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Human (Hungarian), Humań (Polish), Imen, Human (Yiddish Transliteration), Умань (Ukrainian), Умань – Uman’ (Russian), אמואן (Yiddish)

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.

Rabbi Nahman

Uman fortress

Uman fortress

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.

Jewish population of Uman:
1761 ~ 450 jews
1801 – 1895 jews
1897 – 17945 (57,9%)
1914 – 28267 (56,2%)
1926 – 22179 (49,5%)
1939 – 13233 (29,8%)
1959 ~ 2200 (5%)
2012 – 612 jews

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 1904:

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 .

Uman entrepreneurs in 1913:

In Uman section of Russian Empire Business Directory by 1913 mentioned next facts:
– official rabbi was Kontorshik Ber Ioselevich
– spiritual rabbi Borochin P., Mats
– Synagogues:”Hahnusas-Kalo”, Novobazarnaya Horal, Starobazarnaya, Talnovskaya
– Prayer houses: “Besgamedrash”, Latvatskogo, Tsirulnikova
– Private Jewis female Third class school, head is Boguslavskaya Tsesya Avramovna
– Talmud-Torah, head is Gershengorn A.
– mentioned 6 Jewish charity organisation

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.

After Civil War

Old buikding in the center of Uman

Old building in the center of Uman

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.


There was jewish ghetto on this street

There was jewish ghetto on this street

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.

Synagogue on Chernogo Str. Burned in 1950th

Synagogue on Chernogo Str. Burned in 1950th

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.

After WWII

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.

Good source of information about Uman Jewish history this Youtube channel. His owner Shlomo Shvarcman is a local historian.



House of Rabbi. Oktyabrskoi Revolucii str., 14

House of Rabbi. Oktyabrskoi Revolucii str., 14

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.

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.

During Nazi occupation were killed 17.000 Uman Jews and Old Jewish cemetery completely destroyed. Ohel on Rabbi Nahman grave was practically destroyed by bombing in 1944. After the war few hasids visited Uman and found only tombstone.  In 1947 local authorities decided to build up a territory of destroyed Old Jewish Cemetery. Rabbi Zanvil Lyubarskiy from Lvov knew exact grave’s location and bought this peace of land via some figurehead local Mihail. Rabbi constructed a hous near grave so that  tomb was under the wall and the window. But Mishail was afraid of denunciation and sold site to non-Jew family. New owners haven’t like Jews and haven’t allowed to visit a holy grave. In short period of time house was sold again to another non-Jew family and new proprietress let hasidim to pray till 1996 when house was bought by Breslover Hasidim for 130.000$.

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.

My Flame
will burn until the arrival of the Messiah.

A tombstone:
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

On the terrotiry of modern “Megaommetr” factory located 2 synagogues – Big Choral and Hasidim Synagogues. Big Choral Syangogue used as electroplating department. Both of them are build in XIX century. Court litigation for buildings of this synagogues continue more than 5 years. Hasidim synagogue was closed in 1957, it was a last synagogue in city.

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

New cemetery still in use and has good condition. Cemetry surrounded by new fence and has a new gate. Two cemeteries separated by a fence. More than 90% of gravestones on old part had been destroyed.

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

In the woods, in the centre of Sukhyi Yar, there is a stone obelisk approximately three meters high, surrounded by pillars and an iron chain. The obelisk bears three plates with commemorative inscriptions.
“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)

Tovsta Dubina mass grave

In February 1942 376 Uman Jews were killed in “Tovsta Dubina” area at southern city outskirts. Monument was erected there May 9, 2007. This information was published there.

Monument to Holocaust victims in "Tovsta Dubina" area

Monument to Holocaust victims in “Tovsta Dubina” area

Buildings of 2 synagogues

Both synagogues were closed during Soviet period

Adress : Shevchenka str., 1

Adress : corner of  Telmana str. and Telefonnaya str.

Now second synagogue is a sport club “Spartak”.

Former prison

Memorial table on building of former prison.

Memorial table on building of former prison.

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

Jewish School

Jewish Nursing home

Jewish Nursing home

Jewish school

Jewish school

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

Uman postcards

Beginning of XX century:




  1. – rare video of Hasidim pilligrimage to Uman in last years of Soviet Union. In that time Rabbi’s Nahman grave was near a window of Jewish home at destroyed Jewish cemetery…

  2. – detail story of Rabbi Nahman grave

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