KehilaLinks logo
Compiled by Michael Maidenberg
Last updated 11 April 2014
Copyright ©2014 Michael Maidenberg

At the most granular level there is a history of the Jewish community of Dzygivka.  This history comes from a source in Russian which has been lost, for now. It appears to be an accurate account.

The document says the shtetl has been in existence since the 1600's. It was originally part of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1787 the Polish king gave Dzygivka the right to hold regular fairs or market days. The fairs were twice-weekly events and brought many farmers and others to town.

The Jews were merchants, small traders, innkeepers. There is mention of a "wine-tobacco factory."  [My great-grandfather Solomon dealt in tobacco.] In later years a small professional class emerged, including large landowners and managers of enterprises such as a hospital, banks and factories.

In 1905 there was an attempted pogrom which was halted by authorities. But in 1917 hooligans smashed, grabbed and stole from Jewish stores. There was no mention of casualties.

In 1919 the Jewish community was caught in the crossfire of civil war between Ukrainians and Russians. During the establishment of Communism the Jews were said to be unyielding to "Party and Soviet influence."

The document remarks on the the extensive Jewish life that took place in Dzygivka.  There were schools, synagogues, a large cemetery.  In the 1880's there was even a smattering of Zionism.

A former resident named Yakov Tsuzmer wrote that Dzygivka was an out-of-the way "forgotten town," but one with a bountiful source of fresh water from the Korytna River.

Dzygivka's remoteness would turn out to be a blessing after the German invasion of 1941. The town was turned into a ghetto, but seemed to have escaped the murderous attention of the Nazis and their Rumanian minions. The peak of Jewish population in Dzygivka was in 1897, with 2,187, a third of the total.  Emigration, Sovietization and other factors reduced numbers after that.

By the time Dzygivka was liberated in 1944 only "several hundred" were left. By 1998, according to the document, only 12 elderly Jews were left, cared for by the congregation of Yampol.  At the time of this writing, 2014, there may not be even a single Jew remaining in a once-bustling shtetl.

Michael Burd, a Dzygivka Holocaust survivor whose story is a chapter in the book "Holocaust in the Ukraine", recalled that "Our village was very big. Jews lived in the centre of it. They were all busy doing their own business. There were also professionals in the different trades among us."

Broadening out, there is a history of the Jews of Podolia.  This takes in the region.

The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe has an excellent article on Ukraine.

There is also a
History of the Jews in Ukraine from the Encyclopedia of Ukraine.

A superb modern history that takes in Ukraine is Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.  Here is a link to Amazon's offering.