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Honor Roll

Of the first devoted activists of the Relief League, according to the organizations which they represented. Some of them have been tirelessly working up till now.
These names deserve to be immortalized as very special individuals in whose hearts the cry for help from our home city found the necessary response. With might and main, they performed the holy labor of rescue.

For the Proskurov Zion Congregation:
Mr Yits'haq Rubenboym, Nathana'el Greenshteyn, Yits'haq Aharon Senders, Dov Shapiro, Shmuel Baron, Dov Shvartsman, Y Gatsug, Sh Berger, Alter Groyser.
For the Women's League:
Mrs. Itta Senders, Mrs. Berton, Mrs Rubenboym, Mrs Zilberman.

For the Proskurover W.C. [= Workmen's Circle- tr.] Branch 355:
Mordecai Tobis, Engineer Sh. Kraines, G. Horvits, A. Vagner, Krichmar.

Those who did not belong to any society:
Mr Gedaliah Bresler, A. Rekhtman, Zaydel Shteyn, Leyb Tulis, Gitelman.

For the Proskurov Young Men's Assn.:
Max Raisman, Leyb Fishman, Sam Beltser, Ze'ev Balekhover, Vakshteyn, Nathan Barondess, Levi Vayner, G. Shmulyovich.

For the Philadelphia Relief Section:
Mr Aharon Shur, Mr Abramovitsh, Mr Frenkel.

For the Chicago Relief Section:
Mr Leibovitsh, Mr Korish, Mr Shnayder, and Mr Roytenberg.

For the Chicago Ladies' Society:
Mrs. Nehama Leybovitsh, Mrs Fanny Eydelman, and Mr. [sic!] Forman.

For the Boston Relief Section:
Mr Abba Mekonen, Mr Motil Sobelman, Mr Morris Brikman, Mr Harry Hendler, Mr Alexander Debbis, Mr Meyer Greenberg, Mr Morris Rubman, Mr Paul Goldenberg, Mr Max Gelman, Mrs Rosa Rekht.

For Newark: Mr and Mrs Feyert.
For Elizabeth: Haim Oksman

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A. Rekhtman

Our city of Proskurov became a scapegoat from nearly the beginning of the World War. It became the hen of atonement for the whole surrounding region.

Being close to the frontier, where the first battles took place, the atmosphere almost from the start began to fill up with bloody hatred and bitter struggle against Jews. And the sharp spear that later on so horribly pierced the heart of our unfortunate city, thereby drowning it in blood, had already then begun to be forged.

When the first wounded from the nearby battlefield were brought to us, malicious gossip and foolish tales of hatred and enmity against Jews began to be woven. For example, that a funeral had supposedly been discovered in which the Jews were carrying not a dead person but money over to the enemy camp; or that Jews were sending gold to Austria and Germany inside eggshells; or the so very clumsy tale that a Jew had been caught carrying a telephone apparatus in his large beard through which he kept in contact with the enemy, and dozens of such impossibilities. All this began to poison the hearts and fill the minds of the surrounding gentiles with hatred.

And our Proskurov people lived the whole period of the war in such a polluted atmosphere of raging hatred. They suffered humiliations and torments at every step. And disregarding the fact that the men and boys were killed on the battlefield, fighting for the fatherland, the fathers and mothers, wives and children at home were persecuted, inhumanly treated and violated.

And endless, hopeless days of dark war-dread [“dread”-print not clear-tr] dragged on. And our city together with all of Ukrainian Jewry groaned under the heavy yoke

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of war and Tsarism, until the whole historic upheaval came and the Revolution broke out.

And our wretched, unhappy oppressed brothers then believed that their salvation had come and that finally human decency had won out. And their hearts filled with radiant hopes over a bright, happy and beautiful future.

We too, here in America, rejoiced from afar with the joy of liberation. From afar we cordially greeted our dear brothers and sisters and with overflowing hearts we hoped for joyful news from our dear, old unforgettable home.

But the joy did not last for long. At that time the Bolsheviks rose up and the Bolshevik-socialist civil war developed, and the dark elements of the Ukrainian people exploited the upheaval and, ostensibly under the banner of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and under the national hymn “Shtshe Ni Vmerla Ukraina,” banded together in various haidamak bands. The largest, most dangerous band, under the leadership of the bloodthirsty ataman Petlyura, quickly got the upper hand and proclaimed themselves the leaders of the Ukrainian government.

And his band grew from day to day. Hundreds of new haidamaks from the darkest layers of the people, like the freed criminals and murderers, assassins, bandits, put themselves under his leadership, because he, Petlyura, gave them complete freedom, openly preached the destruction of the Jews, and made their goods and chattels free for the taking, under the pretext of fighting the Bolsheviks.

And like thunder in a fair sky in the middle of a beautiful, fair bright day, horrible misfortune found our city. The bloodthirsty ataman Petlyura with his bestial camp threw themselves suddenly, like a wild beast, upon our frightened, defenseless brothers and sisters and openly made a bloodbath before the whole world.

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It is impossible to express in human language the cruelties which were committed at that time. Can we find a word, a concept, which might express the shuddering of a person at the time of the slaughter? Or the moment when the person sees with his own eyes his loved ones being killed, being put to death? While he himself waits for just another minute, another moment, for the same murderer with the same slaughter knife to come to him too, and put an end to his own life too?

Or has such a person been created who can express, can depict, the experiences that take place in a mother's heart as she stands by the slaughter of her son, or sees with her old eyes as her only son's eyes are pricked out or as her only daughter is tormented and violated?

Our language is too poor for someone to be able to convey even a thousandth part of the horrors that were committed on that day of pogrom, or to convey even partially the terror and dread that have prevailed in Proskurov since the pogrom. People have not felt that their lives were safe for even a minute. It seemed at every moment that the murderer was coming again and would destroy the surviving remnant, the few remaining.

And the same heaven-splitting cries of pain began to be carried from the surrounding Jewish small towns: from Felshtin, Kuzmin, Kamenets, Letitshev, Litin, and hundreds of others. The savage murderer Petlyura with his camp of haidamaks systematically, according to plan, murdered, shed rivers of blood right and left, and the holy blood of the pure martyrs formed a stream over the quite broad roads of the great liberated Ukraine.

Then all the bright hopes that the Revolution had brought were extinguished. The sky was covered with an opaque, black cloud, and a dreadful darkness enveloped our city together with the whole Jewish population of the Ukraine.

And a man was found who had himself lived through the Proskurov horror and seen with his own eyes:

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“As the sun shone and the slaughterer slaughtered,” as man devoured man, as dogs and pigs devoured human blood and marrow, he witnessed all this himself, and later he endangered his life bringing first aid to the severely wounded, blood-dripping victims. He saw with his own eyes how, by a decree of the murderer Petlyura, the pure martyrs were thrown like slaughtered calves onto wagons and they were all covered with earth in one big pit in the middle of the night.

And with his heart's blood he wrote down everything so simply, so primordially. In the holy tongue of the lamentations he also wrote the lamentation for Proskurov and translated it himself into Yiddish.

And it feels as if the spirit of all those whose lives were cut off too soon, the spirit of the pure martyrs, speaks from his mouth. They tell the whole world, and especially their own relatives and friends – the scroll of their lives and deaths. People lived and – before their time – were cut off.

And their blood cries out to us from the depths of their graves with a thousand resounding voices: Don't forget us!!! Remember us from time to time. Tell about our life and death to your children and grandchildren, to the coming generations. Perhaps our blood will help the coming generation of peasant murderers to be ashamed of the deceitful deeds committed by their peasant elders and they will reject the slaughter-knives with which people were massacred and make them into plows to work and fertilize God's earth. This would bring nigh Isaiah's prophecy: And it will be at the end of days… and that would be our consolation and might have been worth our spilled blood.

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[= May He Remember]

The Destruction of Proskurov

He was maltreated, yet he was submissive,
He did not open his mouth;
Like a sheep being led to slaughter,
Like a ewe, dumb before those who shear her,
He did not open his mouth.
(Isaiah 53:7 [JPS-NJV])
* * *
… Every year on the anniversary [of the massacre-tr]
You should recite this before your
Children and your children's children.

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The Destruction of Proskurov[1]
(It Is a Lamentation and Will Be for a Lamentation)

[parallel columns in Hebrew and Yiddish: The translation is based on the Yiddish-tr]

The horrible misfortune that came upon us came unexpectedly, like thunder on a clear day, because only the politicians – those who understood whither the ways of our government were leading us – could foresee the catastrophe which was approaching us. However, the simple folk were, as usual, each one absorbed in his own business and no one listened to – or observed – anything that was happening around, to the rumors of a storm borne from afar that were coming closer to us, bringing along death and destruction.

When we heard about the massacres and slaughter in Yekaterinoslav, [the Hebrew adds Kremenchuk-tr.], Zhitomir, at the railroad stations between Kiev and Homel, and in other smaller and

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larger cities throughout the Ukraine, we sensed and shuddered and began to listen to what was happening there and the blood froze in our veins, as we heard how the blood of our brothers and sisters in those cities flowed in streams on all the streets. And even then it did not occur to us that the terrible misfortune, the frightful sorrow and fury, were steadily coming toward us too.

About five weeks before the massacre broke out in our town, at the beginning of the month of Sh'vat 5679 [January-February 1919 -tr], Kivertshuk[2], the commander of the haidamaks, issued a decree to the local student militia, which was almost entirely Jewish, to hand over

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its weapons to him and to dissolve itself.

At that time, the student militia was the only force in the city protecting the inhabitants day and night. For that reason, when its weapons were taken away, the city was in fact defenseless. Indeed, right away bands of wild soldiers began to appear who would burst into houses on the supposed pretext of looking for weapons, or hidden Bolshevik partisans. In fact, they stole and plundered everything that they found, merchandise, clothing, or money. Besides that, they also arrested innocent people and dragged them off to jail. These robberies went on for about two weeks. Many people were terribly impoverished. Others paid large sums as ransom. But looking at what happened, all of this did not make the necessary impression on the inhabitants and there was no one who pointed out the great danger contained in these events.

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and no one sought a way to warn of the consequences that might ensue.

Once, on a beautiful day, when the market located on an open square on Kamenetsky Street in the Alexandrovsky quarter was full of people, groups of armed soldiers suddenly appeared on all the streets around the market. They proceeded to shoot in the air in order to evoke terror and loud noise among the Jews so that they couldn't run away. The soldiers seized all the merchants and other people, besides, who were hiding in the shops and led them in groups like flocks to the commander, Kivertshuk. There they were robbed and everything that was found on them was taken away. Several of them were even stripped of their clothes and mercilessly beaten.

After that shameful deed, a series of house searches and simple robberies began. And more and more often and more gruesome. In some of these robberies, not even the pillows were left behind. We suddenly felt our helpless situation, that we were sinking deeper and deeper into a dark pit.

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Then, several persons, communal activists, appealed to the commander, asking him to be merciful and put an end to the wild behavior. He should at least allow organization of a Jewish self-defense. The cunning commander was agreeable and issued a permit for organizing the so-called house committees (domovy komiteti). That meant that in every separate neighborhood of the city, groups of guards should be chosen from among the residents. And they should watch over their neighborhood. These neighborhood groups organized on their part a special “Central Committee.” And it was arranged that about twenty armed young people would be ready at all times, as soon as they were notified by telephone of a robbery taking place somewhere in the neighborhood, to go there immediately and drive away the gangs. We thought that this would provide salvation. But the sentence had already been signed long before. The whole plan of the abovementioned Central Committee – as we will recount below – was no more than a

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screen, a trap for us, an excuse for casting on us all the guilt for what happened to us. The neighborhood guard groups too, in themselves, were worthless. The robbers did not take them into account and plundered and robbed just as before.

And one day, the bandits outdid everything with more insolence, openly and freely attacking the merchants on the main streets and in the railroad stations, who used to come to buy merchandise, and nobody stood up to them. Thus, new robberies took place every day and every night. People used to lock themselves up in their houses and were afraid to show themselves on the street. The situation dragged on this way until the great rage poured itself out on us.

A week before the massacre, a rumor spread that the Bolsheviks, who were still in the city, were preparing an uprising against the haidamak leadership. No one then believed that there were Bolsheviks in the city, because it was known that the Bolsheviks had run away when the haidamaks came. Nevertheless,

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a sadness and a fear of death spread throughout the city. There were several “rumors” from time to time that sowed fear and dread.

Several conjectures were expressed. Some said that the Christian railroad workers from the Gritshane station, together with some Jewish workers, had joined with the Bolsheviks to make an uprising against the haidamaks. Others told that the soldiers of the Dneprovsky regiment had revolted and were getting ready to make an uprising against the leadership. One way or another, our hearts were already telling us that we were going to be the hen of atonement. Three days before the massacre, the haidamaks paraded on the main streets of the city, riding their horses with their rifles and cannons, showing their might that they were not afraid of a Bolshevik uprising. We Jews

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understood very well that the whole parade was aimed against us, to cast fear upon us. The last day before the massacre, the fourteenth day of First Adar of 5679 [= 1919], around Friday noontime, a rumor suddenly was heard that the Bolsheviks were really going to make an uprising the next day against the haidamak leadership, and that many Jews were among the Bolsheviks and that the haidamaks were going to attack the city the next day.

Every Jew then sensed the great misfortune that loomed over our heads. No one thought anymore about money or possessions. We were ready to give away everything, as long as our lives were saved.

Friday night passed over us like a frightful dream. Suddenly, around midnight the thunder of an explosion was heard from below the city. And it cast dread on all of us. As we later found out, it was a signal to the haidamaks of the Third Brigade to get ready for the next day to make a ruin of the city, to supposedly oppose

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the Bolsheviks who wanted to invade the city.

Early on Sabbath morning, we learned that in the name of ataman Simosenko[3], all the Jewish guards who were on the streets in the neighborhoods had been arrested overnight. Arrested with them was the whole “Central Committee” on the pretext that they were allied with the workers of the Gritshaneh station in the uprising against the leadership and that the “Central Committee” also wanted to arrest all officials of the post office and the railroad station, but the haidamaks had anticipated them and disrupted their plan in time. Such

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rumors were spread by the haidamak officers together with the muncipal functionaries who had always hated the Jews and had long had an eye for the Jews' possessions.

That Sabbath was just a beautiful, sunny day. Nevertheless, very few Jews dared to go to synagogue to pray. We instinctively felt that the misfortune was under our noses. About 10 o'clock in the morning, we heard heavy shooting from machine-guns and the explosion of a bomb or a shot from a field cannon in the middle of the city's streets. The shooting went on for about a quarter of an hour. We surmised that they, the haidamaks, were waging war with the Bolsheviks in the city.

The first Jewish victim fell during the shooting. She was the teacher of the commercial-school, the daughter of Reb Motl Trachtenberg. She was standing at the window by chance and looked out on the street to see what the shooting meant and a murderous bullet found her. That same early morning several wealthy Jews were arrested and they were brought to the

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same place of captivity where the members of the Central Committee were being held. There their holy souls breathed their last, not seeing any more the light of day. As we later heard from reliable witnesses, these unfortunate people were forced to dig their own graves. They were shot near the pits that they had dug with their own hands and they were thrown in not knowing why, innocently.

As we later learned, this was the whole story: The uprising of the Dnyeprovsky regiment, the alliance of the Jewish Central Committee with the workers of the Gritshaneh train station, was a provocation so as to be able to justify the decree [Heb. text adds: against Israel (= the Jews)-tr] and for having something with which to answer the neighboring states and the whole world.

That Sabbath at noon the military militias deployed in all the neighborhoods and corners of the city and blocked all the ways, not allowing anyone to go through. They warned the Jews to stay in their houses and to not

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show themselves on the street. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon, a contingent of haidamaks, about 300 men, led by ataman Simosenko, burst into the city through Alexandrovsky Street. The soldiers marched in military formation. The officers rode on horses. And walking near them were doctors, “sisters of mercy” [= nurses] with the red cross, ambulances and everything that you take along when you go onto a battlefield against an enemy. They were putting on a show for the world, that would mean that they were going to suppress an uprising against their rule. But it was really done only to dazzle the world's eyes over the great slaughter and robbery.

At the corner of Dvoryansky Street that goes out from Alexandrovsky Street, and at the corner of Aptekarsky and Kupetshesky streets, the regiment divided up into small units in order to be able to spread over the streets where the Jewish inhabitants were thickly populous. Several Jews from Aptekarsky Street saw them coming in full military formation, through their windows,

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deploying with their chiefs at the corner of Aptekarsky and Kupetshesky in a unit of about 80 men with a doctor and a sister of mercy [=nurse-tr.] and they were led by their chiefs in military formation, right, left, and so on, until the order was given: Divide up! And like wild beasts they ran, three or four murderers together, running straight to the Jewish houses on the street, and the frightful slaughter began on all sides.

The murderers mostly used cold weapons, swords, spears, and knives, while they only used the hot, shooting weapons in case somebody tried to run away. This was so that the shooting would not be heard on other streets. Also in order not to make a lot of noise in the city, so that there would not be any Christian witness to the shedding of pure Jewish blood. Therefore, precisely while terrible slaughter was going on on one street, on the next street no one knew anything about it.

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And so, the unfortunate Jewish men, women, and children were slaughtered like sheep. Someone who survived recounted that he himself had heard a “merciful sister” [=nurse-tr.] say to the murderers: “Stab, kill, and don't leave anyone alive for any money!” All the streets where the slaughters took place were full of dead while streamlets of blood stretched from one street to the next. In many families, all family members died a martyr's death in terrible pain and suffering. The wild murderers tortured them, deliberately mutilating organs so that they would be in torment longer. For that reason, cries screaming to heaven arose from all sides of the city from the crippled and wounded who rolled about, wallowing in their own blood. Many of those dying of their wounds later on lay in hospitals for weeks and months until death came and released them from their agony. In many homes, the murderers tormented their victims. They used knives to

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chop noses and ears. They broke fingers and stabbed eyes. They stabbed children in the cradle with spears. They deliberately cut off the hands and feet of many children, so that they would survive as cripples forever. And they raped many girls that day and tortured them so long that they gave up their holy souls under the hands of their tormentors. On that same Sabbath, the murderers spotted a little girl on Kamenetsky Street who was walking on the street in her Sabbath clothing. They stabbed her and lifted her up high. In several houses where Jews lived together with Christians, the Christians could not stand the murders. They shot revolvers and drove the murderers away. There were also cases of heroic resistance. The Jewish student Ya`aqov Hofshteyn stood up to them with heroic courage. And when the murderers surrounded him and wanted to stab him, he shouted out to them: “Don't put your hands on me! I was an officer and am used to looking death in the eye.

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If you want to kill me --shoot.” And he fell from a bullet like a hero. In general, the murderers were cowards, poltroons, and where they saw a little danger for themselves, they did not dare to come close. And where they merely imagined a suspicion of resistance, they passed by the house and did not stop. But such places were very few.

The massacre went on for about three hours. When it began to get dark, about six o'clock, many people in their hiding places heard heavy shooting, and as we later found out, this was the signal to the murderers to stop the killing. Further, a Jew on Naberezhner Street heard, in his hiding place, an officer give an order to the soldiers to come together, line up in formation, and march back to their barracks.

In the night after the end of the Sabbath, Commander Kivertshuk sent policemen to all the surrounding villages to demand that on Sunday, the peasants come to

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the city with their wagons to take out the dead for burial. All the streets were full of corpses. And all the houses on Alexandrovsky Street that leads down to all the abovementioned streets, were full of dead and wounded. Jewish blood was still streaming on all the streets everywhere, just like the blood of oxen or sheep in a slaughterhouse. About a hundred peasants were busy for three days taking the dead to the cemetery. Several took the wounded to hospitals which had been opened in several private houses on Kamenetser [= Kamenetsky] Street. The cries of the wounded split the heavens. None of the Jews had yet shown themselves on the street out of fear. Everything was done by the peasants themselves under the orders of the two murderer commanders, Simosenko and Kivertshuk. All the houses were locked shut. The Jewish hospital alone on both sides of Kamenetser Street was overflowing with crippled and wounded. The number of victims grew and the Jewish doctors

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transformed six more houses into temporary hospitals. Hundreds of wounded were merely bandaged and sent home.

That same Sunday, the elected officials of the city council wanted to show that they wanted to do something for us. They called a meeting but among those present was the murderer Kivertshuk. There was only one Jew there, Mordecai Raygrudsky, who had risked his life by going out on the street. As it turned out, he tried to request of the Evil One that he allow the Jews themselves to deal with burying the dead; at least there should be permission to bury the men separately from the women. There should also be permission to search through the clothing of the dead, in order to find out who they were, to establish their number, and to find out their names, because many of the dead were Jews from other cities who happened to be in Proskurov specifically for the purpose of trade. But the enemy of Israel refused to concede these requests. Meanwhile, the martyrs were brought

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to the cemetery by peasants and were thrown out as one throws out trash, without a Jewish funeral. The next day, Monday, Israel Finkel was specifically at the cemetery. He had come there at the request of a Jewish woman who wanted him to see her daughter buried. When that Jew saw how the peasants were dragging the holy corpses from the wagons – that would have been villainy right off – he stayed for the whole day at the cemetery and forced the Gentiles to treat the dead with decency. He also tried to recognize the dead as much as possible, who they were, and he wrote down several names. Only because he was alone and exhausted did he reach agreement with the military guard, who had been placed on watch there, that the next day, he would make a search in the clothing and the pockets of the dead, look over their papers and write down their names. But since the commander did not want to give permission for that, the peasants that same

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A mass grave
A group around the mass grave. Above is seen the separate grave for the Bazilyer Rebbe

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night buried all the dead, who were brought that night to one large grave 90 arshin in length and 30 wide, without any list of their names. Not until a few days later did Reb Shlomo Naftali ben R. Yehudah, known by the name of Alter Groyser, find it to be his duty to put together a list. For that reason, he – with several Jewish students – went about on the streets and into the houses for months on end, researching, inquiring, looking about, until they succeeded in making a list of a large part of the victims.

The haidamak officers later on, in the name of their ataman Petlyura, announced before the Christian world that they had not robbed, they had not plundered, but they had only killed the Jews in revenge for taking part in an uprising against the Ukrainian Directorate. However, this was a shameless lie. It was true, though, that when the Jews offered the murderers money as ransom from death, the murderers refused to take it. But after they had already murdered the unfortunates,

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they stole everything in the houses, money, clothing and goods. There were even some who did not kill but only robbed and plundered. In many houses, the Christian serving maids pointed out to the thugs where their Jewish bosses were hiding, so that they would kill them and they would share everything in the house with the murderers.

The bloody slaughter that Sabbath, as mentioned above, went on for three hours, and in that short time the murderers succeeded in killing about two thousand Jewish men, women, and children, while another one thousand five hundred were crippled or wounded. But the massacre did not entirely come to an end with that, because several slaughters also took place over the next four days. Several Jewish medics were killed Sunday and Monday when they brought dead persons to their eternal rest. Also that Sunday there were many innocent Jews arrested

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on the charge that they had hidden weapons in their homes or that they were supporters of the Bolsheviks. They were taken away to the railroad station where an ostensible haidamak court sat in a railroad car, and as soon as someone was brought before them, they immediately issued the sentence: Guilty! The unfortunates were right away taken down into a valley where they were formed into a line and shot. One Jew named Tsatskes remained alive by a miracle. After the shooting of several Jews who had been “sentenced” together with him, while they all had fallen, and no bullet had hit him, he tumbled down just like all of them. When the murderers went away, he ran away to the village of Rinevets. He wanted to hide in the home of a peasant acquaintance of his, but the peasant did not let him in.

The peasants of that village did even more. They brought together all the Jewish residents of the village and took them to the city and handed them over to

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the bandit commander Simosenko. And we don't know to this day how they had come there. But the abovementioned Tsatskes was saved. He ran away barefoot and naked (because the clothes had been taken away from the Jews before they were shot) to Mezhibozh. In that suburb too, many Jews were killed. In the city as well, many slaughters took place subsequently, and one Jew was killed in the middle of the city near the Duma before the eyes of important Christian people, who were holding a consultation on how to stop the killings. However, none of them dared to come out openly against Simosenko except for a commissioner by the name of Verkholi, about whom more will be related here. On Tuesday, all the Jews of the “Visokhe” suburb were killed. Among them were several Jews who had fled after the Sabbath and were hiding there, and had been saved on the Sabbath. On Tuesday, they were killed there. On Wednesday, many Jews were killed

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on the cemetery field , where they had brought their martyrs for burial (because there wasn't a burial society anymore then, and every Jew dealt with his own dead himself). The massacre (at the cemetery) was the last in our city. As we later found out, as early as Sunday, on the order of ataman Simosenko, two units of haidamaks left the city for the small towns of Felshtin and Yarmelinets to carry out similar massacres there. But on that same day, the abovementioned commissioner Verkholeh [on image41, Verkholi-tr] (he had become commissioner precisely on that day, replacing the previous commissioner, the enemy Tarnovitsh) miraculously found out and went to ataman Simosenko and asked him to rescind the decree to carry out massacres in the two small towns. At the same moment, Simosenko also received an order from his superiors that he should stop the massacres. Therefore, he agreed and immediately sent telegrams to those towns that the haidamak units should come back. When the haidamak soldiers

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came to Yarmolinets, they were met by the chief of the local militia who asked them not to shed any blood. They were promised a large sum of money and the Yarmolinets Jews immediately put together a large sum of ransom-money, and other gifts and in that way the town was spared. But in Felshtin it was quite different. The Felshtin postmaster, an enemy of Israel, did not reveal the ataman's telegram --that they should not shed any blood – to the haidamak soldiers. And not only did he not tell them about the telegram, but he incited them against the Jews. Yet, the Jews of that unfortunate town of Felshtin went to meet the soldiers with gifts, and made a large dinner for them. The murderers ate and drank and took the gifts. At the dinner they spoke smooth words and promised the Jews that they wouldn't do them any harm. But somewhat earlier they had already been sharpening their swords and spears at a Christian's smithy and although

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all the Christians of the town already knew what they were going to do there, they did not reveal it to the Jews. As soon as the sun came up Tuesday morning, the murderers let themselves go throughout the town and made a horrible massacre of the Jews, slaughtering men and women, the elderly and little children. Only a few Jews succeeded in saving their lives. Yet, the Christian inhabitants of the town helped by indicating where the Jews were hiding and also helped rob and plunder Jewish possessions. The few Christians who helped some Jewish survivors from the city and took them out to the fields, did this for large sums of money. They took everything from them, leaving them in the field poor and naked. In this regard, things were different for us in Proskurov. In Proskurov there were many Christians who hid Jews in their homes and others who placed themselves at the doors of Jewish homes and told the haidamaks

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that Christians lived there. Thereby they saved many Jews from certain death.

On the day of the great slaughter, the Sabbath, the haidamaks had killed the deacon, Kacherovsky, near the church, because he had admonished them for shedding innocent blood. It is also proper to mention the shameful behavior of the Gentiles in the villages. When – on their way to Felshtin – the murderers went past the village of Malishevits, a Jewish mother gave her child, a little girl, to a peasant acquaintance, so that he would protect and defend her, while she and her other children fled to the woods. However, this peasant brought the child to the haidamaks out of his own free will, and handed her over to them to be killed.

On Wednesday, when the red streams of human blood were still staining the streets of our city, ataman Simosenko allowed posters to be put up with the following content:

Kikes! We're talking about you, that you are on the side of the Bolshevik government. You should know that I will transform the city into a ruin, if I receive the slightest confirmation of what is said

[Page 40]

about you. The loyal haidamaks stand by my orders. They will settle accounts with those who rebel against me. And you, Kikes, had better sit calmly. Or maybe your life has become so loathsome to you that you have no fear of death? Where are the peoples that defended you? They all hate you. You are alone and abandoned. Even your brothers in the United States don't want to help you. No one will save you. Behold, I have warned you.

It is easy to imagine the impression that this announcement made on the unfortunate Jews who were after all hovering between life and death. We obviously saw that they were still thirsting for our blood. On that day, we seized on our old method, bribery. And after we had paid 800,000 rubles to the murderers as ransom-money for those remaining alive, and 100,000 to the family of Deacon Kacherovsky, who had been killed for taking up for the Jews, their angry rage was partially quieted down.

[Biblical quotations in Hebrew in original]

He will destroy death forever,
My Lord God will wipe the tears away
From all faces
And will put an end to the reproach of His people
Over all the earth –
For it is the Lord who has spoken

(Isaiah 25:8)
But you, O mountains of Israel, shall yield your produce and bear your fruit for My people Israel, for their return is near… I will settle a large population on you, the whole House of Israel; the towns shall be resettled and the ruined sites rebuilt.
(Ezekiel 36)
[English translation – Jewish Publication Society, New Jewish Version]

[Page 41]

Proskurov Orphan Homes

The bloody massacre left behind a horrible heritage of 960 orphans who remained as on the water [like baby Moses-tr].

The exhausted, bloodied community exerted itself and, with its last strength, founded three orphan homes in which 200 of the beaten down orphans, for whom no redeemer or friend had been found, were accomodated. The rest, perhaps no less forlorn and unfortunate, were divided up among acquaintances and relatives. Thanks to our partial help, the orphan homes have been properly maintained until now. The children receive a decent education and are provided with all necessities.

We are all obliged, and especially the relatives of the orphans, to continue to perform the holy duty of helping them to develop until they are grown and meet the world like honest, fine and civilized people of whom their parents would not be ashamed.

People from the Proskurov region!! Do your duty! If not for the sake of the unfortunate orphans, then for the sake of the honor of their holy parents.

[Page 42]


Orphan Home “A”

[Page 43]

Children of the Holy Victims, Killed by the Wild Haidamaks,
During the Horrible, Terrible Slaughter in the City of Proskurov,
Province of Podol, on the Days of 15-16 First Adar in 5679


Hayim, Ya`aqov, Mintseh, Tuleh – children of Tsvi Haberman. Beyleh, Sarah, Tsvi, Freydeh – children of Shmuel Shpyalter. Velvel, Rivkah – children of Shlomo Yusem [= Yatom]. Zalman, Miryam – children of Abraham Kotlyar. Leah, Ephraim – children of Avraham Mordekhai Drozin. Malkah, daughter of Yits'haq Marainer. Rahel, Itta, Malkah, daughters of Lipman Shraga. Simha, son of Reb Leyb Melekh. Pearl, daughter of Simha Malyor. Feygeh daughter of Yisrael Vakherman. Feygeh, Hannah, daughters of Ya`aqov Boran. Benyamin, Yehudah, sons of David Volitsky. Yehudah, Shmuel, Velvel – sons of Alter Kharam [Haram]. Yisrael, Shmuel, Yoel – sons of Moshe Margoliouth. Hanokh son of Reb Shlomo Gem. Yisrael son of Reb Zaydeh Zinger. Dov son of Reb Tsvi Cohen. Moshe son of Reb Yits'haq Shpatsirman. Shprintseh, Tsharneh, daughters of Mendel Mitkivitser. Polly, Toybeh, daughters of Aharon Shvartsman. Moshe son of Reb Yisrael Aleksenitser. Rivkah, daughter of Yonah Tsvi Medved. Me'ir, Rahel, children of Naftali Tsvi Averbukh. Mindel, daughter of David Trakhtenberg. Miryam, daughter of Mekhel Tsures. Henni, Simha, Moshe, children of Akiva Bukhshteyn. Helkeh, daughter of Yisrael Zektser. Adio from the kindergarten. Dinah, daughter of Mordekhai Shliyakh. Krayneh, daughter of Leyb Kurier. Sarah, daughter of Nahman Pessitshinsky. Yosef, Zalman, Ze'ev, sons of Pinhas Rosenfeld. Ya`aqov son of Reb Yisrael Zitser.

[Page 44]


Orphan Home “B”

[Page 45]

Children of the Holy Victims, Killed by the Wild Haidamaks,
During the Horrible, Terrible Slaughter in the City of Proskurov,
Province of Podol, on the Days of 15-16 First Adar in 5679


Mordecai son of Reb Yosef Rayzman. Ya`aqov son of Reb Moshe Nahum Tentser. Mordecai, Gisi, David, Beyleh, children of Moshe Voberman. Hirsh, Rahel, children of Benny Fayert. Mordecai, Pessi, Avigdor, Barukh, children of Ya`aqov Greenvald. Rayzeh Vaytser. Tsipa, Yisrael, children of Moshe Ayzman. Shlomo, Isaac, Toybeh, children of Moshe Oks. Liba, Aharon, Moshe, Rahel, children of Yehezq'el Gratsh. Rahel, Me'ir, children of Abraham Skipnis. Yehiel, Abraham, children of Ya`aqov Berenshteyn. Gershon son of Reb Aharon Vaytsenfeld, Lutsk. Etti, Yisrael, children of Ya`aqov Ivankovitser. Yehezq'el son of Reb Moshe Sendler. Yits'haq son of Reb Leyb Melekh. Sonya, Mendel, children of Avraham Gershkovich. Sheyndel, daughter of Ya`aqov Baron. Basya, daughter of David Raynish. Etti, daughter of Netan'el Vaytser. Malkah, Hannah, daughters of Yits'haq Shapiro. Sheyndel, daughter of Shim`on Kishel. Yosef son of Gitl Vaytser. Itkeh, daughter of Pinhas Tsinker. Yonah, Rivkah, children of Tsvi Dishel. Hayah Sarah, Rivkah, daughters of Abraham Smolyar. Yosef, Gitl, children of Pinhas Tsinker. Yisrael, Leybush, sons of Moshe Shusterman. Sonya, daughter of Ya`aqov Pestshinsky. Leyb son of Reb Ya`aqov Ayzelman. Yisrael, Yits'haq, sons of Abraham Misandesnik. David, Moshe, from the Zaytshik family. Me'ir, Yits'haq, Deborah, children of Aharon Skliyar. Riyuah Shnepirman. Simah daughter of Shlimeh Batzman. Nisan, Leah, children of Simha Burkavshteyn. Yits'haq, Moshe, sons of Ya`aqov Hoffman. Haya Fishman. Pesah Goroditzky. Feyga daughter of Leyb Malkiman. Pesah Pasamshinsky. Boris Brevkovich (Nitzri). Tsirel Krazman. Esther daughter of Ya`aqov Kapit. Esther Melamed.

[Page 46]


Orphan Home “C”

[Page 47]

Children of the Holy Victims, Killed by the Wild Haidamaks,
During the Horrible, Terrible Slaughter in the City of Proskurov,
Province of Podol, on the Days of 15-16 First Adar in 5679


Sarah, daughter of Nahman Sverdlik. Leah, Yisrael-Hayim, Roza, Faygeh, Hayim, children of Eliezer Veksilman. Sheyndel, Libeh, Faygeh, daughters of Elimelekh Helfand. Aharon, son of Reb Shlomo Guralnik. Ya`aqov (family name not known). Peretz son of Reb Moshe Pessetshinsky. Asher son of Reb Asher Gendelman. Barukh son of Reb Moshe Rozenboym. Abraham son of Yehiel Shpilkeman. Mekhel son of Reb Ayzik Vasir. Eliezer, Asher, sons of Yesh`ayah Nudelman. Pesah Kalyaznik. Abraham Narabelnik. Me'ir son of Reb Tuvyah Beym. Shlomo son of Reb Yehudah Melamed. Yits'haq son of Reb Yehudah Melamed. Haykeh, Beyleh, children of Mordecai Gelman. Molly, daughter of Yonah Robinshteyn. Rivkah daughter of Yosef Valdman. Yehezq'el son of Reb Kalman Berman. Yehiel, Sarah, children of Zisa Shirman. Abraham son of Reb Shmuel Katz. Benny, Yehoshu`a, sons of Abraham Shvayg [Schweig?]. Yesh`ayah, David, Esther, children of Velvel Buksir. Netan'el son of Reb Mordecai Zelentshir. Shmuel son of Reb Aharon Shmuel Cohen. Yosef, Gitl, children of Pinhas Tsinkur. Haykeh, daughter of Hayim Zlotnik. David son of Reb Shalom Shakna Friedman. David, Moshe sons of Leybush Fuks. Sima daughter of Yehiel Shpilkeman. Haykeh daughter of Reb Hayim Gonik. Rahel daughter of Shmuel Vayner. Feygah, Sheyndel, daughters of Moshe Gleyzer. Velvel, son of Reb Yosef Vaynshtok. Yisrael, Leybush, sons of Moshe Shusterman. Hayim Genfeld. Me'ir son of Reb Moshe Kamin. Leah, Hayah, Sarah, Rivka, daughters of Abraham Stolyar.


Translator's Notes:

  1. Proskurov is, except for Kamenets, the provincial [guberniya] capital, considered the largest city in all of the Podolya province. In commerce, Proskurov much surpassed Kamenets. It possessed about fifty thousand-odd, inhabitants, most of them Jews. Return
  2. At that time, the city duma [council-tr] was made up of fifty deputies, 26 Gentiles and 24 Jews. But the actual bosses of the city were two: Commander Kivertshuk and Commissar Tarnovitsh. Kivertshuk was also the director of the militia. Return
  3. The central government was afraid to rely on the troops that were stationed in Proskurov. Therefore, it sent in a cossack brigade – the noted Zaporozhe cossacks – that was named after Petlyura, and a legion of haidamaks. Simosenko was chosen to be ataman of the cossacks and haidamaks.
    The name Simosenko will go down in Jewish history as an expression of dread and disgust. He was a syphilitic. His soul, as well as his whole body, was poisoned by this terrible disease, and he dipped his poisoned soul in Jewish blood. Return


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