“Zolynia-Zhalin” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume III
(Poland)

50°10' / 22°19'

Translation of “Zolynia-Zhalin” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


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Michael Miller

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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Polin: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume III, pages 148-149, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


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(pages 148-149)

Zolynia-Zhalin, Poland

(Lantzut, Lvov District)

Translated by David Goldman

YearTotal
Population
Jews
18801,834 1,071
19001,711 946
1921954 569

Until the middle of the 18th century Zolynia was one of the villages of the property of the wealthy Potutsky family who lived in Lantzut. It was at that time that Zolynia acquired the status of a city. Toward the end of the 19th century the town began to decline, and its population also declined. Between the two Wars, its status as a city was revoked. The Christian population earned its livelihood from agriculture; some were involved in trades, especially shoemaking. Commerce was totally the purview of the Jews.

It is difficult to determine precisely when the first Jews settled in Zolynia. Apparently there were a few families there during its status as a village. In the second half of the 18th century the settlement's community was organized under the patronage of the Lantzut community. The Jews were the main urban base of the town. In 1781 the Jews of Zolynia were required to pay a town tax of 16 goldens, and from then on they lived in houses that they owned. With regard to the growth of the Jewish population during that time, there was also the fact that the during the 1790s the community sought to entice a number of Jewish families with offers of money and equipment required for their work in agriculture. However, by 1804 six families had left Zolynia for an agricultural settlement. This was the quota that Jewish communities of several hundred people were required to provide.

In the beginning of the 19th century, the growth of the Jewish community in Zolynia came to a halt. It was overshadowed by two growing Jewish communities Lantzut and Pszbursk. There is a report of a rabbi serving in Zolynia in 1830, and that the community was subsequently unable to fund his service. He then continued to serve the community without a fixed salary.

The growth of the Jewish community in Zolynia attained its peak in the 1880s, when the chassidic rabbi Avraham Yosef Igra, known as the Rebbe of Zhalin, settled there with his chassidim. He was the son-in-law of R. Mordechai of the Nadvorna dynasty. R. Avraham Yosef was known to fast from one Sabbath to the next, and was known for his philanthropy the would distribute all his money to the poor. Hundreds of his chassidim, especially the simple folk, used to visit him, and some even settled in town. After a few years he moved to the town of Khshanov, where he led his followers. At the end of his live he was in Cracow, where he died in 1918. His son Aharon Moshe inherited his rabbinical position in Zolynia, and later moved to Lantzut. He was followed in Zolynia by R. Chaim Naftali of Zhalin and R. Yoel, the son of Avraham Zerach Heller (both were from the Nadvorna dynasty). As was customary, there were rabbinical scholars who served under the Rebbe; in the 1890s there was Rabbi Yaakov Cohen, and at the beginning of the 20th century Rabbi Naftali Chaim Horwitz was elected rabbi.

During Zolynia's period of prosperity there were even several landowners or people with successful tavern leases and beer factories. These were known as philanthropists for the needs of the community, and they built the public buildings (the House of Study, etc.). In 1872 the people of Zolynia contributed 11 florins for Jews suffering from the famine in Syria.

In the 1890s Jewish families began leaving their towns for larger cities and for countries abroad. This increased during the economic crisis that existed before and during World War I. The Jewish settlement declined by 50% in 1921 relative to the population in 1880. This resulted in fewer sources of a livelihood, as did the war and conspiracies against the Jews by villagers and local hooligans. In March 1905 a retarded Christian girl drowned in a well, and until they discovered her body the Jews were accused of a blood libel. Some were even investigated by the police and in court. Even after the accused were found to be innocent, the Jews lived under a pall of fear for a long time.

In December 1918, when the Polish regime retook the town, the local villagers and hooligans carried out a pogrom against the Jews of Zolynia. During the riots, which lasted for two days, the rioters looted and pillaged the Jews' property, and wounded 12 people, including seriously injuring an elderly man of 80 years old. A unit of the Polish army that was called in from Lantzut to stop the rioting returned home after a half hour in town without taking any action at all.

During the entire period between the two World Wars, the economy of the Jewish community in Zolynia remained stagnant (even the local free loan society was unable to assist many Jewish merchants and artisans who lost their livelihoods. In 1929 the fund granted 33 loans totaling 2,470 zlotys). However, during this period there were changes in the social and cultural. The Zionists groups became active again since starting their work in 1905. Branches of the General Zionists and Religious Zionists were established, and the young people established branches of the Zionist Youth and Akiva. In 1933 Young WIZO and Betar were established in town; the latter had some 60 members. In addition to youth organizations there were classes in Hebrew and Jewish history. In 1919 a library was opened and, next door, a reading room.

In the elections to the Zionist Congress in 1935, 120 shekels were sold, and the voters elected 119 General Zionists and 1 Mizrachi [Religious Zionists].

When the war broke out in September 1939 and the progress of the German army in Poland, Jewish youth joined the stream of refugees heading eastward. Some returned shortly thereafter, and some of those who remained under the Soviet regime were expelled in 1940 to distant locations in the Soviet Union. When the Germans arrived in Zolynia, the Jews were forced to leave and cross the San River to areas annexed to the Soviet Union. During the expulsion some families hid in nearby communities, and subsequently returned to Zolynia.

Decrees of forced labor were made against the remaining Jews of Zolynia, as well as special taxes and restrictions on movement. We have no information about the fate of the Jews in Zolynia. Apparently in 1941 or 1942 they were transferred to larger settlements in the area. They were rounded up to be transported to labor camps and the Belzac death camp.

AMTY: HM/7101 and HM/7102.
AZM: Z-1/414, Z-4/234.
[English]
Hamagid: 2/21/1872
Hamitzpe: 3/31.1905
[English]


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