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.
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
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
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.
Here is a detail from a 1927 map during the period
of Polish rule.
Click here to see a hand-drawn map from memory by Shumsk native Keith Peltz, half a century after he departed Shumsk.