Children sitting on a wooden bridge by the River Smotrych - circa 1910
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Genealogical and Historical Research
The research into the Jewish community was originally hampered by the the tight control that the Soviet Union placed on all access to it; the Ukraine’s use for military outposts significantly contributing to this state of affairs. Kamenets was part of an area under strict military control and so it was not until the independence of the Ukraine from Russia in the early 1990’s that research could commence.
The Archive Fire of 2003 and the ‘Routes to Roots’ Resource
It is also possible to directly link to the relevant archive. The current entries in the database relating to Kamenets (transliterated as Kamenets Podolskiy on the website) refer to those documents known to exist prior to the fire. There is no known list of exactly which documents survived and which documents were burned completely. General information and photos about the fire can be seen on the News Alert link at the Foundation website. The Foundation website also includes an image database with more than 2,000 images with 16 images (current and 1920 views) from Kamenets.Researching the ArchivesThe Kamenets Podolsk (Kamianets-Podilskyy) archive is currently stored at the address below:Archives of Khmelnytskyi Oblast[Derzhavnyi Arkhiv Khmelnytskoi Oblasti]99 Hrushevsky Street,29000 KhmelnytskyiUkraine RepublicTel: +38(0382) 76-47-39, 79-27-74Martin Davis (the author of this site) was informed by a senior archivist at the Central State Archive in Kiev that the archives are partially restored and partially catalogued but are only accessible through direct contact with the local archive. Other than the information posted by Routes to Roots, the data or references are not on-line. Professional genealogists do seem to have had success in using the remaining resources but it does appear that this and individual successes have only been achieved through personal visits to the archive held in the county town of Khmelnytskyi (see above for full address).
Kamenets was a significant Jewish city and, including its surrounding area, took in a population of several tens of thousands of people. Its unique history and its importance within the patchwork of Jewish communities of eastern Europe is hardly known. This anonymity is possibly due to its isolation post the Russian revolution of 1917 or possibly because of its Jewish cultural isolation; as a town at the crossroads of the Ashkenazi and Sephardi worlds. This site is dedicated to the memory of the Jewish community of Kamenets (Kamyanets Podilskyy) and assisting historical and genealogical research for those whose family origins are from the city and its surrounding area. Kamenets was a significant Jewish city and, including its surrounding area, took in a population of several tens of thousands of people.
For a short period - between the early 1990’s until the archive fire of 2003 - a wealth of archival material was freely available to review by researchers looking into the Jewish and civil past of Kamenets. Relatively few people undertook this research at that time. However, Miriam Weiner (president of the Routes to Roots Foundation) made a number of journeys to the archive and photographed a significant number of the documents then held. The damage done to the archive in the Kamenets archive warehouse fire was major - this included direct fire damage and water damage - with many of the original archives lost or no longer accessible. The Foundation website (www.rtrfoundation.org) enables a user to search the ARCHIVE DATABASE (by town name) to see a list of surviving Jewish and civil records in the archives of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. Data includes document type, years available, name and location of repository with the material and archive file numbers.
Bundles of partially burned record books - photo courtesy of the Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation
The site provides a glimpse of the life and ending of a large shtetl, with its own Jewish history and local traditions, in the south western fringes of the Ukraine. This is is not the full story and there are many gaps in our knowledge of Kamenets that have yet to be filled in. We hope to gradually fill them in with the help of those whose ancestors once lived in the city or in the surrounding area. If you do have more information about either the former Jewish community of Kamianets-Podilskyy or the surrounding towns, villages and hamlets (see below for the towns and villages in the administrative district of Kamenets), please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Card of Facts About Kamenets Podolsk County 1856