About Shumsk

The town of Shumsk is located at 50'07'/26'07', 62 km south of Rovno. It is called Shumsk in Yiddish, Ukrainian, and Polish, and Shumskoye in Russian.  The Polish spelling Szumsk is sometimes used to this day.  It is now part of the Ternopil Oblast (province) of Ukraine, but is identified with the historic region of Volhynia. It was part of Poland from the 16th century to the end of the 18th century, when it became part of Russia. In 1921 the Treaty of Riga returned Shumsk to Poland. It became part of the USSR in 1939, but was overtaken by the German Army during World War II. In 1945 Shumsk was again part of the USSR, and remained so until the establishment of the independent state of Ukraine in 1991.

The All Russian Census of 1897 listed the population of Shumsk as 2,258, 1,962 of whom (87%) were Jews. Most of the other residents were Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian, with a large number of Ukrainians and some Poles living in the nearby villages. There was significant emigration from the town in the first several decades of the 20th century, primarily to the United States. In the interwar period, a number of Shumsk Jews active in the Zionist movement emigrated to British Mandate Palestine.  Almost all of the Jews who remained in the town were murdered by the Nazis and their sympathizers.  The few who survived were either hidden by righteous gentiles (primarily Shtundists), or fled eastward into the Soviet Union ahead of the Germans.  A handful attempted to resume their lives in the town following the War. Today the town is populated almost entirely by ethnic Ukrainians.

For a Google satellite map, click here. Note: you can now explore Shumsk virtually through Google Street View, but only on a few streets. To "drive" into the old part of town, click here (the site of the synagoge and market square is approximately here).

Here is a detail from a 1927 map during the period of Polish rule.

1927 map

Click here to see a hand-drawn map from memory by Shumsk native Keith Peltz, created half a century after he departed Shumsk.

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