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Translation of Jaryczow Nowy chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Translation of Jaryczow Nowy chapter from
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
Published in Jerusalem
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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume II, pages 285-287, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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It appears that the Jews settled in J.N. when it was recognized as a town (the earliest knowledge about them is from 1577). However, the initial settlement of about 25 people was destroyed when the Tatars invaded in 1578. Five Jews were captured by the invaders and five others died due to an epidemic. In 1628 the town officers testified under oath that there were no Jews in the town who owed a poll tax. The Jewish settlement was apparently restored after the second major Tatar invasion (1695), and it grew after the Swedish wars ended at the beginning of the 18th century. Also in this century, there were several Karaite families in the nearby village of Kokizov [three miles to the northwest]. In 1717 the Jews of J.N. paid 516 gold coins as poll tax. The Jewish settlement which grew further in the end of the 18th century and in the 19th century was badly hurt in the 1872 fire that left about 2000 people homeless. The fire damage was estimated at one million Koron. Most of the damage was to the local Jews. After the town was restored from the ruins, the Jewish population suffered once again, this time from the Russian occupation during WW1. Before the Russians retreated from the town, in May 1915, they set 200 Jewish houses on fire. The inhabitants were forced then to live in basements, without heat and cooking ovens. There were severe shortages of food and clothing. About 140 Jews died in the ensuing epidemic; some families were completely erased and many orphans were left without care. During the rule of the Western Ukrainian Republic the Jewish men were forced to work in the Ukrainian military camps. Between the two world wars the Jewish settlement did not recover. About 40% of its population did not return to their native town (some settled in Lvov, others emigrated to other countries).
The early settlers in J.N. worked primarily in leasing and commerce. In the renewed settlement there were also craftsmen of all varieties. Many specialized in the production of belts embroidered with silver and gold threads. In 1780 most of the craftsmen in this profession were Jewish.
In the 19th and 20th centuries most of the Jews were retailers, peddlers (also supplying agricultural products to the markets of nearby Lvov) or craftsmen. The loan applications from the local Jewish charity fund during 1935-36 testify to the professional profile of the Jews: 38 loan applications from craftsmen, 183 from retailers, six from daily laborers and nine from farmers. In fact, at that time six Jewish farmers (30 people) lived in J.N., owning 180 dunam [45 acres] of land, 10 horses, 14 cattle and 143 chickens. Just like the merchants and the craftsmen, the farmers needed loans to survive. The loans were in small amounts (in 1936, 81 loans were given for a total of 8562 zloty).
Until the middle of the 18th century the Jewish community in J.N. was a branch of the Zolkiew community, but it became independent later. Due to its rising importance, the committee of the state of Risen met there in 1711. In the 18th and 19th centuries famous rabbis served in J.N. In the first half of the 18th century serving there was Rabbi David Ashkenazi, the son of the sage Zvi Yoel and the grandson of Rabbi David Katzenelbogen, who had been the rabbi of Sheinieva [sp?] and later served in Herovyeshov [sp?]. We also know later about Rabbi Mordechai (died in 1776), Rabbi Arie-Leibush Teomim (died in 1798) and Rabbi Moshe Rapaport (died in 1805). At that time Hassidism became common. Rabbi Shalom Halevi Rosenfeld, also known as the Rava Prodigy, was the Hassidic rabbi and leader. He moved in old age to Kamionka Stromilova, where he died in 1851. The local Jewish community was glorified and honored through the services of Rabbi Zeev-Wolf Gerstel, who in 1890 became Law Teacher (More Tzedek) and in 1908 replaced his father, Rabbi Mordechai Gerstel, as the Head of the Jewish 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 exact calculation of the new moon, etc. He wrote books that were published: Wonderful Words about the midrashim, Stars and Bein HaShmashot [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/7294] -- about the calendars and the stars. His greatness in Torah did not save him from being attacked by the Belz Hassidic Jews -- the dominant local Hassidic sect. Sometimes the town was served by additional rabbis and teachers, and even had two competing funeral homes [Chevra Kadisha]. The last J.N. rabbi was Pesach Zitamor who perished in the Holocaust. In 1933, Rabbi Shmuel Gottesmann-Heller, the Hassidic leader [Admor] of Laskowicz, established his court at J.N. He managed to escape to the U.S.A. at the beginning of WW2.
The community maintained a synagogue, study hall and also several synagogue complexes [Kloiz] of the various Hassidic sects. The first Zionist clubs appeared in J.N. near the end of the 19th century. A Zionist conference was held there in 1902. The first anniversary [in 1905] of the passing of Benyamin Ze'ev Herzl [Theodor Herzl] was held in the local synagogue with great attendance a testimony to the increased influence of the Zionists. Between WW1 and WW2 several Zionist organizations opened local branches: Achva (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 410 Jewish voters (almost all the voters) voted for the Nationalist party. With the support of the Joint [Distribution Committee], a Jewish school was founded in 1922. It had four grades (apparently a complementary education school) and its first year it had 80 students (25 boys and 55 girls). The Zionist organizations ran also a theater group.
In the 1920s the Jewish merchants suffered under a heavy burden of arbitrary taxes imposed by the government. In October 1929, ten armed Ukrainian robbers broke into the women's area of the synagogue during prayers and robbed their jewelry. The local police chased the robbers and killed four of them.
After the war between Germany and the USSR broke out, J.N. was conquered by the German army. That happened near the end of June or early in July, 1941. Shortly afterward the Germans imprisoned about 30 Jews (apparently as hostages) who were gradually released in exchange for ransom. The Germans also forced all the Jews to wear a sleeve band with the Star of David symbol and to supply a daily workforce of 100 young people for forced labor within the town. In the first half of July the Germans arrested 13 or 14 prominent Jews and executed them outside of the town. It appears that they were shot to death near the villages of Bolshov and Rodanza [4 miles to the northwest], together with about 30 Jews from these villages. Early on the Germans formed the local Judenrat and Jewish Police. They appointed a young Jew, Israel Indyk, the son of a wealthy lumber trader, as the head of the Judenrat, but shot him during the above mentioned execution. The Judenrat was forced to pay steep fines and regularly provide gifts of wares and valuables, which they demanded from the wealthy Jews. The Judenrat was also forced to supply labor crews, which were organized from among the poor Jews. The wealthy paid not to be included and the money was used to pay the workers and provide them with a little food. The Germans and Ukrainians abused these workers.
Many Jewish craftsmen were more fortunate. They were employed in various factories and institutions, were paid for their work, and sometimes received food rations or meals. A few of them (like scrap and trash collectors or leather buyers) were allowed to move around for their work, including traveling to bigger cities. These travels were very hazardous.
Within the first few months of the occupation, the Germans and Ukrainians burned the synagogue and study hall. In the autumn of 1941, they started capturing young men who were sent to labor camps, where the living conditions were terrible. It seems that the Judenrat was required by the labor camp managers (especially in Winniki) to provide food to the prisoners, although there was no assurance that they actually received the food.
There were also other decrees. Jews were not allowed to leave the town. The Ukrainian police ambushed those who tried to sneak out attempting to sell their belongings and buy food in the surrounding area. Some of those who were caught were tortured and even murdered, and the more fortunate ones were just humiliated in public. In Jewish holidays, and specifically in the Passover of 5702 , the Ukrainian police scattered the worshippers, beat them and abused them.
A horrifying event occurred in the summer of 1942. The details are not clear, but 30-40 elderly Jews were kidnapped from their homes or on the streets by either German or Ukrainian police and were murdered. It seems that they were provided as prey to dogs.
The conditions of the local Jews deteriorated significantly in October or November 1942. Jews from all the surrounding areas were brought to J.N. to the Jewish ghetto and the ghetto was fenced. The ghetto became terribly crowded; several families lived in a single room. The sanitary conditions were awful and there was a shortage of water. Jews were allowed to draw water from the nearby municipal water well only during one hour a day, from noon to 1 p.m. Hunger and cold became common, many cases of typhus were discovered and there were no medicines. Those who had property to sell, or were goods dealers or well connected, and those who continued to work outside of the ghetto in German factories and institutions, managed to do better.
The Jewish settlement in J.N. was liquidated on the 15th of January, 1943. It appears that the German authorities decided to destroy the ghetto, following the requests of the local Ukrainian authorities, because of the worry that the typhus epidemic will spread to the rest of the town. Early in the morning, German and Ukrainian police surrounded the ghetto, pulled everybody out and gathered them in the market place. The sick and the weak were killed right there. The rest were held in the open market for long hours, abused by the guards. Many who were in bare feet and wearing only their underwear froze to death. Nobody was released, even not those who had employment cards. The entire Jewish population of the ghetto (2300-2550 people), including the Judenrat, were taken to the nearby forest, where large graves had been dug beforehand. The Jews were ordered to walk on a board bridge over the dig and were shot with machine guns. Many Jews managed to escape by hiding in pre-prepared hideouts, or by fleeing to the forest or to Christian acquaintances. Several days after the mass execution German and Ukrainian police began pursuing these Jews. Those who were caught were shot to death in the cemetery on the 18th of January, 1943. For a while the Germans permitted to live several Jewish police members as well as several young strong men. They were ordered to bury all the murdered Jews. About 35 of these men managed to escape and hide in the nearby forest. The others were shot to death after they finished their work.
According to one source, in March 1943 a labor camp was built in J.N., which existed for several months. It is not known how many Jews worked there, where they came from and what they did.
Only 20 Jews from the inhabitants of J.N. survived the war. Three managed to hide in a bunker in the forest, three were hidden by local Polish citizens and 14 returned from Russia (including eight Soviet army soldiers).
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