Kremenets History

Ronald D. Doctor
9 March 2001

 

Introduction –Kremenets & Similar Names. 3

Early History, Changing Borders. 4

The Jews of Kremenets. 5

The Holocaust Period.. 6

Notable Individual Jews of Kremenets. 7

Rabbi Mordechai ben Abraham Jaffe. 8

Tuviya (Tobias) Cohn (1652 – 1729) 8

Rabbi Isaac Baer Levinsohn (1788 – 1860) 8

W.G. Besser and the Kremenets Botanic Gardens. 9

Isaac Stern.. 9

Remnants of Jewish Kremenets. 10

The Jewish Cemeteries of Kremenets and Yampol. 10

The Jewish Vital Records of Kremenets. 11

Kremenets Yizkor Books. 12

Kremenets Today.. 13

Archives and Addresses in Ukraine. 13

Writing to the Archives. 14

References. 17

 

Tables

 

Table 1 - Other Towns Named Kremenets. 3

Table 2 - Jewish Population of Kremenets. 6

Table 3 - Jewish Vital Records of Kremenets on LDS microfilm... 11

 


Kremenets History

Ronald D. Doctor
9 March 2001

Introduction –Kremenets & Similar Names

Kremenets is one of the oldest cities of Ukraine. It was first mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle for the year 1226. (Freenet.Kiev). The first mention of Jews in Kremenets is for the year 1438, when the Grand Duke of Lithuania gave them a charter. Such charters, or laws, were important because they decreed that the Jewish population “formed a class of free citizens under the immediate protection of the Grand Duke and his local administration.” (Dubnow, vol. 1, p. 59). The fact that a charter was issued in 1438 implies that Jews were present earlier, and indeed, The Center for Jewish Art says that Jews were present in Kremenets as early as the 14th century. (Center for Jewish Art, 1998).

Kremenets (50°6’N, 25°43’E) is the accepted modern spelling of the Ukrainian town’s name, but when under Polish rule, the name was spelled Krzemieniec. Other variations in spelling include: Kremenits, Kremenetz, and Kremenitz. There also are similarly named towns in other nations (JewishGen ShtetlSeeker):

 

Kremenets

41°28’N, 45°29’E

Bulgaria

Kremenec

49°34’N, 16°54’E

Czech Republic

Kremenice

49°46’N, 15°46’E and 49°35’N, 15°25’E

Czech Republic

Krimnitz

51°52’N, 13°55’E

Germany

Kremnitz (Kremnica)

48°42’N, 18°55’E

Slovak Republic

Kremenica

40°55’N, 21°28’E

Macedonia

Kremenichi

59°03’N, 33°08’E

Russia

Kremnitsa

55°58’N, 31°45’E and 58°49’N, 33°29’E

Russia

Kremenica

43°13’N, 22°21’E

Serbia

Krementsy (Kremintsy)

48°20’N, 24°34’E

Ukraine

Kremenets (Krzemieniec,  Kremenits, Kremenetz, and Kremenitz)

50°6’N, 25°43’E

Ukraine

Table 1 - Other Towns Named Kremenets

Kremenets is in the Gologoro-Kremenets chain of high hills. Massifs with steep sides, a network of gullies, and numerous karst formations characterize the hills. The town itself is at an elevation of 230 meters or 754 feet. (Ukraine Gateway)

Under Russian and Polish rule, Kremenets was a Uyezd in the Guberniya of Volhynia. With the rearrangement of political entities that took place after World War II, Kremenets became one of 16 Raions in the Oblast of Ternopil’, Ukraine. Uyezds and Raions are similar to U.S. counties or regions. Guberniyas and Oblasts are similar to U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Currently, there are 25 Oblasts in Ukraine.

Early History, Changing Borders

The Ternopil’ Region, which includes Kremenets, has been inhabited since the middle Paleolithic period. By the 9th century, the Rus’ Principality dominated much of the area that is now modern Ukraine as well as large areas of the western Russia. Its center was in Kiev. In 980 to 990, the Kievan Prince Volodymyr the Great seized control of Galicia and Volhynia from Poland. (Subtelny, p. 57). By the 12th century Kievan influence had declined and the land came under rule of the Galitsko-Volhyn Principality, subjecting it to strong western influences. Under the Volhynian Prince Danylo (Daniel)  (1221-1264), the area became an “emporium of east-west trade.” Danylo invited artisans and merchants from Germany and Poland into Volhynia and Galicia. The land also benefited from large communities of Armenians and Jews who moved westward as Kiev declined. (Riasanovsky, pp. 88-91).

In 1240, the Mongol Khan Baty’s armies unsuccessfully tried to seize the fortress on Zamkova Gora. (Freenet.Kiev). In 1246, Danylo was forced to accept “overlordship of the Mongols”, headquartered at Sarai on the Volga. Nevertheless, the Mongols were far away and Mongol influence was weak. Danylo courted support from the Church of Rome, which crowned him King in 1253. When Danylo launched a campaign to free Kiev from the Mongols in 1254, promised military support from the Church didn’t materialize. As a result, in 1259, the Mongols invaded and “laid waste” to Volhynia and Galicia. Mongol attacks continued throughout the reign of Danylo’s son, Leo and the area went through a period of severe decline.  (Subtelny, p. 62-64; Riasanovsky, pp. 88-91)

In the meantime, during the mid-13th century, the scattered, relatively primitive, and pagan tribes in Lithuania united under Prince Mindaugas (Mendvog) in order to stand against expansionist pressure from the Teutonic Order of German Crusaders. By the mid-14th century, Grand Prince Gediminas (Gedymin) had extended Lithuanian control into Belorussia. His son Olgerd (also known as Algirdas) further extended the principality from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and gradually took control of the entire area (which included Kremenets). (Subtelny, pp. 69-70; Riasanovsky, pp. 90, 134).  Olgerd’s son and successor, Jagiello (or Jagaila), who reigned from 1377 to 1434, married Queen Jadwiga of Poland in 1386 and became the sovereign of both states. He took the Polish name Wladyslaw II. From 1385 onward, Poland exercised a major and increasingly dominant influence on Lithuania, including the Lithuanian lands in Volhynia. With the Treaty of Lublin in 1569, the two nations formally merged and the Polish “victory” over Lithuania was complete. (Riasanovsky, pp. 134-135) The Kremenets area remained under Polish and Lithuanian rule from the 14th to 18th centuries.  (Riasanovsky, pp. 88-91)

Stone castles were built in the 1500s to ward off attacks of the Tatar Mongols.  (Barek) During the Khmielnitski Cossack uprising, Cossack units led by M. Kryvonis captured the castle in Kremenets in 1648. (Freenet.Kiev). However, despite the uprising, Kremenets remained within Poland’s borders until the second partition of Poland in 1793. (Barnavi, p. 155). At that time, the Kremenets region came under Russian rule. Throughout the 16th to 18th centuries, Kremenets, Rokhmanov, and Pochayev developed into publishing and art centers.

Governance over the Kremenets region did not change until the Versailles Treaty ending World War I re-established Poland as a nation. Parts of Galicia and western Ukraine, including Kremenets, were incorporated into Poland in July 1919. However, difficulties for Jews continued. From 1918 to 1920, the Jews of Kremenets were targets of pogroms by marauding bands of Ukrainians. Faced with the anti-Semitic policies of Poland, Zionism began having a significant influence in Kremenets. As a result, about 80,000 people emigrated from the Ternopil’ region to Canada, the U.S., and South America.

With the German-Russian treaty of 1939, Poland was dismantled again. In September 1939, Russia took control of western Ukraine, and Kremenets again came under Russian governance. (Malvy, on the Web).  Nazi Germany broke the treaty in June 1941 and occupied the Kremenets area until the Russians liberated it in 1944. (Encyclopedia Judaica) (See the Holocaust section below.)

The Jews of Kremenets

As noted above, Jews are known to have been in the Kremenets area as early as 1438 (Simon Wiesenthal), when the Grand Duke of Lithuania gave them a charter. However, Lithuania expelled its Jews in 1495 and didn’t allow them to return until 1503. Still, a Polish Yeshiva operated in Kremenets during the 15th and 16th centuries. (Barnavi, p. 143).

The Jewish community gradually expanded and prospered through the 16th century. Around the middle of the century, rabbinical representatives of the Kahals of Poland began gathering at the great Fairs to conduct the business of the Jewish communities. These conferences became known as the Council of the Four Lands. Volhynian representatives were from Ostrog and Kremenets. (Dubnow, vol. I, pp. 109-110).

Khmielnitski’s Cossack rebellion against Polish rule from 1648 through 1651, followed by the Russian-Swedish wars against Poland-Lithuania from 1654-1656, devastated the Jewish population of western Ukraine. Many Jews were murdered. Others fled. Jews were not allowed to rebuild their destroyed homes. Dubnow observed “the Ukraina as well as Volhynia and Podolia were turned into one big slaughter-house." (Dubnow, Vol. 1, p. 149) Kremenets never again regained its former importance. All that was left as the Russians took control in 1793 was “an impoverished community of petty traders and craftsmen.” (Simon Wiesenthal, Encyclopedia Judaica)

Jewish life gradually revived and Kremenets became a secondary center of Haskalah (enlightenment) in Eastern Europe in the period 1772 through 1781. (Barnavi, p. 177).  By the end of the 19th century, Jews once again were active in the economic life of the town, primarily in the paper industry and as cobblers and carpenters. They exported their goods to other towns in Russia and Poland. (Encyclopedia Judaica)  Under Polish rule, in the early 1930s, two Yiddish periodicals were published. They merged in 1933 into a single weekly newspaper, Kremenitser Lebn (Kremenets Life). (Encyclopedia Judaica)

Table 2 shows the known Jewish population of Kremenets over the past 550 years.

 

Year

Jewish Population

1438

First documented evidence

1522

240 (10.6% of population)

1578

500

1629

845 (15% of population)

1765

649

1847

3,791

1897

6,539 (37% of population)

1921

6,619 (as part of Poland)

1931

7,256 (36% of population)

1941

15,000 (including 4,000 refugees)

9 Sept 1942

11

1946

14

1997

0

(of a population of 25,000)

       Table 2 - Jewish Population of Kremenets
(Encyclopedia Judaica, Simon Wiesenthal, Weiner [p. 138])

The Holocaust Period

The Nazis destroyed the Jewish community of Kremenets. Except for those who left Kremenets before the war and 14 survivors, all 15,000 people who lived in Kremenets in 1941 were murdered. The following excerpts from the Encyclopedia Judaica period best describes the Holocaust Period.

“The Soviet authorities took over the town on September 22, 1939. In the spring of 1940 the refugees from western Poland were obliged to register with the authorities and to declare whether they wished to take up Soviet citizenship or return to their former homes, now under German occupation. For family reasons, many refugees declared that they preferred to return; that summer they were exiled to the Soviet interior. All Jewish communal life was forbidden, and Zionist leaders moved to other cities to keep their past activities from the knowledge of the authorities. By 1941 the Jewish population had increased to over 15,000 including over 4,000 refugees. (Encyclopedia Judaica).

In June 1941, the German Einsatzgruppe “C” carried out a mass slaughter of Jews in the Generalbezirk Wolhynien-Podolien District, which was part of Reichskommissariat Ukraine. The District included all of Volhynia. The local Ukrainian population cooperated in the annihilation campaign against the Jews. (Heritage Films, Poland).

“A few days after the German-Soviet war broke out (June 22, 1941) the Germans reached the area. Hundreds of young Jews managed to flee to the Soviet Union. A pogrom broke out in early July 1941, when Ukrainians, aided by Germans, killed 800 men, women and children. In August 1941 the Gestapo ordered all Jews with academic status to report for registration. All those who did so were murdered, and thus the Jewish community's leadership was destroyed. That month the Germans set fire to the main synagogue and exacted a fine of 11 kg. of gold from the community. They also imposed a Judenrat, headed by Benjamin Katz, but he was murdered for his refusal to collaborate with the Nazis. Eventually the Judenrat was comprised of a number of people whose influence was detrimental. At the end of January 1942 a ghetto was imposed and on March 1 was closed off from the rest of the city. The inmates endured great hardship and there was a serious shortage of water. (Encyclopedia Judaica)

Heritage Films reports,

In the summer of 1942 the Germans began the systematic liquidation of the ghettos in the provincial towns. In some of them revolts broke out, the ghetto inmates resisting their deportation, setting the ghetto houses on fire and making mass attempts to escape to the forests. Nesvizh, Mir, Lachva, Kletsk, and Kremenets were some of the places where ghetto revolts occurred.” (Heritage Films, Russia). 

On July 22, 1942, there was armed resistance by the Jews of the Kremenets ghetto against the Germans, who were trying to exterminate them. (JewishGen: Holocaust).  But on August 10, 1942, the Germans pressed harder. The Kremenets ghetto's agony lasted for two weeks, and 19,000 Jews were murdered. (Heritage Films, Poland). The Encyclopedia Judaica account continues.

On August 10, 1942, the Germans initiated a two-week long Aktion to annihilate the inmates, and at last set the ghetto ablaze to drive out those in hiding. Fifteen hundred able-bodied persons were dispatched to slave labor in Bialokrynica, where they later met their death. The vast majority of the ghetto inhabitants rounded up in the Aktion were taken in groups and murdered over trenches dug near the railway station, near a former army camp. The local Zionist leader Benjamin Landsberg committed suicide at this time. Only 14 of the Kremenets community survived the Holocaust. Societies of former residents of Kremenets function in Israel, the U.S. and Argentina.“ (Encyclopedia Judaica).

Although Jewish Kremenets was physically destroyed, the memory of Jewish Kremenetsers lived on. In the postwar years, those who successfully emigrated before the onset of hostilities, survivors of the Holocaust, and their descendants published two Yizkor Books and a series of memorial Bulletins. See the section on Yizkor Books below.

Notable Individual Jews of Kremenets

The Kremenets Yizkor Books record biographies of a number of notable Jews from Kremenets. The following descriptions, however, are from other sources. Notable Jews of the 16th and 17th centuries included Rabbis Mordechai ben Abraham Jaffe and Samson ben Bezalel, brother of Judah Loew ben Bezalel of Prague. Joseph ben Moses of Kremenets was one of the outstanding scholars of the Yeshiva at the beginning of the 17th century. (Encyclopedia Judaica). Rabbi Isaac Baer Levinsohn was a noted Haskalah proponent of the 19th century.

Rabbi Mordechai ben Abraham Jaffe

Mordechai Jaffe (died in 1612) served as a rabbinical representative from Kremenets on the Council of the Four Lands and toward the end of the 16th century presided over the Conferences several times. He had occupied the post of Rabbi successively in Grodno, Lublin, Kremenets, Prague, and Posen.  Dubnow notes that Rabbi Jaffe had been a pupil of Moses Isserles, but “he did not consider the Shulhan Arukh as supplemented by his teacher the last word in codification. He objected to the fact that its juridical conclusions were formulated dogmatically, without sufficient motivation. For this reason he undertook the composition of a new and more elaborate code of laws, arranged in the accepted order of the four books of the Turim, which is known as Lebushim, or ‘Raiments.’  In addition, Jaffe wrote five more volumes, containing Bible commentaries, synagogue sermons, and annotations to Maimonides' ‘Guide,’ as well as Cabalistic speculations." (Dubnow, Vol. 1, p. 127-128).

Tuviya (Tobias) Cohn (1652 – 1729)

Tobias Cohn was born in Metz into a rabbinical family. His grandfather was a rabbi and doctor in Kremenets. This extract is from a much longer biography.

“Tobias Cohn est né à Metz où son père Moché était rabbin. Son grand-père avait été rabbin et médecin à Kremenets en Volhynie, et son arrière grand-père était le beau-frère du fameux cabbaliste Elija de Vidas de Safed, l’auteur de l’ouvrage Reshit Hokhmah (1575).” (Kotteck)

Rabbi Isaac Baer Levinsohn (1788 – 1860)

As noted, Kremenets was a secondary center of Haskalah in Eastern Europe. Haskalah and Hasidism both were actively pursued, and in competition with one another. Isaac Baer Levinsohn was the most notable Haskalah proponent; R. Mordecai, father-in-law of Nahum Twersky of Chernobyl, was a prominent Hasid.

Dubnow refers to Levinsohn as “the "recluse of Kremenets" and the "Volhynian hermit" and considered him to be "naive" because of his flirtations with the Imperial government.

"It was in the hot-bed of the most fanatical species of Hasidism that the first blossoms of Haskalah timidly raised their heads. Isaac Baer Levinsohn, from Kremenetz in Podolia (1788-1860), had associated in his younger days with the champions of enlightenment in adjacent Galicia ...

When he came back to his native land, it was with the firm resolve to devote his energies to the task of civilizing the secluded masses of Russian Jewry. ... [In 1828, he published] his book Teudah be-Israel ("Instruction in Israel"). ... In this book our author endeavored, without trespassing the boundaries of orthodox religious tradition, to demonstrate the ... elementary truths by citing examples from Jewish history and sayings of great Jewish authorities." (Dubnow, Vol. 2, p. 125-126). But "the Volhynian soil proved unfavorable for the seeds of enlightenment." Levinsohn died a pauper.

"The pioneer of modern culture among Russian Jews, the founder of Neo-Hebraic literature, spent his life in the midst of a realm of darkness, shunned like an outcast, appreciated by a mere handful of sympathizers. It was only after his death that he was crowned with laurels, when the intellectuals of Russian Jewry were beginning to press forward in close formation.” (Dubnow, Vol. 2, p.132).

The Kremenets Yizkor Books have biographical sections about Rabbi Levinsohn.

W.G. Besser and the Kremenets Botanic Gardens

W.G. Besser created the Kremenets Botanic Gardens. This biography is from the website of the National Herbarium Of Ukraine, http://www.nbuv.gov.ua/herbar/pub_e.htm.

W.G. Besser [was] a well-known botanist of the first half of the XIX century, prominent researcher of the flora of the Right-Bank Ukraine, delicate phytotaxonomist of vascular plants, talented introductor of plants, organizer of the Kremenets Botanical Gardens. Brief data on the activity of the scientist, and main sources of literature elucidating his vital and creative way are presented. Special attention is paid the contribution of W.G. Bessers to the development of the botanical science, in partricular to florography and critical and systematic study of vascular plants. New descriptions suggested by W.G. Besser for endemics, relicts are shown to be very significant for real profound scientific cognition of the floristic peculiarities in the present investigations. The first attempt made by W.G. Besser to carry out a botanical and geographical analysis of the Volyno-Podolia flora is considered as his scientific merit. (Zaverucha)

Isaac Stern

Isaac Stern is recognized as one of the world's foremost violinists. He was born in Kremenets on 21 July 1920. When he was a year old, his family immigrated to San Francisco. A child prodigy, Issac Stern made his public debut at the age of eleven with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He was 22 when he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1943. Following studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, Stern actively pursued a performance career in the United States and after World War II in Europe.

Stern has been active in several important music causes. In 1960, he organized a group that helped save Carnegie Hall, and subsequently became President of the Carnegie Hall Foundation. He also helped establish the National Endowment For The Arts in 1964. He is Chairman of the Board of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, a group that aids the careers of young musicians. Isaac Stern is an energetic worker for human rights causes. (Sadie; Slonimsky)

Remnants of Jewish Kremenets

Not much physical evidence remains of the Jews in Kremenets. The old Synagogue is used as a bus station. There is a photographic collection in the local historical museum. Surprisingly, the Jewish Cemetery remains, although the old section is in a state of deterioration with some tombstones crumbling and 25% of them illegible. (Center for Jewish Art).

The Jewish Cemeteries of Kremenets and Yampol

On an August 1997 expedition to Ukraine, researchers from the Center for Jewish Art of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem located a Jewish cemetery in Kremenets. The cemetery is large. It is on a hill overlooking the town. It contains 120 tombstones from the 16th to 19th centuries. The Center’s report goes on to note:

“The old section of the cemetery is in a state of deterioration, with some of the tombstones crumbling, and engravings legible on seventy-five percent of the remaining tombstones. Researchers documented fifty tombstones from the sixteenth century, and seventy from the seventeenth and eighteenth century, some of which were beautifully decorated with animal and flower motifs, a very rare find in tombstones of the early seventeenth century. Newer tombstones with unusual motifs were also documented, such as a nineteenth century tombstone with a pitcher motif, designating the tombstone of a Levite.” (Center for Jewish Art, 1998)

During the summer of 2000, Kremenets descendent Beth Miller visited Kremenets. About the Jewish cemetery, she observed,

“I found the (abandoned) Jewish cemetery and spend about 2 hours searching through it.  Although I did not find any family names, I thoroughly enjoyed the time there.  It was a warm, peaceful day, and the bees were buzzing, the pears and nuts were ripe and the trees and bushes starting to turn color.  The names were all in Yiddish, and I could sound them out:   Freida....Fish...man......Yaacov....cooper..stein....David....levy...

 

”Despite the broken stones, overgrown weeds, and mossy surfaces, I felt a great sense of normalcy.  Husbands and wives, mothers and children, the history of a community.  It didn't matter that I couldn't find my grandmother's grandparents, because we are descendents of the community, not individuals.  To understand our lives, we need to understand theirs. Both their closeness and their repressiveness.” (Miller)

There are photos of the Jewish cemetery in Weiner. (Weiner, p. 140).

Tombstone fragments also were found in Yampol on a 1999 expedition. Yampol was part of the Kremenets Uyezd. It was built on an island in a lake.

“A single house remains which, even today, is occupied by a Jewish family. The army destroyed the cemetery of Yampol in the 1920s and the stones were thrown into the water. Researchers were fortunate to be present when the water level was low and were able to document a few of the stones. They found about twenty tombstones from the mid-eighteenth to early nineteenth century, beautifully decorated with motifs of griffins, birds, bears, and grapes.” (Center for Jewish Art, 1999)

Photos of a complete tombstone from Kremenets and a fragment from Yampol are on the Center’s website. (Center for Jewish Art, 1998 and 1999).

The Jewish Vital Records of Kremenets

The Mormons (LDS) have been microfilming the birth, marriage, divorce, and death records of Eastern Europe since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Kremenets Jewish vital records of Kremenets are on seven rolls of microfilms (LDS Catalog No. 2086060 through 2086066) containing about 15,000 records on about 10,000 pages. Half the pages are in Russian handwriting. The other half are a mirror image in handwritten Yiddish and Hebrew, but sometimes with different or additional information. The films cover Jewish birth, marriage, divorce, and death records for the period 1870 to 1907. There is no index to them. Still, the records are an incredibly rich source of genealogical information.  Typically, the birth records include not only the given names of the child, but also the mother’s given name, and the father’s given name, surname and sometimes his patronymic. Some records include the father’s social class. Some show the town or shtetl in which the father is registered. This often is different from Kremenets, but usually is nearby. The patronymic of the newborn’s father sometimes is given; this extends the family’s names back another generation. All records for male births give the name of the Mohel. Death records state the cause of death and the decedent’s age. Marriage records give the mother’s maiden name and sometimes her father’s registration town.

The Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP is a volunteer organization operating under the auspices of the Jewish Records Indexing – Poland Project (JRI-Poland). CO-OP volunteers have created an inventory to the Kremenets vital records and are translating the vital records into English. The inventory and translations are posted in the Kremenets section of the JRI-Poland website, http://www.jewishgen.org/jri-pl/. Select either “Contents of the Databases” or “Shtetl CO-OPs …” and scroll down to the Kremenets listing. All this information also is on the Kremenets Shtetlink web site, http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Kremenets. Table 3 is a summary of the types of vital records on the LDS microfilms.

 

 

Quantity of each type of record

Estimated No. of Pages

Record Type

Female

Male

Total

Birth

4,011

4,758

8,769

2,961

Marriage

na

na

315

158

Divorce

na

na

8

4

Death

2,760

3,012

5,772

1,812

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

6,771

7,770

14,864

4,935

Table 3 - Jewish Vital Records of Kremenets on LDS microfilm

The JRI-Poland and Shtetlinks sites also contain an integrated and alphabetized Surname List derived from the records that have been translated, and from Yizkor Book and other translations.  The CO-OP posts additions to the list as well as translations of the full listings as they become available.

Miriam Weiner's book, Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova identifies additional Kremenets records in the Ukrainian state archives:

 

·        Marriage records for 1907, 1914-1915, 1917-1919, 1921-1922, 1924-1926, 1930, 1933, and 1935-1939;

·        Birth records for 1908-1915, 1917, 1921-1925, 1929-1930, 1932, 1935, and 1938;

·        Death records for 1898, 1904, 1909-1911, 1913-1915, 1917-1918, 1921, 1924-1926, 1928-1931, and 1936-1937;

·        Census records for the town of Kremenets for the years 1834, 1858, 1874, 1886, 1926;

·        Census records for Kremenets Uezd exist for the years 1811, 1814, 1869, and 1925;

·        School records   for years 1914-1928;

·        Notary records for 1920-1939.

The LDS has not microfilmed any of these records.

Kremenets Yizkor Books

Those who emigrated from Kremenets prior to World War II, the handful of Holocaust survivors, and their descendants formed Kremenets Landsmanschaftn in New York, Israel, and Argentina. To memorialize the Jews of their ancestral shtetl, these Landsmanshaftn produced two Yizkor Books and a series of Memorial Bulletins.

Stein, Abraham Samuel. (ed.) (1954). Pinkas Kremenitz (Pinkas Kremeniec: A Memorial sefer zikharon). Tel Aviv, Israel: Former residents of Kremenitz in Israel. One volume, 453 pp., Hebrew & Yiddish.

Lerner, P. (ed) (1965). Kremenits, Vishgorodek un Pitshayev; yisker-bukh (Memorial Book of Krzemieniec). Buenos Aires: Former residents of Kremenits and vicinity in Argentina. One  volume, 468 pages. Yiddish.

Kagan, Willim and Marcos Katz (eds.) (1974). Kol Yotzei Kremenitz Be-Yisrael Ve-batfutsut, Booklet no. 11, 58 pp., Hebrew-Yiddish. Title on back cover is "Kremenitzer Landslayt Shtime, in Yisrael, in Oysland." Published by Willim Kagan, (6828 Juno Str., Forest Hills, N.Y.) and Marcos Katz (Ciuded de la Paz, 1465, I.D. Buenos Aires, Argentina.) NOTE: This is only one of a series of Bulletins.

In addition, Yizkor Books exist for other nearby towns like Brody, Pochayev, and Yampol. The Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP is in the process of translating the Kremenets books into English. Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP volunteers are translating the Kremenets Yizkor Books. The translations will be posted on the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project website as they are completed, http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor. Use the search tool to get to Kremenets.

Kremenets Today

The city currently has a population of 25,000. It is served by a railway station and intercity bus depot. As far as we can tell, there are no Jews resident in Kremenets today. Touring guides on the web provide the following information about Kremenets and its environs. (Freenet.Kiev).

 

·        Monuments to T. Shevchenko and the Polish poet J. Slowacki.

·        Bohoyavlensky (Epiphany) Monastery, 1760. The monastery complex includes a Roman Catholic Church, monks' cells, and a bell tower above the gate (early 20th cent.). Built in  the late Baroque style.

·        A 12th century castle that was an important defensive structure.  During the 13th-14th centuries, the wood fortifications were replaced by stone. Only the defensive walls and the gate tower have been preserved.

·        Collegium Buildings, 1731-43. Built by the architect P. Hizhytsky in the late Baroque  style, the Collegium once included a Jesuit church and two academic buildings. Nearby is a park and botanical gardens created in 1809 by D. Miller.

·        Mykolayivsky (St. Nicholas') cathedral and cells, 1636. Built for the Franciscan monastery in the Gothic-Renaissance style. In the 18th century the cathedral and gate tower were fashioned in the Baroque style.

·        Museum-House of J. Slowacki, 18th century.  Located in a building in which the Polish poet lived from 1814 to 1828. A marble bust of the poet was erected in the courtyard in 1969. Today the building houses the  J. Slowacki Municipal Library.

·        Pyatnytske Cemetery. Ukrainian Kozaks (Cossacks) who died in battles to liberate Kremenets from Polish rule (1648 and 1651) are buried here.

·        The Kremenets Mountains nearby include six nature preserves and Kremenets Park.

Note that there is no mention of the Jewish Cemetery, the old Synagogue, or the local historical museum’s photographic collection showing Jewish life in Kremenets.

Archives and Addresses in Ukraine

There are times when you will want to write to one or more of the archives in Ukraine for information about your ancestors. This section provides contact information for various archives.

 

·        Main Archival Administration in Kiev

·        Central State Historical Archives in Kiev (TsDIA-K), for eastern Ukraine

·        Central State Historical Archives in Lviv (TsDIA-L), for western Ukraine

·        Oblast Archives in each of the 25 Oblasts

·        Registry of Vital Statistics Archives (Reyestratsiya aktiv Hromadianskoho Stanu,  RAHS)

Writing to the Archives

Start by writing to the Main Archival Administration office is located in Kiev, to the appropriate Central State Historical Archive, and to the appropriate Oblast Archive. If you write to one of the Central State Historical Archives (in Kiev or Lviv), it is likely that your letter will be forwarded to the appropriate Oblast Archive, but this probably will take some time. Use the Lviv address for records in Galicia and Transcarpathia/ Subcarpathia, in the Oblasts of Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Chernivtsi, Ternopil’ and Transcarpathia. Use the Kiev address for records in the other Oblasts.

The addresses shown are current for the year indicated. You should check for changes in the address before you write as contact information does change occasionally. Also, be especially careful about the order of elements of the address on the envelope. It differs from the order normally used in North America and Europe. Use the following order:

 

·        Start with the Country,

·        then the City,

·        then the street address

·        and finally, the name of the person or office.

For example, Weiner gives the following address for letters to the Main Ukraine Archives would be addressed like this:

 

UKRAINA

252601 Kyiv

24 Solomyanska Street

Main Archival Administration

Attention: Dr. Ruslan Y. Pirig, Director

Weiner gives the following telephone number for the Main Ukraine Archives in Kiev is 380/44/277-4522; the fax number is 380/44/277-3655. A letter to the Central State Historical Archives in Kiev and Lviv would be addressed like this:

 

UKRAINA

252601 Kyiv

24 Solomyanska Street

Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Kyiv

Attention: Olga Maruchak, Director

 

UKRAINA

290006 Lviv

3a Plaza Soborna

Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Lviv

Attention: Orest Iaroslavoych Matsiuk, Director

Weiner gives the following telephone numbers for the Central State Archives in Kiev is 380/44/277-3002. The Deputy Director of the Central State Historical Archives in Lviv is Diana Pelc. The telephone and fax number is: 011-380-322-72-35-08 (ph. 72-30-63)

Kremenets is one of 16 Raions in the Ternopil’ Oblast. The 1998 address for the State Archives of Ternopil’ Oblast, Ukraine (Galicia) is:

 

UKRAINA 282000

Ternopil’

vul. Sahaidachnoho, 14 Derzhavnyi arkhiv Ternopil’skoi oblasti

Director: Bohdan Khavarivsky

The telephone number is (0352) 224495 Fax: (0352) 228618.

 


References

Barek (2000). History Section on web page titled, Data about Ternopil’ Region. For further information, contact: barek@scar.utoronto.ca.

Barnavi, Eli (Ed.) (1992). A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People from the time of the Patriarchs to the Present. New York: Schocken Books. ISBN: 0-679-40332-9

Center for Jewish Art of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Newsletter No. 14, 1998. (http://www.hum.huji.ac.il/cja/NL14-Ukraine.htm)

Center for Jewish Art of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Newsletter No. 15, 1999. “Remnants of a material legacy: Documenting Jewish architecture and cemeteries in Ukraine.” (http://www.hum.huji.ac.il/cja/NL15-ukraine.htm).

Dubnow, Simon M. (1916, 1918, 1920). History of the Jews in Russia and Poland: From the Earliest Times until the Present Day. Volume I: From the Beginning until the Death of Alexander I (1825); Volume II: From the Death of Alexander I until the Death of Alexander III (1825-1894); Volume III: From the Accession of Nicholas II until the Present Day with Bibliography and Index. Translated from the Russian by I. Friedlaender. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America. Reprinted 1946. The 3 volume set also is available as a one volume reprint (2000) from Avotaynu.

Encyclopedia Judaica (1972). 17 volumes. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd

Freenet.Kiev (2000). Kremenets Touring Guide on the Web at http://www.freenet.kiev.ua:8080/ciesin/Ukraine/Ternopil’-tour.html.

Heritage Films: Poland (2000).  Jewish History of Poland: Holocaust Period. This description is from a long narrative dealing with the Holocaust. It is at http://www.heritagefilms.com/POLAND2.htm.

Heritage Films: Russia (2000). Jewish History of the Russian Federation: Second World War Until the 70s. This description is from a long narrative dealing with the Holocaust. It is at http://www.heritagefilms.com/RUSSIA2.htm

JewishGen: Holocaust (2000).  A timeline of the Holocaust, 1939-1945, http://www.jewishgen.org/ForgottenCamps/

JewishGen ShtetlSeeker, http://www.jewishgen.org/ShtetlSeeker/loctown.htm.

Kottek, Samuel (2000). Les juifs et la médecine: Tobias Cohn (Tuviya Cohen, 1652-1729 ).

Malvi (2000). From the History section on the web page titled “Data about Ternopil’ Region” at http://www.chat.ru/~assa13/MALVY/region-e.html.

Miller, Beth (15 Sept 2000). Ukraine. An e-mail message from Beth Miller to Ron Doctor. Reprinted on Kremenets Shtetlink website, http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/kremenets.

Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. (1993). A History of Russia. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0-19-507462-9.

Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance, Online Learning Center, http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/t041/t04180.html

Slonimsky, Kuhn. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians. New York : Schirmer Books, 1997.

Stanley, Sadie, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 18. London: Macmillan Publishers, 1980.

Subtelny, Orest (1994). Ukraine: A History. 2nd Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press and Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. ISBN: 0-8020-7191-0 (1998 paper edition).

Ukraine Gateway (2000). Land Resources section of the “Welcome to Ukraine Gateway Project” at http://www.ukraine-gateway.org.ua/gateway/gateway.nsf/webcontent/01010600.

Weiner, Miriam (1999). Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; Secaucus, N.J.: The Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation. ISBN: 0-9656508-1-2.

Zaverucha B.V. Scientific heritage of W.G. Besser and its significance for botanical sciences (on Bicentenary of the Birth) // Ukr. Botan. Journ. - 1984. - 41, N 5. - Р. 98-100. Available on the website of the National Herbarium Of Ukraine, http://www.nbuv.gov.ua/herbar/pub_e.htm