RUDKI  [Ridik]

A part of the Ukraine now, Rudki, like the rest of Galicia changed hands many times. Jews of Galicia have been citizens of different states over the centuries. A Jew born in Lemberg (The major city near Rudki) in 1915 would have been a citizen of Austro-Hungary. However, he or she would have been a Polish citizen in Lwów after 1918, a Soviet citizen in Lvov after 1939, and a citizen of Lviv in the Ukraine after 1991.

The constant change of hands greatly impacted the Jewish population which was frequently at the mercy of the local population, the existing regime and the new regime coming to power.  During World War I, as in many other times, Jews in Rudki had to choose an alliance, with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ukrainian Population, or the Polish Regime. Many chose to escape and ran off to avoid the fighting armies.

A small village by the name of Rudki existed in the area as early as the 14th century. Rudki, as a town, was established in the beginning of the 18th century and was declared the capital of the county of Rudki about 20 years before the dismantling of Poland as an independent state in 1772.

A small Jewish population lived in many small communities around the cities of L’vov and Komarno. In Rudki, the Jewish population grew slowly.  From 1350 Jews in 1888, to 1722 in 1900, and 2500 at the beginning of WWII, this was, with 1300 Poles and 200 Ukrainians, over 50% of the population of the city.

The Jewish population was diverse in its religious, social and political make- up. The town had several synagogues, several Heders, and quite a few Jewish Organizations, political and social in nature. Under the Austro-Hungarian rule, the Jews were active in the lumber, cattle and liquor trade. In the 19th century, with the coming of the railroad they were contractors and suppliers to the builders. They worked as buthcers, bakers, tailors, glazers andlocksmith. In WWI they endured much hardship and presecutions and many fled the area. Between the World Wars, half of the population engaged in commerce while 30% were artisans. WWII and Soviet rule brought an end to the community and commercial life.

The Germans entered Rudki on September 12, 1939 and hundreds of Jews were immediately killed. The city changed hands between the Soviet Army and the German army as the war progressed. The Germans returned on June 29, 1941 and almost immediately started executing Jews. The Jewish population was crowded in a Ghetto in the years 1942-1943. Several deportations to extermination camps took place beginning in September, 1942, they were sent to the Belzec death camp and murdered in a nearby forest. On April 4, 1943 the Ghetto was liquidated and the remaining Jews sent to the Janowska Road camp and murdered.

Today, just a stone monument is a reminder that many Jews lived in the city.


Compiled by Hanna Gafni
Last updated 18 October, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Hanna Gafni

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