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Translation of Medenice chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Translation of Medenice chapter from
Published by Yad Vashem Published in Jerusalem
Judith Carol Goldsmith
Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume II, pages 308-309,
edited by Shmuel Spector, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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(District of Drohobycz, Region of Lwow)
Translated by Jerrold Landau
Medenice was a village 22 kilometers from Drohobycz. It belonged to the estates of the royalty during the 14th century. The primary source of livelihood of its population was agriculture. A few flourmills were set up there during the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
We have signs of the existence of a Jewish community in Medenice from the middle of the 19th century. The Jewish community was not independent, but rather dependent on the communal council of Drohobycz. Nevertheless, there were local communal functionaries and institutions in Medenice, such as a rabbi, a shochet (ritual slaughterer), a synagogue, and a ritual bath (mikva). Medenice served as a center for Jewish families who were scattered through the villages of the region. Rabbi Asher HaLevi served as the rabbi of Medenice prior to the First World War. The influence of the Belz Hassidim in that area was great.
The majority of the Jewish population was occupied in commerce, and a certain proportion earned their livelihood through agriculture. The number of Jews occupied in agriculture declined between the two world wars, and in 1928-1930, there were only four families (20 souls) who earned their livelihood from working the ground. The only bakery there was under Jewish ownership. The family of Chaim Zusman was prominent among the wholesale merchants. He was also involved in widespread charitable activities.
There was a group of Zionist activists in Medenice already before the First World War. Their work also continued after 1918. Eighteen people voted for the 1927 Zionist Congress and 17 for the 1935 Congress. The votes were given to the General Zionists. A chapter of Achva was established in 1930.
An enormous flood devastated the town in 1927, leaving 90% of the Jewish population without a roof over their heads. The synagogue was similarly destroyed, and the water also flooded the Torah schools. Only several years later did the community manage to recover from this natural disaster and rehabilitate its livelihood. During the Soviet era from 1939-1941, far reaching changes in communal and economic life took place for the Jews of Medenice, similar to the entire district.
With the entrance of the Germans to the town at the beginning of July 1941, the Ukrainians perpetrated a pogrom against the Jewish population. Several people were killed and injured. It was difficult for a small community to live under the inimical atmosphere. Several Jewish families left the town in the autumn of 1941 to seek refuge with relatives in Drohobycz and Boryslaw. Through this, the Jewish population during that period dropped to approximately 140 people. During the winter of 1941-1942, Jewish families from the surrounding villages were deported to Medenice, and the Jewish population grew to more than 200 (according to one source the population was 213). The attacks from the local population continued in the spring of 1942. The Ukrainian police especially afflicted the remnants of the community.
The Jews of Medenice were sent to their deaths in the Belzec Camp in August, 1942.
Book of Drohobycz, Boryslaw and the Region, Tel Aviv, 1959, pages 185-187.
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