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Ivankov is a city in Kiev region, center of Ivankov district. The city’s estimated population is 10,678 (as of 2012). Ivankov is located on the Teterev River, a tributary of the Dnieper.

In XIX – beginning of XX century it was the shtetl of Radomyshl Uezd, Kiev Gubernia.

Ivankov is approx. 80 km from Kiev and in 50 km from Chernobyl.

Most data was taken from the publication of the head of Ivankov Jewish community Nelli Grigorovich “Born in shtetl”. In it, she organised various sources into a single narrative, interviewed dozens of people and collected hundreds of photos.

Nelya Grigorovich at the opening ceremony in village Sydorovichi of Ivankov district

Nelya Grigorovich at the opening ceremony in village Sydorovichi of Ivankov district


A settlement has existed on the site of Ivankiv since ancient times. Originally named Trudynov, it became Pasynkovschina in 1524 and has been known as Ivaniv since 1589 (later Ivankiv) after the owner of the territory, Ivan Proskura.

Jewish population of Ivankov:
1765 – 642 (27% of total)
1881 – 721 Jews
1897 – 1577 (52% of total)
1923 – 206 Jews
1939 – 430 Jews
2016 ~ 20 Jews

A Jewish community was established in Ivankiv in the first half of the 19th century, which is likely to have been associated with the creation of the Pale of Settlement. In 1847 the Ivankiv Jewish community numbered 642 people (Pohilevich mentions 560 people in 1864). In 1897 there were 3,037 inhabitants in the town, of which 1,577 were Jews.

In the early XIX century, the Jews from Ivankov owned two trading stalls and a mill.

The town suffered from frequent fires in the XIX century. A particularly strong fire broke out on March 31, 1891, and, according to historical documentation, destroyed the yeshivot. In 1893, the community received permission for their reconstruction.

In 1865, there was a synagogue in Ivankov. By the late XIX century, Mordkhe-Doyv Levitskiy had been a rabbi in the shtetl for 35 years. In 1899, Froim Kovalenko (1875-?) replaced him, in 1906 M.-D. Levitskiy’s son Yankel Levitskiy (1884-?). By 1900 there were two synagogues in the town. They are no longer standing.

According to some sources, Ivankov often suffered from fires. On March 31, 1892, a fire destroyed several synagogues. As a result, 14 people died and all wooden buildings burnt down. Only the building of one synagogue was left untouched. After the fire, Moshko-Mordko Lipovich Vaynstein on behalf of the whole Jewish community applied to the Building Council of Kiev Province asking for permission to build another synagogue, with building plans attached. In 1895, it was completed.

Plans of the Ivankov synagogues:

At that time, the construction of Jewish prayer schools continued both in the shtetl and in the nearby villages.

The Jewish community of Ivankiv was engaged in crafts and trade. In 1913, Jews owned virtually all of the shops – 19 grocery shops, four clothes shops, two haberdashery shops, four ironmongers and three leather goods shops. In addition, the Gorenshtein brothers owned a saw mill with 29 employees.

Another devastating fire occurred in Ivankov in 1911. The market square with several Jewish stalls was moved to the northern outskirts of Ivankov following that fire, and remained there until the middle of last century.

There were 2 synagogues one in front of the other on this street.

There were 2 synagogues one in front of the other on this street.

In 1912, several Jewish savings and credit societies operated in Ivankov.

There is archive evidence of the first industrial operations in Ivankov and the area. The agricultural boom in the Polissia region gave rise to furriery, which was actively taken up by the local Jews. The local Jews were also involved in building mills, soap factories, and timber industry. Some projects were successful, some less so but the evidence is there of the Jewish population of the region actively engaged in the local economy.

The following sources are kept in the Kiyv State Archives:

  • In 1908, Esther Sapozhnikova tried to register a manufacture built earlier. For some reason, she failed to gain the registration.
  • Aron Mordukhovich Rozman’s application for opening a tannery in 1911
  • Chaim Nakhumovich Braginskiy’s application for a soap factory in 1910
  • Shmul Leybovich Kutsenok and Gersha Berkov-Nukhov Rabichev’s application for opening a mill with a gas generator engine. The application failed because of the anti Jewish legislation approved on May 3, 1882. According to this legislation, all Jews were prohibited from buying or leasing land in villages.
  • Locals’ complaint against Mordukh Pichunko’s steam mill in Ivankov
  • Khaykel Shlemov Slavinskiy’s application to build a leather goods’ factory in Ivankov in 1916.
Ivankov entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Ivankov entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Before the revolution, there were 400 houses, 60 stalls, two leather production factories, a mill, a hospital, four synagogues, a savings and loan society, Bikur-Khoylim, Talmud-Torah, and a Jewish library in Ivankov. About 2,000 Jews lived in Ivankov, 50% of the total population.

Civil War pogroms

In 1918, the Soviets arrived in Ivankiv. From 1918 to 1921, gangs led by Struk and Loznyuk were active in the vicinity and were involved in clashes with the Red Army. These gangs of up to 1,000 people carried out raids on Chernobyl, Malin, Ivankiv and Khabne (now Poliske). During the raids, the Jews were often threatened and ordered to pay large sums. Resistance was punished; 150 people are known to have been shot in the Ivankiv synagogue. The rabbi of the town at that time was Y. Levitsky.

Old PreRevolution house in the center of Ivankov near site of synagogues

Old PreRevolution house in the center of Ivankov near site of synagogues

Shulim Ariyev Braginskiy’s (born in 1864) and P. Rabinovich’s memories of the pogroms in Ivankov:

The first pogrom was organized by the members of Strukva Tarasilov’s gang who instigated pogroms in the Ivankov area. As a result, about 200 people from nearby villages congregated in the shtetl. They demanded money, shoes, clothes, and other goods from the local Jews for the gang’s upkeep.

Three weeks later, on the first Sunday after the Passover, in April 1919, local pesants and gang members started a pogrom. The Jewish quarter of Ivankov was destroyed. 20 Jews were killed. After the pogrom, the Jews escaped to Kiev and Razvozhevskiy district. Most refugees straved to death or died of typhoid.

The second pogrom took place in July 1919. Its organizers were ataman Struk and Zakusillo, who looted and burned Jewish houses. The local Jews escaped further afield, to Kiev, Chernobyl, Malin.

Yet another pogrom was carried out by Orlik in December 1920. He looted and destroyed all Jewish houses which survived the previous two pogroms. Eight people were killed. The locals were overjoyed when the Jews were finally completely expelled from the shtetl.

After that, only four families remained in the shtetl, ten people in all.

Former Jewish quarter in Ivankov

Former Jewish quarter in Ivankov

The local Christian population was hostile to the Jews, who had suffered greatly during the pogroms. No Jewish self-defense was set up in the shtetl. 40 people were killed during three pogroms, resulting in many orphans and no aid available.

Here are the memories of the pogrom, recorded in the 1930s:

Shymanovska Surka with her baby, the baby still breastfeeding…they are all dead. Bilotserkivskyy who had just come back from his seven-year time in force labour abroad (he was a POW), got his head cut off by the bandits. 18 year old Motia Volodynskyy had his head cracked open with a rifle stock…

Desription of pogroms in Ivankov from “Scroll of massacre” book.

It has to be noted that some Ukrainians tried to help their Jewish neighbors.

Mourners at the cemetery with the body of a young man who was killed in a pogrom, Ivankov 1919-1921

Mourners at the cemetery with the body of a young man who was killed in a pogrom, Ivankov 1919-1921

Between the Wars

In 1929, 19 peasant households formed a farming collective, including the Ivankov collective farm “Victory”. Ovsiy Davydovych Lumelskyy was its secretary.

Three-wooden buildings were located in the centre of the shtetl, where Jewish families lived. The shops were on the ground and first floors, with the living quarters at the top floor.

There is a covered well behind the people who gathered in the square. A firefighting station was nearby. In the background of the photo there is a house of Elia Yermak.

In 1932, the first edition of newspaper “Red Ray” was published in Ukrainian but first it was called “Proletarische Fon” (Proletarian Flag) and was published in Yiddish. The issues from 1930 and 1931 are found in the archives. The chief editor was Livshyts, the reporters Lubman, Feldman and the press photographer Katsman and others. This is how we know that in 1932 two synagogues were open in Ivankov.

Bella Rochelle Hrisman-Gartsman with grandaughter(?), Ivankov 1930's. Photo provided by Joshua Yurman. She was married to Eliyahu Gartsman. The Nazis killed her when she was 97 years old in Ivankov, Ukraine. When she was young girl, Bella Rochelle was arranged to marry a man in a neighboring shtetl (village). Though she did not know the man, she understood that her parents had made a good match. After marrying Eliyahu Gartsman, the two moved to Ivankov, Ukraine, where they started a large family with 11 children and countless grandchildren. Countless descendants of Bella live today across the globe.

Bella Rochelle Hrisman-Gartsman with grandaughter(?), Ivankov 1930’s. Photo provided by Joshua Yurman. She was married to Eliyahu Gartsman. The Nazis killed her when she was 97 years old in Ivankov, Ukraine. When she was young girl, Bella Rochelle was arranged to marry a man in a neighboring shtetl (village). Though she did not know the man, she understood that her parents had made a good match. After marrying Eliyahu Gartsman, the two moved to Ivankov, Ukraine, where they started a large family with 11 children and countless grandchildren. Countless descendants of Bella live today across the globe.

A Jewish collective farm was founded in Ivankov in the early 1930s, with Shusterman registered as the head. Again, the local newspaper provides the names of the farmers. Boris Kotliar, Nisla Lerman, Niunia Faktorovich, Avrum Braginskiy, Meyer Kaplan, Avrum Belotserkovskiy, Gershko Gorokhovskiy, Serebrenikov, Srul Kupershtein, David Galinskiy, Beniamin Kordonskiy, Peysia Rabinovich, and Yankel Gokhvat.

Funny story about Jewish collective farm in local newspaper, 1930's

Funny story about Jewish collective farm in local newspaper, 1930’s

In 1935, the collective farm loses its Jewish identity and is renamed after a revolutionary hero Postishev but Jewish names are still there in newspaper reports.

In 1937, the newspaper published a propaganda article with the following:

“Today we are publishing a story told by the old Jews of Ivankov, a 99 year old Motl Yudytskyy, a 74 year old Leyba Shimanovskyy, a 72 year old Gershko Lerman, a 74 year old Moshko Volodynskyy, an 80 year old Ovsiy Honopolskyy, a 66 year old Ovsiy Starobiskyy, a 65 year old Brukha Kupershtein, a 70 year old Khana Yudytska, a 68 year old Yu. Honopolska are telling us about their past lives, how poor, miserable and full of hardship it used to be.”

It is possible to glean some insight into the life of the Jewish community of Ivankov in these propaganda publications.

“800 Jewish families used to live in Ivankov. They were mostly artisans, tailors and cobblers. Some of them had a little land but it was very rare. Some had cows, but there was nowhere to graze them. “

Gochvat Family: Avrum, Rona, Bronya Fruma and Jacob, Ivankov 1930's. Photo provided by Joshua Yurman

Gochvat Family: Avrum, Rona, Bronya Fruma and Jacob, Ivankov 1930’s. Photo provided by Joshua Yurman

The newspaper pages for 1938 and the following years of Stalinist purges are full of speeches by B. Narodytskyy, V. Zhalovnik, H. Lifshyts, Khabenskyy, Bilotserkivskyy, Baytman, D. Kupershtein, A. Lantsman, Zh. Simakhodska, M. Kozel, S. Simakhodskyy, Sh. Krayzman, Ya. Shusterman, A. Feldman, N. Lerman, Lubman, and other Jews.

In 1939, 430 Jews (68% of the population) lived in Ivankov.


From September 1, 1942 Ivankov is the center of the Kiev General District, Reichskommissariat Ukraine.

At the end of September 1941, the Jewish population of Ivankov was ordered to gather on the central square of the town and bring their valuables with them. They were taken in trucks to the place where they were going to be executed. Ten or more Germans took part in the execution, with the participation of the Ukrainian police. Children were shot first, then women and men. 302 Jews died that day, according to other information there were 366 dead. The names of 202 victims have been identified.

In the autumn 1941, 72 Jews were shot near the local hospital in Ivankov. In January 1942, the children from mixed families with at least one Jewish parent were shot.

The shootings took place in Berezina Maslyakova, at the Jewish cemetery, and in Peremishche, which is located three kilometers away from the shtetl. Seven children were shot behind the bridge across the river Teterev on the Kiev highway. The Jews from the nearby villages were also shot in Ivankov, three families of 12 people, from the villages of Volchkov, Rozvazhev (Mizel family).

In the Autumn 1941, a Jewish partisan Baranovskiy was arrested and then executed.

More than 500 Jews were killed in Ivankov. The town was liberated on November 10, 1943.

German invaders entered the town on August 23, 1941. Part of the Jewish population had managed to evacuate by that time.

In 2002, a granite monument was erected on the shooting site.

Another shooting took place in Bolotnia, in the woods in the grounds of the district hospital on the outskirts of Ivankiv.

About 40 Ivankiv Jews were killed at the front during the war. Their names are listed in the village ‘Park of Glory’.

After the War

Having heard the news of liberation of Ivankov, the Jewish families who managed to evacuate started to come back home. Some of their houses were completely destroyed, some were looted, some were taken down for firewood for those who had to stay in the shtetl during two years of German occupation.

The center of the shtetl was populated by the Jewish families as it used to be before the war. The following families were mentioned in the records: Narodytskyy, Zhalovnik, Dymarskyy, Polishchuk, Zhurakhivskyy, Kuperstein, Horokhovskyy, Helfand, Lumelskyy, Spivak, Biloruskyy, Khazan, Feldman, Miretskyy, Halinskyy, Shtemberg, Yampolskyy, Shklovskyy, Finkelberg, ,Simakhodskyy, Staroseletskyy, Kofman, Karpman, Sapozhnikov, Hazman, Serebrenikov, Bronfeld, Kordonskyy, Veprynskyy, Lishchynskyy,Vayzman, Belson, Prytsky…


Those Jews who received the news of the death of their relatives chose not to come back to Ivankov, they settled in other places in the Soviet Union.

Many Jewish men were conscripted, fought in the front line and came back disabled, such as  Yudkovich Kozel, Beniumen Avramovich Kordonskyy, Lev Ovsiyovych Veytsel. Olexandr Borysovych Kofman, Yosyp Lvovych Hazman, Naum Yosypovych Leshchynskyy, Matviy Hrohorovych Finkelberg, and Mykhaylo Lazarevych Zhalovnik also returned after serving in the army.


Alla Sapozhnikova, Semen Mendelenko, Lionia Hazman, Bela Veprynska, Lilia Horokhovska, Liuda and Fila Polishchuk, Arkadiy Vaprynskyy, Polina Leshchynska, Boria Feldman, Boria Finkelberg, Boria and David Kofman, Grisha Halinskyy, Mark Prytsko, Leonid Spivak, David and Yosyp Veytsel were among those who were born in ivankov after the war.

The center of the shtetl has changed a lot with all prewar housing in the central Karl Marx street demolished.

In her book, Nelia Grigorovich recalls many Jewish families of postwar Ivankov. Most of them have already passed away.
Those are Gavriil Alexandrovich Sandler (1922 – 1993), his daughter left for Germany;
Olexandr Yukhymovych Shliak,
Borys Zakharovych Biloruskyy, his two brothers Yakov and Oleksandr died at the front, his daughter lives in the USA;
Yosyp Pavlovych Lytvak was in charge of the local department store, his daughter Galina lives in Ivankov;
Yukhim Borisovich Spivak with his family; Yosip Lvovich Gazman;
Ira and Naum Polishchuk lived with the family of his son Vladimir Naumovich Polishchuk and his daughter-in-law Anna Abramovna;
Yakov Gelfand with his wife Anna; Mikhail Serebiannikov;
tailor Naum Dymarskiy with children Aron , Boris, Roza, and Fira;
widow Raisa Bronfeld (her husband was killed in the war) with children Arkadiy and Tamara;
Leya Spivak with her son Yefim Borisovich and his family;
David Karpman with wife Esther and sons Roman, Yuriy, Leonid, and Mikhail;
Mark and Malka Kuperstein with daughters Mariya and Sophiya;
Froim Galinskiy with wife Bashiva and son Misha who left for the USA, elder son Boris died at the front;
Shay and Nukhim Krayzman with wife Rahil and daughters Mariya and Galina;
Avraam Kaplan with wife Mariya and children Nina and Mikhail;
Matvey Grigoryevich Finkelberg with wife Nina and son Boris; Arkadiy Yosipovich Litvak’s family;
Man’ Yudkovich Kozel (came back from the front without one leg) with wife Sophiya and son Valentin (left for the USA);
vets Mariya Bokvskaya and Dmitriy Bogoliubov; Raisa Moshkovna Simakhodskaya with family;
Mira Petrovna Semnova with husband Yefim Solomonovich Drobner and son Petr (lives in Israel);
Etia Abramovna Sapozhnik with children Izia, Alla, and Semen;
Aleksey Abramovich and Mariya Isayevna Staroseletskiy with two daughters;
Yefim Borisovich and Rita Yakovlevna Verpinskiy; Matil Beringolts with the family;
Shulim and Fania Babichenko with children Yefim, Yakov, Leonid, and Raisa (lives in the USA);
Yakov Narodnitskiy’s widow Mariya (her husband died at the front)with daughters Liza, Zina, and Fania;
Musiy and Liuba Narodnitskiy; Biniuma and Sarah Kardonskiy with children;
widow Mariya Veprinskaya with children; Reveka Kordonskaya; Fania Feldman with sons Roman and Izia;
widow Tsilia Kupestein with two children;
Boris and Sophiya Gendler; Fania Zhilovnik with sons Motik, Fima, and Kolia; Tula Olevskiy with the family;
Semen and Galina Miretsko (Semen’s first wife and their child were shot by the Germans);
widow Sophiya Brusilovskaya with children Liusia, Maya, and Felix;
Iosif Lvovich and Sarah Abramovna Gazman with son Leonid (lives in the USA);
Esfir Shusterman with the son (the other son and her husband died at the front);
Shtemberg family with children Petr and Evgeniya (live in the USA).

After the war Isaak Grigoryevich Gorokhovskiy was a formal head of the community and its rabbi. All members of his family moved to the USA. An illegal minyan consisting of Polishchuk, Pritsko, David Lumelskiy, and others congregated at his house.

Former house of Gorohovskiy family. Illegal minyan was gathering here.

Former house of Gorohovskiy family. Illegal minyan was gathering here.

In the 1960s, the bodies of those Jews who had been shot were transferred to the Jewish cemetery of Ivankov. Froim Galinskiy, David Ovseyevich Lumelskiy, and Musiy Fayvelevich Naroditskiy organised the re-burial. The location of the mass grave was pointed out by a local called Miroshnichenko who collected cartridge cases remaining after the war. His evidence helped to find the place of execution.

As a result of emigration and assimilation, the Jewish population of Ivankov plummeted.

The Jewish community was officially registered in 1994, when only 50 Jews lived here. Nelia Grigorovich has been the head of the community ever since. By 2002, the community acquired an office but fewer than 20 Jews remained in Ivankov…

Members of Ivankov Jewosh community in 2000's

Members of Ivankov Jewosh community in 2000’s

In 2003, the monument to the countrymen who died in the Holocaust was erected in the center of Ivankov, paid for by a  local businessman Volodymyr Ivanovych Skreda. The monument is the target of regular vandalising attacks.

Famous Jews from Ivankov

Hana Borisovna Shmayenok (1913, Ivankov – ?), an actress, and a film-maker.

Moisey (Moyshe-Aaron) Yakovlevich Beregovskiy (1892, Termakhovka village, near Ivankov – 1961, Kiev), a musicologist, a collector and keeper of the Jewish musical folklore. He was born in the family of the religious teacher,  arrested in 1949 and freed in 1955.

Nekhemiya Rabichev (Rabin) (1866, Sidorovichi village, near Ivankov – 1971, Israel) – Israeli social and political activist, the father of the Prime Minister of Israel Yitzchak Rabin.

Genrikh Markovich Khabinskiy (1931, Ivankov) – a painter.

Chaim Khazaz (1898, Sidorovichi village, near Ivankov – 1973, Israel), Israeli writer and a playwright.


List of pogroms in Chernobyl, Gornostaipol, Habno and Ivankov.

Ivankov Jewish cemetery

Ivankiv Jewish cemetery is still used by the Jewish Community of Ivankiv. Currently the territory is owned by Ivankiv village council. On April 15, 2009, the Jewish community filed an appeal to the council requesting the transfer of the land to their ownership. The appeal was due to be considered on a session in late April 2009. Awaiting latest update.

Location of Ivankov Jewish cemetery on the map. Photo from the Surveys of Jewish cemeteries by ECJF.

Location of Ivankov Jewish cemetery on the map. Photo from the Surveys of Jewish cemeteries by ECJF.




  1. Hey, thanks for the article. My grandparents and my dad are mentioned in it. If you would like to talk about history feel free to mail me.


  2. My name is Elvira Khutorsky. My grandmother and grand father on my mother’s line, were borned and lived in Ivankov. When 2nd World War started in 1941 German soldiers came to Ivankov. And Farman’s forced jewish people from villages around to come one Vilage, where German forced jewish people to dig ground for their grave, then forced them to stand in it and started shooting, killed everyone. My question: do you know name of the Vilage where jewish were killed. Maybe Ivankov? Many years ago I was in Washington Holocaust Musiam. When t to 2nd place and they showed to me a lot of informations about it, including name of that Vilage. I am 84 yrs old and keeping forgetting many things. Now my
    granddaughter has big project about it and her teacher ask her include her relatives. Can you please help me. Thanks.
    I really appreciate.

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