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Jews in Glinyany

 

For centuries Jews lived alongside Ukrainians and Poles in Glinyany, a small town (presently in the Zolochiv county) in the Lviv region. The first Jewish settlers made their home here as early as in the-mid 16th century, but most came between the years of 1761-1772 when Glinyany was the county seat, and a particularly great number settled in the town during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From the documents of the so called Joseph registry of 1788 there were 2,210 town residents, of which 416 were Jews. According to the official registry of the Lviv Greek Catholic Metropolitan Eparchy in 1911 the population of the town was 4,806 of which 1,142 were Jews and at the onset of World War II their number increased to more than 1,500. They lived in a separate Jewish community governed by an elected community board - Kahal, which was comprised of the most distinguished and authoritative individuals from the Jewish population of the town.

The Kahal governed and cared for the welfare of the community. It provided the resolutions to all the problems pertaining to the life and activities of its members, monitored their compliance with their traditions, religious and moral standards of coexistence, distributed aid to the poor, to those with many children, and to the ill. The Kahal also spoke for its community in dealings with communities of other nationalities and religious affiliations.

In Glinyany the Jewish community had its own synagogue called “bozhnytsia”, a cultural center, the Baron Hirsh School for general education, a sports organization for youth, “Tarbut” - an evening school for Hebrew studies, and a relatively small shelter for orphaned children, the elderly with no families, and the disabled.

The Jews in Glinyany enjoyed equal rights with Ukrainians and Poles. No one demeaned their nationality, religion, culture, and folk traditions. They participated in the civic, political, and administrative life of the town and some held various important positions in the town government, institutions, and civic organizations. Many Jews, particularly the intelligentsia and youth were frequent and welcome guests in the Ukrainian reading rooms (chytalni)*. With enthusiasm they attended recreational events for young people such as concerts, theater presentations, festivals, while some participated in amateur artistic exhibitions, sang in choirs, and played in the orchestra. At times Ukrainian or Polish boys courted Jewish girls, and vice versa. Although there were no intermarriages, needless to say – sometimes babies resulted from such pairings.

Among the Jews in Glinyany there were many educated, wise, and industrious people – specialist in many fields. Among them were: teachers – Nathan-Samuel Dresher, Clara Almer, Isaac Liberman, Abraham Hochman; doctors – A. Rothfeld, M. Hass, E. Melmanova; dentists – I. Hass, H. Bilger; midwives – C. Kashovay, S. Fisher; jurists – Solomon Melman, Morris Lindenbaum, Joseph Holtser, Izrael Tanenbaum, David Lightner, Hersh Zizman, Jacob Oring, Emanuel Weis, Elias Susman; engineers – architects, agronomists, veterenarians, and also qualified tradesmen (locksmiths, tinsmiths, tailors, painters) experienced bakers, cooks, and confectioners, among others.

Most Jews were involved in business. They bought and sold grain, fruit, vegetables, livestock, lumber, food products, and manufactured goods. In their stores and shops one could purchase everything “from socks to ties and hats, from nails and plough and straw-cutter parts” as the saying went. For instance: Moses Friendlich traded in fabrics; Abraham Ziebert and Berish Shlumper – in footwear and skins; Markus Alergant – iron and metal goods and agricultural inventory; A. Alpert, M. Shafer, and E. Price – in alcoholic beverages, ice cream, soda water, and confectionery products; S. Dukler – rugs and wool; M. Hochbert, H. Bohen, and A. Hochberg – building materials; and Leib Baner, Hirsh Pinkas, and S. Fignar - in baked good, which they themselves produced.

There were no large factories in Glinyany, other than the one owned by Michael Chamula, that produced kilims. Elkon Wolf owned a steam-operated mill, M. Wymyshler owned a bar and brewery, and Abraham Zoya – a locksmith shop. There were more than a dozen small shops providing trades necessary to the functioning of the town.

Some of the Jews owned several acres of land, but they never worked the land, only leased it to neighboring villagers. Only one of them – M. Whymyshler – had a farm in the suburbs where he grew mostly barley, potatoes, sugar beets, hops and other products for the production of alcohol and beer. Some Jews kept horses. They rode them to villages where they bought grain, fruit, vegetables, fowl, eggs, and meat. They took these products to Lviv and from there they brought various manufactured goods and food products back to Glinyany for the local merchants. Some of them had livery services, taking passengers to Peremyshl', the county seat, to markets, or to businesses in Zolochiv, Bus'k, or Bibrky; to railway stations in Krasny, Zadvirji, and Kurovychi, or on outings to the forest, etc. For this type of transportation lightweight wagons were used as well as surreys, or even elegant carriages. On the whole, there were many diligent and productive people among the Jewish population in Glinyany. It's not possible to speak about all of them, but several will be mentioned more than once. However, at this time let us talk about the last war and the tragic events, which occurred during the period of the German occupation.

On June 22, 1941 Fascist Germany attacked the Soviet Union and after a week, on June 30, the Germans were in Halychyna (Galicia). From the very first days of the occupation they began the inhuman barbaric torture, pillage, and mass destruction of Jews. First of all they took away all their rights, forbade them to leave town, forbade them to leave their homes at the onset of dusk, to frequent public places and even the synagogue; forbade them to send their children to school and to engage in business. Jews were allowed to walk about in the town only during daylight hours, and only in the center of the streets, not on the sidewalks. It was mandatory for each Jewish person to wear a white armband with a blue Star of David on it. All Jewish businesses and institutions were closed and all the merchandise and products found in them were confiscated. The Germans continually debased the Jews, tormenting them cruelly and viciously. At times, after a rainfall, Jews were forced to empty street puddles using small bowls, use their hands to scoop up mud, and clean public toilets. Not the sick, the children, or the elderly were spared. Any German or a policeman could viciously beat a Jew or shoot him on sight for the smallest infraction.

On the whole, the fate and mass destruction of the Jews in the occupied territories was at the mercy of the Gestapo. But in order to cover their hateful acts, they formed local Jewish administrations everywhere, the so called judenrat, which had no powers and were not able to help their people at all. These administrative managers carried out the role of mediators between the Jewish population and the German occupying authorities – in fact they blindly carried out all demands, orders, and directives of the Gestapo. Aaron Hochbert was assigned to be the head of the Glinyany judenrat, with members Hersh Bilher, Abraham Friedman and four others. No one blamed these people for what they had to do, since none of it was of their own free will. Through the judenrat the Gestapo extorted great amounts of monetary contributions, gold, silver, priceless furs and other valuables, as well as rounded up people for forced labor and even execution. If a Gestapo demand was not met, the first to be terribly punished were the members of the judenrat and then – the entire Jewish community. Jews who were healthy and able to work were forced to do heavy labor; women were assigned to difficult farm work in the so called ligenshaft in such villages as Rozvorjany, Zadvirja and Poltava, while men worked in the shtalah, which was in the Hrushka farmstead near the village Yaktoriv. There, they worked as lumberjacks, excavated and broke up stone, and worked on the construction of a road between Lviv and Zolochiv, which was nearby. They worked without rest, from morning till night, even on Saturdays and Sundays. They were fed just enough so as not to die, only once or twice in 24 hours. They slept in damp cellars, filthy stables, cold barns, or simply in the outdoors. Famished and worn out with heavy physical labor, they became ill in great numbers and died there – several individuals a day.

Near this farmstead is a small mountain called Lypovytsia. From the Hrushka farmstead and from many other places Jews were brought here in large groups and executed - shot. There are many eyewitnesses in the neighboring villages to the tragic events of that time. These eyewitnesses recall how the fascist monsters tortured the unfortunate Jews, how they were brought to the place of their destruction; how they heard the sounds of the shootings, the screams, cries, and laments of the people condemned to death. They say, that the blood of those executed flowed in a stream from the top all the way to the road from Shopok to Lahod. How many died there – no one knows, maybe a thousand and maybe many more. From that time that mountain became a cemetery and its top - a monument to the victims of fascist villainy in the years of the genocide of the Jewish people.

At this time there is nothing on this holy place aside from traces of old gravesites, some bramble bushes, dog roses, and dwarf-sized, twiggy birch trees. Only a small marble plaque, placed anonymously serves as a reminder:

1943 – 1998

On this place several thousand Jews – citizens of Ukraine

were killed.

May they rest in peace.

People come here from all corners of Ukraine to honor this sacred ground and those who died here.

Not too long ago a former resident of a neighboring village, Pidhajchyky, and now a citizen of the United States, Itsko Kaner with his wife and two sons paid a visit here. He was born and raised here and was familiar with this area, particularly with the Hrushka farmstead and Lypovytsia Mountain, which he knew from his youth. When Jews were transported to the places of their destruction, he, like a small number of others, found the opportunity to escape and good people hid him, helping him to survive and live. M. Lewis from the village of Pidlisne (Unterwald in the past) saved his own life in a similar manner. He now lives in Canada, but due to declining years and a serious illness was not able to visit these-native-to-him places. However, his sons came for a visit. Former neighbors and people from his native village greeted them with joy and hospitality and took them on a tour of the village as well as to the top of the Lypovytsia Mountain.

Now, let us again return to the events which, at that time, were happening in Glinyany. There were fewer Jews in town. Some were taken for forced labor from which they never returned; others were executed on the spot, many died of various diseases and hunger, some committed suicide. In late fall of 1942, those who were left were sent to the ghetto in Peremyshl'. The last hope for rescue of the Jews was lost. Everyone knew and realized what a ghetto was and where the road led from it, but people approached this realization in different ways. Some accepted their fate quietly, others in desperation, looked for opportunities to buy out from their predicament or to run away and hide someplace where there was still hope. Some were able to hide in the forest or with the help of good people, although such a situation was very dangerous and risky. Had the Germans found the refugees and those who gave them shelter or any other aid - all would have been shot.

Having rid the town of Jews, the Germans began to destroy their homes. In the beginning they demolished old wooden houses and used the wood for heating; later they demolished the new brick and stone houses. They sold houses or parts of houses to people from the suburbs, neighboring villages, and to those, whose homes were recently destroyed by fire. In addition to homes, they demolished places of business and civic buildings, among them a large, incomplete Jewish reading room (chytalnia) called “Isb of Culture”. Strange as it may seem, only the synagogue was left untouched.

At the end of 1943 the entire town, particularly its central portion, was in ruins although no front had passed through it, and it never experienced any artillery shelling or bombardment.

In the first few years after the war, during the Soviet administration, what the Fascists failed to demolish the Soviets did. Among the buildings destroyed were many that could have served the people for a long time and beautified the town as well – particularly the large new building of Jewish culture. The synagogue was converted into local machine shops for tractors, and later in the 1950s it was completely demolished, leaving only the foundation and cellar. It is a wonder that more than a dozen buildings have survived and are still standing today.

In the eastern part of town there was an ancient Jewish cemetery, which was known as “okopys'ko”. It contained numerous headstones and obelisks. The Germans took and utilized the regular headstones for road repair, while the valuable granite and marble headstones disappeared – and no one knows where. People say they were transported to Germany. During the Soviet regime a sawmill was built on that site.

Very few people survived from the large Jewish community in town. Among the survivors were a few families who were sent to Siberia during 1939-1940, individuals from among those who were mobilized for the front, and those who had the fortune to hide and live through the horrors of the German occupation. Some of them will be mentioned later.

In Glinyany the family of Aaron and Berbecca Hochberg was well known. They raised four children – two sons and two daughters. They lived on the Kulykiv Street, where they owned a modest home and a small store. They sold lime and thus were called “vapnjary” (limers). As a decent man, held in high esteem by everyone in town, Aaron Hochberg was often elected a member and even the head of the local Jewish Kahal. During the occupation, he was forced to be the head of the judenrat.

When the Germans began the mass resettlement of Jews to the ghettos, the Hochberg family held a family conference, during which it was decided that it would be a good idea to leave town, separate and scatter in various directions, and, according to individual capability, save oneself. Only one daughter, the youngest, Chana, agreed to this desperate plan. She was a very beautiful, intelligent, and smart. Until the war she studied in Lviv and dreamed of becoming a teacher. She was fluent in Ukrainian and Polish languages and knew some German.

One dark autumn night, having said goodbye to her family, Chana, dressed as a simple peasant girl and carrying a small parcel with food, set out on a long, uncertain journey. So as not to be seen by anyone, she went to the nearest railroad station in a roundabout way, avoiding villages and roads. There, she took the first train going west, toward Lviv. By chance, during the trip she became acquainted with a young German officer of Austrian ancestry who was wounded at the Eastern Front and was returning to the Reich. During their conversation Chana admitted that she was Jewish. She spoke about herself, about her family and about the tragic fate of her people. No doubt the young officer was taken with her, or perhaps he felt sorry for her, or from some humanitarian reason he wrote a letter to his parents, gave her their address, told her how to get there and advised her how to behave on the trip. Later, under the guise of refugee-volksdeutsche and without any particular mishaps, Chana was able to get to her future benefactors. She stayed with them until the end of the war, waiting for the officer who saved her. When he failed to return, she left for Israel. In Israel she taught school for a while, married an Israeli named Praff, bore and raised three children. Two of them she named after her parents; the oldest – Aaron, the youngest Rebecca. One of her sons became a surgeon, the second – a dentist, and her daughter – a teacher.

While in Israel, Chana Hochberg-Praff never forgot her family in Glinyany. She longed for them. She corresponded with former neighbors and friends, dreamed about being in that town visiting dear and unforgettable places of her childhood, but the obstacles in her way were the conditions of the times, her advanced age, and failing health. However, her son Aaron realized her dream. He visited Glinyany at the beginning of the 1990s. Unfortunately, he was not able to see the house where his mother was born, nor meet any of his relatives, but he did hear wonderful and warm stories about them.

There was another Hochberg family in Glinyany – Itzko and Chaya, their son Emanuel and a close relative Frima. They lived in the suburbs near the school in a simple old house. They ran a small food store and cultivated a little garden. They lived in harmony, modestly, without luxuries. Their hope was their only son “Muni” who was then almost 15 years old. He was tall, on the thin side, a bit reclusive, and socialized very little with his peers. However, he was a good student, loved to make things, painted, did inlay work, and made silhouette paper cutouts of trees, people, and animals. He made toys for children and other useful things.

Misfortune came to their house with the beginning of the German occupation. After the family was robbed several times and prohibited from managing their business, they were left destitute. Dismal poverty and hunger led them to despair. Their relative Frima committed suicide, the parents were taken to the ghetto, and only Muni found an opportunity to escape.

He hid from the Germans and their cohorts wherever he could – in warm weather he hid in attics of old, abandoned buildings or in the forest; when the cold came, he hid in bales of hay in barns and stables. He ate whatever he could find – potatoes and other vegetables and fruit from people's orchards and gardens, berries and nuts from the forest, eggs from nests of wild birds, etc. Many knew about him, but no one gave him up to the Germans. Good people helped him with clothing, food, and during bad weather they took him into their homes. He was seen last in the spring of 1944. Where he went is not known. It was said that after the war he joined Polish refugees and migrated west.

Among the few that hid during these times were I. Haas, S. Dukler, C. Hochberg, two from the Shlumper family, and some others. Elias Erlich, M. Hochberg and A. Frandlich returned from the war alive. Possibly there were others, but unfortunately no one knows their fate.

In ending these short reminiscences about the Jews in Glinyany it would be prudent to say a few good words about those who contributed much to the welfare of the town community and whose names are remembered by many people even today.

Nathan-Samuel Dresher, former teacher and youth leader is well remembered with respect and gratitude by many elderly people in Glinyany. He devoted over thirty years to the local school, educating and guiding many generations of Jewish, Ukrainian, and Polish children. He was celebrated as the best teacher of that time due to his teaching abilities and paternal attitude toward his students. School photographs with teacher N. S. Dresher are preserved to this day in many homes in Glinyany as valued family treasures. Notice one photo taken in the early 1920s.

N. S. Dresher died tragically in the first days of the German occupation. He was buried in the local Jewish cemetery, but his grave, like those of others, did not survive.

The town also remembers kindly and with warmth Dr. Max Haas. He was a highly qualified physician and was most personable, approachable, and kind to people, especially to those ailing. At all times of the year, regardless of the weather or time, on foot, carriage, or by sled he would go to his patients in order to advise and help them in their time of distress. Many times he would spend days and even nights at their bedside. In 1939 Dr. Haas, together with his wife and children were sent to Siberia. After six years leading a difficult life in the vastness of the Ural Mountain region and Kazakhstan they had the good fortune to return home and in 1945 they moved to Poland.

Everyone in Glinyany knew, loved and respected professional midwife Chaya Cashowey. No one gave birth in town without her help. She knew her business well. She was quick, kind and loving to people, knew how to sympathize, advise, and help. In the older registered birth records in Ukrainian and Polish churches the name of Chaya Cashowey – midwife who assisted at the birth, is seen often alongside the names of the new parents. During the occupation she worked as a forced laborer in Lihenshaft in Rozvozriany. What eventually happened to her, or whether she died – is unknown.

Rabbi Rachmul Zuckerkandel was the last rabbi in Glinyany. Highly educated and very knowledgeable, he was well versed in Jewish law and in the history and culture of his people. He preached goodness, love and harmony among people and he was highly regarded not only by his own, but also by members of the Christian communities of the town. The town government respected his advice and even Ukrainians and Poles often sought his council and help. Faithful to his calling, he served his flock with honesty and devotion. During the brutal years of the German occupation he was taken with all the other Jews to the ghetto in Peremyshl' and there he shared their terrible fate.

This ends the short and sad narrative about the late Jewish community in the small town of Glinyany and about the tragic fate of almost 1,500 unfortunate, innocent people who were victims of fascism during the Second World War.

There are no records documenting the Nazi horrors in Glinyany, but there are countless commemorative events that were held since the time of the massacres on Lypovytsia Mountain and there are memories and testimony of eyewitnesses who remember the terrible years of the Jewish genocide.

Perhaps, while reading this story, someone among the living will respond to it, and fill in the gaps with forgotten names, events, and facts for which the author will be very grateful.



Bohdan Woloshyn
Jews in Glinyany
Editor – Tetyana Yastermska
Publisher – Information Center of Halychyna “HALSTAR”
Published 01/12/2004
100 copies printed


Photo captions:

Page  
4 The former Jewish school named for Baron Hirsh
5 One of the stables, which housed the workers
6 Lypovytsia Mountain – the place where Jews were executed
8 The center of town at the end of 1943
10 N. S. Dresher among his students
11 Dr. M. Haas with his family


Comments:

In the Ukrainian language the name of the town Glinyany means “from clay” or “of clay”. Hlyna in Ukrainian means clay or lime. Perhaps there were or still are clay deposits in the area from which the town received its name. The town name “Glinyany” begins with the letter G – that is Russian, in Ukrainian it begins with the letter H, and it may also be written Hlyniany.

The names in the narrative may not be spelled correctly the way I have written them, since the author presents them with the Ukrainian pronunciation and sometimes it is difficult to guess which is the correct spelling of a name or how an individual wishes to spell his or her name.

*chytalnia (i – plural) – a cultural center, which held a small library and served as a meeting place for townspeople to engage in intellectual and social pursuits. Return

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