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Триполье(Russian), Трипілля(Ukrainian)

Trypillya is a historic town located in Obukhov district of Kiev region. Trypillya is located on the Dnieper River. The town’s estimated population is 3,001 (as of 2006).

Trypillya became a part of Russia Empire in 1667, in XIX – beginning of XX century it was shtetl of Kiev Gubernia.

Trypillya is approx. 280 km from Vinnitsya and in 50 km from Kiev.


Historically, people settled in Trypillya because of a ford across the Dnieper river and a strategically important hill rising high above the river bank.

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Written records of the Jews of Trypillya go back a long time. One of them an appeal on 21 July 1638 to the Kyiv magistrate court (Old Polish state lower courts handling the major offences in the Cossack Hetmanate within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1434) by a Polish nobleman called Mykola Pronsky, a servant of the Trypillya castle owner Maksimilan Bzhozovsky. The appeal presented the details of a devastating pogrom instigated by a Cossack paramilitary unit consisting of 4,000 rebels on 6 July 1638. According to M. Pronsky, “Cossacks beat up and wounded many people living there, the local peasantry and Jews, and their property was completely destroyed”.

Jewish population of Trypillya:
1863 – 363 jews
1887 – 738 jews
1897 – 1238 (22%)
2016 – 0

During Khmelnytsky Uprising (the Cossack-Polish War in 1648-1657 under the command of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky) the Patriarch of Antioch Makarios and his son, Archdeacon Paul of Aleppo, invited by Russian tsar Alexis, were going to Moscow and made a 2-day stop in Trypillya. While staying at the Trypillya castle, Paul of Aleppo noted down the life of the local Jews and other Ukrainian Jews, “When we were in Moldavia, we asked a Jew escaped, called Yankel, what Khmetlnysky had done to the Jews from Poland”. The Jew answered that Khmelnytsky had started a pogrom against the Jews more savage than Vespasian.”

Site of former Tripillia castle

Site of former Tripillia castle

During the Khmelnytsky Uprising the Jews from Trypillya escaped to Tulchyn where the Cossacks murdered them alongside with all other Jews who were trying to find respite in the Tulchyn castle.

An anti-Semitic traveler from Syria Paul of Aleppo painted a terrifying picture of the life of Ukrainian Jews, mixing facts and gossip he collected from the Trypillya locals. This is what he wrote about the castle, “An enormous castle bulwarked with a double earthen wall and a moat stands on the top of a hill. Most houses have been abandoned; the Jews used to live here before, and now their beautiful houses and shops lie in ruins and the market places are devastated”.


On 11 September 1675 the Hetman of Left-bank Ukraine, Ivan Samoylovych, wrote to the tsar in Moscow that the Steward of Poland (Regimentarz) called G. Gulyanytsky devastated Trypillya, Staiky, Rzhyschiv, “pillaged non-Christian (Jewish) property and headed for Bila Tserkva area afterwards…”

During the Khmelnytsky Uprising and a drawn-out civil war that followed, the Jews left Trypillya. According to a statement concerning a Tatar invasion of Trypillya in 1695, the Tatars murdered all Jews alongside with the locals.

Written sources about the Jewish population of Trypillya appear again in the 20s of the XVIII century. At that time the Jewish traders in Trypillya were noted as maintaining a strong relationship with market centers and settlements as Kagarlyk, Boguslav, Germanivka, Bila Tserkva in Poland and Vasylkov in Russia.

Tripillia market square. Picture from local historian museum

Tripillia market square. Picture from local historian museum

The number of Jews living in Trypillya started to grow fast after the settlement was granted the privilege of holding own markets in 1834. The whole population of the town consisted of 829 state serfs (a separate social class in 18th-19th century Russia, considered personally free, although attached to the land) and just 37 Jews in 1847, with this number going up significantly to 363 Jews by 1863, and a header built 10 years before.

First synagogue was built here in 1840s.

In 1866 Trypillya got the status of a volost (a part of provincial districts which were called uyezd in later Russian Empire) center. It included the villages of the former monastic Trypillya area: Khalep’ya, Verem’ya, Zhukivtsi, Dolyna, Krasne, Koziivka, Derev’yana, Scherbanivka, Zlodiivka (Ukrainka). Trypillya was not only a market town but also an administrative center where the Jewish community was mainly in charge of trade and industry and contributed greatly to the rapid development of the town’s economy in the second half of the XIX century. 738 Jews lived in Trypillya in 1887.

A Jewish family of Chornoyarovy, Lazar Pavlovych, with his son Vasyl owned the Trypillya ironworks and brickworks. A sawmill was owned by a first class merchant called Yona Danylovych Vaisberg.  Moreover, most mills, pubs, distilleries, furrieries in Trypillya and Trypillya area were owned by Jewish merchants. Jews worked as traders, millers, blacksmiths, teachers and doctors.

Street in former Jewish neighborhood

Street in former Jewish neighborhood

In the beginning of the XX century the head doctor of Trypillya clinic was Yakov Nusymovych Baraban; Tsylya Livshyts was in charge of the local chemist’s. Drapery in Trypillya and Vytachiv belonged to a Jewish merchant called Lemei Khenkelyovych Selsky. Yankel Peisakhovych Kagansky was a miller at the Trypillya water mill. The owner of the Trypillya shops and the Vytachiv brickworks was Avrum Volkovych Leviant. The market place in the center of the town was taken up by a variety of shops and stalls which belonged to over 80 Jewish families.

Trypillia entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Trypillia entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Jewish traders were mostly in charge of permanent commerce in Trypillya when the town was holding market days in the XIX-beginning XX centuries. Thus, there were 22 grocery shops in the town which belonged to Vygdar Yoskovych Belsky, Tsivka Aronivna Vaisberg, Symon Srulyovych Goldovsky, Illya Saver’yanovych Goncharenko, Leizer Pynkhovych Dovgolevsky, Ester Abramivna Dovgolevska, Gnat Prokhorovych Druzenko, Gudlya Yudkivna Popilovych, Shlyoma Srulyovych Mirtsyn, Khana Mordkivna Mistechkina, Denys Maksymovych Mykolenko, Yosko Moshkovych Pavolotsky, Maksym Mykhailovych Petrychenko, Khana Mordkivna Pinsker, Leiba Avrumovych Piyavsky, Feiga Bentsivna Rubyn, Leya Yudkivna Sagalova, Shymon Pynkhasovych Trypilsky, Bents Yelevych Umansky, Volko Zelmanovych Sheveliev, Khasya Tsalivna Eidelman.

Report of Trypillya Jewish loan society, 1912:

Etlya Leibivna Borodkina and Elya Meyerivna Golubchyk were engaged in fancy goods trading, Aron Avrumovych Berlend was selling gramophones.

The owners of ironmongeries were Akyva Yoskovych Pavolozky, Leiba Avrumovych Piyavsky, Volko Shlyomovych Polyachenko, Shlyoma Avrumovych Polyachenko, Benz Gershkovych Rubyn. Leizer Volkovych Brusylovsky and Shaya Leibovych P’yatygorsky were trading leather goods.

Nukhym Meilerovych Khodarkivsky owned a cereal shop; two butchers’ belonged to Mordko Yankelevych Babenko and Moisei Berkovych Beilyn; Gershko Srulyovych Lischiner and Syma Ruvymivna Sydener were trading in houseware; Gershko Yankelevych Akhmanytsky, Mar’yam Symkhivna Bilozerska, Benz Mendelyovych Pinsker, Srul Avrumovych Polovynchyk, Itsek Yankelevych-Moshkovych Kubchynsky, Avrum-Moisha Mykhelovych Staroselsky, Yankel Shymonovych Taran were engaged in flour trade; Avrum-Moisha Mykhelovych Staroselsky was a fish trader; Nakhman Yankelevych Grinberg and Avrum Sheft. Polyachenko were selling salt and tar; Benz Shmulyovych Kyryos was in charge of whole wheat trade.

Eight draperies belonged to Shmul-Leizer-Yankel Peisakhovych Aloi, Yosko Gershkovych Biletsky, Yankel Gdalyovych Bezzubov, Elya Izkivna, Srul Mordkovych Ovrutsky, Shyfra Bentsovych Rom, Duvym-Moshko-Moshkovych Statnykov, Khana Leibivna Fradlyn.

Timber warehouses were owned by Andri Stepanovych Beldiya, Mikhel Leibovych Burman, Berka Usherovych Vailya, Shneyer Berkovych Vaintrob, Khaim Asherovych Vaisberg, Mordko Berkovych Zeldys, Nison Kyvovych Kan, Davyd Stepanovych Kravchenko, Yakov Grygorovych Nosar, Slyoma Duvymovych Pypkin, Itsek Avrumovych Polovynchyk, Beniamin Leibovych P’yatygorsky.

Dnieper river near site of Trypillia castle

Dnieper river near site of Trypillia castle

Jews participated in the political life of Trypillya and Trypillya area. An apostate called Mykola Danylovych Grinberg, who worked at a water mill and a farriery which he rented in Scherbanivka village, was the head of the Trypillya section of the Socialist Revolutionary Party.

Pogroms and end of community

Jewish pogroms in Trypilla first started during the Revolution in 1881-1882 and then again in 1905.

The pogroms of 1919 turned into an unending bloody massacre of horrifying ferocity, which started on 7 September 1919. At that time the town was occupied by the White Guard. Both the White Guard and local unaffiliated paramilitary units of Ataman Zeleniy detachments (the Zeleniy Ataman’s real name was Terpylo Danylo Ilkovych, an infamous commander of the Ukrainian peasant insurrection movement, 1886 – 1919) took part in the pogroms, lasting nearly a month. They pillaged and destroyed Jewish houses, shops and stalls; tortured and killed innocent Jewish women, children and the elderly. Surviving Jews left Trypillya and never returned after this horrifying ordeal, leaving this lively market town to turn into ordinary sleepy backwater.

In July 1919, a detachment of almost 100 Komsomol members (mostly Jews) from Podil were killed after leaving for Trypillia led by Mikhail Ratmansky (1900–1919) to fight the perpetrators of the pogroms (led by Ataman Zeleniy). A 24 metre-high memorial was placed at the site of their deaths on the bank of the Dnipro River in 1938 (architect Ivan Byaler, sculptors E.I. Belostotsky, G.L. Pivovarov, E. M. Friedman). During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, the monument was destroyed. In 1956, at the same place, a new 26-meter obelisk of red granite with a five-pointed star in a wreath was erected (architect Byaler).

Monument to killed Komsomol members

Monument to killed Komsomol members

A monument to Ataman Zeleniy, “fighter for the freedom of Ukraine”, was recently unveiled close to the Komsomol memorial. A museum devoted to those killed was recently transformed into the Regional Archaeological Museum.

Local cat is shitting near monument to ataman Zeleniy. I just shot a photo )

Local cat is shitting near monument to ataman Zelenii. I just shot a photo )

Here is the testimony from the police file on the Zelenii band by one of the leaders Ovsey Muziuk-Udod who was convicted and shot in 1922: “In 1920, when Zelenii band attacked the Tripolie shtetl, Muziuk Ovsei murdered my brother,- a 42-year-old resident of Tripolie Isaak Piatigorskii remembers. – It happened like this: there were several people in the house including my brother Shlema. Muziuk entered the house, fired at shot at my brother, with the bullet hitting him in his stomach. Shlema died the next day. Personally I saw Muziuk killing a Red Army soldier in the street.”

“Every night Muziuk took two or three people and shot them.” – says another resident of Tripolie Leyba Lukashevskii, recalling the events of 1920.

Description of pogrom in Tripolie from “Massacre scroll”:

Jewish neighborhood

Throughout centuries the Trypillya Jewry lived on the Zamkova Hill which is now a part of the local history museum. The town’s medieval architectural heritage was completely wiped out in post-war Soviet rebuilding program in the 50s and 60s of XX century. The Jewish quarter was partially flooded as a result of the Kaniv Reservoir Dam project on the Dnieper River in 1972.

In 2005 when an archeological excavation was carried out in Geroiv Trypillya Street, 5, the remains of three human skeletons, two adults and a child tied with a wire were found. They may have been the victims of the Civil War (1917-1922) pogroms.

PreRevolution building near the grave

PreRevolution building near the grave


Jewish cemetery

The cemetery was demolished during the collectivisation period in the 1920’s; an outpatient medical clinic and private houses were built in its place.



Numerous documents about history of disappeared Jewish community store in Kiev archives.

Kiev provincial construction and road commission – f. 41, 1849 – 1859, 3079 d. Among the materials on the construction, repair and reconstruction of buildings, there are papers on the synagogue in Trypillia.

Duma #3 1907: Voters List from Tripillya (Jewishgen):

KAGAN Ovsei Leib-Berkovich
KIRNOS Iios Shmulev
KUSTOVSKI Mikhail Maksimovich
MIRTSIN Srul Itskov
MIRTSIN Elya-Avrum Itskov

Documents in Kiev archiv

Documents in Kiev archiv

Documents in Kiev archiv

Documents in Kiev archiv

List of voters for the head of local synagogue, 1913:



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