HISTORIC EVENTS THAT AFFECTED JEWISH LIFE IN KOLOMEA
A Dateline of Events
A credit line will be added for each person making a significant contribution of information to this Dateline project.
KRG member Claire Shefftz has provided a large number of events to initiate the beginning of the Dateline project.
KRG members Aliya Middleton, Alan Weiser, Saul Zeichner, Ron Lahav have contributed a number of events for this project.
1. This Dateline project is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. While under construction all information is subject to additions, deletions, or modifications.
2. The KRG Coordinator is accountable for all errors of commission or omission on this project. KRG members and the general public are invited to submit constructive criticisms of additions, deletions, or modifications to the Dateline Events to the KRG Coordinator. The submission must include submitter’s name, email address, and the basis (document reference, URL, personal observation, recorded testimony, etc.) for the criticism in order to be considered.
The objective of identifying those historic events which affected Jewish life in Kolomea is to provide a possible description of what factors may have influenced the actions of our Kolomea relations. By providing these events on a dateline a researcher can superimpose a person’s vital records dates, home ownership dates, business establishment or closing dates, military service dates, or emigration dates to see which historic events may have influenced actions by these people.
There is a certain difficulty in selecting which historic events may have influenced the way Jews in Kolomea lived, studied, worked, followed their religion, married, raised children, and died or emigrated from Kolomea. Certainly there are events which may have occurred anywhere in the world that affected Jews and non-Jews alike in Kolomea as well as elsewhere. The event of printing presses, wireless radio, the automobile, and the like certainly affected the way of life of many. We are not too concerned with such events in this project. We would like to focus on those events which more or less had direct influence on the way of life of Jews in Kolomea specifically and only incidentally to other people elsewhere. We are not rejecting events that impacted on Jews outside of Kolomea. The laws which required Jews to have surnames is an event we want to include. In particular if such a surname-law applied differently to Jews in Kolomea or Galicia as opposed to say Jews in Austria proper or elsewhere in Europe, we want to distinguish that specific event (disparity in law). World Wars, partitioning of what was Galicia, and events of that nature are surely wanted, but we must focus on the particulars that impacted most on Jews of Kolomea.
Three official spellings of the town in question are generally recognized. KOLOMEA was the Austrian-German spelling. KOLOMYJA was the Polish spelling. KOLOMYYA is said to be the Ukrainian spelling. KOLOMEA spelling is used throughout this report unless it is significant to use one of the other spellings to clarify matters.
Whenever possible a complete date (month, day, year) is desired for an event; otherwise, a partial date (month, year or year alone) is given. If an event like a law was enacted, then later repealed or amended, both the enactment date and the repeal/amendment date would be given in the appropriate place on the dateline.
DATELINE OF EVENTS
German colonization in Galicia started primarily by priests, soldiers, artisans and traders.
A flourishing Jewish community existed in Kolomyja.
Jews allowed to live in Kolomea with some restrictions
Jews are permitted to have land to build a synagogue and cemetery
Chmielnick forces kill 300 Jews, nearly entire community
Jews move back to Kolomea, are in retail trade and wholesale lumber
Jewish population in Kolomyja is 1,072.
In first partition of Poland Eastern Galicia plus land to the West between the San
and the Vistula were annexed by Austria, including Kolomea. Austrians restrict
Jewish trade in lumber and salt. The Hasidic movement is prominent in Kolomea.
Groups include followers of the Boyan, Vizhnuitz, Otynia, Zhadachov, Chortakov,
and Kosov rabbis. Special taxes are imposed on Jews for marriage permits,
kosher meat, synagogues, and similar items. Marriage is restricted to the
oldest son and quotas are placed on number of Jewish families that
can reside in an area are applied to all Galicia.
Jewish marriage requires permission of government and
payment of fee. Major decline in civil marriages.
Judenordnung is issued. It re-establishes a kehillah system
of self-governance of the Jewish community.
Jewish Leibmaut or ‘body tax’ is abolished. Decrees issued
to establish Jewish rights to education, military service and
professions. Marriage restriction are unchanged.
February 4, 1782
Jewish physicians of Galicia granted permission to treat
Austrian legislature confirms mandated civil marriage
and creates Catholic registration of Jewish births, marriages,
and deaths. Tax on kosher meat is increased.
Government establishes Jewish elementary school.
January 1, 1788
Hereditary surnames required.
February 17, 1788
Conscription of Jews to the Austro-Hungarian army.
Jewish marriage requirements relaxed. Judenpatent establishes
141 Jewish communities in Galicia. and reduces the scope of
Jewish autonomy. Kosher meat tax is increased again.
1791 - 1800
Conscription of Jews abolished and replaced by a 30 zloty levy
for each young man of military age.
Additional land East and West of the Vistula were annexed by Austria.
Secular education for Jews is mandated again.
Census in Galicia indicates there are 250,000 Jews.
Francis Ferdinand concedes defeat in mandated education for Jews.
Chassidism entrenched in Galicia.
Jewish population in Kolomea is 2,033.
Prohibition against publishing or importing Hebrew and Yiddish books.
Taxes on candles and kosher meat increased.
A charitable society, Gemilut Chasidim, was established to
help the sick and deal with burials.
November 6, 1834
Jews of Austria forbidden to have first names of Christian saints
Rosenheck is elected to the Galician parliament (Sejm) in Lvov,
but it fails to meet. There is a Cholera epidemic.
Austria abolishes serfdom in Galicia.
33 women and 3 children died in the synagogue on Yom Kippur.
A false fire alarm during prayers caused a panic and victims
died in the scramble to get out of the crowded synagogue.
A Jewish hospital was established.
Jews are allowed to own real estate and buy houses.
Eliezer Ducas is elected to Galician Sejm and serves until
his death in 1865. Four Jews are elected to the Galician Diet.
Jewish birth records include maiden names, witnesses, and midwives.
Fire destroys 500 houses. 1,000 families, mostly Jewish,
are left homeless and are given community aid to rebuild.
Austria allows region a large degree of administrative autonomy. Region becomes Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Rabbi Hillel Lichenstein, a renowned traditional scholar, is Chief Rabbi of
Lvov-Jassy-Czernowicz railway line come through Kolomea
and improves trade with other areas in Austria and beyond.
Jewish population is 8,232 which is nearly 50% of Kolomea.
Emancipation of Jews in Galicia declared. Over 500,000 Jews
live in Galicia. Orthodox Jews begin political involvement.
Dr. Oscar Henigsman is the first Jewish representative from
the Kolomea district to be elected to Austrian Parliament in Wien.
Kehillot must appoint official rabbis to collect and maintain
registration of births, marriages, and death records. Rabbis also
become civil agents for officiating at marriages. Publication of law
sets Jewish district composition
Jews win the majority of seats in town council elections
and Dr. Maximilian Trachtenberg, a lawyer, is elected mayor
of Kolomea and serves until 1885.
Jewish population in Kolomea rises to 12,002.
Dr. Samuel Bloch, Chief Rabbi of Florisdorf is elected to Austrian
Parliament. Tallit weaving factory established by Shimon Heller.
Jewish elementary school founded by Israelitische Alliance zu Wien.
Dr. Bloch’s candidacy for re-election is opposed by Hasidic groups
supporting Polish candidate and pre-election riots breakout.
Prayer shawl workers go on strike for better pay and working
Poles support candidacy of Mayor Trachtenberg for Galician Sejm
seat and he defeats Dr. Bloch and serves in Parliament until 1900.
Kolomea’s Jewish population is 16,568, again nearly 50%
of the town’s population. The Jewish community has a
Great Synagogue, about 30 other synagogues and Hasidic
prayer houses, two houses of study, and numerous small prayer
Jews are prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages.
Jews are prohibited from salt and wine occupations.
World War I begins and many Jews flee the town as the Russians
advance and occupy Kolomea in September. Jews are abused for
supposedly supporting the Austrians and many Jewish homes are
ransacked and destroyed.
Austrians retake Kolomea.
War ends and Kolomyya is under Western Ukrainian People’s
Republic rule. Many Jewish businesses were destroyed during the war.
Anti-Semitic attacks increase. Wesyern Ukraine annexed by Poland
Western Ukraine including Kolomyja becomes part of Poland.
Polish government policies towards Jews restrict Jewish economic
recovery. About half of the Jewish community needs help from
its welfare institutions. First group of Zionist youths leaves
Kolomyja for Palestine.
Orphanage and old age home funded.
Lace factory and cooperative formed. Horowitz drape and
bedding factory employs 400. Other employment is found in
bakeries, tanneries, weaving, printing, carpentry, metal working,
poultry, egg, and airy product distribution, breweries, and
Political and Zionist adult and youth groups include the Bund,
Hashomer, Hatsair, Hitahadut, He-Halutz, Hakhshara, Herzlia,
Gordonia, Betar, Mizrachi, Agudat Israel, and Tarbut.
A cultural association, Halevy, was begun in 1924 and had choirs,
a theater group, and a 75 member orchestra. Cultural figures
included: Yiddish poet Itzik Manger, whose mother was from
Kolomyja, visited the city and mentioned it in his poems.
Yiddish poet Naftali Gross was born in Kolomyja and wrote
his first poems there. He continued his career in Canada and
New York. Chaim Gross, renowned artist and sculptor was
from Kolomea. Other notable cultural figures were musician
Emanual Feuerman, historian Chaim Ringleblum, the Hebrew
librarian Jacob Bitter, the poet and translator Dr. Binew Frish,
and the poet A. D. Verbener.
Jewish newspapers included: Undzer Leben,
Der Zelbastschutz, Nai Kolomeyer,
Tzeitung, Folks Blat, and the Zionist
Joseph Lau, the last Kolomyja Chief Rabbi, is elected with
the help of a coalition of Agudat Israel and Mizachi religious parties.
Bankruptcies increase. Help given by new cooperative banks
and charity funds, central soup kitchen with branches, Opika to
help children, clinics at the Jewish hospital.
Jewish refugees expelled from Nazi Germany to their places
of origin as well as Czech and Austrian Jews arrive in Kolomyja
and are given aid.
September 17, 1939
Soviets occupy Kolomyja and Jewish organizations cease operating. Western Ukraine becomes part of USSR
New Soviet identity cards limit where former businessmen and refugees can live
and travel. Most businesses are nationalized or have join cooperatives. Zionist
youth groups secretly try to cross the border to Rumania to get to Israel, but few
succeed. Many are caught and deported to Siberia.
June 30, 1941
The Soviet army retreats from Kolomyja as the Germans advance. Some army
draftees and doctors and nurses go with them.
July 4, 1941
Hungarian troops allied with Germany occupy Kolomyja.
July 24, 1941
German SS troops arrive and are stopped from killing 2,000 Jews by the
August 1, 1941
East Galicia comes under the direct rule of Germans.
A Judenrat, a Jewish governing body, is established to deal with
the Germans. Marcus (Mordechai) Horowitz is the chairman.
November 15, 1941
500 Jews from Kolomyja executed by Nazis
August - December 1941
Property is confiscated, forced labor is begun, fines are levied
and arrests followed by slaughter in Szeparowice forest begins.
The Great Synagogues and others are destroyed.
January 24, 1942
Nazi attacks against Jewish intelligentsia
March 24, 1942
A ghetto with three sections is established and all Jews
must move into the fenced in area.
April 2, 1942
First mass roundups and deportations to Belzec death camp.
About 1,000 are sent out.
September 7, 1942
8,700 Jews sent to Belzec
October 3, 1942
4,500-5,000 Jews sent to Belzec
September - November 1942
Thousands more Jews sent to belzec. Thousands killed in Kolomyja or
Szeparowice forest. 400 orphans shot in the orphanage.
Marcus Horowitz, chairman of Judenrat, commits suicide.
February 2, 1943
Last 1,500 Jews shot in Szepariwice forest. Ghetto is destroyed.
Soviets occupy Kolomyya and all of Ukraine becomes part
of USSR. Hidden survivors and those that escaped to Russia return,
but most move on after finding no family or friends left.
Estimated about 200 Jewish families in Kolomyya
Estimated about 70 families in Kolomyya
USSR dissolves and Ukraine becomes independent country.
1. Encyclopedia Judaica, Kolomyya.
First Draft: October 24, 2001
2. Extermination of the Jews of Galicia, by Robin O’Neil, chapter 6,
the Jews of Kolomyja and District,
3. Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsyclopediya shel ha-yesshuvim
le-min hivisidam ve-ad le-aher milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya,
Pinkas Hakehillot, Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities,
Jerusalem, Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance
Authority, Poland, Vol. 2 Eastern Galicia, ed. Danuta Dobrowska,
Abraham Wein, Aharon Weiss, 1980.
4. Pinkas Kolomey, (Kolomeyer Memorial Book), ed. Shlomo
Bickel, New York, 1957.
5. Sefer Zikaron le-kehillat Kolomey ve-ha-sevivah,
(Kolomeyer memorial Book), ed. D. Noy and M. Shutzman,
former residents of Kolomyja and Surroundings in Israel, 1972.
6. To Tell At Last, Survival Under False Identity, 1941-1945,
Blanca Rosenberg, University of Illinois Press, 1995.
7. Two Brothers, by Siegfried Haber and Max Haber,
Division of Holocaust Studies, The Institute of Contemporary Judaism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1981.
8. Ivano-Frankivsk, http://www.geocities.com
11. Grodzoski, Stanislaw, The Jewish Question in Galicia: The Reforms of
Maria Theresa and Joseph II, 1772-1790. Studies in Polish Jewry
Volume 12. Focusing on Galicia: Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians 1772-1918.
The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, London: 1999, pages 61-72.
12. Wynne, Susan, “Highlights of Galician History,” The Galitizianer, Vol. 9, No. 2, February 2002, pp20-21.
Revised 23 March 2002
Copyright © 2001
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