The Jewish Community of Bukachivtsi - Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot

Ukrainian: Букачівці

Polish: Bukaczowce

Yiddish: בוקיטשעוויץ, Bukitshevitz

A town in the Ivano-Frankivsk (formerly known as Stanislawow) Oblast, Ukraine

Until World War II (1939-1945), Bukachivtsi was located in eastern Galicia, Poland.


An organized Jewish community consisting of about 300 Jews from Bukachivtsi and the surrounding villages was established in Bukachivtsi during the second half of the 18th century. Following the Partition of Poland at the end of the 18th century, the area fell under Austrian control, and the number of Jews living in the town greatly increased. By the end of the 19th century there were approximately 1,200 Jews in Bukachivtsi.

Most of the town’s Jews worked as lessees, innkeepers and merchants during the 18th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries increasing numbers of local Jews also worked as craftsmen. Some Jews supported themselves by farming, and some by peddling in the nearby villages.

During World War I (1914-1918) the Jews of Bukachivtsi suffered from pogroms perpetrated by Ukrainian mobs, until the town came under Polish rule in 1920. As a result of the war and of the pogroms, many of the town’s Jews immigrated, and Bukachivtsi’s Jewish population fell. By 1920 there were 650 Jews recorded as living in Bukachivtsi.

The joint distribution committee helped in the rehabilitation of the community.

Though Zionist activity began during the early years of the 20th century, it became increasingly active during the interwar period. The HaTzefirah Society became a center for social and cultural life in Bukachivtsi during this period. A local branch of the Poalei Zion Zionist organization was established in 1917; it would soon be followed by the General Zionists, Hitachdut, Revisionist Zionists, as well as a number of Zionist youth movements. A Hebrew school had been established at the turn of the century; in 1923 a Tarbut Hebrew school was also established.

On the eve of World War II there were approximately 1,000 Jews living in Bukachivtsi.

After the outbreak of World War II (September 1, 1939) and the pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, the eastern areas of Poland, including Bukachivtsi, came under Soviet rule.

However, after Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union (June 22, 1941), Bukachivtsi was occupied by the Germans, beginning on July 3. Some of Bukachivtsi’s Jews had been conscripted into the Red Army, and thereby managed to leave the town along with the retreating troops.

In the wake of the German occupation, the town’s Jews were subject to a number of restrictions and persecutions. They were forced to wear an armband with the Star of David so that they could be identified as Jews. Additionally, with the help of the Ukrainian police, the Germans seized many for forced labor. Jewelry and other valuables were confiscated.

A Judenrat (Jewish council) and a Jewish police force were established in the summer of 1941. A few months later, during the winter of 1941-1942, the Jews were ordered to turn over their fur coats to the authorities.

In the spring of 1942 Jews from the nearby small settlements were concentrated in Bukachivtsi, resulting in overcrowding and food shortages. Anyone older than 15 was forced to do agricultural labor on the adjacent farm.

The first aktion took place on Yom Kippur, September 21, 1942. Ukrainian policemen searched through Jewish homes and synagogues, and any Jews they found were rounded up and taken to the building next to the Judenrat’s headquarters. From there they were sent to the Belzec extermination camp. Dozens of Jews who attempted to escape were shot.

A second aktion took place on October 26, 1942. The Gestapo assembled the Jews in the market square and deported them to Belzec. This transport also included hundreds of Jews who had been brought from the town of Bursztyn.

The final aktion took place in January 1943. The Jews remaining in Bukachivtsi were expelled to the ghetto in Rohatyn, where they met the same fate as the Jews there.

Bukachivtsi was liberated by the Red Army on July 27, 1944.


About 20 Jews who had remained in hiding throughout the war returned to the town. Other survivors from the town included several dozen who had made it to the Soviet Union at the beginning of the war.


Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People