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[Page 268]

Unter–Bistra

(Nyzhniy Bystryy, Ukraine)

48°22' 23°32'

Hungarian: Alsóbisztra
Ruthenian: Nizni Bystri

Translated by Jerrold Landau

It is a village in the district of Chust, about 32 kilometers northeast of the city of Chust. All of its residents were Ruthenian.

 

Population

Year Jews Total
Population
1830 8 490
1880 88 ––
1900 –– 1,720
1921 –– 1,895
1930 200 2,346
1941 –– 3,156

 

Apparently, the first Jews arrived in Unter–Bistra at the beginning of the 19th century. The first two families were the families of Mordechai (Motia) Lebovitch and Leib Shayovitch, each family consisting of five individuals for a total of ten. They were listed in the assessment list composed by the Hungarian authorities of that time, in which all heads of families were listed. There was no set prayer quorum in the village until the 1850s.

At the beginning of the 20th century, accelerated economic activity began in the town, in which several Jews played leadership roles, especially in the lumber industry. The town notables known to us included Reb Yitzchak Yaakov Bornstein, a great scholar and Visznitz Hassid, who dedicated his entire time to sacred matters and the study of Torah, and owned a large store that was run by his wife; his son Reb Yisrael

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Bornstein, who was also a Hassid of Visznitz, was close to the Admor, and later settled in the city of Mihályfalva in Transylvania where he was one of the communal notables; Reb Izik Greenberger, a wealthy Jew who owned lands, a general store, and a tavern; the Shimonovitch family, who were wealthy Jews who owned the lease for the post office of the city. They later lost their wealth. (One of their sons, Simon Shimonovitch lives in Los Angeles and generously supports Israel and its institutions.); Reb Shlomo Yehuda Lerner, one of the communal activists at the beginning of the 20th century.

Rabbi Nachman Rotner of Berezovo was the shochet and rabbi. His son–in–law Rabbi Moshe Greenzweig was accepted later as the rabbi of the community of Hassidim in Beregsaz.

During the 1930s, Binyamin Davidovitch of Chust set up a large sawmill there, in which many Jews from Unter–Bistra and other villages worked. Some of those working there were young lads who were preparing to make Aliya. In this manner, they gained experience in physical labor. Mr. Roisman also owned a sawmill. He was a scholarly Jew who was involved in benevolent deeds. There were two loan banks in the village, even though the notary of the village lived in nearby Berezovo, 9 kilometers away. Apparently, the Jews of Under–Bistra were assisted by the community of Berezovo in both communal and religious services.

We have no information about the fate of the Jews of Unter–Bistra during the Holocaust years. At the end of April 1944, after Passover, the Jews of the village were transferred to the Iza Ghetto. From there, they were transported to the Chust railway station and deported to Auschwitz.

Today, there are no Jews in Unter–Bistra.

 

Bibliography

Interview with Dr. Yisrael Artzi of Chust.
Testimony from Yad Vashem: 015/2572

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