. On the wall of the building there is a memorial table. It was established in 2007.
Adress : Lenina str., 1
Was closed by Soviet authority in 1930th. Now it is school number 8.
Address: Engelsa Str., 3
Jewish nursing home
Now it is apartment house.
Address: Vostochnaya Str.,4