Kamien is Polish for ROCK or Stone
Pod is Polish for FOOT
So the name Podkamien means "at the foot of the Rock"
There are 2 areas in what is now Ukraine that are both referred to as Podkamen.
This page is concerned with Podkamen (shown in red above) near the town of Brody, Ukraine.
The other Podkamen (shown in blue) is near the city of Rohatyn (or Rogatin), Ukraine at Latitude/Longitude 49° 27" / 24° 29" (34.2 miles SE of Lvov, 52.9 miles SW of Brody, and 49.8 miles W of Tarnapol). Please visit the Rohatyn ShtetLinks Page for more information.
To use the JewishGen Shtetlseeker to search for more information yourself, click the button
Podkamen near Brody has two large overhanging rocks, under which a church was built. From a tour of Ukraine comes the following description:
"Pidkamin is a place that undoubtedly deserves to be on the front page of The National Geographic Magazine. It derived its name from a huge hanging rock. In the 17th c. a wonderful Baroque church was built there, which made the view even more impressive."
|(reproduced with permission of Howard Blue)||
A view of the Rock over the town of Podkamen.
Excerpted from a video taken by Howard Blue.
A sketch of the monastery from a circa 1909 postcard
Podkamen was in the former province of Galicia. The borders of Galicia were originally created as a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Through the centuries the province was conquered and controlled by many different powers. In our most recent times Galicia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Polish Empire, the Russian Empire, and finally after World War II, was divided between the modern countries of Poland, and Ukraine.
Podkamen had the unhappy privilege of being within walking distance of the (at one time) Russian border. It therefore witnessed many changes of allegiance as the eastern European empires battled amongst each other
It is not uncommon for immigrants from Podkamen to report that they came from Galicia, Austria, Poland, Russia, the Soviet Union or the Ukraine.
A brief Timeline of which country held Podkamen:
|pre-historic||1795||Poland||part of Galicia|
|1795||1919||Austria||Poland divided by Germany, Russia, Austria. Galicia ceded to Austria.|
|1919||1939||Poland||Poland reconstituted after World War I|
|1939||1941||Russia||Occupied during WW II|
|1941||1944||Germany||Overrun in WW II|
|1944||1991||Russia||Brody Gubinera, Ukrainian S.S.R., USSR|
|1991||present||Ukraine||Soviet Union dissolved, Ukraine independence|
The Jews of Podkamen were mostly Hasidic. There were two Hasidic shuls (or kloizes). One was the Belzer and the other was called the Shattener. (The Shattener is actually spelled Husatyn.) Another shul in Podkamen was called Linas Hazedek. Around WW I, the city Rabbi was named R. Nathanson. The town sofar (scribe) was named Abraham Tomales.
The earliest records of a Jewish Community in Podkamen are from the 17th century.
Jewish Population of Podkamen
History of Podkamen
Here is a pieced together history of the town of Podkamen. I wish to acknowledge those who have contributed to this "story" . Please contact me if you would like to correct any information, or add your own piece of the story.
In 1830 Rabbi Zvi Yakov Halbershtam of Podkamien died. He was the son of Rabbi Naftali Hirtz of Dubno. -from Shtetl Finder, p 74
A view of the village of Podkamen circa 1909, from a postcard
Prior to WW I, Podkamen was under Austrian rule. The Russians invaded the city during the war. At the time, the Cossacks used to walk the streets and ask everyone "How far is it to Vienna ?" Vienna was the capital of Austria and they were poking fun at the Austrians.
Podkamen was heavily damaged during WW I, between 1916 and 1920 many of the inhabitants of the city were evacuated to evacuation camps in Austria or Hungary. There was a large exodus around 1920, many people decided to emigrate. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was a popular destination (Reason unknown), along with New York City, and Toronto, Canada.
After WW I, Poland was reconstituted, and Podkamen returned to Polish control, until 1939.
Russia "took over" the area of Poland in which Podkamen resided on September 1, 1939. This was part of an agreement between Russia and Germany called the Molitov-Ribbentrop pact. In this pact Russia and Germany split Poland between themselves in exchange for not attacking each other.
Germany invaded the Podkamen area during the summer of 1941, thus breaking the Molitov-Ribbentrop treaty. The first Aktion (rounding up and killing Jews) took place in August 1942, the second near the end of September, 1942. On Dec 3, 1942 the remaining Jewish Community was deported to the Brody Ghetto. By May 1943, the Brody Ghetto was liquidated, and the Jews were taken to Majdanek concentration camp. Podkamen was liberated by the Soviet Union in March, 1944.
During World War II most of the records for the Brody area, including Podkamen and Zalozce, were purposely destroyed by the Nazis. For this reason obtaining birth / death / marriage records is not easy. There may be backup records in the Warsaw Archives. As of March 1999, Alexander Dunai has been searching for the existence of these Podkamen records.
When Howard Blue visited Podkamen in 1989 he filmed what remains of the Jewish Cemetery. As you can see in the following panorama the cemetery has been turned into a field.
(Click on the picture for an enlarged version.)
If you can contribute to the piecing together of the history of Podkamen, or merely letting me know the names of a family who at one time lived in Podkamen, please send me an e-mail. Just click right here to send e-mail to me at email@example.com
The Area Surrounding Podkamen
Here is an extract of an 1895 description of the area around the Town of Zalozce which includes the shtetl of Podkamen. (reproduced with permission of the PGSA)
Source: Slownik Geograficzny Krolestwa Polskiego, Vol. XIV, pp. 354-5, Warsaw
Submitted and Translated by: Rose Szczech, Polish Genealogy Society of America (Mar 1998)
If you wish to view the original document on the PGSA web server click here (You will have to scroll down to the entry labeled "Zaloz~ce", or search for the word "Podkamien"). This is an example of the font chosen for the original document. It is rather hard to read.
More information about Galicia
Visit the Polish Genealogical Society of America's web server for their view of Galician history
Another source of information on Galicia, and polish history is from a (somewhat slow) site in poznan poland
Also see the Galician Special Interest group: Gesher Galicia
|Podkamen, Ukraine (near Brody)|
The following pictures are reproduced with permission from Howard Blue, who is researching the Papernik and Wolitzer families.
Pre-war Jewish Homes
This set of pictures are homes identified by Howard Blue as possibly belonging to Jewish families before WW II. These pictures were taken in November, 1989.
(click on the image for a larger version)
The following pictures are from the 1930's and are friends and relatives of Esther Grosskopf.
According to Herschel Parnes, Esther emigrated to Argentina before WW II. Herschel thinks his father, Jacob Parnes, may be in one of these pictures, but couldn't see the image clearly enough.
I do not have any identification of any of the other individuals. If you recognize anyone in these pictures please send me some e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the thumbnail image for a larger version of each picture.
|Notice the two rocks in the background of this picture.|
The following pictures are reproduced with my permission.
Philip Stein and his sister Francis Stein taken in 1919
Jacob Safier and Family, 1919
Picture drawn by Toby Fluek, from her book "Memories of my Life in a Polish Village, 1930 - 1949" showing a woman carrying water in the farming village of Czernica, next to Podkamen
(reproduced here with permission of the author)
"Two Rocks" for which Podkamin is named, and underneath a group of visiting tourists in 1930.
If you have pictures showing any aspect of Podkamen, or pictures of people who originally lived in Podkamen, please send me e-mail at email@example.com
Do you have roots in Podkamen? Would you like to connect with others researching the
same community? Click the button to search the JewishGen Family Finder database for
Interested in finding other Shtetls? Click the button below to go to the top level of
the Jewish Gen Family finder, and search for your own mishpuchah (misplaced).
|Roth Cousins Web Page||An interview with
Podkamien, Ukraine, 1877
by Israel Dov Rosenbaum
A true to life memoir with wonderful paintings about Jewish life in the village of Czernytsia (or Czernica), before and during the Holocaust. Czernica is 5km from the shtetl of Podkamien, and 20km from Brody.
follow this link to see some sample paintings from the book!
A History of the Jews in Poland (Early history)
Simon Wiesenthal Museum
of Tolerance online: PODKAMEN
Contains an excerpt describing Podkamen from the Encyclopedia Judaica.
This page would not have very much information if not for the contributions of a few individuals. I would like to extend an extra special thank-you to the following people who provided pictures, and information
This page is being maintained by Jim Stein.
If you have relevant material worth adding, or if you are interested in Podkamen please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Initially created by Jim Stein 11-Jun-98 Last update by Jim Stein 02-Apr-2009
This page has been visited thousands of times since 03-Nov-98
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