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Monastyrishche (48° 59' N, 29° 49' E) is located 24 miles northwest of Uman and 63 miles east southeast of Vinnitsa.  In 1765 there was a total of 107 Jews living in Monastyrishche.1  In 1863 this number increased to 1,165.2  By 1897 the Jews numbered 2,620, or 28%, of the total population of 9,404.3

Monastyrishche is on the banks of the Konela River in an area consisting of hills and valleys.  In the 1870s the farmers supported their families by fruit farming, growing corn and bee keeping.  The farmers needed the bees to pollinate lime trees in the nearby forests.  The local economy supported an alcohol distillery, a brickyard, a steam mill, four water mills and 150 craftsmen.  Monastyrishche held a fair one day every two weeks.  The town also had a police station and a post office.  Monastyrishche had one Roman Catholic and four Orthodox churches but the Polish source has no reference to any synagogues.4

Monastyrishche began as a settlement about 1400 after departure of the Mongols.  The area came under Lithuanian control sometime in the fifteenth century.  Local tradition has the settlement named after a monastery located near a castle.5  Monastyrishche became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania until the Union of Brest-Litovsk in 1569 when Poland annexed the areas of Volhynia and Ukraine.6  There were three partitions of Poland in the second half of the eighteenth century.  The second partition in 1793 affected Monastyrishche by transferring the area of Kiev to the Russian Empire.  (The city of Kiev became part of Russia in 1667.)  Other areas transferred to the Russian Empire in 1793 included Podolia and Minsk.  The table below shows the countries that controlled Monastyrishche from the fifteenth century until today.

Polish magnate families owned Monastyrishche from the late sixteenth century through the nineteenth century:  the Wisznowiecki family in the seventeenth century; the Tarlas and Lanckoronski families in the eighteenth century; and the Kalm-Podolski family in the nineteenth century.7

Jews first appeared in Monastyrishche in the first half of the seventeenth century.  Pogroms occurred there during the Chmielnitsky Uprising in 1648-1649 and also during the Haidamak revolt in the 1760s. The Jewish community created a cemetery in Monastyrishche in the late eighteenth century. Birth, marriage and death records for the only year in which this information is available show that there were 56 births, six marriages and 14 deaths in 1851.10  Pinkhas Chernyi was the spiritual rabbi of a congregation that had a synagogue with two prayer houses.  "The congregation had 580 (presumably males over age 13) members."  Shaya Abramovskii was the official rabbi of the congregation.11  Monastyrishche had three synagogues and Jewish schools in 1900.12 

Sources vary on the number of lives lost and date(s) the pogrom(s) occurred in Monastyrishche during the Civil War that followed the Russian Revolution.13  The number of Jews killed in Monastyrishche ranges from 106 to only three. 

A Yiddish-speaking school opened in 1920 while the traditional primary schools continued to exist.  Most Monastyrishche Jews were craftsmen or workers in the Soviet Union during the period between the two world wars.  The Jewish population decreased to 1,398, or 74% of the total population by 1939,14 compared to 2,620, or 28%, in the Russian census of 1897.

Following World War II approximately fifty Jews lived in Monastyrishche.  They did what they could to observe some Jewish religious practices through an underground minyan.  Most of the Jews in Monastyrishche immigrated to Israel in the 1990s.  There were eight Jews still living there in 2010.15

1  Shmuel Spector and Geoffrey Wigoder, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust (New York, 2001), p. 844.
2  Lo Tishkach Foundation, European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, Ukraine, Cherkassy Oblast
Spector and Wigoder, pp. 844-5.
4  E. Rulikowski, Slownik Geograficzny Krolestwa Polskiego (1880 - 1902), VI, pp. 654-658, "Monasterzyska". trans. A. Kaniak, 2009.
6  Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Central Europe (Seattle, 2002), p. 46.
7  Rulikowski
8  Yadvashem.org
9  Lo Tishkach, European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, Ukraine, Cherkassy Oblast
10 Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine in Kiev. (English translation by Alex Denisenko)
11 Message from Herbert Lazerow dated January 31, 2012.
12 Lo Tishkach
13 The Untold Stories at Yad Vashem has 106 Jews killed in pogroms in Monastyrishche by the White Army, Petlyura's Ukrainian Army and local gangs during the Russian Civil War (1918-1920).  The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust (p. 844) reports three Jews killed in a pogrom in Monastyrishche on November 19, 1917.  Lo Tishkach agrees with the Encyclopedia that three Jews were killed but the pogrom occurred in 1920 not 1917.
14 Yadvashem.org
15 Lo Tishkach

Political Control of Monastyrishche

Time Period
Before Union of Lublin (c. 1569)

Before Polish Partition (c. 1793)

Before WWI (c. 1900)
Russian Empire
Between the wars (c. 1930)
Ukraine SSR
Soviet Union
After WWII (c.1950)

Soviet Union
Since 1991


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