links logo

Smiela (Ukrainian: Сміла, Russian: Смела, Polish: Smiła, Hebrew: סמילה) is a city located on the Dnieper Upland near the Tyasmyn River in the area of Cherkasy Oblast of the Ukraine.

Jewish Population in Smela by year:

1765: 927

1847: 1,270

1863: 6,906

1897: 7,475

1923: 5,867

1939: 3,428

1959: 1,800

The community is located 24 km from Cherkassy and 506 km from Kiev. It had a population of 9,316 people in 1885.

According to Pochilewicz, in 1863 there was a population of 12,614 people including 6,906 Jews. It had 4 Orthodox churches, a Catholic church, the Rozkolnik chapel, a synagogue, 3 Jewish prayer houses, the police and commune board, the magistrate's court, the judicial inquiry's office, the peasant's office, the post office, telegram, an ironworks factory, a railway technical school, a sugar factory with a refinery, an agricultural tools factory, a water mill, 176 shops, 255 craftsmen, a pharmacy, an economic hospital with 25 beds, and two annual fairs on May 9 and August 15 on Fastowska St., in the area of Bobrynskaja Cherkasy, near Bobrynskaya St. by the Catholic parish. The community consisted of 4 districts having rural district offices, 5,617 estates, 12,574 manor estates and 284 church estates. There were three sugar factories and an agricultural tools factory in the community.

~ Maps ~

Cherkasy oblast, Ukraine

Cherkassy Uyezd Map

JewishGen Resource Mapping (49.1039N 32.1580E)

Google Maps


~ History ~

The area where Smila is located belonged to the Mlijów region, which was owned by the Waśkiewicz family, then the Żubryk family.

1536: Sigismund I granted this area to Juśko Tymkiewicz, who founded a farm there, called Juśkowym.

1633: Krystyna Pachucina Korzeniowska, the last of the Żubryk family members, sells the entire Mlijów region to Stanisław Koniecpolski. Due to the peace prevailing at that time and the country's borders being protected from the Tatars, the entire area began to be colonized and populated. In the area of the former Jubkowo, the Taśmin mczko of the słoboda genus settled down.

1643: The hetman Dyaryusz Oświęcim stated that while touring the Ukrainian estates, on October 22, he also visited Tasmin. He saw a huge pond there, spread over several miles.

1646: After the death of Koniecpolski, the estate passed to his only son, Aleksander. After the Korsun defeat, Tasmin becomes a Cossack town and a staging ground for Cossack troops. Shortly afterwards, Chmielnicki handed over Taśmin including Smiła with a large area of land to his son-in-law Daniel Wyhowski. Wyhowski fortified the settlement.

1648 and 1657: The Khmelnytsky Uprising was a Cossack rebellion which led to the creation of a Cossack Hetmanate in Ukraine. The insurgency was accompanied by mass atrocities committed by Cossacks against the civilian population, especially against the Roman Catholic and Ruthenian Uniate clergy and the Jews.

1650: The Smela Jewish community was first mentioned.

1657: After the death of Ohmieluicki, before Wyhowski concluded the so-called Hadziack pacts, he had hoped that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth would still keep him in possession of Smiła. Not only did he convert, but he even offered his services to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1659: After Aleksander passes, his son Stanisław raised a solemn protest before the Polish Parliament and demanded the return of his goods. Therefore, a delegation was appointed to review his complaint. He was ordered to return the inheritance as he provided incorrect information. He was actually only the nominal heir of the Śmilan region.

1674: The regiment Pereyaslav Dmitrashko besieged Smila. The entire population of Smila and the villages belonging to it were driven away by Samujłowicz across the Dnieper. Then the armies of both hetmans and the Tatar hordes were moving around this area in various directions and in June they met at Smila.

1682: Stanisław Koniecpolski passes and hands over the estate to his son, Jan Aleksander. But these properties were completely empty at that time.

1711: Only with the Prut Treaty did peace return to these parties. Then Smila's heir could finally start organizing the estate, starting, of course, with the colonization of empty spaces. He entrusted the main direction of this activity to a certain Rogowski.

October 11, 1725: Koniecpolski died without issue, in Rakołupy. The inheritance of the Koniecpolski family passed to their Walewski kin; and they sold a significant part of the inherited goods to the priest, Jerzy Lubomirski who was the guard of the crown. It is true that the Smilański area was still a desert, but thanks to Rogowski Smila had a growing population. The town barely recovered from the great haidamaks riots, which suffered defeats at that time.

1738: Smila was hit by a plague. The regiment constituted there at the time was the so-called Ukrainian party near Maliński. Decimated by the plague, they had to break camp and moved further away. As soon as the army gave way, the haidamaks again fell into Smila and devastated the town.

1761: Stanisław made Volhyniecki of Wołyniec a commissioner for the Ukrainian estates of Smila regardless of the fact that Józef Wąż had already been a commissioner in Smila for a long time. He had an order from the young princes not to allow Volyniecki to approach the commissioner. However, Volhyniecki did not pay any attention to this; On the way Volhyniecki bribed the orderly of Pułaski, the marshal of the union, to bring him armed men to Smila. So when Volhyniecki arrived at the place and showed the order to Temberski, the captain of the horod Cossacks, Volhyniecki also began to attack the castle, where the Cossacks were defending themselves with the court militia, led by Mrs. Wężyna because her husband was away at that time. The Horod Cossacks tried to defend themselves by trickery. The Cossacks brought out their wives the Mezhnevs on the front lines, but when the latter started shooting at their wives and did not surrender, they abandoned the Horod. Therefore, Volynetsky having threatened the Cossacks with revenge from the Bar Confederates, withdrew. Shortly thereafter, when the confederates led by Jasinski entered the Smilan region the people, mindful of Volyniecki's threats took up arms and under the command of Żeleźniak (who had caused a massacre in Jabotin previously) attacked on the 8th, captured the castle and destroyed it. The city was burned and many nobles and Jews were slaughtered. The Catholic chapel was burned down.

1766: A Ukrainian army party, led by regiment commander Ignacy Woronicza relocated into the Smilań region. They gathered in groups from the Moszeński, Śmilański and Chehryń estates to setup camps, built barracks, chambers and stables. According to Lubomirski, the entire Smilan region was divided into sections, the so-called gubernias (provinces), namely Smilan, Kamion, Mliev, Szpolan and Łebedyna. After Dobrzański, Józef Wąż became the governor. The settlement of the empty areas required financial resources, so the prince heir distributed the settlement rights to the nobility who, having received it on apparently favorable terms willingly contributed their labor and capital.

1768: A preserved Act for Józef Chrząszczewski, a Livonian Lieutenant, gave him permission to settle in the Meżyhorskie area. Chrząszczewski was allowed to use the area for 5 years, and the peasants settling there were free for three years. Chrząszczewski was allowed to settle this area only with foreign people, not with those brought from the lord's estates. After three years, the settled peasants were obliged to pay tribute to the treasury and heir, which was common practice throughout the Smilan estate. It was also possible to rent taverns and regulate them, provided that drinks were served at a fair and standard price throughout the Smilan estate. The document was signed by Jerzy Metelski who was the main manager of the princely estates in Rivne, Volhynia.

1768: The killing of Polish Nobles and Jews during the Haidamak riots occurred in Smila. The Jewish Community is said to have been destroyed at this time.

1769: Having destroyed Novoserbia, the Tatars then entered the Śmilanszczyzna region, from where they kidnapped many people and stole property, according to Tad's notes. The young priests of the Lumirski family faced with their father's growing madness, asked the king to take them under his guardianship. They were supported by other relatives and forced the priest Stanisław to give up his fortune in favor of his sons and to settle for a considerable salary.

1793: The Second Partition of Poland cedes the areas of Cherkassy and Podolia to the Russian Empire which includes Smiela.

1795: The Third partition of Poland ended Polish and Lithuanian sovereignty.

1804: Alexander I compels Jews to adopt surnames and to be expelled from villages.

1826-1837: Second Cholera Epidemic.

1827: Conscription laws introduced by Czar Nicolas I of Russia took Jewish children 12 years old and some as young as 8 and 9 years old.

1827: Jewish and Karaite boys drafted at the age of 12 for a six year military education in Cantonist schools. At 18 years old they were required to serve in the Imperial Russian Army for 25 years.

1830-1831: Cholera Epidemic spreads across Russia. Total deaths approximately 100,000.

1834: The terms of service for the Russian Army reduced to 20 years plus 5 years in reserve.

1835: The Statute of 1835 suspends the expulsion of Jews from villages.

1846-60: The Third Cholera Pandemic.

1850: Jewish army personnel were allowed to settle in Podol and Lebed in Kiev city.

1855: The terms of service for the Russian Army reduced to 12 years plus 3 years in reserve.

Mar 02, 1855: Czar Nicholas I of Russia passes, son Alexander II succeeds him and repeals the conscription laws within a year.

Mar 01, 1856: Russia's defeat ended the Crimean War.

Aug 26, 1856: Cantonist policies are abolished.

1859: Statute Regarding military Service of Jews rescinded.

1859: Jewish professionals and army veterans again were allowed to settle in Podol and Lebed in Kiev city.

Mar 13, 1881: Czar Alexander II assassinated setting off a pogrom against Jews lasting over a year. This caused the first wave of mass Russian Jewish immigration to America.

May 1881: Pogroms in Elizavetgrad, Kiev and Odessa Kiev City.

May 03, 1881: Pogrom in Smeila 7 Jews were killed, property damaged.

Apr 1882: Pogrom in Smeila includes fire and riots, with 300 Jews homeless.

May 14-15, 1919: Town of Smela (Government of Kiev) during a Pogrom perpetrated in Smela by the bands of Grigoryev, over 80 Jews were killed and hundreds of Jewish houses, stores, and workshops were destroyed.

1939-1945: Under German occupation during World War II, the entire Jewish community was exterminated.

1959: After WWII, Jews resettle the city and by this time about 1,800 reportedly lived there.

See the Smiela page.