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Raygorodok is a viallge in Berdichev district, Zhernigov region.

In Yiddish, Raigorodok is called Rardek.

In 19th -20th century, it was a shtetl of Berdichev uezd, Kiev gubernia.

Raygorodok, Zhitomir region, should not be confused with the village of Raygorod in Vinnitsa region. Both the settlements were shtetls with big Jewish communities.

Part of the information for this article was taken from an interview with Sofia Yakubova (Gleyzer), a native of the town of Sofiivka, which she gave to the Shoa Foundation in the 1990s.

According to the 1897 census, 2058 residents lived in Raygorodok where 946 Jews constited 45% of the total population.

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In the southern outskirts of the village a market square and a synagogue used to make the center of the Jewish shtetl. Nowadays this territory remains almost undeveloped. It is right opposite the village council – a large vacant lot, which is crossed by the Berdichev-Vinnitsa highway.

Former center of the shtetl

Former center of the shtetl

Former center of the shtetl

Former center of the shtetl

In the 1920s, there was a Jewish school in the village, but it only lasted a few years and was closed.
In 1926, 665 Jews lived in Raygorodok (28% of the total population)

I did not find information about the Jewish community of Raygorod between WWI and WWII, but can assume that about 200 Jews lived in the village before German invasion.

Raygorodok entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Raygorodok entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Before the war, there were about 50 Jewish families living in the village. There was a rabbi in the village, and the Jews mainly lived around the synagogue, which was a two-story building.

There were no signs of anti-Semitism in the village in the 1930s.


Most of the Jews were evacuated from the village before the arrival of the Germans.

At the time of the Germans’ entry into the village, there were many refugees from Proskurov who could not leave further.

On July 7, 1941, German troops invaded Raigorodok. From the first days of the occupation, the Jews were ordered to be forced to hard labor and wear a yellow star on the left side of the breast.
On July 15, 1941, a ghetto was established in a few dilapidated houses. Local Ukrainian policemen systematically raped young Jewish women. Local residents showed the Germans where young Jewish girls lived, after which the Germans raped them.
On August, 15 Jews were executed.

According to Sofia Yakubova’s interview, on September 1, the local police forced all the Jews to move to one large house, from where they were regularly taken to work. But I can assume that it was several houses or one street.

Sofia Yakubova (Gleyzer), 1990s

Sofia Yakubova (Gleyzer), 1990s


On September 10, the police and the Germans surrounded the place where the Jews lived, sorted out the specialists with their families, and drove the rest into the forest, where they were shot. Local residents watched the execution in the forest. The rabbi of the town was also shot with everyone else.
According to some sources, 140 Jews were killed on that day. Sofia Yakubova remembered the name of one of the policemen who participated in this operation – Stas Levitsky.

The specialists were in a separate house. Jews from Berdychiv and Chudniv, where the Jewish population had already been liquidated, came and settled with them.
The specialists were not guarded but were threatened with the shooting of everyone left behind by one who escaped. In addition to their specialty, the specialists were also forced to clear snow.

Tsilya Glleizer (on left), killed in Raigorodok in 1941

Tsilya Glleizer (on left), killed in Raigorodok in 1941

On July 25, 1942, 47 Yanushpol’s Jews were brought to Raygorod ghetto. On the next day they were executed in the Jewish cemetery together with local Jews.
Policemans did not bury the pit for several days and caught the escaped Jews and shot them there.

In 1942, a local Jew B.Gleizer escaped from the massacre site with his daughter.

In January 1944, the former shtetl was liberated by the Soviet Army.

Site of former synagogue - veterinary clinic was built in this place

Site of former synagogue – veterinary clinic was built in this place

According to the files of the State Comission, about 110-125 local Jews were executed during the Holocaust. After the liberation, 3 mass graves were found – one in Raygorod forest (57 victims) and two the local Jewish cemetery (59 and 4 victims).

After the WWII

After the war, several Jewish families returned to the village, but I could not find their last names, since the Ukrainian locals could remember only their first names and occupations:
– David with his daughter Tsilya. He worked as the head of a livestock farm;
– a chemistry teacher Alla with her husband;
– a school headmaster Kim Musievich with his wife, who worked as a nurse
– Dora and Raya Shats
– Sofia Gleyzer and her father, who both survived the occupation

Tailor Glaizer, 1970s

Tailor Glaizer, 1970s

But most of the surviving Jews left to live in Berdychiv, and none remained in the village.

In the summer of 2020, I was unable to find out who were the last Jews in the village.

Information from Leonid Kogan:

I was there for the first time in the mid-1990s, and the second time was in July 2019. In the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Kyiv, I saw a reference to a document in the catalog: On the Opening of a New Jewish Cemetery in Raigorodok (f. 442 op. 535 d. 307 l.1-9). I did not see the document myself, but the title indicates that there is not one, but two cemeteries in the town. I am sending a photo in the attachment, which shows the approximate location of the old and new bes-oylom. Looking at the matzevot, I paid attention to the years of death indicated on the epitaphs. On the old bes-eylom, I came across such years: 5645 (1885/1884), 5642 (1882/1881), 5671 (1911/1910), and on the new one: 5670 (1910/1909), 5673 (1913/1912), 5684 (1924/1923), 5695 (1935/1934). Next to the new bes-oylom is a house. There I first met Mikhail Antonovich Ogorodnik, born in 1913. When I asked him when the last burial took place there, he replied: in 1948, Faina Kon, a pharmacist, buried her father. However, I did not find her father’s matzevah. In the 1970s, Faina left with her daughter somewhere. M. Ogorodnik told me that the Germans were shooting people at the new cemetery, but no monument was erected to the victims. I have written down that the place where both cemeteries are located is called Zamtchysko. Many gravestones were wooden and therefore did not survive. I also have the following information from Ogorodnik’s words: before the war, there were 2 men’s and 1 women’s synagogues, 2 rabbis, 1 butcher, 40 shops, a Jewish collective farm “Trud”, and a guard post near the cemetery.

On the old cemetery, I counted about 30 tombstones. On some of them, you can see the year of death: 5642, 5645, 5671.

On the new cemetery, there are about 50 tombstones. I saw the year of death on some of them: 5670, 5681, 5695.

According to the act of the Extraordinary Commission dated November 15, 1944 (DAZO – f.R-2636/1/16), on the Jewish cemetery were shot: grave No.1 – 59 people, grave No.2 – 4 people, grave No.3 – 2 people, 3 graves with 1 person each; total – 70 people. Near the Raigorodetsky forest – 57 people.

Former centre of the shtetl:

Jewish cemetery

According to the Lo-Tishkah organization, there were 2 Jewish cemeteries in the town, but they are located close to each other, so I assume that nowadays there is one cemetery which has been badly destroyed by the local Ukrainian population.

Memorial plate on the Raygorodok Jewish cemetery, installed by United Jewish Community of Ukraine in 2021:

A part of the cemetery is used for grazing cows, with the gravestones having been removed and dumped in a heap. What is more, a local resident Vasily Bazilinsky has built his house on a part of the cemetery.

One part of the cemetery (just 4-5 gravestones removed from original place to the row):

Second (bigger part of the cemetery):



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