Translation of Wyzgrodek chapter from
Translation of Wyzgrodek chapter from
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Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP, an activity of the
Kremenets District Research Group
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(A town in in Kremenets Province)
Translated by Thia Persoff
The first time Vyshgorodok is mentioned is 1481. Then, it belonged to the aristocratic Zbaraski family. Later it was owned by the Pototski family, then the Chatski family, and later other families.
Apparently, it began to develop into a large settlement at the beginning of the 19th century. At that time, the border between Russia and Austria was established nearby, after the second partition of Poland. The townspeople made a living by supplying services and living quarters to merchants traveling from country to country, and also from smuggling. After railroad tracks for the Rovno-Lemberg train were laid far from the town, Vyshgorodok's development came to a halt.
At the end of the 19th century, Jews composed about half of the town's population. It had a synagogue and a few study halls. Most of the Jews were Hasidim. Though mainly Trisk, there were a few Hasidim from the Galician sects. On the eve of World War I, a Zionist Organization was established there. During the civil war, rioting Ukrainian gangs were active in the area. Fearing them, most of the town's Jews left and moved to Kremenets and other towns in the area. When the Polish regime stabilized, only some of the Jews returned.
Between the Two World Wars
In the 1921 census, it is clear that most of Vyshgorodok's residents were Jews. Their numbers were reduced because many did not return and also because of emigration. The Jews dealt in small businesses and crafts; some traveled throughout the villages in the area with their merchandise or tools. In town were a Great Synagogue, two Talmudic schools, and a small Hasidic synagogue. R' Meir Frenkel, who was the rabbi, perished in the Holocaust. A Tarbut Hebrew school was there from the mid-1920s. It served as a cultural center, where evening classes for adults were held. It had a public library and a reading room, where literary evenings, lectures, and amateur drama club performances took place.
In the social arena, Zionist parties stood out. There was great competition between the General Zionist and the Union factions, the members of which were small businessmen and craftsmen. Among the youth movements, the standouts were Youth Guard (since the 1920s); Pioneer, some of whose members immigrated to Israel; and Betar. The outcome of the elections to the various Zionist Congresses was as follows:
For the 18th Congress (1933), 200 persons voted. The General Zionists received 63 votes; Mizrachi19 votes; Brit/Revisionists19 votes; Land of Israel Workers' Party99.
For the 20th Zionist Congress (1937), 70 persons voted. The General Zionists received 44 votes; Mizrachi2; Land of Israel Workers' Party24.
For the 21st Congress (1939), 120 persons voted. The General Zionists received 62 votes; Mizrachi5; Land of Israel Workers' Party53.
During World War II
The Germans conquered Vyshgorodok in early July 1941. On March 16, 1942, when a ghetto was erected in nearby Vishnevets, the Jews of Vyshgorodok were moved there. On August 11, 1942, the Jews of Vyshgorodok and Vishnevets were murdered, and only a few survived (see the article about Vishnevets).
Government Military Archive, A/46/231/4-Z, 1774/5-s.
Yalkut Volin [Volhynia Anthology], vol. 2, no. 11 (1948).
Kremenits, Vyshgorodek, un Potshayuv yizkor bukh [Memorial book of Kremenets, Vyshgorodok, and Pochaev], Buenos Aires, 1965.
Voliner Shtime [Volhynia voice], Rovno, 5.17.1929.
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