The city of Uman, founded in the seventeenth century as a defensive fort against the
Tatars,is located along the Umanka river. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth
centuries, control of the town changed hands a number of times between Polish and
Ukrainian authorities.Despite these changes, Uman became an important economic
center in the region.
Jews were living in Uman at the time of the anti-Polish Haidamak insurrection of 1749;
many of these Jews were killed and their property stolen.
Within a decade, approximately
four-hundredfifty Jews came to repopulate Uman. However, subsequent Haidamak
rebellions, particularlythat of 1768, caused great trauma to the Jewish community.
The 1768 uprising decimated the Jews of Uman it's estimated that several
thousand Jews andPoles were brutally murdered.
The 1768 massacre is commemorated by fastingon the fifth of Tammuz (July-August).
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, who died in 1810,
spent his last months in Uman, where
he is buried among the victims of the 1768 massacre.
Hasidic Jews still make annual pilgrimages to the Rebbe's grave on Rosh Hashana.
For more about Rebbe Nachman, see Rebbe.
The Bolshevik Revolution morphed into the Russian Civil War of 1919-1921 and the
Jews, caught between the protagonists, again became victims of vicious pogroms.
In Uman, the Jewish residents were killed primarily by the Cossacks led by Symon
In 1941, the Wehrmacht surrounded Soviet troops near Uman; needless-to-say, the
Nazis won the Battle of Uman. Some time after the battle, the Germans set about
murdering the entire Jewish population of Uman estimated to be 17,000 men,
women, and children and burying themin a mass grave.
To emphasize their hatred, the Nazis and their minions destroyed the Uman cemetery,
where both the victims of the 1768 massacreand Rebbe Nachman are buried.