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Mokra Kaligorka

Mokra Kaligorka

Kalihórka Mokra (Polish), Мокрая Калигорка, Mokraya Kaligorka (Russian)

Mokra Kaligorka
is town of the Katerinopol district, Cherkassy region. It has been known since the early XVIII century, at which time it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It has been a part of the Russian Empire since 1793. In the XIX-early XX centuries, it was the town Kaligorka Mokraya of Zvenigorod uyezd, Kiev gubernia.

Most information for this article was provided by teacher of the local school Ludmila Diduk.

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We don’t know when Jews first appeared in Mokra Kaligorka.

In 1896, a Jewish almshouse was functioning in Mokra Kaligorka. In 1914, Jews owned a drugstore, bakery, and 52 stalls including 13 factories and two grocery stores.

Mokra Kaligorka entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Mokra Kaligorka entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

There was also a landlord’s mansion, a Jewish synagogue, a bakery, the Jew Benia’s inn (he was mentioned in the book “Black Raven” by Vasyl Shkliar), various shops, workshops, and houses in the centre of the village.
Jews were tailors and shoemakers, hiring their assistants from the peasants and offering part-time jobs to children. They washed bottles, carbonated water, and did all the dirty work to earn their living.

Jewish population of Mokra Kaligorka:
1830 – 335 (28% of total)
1897 – 1677 (54%),
1913 – 1300 (38%)
1923 – 156,
1939 – 115
2000’s – 0

In 1913, 1,300 Jews lived in the village. The community had its own synagogue, which was situated in the center of town behind a former food products factory on Kotovskii lane.
Jews settled the central part of the village, owned tailor, shoemaker and hattery workshops, and a Jew, Ben, owned a tavern. Ben was shot by Red Army soldiers in the early 1920’s.
During the revolution the town suffered a great number of Jewish pogroms.

As a result of all the pogroms more than 50 Jewish stalls were burnt in the center of the town. In 1920-1921, the Jewish population was being constantly terrorized by Grizlo’s band.

There were Jewish shops on this street

There were Jewish shops on this street

The Jews of Mokra Kalyhirka suffered from the raids of Popov’s, Kozakov’s, Zahorodny’s, Kotsyura’s and Gryzlo’s gangs, until the arrival of Denikin’s gangs in August 1919, which continued the pogroms for the following three months. By August 1919 Mokra Kaligirka had faced five pogroms, which had been carried out by local bands.  There were people killed and wounded, property was looted and torched. The Jews largely stayed in Mokra Kalyhirka in dilapidated homes and did not seek refuge in other cities. Following the entry of Polish forces into the town, the peasants from surrounding villages gathered in gangs and carried out raids on Jewish homes. In August 1920, Jews from the surrounding area fled to Shpola.

Statistic on pogroms Mokra Kaligorka from Kiev Archive, Fond 3050

Statistic on pogroms Mokra Kaligorka from Kiev Archive, Fond 3050

In 1922, a Jewish self-defense squad of 25 people was formed in the village. The pogroms, dispossessions, and resettlement into the collective farms caused Jews to leave the town.

Former market square

Former market square

JDC report describes results of the pogrom in Mokra Kaligorka:

Mokraya-Kaligorka is about 25 versts from Shpola. It was in the path of advancing and retreating Armies and the scene of murderous attacks by marauding bands, such as those led by Grigoriev, Denikin, Popovsky, Grizlovsky, Petrenko, Panteley, Sinigousa and Boyco, which have resulted in 16O Jews being murdered.

Before the pogroms this town had a total population of 8,000. Now there are only 4,000 of which 500 are Jews. There were 350 houses and 186 shops, but now only 93 houses remain and there are no shops. The decrease in the total population was mainly Jewish.

PreWWII house in the former center of shtetl

PreWWII house in the former center of shtetl

The town has two steam, mills, one grits mill, and one weaver loom, but trade is at a stand-still. There are 75 orphans in Mokraya-Kaligorka. The JDC has distributed 25 food packages, 30 shirts, 20 undergarments and 15 sweaters in Mokraya-Kaligorka for individual relief.

Leiba Tubelskii was a rabbi and a shochet in the 1920’s.
Avrum Yankelevich Zilenber, a Jew, 62 years old, was among the victims of the artificial famine of the 1932-1933. He died of starvation on the 19th of May 1933.

Photos from Mokra Kaligorka from archive of Anna Fein:

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On July , 30th 1941, Wermacht units occupied the village. I couldn’t find any information about the victims of Holocaust in Mokra Kaligorka.

There are the names of the following Jews among the men who had been called up to the Red Army and died at the front of the WWII:
Shulia Ivanovich Frenkel, Andriy Yosipovich Faliush, Anton Sidorovich Khokha, Vasil Gordiyovich Shmegerovskiy, Abram Shlomovich Vekoler, Semen Shlomovich Vekoler, Meyer Iupovich Zilbervart, Khaskel Ankelovich Kripovalov, Ilshi Kharitonovich Godliovskiy, Khaskel Ankelovich Kripovalov.

After the war several Jewish families returned to the village.

There was a synagogue on this place

There was a synagogue on this place

In 1947, five Jewish families lived in the village. At that time Petro Isaakovich Zigbervan, a Jew from Shpola, built a creamery and a mill in Mokra Kaligorka. Arkadiy Musiyenko was the manager of the creamery. Oleksandr Belinskiy was a baker after the war.

By the 2000’s, no Jews lived in the village.

The Jewish cemetery was destroyed after the war.

Site of Jewish cemetery. Gravestones were stolen by local Ukrainians

Site of Jewish cemetery. Gravestones were stolen by local Ukrainians

In 2014, film director from Geneva, Peter Entel, visited the village. His family moved to New York in 1914 from Mokra Kaligorka, and he was born in 1952.

Famous Jews from

Aron Yosipovich Burshtein (1890, Mokra Kaligorka – 1965, Odesa), was a doctor of medicine, hygienist, professor, honored worker of Kazakh SSR.


Information from the archive concerning the Jews of Mokra Kaligorka is kept in Fund 1166 of Kiev Archive. Here there are the documents for 1854, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862.
1858 census of merchants and burgers from Mokra Kaligorka is kept in State Archive of Kiev region – Fund 280, inventory 2, case 1382.

Synagogue registers of marriages for 1854-1916 are kept in Cherkassy region state archive.
The following surnames are mentioned there: Niberovich, Kosminovich, Gershkovich, Boykevich, Mashkovich, Volkovich, Chupovich, Mindich, Moshko, Murko, Barko, Moshevolko, Shamesov, Spivakov, Zinkov, Shkliarov, Avrumov, Mendrov, Leyzorov, Shishkov, Mirerodskiy, Vovkovskiy, Lisinskiy, Chirkoskiy, Dolinskiy, Pushinskiy, Podovskiy, Gorkovskiy, Chornobilskiy, Yalovskiy, Zaslavskiy, Mikhelskiy, Tubilskiy, Kamenskiy, Bilopolskiy, Vinogradskiy, Kobrinevskiy, Olshanskiy, Khvastovskiy, Basitskiy, Varshavskiy, Polskiy, Brodskiy, Braverman, Dinershtein, Fenbershtein, Goldenberg, Burshtein, Kotiyar, Shvarusman, Drudman, Berka, Goysfon.

Jewish cemetery

The only remaining tombstone has been recently placed in the center of the cemetery.

Last gravestone on local Jewish cemetery, 2017

Last gravestone on local Jewish cemetery, 2017

Inscription on the only surviving tombstone:

איש חשוב מוהר רי
זלמן בר יצחק זל

Zelman I. Lybedinsky
Died in 1935,
is buried here.
A honorable man, our teacher and rabbi
Zalman, son of Isaac Lybedinsky
Of blessed memory,
[…] in the year 5695
Let his soul be bound in the bond of life




  1. Шановний Віталіє! Щиро дякую за Вашу працю та переклад мого матеріалу, що ввійшов до книги “Тобі вклоняюся доземно, село моє рідне, моя ти земле”, яка знаходиться вже в друкарні. Маю велику надію, що скоро книгу передам і вам, а ця стаття відшукає тих, хто сам чи його родина були пов’язані з с.Мокра Калигірка та стане для них маленьким віконечком у минуле. Зичу Вам нових відкриттів та звершень! Потрібну робите справу! Поспішайте, адже свідки минувшини тихенько відходять у інший світ. Всього найкращого! З повагою – Людмила Дідук.

  2. My grandfather Moshe Polinsky was born in Mokraya Kaligorka and married Pessie Kapelusnik from Zvenigorodka. Because of antisemitism they emigrated to Argentina under the Baron Hirsch scheme and tried to settle down there but found it too difiicult and so they travelled to England and lived in Manchester with other Ukranian Jews. To my regret Moshe died before I was born. So all I know of him was from my mother who was born in Argentina.

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