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Shenderivka is a village in the Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi district of Cherkasy region. It is situated on the right bank of the Ros River, near its confluence with the Borovytsia River.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Shenderivka was a shtetl in Kaniv County of Kyiv Governorate.

Information about the Jews of Shenderovka for this article was collected for over 30 years by Klavdiya Kolesnikova, the director of the Jewish museum in Korsun.

The first written mention of the village dates back to 1659.
In 1807, the village was granted town status, and trade and crafts flourished. Markets were held every two weeks on Mondays and bazaars on Fridays. The population of the town in 1864 was 2260 people.

Centre of former shtetl, 2020:

Jewish population of Shenderovka:
1847 г. – 282 Jews
1864 г. – 234 (11%)
1897 г. – 761 (19%)

In 1860, a Jewish man named Balagovsky bought a sugar factory and much of the surrounding forests in Sidorivka, Shenderivka volost. In the early 20th century, the Shenderivka town council was almost entirely composed of Jews. The town elder was Haskal Minashev Portnoy, his assistant was Mordko Dovidov Korsunsky, and the tax collector was David Gofreyriner.
Shenderivka also had its own synagogue in 1900. According to the memories of Riva Yankelovna Schwartzburd, born in Shenderivka in 1910, the synagogue was in the centre of the town where the modern school now stands. It was pretty spacious, with two floors: the lower floor for men and the upper floor for women. In the centre was a raised platform for reading the Torah. All Torah scrolls and prayer books were kept in a special wall cabinet called the “orn koidesh” (ark). Kerosene lamps illuminated the synagogue.

In the book “The Entire Southwest Region: A Reference and Address Book for Kyiv, Volyn, and Podolsk Governorates,” published in Kyiv in 1913, there is information about 35 Shenderivka Jews who were engaged in trade: they sold pharmaceuticals, wine, leather, manufactured goods, flour, fish, and cattle.

Shenderovka entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Shenderovka entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Among them was the Kitaygorodsky family, who ran a store herring of sale and various household items for peasants.

From the 19th century to the early 20th century, the village had woollen, sugar, distillery, brick factories, three water mills, three windmills, a roller mill, and a forest harbour. By 1903, the town’s population had grown to 5980, with more than 700 Jews living there. The Jews lived in the centre of the town, which was called “Mestechko” by the non-Jewish locals. Before World War I, there were about 145 Jewish houses in Mestechko.

List of Shenderovka Jews 1913-1917 collected by local historian Grigoriy Gorbenko:

During 1917-1921, various military forces passed through the village, including the troops of the Directorate, Atamans Grigoriev and Nestor Makhno, Denikin’s troops, and units of the Red Army. Most of them at least looted the Jewish population.
In the same summer of 1918, a terrible pogrom occurred in Shenderovka, called the “Bartholomew Night”. A former resident of this town recounted the event. Still, it was unclear from his story who carried out the pogrom: “On the third day of my arrival in Korsun, many refugees from Shenderovka arrived early in the morning and told of a pogrom of a cruel and savage nature that took place during the night. They mercilessly beat older adults, women, and children. The shooting was like on a battlefield; it was impossible to leave the house. They broke, looted, and destroyed… One girl went insane from either violence or fear, which is still a mystery. The Jews scattered to Korsun, Steblev, Boguslav, and Zvenigorodka.”

In Shenderovka, from 1917-1921, there were three pogroms and several minor attacks. Seven people were killed, five were wounded, and six died from epidemics. The number of refugees who arrived in Boguslav was 50. The entire Jewish population was repeatedly robbed.

In 1919-1920, a Jewish self-defence unit was organized to defend the town against small gangs.

As a result of the revolutions, the manor and economy of the nobility were plundered, trade, which was concentrated in the hands of Jews, declined, and only the diesel mill built at the beginning of the 20th century by the nobleman Rogozinsky remained partially active as a large industrial facility. In addition to the mill and the noble estate, the power station supplied electricity to about thirty peasant houses.
On May 29, 1921, the town’s residents gathered to appeal to the Soviet authorities not to disband the self-defence unit. All the town residents signed the document, which became a population census. List of these people:

Private trade resumed in the town during the NEP period (1921-1928). However, after the end of the NEP in the late 1920s, the town’s economic life was finally destroyed, and most Jews were left without work. This caused massive emigration to the Donbas, where labour was demanded to build new factories, mines, and plants. It was then that most of the Jews left Shenderovka.

In 1928, one of the Shenderovka synagogues was converted into a school.

In the 1990s-2000s, Klavliya Kolesnik recorded memoirs about Jewish life before World War II among the natives of Shenderovka: Riva Yankelovna Shvartsburd (born in 1910), Solomon Shlemovich Portnoy (born in 1914), both from Shenderovka, and Basya Solomonovna Belokopyt (born in 1912) from Korsun.

There were many Jewish furniture makers in the community. One, known as “Mykh deyr tishler” (Mykh the carpenter), lived in Shenderovka in the early 20th century. Another master, Pinya Tabachnikov, made wooden barrels for transporting water. In the 1920s, a well-known hairdresser in Shenderovka and the surrounding area was named Mykhlo Ostrohmylsky. People went to his home to get their hair cut, which was called “mi gayt tsum sherer” or “going to the hairdresser.” In the early 20th century, a shochet (kosher slaughterer) named Itsyk lived and worked in Shenderovka. People brought him animals and birds, mainly chickens, and he would slaughter them and extract the blood for a fee of 3-5 kopeks.

It was customary for almost every Jewish family in Shenderovka to have their own “milk lady” among the locals. From spring to autumn, Jewish children went to her home daily to drink milk straight from the cow.

Old-timers remember how Shleyma, nicknamed “the Austrian,” and Yankl Shvartsburd used to bake matzo in Shenderovka skillfully.

Jews who was born in Shenderovka:

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Approximately 1,000 people died of starvation in the village during the famine of 1932-1933, though it’s unclear how many were Jews. In 1937-1938, 19 villagers were arrested and sentenced to execution by the NKVD “troikas,” but it’s unknown if any of them were Jewish. The Jewish school was closed in 1935.
Jankel Portnoy was in charge of the village store before World War II. He and his entire family perished during the Holocaust.

Site of synagogue in Shenderovka, 2020

Site of synagogue in Shenderovka, 2020

On July 29, 1941, Germans entered Shenderovka. During the first few months, the Gestapo arrested and executed about 50 communists and Komsomol members. In September, the local authorities ordered the Jews to gather, telling them they would be resettled elsewhere. They were allowed to bring 32 kg of personal belongings with them. The next day, they were convoyed to the district centre and executed in Kushevskoy Yar near Korsun.
Only a few people managed to survive.Then 64 Jews from Shenderivka perished.

As residents found out, the daughter and mother of Kuk and Raya Portny were not killed along with everyone else. After numerous rapes, they were killed in 1942. After the liberation of Korsun  and the surrounding area from the Germans in 1944, a special commission opened a mass grave in Kushchevsky Yar, where 2,200 Jewish bodies from the Korsun region were discovered.

In 1944, Shenderivka became the epicentre of the final stage of the Korsun -Shevchenko Battle of 1944, where 517 Soviet soldiers died in the battles for Shenderivka. Among the participants of the Korsun -Shevchenko Battle were also Jews. In Shenderivka, Captain Yuri Lazarovich Vater, a native of Riga and a Soviet Army officer, was seriously wounded and captured. After being tortured, the Germans hanged him. Posthumously, Yuri Vater was awarded the Order of Lenin. A monument was erected at the site of his death, and a museum in his memory was opened in a local school. One of the central streets of Shenderivka is named after him.

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After the WWII

After the war, local Jews did not return to the village. 

In the late 1940s, Nelik Srulovich Goldich worked as a teacher at the school. Most likely, he was sent to work there from another place.

Some Jewish families from Shenderivka lived in Korsun after the war, most of whom had left Shenderivka in the 1920s.
Here are the stories of some of them:

– Nakhel Gershkovich Rashkovsky (1900-1971) and his wife Malka-Khaseya Nutovna Rashkovsky (Kitaygorodskaya) (1903-1970). During the evacuation, two of their children died. After the war, their son Peter was born, he immigrated to Israel in 2020.
– Gersh and Riva Schwartzburd (nee Doinova). They had two sons, one of whom died in a car accident in 1946 and the other in San Francisco in 2022. Riva lived in Korsun until 1999, after which she moved to her son in San Francisco, where she lived to be 96 years old.
– The family of Semen Portnoy. Semen was born in Shenderivka in 1914 after the start of World War I, so his Jewish name was Shalom. Semen fought on the fronts of World War II, survived, was a correspondent for the Cherkasy newspaper, lived in Shpola and Zvenyhorodka, and in Korsun, where he died, he had a son and a daughter.
– The Kautsky family
– The Kolesnikov family

Semion Portnoy and Klavdiya Kolesnikova, Korsun 1996

Semion Portnoy and Klavdiya Kolesnikova, Korsun 1996


More documents about Jews of Shenderovka can be found here.

Jewish cemetery

Residents stole stones from the Jewish cemetery, which was partially used as a garden. In 2020, I could only find one tombstone, the inscription of which is impossible to read.

Site of Jewish cemetery in Shenderovka, 2020

Site of Jewish cemetery in Shenderovka, 2020

Last gravestone which locates on destroyed Jewish cemetery

Last gravestone which locates on destroyed Jewish cemetery



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