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Прилуки – Priluki (Ukrainian), פרילוקי (Hebrew)

If your ancestors are Myasnikov from Priluki (or you have any information about them) – please contact me. It is possible that we are relatives 🙂

Priluki is a historic town located in Chernihiv region of northern Ukraine, center of the Prilutskiy region (not to be confused with Old Priluka – a village in the Vinnitsa region, a former shtetl). Priluki is located on the Udai River, a tributary of the Sula. The city’s estimated population is 61,600 (as of 2005).

Before the Great Socialist Revolution of 1917, Priluki was the center of the Priluki Uezd of Poltava gubernia.


Priluki first appears in the historical record in 1085. The settlement was founded initially as a border post during the time of Yaroslav the Wise.

In 1569-1648 Priluki was a part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In the 17th century, the Cossacks took part in the Khmelnytsky uprising. The fertile soil of the Udai basin proved itself attractive not only to marauders, but also to hard-working people fleeing from backbreaking toil. The number of inhabitants of Pryluky and adjacent villages grew considerably in the 17th century. One of the documents kept in the archives of Stockholm, Sweden stated that there were 800 chimneys, i.e. 800 houses, in Pryluky in 1632. Assuming that each house accommodated at least six persons, about 5,000 people lived in the city at that time.

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In 1648, Hetman (a high ranking Cossack officer) Bohdan Khmelnytsky introduced a new system of territorial-administrative division in Ukraine, having divided the country into regiments. Under this system the city of Pryluky became the military center of the Pryluky Regiment and Colonel Ivan Shkurat-Melnychenko was appointed its first commander.

Main market square in Priluki. Beginning of 20 century. Photo provided by Tatiana Zotz

In the XVII century, Priluki was home to only a few Jewish families. This was probably a result of the decrees set by hetmans Ivan Skoropadskiy and Danila Apostol, which prohibited Jews to live in Left-bank Ukraine.

Priluki received Magdeburg rights only in 1783. It can be assumed that a strong Jewish community emerged in Priluki around this time.

The current plan of the city was created in 1802 when all old streets were connected to the city’s central thoroughfare. This main thoroughfare would be renamed several times, in the later imperial Russian era (Ulitsya Aleksandrovskaya), in the Soviet Period Ulitsya Lenina, and Vulitsya Kyiv’ska after Ukrainian independence.

Intense construction started after the great fire in 1831, which almost completely destroyed the old buildings.

There were 2,007 Jews in Priluki in 1847, 5,722 (31% of the total population) in 1897.

In 1855, among Priluki Jews there were 124 merchants of the third guild and 690 of lower middle-class citizens.

In 1859 there was a synagogue and a prayer house, in 1864 – 4 synagogues.

By the end of the XIX century, two private theaters existed in the city, called Jewish and Intim, which belonged to A.M.Bukler.

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PreRevolution photos of Priluki Jews from private archives:

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By 1869 there were 4 brick factories in Priluki. In the early 20th century, the factory was owned by Mariengof Beniamin Levinovich (the first brick factory on Algazina St., 60), Smilyanskiy David-Itzhok Shlomovich used to own the second brick factory on Frynze St., 42, not far from the Dolgin’s mill, nowadays a residential built-up area, the brothers Shershevsky Neah-Israel and Yankel Izrailevich owned another brick factory on Kievskaya St., 210; in 1910 the owners were Manilo Kopel Leibovich and Shershevskiy Yankel Izrailevich), Kapara Vladimir Andeevich (Kievskaya St., 131).

Central part of Priluki, beginning of 20 century

Central part of Priluki, beginning of 20 century

Hillel Soltzovsky was a rabbi in Priluki at the end of the 19th century, while Naftali Yunik performed the duties of a shochet (ritual slaughterer).

In 1901 and 1903 the official rabbi was Joseph P. Flavievich Lyapidus in 1907-09 – Leib Movshev Tsirelson, in 1911 – Zelman Geselovich Tsiprinovich.

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In 1911, another rabbi in Priluki was Serebryansky.
A spiritual rabbi Abram Joshua Heschel Zamsky (1875, Starodub -?) led the community after 1910.

Abram Joshua Heschel Zamsky on the group photo after Korosten rabbi conference in 1926

Abram Joshua Heschel Zamsky on the group photo after Korosten rabbi conference in 1926

Description of rabbi's Zamskiy activity, 191

Description of rabbi’s Zamskiy activity, 1911

Jews owned two tobacco factories, two flour mills, and two small oil refineries. Many Jewish tailors sewed ready-made garments, which were sold in fairs in faraway towns. Apart from hadarim there were schools for boys and girls, and from the beginning of the 20th century, there was a Hebrew-language school.

A Relief society to help Frid’s Jewish secondary school for men was founded. Over the next two years, over 2,000 rubles were collected.

Video from the 1930s where Tsirelson appears at 2:06 :

Priluki enterpreneurs list from the Russian Empire Business Directories by 1903:

Difficult economic and political conditions caused a huge wave of Jewish emigration to USA and other Western countries at the end of 19th – beginning of 20th century. The US immigrants from Priluki founded a relief society called “Ershter Priluki”.


Descriptions of Priluki in a book by Ben-Tzion Dinur “A world that sank (vanished)” about his stay there in 1902:

I decided to move to Priluki, a central city in the Poltava Gubebrina. The city was known for having a high school program for external students, with a government high school for boys. At this school-boys weren’t pestered too much by their teachers and could earn some money working, while studying. At the time there were 20,000 inhabitants in Priluki, about a third were Jews. There were tobacco factories and Jewish laborers. I rented a room from Motty (Mordechai) the baker. He was one of the “Nikolayev soldiers”. He had been kidnapped when he was 8 years old and spent 25 years serving Nikolay the first. I asked him why his rolls were so small and he replied that Prilluki was a large city, there has to be enough for everyone. There was an excellent library in Priluki and I read such books as “History of the intellectual development of Europe” by Draper, which had been translated into Russian

As a result of severe ethnic and political restrictions, the Jewish youth was very active in the socialist revolutionary movement. In the summer of 1903, local “Bund” activists organized a small traders meeting in support of a general strike in the southern part of the Russian Empire. A branch of “Poalei Zion” existed in Priluki in 1905.

The 1908 Business Directory contains an entry for “The Jewish Relief Society for the Poor” and listed the businessmen who were members and donors: Abram Berk.Dolgin, Samuel Morduch. Dunaevsky secretary Yevsei Isr. Yasnogradsky, Sham. Benyam. Rabinovich, Mend. Zelman. Fratkin, merchant N. Ts.Zolotarev, Simon Isaac. Boumshteyn, Morduch Zayneymork Moses Uriev. Kogon, Berko Itsk.Suponitsky, Abraham Leib. Hirsch, Burko Morduch. Zapodinsky.

Perhaps, all Priluki photo studios, three or five at the time, were owned by the local Jews in 1908. Their owners were Y.V. Vinshteyn (Konotopskaya St.), Solomon Leibov. Krasnopolskiy (Gimnazicheskaya St.) and Evzer Ioselev. Rivkin.

The first commercial printing press in Priluki was set up in 1883 by Yankel Morduhovich Linkov on the market square. Another one was founded in 1904 by Aaron Yakovich Mirov in the building on Kievskaya St., 198a (the building survives nowadays). In 1908 they were the only two publishing houses in Priluki.

Aaron Yakovich Mirov

The former printing house of Aaron Mirov, 2015

In 1910, there were six synagogues and a Talmud Torah, three private Jewish schools for girls and one secondary school for boys. In 1910, 1,206 Jewish houses were recorded.

Before the 1917 Revolution, 206 Priluki Jews and their family members were recorded as members of the merchant class and 20 were designated as the noble citizens of Priluki.

Local hospital. Before the 1917 Revolution, there was a yeshiva in this area.

Local hospital. Before 1917, there was a yeshiva in this area.

The first Priluki telecommunication station was built in 1910 by Baron Ginsberg. The state station was built in 1912 only.

Shops on the market square. Pre-1917 photo.

Shops on the market square. Pre-1917 photo.

In 1913, a Jewish businessman Abraham Berkov Dolgin built a four-story high mill near the railway station. It became a major trade point for corn in all of the Priluki region. The mill burnt down during WWII and was demolished completely in 1990.


Before 1917, there was a Jewish Hospital in Priluki. For the first time it was mentioned was in 1900. The construction of the hospital was funded by a tobacco factory owner Benia Rabinovich.


7th grade of Priluki Girls’ Gymnasium on graduation day, April 6, 1913. First row (standing): Vcherashnya, Nikolaevskaya, Domontovich, Litvinenko, Kolchevskaya, Demchenko, Gordienko, Ignatenko Second row: Yaloshinskaya, Dobrovolsky, Levin, Hart, Laudenbach, Krivusha, Marshalova, Dovgan, Bezbakh, Fratkin, Chernina, Trojanskaya, Kryzhanovskaya, Lapshuk

7th grade of Priluki Girls Gymnasium on graduation day, April 6, 1913. First row (standing): Vcherashnya, Nikolaevskaya, Domontovich, Litvinenko, Kolchevskaya, Demchenko, Gordienko, Ignatenko Second row: Yaloshinskaya, Dobrovolsky, Levin, Hart, Laudenbach, Krivusha, Marshalova, Dovgan, Bezbakh, Fratkin, Chernina, Trojanskaya, Kryzhanovskaya, Lapshuk

Tobacco factories

Tobacco industry plays an important role in the economy of Priluki. Priluki’s tobacco factories have been around for over 150 years. Before WWII, these factories were employing hundreds of Jewish workers. The first tobacco factory was built in 1876, with two more factories built within the next ten years.

The most famous tobacco factory in Priluki was founded by Benni Rabinovich and Zalman Fratkin in January 22, 1889 on the right bank of Udai river in the village Brodki (became part of Priluki in ~ 1900). In 1903 there were 447 workers. Among them was my great-great grandfather Aizek Myasnikoff, who worked there his whole life.

In 1906 a synagogue was built for the Jewish factory workers.

Tobacco factory of Rabinovich and Fratkin. Early 20th century

Tobacco factory of Rabinovich and Fratkin. Early 20th century


Before 1917, the factory exported tobacco to Germany, Romania, China, Turkey and other countries. It was the biggest enterprise in Priluki. The factory became a joint stock company in 1916.

Fratkin's family. Guess, Bernard is a Zalman Fratkin. Photo provided by Robert Brown

Fratkin’s family. Guess, Bernard is a Zalman Fratkin. Photo provided by Robert Brown

In 1920 the factory was nationalized and became the Second State Tobacco factory. Until 1938, it was named after a revolutionary Christian Rakovsky. The Priluki tobacco factory was among the biggest in Ukraine.

Pre-917 photo of tobacco factory

Pre-1917 photo of tobacco factory

During WWII, the manufacturing equipment was evacuated, but the buildings were destroyed by retreating German troops. The factory was rebuilt after the liberation of Priluki.

Now the Priluki Tobacco company belongs to British Tobacco and is still the largest and most profitable manufacturer in Priluki with the best conditions of employment. It produces 30% of all cigarettes in Ukraine.

Pre-1917 plan of the tobacco factory. Photo from the factory museum

Pre-1917 plan of the tobacco factory. Photo from the factory museum

2. Rozenberg’s tobacco factory was located in the building on Pyshkina St. 62a,b,v

Building of Rozenberg’s tobacco factory in 2015

Rozenberg tobacco factory building in 2015

3. Volodarskiy’s tobacco factory was located on Dragomanova St. It burnt down in 1915.

The building was converted to be used as a cotton factory in 1927.

Address: Ivanivska St., 68.

4. Tobacco factory “Rybolov” was created by Priluki Jewish merchants E. Rozenberg and B. Dvorkin in 1886. In 1904, it employed 29 workers. The factory was located in a private building on Oleksandrovskaya St. (now Kievskaya St.). Now this building houses the knitting facility of the local hosiery factory.

In 1920, the tobacco factory “Rybolov” was nationalized and subsumed by the Second State Tobacco factory (former Rabynovich’s and Fratkin’s).

Members of "Souztabaksirye". this organisation supplied tobacco to tobacco factories. Yankel-Shmul Meerovich Karasik (1885-1970) is sitting in the first row in the left corner. Priluki, 1930s

Members of “Souztabaksirye”. this organization supplied tobacco to the tobacco factories. Yankel-Shmul Meerovich Karasik (1885-1970) is sitting in the first row in the left corner. Priluki, 1930s

The 1901 Business Directory mentions Boris Galperin and the brothers Fratkins as the factory owners but no other information about the location and the owners exists to the knowledge of the website creator.

Civil War pogroms

The first Jewish pogrom occurred in October 1917. The second pogrom was instigated by the soldiers of the Ukrainian Directorate (Semen Petlura government) in December 1918.

The White Russian army led by the General Denikin occupied Priluki from August 25, 1919 till December 1, 1919. This period marked the worst time for the Jews of Priluki during the Russian Civil War.

In December 1919, the town’s Jewish community paid 200,000 rubles in a “contribution” to prevent a serious pogrom.

The Suponitsky family of Jews lived in the village of Sokirinets near Priluki, where they grew tobacco and supplied it to the tobacco factory in Priluki. They owned a store in Sokirinets. Denikin’s soldiers looted the store, and local residents exchanged the goods for moonshine and food. When the Denikin soldiers left, Ukrainian peasants returned the stolen items to the Suponitskys’ store.

The Chernigiv Archives house several petitions of Priluki citizens submitted in 1924 who suffered during pogroms. These documents contain names, witnesses, and lists of murdered and injured relatives and neighbors as well as looted property. The following names were mentioned in the petitions: Elimeishe Gulinskiy, Blinkin Veniamin, Mendel Berkovich Bruh (54 years old), Gleih Yankel Mendelevich (22 yeras old), Tantlevskiy Boris Aizikovich, Rachinskiy Motya Israilevich (20 years old), Minya Israilevna Kyznetsova and his three children of four and three years of age and a six months old infant, Zolotnitskaya Gisya Avramovna.

In 1915, together with refugees from the Baltic region occupied by German army, rabbi Moshe Haskin (1872 – 1950) arrived in Pryluky.

In 1919 he was appointed the rabbi of Pryluky. At that time, the situation in the city was unstable, and the Jews were constantly under threat of murder and robbery. According to Rabbi Moshe  Haskin’s memoirs, he narrowly escaped death several times. When the Denikin Army left, its soldiers killed 27 Jews. Rabbi Moshe Haskin was saved by a Christian acquaintance who hid him in his house.

With the arrival of the Soviet regime, rabbi Moshe Haskin was evicted from his home and he had to live with his wife in the women’s section of the “Haye Adam” synagogue on the outskirts of the city. The communists forced him and the previous rabbi, Ciprinovich, to sweep the streets under police supervision. The Jews saw this and wept.

rabbi Moshe Haskin

rabbi Moshe Haskin

In the fall of the year 1933, rabbi Moshe Haskin’s wife went to the market to buy products for Shabbat and suffered a heart attack. She passed away the next day, leaving the Rabbi alone. His sons and daughters had already moved to Israel and sent him visas and tickets, but the authorities did not allow him to leave for three years. Friends advised him to go to Moscow and ask for permission to leave there. He went, paid 85 Israeli pounds, and with the help of friends from Lithuania and Rabbi Yakov Kelms from Moscow, he was allowed to leave the USSR. He arrived in Israel before Passover in 1933, and as he himself put it, “I came with nothing, and I had nothing left except the Torah, which I had learned all my life.”

Jewish theater in Letniy park. Early 20th century

Jewish theatre in Letniy park. Early 20th century

These citizens were injured: Haya Danilovna Gurevskaya, Rudavskaya Tana Beniaminovna (33 years old), Rivkin Yankel Nahmanovich (knocked eye), Haenko Vulf (62 years old), Zolotnitskiy Abraham Morduhovich (65 years old), Dunaevskaya Sarra Markovna (64 years old), Dunaevskiy Samuil Morduhovich (65 years old), Vcherashnya Sima (64 years old), Agranov Gershel (53 years old).

Naturally, these two lists did not include the relatives of those who left Priluki between 1919 and 1924.
During the pogroms, a local priest hid Jews in his house many times.

In October 1920, a pogrom was organized by the detachments of the Red Army. 

In 1910s-1920s in the US, there was United Priluker Relief Landsmanschaft, which helped Pruluki Jews during and after the Civil War.

Photos of the small articles in Priluki newspaper in 1910’s-1920’s related to Jewish community. Information was taken from the book of local historian Morenets:

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The Zionists remained active for a couple of years after the October Revolution. In 1921 a pioneer group went to Palestine, where they were among the founders of the kibbutz Kiryat Anavim. Their names are Avraham (Ben-Nariya) Lichtroub, Zeta Goldstein, Yehuda Levyatov, Efraim (Ben-Hayim ) Leibnsohn, Sonya Gershonovitz and Shalom Kaushansky (official kibbutz web-site

He-Chaluts movement i Priluki. Photo 1917

He-Chaluts movement in Priluki. Photo 1917

This photo was published in book “במאבק לגאולה” Tel-Aviv, 1956. The people appearing in the photo as per the numbers: 1 – Leibush Bieber, 2 – Sarah Belinkovich, 3 – Nachman Rayhenshteyn, 4 – Zita Goldstein – Levyatova, 5 – 6 – no names, 7 – Bella Izvozchikova, 8 – Yehuda Levyatov, 9 – Malka Pomeranian – Haklay, 10 – Joseph Dolgin, 11 – Ms. Drabkin, 12 – Shmaryahu Volovich, 13 – Jon Cohen – Goals, 14 – Abram Likhtarev (Ben Neria), 15 – Dr. Mordechai Feigelson (Giladi), 16 – Mina Izvozchikova – Tselnik (Yisraeli), 17 – Asriel Finkelstein, 18 – Ehevich

Photos of Priluki zionists from :

Priluki sionists, 1917

Priluki sionists, 1917

The Chernigiv archives store very few documents about the Zionist activity in the region; however, most of the surviving documents are related to Priluki.
Semen Grogorievich Belman (Head of the Chernigov Jewish community) discovered the following names of the Priluki Zionists in the archives:
– arrested in 1924 for counter-revolutionary activity
Isaak Abramovich Dolgin
Abraham-Yuda Zelmanovich Krupitskiy
– arrested in 1926 for keeping of zionist literature
Treister Iosif Tanovich
Borshevskiy Ineh Leibovich
– arrested in 1927 as a member of Gashomer Gatsair
Abraham Moiseevich Leibovskiy (born in 1909)
Isaak Efroimovich Gurevich (born in 1908)
Peisya Solomonovna Pinkovskaya (born in 1908)
Manya Grigorevna Tarnopolskaya (born in 1909)
Nyhym Morduhovich Levi (born in 1909)
Mila Udovich Grevneva (born in 1907)

Photos of Priluki zionists from the criminal file P8840/3/12376 which were taken in 1927:

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After the Civil War

In 1920s, the life of Jews in Priluki and in the whole of the Soviet Union changed drastically.
Due to the Korenization campaign the Jews from Priluki, Piryatin and Yagotin obtained the right to communicate with the authorities in Yiddish. A Yiddish court was established in Priluki.

Photos of different Jewish families between WWI and WWI from private archives:

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A Jewish orphanage was established in the 1920s. These were mostly for the children whose parents perished during pogroms in shtetls near Priluki like Piryatin, Lovitsa and Varva. These children testimonies are stored in the Chernigov State Archive.

Part of the Priluki market square, beginning of XX century

Part of the Priluki market square, beginning of XX century

In the 1920s all big businesses were nationalized. Among them were the “Jewish” Tobacco Factory owned by Rabinovich and Fratkin, Volodarskiy’s tobacco factory, Shahin’s and Dolgin’s mills.

Some event in main Priluki square, 1920s: 

Before 1920, there were only two energy generators in the town, powering the Intim theater and the local cinema, and both owned by the Jewish entrepreneurs, Abraham Moiseevich Bukler and Zolotarev. Both generators were nationalized in 1920.

Mendel Wolfovich Sheptovitsky (1874-1942) worked as a melamed (religious teacher), he had eight children. In the 1920s, a lecturer from Moscow came to Priluki to conduct anti-religious propaganda, and the local community appointed Mendel as his opponent and defender Judaism. According to his son’s recollections, he prepared for this dispute for a long time.

Hungarian soldiers passing ruins of the markets in the center of Priluki, 1941-1943

Hungarian soldiers passing ruins of the markets in the center of Priluki, 1941-1943

In 1920, among 273 district’s deputies, two represent “Paolei-Tzion” party.

In 1922, 1,510 people or 22.6% of all laborers in Priluki were Jewish.

In 1924-1925, the Jews from Priluki organized seven collective farms in the Kherson region. Nearly 600 people resettled in the area.

Center of Priluki, 1930s

Center of Priluki, 1930s

Some 65% of Priluki Jews worked as factory laborers and artisans, and about 165 were members of a Jewish kolkhoz named Nayer Shteyger (New way of life) . The local Jews numbered 9,001 (31.4% of the total population) in 1926, decreasing to 6,140 in 1939 (16.65%).


In November, 1927, the main synagogue was closed, which was reportedly demanded by the employees of the Second tobacco factory and was refurbished as a workers’ club. The building of the mikva was nationalized in 1920s and returned to the Jewish community when it was completely derelict.

Yonya Abramovich Suponitsky had a machine for rolling out dough, and before World War II, he baked matzah for many Jewish families.
In the 1930s, the photographer in the city was Rivkin, who owned a photo studio.

Newspaper “Priluker Emes” published in Priluki in1927:


School graduation group, Priluki 1941

School graduation group, Priluki 1941


Priluki was occupied by the Germans on September 18, 1941.

In October 1941, the chief officer in charge of the medical service for the 331st Artillery Regiment Khaim Kil was executed in the prisoners of war camp in Priluki.

Many of Priluki’s Jews succeeded in leaving before the occupation started. The remaining Jews were ordered to wear a white armband with a yellow star and they were prohibited from going to the market and the cinema. They were recruited for forced labor, such as repairing roads, clearing demolished buildings, etc. On October 15, 1941 a murder operation that had several Jewish victims was carried out, probably by the German Secret Field Police unit no. 730.

Farewell letter of Lisa Shershevskaya (1927- 1942) who was killed during Prilku ghetto liquidation on May 20, 1942

Farewell letter of Lisa Shershevskaya (1927- 1942) who was killed during Prilku ghetto liquidation on May 20, 1942

A ghetto was established at the beginning of 1942 in the building of School #4 (build by merchant Shkuratov in 1912) and nearby streets.

Abandoned building of school #4, 2020s

Abandoned building of school #4, 2020s

Before the start of the war, three Jewish refugee families from Poland arrived in Pryluky. They all ended up in the ghetto and died with the local Jews. Their surnames are unknown.

In January-February 1942, the police took 100 of the youngest and strongest men from the ghetto and shot them in an unknown location. In the ghetto, the elders taught the children Jewish traditions. Old man with last name Husid was engaged in this.

The Jewish commandant’s office was located on Reginy Street, where they issued 75 grams of bread per day for work. The Jews themselves chose the head of the commandant’s office, who was later shot together with everyone else at Pliyskunovskiy Yar.

Last letter of Eleonora Parmut (1926-1941) from the Priluki Ghetto. It was found in 1990s during repairs of the building.

Last letter of Eleonora Parmut (1926-1941) from the Priluki Ghetto. It was found in 1990s during repairs of the building.

Most of the Jews of Priluki were killed in a mass murder operation in May 20, 1942.

Ahead of the column, there were three people – the melamed (religious teacher) Mendel Sheptovitsky, a former cantor of a closed synagogue, and a third unknown person. They loudly sang prayers all the way to Pliskunovka ravine.

Dozens of young Jews fled the ghetto on the eve of the shooting on May 19th. Some of them survived. Among them were:
– Sasha Krasnoborod, who lived in Pryluky after the war and passed away in the 1970s.
– Krasnopolsky
– Gersh Lifshits (he gave an interview to the Shoa Foundation in the 1990s)
– Leonid Briskin
– Vladimir Entin

Another mass murder was carried out by Germans in Priluki on September 10, 1942. The victims were Jews who had hidden or escaped from the previous killing operation.

Photos of Holocaust victims in Priluki from different private archives:

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Briskin and Entin - two survivors from the Priluki ghetto near the mass grave at Pliskunovka Ravine

Briskin and Entin – two survivors from Priluki ghetto near mass grave in Pliskunovka Ravine

Jews from Polova, Ladan, and Linovitsa of Priluki region and from Kharitonovka, Podol, Radkovka and Malaya Devitsa and other regions of the Chernigov region were murdered in Priluki. Nearly 3,000 Jews were killed during German occupation. We know the names of only of 430 civilians and 316 soldiers.

Meir Ofman was drafted to the Red Army but his detachment was encircled near Kiev. He slipped away to find his family in Priluki and was murdered alongside the rest of the local Jews.

You can download the lists of the mass killings’ vistims here and here (the lists are 95% identical).

Priluki was liberated by the Red Army on September 19, 1943.

After WWII

Many Jewish families returned from evacuation in 1944-1945. 

In the post-war period local Jews played an important role in the economic and cultural life of Priluki. For example, Rabinovich David Fridelevich was in charge of the textile factory for 21 year from 1944 until 1965. In 1970’s, Semen Nemkovskiy was a head of local tobacco factory. There was a Jewish blacksmith named Dubovitsky in the town. Israel Gurevich worked as a caretaker in the collective farm.

After World War II, matzah was baked in the Turevsky family.

There were about 2,000 Jews in Priluki in 1959.

After the war, the shochet (ritual slaughterer) was Leivik Mendelovich (last name unknown). After his death, there was no shochet in the town.

In 1947, Jews took over an empty building to use as a synagogue. Kruptisky and Rozov were the heads of the collective farms and provided people to renovate the building into a synagogue. Among the visitors to the synagogue was a local Jew named Novikov. This synagogue was closed in the 1960s.

After the synagogue was closed, Jews prayed at the home of a barber Naum Magid Gimnazicheskaya St., 55. In 1957, during a prayer service, the police came and took everyone to the police station to be charged with violating Soviet law. The old men said, “The Germans drove us out, and now the police are chasing us.”
After Naum Magid died, the old men prayed at the home of Chaim Evelykin. His house was located at the intersection of Lenin Street and Pushkin Street.
After Evelykin’s death, in 1980’s the old men prayed at the home of Lev Ofman apartments on Kotlyarevskogo St., 199J.

Korhin and Senderov family in Priluki, 1950s

Korhin and Senderov family in Priluki, 1950s

In 1990, local Jews gathered old books that had belonged to deceased elderly Jews and buried them in two sacks in the cemetery.

 Shlomo Raiko (1894-1977) was unofficial local rabbi.

Shlomo Raiko (1894-1977) with grandson, Priluki 1965. Shlomo was unofficial Priluki rabbi in 1953-1977. Photo provided by Pinhas Lukimson

This is a translation of a document entitled “On measures to undermine the activities of nationalist clerical elements in Jewish communities” (1961). The document describes the “successful work” of the KGB and the Council for Religious Affairs in closing down a synagogue in Priluki and deregistering the entire Jewish community there, essentially rendering it illegal.

Measures were taken to undermine the activities of clerical elements in the city of Priluki, Chernihiv Oblast. The leadership of the Jewish religious community in Priluki did not pay due attention to the issues of repairing and properly maintaining the synagogue building. These circumstances were used to undermine the community and close the synagogue.

The KGB and other measures collected factual material on the condition of the synagogue building and informed the relevant authorities. The local leaders created a technical commission to inspect the synagogue building upon receiving the information.

The commission, composed of competent persons, inspected the synagogue building and drew up an act on its hazardous condition, which was presented to the local authorities for consideration. As a result, the Priluki City Council, based on an instruction issued in 1931 by the standing committee of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on cults, decided to prohibit prayer gatherings in the specified building.

Since the community had no other building, it was left without a synagogue. As a result, Rabbi RAIKO and clerical leaders ROZENBERG, BELKIN, and others, who had lost their sources of income, began to quarrel among themselves, expressing dissatisfaction with the other members of the “twenty.” These disputes were intensified through the use of agents. As a result, the Jewish religious community disintegrated into small groups at odds with each other.

Exploiting this circumstance, Agent “EIZENBERG” persuaded RAIKO to resign from his position as rabbi. On the advice of “EISENBERG,” RAIKO submitted a written statement to the Commissioner for Religious Affairs. He declined the position and asked to take possession of the synagogue’s property – religious objects and Torahs – listed under his name. Later, he wrote an article for the regional newspaper entitled “I No Longer Believe in the God Yahweh,” in which he exposed the harmfulness, and reactionary nature of the Jewish religion, condemned his past activities as a spiritual leader-rabbi, and announced that he was breaking with religion forever.

Other active clerics, ROZENBERG and BELKIN, were forced to leave the city as a result of the disputes and quarrels within the community. Thus, the Jewish religious community was left without leadership and a synagogue building, which made it possible to consider deregistering it.

Jewish population of Priluki:
1825 – 316 Jews
1847 – 1007 Jews
1897 – 5722 (30,8%)
1910 – 9355 Jews
1920 – 9363 Jews
1939 – 6140 (16,7%)
1959 ~ 2000 (4,6%)
1979 ~ 1100 (1,6%)
2001 – 185 Jews

A Jewish community council was established again in the late 1980s when Leiderman Moses Gdalievich (1928-2000s) founded “The Jewish Culture Society”. The next chairman was Leonid Klugman who emigrated to Germany.

In the 1990s, most Priluki Jews left for Israel, Germany, and the US. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 people left in that time.

In the 1990s, heads of the Jewish community were Leiderman and Klugman. Boris Oleiner led the local branch of the Sochnut (Jewish Agency for Israel).

In 2003-2013, Lipin Pavel Gershelevich was the Head of the Jewish Priluki Community. The Jewish community began to function fully under the leadership of Lipin: a Sunday Jewish school was organized, Shabbat and Jewish holidays were regularly celebrated, and courses in Yiddish were organized.

After his death in 2013, Beis Irina Yakovlevna became the Head of the Community.

avel Gershkovich Lipin (1941-2013)

Pavel Gershkovich Lipin (1941-2013)

In June-July 2013, the old Jewish Cemetery was vandalized. Up to 20 tombstones were brought down or destroyed. The local police promised to find the criminals but the investigation is still ongoing…

Vandalised monument in Priluki Jewish cemetery

Vandalised monument in Priluki Jewish cemetery


The Priluki Archive was created in September 1921. During the Nazi occupation it wasn’t evacuated and remained in the town. Surprisingly, not many documents were lost during WWII. In 1995, 1,451 archival records containing thousands of documents were stored here.

In January 2004, the Priluki State Archive was transferred to the Chernigov region archive. All documents were moved to Chernigov. This was a real tragedy as most local historians lost their opportunity to continue their research into the history of Priluki.

a A good source of information about Priluki outside Ukraine Mormon archives in the US.

Despite the move, the Chernigiv archives proved a friendly place with helpful staff, and as a result of the author’s own research, the most valuable document about the Priluki Jews in Chernigiv Archive is Record 1502/1/13 and 14 – it is a list of Priluki Jewish families dated to sometime between 1889 and 1918. If you find your family name here, you will be able to get some details of 2-3 generations back in one place. The list of family patriarchs you can download here. More details on this unique document are found here Miriam Wainer website.

Most recent surnames I came across when going through the family lists and birth records for several years are: Karasik, Zolotnickiy, Myasnikov, London, Korhin, Pantelyat, Finkilshteyan, Levin, Kanevskiy, Lomonosov, Oleyner, Bentzionov, Zaslavskiy, Krypnickiy, Krjijanovskiy, Fratkin, Berkov.

More detailed information about available records in different archives in Ukraine:

Myasnikov family

My particular interest is the Myasnikov family. They appear in Priluki in the middle of the 19th century, arriving from a small hamlet of Nezhirov near Malaya Devitsa village. I can assume that they were forced to resettle in Priluki during one of the anti-Semitic campaigns, which resulted in the transfer of Jews from rural areas to towns and urban centers. The hamlet was not recorded on a 1863 map which means that it probably disappeared, when the Jews moved away. By the end of the 19th century, there were four large families by the name of Myasnikov, over 100 people in total. According to the 1923 census, there were approximately 50 people with this surname in Priluki, probably a result of a huge wave of emigration to the US and different regions of the Soviet Union. Among the Holocaust victims, only five people with the Myasnikov surname were mentioned and two were found in the lost in action lists but we know that these records are not complete. Nowadays, perhaps, fewer than ten descendants of the Myasnikov family survive in Priluki.

Photo taken circa 1910 in Priluki. Family of Aizek (1875-1941) and Minya Myasnikov (?-1941). Children: Rahil (1898-1970), Rivka-Beila (1901-1986), Boris (1905-1941), Manya (?-1941), Raya (1911-1980). Only three people survived the Holocaust.

Photo taken circa 1910 in Priluki. Family of Aizek (1875-1941) and Minya Myasnikov (?-1941).
Children: Rahil (1898-1970), Rivka-Beila (1901-1986), Boris (1905-1941), Manya (?-1941), Raya (1911-1980). Only three people survived the Holocaust.

The Jewish surname Myasnikov also appears in eastern Belarus so I can assume that they came from the Gomel region in the mid to late 18th century. At that time, Jews started to appear in the records of the Chernigov region after the Khmelnitskiy massacre and the Ukrainian Civil War in the late 17th century.



Family of Nota-Leib Myasnikov in Priluki, 1900s. Courtesy of Donna Lilborn

Family of Nota-Leib Myasnikov in Priluki, 1900s

Children of Pinhus-Shmul and Sarra-Rivka Myasnikov, around 1900

Children of Pinhus-Shmul and Sarra-Rivka Myasnikov, around 1900

The Karasik and Makarevitch families

These photos were found in the archives of Iliya Levitas. They were given by Mark Karasik in the 2000s with small descriptions.

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Famous Jews from Priluki

Mogilevskiy Wolf Leyzerovych (1886-1943) – Ukrainian painter.

David Aronovich Gutman or Dmitriy Arkadievich Shmidt (1891, Priluki -1937) – Soviet general, leader of RSDRP branch in Priluki before revolution, Priluki commandant in 1918. David was court-martialed by the Petlura troops but survived. He made a very succefull military career in the Red Army. David Aronovich Gutman was arrested in 1936 and executed in 1937 during Great Terror. During WWI, he was awarded with 4 St.George crosses.

David Aronovich Gutman (1891, Priluki -1937)

Isay Yakovlevich Hurhin (1887, Priluki -1925, New York) – Ukrainian and Soviet Jewish politican and diplomat, Deputy Jewish Minister in Central Rada.

Boris Evseevich Malkin (1908, Priluki – 1972, Minsk) – Belarus Soviet theater artist.

Boris Malkin

Michael Lazarevic Hershanowitsch (1924-2013) – Soviet and Russian oncologist

Michael Hershanowitsch

Michael Hershanowitsch

Alexander Ezer (Yevzerov) (1894, Priluki –1973, Jerusalem ) was a Zionist activist and a leading developer of commerce, tourism and industry in the pre-state Yishuv and newly established State of Israel.

Alexander Ezer

Alexander Ezer

Bezalel London (1900,Priluki -1971), is an Israeli actor, known for Spuren (1972), Zot Hi Ha’aretz (1936) and Ha-Etmol Shel Maher (1964). He emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1925.

Mark Sterling (1895, Pryluki – 1976, Paris) was a French painter.

Irving Chernev (1900, Priluk – 1981) was a chess player and a prolific Russian-American chess author. He was born in Pryluky and emigrated to the United States in 1920

Yechiel Galperin (1880, Priluki- 1942, Tel Aviv), was a teacher, supporter of the introduction of Hebrew as a main language of children’s pre-school education in Warsaw, Odessa and Tel Aviv.

William Edlin (1878, Priluki–1947, New York), was born in Priluki in 1878 and was brought to the US at the age of 12. He initially lived in California where he attended the University of California and Stanford University. At the age of 22, he edited the Havermill (Mass.) A Social Democrat, he worked with the socialist administration of the city. He then went to New York and became: The editor of The Jewish Daily Forward, 1902-1903, the editor of the Cap Maker’s Journal, 1902-1905 and drama and music editor of the Jewish Morning Journal, 1904-1913.

William Edlin

William Edlin

In 1915, Mr. Edlin became city editor of The Day newspaper and editor-in-chief of that publication from 1916 to 1925. After four years of independent writing, he returned to The Day newspaper as editor-in-chief. He later became the national president of the Workman’s Circle, president of the New York Foreign Film Critics and president of the Yiddish Writers Union. In 1907, Mr. Edlin published World Famous Operas in Yiddish. He married Pauline Zlotzovsky in 1912 and they had a daughter, Charmain.

David Aronovich Rozov (1902-1941, Kuibyshev), deputy minister of Trade of the USSR, was arrested in 1940 and executed in 1941 together with his wife and 18 high ranking officials.

Meer Abramovich Slavin (1898-1981), am esteemed military doctor, Major-General of Medical Service.

Gregory Lvovich Tiraspolskiy (1871-1947), Ph.D. in Tomsk Polytechnic University, emigrated from Russia in 1920.

Ilya Evseevich Flys (1910-1964, Leningrad), a well-known Soviet chemist.

Michael Wilensky (1880 – ?), a famous American actor.

Until the age of eight, he studied at the local cheder, later working at the tobacco factory. He was first introduced the the world of theater via “Tsushteln” [rekvizit] with a a Ukrainian troupe where he acted on stage.
In 1892, he left for America and became a newspaper seller, later working at a shelkes factory, becoming a “Sabbath visitor” of the Yiddish theater and alongside with Abe Kogut founding the “Young Star Dramatic Club”, where he was the secretary. When Leon Mandeltort performed in the Goldfaden club in “Naye be, naye me”, W. was the prompter, and later he performed with Mandeltort across the province as a prompter and script-writer.

Michael Wilensky

Michael Wilensky

Later Wilensky became a stage manager with Kessler, debuting in the role of “Lawyer” in Kobrin’s “East Side Ghetto”, and from then on taking on the roles of a stage manager and actor with popular troupes of New York. From 1912-15 Wilensky was a stage manager and also performed in episodic roles on the English stage. In 1920 he became a partner at the Lyric Theatre. In 1923 he was stage manager with the English actor Warfield.

In the Variety period, Wilensky worked and performed sketches in Yiddish variety theatres.

Jewish education

Pre-1917, there were four private Jewish secondary schools in Priluki: Two schools owned by Levin, one by Hazanov and one girls’ school owned by Frid.

There was a Jewish library in Priluki until 1920, mentioned for the first time in the commercial records from 1901. It belonged to Beilin Gersh Abramovich.

After 1917, the Jewish schools were re-organized into three seven year schools and one four year school.

According to Sheptovitsky’s recollections, in 1920’s there were only two Jewish schools in the city – the 5th and 9th, which were later merged into one. But most Jews sent their children to Russian or Ukrainian schools. Anna Efimovna Zapadinskaya was a teacher at the Jewish school; during the war, she was evacuated to Kazakhstan and stayed there. Boris Osipovich Novikov was the director of the Jewish school.

Jewish school №5 was converted from a Russian school in 1923 under the name of the October Revolution. Yiddish was used as the main language of education for the first three years. After that, most lessons were taken in Russian. Goldin Lev Abramovich, Zaks (first name unknow) and Novikov Boris Iosipovich are some of the head masters of the Jewish school. Eleven teachers taught Year 1. Menachem Isakovich Golod taught Yiddish at Jewish School No. 5.

Pupils’ numbers in different years: 194 in 1923, 229 in 1924, 307 in 1926, 255 in 1927.

Jewish school №5 was turned into a Russian school in 1938. From 1925, the school occupied a large building in the central town square. It was burned by the Germans in 1943.

Some Jewish school in Priluki, around 1925. Photo provided by Natasha Burikova

Some Jewish school in Priluki, around 1925. Photo provided by Natasha Burikova

Jewish school №8 was based on the private school, owned by Novogrudskiy in 1918. 250 Jewish children studied there in five year groups. The school occupied the building of the former Bukler theater on Pereyaslavskaya St. (demolished in 1980s) and only admitted paying students.

In 1919, Hebrew as a language of education was prohibited in the Soviet Union and the school adopted Russian as its primary language.

In 1920, the school was nationalized. In 1921, 19 teachers were employed there. Bashmachnikov Iliya Solomonovich was the director there.

Pupils’ numbers in different years: 250 in 1918, 280 in 1921, 216 in 1922, 245 in 1923, 266 in 1924.

In 1922, the following teachers were employed by the school: Demkov S.M., Zaslavskaya B.I., Kiselova M.P., Koiles Y.G., Krasin A.A., Krasina E.V., Mogilevskiy V.L., Preis A.E., Shkoropad O.P., Novikova S.B., Zapadinska G.I.

In 1924 and 1925, the school head masters were Slavina Sarra Iosifovna and Grishko Vasyl Pilipovich. Jewish school №8 was closed in July 24, 1925 due to the derelict state of the school building.

Jewish labor school was created in 1920 and was located in the building of Kislih’s secondary school (the building survives on Vokzalnaya St., 35). Among 15 teachers were Nahman Gold and Frederika Iosifovna Lyapidys.

Pupils’ numbers in different years: 317 in 1920, 224 in 1924.

In 1922, the first branch of the children’s Communist League, called “The Young Spartans” was founded in Priluki. One year later, the organization was renamed the Young Pioneers. Isaak Bruk (1908-1985) became the main organizer, with Krasin (the son of the school’s history teacher) was in charge of the first brigade.

Bruk family in 1960s, Kiev. Isaak Bruk (1908-1985) with son Vitaliy (1935-2005) and grandson Meir. Isaak survived the Nazi concentration camp during WWII and lived in Kiev. His grandson Meir (b.1964) is a Rabbi in Brooklyn.

Bruk family in 1960s, Kiev. Isaak Bruk (1908-1985) with son Vitaliy (1935-2005) and grandson Meir. Isaak survived the Nazi concentration camp during WWII and lived in Kiev. His grandson Meir (b.1964) is a Rabbi in Brooklyn.

In 1923, the school moved to the building of a former Barsky hotel on Vokzalnaya St. (ruined during the WWII). It was renamed as a Polytechnic College of the First of May. In 1931, the school was affiliated with the local electrical station where students were trained in technical disciplines. The school pupils often helped at the Jewish collective farm “Noviy Pobut”. After the WWII, the school was never re-opened.

Jewish collective farm “Noviy Pobut”

Jewish collective farm was organized in 1925. The first collective farm members where 12 poor Jews. 
The first chairman of the Jewish collective farm was Bolotin, followed by Volovich. 

In 1930, the collective farm included 200 families and 650 members, who owned 445 acres of land, 58 horses, 177 sheep, 5 cows and a tractor. Local Jewish artisans also joined the collective. They set up various workshops, a mill, a blacksmith’s, a shoemaker’s and others.

In 1930s, “Noviy Pobut” became the largest collective farm in the Priluki region. In 1931, several prospective collective farm members were assigned a plot of land outside of Priluki and founded a small settlement, called “Noviy Pobut” (see map above). There were 20 houses. But after 1933, the Jews of Pryluky began to move to different cities in the USSR, including the workers of the collective farm. The collective farm worked until World War II, but it was no longer Jewish.

In the 1960s, the remaining settlers were moved to Priluki and the city cemetery was established in that place. The offices of the collective farm were located in the building of the former brick factory on Frunze St.


Several documents and witness statements confirm that before and after the 1917 Revolution most Priluki Jews lived in the central part of the city between the present-day Kotlyarevskogo and Ivanovskaya Streets.


Panorama of former Priluki Jewish Quarter with the remains of the Choral synagogue (1) and the building of the Ygolniy Prayer House (2)

The house of the tobacco factory owner Zelman N. Fratkin, located in Kievskaya St., 156. Between 1947 and 2000, it was the local library. The house of another merchant, belonging to the same family, was located on Kievskaya St., 265.

The building of the Heder, now the surgery department of the Municipal Hospital.

The building of the City House of Culture, the construction of which was initially funded by the merchant Brodsky and the owner of the brick factory Shtonda but was terminated as a result of Brodsky’s going bankrupt. It was completed only in the 1930s.

Former hotel of Dina Gersh-Leibovna Gorelik, 1980s

Former hotel of Dina Gersh-Leibovna Gorelik, 1980s

Fratkin’s house (the owner of the tobacco factory) located in Kievskaya St., 273. After WWII and until 2003, it was a children’s library.

A dental clinic, located in the former Topolskiy’s inn at Kievskaya St., 162

Former Topolskiy’s inn

Former Topolskiy’s inn

The Kogan and Malkin mill was located in a building on Kievskaya St., 80.

The building on Vokzalnaya St., 57, used to belong to the mill owner Dolgin. Now it is a telecommunications center.

A small Jewish shop on the main Street in Priluki

A small Jewish shop on the main Street in Priluki

The present-day Priluki Сity Council was build by a Jewish merchant Zolotarev in the second half of the 19th century. Before the Revolution of 1917, it was rented out to the Nobility Assembly. During the Second World War, the building burnt down and was rebuild in 1943-1951.

Zolotarev's building now and 100 years ago

Zolotarev’s building now and 100 years ago


Zolotarev's building in 1960's

Zolotarev’s building in 1960’s

In this brief overview of the Priluki Jewish community, the name of the soap factory owner Frid Berko Failovich deserves a mention. His house still survives on the corner of the Pereyaslavskaya and Kievskaya Streets.

In 1895, in Pereyaslavskaya St., 13, in the place of the present-day House of Culture, Abraham Moiseevich Bukler constructed his Intim theatre for 300 seats. In different time periods, it was used for theaters, Jewish schools (post-1918) and the baking factory (after WWII). The building was destroyed in the second half of the 20thcentury.


In the Chernigov archives, the documents about the transfer of local synagogue buildings from religious communities into the public ownership which took place in 1922 are stored. The documents contain lists of all synagogue property which was signed by community members. This is why we know for certain that in 1922, there were nine synagogues in Priluki. In 2000s, Pavel Grigorevich Lipin compiled a list of five existing buildings which used to be synagogues in the early 20th century. I identified only three of them. The details of the synagogues located in two other buildings remain unknown.

There was the Shnaidershe Shul (the synagogue of tailors) in the city, and now the building is used as a residential house. Its exact location is unknown. There was also a Cossack synagogue, but I was unable to find out where it was located.

  • Ygolniy Prayer House

A wooden building constructed in the 1870s. The overall area of the building was 240 square meters. In 1922, it housed 21 Torah volumes. The following names were listed as regular attendees in 1920s: I.Khazan, R. Agranov, Sverdlov, A. Nyhman and others. Now the building is used as a residntial house.

Former Ygolniy Prayer House, 2015

Former Ygolniy Prayer House, 2015

Address: Sadovaya St., 35.

  • The Kravetskiy Prayer House

A wooden building which was constructed in 1880. In 1923 it housed 57 Torah volumes. Among the attendees in the 1920s, there were G.Samoilovich, Iosel Rivkin, H. Evelkin, M.Katsnelson, Izko Kapitulskiy, Boruh Berkov Krypnitskiy, Zalman Haimov Gurevich, S. Karasik.

According to the 1899 Business Records, in 1901 the following people were in charge of the Kravetskiy Prayer House:
Town-dweller Mordyh Udkovich Krypitskiy, Moses Beniamonivich Bukler; merchant Moses Wolfovich Eidelman as a treasurer (lived in private house on Trehsvyatitskaya St.) Israel Berkovich Zolotnickiy, merchant Abraham Moiseevich Dolgin – head of the community (lived in private house on Sobornaya St.), Moses Wolfovich Eidelman

The building was located on Sadovaya St but the exact location and current state is unknown.

Sadovaya St. in 2015

Sadovaya St. in 2015

  • The Main Choral Synagogue

The synagogue was built in 1861 to replace an older wooden synagogue or a prayer house. The total area of the building was 2,000 square meters. The building was popular among the members of the Jewish working men society. The synagogue was closed down in the 1927 and converted into a working men’s club. There was a small theater there which staged Yiddish plays. In 1945, it was converted into a cinema. In 1954, the building was reconstructed, destroying its distinctive dome in the process. The cinema was closed in 1990. After that, the local council used the building as a storage space for the artifacts from the local museum. The roof and the dome of the synagogue were disassembled and the building survives as a storage facility in its 1954-dated conversion.

Big Choral synagogue board's registration , 1923. Photo provided by Vladimir Morenets

Big Choral synagogue board’s registration , 1923. Photo provided by Vladimir Morenets

In 1922, the Choral Synagogue used to house 57 volumes of the Torah. M.Katz, Boris Soloveichik, Abraham Gurevich, E.I.Sverdlov were listed as members of the synagogue community.

Former Choral synagogue in 1950's

Former Choral synagogue in 1950’s

The 1899 Business Directories list the following people as the board of the Choral Synagogue in 1901:
town-dweller Moses Beniaminovich Bukler (lived in private house on Gimnazicheskaya St.); the treasurer – merchant Israel Berkov Zolotnickiy (lived in private house on Sobornaya St.), the chair of the board – merchant Elya Ioselevich Rozenberg (lived in private house on Sobornaya St.)

The names from the 1908 Bussines Directory:
Town-dweller Berkov Izkov Syponitskiy ; the treasurer – merchant Zelman Shmyilov Rahlenko, the chair of the coard – merchant Elya Gdalevich Rozenberg (lived in private house on Sobornaya St.)

Address: Sadovaya St., 36 (before 1896, it was Synagogue St.).

  • Prayer House “Khaya-Odom” on the Val

The building was wooden and overlaid with brick and was completed in the year 1885. In 1922, it housed 12 volumes of the Torah. In 1920s A,.Grinberg, M.Levandovskiy, S.Urovskiy used to attend the prayer house. It was located not far from Big Choral Synagogue in the center of Priluki on Trehsvyatitelskaya St. (now Gogolya St). However, its exact location and current state is unknown.

The following were lister as the board members of the payer house “Khaya-Odom”:
Town-dweller Aaron Berkovich Rozov as the reader (lived in a private house on Halahanoskaya St.); the treasurer – town-dweller Ehil Shaevich Sverdlov, the chair of the board- merchant Sryl-Ber Leibovich Rivkin

  • Fratkinskiy Prayer House

Building of Fratkinskaya Synagogue in Priluki. Now houses a music school

The Fratkinsky prayer house was a brick building which was constructed in 1872. Because of its name, we can assume that it was the local businessman Fratkin, the owner of the tobacco factory, who donated the money for the construction of this synagogue. The Fratkinskiy prayer house currently houses as a music school (from 1966). In 1922, the prayer house housed 35 volumes of the Torah. M.Rott, Simha Ginzburg, Merinson were members of the community.

In Yiddish, this synagogue was called Diligishe Shul (the synagogue of rich people); in the 1920s, it was closed and turned into the club of the Jewish collective farm “Noviy Pobut,” and then the building was given to a music school, where it is still located.

According to the 1899 Business Directories, in 1901, the following were on the board of the Fratkinsky prayer house:
The reader – merchant Berko Faivishev Frid (lived in a private house on Alexandrovskaya St., now it is Kievskaya St.), the treasurer and the chair David Notovich Kisin (lived in a private house on Pereyaslavskaya St.),

Address: Zemskaya St., 11.

  • Vokzalniy Prayer House

was situated on Pereyaslavskaya St. In 1922, it housed 15 volumes of the Torah. The exact location and history of the building is unknown.

  • Kvashinskiy Prayer House

In 1922, it housed 24 volumes of the Torah.

Kvashinskiy Prayer House

Building of Kvashinskiy Prayer House in 2015

The 1899 Business Directories list the following persons as the members of the Kvashinskiy Prayer House in 1901:
The reader – merchant Moses Urievich Kagan (lived in a private house on Alexandrovskaya St., now it is Kievskaya St.); the treasurer – Osher Abramovich Nemkovskiy (lived in a private house on Alexandrovskaya St., now it is Kievskaya St.), the chair – Yankel Moiseevich Slonimskiy (lived in a private house on Alexandrovskaya St., now it is Kievskaya St.), Iosel Gershovich Dvorkin (lived in a private house on Alexandrovskaya St., now it is Kievskaya St.)

  • Prayer House “Moishev-Sheiynim”

This synagogue was founded in 1906, within boundaries of the Rabinovich & Fratkin Tobacco factory on Konotopskaya St. in a two-room building. One can assume that it was built for the workers of the tobacco factory who were primarily of Jewish decent. H.G.Krypnitskiy, Abraham Lifshits, Aleiner attended the services there.

The exact location and current state of the structure is unknown. Most of the old building burnt down during the Second Warld War.

Former Jewish prayer house in Priluki. Pre-1917 title is unknown.

A former Jewish prayer house in Priluki. Pre-1917 title is unknown.

  • Prayer House Habad

Any details are unknown.

Pliskunovka ravine

On May 20, 1942 the inhabitants of the Priluki ghetto were ordered to assemble at the bridge over the Pliskunovka River, ostensibly to be settled in a new area. Most Jewish men had already been murdered before that date.

Mass grave in 2015

Mass grave in 2015

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Only women, children, and the elderly remained. All those who arrived were taken to a ravine near the bridge on the way to the village of Pliskunovka. They were lined up in rows and shot. The number of victims amounted to 1,290, including some Jews from neighboring villages who were shot together with about 1,150 Jews from Priluki itself. The killings were carried out by a detachment of Sonderkommando Plath of the SD under the command of the head of the Kremenchug security police, Karl Julius Plath. The German field gendarmerie, local Ukrainian police, and a Cossack unit participated in the mass killing of the local Jews. The adults who had to take off their clothes, were beaten and then shot. The children were shot or buried alive.

The grave was fenced off and flowers were planted in June 1944 by the Jews who returned from evacuation and the army. In 1948, all separate burials in the ravine were combined in a joint grave.
After the war, the water washed away bodies from a mass grave, and some Jews recognized their deceased relatives. The Jews gathered and added soil to the grave, after which the water stopped washing away the bodies.


These photos of the Pliskunovka ravine (end of 1940’s – beginning of 1950’s) by Adel Hurvitz from Germany:

The first attempt to put up a memorial to honor the murdered local Jews in the late 1940s failed because the local authorities banned the construction.


Video from the Pliskunovka ravine, 2000’s:

In 1967, local Holocaust survivors Leonid Briskin and Vladimir Entin placed (without official permission) a cast-iron tombstone in the Pliskunovka ravine, at the site of the mass murder of local Jews. It had an ethnically neutral inscription in Russian that said: “Here lie buried victims of fascism who were shot by Hitler’s soldiers during the occupation of Priluki in the years 1941-1943. May their memories be preserved for eternity.” Later, the policy of the authorities changed and a marble tombstone with an inscription identical to the earlier one was erected by the officials replacing the original.

According to another source,in the 1970s, Jews raised money for a memorial to those killed in Pliskunovka and brought them to the city authorities, asking for a monument to be erected. But the authorities did not take the money and erected a monument in the form of a granite slab, without indicating that the victims were Jews.

In addition to the original monument, in 2005, a marble gravestone was placed at the mass murder site of the Jews from Priluki and Priluki region at the bottom of the Pliskunovka Ravine on the eastern outskirts of the town. The inscription in Ukrainian and Hebrew on the stone reads: “In this place on May 20, 1942 1,290 Jews were executed by the fascist invaders during the occupation.”


Nearly 1,500 Jews were murdered on the Priluki racetrack, close to the local prison, together with non-Jewish locals, at different times between 1941 and 1943. Local Jews were systematically arrested by the Germans in small groups, imprisoned in the Priluki prison, and then shot on the racetrack. In the winter of 1942 a group of 100 Jewish men from the ghetto.

Memorial to the non-combatants murdered near the Priluki prison during the war. Monument was opened in 1978.

Memorial to the non-combatants murdered near the Priluki prison during the war. The monument was opened in 1978.

The murders were apparently carried out between October 1941 and February 1942 by the German Secret Field Police unit no. 730 and from February 1942 — by the Secret Field Police unit no. 721. Before being shot, the Jews were forced to take off their clothes. Some of them, including many children, were buried alive. Many Jews from the Priluki region were murdered at the racetrack in Priluki: documents report the killing of Jews from Ladan (at least 15 Jews were shot on May 20, 1941), Linovitsa (at least 6 Jews were shot on March 1, 1943), and Polova (at least 2 Jews were shot on March 1, 1943). Some Jews from the Chernigov region were also murdered on the racetrack: documents report the killing of Jews from Radkovka in Malaya Devitsa region (at least 3 Jews, who were arrested in 1943 and sent to the Priluki prison) and Malaya Devitsa (at least 1 Jew, who was arrested on February 25, 1943 and sent to the Priluki prison).

Mass graves in 2015

Mass graves in 2015

Memorial was erected on May 7, 1978 (architect V.G. Shtolko and sculptor V.P. Lutsak).

Ghetto during WWII

A ghetto was established for the local Jews in the autumn 1941 in the building of school No.4 and the streets nearby. All Jews housed in the ghetto were killed on May 20, 1942 in the Pliskunovka ravine.

The history of the Priluki ghetto is described by Vladimir Entin in his book (ed.), Iosif Zeev ben Dov from Priluki (Jerusalem, 2006). There are only a couple paper copies of this book in Ukraine but you can download it here.

The Old Jewish cemetery

According to the census, we can assume that the Jewish cemetery appeared in Priluki in the early 19th century. It wasn’t marked on city plan by 1802 and appeared only when the 1859 city plan was published. Also, it was mentioned on the plans of 1863 and 1888. It was located on the western outskirts of the city, near the road to Rudivka village (see map above), between the roads to Nezhin and the Udai river. The first Priluki Jewish cemetery was closed in the late 19th century. It was not possible to identify any records of when it happened. Sheptovitskiy Lev Mihailovich (1921-2000) said that he remembered the old cemetery on the banks of the Udai river. It can be assumed that it was still in existence before the Second World War.

The cemetery is located on the former outskirts of the town of Kvashyntsi in Partyzans’ka Steet, near the bus stop marked «Hospital». The estimated number of graves is 2,600. The cemetery is partly fenced in. Trees have been planted around the perimeter but it is open to all. Jews from the towns of Linivitsa, Ladan (10 km away) , Gusynya and Malaya Divits (10 km away) also used this cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1905 when local Jews raised some money and purchased land.


The former main gate to the Priluki Jewish cemetery

The images of most graves on the modern part of the cemetery can be found here.

Schmull Mackler (1886-1990), a former resident of Priluki, who left that shtetl in 1907 mentioned this in his memoirs:

At that time, the town was growing quickly. The Jewish population grew so fast that, at one point, it was necessary to buy more land for the cemetery. Everyone in the town donated something toward the building of the cemetery.

The latest graves are dated between 1970-1980. The cemetery consists of two parts: the older section and the new section. The graves of the new section date from the mid to late 20th century. The local Jewish community continues to maintain this new section.

The older section is completely overgrown and is in a state of disrepair, with tombstones only visible in winter and spring. There are a number of photos of the older tombstones. It is impossible to fit them here, but if required, they could be emailed by request. According to the testimony by Vladimir Entin, the Jews from the Priluki ghetto were buried here. However, the location of the graves is unknown.

Many members of Priluki’s most prominent Jewish families were buried here: Krupytsky, Rabinovich, Krasnopolskyi, Zorahovychiv, Zolotarev and Bukler, Fratkinyh and Dolgin.

After 1974, local Jews were buried in other cemeteries and at the Jewish part of the Noviy Pobut cemetery. In 2010, the Jews received permission to use this cemetery again but no new burials appeared here.





  1. Vitaly is to be congratulated upon his generation of the events and history of Priluki. The information is most valuable and I will ask his permission to attach this information to my website. Of course, attribution to Vitaly will be attached to him for this excellent work.

  2. Thanks so much for this great page. I have been looking for information about my Priluki ancestors (the Belikoff family) and this brings so much to life. I hope to someday be able to visit and see what information I can collect.

    • Hope you will be able to visit Priluki 🙂

      • I hope to visit Priluki some day!

  3. Here you can find Vladimir Entin book about Priluki ghetto:

  4. Thank you for this information.
    My father was Morris Belikoff who emigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. i may be related to Michael Krieger through one of my father’s sisters, perhaps Ida. Thank you again for your excellent work.

    • Paul, Please contact me if you see this. Ida was my grandmother and your father was my namesake. I hope to hear from you soon.

    • Hello “cousin” Paul! Yes, I am Ida’s grandson. I have sent you an email at your AOL address, hope to hear back from you. Thanks Vitaly for bringing family together.

    • My great aunt Sarah Zolotorofe married Faytel Belikov. they were both born in Priluki in the 1840s. I know of one son Samuel born in Priluki 1881. he diied in 1921 in US.

  5. List of the Priluki Jewish families heads (1891-1918):

    • Just found you. Family comes from Priluki Bougas Tryack

    • The Bougas family
      The Tryach family

    • My father came to America in 1905 . I believe with his mother named Feigla and brother named Abraham. I believe my grandfather Joseph took the name Bougas from a town in Ukraine of the same name
      Any information you have would be appreciated,
      Janet Bougas

  6. I have been looking for information on my father Anatoly and his sister Elena Levinskaya from Priluki. Maybe someone can help me find her.

    • Do you have more details? Before Revolution?

  7. My grandfather, Herbert Marsh (Hyman Masnikoff) was from Priluki. thank you for sharing this informative and emotionally powerful information.

  8. Comment from HannaK (Kiryat Anavim archive)
    “Very nice website! Keep up the good work!
    About the pioneers from Preluki who had built Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim read here (Hebrew)

  9. Thank you for this page. I lived in Priluki from 2004-2006. I can’t find the village of “Pliskunovka” on google maps. do you know the location/coordinates Pliskunovka Yar?

    • Exact location was marked on the map in the beginning of article

  10. Exact location was marked on the map in the beginning of article

  11. Hi Vitaliy, I am a Myasnikov (Masnikoff) descendant. My great grandfather immigrated in 1908. I have several Masnikoff family trees, but no way to connect them, do you think you could help?

    • Hi Rebecca,
      I will send you detail infprmation by e-mail, it will be too much for one comment. Glad to find anothe descendant!

  12. Hello Vitaliy!
    I’m very impressed with all the information you have found.
    We are just at the beginning of our heritage project. Did you encounter any Manilov family members? I know of Luba Manilov who was part of the Zionist group that were banished to Turkemenistan in the 1920’s (they were later released and made it to Israel, Kiryat Haim). I also know of first cousin Yakov and Tzivia Manilov (wife) who immigrated to Israel and settled in Kfar Bilu, Israel.
    Have you encountered mention of this family?
    Thank you!

    • I have found 2 Manilov family lists in Priluki Jewish family list 1889-1917
      Pls send me your e-mail and I will send a photo of Archiv documents

  13. Hello again Vitaliy,
    By the way, do you have any information about the Belikoff family there? My my grandmother Ida was born there around 1894, her dad was Harry born 1870; his father was Pinchas, not sure what year he was born.

    • There were 4 Belikoff family in mentioned family list.
      Give me your e-mail and I will send you a photos from archiv

        • Check your e-mail

          • THANK YOU!

  14. Виталий, добрый день! Мой прадед, прабабушка и дедушка из Прилук, в 30хх годах семья переехала в Ленинград. Я провел гениологическое исследование. Сделано дерево начиная с 18 века. Если у Вас есть какая то информация по Беликовым не могли бы Вы ее прислать. Со своей стороны могу прислать дерево которое мне удалось сделать. Спасибо. email:

    • – дайте номера из этого списка, там трое Беликовых

      • Отправил Вам письмо на почту vibu@ Спасибо

      • Здравствуйте.Увидел в списках фамилие Белкин Арон.Вам известны какие-нибудь данные об этой семье.Если это тот человек,то мой дедушка Ари-Лейб – его сын.Спасибо.И еще нашел там: Белкин Берко – по идее это имя его отца,который у меня записан как Бер-Дов.Спасибо.

        • Это какая страница? Там справа в списке напротив каждой фамилии есть цифры

          • Белкин Арон – 248
            Белкин Берко – 410

          • Выслал

          • Получил.Большое прибольшое спасибо!

  15. Hi, Vitaly! I am looking for info on the Zapodinsky family that emigrated from Pryluky to New York in the early 1900’s. Do you have any info? Thanks.

    • My great-grandfathers name was Yosef and his father’s name was Eliyahu.

    • My great-grandfather’s name was Yosef and his father’s name was Eliyahu.

      • There are no such name in the list of the families heads. Give me your e-mail I will send a lists with families members. Somebody who can read in Russian will be able to read these 100+ names and find your relatives

          • I have send

        • Здравствуйте,просмотрела список семей и не нашла фамилию своей прабабушки.Бейн Белла.была убита с двумя детьми в 1941 году в Прилуках на Плискуновке.проживала в Прилуках.мой дедушка чудом остался жив.ни одного имени ни в одном списке нет.хотелось бы найти информацию о семье.

        • Здравствуйте.просмотрела список семей,но не нашлм фамилию своей прабабушки,Бейн Белла.была убита в 1941 году с двумя детьми на Плискуновке.мой дедушка чудом остался жив.хочеться найти информацию о семье.

  16. Виталий, добрый день!
    Буду рад узнать побольше о моём предке Розенберге, который создал одну из табачных фабрик в Прилуках.
    Заранее благодарен!
    Александр Иоффе

    • Вся информация, что есть – здесь опубликована (

  17. Виталий, моя пробабушка была Фейга Левятова, Ее муж Янкель Богатырёв. Фейга уехала в Америку в 1914 с тремя детьми. Мою бабушку оставила в Россие.

    • Здравствуйте. В моей семье была Фейга Левятова (скорее всего, 1890 год рождения), отец Нохим. Если это ваша прабабушка, напишите, пожалуйста.

      • Да это моя прабабушка. Родилась в 1879 году. Ее отец был Назим Бер. У нас есть их фото. Пожалуйста расскажите про себя.

      • Напишите пожалуйста на Спасибо!

  18. Здравствуйте Виталий!
    Большое спасибо за прекрасную статью! Моя прабабушка из Прилук, ее девичья фамилия Мясникова. У неё было ещё 5 сестёр и брат. Я знаю судьбу нескольких из них.

  19. Виталий, злравствуйте! Я сама родом из Прилук. Моя мама знакома с Майей Кац (девичья фамилия Мясникова), которая проживает в Прилуках. Если Вы с ней не знакомы, могу выяснить ее номер телефона.

  20. Hi, I am looking for any information on the Ginberg family. My grandfather (David) and great grandparents (Paul and Sima (Jensen)) immigrated from there around 1904 with a great Aunt (Rose) and two Great Uncles (Morris and Harris). Three brothers remained.

  21. Здравствуйте. Я ищу информацию о семье Крупицких. Мой прадедушка Крупицкий Авраам Ицко Беркович. Спасибо.

  22. Hello. Is there any information about the bagra (bagrey) family ?

    • Don’t hear about such name (

      • My Great Great Grandfather was Chaim Selig Crystal. My cousin, a rabbi told me his name means “Happy Life” .

      • Моим прадедом был Золотницкий имя и дату рождения не знаю бабушка Золотницкая Мера Тодрусовна родилась в с. Прилуки черниговской области 15.09.1898 г, но не могу найти свидетельство о ее рождении. Потом она вышла замуж за Монастырского Юду-Борох Беньямина 1893 г рождения, которого арестовали в 1935-1939 г в Пскове и больше о нем нечего неизвестно. Здесь было написано что при просмотре семейных списков и записей о рождении за несколько лет встречалась фамилия Золотницкий может это мои родственники. У вас случайно нет сведений о них. Спасибо.

      • Привет! Мои предки были из с. Прилук Черниговской области, бабушка в девичестве Золотницкая (Монастырская) Мера Тодрусовна 15.09.1898 г рождения, ее брат Золотницкий Герцель (Григорий) Тодрусович 1893 г рождения не могу найти сведений о родственниках Золотницких.

  23. Я ищу информацию о семье Альтшуллер. Имя моего отца Нафтолий Альтшуллер, имя деда Симон Альтшуллер. Они переехали в Ленинград примерно в 1920 году.

  24. My grandmother Ethel Cohen, who I grew up with and knew well, was born in Priluki in 1889 and left when she was 19, eventually settling in Chicago and then Los Angeles. My grandmother told me a lot about Priluki, working in a tobacco factory, spending time in the countryside, etc. Two of her older brothers Michael and David also immigrated to the US and their surname was changed to Kagan. The oldest brother Avrom remained in Priluki as did her father Nehemiah, a rabbi, and a younger half sister Chasha. I cannot find any record of those who remained in the Ukraine. My grandmother’s mother was a Belikov and died at Ethel’s birth or shortly thereafter. I would love to find out about her relatives who remained in Priluki.

  25. Добрый день! Фамилия моих предков по материнской линии – Мясниковы, они родом из Прилук. У вас на сайте нашёл фото семьи Ноты-Лейба Мясникова, а это мой прапрадед. Только вот год, указанный у вас, с моими данными расходится. Было очень приятно наткнуться на такую конкретную информацию по этой фамилии. Если у вас есть ещё какая-то информация по этой семье, то напишите, пожалуйста. А я отвечу на ваши вопросы, если смогу.

  26. I am looking for records of my grandfather and his family He was born in 1890 Priluki. Louis Hurvitz ( possibly Gurvich) He had siblings. One was Manasche Hurewicz. ( Gurwiz?) His father was Samuel

  27. Is their a Chabad in or near pirluki. Trying to find out about our family Landa that lived there. Our great grandfather passed away in 1912

  28. Hi Vitali,

    My GGParents Sender and Clara (maybe Chaya) Ruda from Pryluky emigrated in 1903 to London and a couple of years later to Argentina. Sender had two siblings Abbie and Edel and his father’s name was Meir. Clara’s father was Yakov and her maiden name was also Ruda because they were second or third cousins. We came across some pictures of relatives or friends who we do not know who they are. I uploaded them in FB groups, to see if someone could recognize them with no luck. Because of the dresses, I think some of them were souvenirs from their family in Pryluky in 1900 and others were sent by family in the 20s. There is one taken in Philadelphia. Any suggestion? I can send you the pictures if you want. Unfortunately we don’t know any other family name related to us because they were both Ruda. Thanks for you help!!

  29. Hi there,

    My surname comes from the region too. Volovich. I noticed someone in a photo had this surname, and I wonder if there’s any relation 🙂

  30. I am researching my family history. My Great great grandfather was Schmuel Crystal (or Kristol), Great Grandfather was Chiam Selig Crystal (who was a Cantor), Grandmother Esther Neidish Crystal . They brought their 9 children to NY in 1903. My Grandfather was born Reuben Robert Crystal in Priluki. I had my DNA done on but haven’t gotten too many results. If you know of my family please feel free to email me.

  31. Hello! Thank you so much for this article.
    My ancestors are from Priluki as well.
    Do you by any chance have information about Brukhansky or Elkin?
    I’ve found my great-grandmother, Liba Elkin, but I can’t find any info about her mother Gitlya Berkovna Elkin (nee Brukhansky), she was born in Priluki; or Simche Elkin – he could have immigrated to USA.

  32. Я изучаю историю своей семьи. Моей бабушкой была Монастырская (Золотницкая) Мера Тодрусовна родилась 15.09.1898 г в Черниговской области село Прилуки, ее брат Золотницкий Герцель Тодрусович родился в январе 1893 г место рождения не знаю, мой дед Монастырский Юда Борох-Беньямиль родился в 1893 году место рождения не знаю в 1937-1939 г был арестован НКВД и дальнейшая судьба его не известна. Если Вам что либо известно о них напишите мне на почту

  33. This site is so insightful. My paternal ancestors come from the Gomel/Chernigov area. My grandfather, Samuel Rimerman, immigrated to NY in 1908 along with his father, Isaac, and stepmother, Fannie Fradkin. I have a large tree that traces many of Isaac’s siblings and their descendants. The family names include Lukin, Belikoff, Entin, Ostrofsky. My great grandmother passed away before the family came to the US. From marriage and death records her last name was Rabinov. I have very little information about her side of the family. She was Dvora Rabinov Rimerman and had the name Jeannette as well. Her father (from her grave) is Elkonon. I am hoping to connect with others that I share DNA with to see if I can build out the connections for Rabinov.

  34. Good day,
    I know this site is up for quite sometime so I hope you will still receive my message
    Thank you for all the wonderful information. I know you were looking into the name Myasnikov. My great great Grandmother was Khaya Miasnikov from Priluki.
    Would you have any info?
    Michael Krieger who has also written to you, him & I are related.
    Thanks so much!

  35. Hello – hope that you’re still receiving messages
    My Grandfather-Misha Aronov was from Prilucki – and escaped from the army in 1914 and came through Germany to Pittsburgh Pa
    We don’t know any family names as he was too afraid to talk about it. Would anyone have any information?

  36. Hi, I’ve been searching for information regarding my family from Pryluky. My great-great grandfather David and his son Louis (Louis was born in 1880 in Pryluky,, also known as Yehuda) emigrated to London, England in the 1880’s. They’re surname in England was Kaufman (a mistake during immigration) but was actually “Woods” but I’m not sure what the translation of Woods is in Yiddish or Russian. Any help would be fantastic.
    Thanks, Dave.

  37. My name is Graham Kelly – full name Stephen Graham Kelly. My father, Matthew Kelly, was I believe originally Moishe Kelerovic and born in Priluki. His parents, Solomon and Olga Kelerovic, came to England in the 1890s, with their elder son (Morris?) and changed their name to Kelly. My father’s first wife was Rose Raisman, who died in the late 1920s. My father remarried Marie Solomons in 1933 and I was born in 1934. I am 90 now and would appreciate any information I can get about my father, whose life has been shrouded in mystery all my life. All I know is that he arrived in England in 1891, when he was 16, and lived with his parents in Leeds, where he was a tailor, like so many others of his generation. I went to Charterhouse and Oxford, and had a successful career in the British Diplomatic Service and retired in 1999 as a Director of the European Commission.

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