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Glinyany my Town

Remembering the martyrs:
Men, women and children may they rest in peace

Asher Korech

Translated by Susan Rosin

With an aching heart I started collecting material for this book to tell about the great and desperate struggles , suffering and obstacles that lasted hundreds of years. Based on sources, Glinyany (Glina in Yiddish) had a Jewish community as early as 1474. Therefore we can assume that Jews were subjected to all the suffering caused by the invading Tatars, Cossacks and finally the destruction of the Jewish communities by Chmielnicki in 1638 – 1657.

There is no documented information about the lives and fates of Jews from the period before 1474 and after. It is believed that Khazar Jews settled in Red Russia (Galicia) in the 10th century. Around that time additional Jews arrived from Constantinople (Istanbul) and Asia Minor and settled in the area. They were merchants and traded between the east and west.

There are actual records from the end of the 16th century describing documenting the fact that there as a Jewish community in Glinyany. There is additional information from the 18th century referring to the Franks sect. Information from 1765 details the size of the Jewish community, the Christian community, the trades and occupations and the number of homes in town.

From then on it is mostly word of mouth – from the elders, the family stories and whatever materials remained.

I collected as much materials about the town, the Jewish life in various periods, the public, cultural and economic institutions as I could. Many records were destroyed and others are unavailable to us.

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What little I was able to collect and document on my own and with the help of others. Many thanks to all those that assisted me in collecting these materials to document our town.

My town was not large, but it was rich in community life and ties among people were strong. I don't believe there were many like it in the diaspora.

In my mind's eye I see my people with whom I lived only one period in the long and dark times of struggle and survival. That was a period of idealism and hope. Good deeds were the pride and joy of the community. It was perhaps the only light during the long and dark periods. My heart aches for these great people who glorified our town and nation in their achievements in learning, economy and community.

To this day I remember the images. The elders, the community leaders and activists, the studious, the philanthropists - their white long beards, their traditional clothing, their praying shawls with heir silver fringes. I remember the teachers and their young and older students studying the torah, Gemara, the Rambam, Rashi. And their faces – innocent, simple and curious full of love of the Torah.

And then, it was all destroyed by the Nazis and Ukrainians who killed, murdered and burned mercilessly anybody they could without leaving a trace without a grave or a headstone.

May God remember them all with the rest of the innocent and the righteous. May God avenge His children and may this book be a symbolic headstone.


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History of Gliniany

The town of Gliniany is situated in Eastern Galicia about 30 kilometers (approximately 20 miles) south-east of the capital city of Lviv. In ancient times the entire eastern Galicia was part of Red Russia or Reissen. The soil of the region is clay which is “Glina” in Ukrainian. In the Government books the town is named Gliniany. However, various Jewish documents list the town name as Glina.


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The Town Structure

By its topography this was a fortress town. It lies on an elevation of 30 – 50 meters (or 100 – 165 feet) and is surrounded by rivers and bridges. On the main road leading to Brody-Busk under a stone built bridge there is an inscription in the Tatar language. There was much suffering in the town during the Tatars, Cossaks and Chmielnicki wars in the 17th century in the years 1624, 1638 and 1657. To this day a part of a protective dike can be seen on the east side of town next to a canal. A stream called Witawski Patak connecting the river Pszegniewke from the north and the river Wizlanke from the south flows in this canal. On the east side of town there is a narrow canal called Chamiliniki connecting the two rivers. Theses rivers merge into the Poltva River[1]


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The Privilege

Based on an ancient Royal Polish document found in the archives of Gliniany, the town was granted the status of city by the Polish king and within a short time became a royal city, which meant that the nobles were unable to use the city citizens for labor. On the town's sign and the flag the following was written: Wolne Krolewski Miasto Gliniany (Free Royal city of Gliniany) and the city seal said: Krol. Wol. Miasto.


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Historical Details

Historical documents were found in the city archives by the engineer Mr. Shlomo Speiser-Nussbaum , who was able to bring them to Israel and allowed me to use them as reference for this book.

After the death of King Kazimir the Great, a few Polish Senators traveled to Hungary and crowned king Ludwig of Hungary as a king of Poland. As a gift, they gave him the entire region of “Red Russia” that belonged at the time to Poland. When news of this scandal arrived in Poland, a trial was conducted in Gliniany (known in Polish history as “The Tragedy of Gliniany”). King Ludwig with Hungarian Husars as well as nobles from all over Poland came for the trial. A compromise was achieved and seven senators were beheaded. A large mound was built on the top of their graves near the village of Polochio Wielki and it was known as the … Senatorski (the mound of the Senators).

One of the documents indicates that Gliniany was a “King's Town” and was given to a nobleman (Ritter?) that distinguished himself in the Grunwald-Tannenberg war against the Teutonic Knights wearing white coats with a black cross on the back

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fighting against the combined army of Poland and Lithuania.

Gliniany was a large district extending to the village of Chanataszow (Chanataszuwka) near the town of Przemyślany (Peremyshliany in Ukrainian) with its fields and forests and all the way to Lviv on the south-east side. King Jagiello and his entourage used to hunt in the Gliniany forests. In my time there were still records showing the nobleman to whom this district belonged as well as the remains of an ancient castle.

During the rule of king Albrecht there was a large gathering of the nobles (Seim?) in Gliniany to discuss a future was. However, the discussions lasted a very long and most of the poultry of the entire area was consumed by the participants. As a result the war plans were cancelled because there was no meat for the war effort. This created the Polish saying “The war of the chickens”.

Gliniany also had a Royal tax collection station on the Poltva River at the entry and exit of town.


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The Jewish Community (Kehila)

The records about the oldest Jewish communities in Poland indicate that a Jewish community existed in Gliniany as early as 1474. At the time a Jewish tax collector by the name of Jacob lived in Gliniany.

The Jews leased royal land and were also collecting taxes. According to sources from our elders the Jewish settlement in the area began around the 10th century. It is reasonable to assume that the year that the Gliniany community is mentioned in the records is not the actual year that the community was established. If we take into consideration the information we have from the 12th and 13th centuries about the Jewish life in the area

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we can deduce that there was Jewish life in Gliniany because it was not different than many other towns and villages in the area. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Gliniany community was an extension of the Lviv Jewish community and administratively belonged to the Lviv district.

The commercial road connecting Lviv – Breslaw – Konstantinow passed thru Gliniany. The road was very dangerous as robbers were ambushing travelers and merchants. On October 5th 1627, the merchant Shmuel, his wife and children were murdered near the city. Additional attacks were documented between 1590 and 1638. Between the years 1582 – 1588 the taxes were collected in Gliniany by the well-known merchant from Lviv, Yitzhak ben Nachman (Nachmanovitch). He and his two sons Nachman and Mordechai were suppliers of good to the Polish Government. Mordechai was a “Parnas” in the Lviv Jewish community. The entire family leased forests and estates in the Gliniany area and were philanthropists and charitable. They built a large synagogue in Lviv to commemorate the great Rabbi “Baal Tur Hazahav”, established yeshivas and paid the rabbis from their own pocket. They contributed to establish a hospital, established a benevolence society and helping hand for poor brides. For their businesses the Nachmanovitch family had a branch in Gliniany where they administered the leases income in the Lviv-Gliniany region.

In the middle of the 15th century the rabbis of eastern Galicia received the right to self-govern as well as the right to fine those who refuse to appear before the courts. In 1796, the Gaon Rabbi Aryeh Lieb Bernstein from Brody who was elected the first state rabbi in Lviv, travelled via Gliniany and received a very warm and distinguished welcome.

The physicist Aharon Szlomkowitz lived in Gliniany between the years 1778 – 1780.


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The Census

The first ever census in Poland took place in the years 1764 – 1765.

In 1765, Gliniany had 95 Jewish families amounting to 688 persons. Additional 160 Jews lived in the neighboring villages bringing the total Jewish population in the area to 848. There were 64 houses with apartments and additional 28 houses with businesses and shops totaling 92 houses. During that year the Government collected 565/22/ ½ Zloty in taxes from Jews and Christians and 73/15 Zloty were collected from craftsmen both Jewish and Christians.

Records from additional censuses are as follows:

Year Jewish
1880 1,774 2,257
1900 2,177 2,788
1910 2,250 2,500


The Franks Sect

In the 18th century the messianic movement of Sabbatai Zevi was very popular in Gliniany and the area. Later, the following shifted to Jacob (Ya'akov) Frank. In addition more Frankists settled in Gliniany even before their conversion to Christianity. On May 16th, 1759 the Frankists wrote archbishop Lubinski of Lviv that they will embrace Christianity if their demands are met. Among others they demanded to receive land in two Galician towns (Gliniany and Busk) for their followers, and allow them to make a living in these two towns. In addition they wrote that: “We do not assume that we will continue to operate pubs and make our living by spreading drunkenness and the use of Christian blood as do the Talmud followers” (The Frankists called themselves “Zoharists “ (followers of the Zohar) and the Jews “Followers of Talmud”). A similar letter was also sent to King Augustus III in Warsaw.

According to sources, the King did not respond but

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the archbishop Lubinski said he cannot promise them immortality and the only way to receive remunerations from the Bringer of Retribution (God) is to be baptized. According to tradition, after their conversion, the Frankists settled in the village Bolotczyn located within a few miles of Gliniany on the way to Busk.

Even in my time, there were some Christian peasants who claimed to be of the Frankists descendants. When the Frankists converted to Catholicism, so did some of their followers in Gliniany. One of the sources quotes a letter written on December 17th, 1776 by one Jacob Galinski from Gliniany suing Jacob Frank (who was at the time in Bohemia which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) for owing him one thousand Dukaten. In the letter addressed to the empress Maria Theresa, the writer said that he was a Rabbi in Gliniany and converted. However, there are no other sources to substantiate the fact that he was actually a Rabbi.

With the conversion of the Frankists, the Shabbatean movement died-down in all of Poland, Galicia and Podolia.


The Court of the First Rabbi in Gliniany

In the 18th century Gliniany became a stronghold of Chasidism. The first Chasidic Rabbi was Yechiel Michel Moszkowicz. His father was the Chasidic Rabbi Moshe Moszkowicz; His grandfather was the Chasidic Rabbi Chaim of Satanov (Satanover); His great grandfather was the Chasidic Rabbi Yoseli (Yosef Rabbinowitz) from Yampoli and his great-great grandfather was the Chasidic rabbi Yechiel Michel Hamagid (the preacher) from Zlotshov (Zolochiv in Ukrainian).

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Rabbi Moszkowicz married Frimet Rechel, the second daughter of Rabbi Meir (the 2nd) from Przemyślany. They had two sons Rabbi Betzalel Yehoshua and Rabbi Meir and one daughter Yocheved.

Rabbi Yechiel Michel passed away December 5th, 1866 (27th of Kislev, 5627) and was laid to rest in a special tent in the Gliniany cemetery. He left behind a hand-written manuscript called “Little But Good” (Kav Ve'Naki) which was published in 1902 by his son Rabbi Betzalel Yehoshua who took his father's place as the Chasidic Rabbi of Gliniany. His second son Meir became the Chasidic rabbi of Zborow. His daughter Yocheved married Rabbi Itzchak Eliezer Greenberg from Yassi in Romania. Their eldest son rabbi Chaim married the granddaughter of Chasidic rabbi Nachum from Bilyi Kamin (Biały Kamień in Polish) from the Starliski family. His son was the famous poet and journalist Uri Zvi Greenberg. His son in law, Rabbi Aharon - Arye Gottesmann was the last rabbi of Gliniany.

Rabbi Betzalel Yehoshua and his first wife had one daughter Shlomtzeh, named after the wife of Rabbi Meir from Przemyślany. She married rabbi Israel David from Ostilla in Russia. Rabbi Betzalel Yehoshua and his second wife (Gitche Halberstam the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam from Sanz) had a son Chaim (named after his maternal grandfather) and a daughter Rechel (named after her paternal grandmother).

In his youth, Rabbi Betzalel Yehoshua was a protégé of the rabbi of Sadigura and when he returned to Gliniany he adopted and maintained the grand lifestyle similar to his teacher, with a lavish home and furnishings and showy dress. He had a large yard with fruit trees and a vegetable garden. His house had many rooms and accommodated a Beit-midrash for prayer and study. Huge bookcases stood on the north-west side

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of his house and many long tables along the walls where students were busy studying and praying . The Rabbi received visitors and people who came to get his blessings in his study which was near Beit-hamidrash along the southern part of the house. The mikvah was in the middle of the yard. The bottom floor of the house had service rooms and two rooms that were kept especially for baking the Passover matza. The rabbi study and beit – hamidrash each measured 15 x 8 meters (about 50 x 26 feet). During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the wall connecting the two rooms was opened to create a large space for prayer. The Rabbi had a tradition of eating and drinking with his followers on Shabbat and Holidays. The meals took place on the same tables that were used for study during the week. The rabbi with the “nice Jews” was sitting at the head of the table and from there he would give out the left overs to the rest. They on their part brought many wine bottles for the rabbi who drank a little from a golden goblet and the rest he divided among the followers. After the Grace after the meal, the Chassidim would start singing and dancing around the rabbi who was in the middle of the circle together with his brother in law rabbi Itzchak Eliezer Greenberg and the religious judge rabbi Abraham Chaim Gebert. On Saturday and holiday evenings, the rabbi received each of the Chassidim separately who came with notes of their special requests and their donations. He blessed them and they returned home full of hope and good thoughts. Rabbi Betzalel was very charitable and his house was always opened for the poor who would be fed and given some pocket money and there was always a room for guests who could stay without pay.

Like his grandfather, (Rabbi Meir from Przemyślany) Rabbi Betzalel Yehoshua was known in his dedication to the cause of settling in Eretz Israel. He donated money and built a house in Tzfat to be used as a beit – Midrash which was named after him.

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He continued donating 700 Zloty each year which he sent between Passover and Shavuot. He was the president of the community in the entire region of Gliniany - Przemyślany and made sure that every house had a donation box for the charity of Rabbi Meir, the Miracle Worker (Rabbi Meir Ba'al Haness). The money collected was sent to the great president Rabbi Leib Soffer in Drohobycz and from there all monies collected from the entire Galicia were sent to Eretz Israel to distribute in Jerusalem, Tzfat, etc. Two people were responsible for emptying the boxes in the area were Rabbi Meshulam Greidinger and Rabbi Yehoshua the scribe. In addition, the Rabbi was sending his personal money to support his followers. The followers were sending wheat for the Matza Shemura for Passover as well as thread for the fringes made from the first shearing and special striped material for his Passover garment for which the Rabbi was sending them money in return.

In 1914 at the beginning of World War I, the rabbi and his family escaped to the town of Bolechow (Bolekhiv - in Ukrainian) at the foot of the Carpathian mountains. This move was very hard on the old rabbi, although he managed to settle with his family in a nice house and to arrange for a beit midrash. On June 17th, 1915 (5th of Tamuz, 5675) while conducting the Shabbat evening service, he suddenly fell on his knees and breathed his last breath.

Translator's footnote

  1. Ukrainian and Russian: Полтва, Polish: Pełtew) which is a river in the western Ukrainian Oblast of Lviv and a tributary of the Bug River. Return


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