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Chapter VI

The Jews of Nowy Jarczow/Novyy Jartchov/Ydalev
(Novyy Yarychiv, Ukraine)

49°52' / 24°16'

3.8 miles from Nowy Jarczow

 

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The city of Lwow/Lviv/Lemberg; to the north–east is the hamlet of Nowy Jarczow

 

Nowy Jarczow was established on feudal lands in about 1451. The town grew and expanded and its status was changed in 1563 to a municipality. The feudal owners of the city permitted the hamlet to grow. Nowy Jarczow faced heavy Tatar attacks in 1578 and in 1695 they almost destroyed the settlement. Slowly the hamlet rebuilt itself and became known as a belt center and a producer of woolen goods.

Jews appeared in Nowy Jarczow about 1577 when it became a town. The Jewish community of 25 people soon disappeared following the Tatar invasion. A Jewish community appeared again in Nowy Jarczow following the Swedish wars at the beginning of the 18th century. The Jewish settlement grew at the end of the 18th century and in the 19th century. In 1872, there was a big fire that left 2,000 people homeless, mostly Jews. The Russians attacked Nowy Jarczow in World War One and destroyed many homes. During their occupation of the town, the Russians looted Jewish homes and stores. On retreating from the city, they burned 200 Jewish homes. People had to live in cellars without heat, and diseases and hunger spread, particularly affecting the Jewish population. Following Russia's withdrawal from the war, the Ukrainians proclaimed a Western Ukrainian Republic that persecuted Jews. The city lost almost 40% of its Jewish population. Many of the Jews left for Lemberg and Vienna and never returned to the city. The city never recovered even after the Polish government restored order in the area.

According to the Polish census of 1921, there were about 986 Jews in Nowy Jarczow and 2,139 non–Jews. The Jews were retailers, peddlers (also supplying agricultural products to the markets of nearby Lemberg) or craftsmen. The Jews were heavily represented in the commercial sector of the city. The Jewish charity fund distributed small loans to craftsmen and merchants. The Jewish community maintained a synagogue, study hall and also several small synagogues or kloiz of the various Hassidic sects. The Jewish community also paid the salary of the rabbi. Nowy Jarczow had some famous rabbis, starting with Rabbi David Ashkenazi, the son of the sage Zvi Yoel and the grandson of Rabbi David Katzenelbogen. He was followed by Rabbi Mordechai (died in 1776), Rabbi Arie–Leibush Teomim (died in 1798) and Rabbi Moshe Rapaport (died in 1805). Then Nowy Jarczow accepted its first Hasidic rabbi, Rabbi Shalom Halevi Rosenfeld, also known as the “Rava Prodigy.” The local Jewish community was glorified and honored through the services of Rabbi Zeev–Wolf Gerstel who in 1890 became spiritual guide or More Tzedek and in 1908 replaced his father, Rabbi Mordechai Gerstel, as the head of the Jewish Judicial Court. Rabbi Zeev–Wolf was famous as a scholar in astronomy. Until his death in 1932, he was considered the premier authority in all of Poland regarding the preparation of the Jewish calendar. The last Nowy Jarczow rabbi was Pesach Zitamor who perished in the Holocaust. In 1933, Rabbi Shmuel Gottesmann–Heller, the Hassidic rabbi or Admor of Laskowicz, established his court at Nowy Jarczow. He managed to escape to the United States at the beginning of World War Two. The hamlet also had two burial societies and even had two competing funeral homes.

The first Zionist clubs appeared in Nowy Jarczow near the end of the 19th century. The first anniversary of the passing of Benyamin Ze'ev Herzl [Theodor Herzl] was commemorated in the local synagogue with great attendance – a testimony to the increased influence of the Zionists. With the support of the Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish school was founded in 1922. It had four grades and in its first year it had 80 students (25 boys and 55 girls).

Between World War One and World War Two, several Zionist organizations opened local branches: Akiva (1932) and its kibbutz preparation corps (1934), the Labor Union of Zion (1934) and a Zionist Youth nest (1933). In the 1928 Jewish community elections the Zionists won five seats, the Hassidic Jews won two seats and the “Nationalists” one seat. In the 1934 municipal elections each of the nationalities – Jews, Ukrainians and Polish – won four seats. The elected Jews were all Haredi (ultra–orthodox), due to government influence. In the elections to the Polish Sejm (parliament), 410 Jewish voters (almost all the voters) voted for the Nationalist Party.

 

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Marshal Jozef Pilsudski

 

There were no social contacts between Jews and non–Jews except for business contacts. Even the school children did not mingle. Moshe Lerner, born in Nowy Jarczow, said he had no Polish friends in the public school and was on occasion beaten up by Catholic children. The only friends he had were the boys from “cheder” (religious primary school). In Lerner's testimony at Yad Vashem, he recalled the conversation he had with a neighborly non–Jewish woman: “She told me,” Lerner said, “that Marshal Pilsudski died.” Marshall Jozef Pilsudski died in 1935. “She told me that my father, Marshal Pilsudski protector of the Polish Jews and other minorities died. And the Jews must go to Palestine. I asked her questions about Palestine and she answered them. According to this woman,” Lerner continued, “I did not belong in Poland in spite of centuries of residence in Poland. There was no hate in her words but a mere statement of fact. Of course I knew something about Palestine since I studied in cheder. Her words inscribed themselves in my memory to this day.” Polish political parties adopted anti–Jewish slogans and openly incited the local population to hate Jews. Anti–Semitism became an official policy of the Polish government.

This policy eased slightly with the German threats against Poland. Soon Poland was attacked and carved up by Germany and the Soviet Union. Jarczow was in the Soviet sector. The Soviet secret police immediately opened an office in the hamlet and began to arrest well–to–do people and deported them to Siberia, according to Karola Lowenkrown. The Communist Party, which had been banned by Poland, reappeared and took control of the city. Only the Communist press was permitted to exist. Commercial enterprises were nationalized and Jarczow became part of the Soviet economy. Shortages of staples and goods became a common daily event and inevitably a black market developed. The Jewish population was slowly pauperized. Everybody started to work for the government; if you did not work, you were considered an enemy of the nation. The Communist Party interfered with Jewish religious life and limited synagogue attendance.

According to Moshe Lerner, the Soviets came to his father who was a carpenter and told him that the Germans would return to Jarczow and kill all the Jews. The Soviets advised his father and other Jews to move to the Soviet Union where they would be better protected. How the Soviets knew what would happen is a big question; perhaps it was more propaganda than anything else. Lerner's family left Jarczow. “We left Jarczow for the nearby town of Lubicza,” Lerner said, “and then headed to the township of Zmerinka that was part of Russia proper. We were not the only Jewish family to have left Jarczow and headed to Russia.”

The Germans entered Jarczow during the last days of June or the beginning of July 1941. They immediately arrested 30 Jews and kept them in prison. They were released after paying heavy fines. The Germans began to grab Jews for work. All Jews were ordered to wear an armband with a Star of David on it. Soon a Judenrat (Jewish council forcibly organized by the Nazis) was formed that had to provide slave labor to the Germans. The Judenrat was headed by Israel Indik. The Judenrat also had to provide large gifts to the Germans. All these expenses had to be collected from the Jews and the Jewish police enforced the rules. The Germans and Ukrainians burned the synagogue and the study hall. Toward the end of 1941, the German demand for labor increased daily. Most of the forced laborers were sent to labor camps outside the hamlet, namely to the labor camp of Winniki. These workers were not fed and appealed to the Jarczow Judenrat for food.

Jews were forbidden to leave Jarczow and Jews caught outside the hamlet were arrested by the Ukrainian police and often killed. The food shortage became critical in Jarczow. In the summer of 1942, the Germans and Ukrainians rounded up 30–40 old Jews and shot them. Nobody knew the reason. The Germans soon began to move all Jewish people from the surrounding areas to Jarczow. The number of Jews in Jarczow grew and conditions became unbearable, as a shortage of water developed in the ghetto. Epidemics began to appear, including typhus. The Ukrainian city leadership began to worry about the situation and pushed the Germans to take action. Early on January 15, 1943, German and Ukrainian policemen surrounded the ghetto and began to chase all Jews to the market square. The old and the sick were shot on the spot in the market. The rest, about 2,300–2,500 Jews, were led outside the hamlet to prepared ditches. The Jews were forced to cross a bridge over the ditches and while they crossed, the Germans opened machine gun fire. Some Jews were killed while others were wounded but they all fell into the ditches. Nobody survived the action. Many Jews had escaped to the forests, to Polish neighbors or hid in prepared bunkers prior to the final action. The Germans and Ukrainians continued to search the area for Jews and those caught were immediately shot. The Germans kept a small group of young Jews to bury all the dead Jews from the ghetto and from the post–ghetto actions. A small number of Nowy Jarczow Jews survived the Shoah, including Jewish soldiers who were drafted into the Soviet army prior to the German attack on the Soviet Union and some Jews who were deported by the Soviets to Siberia.

Following World War Two and the defeat of Germany, Nowy Jarczow was annexed to the Soviet Union. A few surviving Jewish Shoah victims returned to the hamlet and then left. Jews did not want to stay in Nowy Jarczow. They took advantage of the Soviet–Polish agreement that all former Polish residents could leave Nowy Jarczow and settle in Poland. Indeed, most of the Nowy Jarczow Jewish survivors moved to the new areas that Poland received in the West, namely Silesia. The Jews of Nowy Jarczow formed a landsmanschaft (home town society) in Wroclaw, Poland and even held a meeting, resulting in a protocol of Jews originally from Jarczow who had survived the war. The list below was produced during the meeting dated November 15, 1946 in Wroclaw, Poland. The list is signed by the regional director dealing with this department. The Jewish member of the Central Committee of Polish Jews, Jonas Torkow also signed the document. There is also a stamp of the AJDC or the American Joint Distribution Committee affixed to the document.

Presently there are no Jews in Nowy Jarczow.

 

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Yad Vashem Page of Testimony for Rasha Mohrer of Jarczow

 

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Yad Vashem Page of Testimony for Shalom Beck of Jarczow

 

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Yad Vashem Page of Testimony for Shmuel Mandel of Jarczow

 

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The document is difficult to read so I transliterated the names. See below

 

Last name First name Residence Father Born Trade
BLUTMAN Szlomo Swidnica Kepel 1918  
BLUTMAN Lea Swidnica Kepel 1920  
BLUTMAN Shaindla Swidnica Icek 1875  
FEUER Srul Wroclaw   1885  
FEUER Adela Wroclaw   1918  
FEUER Dwojra Wroclaw   1925  
FEUER Rebeca Wroclaw   1929  
FEUER Mordko Wroclaw   1930  
FEFER Halina Wroclaw   1926  
MAJER Jakob Swidnica Mojzesz 1896 Carpenter
MAJER Lea Swidnica Jakob 1929  
MAJER Genia Swidnica Jakob 1932  
MAJER Machla Swidnica Mordke 1934  
MAJER Adela Swidnica Jakob 1924  
MAJER Etla Swidnica Jakob 1927  
GLEISMAN Jankiel Swidnica Chaim 1886  
GLEISMAN Jejba Swidnica Jankiel 1935  
GLEISMAN Resia Swidnica Moshko 1890  
GLEISMAN Josef Swidnica Jankiel 1920 Carpenter
GLEISMAN Ajdla Swidnica Jankiel 1924 Tailor
GLEISMAN Mojzesz Swidnica Jankiel 1925 Metal
GLEISMAN Sara Swidnica Jankiel 1924  
GLEISMAN Ruchla Swidnica Jankiel 1925  
KAC Israel Swidnica Berek 1902 Clerk
LUSTIG Juda Wroclaw   1918 slaughterer
NORENSTEIN N. Nowa–Rudo   1913  
RUNDT Srul Swidnica Victor 1912  
RUNDT Szprincz Swidnica Srul 1922  
RUNDT Frymet Swidnica Srul 1945  
TAJG Leib Przemkowo   1915  

 

Note: Further information on Novyy Yarychiv may be found at Destruction of Jaryczow: Memorial Book to the Martyrs of Jarczow and Surroundings

 

Bibliography

Khurban Yartchov in Yiddish by Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Gerstel
Pinkas Kehilot at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
Archives at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
Interviews with Klara Lowenkrown-Wilkind
Interviews with Karola Lowenkrown-Baum
Interviews with Regina Lowenkrown-Diengott
Interviews with Shmuel Lowenkrown
Interviews with Pesha Pasternak
Interview with Dr. Aida Mudrik
Interview with Israel Pasternak

 

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