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Steblev is an urban-type settlement in the Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi district of the Cherkasy region.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Steblev was a shtetl in the Kanev county of Kyiv province.

Information about the Jews of Steblev for this article was collected over more than 30 years by Klavdiya Kolesnikova, the director of the Jewish Museum in Korsun.

I visited Steblev in the summer of 2020 but could not find any information about the Jews in the town. Of the approximately one and a half thousand Jews who once lived in the town, only an overgrown Jewish cemetery remains.

Center of the former shtetl, 2020:

Jews began to settle in Steblev in the 17th century, but I could not find more accurate data.

There is mention of 2 prayer houses (1864) and one synagogue (1900 and 1913) in Steblev. In 1910, there was a private male Jewish school in Steblev. However, the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedias indicate 5 Jewish prayer houses in Steblev, which seems more plausible.

In the 1840s, the leaders of the Steblev kahal were Gershko Letichevsky, Avrum Mogilevsky, and Sruul Zaslavsky. In 1840, they received 40 rubles from the Kanev burgher Yoska Weinshen for freeing his family from conscription, but they kept the money and did not record it in the kahal’s books. As a result, the court found their actions illegal.

Steblev entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Steblev entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Same in the text:

Аптекарскими товарами торговала Ольшанская Креня Мошковна; бакалеей – Богуславский Мошко, Бродский Файвель Менахович, Дорфман Цирля Ароновна, Заславская Бабель Янкелевна, Казимирова Ревекка Мордковна, Котляр Аврум Янкелевич, Купершмидт Малка Мордковна, Купершмидт Михель Ицкович, Литвинский Аба Пейсахович, Черномаз Волько Зельманович, Шепетовская Рухель Лейбовна, Шлифер Цирля Гершковна, Ярецкая Рухля Мордковна, Шинкарев Гершко Лейбович; галантереей – Дубовик Мордко Срулевич, Кагаловский Сруль Беркович, Ратнер Ицко Менахович;

железом – Купершмидт Малка Бенционовна, Купершмидт Фишко Ицкович; кожевенными товарами – Топоровская Хася Шепшелевна, Чудновский Аврам Менделевич;

мануфактурой – Зельдес Брайна Мошковна, Кагаловский Сруль Беркович, Казимирова Бруха Юдковна, Казимирова Гинда Фроимовна, Месионжник Дувид Бенционович, Пшеничников Мошко Шимонович, Соколинская Рухля Гейнаховна, Эмдин Пинхос Срулевич; мукой – Могилевская Сура Лейбовна, Могилевский Борух Иосифович, Одесский Борух Аврамович, Синицкий Янкель Теелевич, Шинкарев Арон Гершкович, Ярецкий Мошко Шмулевич; рыбой – Гольденберг Бузя Юдковна, Державец Голда Аврамовна, Палчицкая Лыба Гершковна;

скотом – Апатовский Ицко Рахмилович, Казимиров Сруль Мошкович, Ярецкий Мендель Шаевич; хлебом и зерном – Ситницкий Эль Аврамович, Соколинский Янкель Шмулевич; лесными складами владели Апатовский Зельман Беркович, Ярецкий Хайкель; постоялым двором – Маламуд Злата Мордковна; мельницу арендовали Волынский, Апатовский и Фертман; суконной фабрикой – Шмиель Нахман, Юзефов Иосиф Моисеевич, Левит Израиль Моисеевич

In March 1847, the constable Greenewich sent his scribe and chancellor to Steblev with a secret order to remove and take away all the hats and belts of the local Jews. The order was executed, and the items were delivered to the constable. But the Steblev Jews, outraged by this violence, filed a petition with the county court, valuing their fur hats and belts at 200 rubles in silver.
In the second half of the 19th century, Ovsey Liberman owned the Steblev sugar-refining plant. In 1891, Leyba Spivak rented the Steblyov woollen mill, which employed Jews.

Plan of bath (mikveh) in Steblev, 1908

Plan of bath (mikveh) in Steblev, 1908

List of the visitors of the Stebliv synagogue “Beis aMidrash”, 1902-1903:


In 1911, the manager of the Steblev pharmacy was the burgher Liber Eleevich Sheinblum, and the provisor was Yakov Iosifovich Aizenshtein. During World War I, in 1915-1916, military units were quartered in Jewish houses in Steblev and the village of Komarovka.

Yaretskiy family, Steblev beginning of 20 century

Yaretskiy family, Steblev beginning of 20 century


Civil War pogroms

Jewish population of Steblev:
1847 г. – 413 Jews
1864 г. – 535 (22%)
1897 г. – 1472 (25%)

After the two revolutions of 1917, Ukraine was swept by a wave of Jewish pogroms. The Kyiv regional archive holds a report by the fighter of the Steblev Jewish self-defence Bentsion Odessky, which describes this period in the town’s life.
The first time bandits entered the town was in May 1919. Half of the town was robbed. A month after this raid, a group of bandits and the Churupovtsy detachment carried out another attack on Steblev. During this raid, seven people were killed, and most Jews were robbed. During both pogroms, the local guard, consisting of Ukrainians, took part in the looting, so the Jews decided to organize self-defence. Its organizer was Gersh Goldenberg. Weapons were purchased from peasants for them.

Zemskiy hospital in Steblev. It was build in 1914

Zemskiy hospital in Steblev. It was build in 1914

In the summer of 1919, thanks to the heroism of Gersh Goldenberg and Israel Blaslavsky, self-defence repelled the first attack. After that, more and more Jewish youth began to join the detachment. The detachment constantly repelled bandit attacks on the town.
During the retreat of the Denikin troops in the fall of 1919, thanks to agreements with the local non-Jewish intelligentsia, a clash with the Denikin army was avoided, as it was stronger, larger, and better armed than the Jewish self-defence.

Steblev Jewish self-defence, 1919

Steblev Jewish self-defence, 1919

After the December Denikin pogrom in Korsun, Korsun Jews fled in different directions, especially to Steblev.
The report mentions one name of a fallen detachment member – Gedali Kutsubnevsky.
In November 1920, during the Medvinsk district uprising against the Bolsheviks, Steblev was raided by rebels under the leadership of Tsvetkovsky. The troops stationed in Steblev had a connection with the bandits and forced the guard to retreat. The bandits took over the town, robbed it, and killed 27 people – almost all elderly men. A month after this raid (December 1920), Tsvetkovsky led another attack on Steblev. His gang consisted of 300 infantrymen and 150 cavalrymen. The guard consisted of 60 people. The fight between the guard and the bandits lasted 4.5 hours, and the bandits retreated with losses.

Between the Wars

Report of JDC, regarding state of Jewish institutions in Steblev in the beginning of 1920s:

Stebelov is situated about 15 versts from the railway station Korsun. It passed through a number of pogroms which were committed by the bands of various political groups, and which resulted in 43 persons killed, 11 persons wounded and 18 houses destroyed. Formerly the Jewish population of Stebelev numbered 2000. It has now only 1800 Jews, of whom 75 are small traders, 110 wage-earners, 30 workmen, and a large group of people without any definite occupation. There are in Stebelev 45 needy widows, 150 full and half orphans and 50 invalids. Stebelev had the following factories before the pogroms, which provided the population with work: 1. Sugar-refinery 2. Weaving Mill 3. Steam flour-mill 4. Foundry (?) At present practically all of these factories are not working and all trade has been suspended.

Existing Institutions in Stebelev:

– Children’s Institutions:

1. Public School: The number of Jewish children in attendance is about 30. The School exists upon money collected from the pupils as tuition fees. All the Jewish Children attending this School belong to the well-to-do class, as the needy ones cannot pay. There is no special Jewish School in the city. Out of the 150 orphans living in Stebelev, about 100 are quite homeless.

– Medical-Sanitary Conditions:

There exists in Stebelev a Hospital with 30 beds. It is supervised by the Gubzdrav and supplied very inadequately by the latter. The premises are suitable but the roof needs repairs, the walls must be whitewashed, etc. The Hospital has sufficient equipment and furniture but it lack instruments. There is also an acute shortage of bed-linen. The patients are often compelled to cover themselves with their overcoats. This often results in complication of diseases and handicaps the treatment. The hospital takes payment from the patients. The poorest population is naturally insufficiently served by this Hospital. There exists a Dispensary at the Hospital, which, however, is but poorly supplied with medicaments. In the majority of cases it is unable to deliver the necessary medicaments. In order to solve the question of medical aid to the pogromized needy population, a one time subvention of $130 and a monthly subvention of $30 is needed.

In the Cherkasy regional archive are records of cases brought against the Jewish residents of Steblev in the late 1920s for illegal trade or unpaid taxes. The cases include Steblev entrepreneurs: Matus Leybovich Rubinsky, Yankel Davidovich Khilkovsky, Abram Aronovich Dizhur and Eilik Froimovich Gutman, and Masha Leybovna Zaritska.

Sugar's label from the Stelev's factory of Ovsey Liberman

Sugar’s label from the Stelev’s factory of Ovsey Liberman

In 1929, two Jewish collective farms were created in the Korsun region: “Evpakhari” in Korsun and the “12th Anniversary of the October Revolution” collective farm in Steblev. They existed until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Very little is known about the “12th Anniversary of the October Revolution” collective farm, but in 1934, its chairman was Honor, and the party secretary was Vishnevetsky. Among the activists were Shmul and Lev Vinogradsky.

PreRevolution school in Steblev. Now it is used as a sawmill:

In the 1920s and 1930s, there was an outflow of young people from small towns to big cities, with more opportunities for education, professional growth, and advancement.
Over 30 years of her work, Kladviya Kolenikova managed to collect family memories of Steblev Jews. She recorded and kept stories that were shared with her by the descendants of the families: Zeltsman, Fishbeyn, Khilkovsky, Kaganov, and Belyavsky. In the 1930s, the shochet in the town was Shaya Yudilevich. The Zeltsman family, Isaac and Rebecca, worked in the pharmacy. Avrum Pinkhosovich Fishbein worked in the rural store.
Between the Revolution and the Second World War, the Jewish population of Steblev significantly decreased due to the destruction of the centuries-old economic system, the ban on private entrepreneurship, collectivization, and political repression. Before the Second World War, 200-300 Jews lived there.


Aizik and Revekka Zaltsman in Steblev pharmacy, 1939. Aizik was drafted to Red Army and disappeared in 1942.

I. Toporovskiy with wife and children, Steblev 1941

I. Toporovskiy with wife and children, Steblev 1941



German troops occupied Steblev on July 29, 1941. According to residents’ memories, the Germans mocked the religious Jew Yankel Khilkovsky (born in 1870) and set fire to his beard.
The exact date of the execution of the Jewish population is not known. According to some sources, it was in August-September 1941, and according to others, it was in the winter of 1941-1942. Taking into account the time of the destruction of the Jewish population in neighbouring towns, I lean towards the second version.
The execution took place in the Dovzhik ravine, on the bank of the Ros River, where the local population used to take clay before the war. Here, local police officers dug two pits measuring two by 4 meters.

Local Jews were gathered and informed that they would be taken to the railway station in Korsun for resettlement. At first, they were led in that direction, but near the Rost River, they were turned and led towards a ravine where they were all shot.
According to eyewitnesses, 76-year-old Basya Belyavskaya led the doomed people, and when they were brought to the pit, she gave a police officer a gold coin so that she would be shot first and would not see the death of her children.
The exact location of the mass grave is not known, but it is said to be not far from the modern-day beach on the banks of the Ross River.

Perished in Steblev:

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Until recently, it was believed that 143 Jews were shot in Steblev – the number in the list stored in the State Archives of the Cherkasy region, but in 2009, a book by Sergei Khavrusya, “How the War Was” was published in which he named 15 new names. And recently, a native of Steblev, Petr Abramovich Fishbeyn, born in 1929, worked as a Russian language and literature teacher at the evening school in Korsun for many years and now lives in Israel, named 11 more names of his relatives and classmates. So the final number is 169 people.

After the WWII

After the town’s liberation, several Jewish families returned from evacuation and the front.

Rebecca Zaltsman returned with her son Anatoly, the widow of the head of the family Isaac Zeltsman, who died at the front. Before the war, she worked at the pharmacy. Anatoly graduated from school in Steblev and moved to Moscow, where Rebecca also went and died in 1983.

Rebecca Zaltsman, Steblev 1951

Rebecca Zaltsman, Steblev 1951

From Anatoly Zaltsman’s memoirs: “I was the only Jew in school for all nine years of my education. Another girl appeared in the 1st grade when I had already graduated.”

According to the memoirs of Peter Rashkovsky: “In the 1960s, I went to Steblev with my father, where he visited his Jewish friends. At that time, many Jewish houses were still in the centre of the former town. There was a store near the department store in the centre where a Jewish woman sold kerosene. My father spoke to her in Yiddish.”

After the war, the number of Jews in Steblev gradually decreased: people died or left for other cities and countries. The last Jewish woman in the town was Sonya Kupersmidt. She moved to Kyiv to live with her son in 1976.

In 2007, a memorial was installed at the site of the shooting of Steblev Jews in the Dovzhik ravine. The initiators of the monument installation were Petr Rashkovsky and Klavdiya Kolesnikova from Korsun. Before the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, a local Ukrainian family voluntarily maintained the area around the monument. However, the head of the family died from COVID-19, and his widow moved to Germany.

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Ros River near the Steblev, 2020:

Famous Jews from Steblev

Boris Alexandrovich Feldman (1907, Steblev, Kanevsky district, Kyiv province – 1985, Moscow), a polygrapher and doctor of technical sciences.


Valuable documents and different lists can be found here.

Jewish cemetery

The Jewish cemetery is heavily overgrown, and it is difficult to accurately count the number of gravestones. However, in the 2010s, someone attempted to excavate the graves.



One Comment

  1. Hey,
    My Name is Liran Shchukin, from Israel.
    My grandmother’s family is from Korsun and Stebliv (all of the victims in the pictures are my family members- my great-grandmother’s uncles and cousins ). But, we have no any information about my Great-grandfather’s, Moishe Gutman, family. We just have a clue about few family members that left Russia to USA.

    I’ll be greatfull for any help in my research.
    My e-mail is –

    Thank you!

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