There is not much published about the towns of Mlynov and Mervits directly. Much of what we know, and is captured in this site, therefore, comes from the Memorial book, oral traditions and family memories, and what we can infer and imagine from historical sources about other related topics. This page of resources aggregates useful sources of information and resources about Mlynov and Mervits and related topics.
MLYNOV MURAVICA YIZKOR MEMORIAL BOOK
A memorial (yizkor) book to the two towns of Mlynov and Mervits was published in 1970 and included photos and memories from families that left these villages before WWII or that survived the war.
- The original The Mlynov-Muravica Memorial Book (translated title for original Sefer Mlynow-Mervits). Ed. J. Sigelman. Haifa:1970.
- An online digital version is available at Yiddish Book Center and the New York Public Library.
- A bound reprint can be ordered from the Yiddish Book Center. I ordered one, and though expensive, it came out very nicely.
- Some of the personal recollections in the volume have been translated by descendants of the Schwartz and Fishman families (Gene Schwartz and Irene Siegel) and has been edited and published by David Sokolsky in 2018 as the Mlynov-Muravica Memorial Book (English Translation) and now available on
GENERAL ONLINE RESOURCES ABOUT MLYNOV AND MURAVICA
JewishGen is a website dedicated to Jewish Genealogy. In addition to this site, it has other links that may be of interest to those interested in these towns.
MLYNOV / MLINOV (currently, MLYNIV, UKRAINE)
MURAVICA / MERVITS / MURAVITZ (currently MURAVYTSI, UKRAINE)
OTHER RELATED LINKS
- A private Facebook group has formed for networking among descendants of Mlynov and Mervits families. You can request to join the Mlynov Descendants Private Group . Be prepared to share your family's story.
- Jewua.org page about Mlinov
This is a site focused on information about different shetls. English does not seem to be the writer's native language which suggests s/he may be looking at primary sources, though those are not referenced, so it is hard to evaluate the accuracy of the data. But the site does have information that I have not found on other sites.
- Wikipedia article on "Mlyniv, Ukraine"
This article provides some useful information from Ukrainian sources. It relies heavily on an article about Mlyniv by Bukhalo, H., Vovk, A. Mlyniv, " Mlyniv Raion, Rivne Oblast" which appears in The History of Cities and Villages of the Ukrainian SSR, an Ukrainian encyclopedia, published in 26 volumes that provides information about the history of the populated places in Ukraine. According to online sources, the Encyclopedia was approved by the Communist Party of Ukraine in 1962. A Ukrainian researcher I hired tells me that the article reflects a pro-Soviet slant in its narrative.
BALTIMORE IMMIGRANTS FROM MLYNOV AND MERVITS
A large number of Mlynov immigrants moved to Baltimore between 1890-1925 and recreated their communal ties there.
View the story of the survivors who returned to Mlynov in fall 1944 and participated in the ceremony for Mlynov Commemorative Monument.
On Liba Tesler's escape from the Holocaust, Monument: One Woman's Courageous Escape from the Holocaust, 2017.
- A summary of an oral history interview with Yochanan Viner who was born in Mlynov and escaped the Nazis.
- Ezra Sherman was born in Mlynov and escaped the Nazis. Read an article about Ezra's journey, watch Ezra's Interview, or read a transcript.
- Gerald Steinberg was born in Mlynov in 1902 as
Getzel (George) Steinberg. His wife, Pessia (Paula), was born in Mlynow on January 5, 1907. They owned and operated a small farm. Their son Zelig (Gerald), was born in Mlynow on Dec, 8, 1939, before Poland was invaded and occupied by the Nazis. They spent a year in the Mlynov Ghetto. Read about their story and participation in "Dedication of Holocaust Memorial."
- Helen (Nudler) Fixler was born in Mlynov in about 1930. She remembers a happy, Yiddish-speaking home, with a book-loving mother and four siblings, including a beloved younger sister. She tells the story of how she and her father managed to survive in the forest and under a haystack.
You can read an article about her or listen to her oral history with the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
MEMOIRES BY MLYNOV AND MERVITS RESIDENTS OR THEIR DESCENDANTS
Fram, Clara H., This Is My Story: I Write An Speak of Myself. March 1982. Courtesy of the Fram family.
Clara (Hurwitz) Fram, was born in Mlynov in 1902 and arrived with her family in Baltimore in January 1909. This memoire was written in an adult education course in 1982. Clara reminisces about life as a child in Mlynov and in Baltimore as a new immigrant.
Click to Download.
Tracz, Dani, Riva and Yehuda: Life Story of Trancman, Mohel, Tracz and Ben-Eliezer Families, 2015. Trans. from Hebrew by Lynda Schwartz. D.C.P. Haifa, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2017. The section on Mlynov starts on page 35.
Yehuda Mohel came to Mlynov in 1924 or 1925 when his father a shochet took a position there. Yehuda tells the story of his amazing life, becoming a vegetarian in rebellion against his father, a budding Zionist in a youth group who made aliyah, was subsequently arrested by the British as a communist, shipped back to Poland where he eventually returned to Mlynov, then escaped the Nazis, and ended up with his family in Siberia before joining the Polish army. Click to download.
Baruch, Shoshana (Upstein) A Struggle to Survive: Stories of Bunia and Yitzhak Upstein. Original in Hebrew. Trans. by Howard I. Schwartz with Charles Epstein. Yitzhak and Bunia (Steinberg) Upstein were youths in Mervits after WWI. This memoire by their daughter tells of their involvement in Zionist youth groups, their life under the Soviet Occupation and their subsequent story of survival.
Schwartz, Neena B., A Lab Of My Own. New York: Rodopi, 2010.
A daughter of two Mlynov immigrants from the Schwartz family, Neena grew up in Baltimore and became a world-renown endocrinologist, proving the existence of a female hormone called "inhibin" and helping to reshape the masculinist assumptions and focus of science. This is her story. Click to download two chapters.
Sokolsky, David, Monument: One Woman's Courageous Escape from the Holocaust. Self Published on Amazon, 2017.
This is the story of Liba Tesler's amazing story of escape from the Nazis and surival, documented by her step-grandson, David Sokolsky. Liba was born in Mlynov in 1912. After she survived, she managed to reconnect with relatives and come to live in Baltimore where she married David's grandfather. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.
CITIES NEAR MLYNOV AND MERVITS
RELATED HISTORICAL THEMES
SCHOLARLY WORKS CONSULTED
With a paucity of direct evidence about life in the townlets of Mlynov and Mervits, one has to imagine what life was like there. The scholarly historical research on Jewish life under the Tsarist regime helps open a window into that world and explores the complexity of the Russian response to Jews, which was not consistent, as well as the diverse responses of the Jewish communities to life during the period.
The Russian Period
- Antony Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia. Vols. 1 and 2. The Littman Library of Jewish
Civilization. Oxford, 2010. A very detailed, and I found helpful, summary of Russian policy towards the Jews, which gives the nuances of changes
under each Tzar
- Joanthan Frankel, Prophecy and Politics. Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862–1917. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1981. A detailed account of the rise of nationalist and socialist impulses in Russian Jewry with an emphasis on the 1881 pogroms as a decisive turning point.
- Benjamin Nathans, Beyond the Pale. The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russian. Berkely: University of California Press, 2004.
Looks at Jewish life in Imperial Russia from a different vantage point. Challenges views, such as Frankel's, that overemphasize the pogroms as the primary cause shaping Jewish identity in late imperial Russia and explores the ongoing attempts at what the author calls "selective integration" with a special focus on the community of St. Petersburg outside the Pale and the various ways the Jews there were attempting to integrate into the center of Russian life.
- Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism From the French Revoluion to the Establishment of the State of Israel. New York: Schocken Books, 2003. A helpful look at the rise of Zionism with attention to the Russian context.
- Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea. New York: Schocken Books, 2003 . An account of Zionism's rise through the writings of various exponents.
- John Doyle Klier, Jews and the Pogroms of 188–1882. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2011.
- John Doyle Klier, Russia Gathers Her Jews: The Origins of the "Jewish Question" in Russia, 1772-1825. Northern Illinois University Press, 1986
- Steven J. Zipperstein, Kishinev and the Tilt of History. New York: Liveright Publishing, 2018.
- John Doyle Klier, Imperial Russia's Jewish Question, 1855-1881. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2005.
- Michael Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews: The Transformation of Jewish Society in Russia, 1825-1855. Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society, 1983. A detailed look at the transformation of Jews under Nicholas I and also the best treatment of the conscription of Jews and Jewish youth under the Tsar's policy.
- Shmuel Feiner, Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness. Trans. by Chaya Naor and Sondra Silverston. Oxford: Litman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2004.
- L. Michael Aronson, Troubled Waters: The Origins of the 1881 Anti-Jewish Pogroms in Russia. Pittsburgh: The University of Pittsburgh, 1990.
Interwar Poland 1918–1937
- Cala, Alina, "The Social Consciousness of Young Jews in Interwar Poland," 42–65. In Jews in Independent Poland 1918–1939. Ed. Antony Polonsky, Ezra Mendelsohn, and Jerzy Tomaszewski. Oxford: The Litman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2013.
- Davies, Norman, God's Playground: A History of Poland. Vol. 2. New York: Columbia Press, 2005.
Yisrael Gutman "Polish Antisemitism Between the Wars: An Overview," 97–109. In The Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars. Ed. Gutman, Yisrael and Ezra Mendelsohn et. al. University of New England, 1989.
- Gutman, Yisrael and Ezra Mendelsohn et. al, The Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars. University of New England, 1989.
See especially Ezra Mendelsohn, "Introduction: The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars–Myth and Reality." 1–6, and Mendelsohn, "Jewish Politics in Interwar Poland: An Overview." 9–19. There are also very helpful essays by Yisrael Gutman "Polish Antisemitism Between the Wars: An Overview," 97–109, Gershon C. Bacon, "Agudat Israel in Interwar Poland," 20-35, Abraham Brumberg, "The Bund and the Polish Socialist Party in the Late 1930s," 75–97, and Jerzy Tomaszewski, "The Role of Jews in Polish Commerce, 1918–1939," 141–157, among other helpful essays.
- Holzer, Jerzy, "Relations between Polish and Jewish left wing groups in interwar Poland," 140-146. In The Jews of Poland. Ed. Chimen Abramsky, Maciej Jachimczyk, and Antony Polonsky. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986.
- Heller, Celia, On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars. Detroit: Wayne State University, 1994.
Mendelsohn, Ezra, "Interwar Poland: good for the Jews or bad for the Jews," 130–140. In The Jews of Poland. Ed. Chimen Abramsky, Maciej Jachimczyk, and Antony Polonsky. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986. A helpful summary of the differing theoretical perspectives that shape the historiography of the period.
Mendelsohn, Ezra. The Jews of East Central Europe Between the World Wars. Bloomington: Indiana University. 1983. The chapter on "Poland," 10-83, is an excellent and nuanced summary of the trends, politics and impulses of the period for the Jews residing in Pole.
Mendelsohn, Ezra, "Introduction: The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars–Myth and Reality." 1–6 and, "Jewish Politics in Interwar Poland: An Overview." 9–19. In The Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars. Ed. Gutman, Yisrael and Ezra Mendelsohn et. al. University of New England, 1989.
Mendelsohn, Ezra. "Jewish Historiography on Polish Jewry in the Interwar Period." 3-14. In Jews in Independent Poland 1918–1939. Ed. Antony Polonsky, Ezra Mendelsohn, and Jerzy Tomaszewski. A very useful statement of the differing theoretical lens brought to bear on the period.
- Marcus, Joseph, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919–1939. New York: Mouton, 1983. Written by a Polish Jew, Marcus gives one of the more positive and optimistic presentations of Jewish economic life in this period and sees Jewish poverty as resulting from the poverty of an undeveloped country, not particularly antisemitism.
Polonsky, Antony, The Jews In Poland and Russia: A Short History , XV-XXI. Oxford: The Litman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2013. See especially chapter six, "The Jews in Poland Between the Two World Wars," 211-252.
Polonsky, Antony, "Introduction." In Jews In Independent Poland In Jews in Independent Poland 1918–1939. Ed. Antony Polonsky, Ezra Mendelsohn, and Jerzy Tomaszewski. A very useful statement of the differing theoretical lens brought to bear on the period.
Polonsky, Antony, Ezra Mendelsohn, and Jerzy Tomaszewski, eds. Jews in Independent Poland 1918–1939. Part of the Series: Studies in Polish Jewish Polin . London: Litman Library of Jewish Civilization. Vol. 8. There are a number of thoughtful and interesting essays in this volume.
- Mendelsohn, Ezra. Zionism in Poland. The Formative Years, 1915–1926 . New Haven: Yale University, 1981.
Margalit, Elkana. "Social and Intellectual Origins of the Hashomer Hatzair Youth Movement, 1913-20." Journal of Contemporary History 4:2 (1969):25-46. Accessed April 4, 2020.
Compiled by Howard I. Schwartz
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