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Ulanov is a village in the Khmelnitsky district of the Vinnitsa region. According to the 2001 census, the population of Ulanov was 3,038.

From the 19th – early 20th centuries, Ulanov was a shtetl in the Litinsky district of the Podolsk province.

I visited Ulanov in 2020, I managed to talk with Yadviga Stepanovna Mikolyuk, born in 1928, who lived all her life near Jews and remembered a lot. I did not manage to find any local historian who could tell me about the Jews of Ulanov.

Yadviga Stepanovna Mikolyuk

A lot of information about the Jews of Ulanov was provided by Anatoly Kerzhner, a descendant of the last Jews of Ulanov.

Anatoly Kerzhner

Anatoly Kerzhner

Only the old Jewish cemetery, several Jewish buildings and the mass grave of the Jews of Ulanov, Salnitsa and the surrounding villages, who were killed by the Nazis and their henchmen during the Great Patriotic War, remain in the town.

The first mention of the Jewish community of Ulanov dates back to 1765. According to the data for 1784, there were 201 Jews here. And already according to the 1897 census, there were 2000 Jews in Ulanov out of 2047 inhabitants.

The shtetl is also famous for the fact that the grandson of the founder of Hasidism (the Baal Shem Tov), Rabbi Dov-Ber from Ulanov, lived and was buried here. Very little is known about him – there are several Hasidic stories where he appears. It is said that he was so similar to his grandfather that the Hasidim, remembering the Baal Shem Tov, specially came to him to look at him, to remember the face of their Teacher himself.

Centre of Ulanov:

Former Jewish meighborhood and shtetls centre in Ulanov

Former Jewish meighborhood and shtetls centre in Ulanov

Jewish population of Ulanov:
1784 – 201 Jews
1897 – 2000 Jews
1939 — 1188 Jews

At the end of the 19th century, the city had 283 houses, 2497 inhabitants, a church, a Catholic church, a synagogue, 2 Jewish prayer houses, a town hall, 2 mills, 22 shops, 79 artisans, a sugar factory (founded in 1864, which employed 200 people), a pharmacy, a school with 2 teachers and 66 students. There were 10 fairs a year.

At the beginning of the twentieth century in Ulanov there was a private male one-class Jewish school of the 3rd category, a synagogue and 2 Jewish prayer houses.

During the years of the Revolution of 1917-1920, the Jewish population of the town suffered from pogroms of many gangs, like the entire Jewish population of the Podolsk province, but I could not find any exact data on the pogroms and the number of victims.

Center of Ulanov, 2020:


In the 1920s, a Jewish collective farm and Jewish artels (cooperative associations) were organized in the town.

A 7-year-old Jewish school, which was closed in the 1930s, was also established in the town.

In the late 1920s many Jews who worked in trade were forced to look for work in crafts or in agriculture (some Jewish families created the “Dairy Farm” cooperative). The Jewish settlement council worked in the shtetl in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1926, Jews accounted for 82% of the total population of Ulanov, and in 1939 1,188 Jews lived in Ulanov, which accounted for 70.5% of the total population.

In the 1930s, the authorities closed both synagogues in the shtetl. The wooden synagogue was dismantled, and a cinema and a club were made in the second one. There is now a school on the site of the wooden synagogue. The building of the second synagogue has been preserved.

Synagogue in Ulanov, 2020:

Market square in Ulanov, 2020:


German troops entered the shtetl on July 15, 1941, and the persecution of the Jews immediately began: they could become a target for mockery or even murder for fun, their property was looted, many were forcibly involved in forced labour. The Germans forced the local population to draw crosses on their houses and thus identify Jewish houses.

After 1 month of occupation, the first in the town to be shot were 40 people of the Komsomol and communists; all of them were Ukrainians.

The Germans concentrated the Jewish population in a ghetto consisting of 3-4 streets surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Before the war, these streets were mostly inhabited by Jews. On one side, the ghetto was surrounded by a small river, and on the other side it ran into Lenin Street – the main street of the town.

A local Jew called Moshko Mogailo was appointed head of the ghetto by the Germans.

The ghetto was guarded by local policemen, one of them, nicknamed Pockmarked, was especially cruel to Jews.

Contributions were regularly imposed on the ghetto, and until it was paid, Jews were taken hostage, and threatened with execution.

Streets of former ghetto in Ulanov, 2020:

Soldiers who had left the encirclement and were drafted into the Red Army before the arrival of the Germans returned to the ghetto – Srul’ Korman and Khil and Efraim Morozovsky, Arbisman. Only Ephraim Morozovsky managed to survive the war.

Several hundred young people from the ghetto were sent to build a German bunker in Kalinovka. After the work was completed, they were all shot.

As of August 1941, there were approx. 1000 people. In December 1941, about 300-400 Jews from the neighboring village of Salnitsa were deported to the Ulanov ghetto. In the spring of 1942, another 150 Jews were deported there, as well as other Jews who were caught in the area over the following months.

On the night of June 10, 1942, the Germans prepared a pit 36 by 4 meters between the Polish and Ukrainian cemetery. At 8 o’clock in the morning, the entire Jewish population was expelled from the ghetto to the market square. According to the list, specialists and their families were called from the crowd of people and closed in the school building. The rest of the Jews were driven to the grave that was dug in advance.

People were forced to undress, go to the grave and lie down in a row of 10 people face down. A German from a machine gun shot people in the back of the head, when the row was full, they ordered the second row to lie down. The local policemen stood in a cordon, but several of them wanted to participate directly in the execution, and the Germans gave them such an opportunity. The shooting lasted 7 days.

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Old-timers recall an incident that occurred on that terrible summer day – one Jew named Benchik suddenly stood up and began to urge the others not to give in: “Jews, run away!” – and he ran into the wheat field. But he was quickly overtaken by automatic fire. The executions continued for several days – after that, the earth shuddered for several more days. Jews were also brought here from the surrounding villages; for example, the blacksmith Chaim lived in the village of Pagurtsy – the Germans did not touch him at first, since they needed him. But as soon as the need for him disappeared, he and his entire family were taken to the execution pit.

The specialists left alive were transferred to the second, smaller ghetto. They were shot in a month.

The last action of executions, it seems, took place in December 1942, when the last of the Jews were shot.

Only those Jews who left the ghetto before the execution managed to survive:

Khait (hiding with friends in the village of Morozovka), Sonya (last name unknown, lived in Ulanovka after the war), Kulchinsky, Mezhiritser and his niece.

I could not find any evidence of those who miraculously survived and got out of the execution pit in Ulanov.

Monument on Holocaust mass grave in Ulanov, 1940s-1950s. Photo from Yad Vashem

Monument on Holocaust mass grave in Ulanov, 1940s-1950s. Photo from Yad Vashem

The data on the number of victims varies. According to various documents – up to 2850 people; modern researchers somewhat lower this figure – for example, the Kharkiv historian of the Holocaust A. Kruglov calculates the number of victims in Ulanov as approximately 900 people.

Ulanov was liberated by Soviet troops on March 10, 1944.

Mass grave in Ulanov, 1945

Mass grave in Ulanov, 1945

Immediately after the war, a metal monument and a pipe fence along the perimeter of the grave were erected on the grave of the victims of the Holocaust. The inscription (in Hebrew and in Russian) read: “Here lies the ashes of over 2,500 victims of German fascism, tortured, brutally shot and buried alive by the citizens of Ulanov and Salnitsa …”. Every year, a solemn memorial ceremony was held at this place: Jews – former residents of Ulanov came to participate in the ceremony and honor the memory of their loved ones. In 2001, instead of iron, a cemented fence was made.

On June 19, 2011 in Ulanov, a new monument was erected, on the initiative of Mikhail Yulievich Antsis. Relatives of Antsis lived before the war in Salnitsa and died in Ulanov.

More information about Holocaust in Ulanov can be found in Yad Vashem website.

After the WWII

After the war, several evacuated families returned to Ulanov, as well as a few survivors of the Holocaust (in total about 30 people):

· The family of the tailor Mezhiritser. His first family wife and 2 children died during the Second World War, he married Voskoboynikova from Salnitsy – their son Misha lives in Israel.
· The military commissar Krvchinsky’s family.
· Pesya Kerzhner and her daughters.
· The hairdresser Kuchinsky with 2 sons.
· The cooper Naum Kulchinsky; matzah was baked in his house for Pesach.
· The tailor Khait, whose wife and 3 children died during the war.
· The Kotlubovsky family
· Zabarki
· Fishman, whose first family was killed by the Germans and he married a Jewish woman, Eta, who also lost her family during the Holocaust.

Shumskiy and Fishman families in Ulanov, beginning of 1960s

Shumskiy and Fishman families in Ulanov, beginning of 1960s

The unofficial rabbi was Mezhiritser; he organized the funerals and people went to pray in his house.

Also, in the 1950s and ‘60s, old people used to gather to pray at Pesya Kerzhner’s house.

In 1957, the district center was moved to the city of Khmelnik, and Ulanov lost part of its population – many, including many Jews, moved to live in Khmilnik, or Vinnitsa, and some went even further.

The last Jewish wedding in Ulanov was in the 1970s, when Zina Veretnik married Yosya (surname unknown).

The last Jewish woman who lived in Ulanov, Sofia Isaakovna Kerzhner, moved in 2001 to Vinnitsa.

Former Jewish house in Ulanov, 2020:

Also my photos from Ulanov:

Jewish cemetery


Grave of rabbi Dov-Ber from Ulanov, disciple of Baal Shem Tov

Grave of rabbi Dov-Ber from Ulanov, disciple of Baal Shem Tov

Jewish cemetery in 1980s-1990s. Phot by

Jewish cemetery in 1980s-1990s. Phot by

View to the river from the Jewish cemetery:



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