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Ryzhanovka is a village in the Zvenigorodka district of the Cherkassy region.
In the XIX and early XX centuries it was a shtetl of Zvenigorodka district of the Kiev guberniya.

A native of Ryzhanovka Dmitriy Morgulis collected information about the Jews of the shtetl all his life. However, he died in 2013-2014 and without publishing it. A lot of information used in this article was given by Judith Merida and Rabbi Elazar Nezdatny. The latter’s grandfather was born in Ryzhanovka.

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Jews had been living in Ryzhanovka since XVII century. Their main occupations were crafts, selling salt, horses, cattle, and rental properties. In the early 19thcentury two synagogues opened in Ryzhanovka. One of them was presented to the community by Yona Mendelson in 1827.

Jewish population of Rizhanovka:
1800 — 2668 Jews
1897 — 1374 (33%)
1906 — 1196 (29%)
1913 ~ 2500 Jews
1923 – 592 Jews

In 1851, the Jews owned a mill, winery, bakeries, and about 100 buildings. In 1860, there was a large fire and 60 Jewish houses burned down. The Jews of Ryzhanovka also suffered during the fires in 1864 and 1873. In the 1860’s, the Jews paid taxes on selling alcohol. There was a Jewish cemetery in Ryzhanovka. Yosef-Yeguda Vaysburd (1847-?) has been a rabbi in Ryzhanovka since 1876. In 1882, a chairman of one of the synagogues was Mikhel Iosevich Sigalov. The chairmen of two other synagogues were Avrum Karnaukh and Menakhem Bavskiy in the late XIX century. In 1903, one more synagogue was opened in Ryzhanovka with M.I. Sialov as its rabbi.

Rizhanovka entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Rizhanovka entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

In 1906, a Jewish technical college was functioning in the shtetl. Its leaders were Turkot and Ayzenberg. In the early XX century, a lot of Jews from Ryzhanivka moved to other countries.

From memories of Boris Sirota, Bat Yam, Israel:

Went up a small hill. Houses belonged to non-Jews. At the end of the hill on the left side was a church and on the right were the police. Then came the house of Spivak. He dealt with pots. Next was Moshe the shochet. Grocery – Pinchos Listshiner. Across lived Velve Bristedsky. Between the two was mud. Terasuk? Under him after the church started a new street. There lived Avraham Aaron who made seltzer. On the side was a small street where Rabbi Yoseph Wissberg lived and with him was Shimon the shochet. After them was Hishel Matyes (was … flour). He … Mincha on Yom Kippur in Kloiz. Avraham Kranoich (Yudel). Chana Chernovsky (had smaller salt)… Dzarish. She limped on her foot. After was Boruch Lwovsky . He had a grandfather who lived with him whom he didn’t know. With him lived Aaron who sold wood. Always fought for Akdo… Across on the right side Chatykel Cohen who sold wheat. On the big street on the bottom Tzoda Shuster lived by Boruch Lwovsky. Nextwas Yaakov Malis.
(Doesn’t remember who was next) Two houses later. Abraham Stoller (committed suicide) (had guns?) Next, Ben Segalov, David, Mani. Two houses. Half belonged to Yisroel Goretzki who drove the mail. Between the two houses was a barn. Across Goretzky lived Mordechai Shpyn and his uncle. (Doesn’t remember) Bentzi Zunda. David Moshe Brodichofsky. Shloma Reznikov. Drug Store. Yisroel Becken (? Made oil). (Confectionery) Dovid Moshe …two floors Cohen

Those who came from Ryzhanivka organized a charity society in the USA in 1913. Also in 1913, a Jewish society of mutual credit was opened in Ryzhanivka.

Nuchim Krasnyanskiy, grandfather of Dmitriy Margulis. Rizhanovka, beginning of XX century

Nuchim Krasnyanskiy, grandfather of Dmitriy Margulis. Rizhanovka, beginning of XX century

In 1914, Zeyl Pinkovich Krayz was a head of the House of Burgesses. Pin Abovich Leshiner was its member. In Ryzhanovka the Jews owned both warehouses of pharmacy goods, both wood warehouses, both mills, the only tailor workshop, and 35 stalls, including all 12 manufacturing stalls, all five bakeries, and all nine groceries.

From the memories of Avraam Sirota, Bat Yam, Israel:

Ryzhanovka was a completely Jewish shtetl. I think that 1,500-2,000 Jews used to live there. They mostly engaged in trade. There were also blacksmiths, coopers, carpenters, tailors, cobblers, carriage drivers among them. Krasnianskiy, Sirota, Cherniavskiy, Kogan, Reful, Klara Kogan, Gusak, Leshchiner, Magidenko, Berdichevskiy, Zastuchnyi, Spivak, Nezdatny, Lvovskiy – these families were considered to be the noble ones.

Moisey Nezdatnyi (1900, Rizhanovka - 1976, St.Peterburg) with his family

Moisey Nezdatnyi (1900, Rizhanovka – 1976, St.Peterburg) with his family

From the memories of Moisey Nezdatnyi:

Nezdatnyi family was large and wealthy. All my uncles and aunts, as well as my father and my step-mother Leya engaged in the bread trading and flour-milling industry. They all were co-owners of the mill located atthe end of the village near the road that led to Zvenigorodka. On the other side of the village there was another mill which belonged to Koshevatskiy family. Our mill used anthracite coal as a power source. Koshevatskiy’s mill used petrol. We had an“Otto-Deyts” engine, Koshevatskiy had a “Diesel”. The capacity of these engines reached 50-60 horsepower. In the beginning of the century there were small engines of 15 horsepower, but they had been modified gradually and their capacity increased.people took loans and bought more powerful engines. The amount of necessary tools (millstones and rolling mills) also increased. Children of all ages helped the adults in the mill and tried to be useful in a collectively improving the family’s prosperity.

Rizhanovka shtetl plan by Boris Sirota which was provided to Dmitriy Morgulis

Rizhanovka shtetl plan by Boris Sirota which was provided to Dmitriy Morgulis

More memories of Moisey Nezdatniy can be found here.

Biography of Solomon Resnikoff from Rizhanovka provided by Judith Merida:

Family of Solomon Resnikoff:


Civil War pogroms

From the memories of Moisey Nezdatnyi:

I took an active part in organizing a self –defense detachment in the shtetl. There were a lot of adventures and events which had proven that people were able to defend themselves if they are armed. We had several machine-guns, about 200 rifles of various types, and a lot of grenades. We all understood and realized that if we didn’t defend ourselves nobody would do it for us. I occupied the position of the leader of the Commandant’s team which was in charge of enforcing discipline, and order. Nobody was an exception. Small detachments of Soviet forces were located in the district town of Zvenigorodka. They couldn’t provide the nearby towns with defense from the bandits. We decided to do it ourselves. The authorities supported us by giving weapons, ammunition, and instructions. Self-defense detachments were rather big in some small towns and villages. They fought against large bands of bandits skillfully and didn’t let them enter the shtetls. The defenders always won the battles as they were well organized and knew all the peculiarities of the area. Round-the-clock posts, secrets, ambushes, machine-gun points in the suburbs which changed frequently, constant check of sentries’ alertness guaranteed security of the shtetl at night and at dawn. Large detachments of self-defense were functioning in the shtetl of Shpola – there were about 3,000 fighters. In Boguslav – more than 1,000.

A detachment of our shtetl had 200-220 fighters. We sometimes went to nearby forests and checked the roads looking for the bandits heading to us.
In 1918 – 1920, several pogroms took place in Ryzhanovka. As a result, a lot of Jews were killed. In May 1918, a pogrom was committed by parts of the German Army in which 7 Jews died. In September 1919, a pogrom was committed by parts of Volunteer Army – Jews died. In November 1920, Ataman Tsvetkovskiy’s band carried out a pogrom in Ryzhanovka – 9 Jews died.
A self-defense detachment was organized in Ryzhnovka. In 1920, it joined G.I. Kotovskiy’s brigade.

From the memories of Karen Rothman Diamond ancestors:

My great grandfather, Koppel Ainfrank, was forced to swim in a river (or pond ?) in the middle of winter, caught pneumonia, and died. His wife, Sheindl, had her hair pulled out during a pogrom and for the rest of her life, her hair was very thin. My grandmother recounted stories of how the soldiers made the young children lie down in the field and ditches so they could jump their horses over the Jews. She also told of how they were “wealthy” but not a crumb of bread was to be had.
They left in the 1920’s and emigrated to Montreal, Canada.

Between the Wars

In the early 1920’s, rabbi of the shtetl, Rab Velvele left for Palestine.
The Jewish population started to leave Ryzhanovka in large numbers because of the prohibition of private trade and the abolition of the Jewish community.
In 1920, an agricultural commune was formed in Ryzhanovka. In the 1930’s, it became a collective farm named after Grigoriy Petrovskiy.

Former shtetl center, 2017

Former shtetl center, 2017

In the 1920’s – early 1930’s, there were many artisans (blacksmiths, rope-makers, cobblers) among the Jews. They owned a grocery, bakery, and an inn.
In the 1930’s, Mikhail Naumovich Gutmakher became a chairman of the village council. He used to fight in G.I. Kotovskiy’s brigade.


During the WWII the Jewish population of Ryzhanovka was deported to the village of Buky and destroyed there. I couldn’t find either the lists of the people who were killed or any other detailed information.

After the WWII

According to information given by Leonid Braslavskiy (the head of the Jewish community of Zvenigorodka), only the Gutmakher family managed to survive in the camp: Mikhail and Doba, and their daughter Mariya. Doba Gutmakher died in Ryzhanovka in 1945 and was buried at the Christian cemetery because the Jewish cemetery had been destroyed by that time.

Mikhail and Doba Gutmakher with daughter Maria in Rizhanovka, 1930's. Photo provided by Leonid Braslavskiy

Mikhail and Doba Gutmakher with daughter Maria in Rizhanovka, 1930’s. Photo provided by Leonid Braslavskiy

Local old people remember that after the war only two or three Jews lived in the village.

A few families from Ryzhanovka lived in Zvenigorodka. Those were Gutmakher, Gusak, Sirota, Ruvinskiy, Yaretskiy families.

Jewish cemetery

The Jewish cemetery in Ryzhanovka had been partly destroyed during the occupation. Granite from the cemetery was used in the building of a fold of the collective farm “Voroshilov”.
In 2002, at the Jewish cemetery, Dmitriy Morgulis managed to establish a memorial with the names of the people buried at this cemetery.
This memorial is the only object in the village that memorialize sits Jewish history.

Last gravestones of Rizhanovka Jewish cemetery

Last gravestones of Rizhanovka Jewish cemetery

Collective farm which was build from headstones of Rizhanovka Jewish cemetery

Collective farm which was build from headstones of Rizhanovka Jewish cemetery




  1. My great grandfather is memorialised in the cemetery- Koppel Ainfrank. I wonder if anyone has any more information on that family? I believe his widow, my Bubbe Shaindel, left with the family of 4 children in the 1920’s.

  2. I see her in a ship’s manifest from, arriving in Vermont (?). Send me an email address and I’ll send you the image. She’s in her 50s and has 3 kids with her.

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