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Dinovitz (Yiddish),  Дунаевцы – Dunaevtsy (Russian), Дунаївці (Ukrainian)

Dunaevtsy is the capital city of Dunaevtsy Region, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Ukraine. The city is located on the river Ternavka, 22 km from the Dunaevtsy railway station and 68 km from the town of Khmelnytsky. As of 2001, the population of Dunaevtsy was 16,448 (2001).

"Wall of the memory" in the Dunaevtsy Jewish cemetery, 2020.

“Wall of the memory” in the Dunaevtsy Jewish cemetery, 2020.

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Where it all began

The Jews have lived in Dunaevtsy since the 16th century. In the 17th – 18th centuries the main Jewish occupations were trade and crafts, represented by the guilds of weavers, shoemakers and painters. In 1648, almost all Jews were slaughtered by the Bogdan Hmelnitskiy army. In the second part of 17th century the Jewish community was revived. In 1748 the Jews became the victims of “blood libel.”

Old Jewish house in Dunaevtsy, 1970's

Old Jewish house in Dunaevtsy, 1970’s


The  Jewish community numbered 1,129 in 1765, but by 1775 it was  reduced to 484 as a result of the Haidamak uprising of 1768.  In 1780s  the community sprang back to life. From the beginning of the 19th century many Jews found employment as workers, dyers, and traders in the flourishing textile industry here.
The Jewish population rose to 2,020 in 1847 and approximately 10,000 before the outbreak of World War I (about two-thirds of the total population).

Jewish population of Dunaevtsy:
1775 — 484
1847 — 2,020
1910 — 9,221 (70,7%)
1926 — 5,186 (60,5%)
1934 — 4,574
1939 — 4,478 (68,2%)
2013 ~ 20

By the mid-XIX century most tailors and cobblers in Dunaevtsy were Jewish. A merchant Roitman opened a tobacco factory. In the 1830s 82 Jews were brought to trial for the murder of two informants who reported to the authorities about the Jews fleeing from compulsory military service (according to some sources, 30 people were condemned to death by running the gauntlet).
In 1847 there were two synagogues in Dunaevtsy. In 1871-72 a plot of land for the Jewish cemetery was purchased. In 1882 there were six synagogues. In 1880s Shloime Gorodok was appointed rabbi. In 1890  there were 11 synagogues, a Jewish hospital, an almshouse, a Talmud Torah and a number of cheders in Dunaevtsy.
Dunaevtsy became known as a center of Hebrew and Zionist literary and educational activity. Such scholars and writers as Yezkel Kaufmann, Levi Scharfstein, S.L. Blank and Abraham Rosen were born and educated there.
In 1899 the local Jews took on the rent on the sugar beet refinery and distillery and in 1907 an iron foundry. A lot of the workers were Jewish. In 1903 a Jewish three year specialized school for girls was opened by Burshtatman and in 1907 a two year specialized school for boys was opened by Gusakova.

Photo from the book "Dunovitz My Hometown"

Photo from the book “Dunovitz My Hometown”

In 1906, the local Jews owned two printing presses, a leather factory and a few cloth factories, as well as shops, warehouses, hotels, pharmacies, a book shop, and a photography studio.

Сloth factory in Dunaevtsy, beginning of 20 century

Сloth factory in Dunaevtsy, beginning of 20 century

The list of Dunaevtsy enterpreneurs from the Russian Empire Business Directories from 1904 and 1913:

After the establishment of the Soviet rule the town suffered economically. Many Jews emigrated or moved to the cities away from the provinces.

After the Civil War

In the early 1920s, Bund, “HeHalutz” and other Zionist groups were banned in Dunaevtsy. In 1925 there were 212 Jewish families, who wished to move to the Jewish Agricultural colony in Crimea. There were 5,186 Jews in Dunaevtsy in 1926 (60.5%  of the total).
Dunaevtsy Jewish Community currency during the revolutionary period:

In 1931 Dunaevetsky Jewish village council was established. In 1933 362 Jews formed a Jewish collective farm. Alongside the rest of Ukraine, in 1932-33 the Jewish population suffered from famine, imposed by the Soviet government through centralised hoarding of food supplies for export. Benzion Fendler was a Dunaevtsy rabbi in 1936.
These photos of Dunaevtsy were made by Pavel Zholtovskiy and Stefan Taranyshenko in the 1920s-1930s. Here typical shtetl buildings can be seen.

The buildings were destroyed later in the 20th century:

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The Germans occupied Dunaevtsy on July 11, 1941.
The local Jews and the Jews from neighbouring villages were herded into a ghetto, an area fenced with barbed wire, stretching from the market square to the pond. Those leaving the ghetto were either going to work or dead. The Jewish residents from the surrounding area were brought into the ghetto; food and water supplies were running low. Some local Ukrainians helped by passing water and food secretly through the barbed wire fence. Most Jews worked long days.

During the construction of a garage for the German motor brigade on the site of the former Dunaivtsi regional printing house, the queue of laboring Jews – young and old – stretched from the nearby village of Sichentsy to Rozhok: some were carrying stones, others were returning back for them to Sichentsy. A pool with a fountain near the regional commissariat (nowadays, a music school) was built in same manner. Those who lowered their stone to catch their breath, stumbled or sat down, got lashed or were shot on the spot. During the same period a water-pipe, joining the Commissariat and the commandant’s office (nowadays a regional communications hub) was laid, the central square was paved with the marble slabs taken from the Jewish cemetery and a water wheel was constructed to power the pump connected to the fountain, so that Gebietskommissar Eggers could enjoy his quiet evenings of meditation, exhausted after daily executions.

This is what Bohuslav Vasilyevich Nadorozhny, a Dunaivtsi resident 14 year old at the time and working at the mill, wrote in his memoir of the war: “I was a witness to how early in the morning three Jews, drenched with tar from head to foot, were coming back to the ghetto. They had to keep the fire under the tar barrel all night long, but they would keep falling asleep. In the morning a German punished each of them by putting a ladle of boiling tar in their caps, and forcing them to put them on their heads. Lack of food and water, hard labor, disease, beatings, humiliation – it all took away many lives. ”

A burial of 19 young Jews killed by the Nazis in 1942

A burial of 19 young Jews killed by the Nazis in 1942

In December 1941, in order to intimidate and demoralize the local population, the Germans executed 20 people by hanging on the telephone poles. The condemned returned from the Dunaivtsi railway station before the allotted time, leaving some wagons unloaded. At the Leybah forge special cramps were made, and on Saturday morning they were fixed to the poles. Even those who were making them initially thought that they were some sort of cable fixtures, but in the evening, when they were returning from work, they saw that some Jews from the ghetto were hanged using the cramps on the poles between the pond and the market. After the war they were reburied in the Jewish Cemetery. The names of only ten of them are known…

On May 8, 1942 approximately 2,300 Jews were thrown alive in the phosphate mine, helpfully indicated to the Germans by a local engineer. The entrance to the mine was bricked up and nobody could get out. For three weeks the locals heard cries for help, moaning, agonising screams. They starved to death or suffocated.
Some Jews managed to hide. Despite strict warnings about exterminating the whole family for harboring at least one Jew, some Ukrainians went to great lengths to save Jews. At the same time, there were local traitors who tried to curry favor with the Germans as much as they could. One such resident of Dunaivtsi, a Ukrainian Alexander  Plakintik , hid  his Jewish wife  and their baby in a pit behind the stove. A Ukrainian collaborator Bukata killed the baby by smashing her head on the door in front of her father, who refused to give up his wife, then pulled the mother, crazed from grief, out of the pit by the hair and took her to the ghetto.
The remaining ghetto Jews were moved to another ghetto which was a labor camp. In late May 1942, the Jews from Balin, Velikiy Zhvanchik, Zinkov, Smotrich, Shatava were brought to the ghetto. The prisonres were forced to work at railway station. After the start of some epidemic the Germans decided to eliminate the camp.

On October 19, 1942 about 1,820 Jews from the Dunayevtsy ghetto were assembled in the ghetto square, then they were taken in three groups to the Solonenski forest and shot in sandpits.
In August 1942 2,000 and on October 27, 1942 1,500 Jews were killed.
Old Jewish houses in the center of Dunayevtsy, 2017. Photo by Oleksander Romaniuk:

Not far from a former Jewish collective farm “Pedeks” the Germans shot 68 people from mixed Jewish families.

The сcommandant with his German shepherd appeared regularly. In October 1942, near an abandoned ruin of a farm, he clashed with a group of Jews in hiding. In an instant, several pairs of hands grabbed the commandant and pulled him into a ditch (among them was one of the Judenrat heads, Shiko Goren). The policemen, who were nearby, started firing their handguns and pulled the German out of the ditch barely alive. Everybody involved in the incident was immediately shot. The bodies of these people were buried in a grave near the bakery, in the garden of a doctor A P Chichanivska. The modern memorial inscription reads: “The remains of our dearest fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, who died at the hands of the German monsters, lie here. Your bright image will stay in our hearts and memories forever. Let this mass grave remind people about the inhumanity of the Nazi invaders. October 1942”

Grave near the bakery

Grave near the bakery

During WWII in Dunaevtsy over 8,000 Jews were killed, 2,500 of them local.

12,000 bodies were exhumed in the Dunaivtsi region along the Soloninchik track route near the village of Chankov, in the phosphate mine, in the garden near the former garage, and other places.
Only two lists of names of the Holocaust victims exist. The names were collected by the members of the Dunaevtsy Jewish community after the war, one including the names of 150 men marked as “killed with the family”, and the other one with 77 names of the Jews perished.

The lists are available to download here (Special thanks for translation to Anna Roizner).

Dunaevtsy was liberated by the Red Army at March 31, 1944.

After the war

After the liberation some Jewish families returned to Dunaevtsy. In 1948 there was an illegal minyan.

Memorial to the Dunaevtsy Holocaust victims in New Montefiore Cemetery in New York.

Memorial to the Dunaevtsy Holocaust victims in New Montefiore Cemetery in New York.

In 1965 a memorial to commemorate the Dunaevtsy Holocaust victims was erected in NEW MONTEFIORE CEMETERY in New York by United Dinewitzer Podolier Benevolent Association. The memorial committee: Louis Meilman (hon. chairman), Harry Shein (chairman), Irving Rosen, Adolph Gellman, Max Belzer, Israel and Sonia Zipperman, Oscar Kalinowsky, Sol Zipperman, Ezzie Zutler, Julius Miller. Further information is available here).
“In memory of the martyrs of Dinewitzer Podolier who were murdered by the Nazis and their agents during the years 1941-1945. Humanity must never forget them. We will keep their memory alive forever. May their souls rest in peace..”
In 1970s and 1980s most Jews emigrated to Israel and USA.

A Jewish Community was registered in 1995.  In 2002-2004 there was a Jewish Sunday school for children, offering classes in Hebrew and Jewish traditions. The descendants of Dunaevtsy migrants in the US sponsored a memorial at the mine in Demyankivcy.

Tatiana Konstantinovna Roizner is the chair of the Jewish Community.

Not a lot of information is available on the history of Dunayevtsy Jewish Community. Ivanka Visobroshna, a local resident, systematized this part of Dunayevtsy heritage in her scholarly work and a copy for her article can be found here. Ukraine Jewish Heritage is very grateful for her permission to publish her article here.
Zevi Scharfstein (1884-1972) emigrated to the US from Dunayevtsy in the early 20th century and published a book “Dunovitz My Hometown” in 1955. You can download it here.

Old Jewish Cemetery

The Old Jewish cemetery was destroyed after the war and an armature plant was built on the site. Location of gravestones is unknown.

Sichenci Jewish Cemetery

This cemetery is still in use. According to Ukraine Jewish Heritage research, the oldest gravestones date back to the beginning of 20th century. There is a grave of Holocaust victims.
There are also ruins of Hevra Kadisha house.

Gravestones from Sichenci Jewish Cemetery which were found in the center of Dunaevtsi:


There is only one surviving former synagogue building out of 11 in the early 20th century, which can be found on the corner of Sportivna Str. and Bazarna Str. and now houses the Police Department.

Last synagogue in city

Last synagogue in city

One of the Dunayevtsy synagogue, beginning of XX century. Building wasn't preserved

One of the Dunayevtsy synagogue, beginning of XX century. Building wasn’t preserved

Jewish Ghetto during WWII

It was located at the Erysalimka region, where only the most destitute Jews used to live in 1920s.

Jewish Labor Camp

It was located on the site of a local hospital.

Demyankovtsy phosphate mine

On May 8, 1942 nearly 2,300 Jews were thrown alive in the phosphate mine. They died of thirst, hunger and suffocation. A memorial was erected here during the Soviet times. It was restored in 2003, sponsored by the last members of Dinewitzer Association in USA. One of them, Martin Gelman, visited Dunaevtsy. In 2002-2003 in the US there was only three members of this organization left and they were all in their 90s.
Part of the photos was taken from Untold Stories Yad Vashem website.

Monument in 2017:

Holocaust mass burial in a private courtyard

Tretiego Internacionala (Third International) St. 12, in the courtyard. Owner: A. P. Chichanovskyi. There is a memorial on the site.

A mass grave in Solonenski forest

Commemoration service at the monument in Solonenski forest

Commemoration service at the monument in Solonenski forest

The monument in the Solonenski forest

The monument in the Solonenski forest




  1. В статье о Дунаевцах указывается, что сохранились два списка погибших в этом городе.
    Как можно с помощью интернета прочитать данные списки? Или где можно запросить эти списки? Спасибо. Борис.

  2. Еврейская община города Дунаевцы (ФИРОУ)
    председатель: Татьяна Константиновна Ройзнер
    Телефон: +380385831791

    Попробуйте с ней связаться. Но надеюсь эти списки получить, и выложить.

    • Виталий, доброе утро. Я решил не тревожить Татьяну и дождаться того времени, когда Вы поместите списки на сайте. Прошу Вас собщить мне об этом по адресу, который я указал при регистрации своей просьбы. Хорошего дня. Борис

  3. Здравствуйте. Списки у нас есть. Но они неполные, они составлены со слов и воспоминаний жителей города. Есть списки погибших в шахте и расстрелянных в с. Солонынчик под Дунаевцами. Можно их выложить на сайт.

    • Анна,
      Сбросьте, пожалуйста, списки на, я выложу в эту статью

  4. Списки отправила. Там есть систематизированные ( от части). Часть написана просто от руки. В английском варианте я постаралась уже соединить все. Правда, переводила давно, но вроде, никто не добавлял с тех пор.

  5. Спасибо Вам! 🙂

  6. Анна и Виталий, доброе утро. Большое спасибо Вам за исполненную просьбу. Борис

  7. Будьте добры и мне списки

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