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Ushomir

Ushomir
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Ushomir is a village in Korosten district, Zhytomir regionThe village’s population is 1323 (as of 2019). Ushomir is located on the Uzh River, a tributary of the Pripyat.

In the late XIX – early XX century, Ushomir was a shtetl in Zhitomir district, Volin guberniya.

In 2017, local teacher Nikolay Palamarchuk was our guild in the village. He provided a detailed map of Jewish places of former shtetl which you can see below.

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Beginning

The first mention of Jewish families in Ushomir date back to the XVII century.

Market square of former shtetl...

Market square of former shtetl…

For 20 years (between 1870 and 1890) there were breweries, two leather factories, three tar factories, and glass factories functioning in Ushomir. A brick factory and a pottery shop had been expanded. Almost all enterprises employed Jews – from masters to workers. Some of the industrial enterprises also belonged to the Jews.

Ushomir entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Ushomir entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Jewish population of Ushomir:
1847 – 1080 Jews
1897 – 1754 (73%)
1926 – 1749 (69%)
1931 – 1593 Jews
2017 – 0

In 1847, 1,080 Jews lived there. Then, half a century later, in 1897, there were 1,754 Jews out of 2,381 inhabitants of the town.

There were three synagogues in the shtetl.

Most of the population were artisans, tailors, shoemakers, potters, saddlers and many others. Jews were prohibited to be engaged in farming. Most of the population of the town was poor.

The photo of the Klezmers from Ushomir was printed in the article of Menakhem Kipnis in one of the Jewish magazines. Meyer Kagan is with the violin on the right, the other man with the violin is his brother Borukh

The photo of the Klezmers from Ushomir was printed in the article of Menakhem Kipnis in one of the Jewish magazines. Meyer Kagan is with the violin on the right, the other man with the violin is his brother Borukh

Pogroms

In the summer of 1919, peasants from the neighboring villages occupied Ushomir and forced all local Jews between the ages of 16 and 40 years old, to pay 10 rubles.

n the ages of 16 and 40 years old, to pa

Site of the synagogue. It was burnt during WWII

On October 9, 1920, a detachment of Polish troops plundered the shtetl and killed four Jews. I could not find more mentions of any anti-Semitic incidents during the Russian Civil War.

If we take into consideration the Jewish population in the 1920’s, we can conclude that the Jewish community was not badly affected during the pogroms of the Civil War because the number of Jews did not decrease at this time, as it did elsewhere.

Between the Wars

In the 1920’s, a Jewish village council was formed in the shtetl. Also in the 1920’s, the entire center of Ushomir was occupied by Jewish business including blacksmiths, taverns, and stalls.

In 1926, 1,749 Jews lived in Ushomir. It was 69.29 % of the whole population.

I. Nudelman and Mendel Bresker represent Ushomir in Korosten Rabbi’s conference. Guess, both of them were local rabbis.
Father of rabbi Mendel Bresker, Yankel-Rafuil Bresker was a rabbi in Ushomir before Revolution.
In 1941, Mendel Bresker with wife and daughter Yenta was killed in Babiy Yar 🙁 This information was provided by Alla Shnirel in 2020.

Son of Ushomir's rabbi Yankel-Rafuil Bresker - Reuven (1890, Ushomir - 1968, Korosten) with wife Hanna-Rivka Vainerman. Photo provided by Alla Shnirel in 2020.

Son of Ushomir’s rabbi Yankel-Rafuil Bresker – Reuven (1890, Ushomir – 1968, Korosten) with wife Hanna-Rivka Vainerman. Photo provided by Alla Shnirel in 2020.

In Ushomir, until about 1938, there was a Jewish school apart from the Polish and Ukrainian ones. 13 students finished grade 7 of the school: ten girls and three boys. Those included Yasha Golubchik (he lived in Kievskaya street and after the war he worked on a mill in Kiev); Abram Fleyshman (born in 1924 to the carpenter Eyna; lived in the center; his house is still there. He was a tankman during the WWII. A captain. He used to live in Ushomir and worked as a military training teacher at school. His son Isaak was born in 1960. He was a military pilot, an Afganistan. Now he is a pensioner, a businessman, and lives in Kherson.); Buzia Vaysband.

Former Jewish school. It locates in the territory of modern school, 2018

Former Jewish school. It locates in the territory of modern school, 2018

Moisey Vainshtein (1921, Volochisk - 2003, Vinnitsya), was a teacher of Ushomir Jewish school in 1939. Photo provided by Tova Weinstein

Moisey Vainshtein (1921, Volochisk – 2003, Vinnitsya), was a teacher of Ushomir Jewish school in 1939. Photo provided by Tova Weinstein

There was a Jewish collective farm in Ushomir by 1936-37. The farm’s office was situated in the building where a new wing of a school was built in the 60’s.

On Zalman Shkliar’s site there are several stories of pre-war Ushomir. The names and surnames of Jews who lived in the shtetl before the war are mentioned in those stories: Isburg, Adelia Latman, Mania Kipnis, Feldman.

Locals remaine a Jew Gogerman who was a seller in a local shop before the WWII.

In the 1930’s, a synagogue was ruined and a courthouse was built in its place.

In 1931, 1,593 Jews were registered in Ushomir.

Buildinf of Jewish council in 1920's, 2018

Buildinf of Jewish council in 1920’s, 2018

Holocaust

The shtetl was occupied from August 6, 1941 until December 30, 1944.

In September 1941 an SS detachment destroyed all Jewish men. There is an assumption that it happened in August 10, 1941 and that the action of destruction was committed by 10th infantry regiment of SS. According to other information, during the first days of the occupation of Ushomir 58 civilians and 283 prisoners of war were shot. In September 1941, remaining Jewish women and children were shot.

 

“Grandpa Koshil” (his surname is unknown) with the wife saved a Jewish girl. They hid her in the basement and were hiding her there up to the end of war. After the war Lena Lubimova (saved girl) was a barber in Ushomir.

Mansion of "Grandpa Koshil", 2018

Mansion of “Grandpa Koshil”, 2018

According to the data of Korosten historical museum, 59 Jews were shot near the river Uzh (now it is not far from the post office) in Ushomir in August 1941. The place had been “breathing” and “moaning” for two days.

From the memories of Vasiliy Seghiyovich Turovskyi (born in 1933) which were written down in 2017. A group of about ten Jews had been hiding in the basement of gasoline warehouse by December 1941. Some locals revealed them and the Jews were shot on the bank of the river Uzh. The shooting was committed by three German soldiers.

In 1965, their remains were reburied at the local cemetery in Korosten. While the remains were being dug up, two golden things were found. They supposedly had been swallowed.

In 2017, we were told a story of a local policeman who was driving a Jewish boy to the place of shooting. But they hadn’t reached it as the policeman hit him to death. The boy was buried between two Jewish houses in the village.

"El Maleh Rahamim" near unmarked grave of unknown Jewish boy who was killed in 1941

“El Maleh Rahamim” near unmarked grave of unknown Jewish boy who was killed in 1941

Local inhabitants said that one local police officer was an accomplice in searching the Jews. It is unknown whether he was sentenced but he died after the war. He gagged on his own vomit masses.

After the WWII

After the war very few Jews came back and stayed in Ushomir because their houses were captured by the local Ukrainians.

To village returned next Jewish families lived in Ushomir: Landman, Yosia and Buzia Trosman, Mayzenberg, Fridman, Eyna Fleyshman, Vayman. Old Jew Shivka sold pharmaceutical goods. Bella Mironovna Zilberbandt worked as a gynecologist. Yeva Kogan organized and led a village choir.

Former Jewish houses in Ushomir, 2018:

The last Jews of the village were the Landmans. They left in the 1990’s.

In the 1960-1970’s, a small dam was made on the river Uzh. Later a road was laid upon it. This dam is situated very close to the former Jewish street of Ushomir. During the excavations the locals discovered jewelry which had been buried by the Jews. The whereabouts of those jewelries is unknown.

A lot of Jewish houses are still preserved in Ushomir. They are located mainly around the center though the center has suffered a lot from the fire during the war.

Collection of the teacher of local school Konstantin Palamarchuk who lived in the blacksmith's neighborhood ( Kusnezhnaya Str.) and found all these metal manufactures in the ground

Collection of the teacher of local school Konstantin Palamarchuk who lived in the blacksmith’s neighborhood ( Kusnezhnaya Str.) and found all these metal manufactures in the ground

 

Famous Jews from Ushomir

Levin Kipnis (1894, Ushomir – 1990, Tel-Aviv) was an Israeli children’s author. He mainly wrote in Hebrew. His first poem was published in 1910. In 1913 he immigrated to Erets-Israel. He wrote approximately 800 stories, 600 poems, and 100 books. His works were translated into Yiddish, English, French, German, Russian, and Arabian languages.

Levin Kipnis

Levin Kipnis

Menakhem Kipnis (1878, Ushomir –1942, Warsaw), singer and folklorist.

Shloime Rabinovich (1903, Ushomir  – 1971, Moscow), soviet journalist.

Ushomir Jewish cemetery

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