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Ostryna, Belarus

 אַסטרין / אוסטרין  - Астрына

                    53° 44' N, 24° 32' E


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Documentary Research: Judy Baston
Updated: October 2014
Astryna coat of arms

Alternate names: Astryna and Астрына [Bel], Ostrino and Острино / Острина [Rus], Ostryna [Pol], Ostrin and אַסטרין / אוסטרין [Yid] 29 miles E of Hrodna (Grodno) at 53°44' N, 24°32' E, 33 miles WSW of Lida, 54 miles W of Navahrudak (Nowogródek).

and the dependent villages of Bicowce, Brzozowce Male, Brzozowce Wielkie, Krupiczowszczyzna, Lejki, Lojbiszka, Lyczkowo, Miniucowka, Niepracha, Obrab, Oleniszczowka, Pielowce, and Sawicze, Stawrowce, Stodolany, Szarkinie, Szaszkowszczyzna, Szostaki, Trajgi, Wyzgowszczyzna, Zadworzany

and the estates and hamlets: Baranicha, Brzozowce Male, Czaszcze, Dobromil, Dogiele, Kamieniszki, Kobrowce, KobrowceI and II, Kulbaczyn, Lojbiszka, ?yczkowce, Masiewnia, ?yczkowo, Lejki, Marjanpol, Mosciszcze, Niepracha


Archeologist V.V.Sedov identified Ostrino on the Astrynka River as the ancient town Ostey, once bigger and older than Scucym. Ostrino is first mentioned in an ancient Lithuanian book [1450] and in some published by the Great Duke of Lithuanian Principality and the King of Poland Kazimir IV Yagelovchik in 1441-1482. In 1487, the town was designated as a mestechko. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the owners of Ostrino were Gleb Pronski, Fedor Hreptovich, and Semen Skindzer. Its name was first mentioned in connection with the 1508 appointment of Deputy Minister of Finance of the Duchy of Lithuania, the Honorable Pidko Bohadanovitch-Hariptovich as Governor of this town. In the fifteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth century, Ostrino was owned by the King and was a volostj center of Trokski povet. In 1520, the Duke of the Lithuanian Principality and King of Poland Zhigimont I Stary owed A.I.Hadkevich five hundred golden coins. Instead of paying the debt in gold, he present Hadkevich with Ostrino. In 1641, Ostrina received municipal status from King Vladislav IV. In sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, Ostrino was the center of the governing administration in Lida povet, Vilno voevodstvo. In 1641, Ostrino obtained the Magdeburg Right. In 1641 or 1666, the Lithuanian Governor of the House of Patz built a luxurious Catholic Cathedral in the town, together with the Nobles of the House of Di-Malgi (who originated in Spain). In 1771, Ostrina transferred to Andrei Zinkovich and was turned into a provincial capital ("Starostvo"). The province included twenty-five villages with a population 3,366, but the town declined in status following the War of the Swedes. Close to the Partition of Poland, Ostrina had only 436 households paying head-tax, four hundred of which were Jewish households. In 1793, it became the volostj center. Russian Empire took control of Ostrino in 1795 as a mestechko of Lida Povet. In 1859, 970 people, who lived in 170 houses, also had a wooden Orthodox church, a chapel, and weekly fairs. The 1882 population was 1,985 and in 1897, 2,410 people.

From 1921 to 1939, Ostrino belonged to Poland. In 1928, Ostrino was designated as a miasteczko (small city) and gmina wiejska (parish town), council office for the surroundings villages in the Second Uchastok, Lida powiat, Nowogrodskie voevodstvo of Poland. The Justice of the Peace was in Wasiliszki and the Justice Court in Wilno. The 1928 miasteczko population was 1,574. The railway station was twenty-nine kilometers away in Rozanka nad Niemnen. The post office and telephone were in Ostryna and telegraph in Szczuczyn k. Lidy. Ostryna had one Orthodox church, two synagogues, a Merchants Association and tanneries. Markets were on Mondays and Fairs on the first of each month. Birthplace of Harry Austryn Wolfson (1887- ?) Ostryna then was a gmina center Schutchin powiat. At the end of 1939, the territory became part of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Beginning 1940, Ostrino was a little town in Vasilishki region. From June 24, 1941 until July 12, 1944, German troops occupied the region. From 1954, Ostrino was the center of Vasilishki region. From 1960 to 1962, it was in Skidel region. From 1962 on, it is in Scucyn region, Grodno Oblast, Belarus. Today, Astryna is the center of a collective town "Sovetskaya Belarus", 29 kilometers from the railway station in Rozanka on the Mosty-Lida line. Astryna is located at the crossroads of the Grodno-Lina Road and the Mosty-Radun-Vilnius Road. The 1990 population was 2,500. The town has a tile production factory, bakery, forestry, a secondary school, youth training center, a cinema, two libraries, two kindergartens, a hospital, a Lenin Monument, a Monument to Belorussian poet Tsetka, and two Monuments to the Victims of Fascism [Nazis]. 

Sources:

Ksiega Adresowa Handlowa, Warszawa Bydgoszcz 1929

Sachenka, B.I. [editor], Encyclopedia of the History of Belarus. Minsk: 1996. Volume 1, p. 228.

1923/Glowny Urzad Statystyczny Rzechzypospolitej polskiej

Casimir IV, Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, created Ostrina in the 1400's to exploit the portion of the large, dense forest around Ostrina owned by Prince Drutski Lubetski. Ostrina, then part of the Grodno region, was represented at the Council of the Four Lands (1623-1764) that governed Jewish life of the region. About 1875, a large fire destroyed much of the town. About 1880, the one thousand Jews represented about 50% of Ostrina's total population. Near the center of town on the Ostrinka River sat a windmill and quaint wooden bridge. Near the sandy marketplace and town well, the rural post office opened three times per week. On one side of the marketplace stood the white church and its stone fence; on the other side stood the wooden synagogue, later replaced by a brick building. The Savitzky (cousin to Wolfson) family's brick, two-story home held a "krom or krama" (store) on the first floor. Offices of the police and lumber companies were nearby. Narrow dirt streets ran in curved lines for about half a mile surrounding the marketplace. The nearby log houses homes with shingle roofs, high windows with frames often painted red and white, built a few yards from each other, housed mainly Jews, merchants and artisans mainly. The independent and friendly peasants of Ostrina, never serfs, lived at the ends of each street in thatched dwelling with a well, pen, and trees. A cordial atmosphere, free of conflict, exists among the total population. The nearest medical assistance was twenty miles away in Szczuczyn via the daily horse-drawn wagon leaving in the afternoon for Grodno, a thirty-two mile ride. Another wagoneer, transporter of beer and household and farm accessories, offered a one hundred twenty mile ride to Vilna on a weekly basis. The overgrown cemetery and its stones were leveled about 1975 by a Soviet commissar over the protests of Ostryna residents who then refused to live in the proposed housing. The site now is a grassy field. A man named Rosenberg, the last Jew in Ostrina, died in the 1990's.

Famous Sons

  • Dr. Harry A. Wolfson [was caught by the Nazis in Lithuanian in 1942, saved by the US Army and sent to YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He was a leading scholar in Semitic Philosophy and was the Littman Professor of History at Harvard, honored by Harvard and two US Presidents, buried in the Ostriner Society Cemetery section (Chevra Messilas Yeshorim Anshei Ostrin) grounds, Mt. Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, NY.] This book contains a description of the Ostryna area pp. 5-21:
  • Schwarz, Leo W. 1906-1967.Wolfson of Harvard: portrait of a scholar, Leo W. Schwarz ; with appreciations by Charles Angoff and Isadore Twersky and an epilogue by Lewis H. Weinstein. 1st ed. Philadelphia : Jewish Publication Society of America, 1978. xxxiv, 283 p., [9] leaves of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.

Read about a trip to Ostryna by Carl Smith, a Lida District Researcher

Yad Vashem Documents

  • 0.30-300 54674, Hebrew, 24 Feb 1959, KAPLAN, Zalman: Extermination of the Jews of Skidel near Grodno; expulsion of Jews from the cities of Skidel, Krinaki, Droskanik, Lonana, Amdur, OSTRIN, and Sopotskin to camp Kilbasin and from there to Auschwitz; the Jewish "Kap", son of Yitzak Greenbaum; the death march from Ksenigshita to the camps Gros-rosin and Mauthausen
  • Yad Vashem: 0.3 7431 94058, Russian, 11 May 1994, GLEMBOTZKY, Vladimir, born in OSTRYNA in 1926: Testimony from 1939-1941, Jews of OSTRYNA under Soviet rule; changes in the condition of the Jews, imprisonments, expulsion to work camps in Russia, liquidation of businesses, different cooperatives of experts; refugees from Poland in OSTRYNA and Grodno and their expulsion to Russia; June, 1941, bombing of Grodno; founding of local police; relations between Poles and Jews; end of July 1941, founding of the OSTRYNA ghetto; March 1942, the passage of NOWY DVOR Jews to Ostryna; relations between Jew of SHUCHIN, ASIHSHOUK and DJOLODOK [note: Szczuczyn, Eisiskes, and Zaludok] in the beginning of 1942; murder of 7 Jews in the Ostryna ghetto; Orthodox Jews contributions; end of October 1942, expulsion of Ostryna Jews to transit camp Kielbsin; conditions of life, mass murders, hunger and epidemics, dwellings in underground structures that were next to populations of Soviet prisoners; passage of Ostryna, Nowy Dvor Jews to train station in Lusosna and from there to Auschwitz and the selection there; the passage to Monowice, tattooing
  • Yad Vashem: M.49.E-78 201814, Yiddish, 18 Aug, 1945, REZNIK, Yitzak, Prisoner camp Stalag 1A in Germany; tortures and degradation of Jewish prisoners in the camp; transfer of 5,000 Jews to work camp in Biala-Podliaska; expulsion of OSTRYNA Jews to Kiet (?) basin camp; torture and degradation at the hands of German "SHAT"; expulsion to Auschwitz; transfer to camp Monowice (Auschwitz 3); uprising of 200 Jews in Birkenau; with the advance of the Russian armies from the east, the camp expelled the Jews in the direction of the middle of German in order to retreat; liberated by the Russian army
  • Yad Vashem testimonies of Ostryna natives and survivors Wladimir Glembocki and Golda Shwartz

LOCATION AFTER 1939: Baranavichy Oblast (Belarusian: Баранавіцкая вобласць, Russian: Барановичская Область) was a territorial unit in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic created after the annexation of West Belarus into the BSSR in November 1939. The administrative centre of the province was the city of Baranavichy. The voblast was originally known as the Navahrudak Voblast but it was soon renamed to Baranavichy Voblast. The oblast was made up of 26 raions in 1944. These raions were Byten, Gorodyshche, Ivyanets, Iwye, Yuratishki, Karelichy, Kletsk, Kozlovshchina, Lyakhavichy, Lida, Lubcha, Mir, Masty, Navahrudak, Nova Mysh, Nesvizh, Radun, Slonim, Stowbtsy, Shchuchyn, Vasilishki, Valozhyn, Voranava, Dzyatlava, Zel’va and Zheludok. In 1944, the oblast was diminished after transferring raions of Lida, Radun, Schuchyn, Vasilishki, Voranava, Masty, Zel’va and Zheludok to newly founded Hrodna Voblast (Founded after remaining parts of Belastok Region to Belarus in 1945) and ones of Iwye, Yuratishki and Valozhyn to Molodechno Voblast in 1944. Finally on January 8, 1954 the oblast was liquidated and the raions were divided between the Brest (Raions of Gorodyshche, Lyakhavichy and Novo Mysh), Grodno (Byten, Karelichi, Kozlovshchina, Lubcha, Mir, Navahrudak and Slonim), Molodechno (liquidated in 1960) (Raion of Ivyanets) and Minsk (Raions of Kletsk, Nesvizh and Stowbtsy) Olbasts (Modern Brest Voblast, Hrodna Voblast and Minsk Voblast). Thus, Baranavichy became part of Brest one as raion center after Nova Mysh one's center was moved to Baranavichy in 1 May 1954 and renaming it as Baranavichy one after 8 April 1957.

SOURCES:

Ostrina portion of Scucyn Yizkor translation

Memorial to Micha Reisel's Ostrina family

IAJGS International Jewish Cemetery Project for Ostrina

The Holocaust in Ostryna
Sefer zikaron le-kehilot Szczuczyn, Wasiliszki, Ostryna, Nowy-Dwor, Rozanka
(Tel Aviv, 1966) [yizkor]
LitvakSIG
JewishGen Belarus SIG
Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), VII, pp. 733-734: "Ostryna".
Shtetl Finder (1980), p. 68: "Ostrin".
Pinkas HaKehilot, Poland, Vol. 8 (2005), pp. 100-102: "Ostryna".
Encyclopedia of Jewish Life (2001), p. 954: "Ostryna".
YIVO's on-line photgraph collection has 1 picture from Ostryna. You'll have to register to use the site - it's free. Enter the town name as I've spelled it here.
EVREISKAYA ENCY.: XII: 146 [7 lines]
Landsmanshaftn cemetery plots in the New York area. JGS New York Home Page then "10,200 Burial Societies in the NY Metro Area" under "Exclusive Resources" then enter "Ostryna" into the search box.

HaMelitz 1901 Donors in Honor of Bronfman wedding in Berditchev:

Surname Given Name Surname Given Name Surname Given Name
Bronfman Zav Yankelevitz Leib Bronstein Gershon
Bronstein Moshe Bronstin Efraim Charodov Melah
Finkelshtein Pinchas Hovitz Pinchas Kelinman Moshe
Kelinman Zvi Landau Abraham Landau Shmuel
Landau Yekhiel Magazinik Leah Marianski Israel
Rosotzki Itzhak Bronshtein Abraham


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