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[Page 314]

Vermezif
(Rus'ke Pole, Ukraine)

48°03' 23°31'

Ruthenian: Ruski Pole
Hungarian: Urmezo

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Donated by Roslyn Eldar

 

It is a village in the district of Tetsh, between Bushtino, on the Chust-Sziget railway line.
All of its residents are Ruthenian.

 

Population

Year Jews Total
1768 25 -
1830 113 843
1880 272 -
1910 - 1,786
1921 - 1,852
1930 376 2,509
1941 395 3,017

 

Jews [were listed] as living in this village in all the censuses that were conducted in Hungary during the 18th century. In the first census, in 1728, a Jew named Leiba, with a wife, and a father of two children, was registered in Vermezif. He had a horse, two cows, and three calves. Seven years later, that is in the census of 1735, a Jew named Leibel is listed. Apparently, he is none other than the Leiba of 1728. This time, he already had four children, and of course was married. His property was also greater, for he now had two horses, three cows, and ten calves. He lived under the protection of the local nobleman Szandor Pogony, and paid six florins annually for the lease. Eleven years later, in the census of 1746, in which the names of those enumerated were not mentioned, two Jews were listed in Vermezif, but only one of them had a wife and five children. It would make sense that this is Leiba-Leibel from the two previous censuses. The second Jew was alone. Both together paid 16 florins of lease money annually.

In the census of 1748, seven Jewish heads of families are listed in Vermezif, numbering 25 individuals, as follows: 1) Yosef Yaakov, whose family consisted of six individuals, and who paid 30 florins as an annual lease; 2) Marko Lazarovitch (3 individuals), paid 15 florins; 3) David Izak (5 individuals), who paid 30 florins; Matish Zedik (2 individuals), who did not pay anything because he was apparently an indigent; 5) Leiba Izak (alone), who paid 12 florins; 6) Yaakov Shlomo (4 individuals), who paid 20 florins; 7) Michael (for families), who paid 15 florins. It is almost certain that there were ten males above the age of Bar Mitzvah among the 25 individuals, who would be able to form a regular minyan [prayer quorum]. Therefore, we can assume that the kernel of the future community was planted in Vermezif in that era – that is during the 1760s and 1770s. Along with two or three other villages in the area, this village was among the first sources of settlement in nearby Bushtino, at a time when such was possible, and the authorities permitted this (see Bushtino entry).

In the census of 1830, which had not yet been published, 27 families lived in Vermezif, as follows: (the number of individuals in the family is in parentheses.) A total of 113 individuals. Herman Zelig (3), Leib Avraham (5), Leib Saks (5), Baruch Moshkovitch (7), Avraham Hersh (3), Avraham Itzkovitch (5), Leib Yankalovitch (6), Yaakov Tzilkel (7), Shaya Shimonovitch (3), Wolf Farkas (7), Baruch Sender (7), Rivka Vider (3), Wolfe Spitz (4), Avraham Wigdor (4), Wolf Chaimovitch (3), Yosi Leib (4), Rachel Wad (5), David Hersh (6), Aharon Yosa (3), Avraham Sharli (2), Leizer Wiesel (5), Shmuel Moshko (3), Avraham Shayovitch (3), Hersh Sender (2), Moshko Izokovitch (4), Asher Izidor (3), Avraham Leib. During this period, there was already an organized community and institutions of all types in Vermezif. However, due to its close proximity to Bishtina (as well as Tetsh), the community did not develop, and the Jews of the village only increased in a small fashion.

As Vermezif natives have told us, the Jews of the village earned their livelihoods from agriculture, trade as shop owners, tavern owners, apple merchants, tradesmen, carpenters, smiths, wagon drivers for the lumber and fruit industries, horse and cattle merchants. The village consisted of Klein [small] Vermezif, and Grois [large] Vermezif, and belonged to the district of Tetsh. The wooden synagogue was quite ancient. Beneath it was a mikva [ritual bath]. The cemetery was ancient, and it had monuments from over 150 years ago. All the residents of the village were Hasidim of Visznitz. The village of Vinif [Vonehove](see entry), with only a river separating them. There was a joint shochet [ritual slaughterer] for Vermezif and Vinif.

For most of the inter-war period, the head of the community was Reb Yaakov Leib, the son-in-law of the wealthy landowner Reb Moshe Leb. Reb Yaakov was a native of Ipsha. He owned a wholesale grocery store, and was a scholar.

Almost all the Jews of Vermezif were deported during the decrees of the summer of 1941. One Sabbath, all the Jews of the village were gathered into the field between Klein Vermezif and Grois Vermezif. Several of them were beaten in that field for no reason. They did not inspect any documents. All the Jews were loaded onto trucks and taken to Jasien, from where they were deported to Poland. There were Jews who sold cows in order to obtain a Hungarian citizenship document, such as Chaim Eliezer Leizerovitch, who sold two cows for this purpose. However, this did not help them during the time of the decree. Even women whose husbands were in labor camps were deported to Poland. Only two or three families, including that of the teacher Alter Chaim, and about seven other youths succeeded in evading the deportation through various means. However, from the summer of 1941 until 1944, not one Jew lived in Vermezif.[*] Several youths of the village who were in the Hungarian work service were transferred to Ukraine. Most of them perished in various ways. Several fell prisoner to the Russians. We will note what happened to Moshe Leizerovitch of Vermezif, who was drafted into the work service (in a Hungarian Army uniform) at the end of 1939.

[Page 315]

He was transferred to Ukraine and fell prisoner to the Russians in January 1942. For understandable reasons, he was not registered as a Jew but rather as a Ukrainian. When the Czech Brigade of General Sodova was organized, he joined the brigade, this time as a Jew. He was in the artillery unit, and was granted the rank of corporal. He fought in the ranks of that brigade, and was one of the conquerors of Auschwitz. From there, he transferred to the Czech front, and was one of the conquerors of Prague. There were many youths from Maramures in his unit.

After the war, seven Jews returned to Vermezif. One died there. However, most left. Today, one Jew lives in the village. One of the Jews of Vermezif, Mordechai Hertzel, made aliya to Israel a few years ago. The synagogue no longer exists. It was dismantled.

Bibliography

Interview with a native of Vermezif


Footnote from Roslyn Eldar:

* One survivor of the Holocaust, Mindu Hornick (nee Klein) states that she was living in Urmezo in the 1940s with her mother and 3 siblings. Mindu was born in May 1929 and was aged around 11 years at the time. She said that in 1942 her father, Moses Chaim Klein, was conscripted to the Hungarian Jewish Forced Laborer Service. He came home once and after that 1 visit she never saw him again. Miklós Horthy who served as Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary throughout most of World War II, collaborated with the Nazis but also resisted Hitler's demands and managed to protect the families whose husbands had been conscripted. Horthy insisted those families should be left alone, so between 6 or 8 families remained in Urmezo until 1944 when they were sent to a ghetto and later to Auschwitz. Mindu recalls clearly how frightening it was that all the Jewish community of Urmezo was suddenly gone, all the people her family used to go to Schule with disappeared, except for those few families whose husbands had been conscripted. Mindu cannot fathom how her mother managed to feed herself and her 4 children during that time but believes she sold or traded fruit and vegetables from her large garden to provide for other necessities.

 

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