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[Pages 66-76 - Yiddish] [Pages 231-241 - Hebrew]

Baranovka, My Birthplace
(Baranivka, Ukraine)

50°18' 27°40'

by Moshe Shmueli (Ashdod Yakov)

Donated by Brian Ferstman

About half way between Zwhil and Polana there was my shtetl Baranovka. In the many years since I left, I always compared it to an open palm of the hand. The wide market in the center of the shtetl seemed to me like a spread out open hand and the streets that branched out from it were like spread out fingers, true, more than five, and not all of them straight, and often they went in different directions. It was used as a transit place for all travellers from the surrounding villages. Three large guesthouses that were close to each other were always ready to accommodate all the coachmen and others that passed through our town.

On Sundays, the market was filled with peasants from the surrounding villages. They supplied their produce to the shopkeepers and brokers in the shtetl, who in turn engaged with them in all kind of commerce.

True, just like in any other town we had our share of poor people, widows with small children, unsuccessful tradesmen and other recipients of charity. Some were people whose businesses went sour, others were ne'er do wells from birth. But the majority were comfortable and self-sufficient.

I regret now that I did not enquire from the older people who were the ones that built this shtetl, who founded it and what was the source of its name Baranovka.

In my childhood years I often went to the cemetery. On Tisha B'av and during the month of Elul we used to pick small unripe apples that grew there in abundance. The cemetery was overgrown with old branched-out trees. The rows of graves were very close together and many wooden tombstones were already rotting. All this indicated how old the Jewish population was in the shtetl.


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