View of a street in Borysław
The store at the right belongs to Heimberg.

History of Borysław

Until the 1850's, Borysław was a sleepy, poor village not far from the market town of Drohobycz. In this area, crude oil, known as ropa, had always seeped up from the ground and polluted the water. However, it was only when it was successfully distilled into a pure liquid and a lamp was designed to burn this liquid, that was there an incentive to exploit these riches.

From the 1850's, Jews were among the first to develop the petroleum resources. The population of the region exploded with the oil boom as workers, businessmen and professionals emigrated to the town. For more information on the history of the town, see the History of Borysław and Petroleum.

Until 1928, Borysław was part of the Drohobycz kehilla. The birth, marriage and death records began to be recorded in the town record books only after 1878. The history of the Borysław was very much attached to that of its larger neighbour, the town of Drohobycz. For more information on earlier history, please see the History of Drohobycz

Map showing the houses of Borysław and their owners


This section contains a number of maps that relate to the period before 1939. Please see the Map section, specifically two maps of the Drohobycz area, to see the location of Borysław and its neighbouring towns and and a streetmap of the town with the names of the streets before 1939 and after 1991.

For a modern map of the Borysław area see JewishGen's Shtetl Seeker.

View of Borysław

The Drohobycz Administrative District

This web page is part of a larger site, The Drohobycz Administrative District. The town of Drohobycz was the administrative centre of this district that was created in the province of Galicia in 1867 under Austrian rule.

When referring to their place of origin, our ancestors often used the name of the nearest large town such as Drohobyz. However, we may discover that they were born in small villages nearby and used the names of the nearest large towns as a matter of convenience. Also, legal records of births, marriages, and deaths were made Drohobycz and after 1878 in Borysław.

To see if your ancestors came from one of the smaller towns in the district, see Other Shtetls where you will find lists of the businessmen from the years 1891 and 1929.

See also a History of Galicia for a general history of the province and of the Jews in this region.

The people of the region come alive in photographs and memoirs in the section, the People.

Other Aids for Research

Genealogical Resources

For help in finding your ancestors in this region, please see General Information for a bibliography, links to all the rescources relevant to Drohobycz on the JewishGen site, links to other sites on the web, and contact information.

Borysław-Drohobycz Delinquent Water Bills

A list of residents of Borysław, mostly Jews whose water bills remained unpaid because they were either deported or murdered

The Remarkable Story of Mordecai Markel

Please see the section of this website devoted to Memoirs to read the story of Mordecai Markeland his family from Borysław. Mordecai's ordeal and remarkable survival reveals much about the terrors under the occupation of Borysław.


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This page was compiled by Valerie Schatzker.

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Copyright © Valerie Schatzker
Updated: February, 2007