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Bazar is a village in the Korosten district of the Zhytomyr region. In the early 1980s, about 2,500 people lived here, but most of the population left after the Chornobyl disaster. As of 2019, 573 people lived in Bazar.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Bazar was a town in the Ovruch district of the Volyn province.

During the Soviet period, Bazar was a district centre until 1956. From 1956, it was a village in the Malyn district, then in the Narodychi district.

I visited the village during my expedition in the summer of 2019. At that time, I could talk to the head of the town, who provided information about the Jews who lived in the village after World War II.

I took many facts for this article from the book by Aaron Shinderman (1877-1968), “From the Pale of Settlement to Kotel”.


Bazar mentioned it for the first time in Polish documents in 1613. Jews began to settle in Bazar in the late 18th century. Their number grew and peaked before World War I when about 200 Jewish families lived in the town.

Ruins of old Pre-WWII houses  in Bazar:

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, most Jews in the town were craftsmen and lived in extreme poverty. Only three wealthy families owned the majority of the shops and houses in the shtetls. They all demanded a place of honour in the Synagogue, which led to constant quarrels. As a result, second and third synagogues were built. Therefore, on Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi was forced to lead the prayer in one and blow the shofar in the second and third synagogues.

The village was essentially divided into two social classes – the property owners and the ordinary “working” people. Non-property owners did not have the right to vote on any community matters. Most villagers lived in poverty and subsisted very meagerly from their gardens.


10 km from Bazar is the village of Sidorovychi. At the end of the 19th century, 30-35 Jewish families lived there. There was a small synagogue and mikvah. Aaron Shinderman’s memoirs mention one family from Sidorovychi – Gurevich.

Nehemiah Rabichev was born in Sidorovychi in 1886. At 16, hiding from the Tsarist police (Nehemiah was a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party), he emigrated to the United States. At the end of World War I, he moved to Palestine. In 1921, he married Rosa Cohen, and in 1922, their son Itzhak (1922-1995), future Prime Minister of Israel, was born.

In 1890, Cantor Itschok-Isaac Lerman worked as a cantor in the Synagogue and was also a melamed, teaching the best students in the village.

In 1890, the village rabbi passed away, and the Jews invited Nahum-Ber Shinderman, who lived in the neighbouring village of Sukharevka, to take the position. At that time, he already had six children. He held this position until he died in 1911. His son Shmaryahu succeeded him as a rabbi.

Center of the village, 2019:

Aaron Shinderman mentions the following villagers from the late 19th to early 20th century in his book:
– cantor Itschok-Isaac Lerman, who was also a melamed and taught the best students in the village, including Leybl Kipnis, Pin Rozman, and Shmuel Samulinski.
– 3 brothers shoemakers , the Chitryns.
– the Mayman family – one of the three wealthy families in the village, including Yakov Mayman, a lumber trader.

Old PreRevolution building in Bazar, 2019:

Shmaryahu Shinderman (1895-1981, Israel) was the rabbi of Bazar until the Soviet authorities closed the synagogues in the 1920s. In 1926, he participated in a congress of rabbis in Korosten. He is present in a group photo taken at the congress, but it is unknown where he is in the picture. In 1920s, he moved to Israel.

In the magazine “Yalkut Volyne”, Shmaryahu Shinderman wrote two short articles about Bazar.

Former Jewish neighbourhood in Bazar, 2019

Former Jewish neighbourhood in Bazar, 2019

In November 1921, 359 soldiers of the Ukrainian National Republic army who participated in the Second Winter Campaign and were taken prisoner by the Bolsheviks were executed in the village.

In 1926-27, the Big Synagogue and the Chornobyl Synagogue were active in Bazar. Big Synagogue was closed in 1930, and the building has not been preserved.

According to the historian Kruglov, in Bazar in September 1941, 140 Jews were shot, on November 21, 1941, 29 Jews were shot. And on November 26, 1941, 7 Jews were shot.

The majority of Jews were taken for execution to the village of Ksaverov. In the 1990s, a local resident Sergey Matviychuk mentioned that around 50 Jews were shot in a field to the northwest of the town, and their remains were reburied in the Jewish cemetery (the exact location is unknown).

I can assume that during the second and third shootings, specialists who were left alive after the first shooting were killed.

Yad Vashem has another information about Holocaust in Bazar.

In the centre of the town, there is a mass grave of Soviet soldiers who died while liberating the Bazar from the Germans. Soviet soldiers who later died of wounds at the local military hospital were buried here too.

Even before World War II, the entire Pokrovskaya street was inhabited by Jews. There are ruins of a synagogue located on the street. After the war, the building was used as a pharmacy. It was closed in 2010s, and a fire occurred in the building. I can assume that it was the Chernobyl synagogue, which was mentioned by Rosa Chernaya in her memoirs.

Ruins of synagogue in Bazar, 2019:

In 1996, a historian Leonid Kogan from Zvyagil, visited the village. He managed to talk to the last Jew in the village, Rosa Efimovna Chernaya, born in 1919 and originally from Chornobyl. According to her, in the 1950s, up to 50 Jews lived in Bazar.

During my visit in 2019, local residents remembered some of them:
Beba Naumovna Golubovskaya
Rosa Yukhimovna (surname unknown), who worked in the library
Tsiyal Grigoryevna (surname unknown), who was the director of a kindergarten
When the Bazar district was disbanded due to administrative reform, many people from the village left.

Jewish cemetery

At the end of the 19th century, there was no Jewish cemetery in Bazar, and Jews buried their dead in the village of Ksaverov. Although now there are remnants of the local Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Bazar. It began to be used in the early 20th century.

Road to Jewish cemetery:

The remains of the Jewish cemetery locates in a birch grove about 1.5 km west of the village, with an approximate size of 110×80 meters. It is overgrown with vegetation, and before the war, it was fenced. Old believers from the village of Brodnik dug a ditch around the cemetery. There are still about 8 gravestones. One of them belongs to Zavalkovskaya R.Y. (1903-1945). The other one has the year 675 /1914-1915/. The gravestones are from brick and cement.

Photo by Leonid Kogan, 1990’s:

The last burials were around 1955 (an old man and an old woman were buried), but their graves are not marked. In the beginning of 1990s, the sister of Rosa Chernaya was buried in the Christian cemetery. In the 1980s, the head of the pharmacy, Polina Isakovna Morgulis, died and was buried in Kyiv.

In 2015, Jews from Zhytomyr came to the village and cleared the remaining Jewish cemetery from overgrowth.



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