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Jewish Families from Horodenka, Ukraine

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This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Horodenka, Ukraine also known as Gorodenka.


16th Century

Jews began to settle in Horodenka in the 16th century, but the town experienced greatest influx of the Jewish population after being chartered under Magdeburg Law. In 1743, the Potocki family gave the community trade and craftsmanship privileges; a plot was designated for the construction of the synagogue and the cemetery.

18th Century

In the mid-18th century, Jews defeated the Armenians in the competition to dominate the local economy. In 1775, as many as 863 Jewish families lived in Horodenka. The Jews of Horodenka and the neighbouring areas traded in grain, wood, salt; they were also engaged in wine-making, brewing, ran taverns, and were leaseholders and property managers.

In the mid-18th century, followers of Sabbatism and then of Frankism came to Horodenka. In 1760, a group of local supporters of Hasidism was founded. It was headed by Nachman of Horodenka (died in 1780), a close disciple of Baal Shem Tov.

19th & 20th Century

In the 19th century, the Jewish population of Horodenka continued to grow. In 1900, the town had 4,255 Jewish inhabitants and 11,613 residents in total. Jews held almost half of the seats in the City Council.

Between 1898 and 1914, a Jewish school operated in Horodenka; it was funded by Baron Maurice de Hirsch. In 1907, a reformed cheder was opened. All of its classes were offered exclusively in Hebrew. During World War I, Jewish houses were burned down and nine Jews accused of spying were hanged.

In 1921, the Jewish population of Horodenka consisted of 3,048 people (out of 9,907 inhabitants). In the interwar years, many of them migrated to America and Palestine.

1941 - 1944

On 5 July 1941, Horodenka was invaded by the Hungarian army. Numerous Jews were killed in a pogrom carried out by the local Ukrainian population. Their property was looted. In September 1941, Horodenka was occupied by Germans.

The situation of Jews got even worse. On 4 December 1941, the Gestapo unit from Kołomyja came to Horodenka. They ordered for all Jews to gather in the synagogue under the pretext of vaccination against typhus. The Germans separated a group of workers from the crowd. The next day, all other Jews, ca. 2,600 people, including ca. 1,000 children, were taken to the forest by the Dniester, near Siemiakowce and Michalcza, and were shot. The bodies of the dead and the wounded were buried in a mass grave.

After the extermination campaign, a ghetto was established in Horodenka. On 13 April 1942, Germans shot almost a hundred Jews inside. On 10 September  1942, the ghetto was liquidated and its inhabitants were sent to the German Nazi death camp in Bełżec. In March 1944, Horodenka came under the control of the Soviet army. By that time, there were only a few Jews left in the town, all of whom eventually migrated out of the country. According to the 2001 census, there are no Jews in the town. Horodenka: The Great Synagogue