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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Ukraine (02) 1917-1971

Antisemitism and pogroms - destruction of Jewish institutions since 1918, hunger crisis and exodus - World War II with mass flight to central "Soviet Union" or annihilation of the staying Jews 1941-1943 - Jews from inner "SU" coming back - harsh Antisemitism since Khrushchev - numbers of Jews (table)

from: Ukraine; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 15

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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The Period of the Independent Ukraine and Jewish National Autonomy. [Ukrainians with Jews against Polish imperialism - and dissolution of Jewish institutions and pogroms 1918]

The period from March 1917 to August 1920 constitutes a special chapter in the history of the Jews of the Ukraine. the Ukrainians established a (col. 1517)

After 1917, in the Civil War and under the regime of S. *Petlyura (the "Socialist" government), about 100,000 Jews were murdered in the Ukraine (1919-20), as in the days of Chmielnicki and with the same cruelty (col. 1517).

National Council (the Rada), which in January 1918 proclaimed the separation of the Ukraine from Russia; this episode came to an end in August 1920, when the Red Army completed the conquest of the Ukraine. During this time the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalist movement attempted to reach an agreement with the Jews. They established relations with the leaders of Zionism in eastern Galicia, and jointly waged a struggle against Polish aims in the Ukraine. During this period the Jews were represented in the Rada (with 50 delegates), a secretariat for Jewish affairs was established (July 1917), and a law passed on "personal national autonomy" for the national minorities, among which the Jews were included.

The Jewish ministry (M. *Silberfarb was the first minister; he was succeeded by J. W. *Latzki-Bertholdi) passed a law providing for democratic elections to the administrative bodies of the communities (December 1918), a Jewish National Council was formed, and the Provisional National Council of the Jews of the Ukraine was convened (November 1918).

These institutions were short-lived. In July 1918 the autonomy was abolished, the Jewish ministry was dissolved and the pogroms which then took place without the Ukrainian government taking any effective measures to assure the security of the Jewish population - proved that the whole of this project had been directed more at securing the assistance of the Jewish parties in order to achieve complete separation from Russia than at really developing a new positive attitude toward the Jews. (col. 1518)

[Development in Ukraine after 1917 revolution: exodus and less Jews in Ukraine]

After the abolition of the *Pale of Settlement, with the October 1917 Revolution, the civil war, and the disorders which accompanied it, more than 300,000 Jews left the Ukraine for other parts of the Soviet Union. Hence they formed only 5.4% of the total population and 22% of the urban population of the Ukraine in 1926, and 4.1% and 11.7% respectively in 1939.

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol.15,
                  col.1515-1516, congregation 1918
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol.15, col.1515-1516, congregation of Provisional National Assembly (assembly of Ukrainian Jews) which took place in Kiev, November 1918.

In 1926, 44% of them lived in 20 towns, each having over 10,000 Jews; while in 1939, 39% lived in the four cities of Odessa, Kiev, Kharkov, and Dnepropetrovsk. This intensified urbanization did not, however, give them predominance in the cities, since there also was a stream of Ukrainian peasants from the villages into the towns, which assumed a pronounced Ukrainian character. [...]

During the 1920s and the early 1930s three Jewish districts were created in the areas of Jewish settlement in southeastern Ukraine (*Kalininskoye, Stalinskoye, and *Zlatopol; see also *Yevsektsiya).

[B.D.]> (col. 1518)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol.15,
                    col.1517, He-Halutz farm
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol.15, col.1517, He-Halutz farm: Members of the faction of the "illegal He-Halutz" on a farm near Kiev, 1923. Courtesy Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem.

<Two decades of Soviet regime did little to eradicate the hostility against the Jews.> (col. 1517).

[[Addition: Communist terror of hunger in Ukraine 1918-1921 - NEP - end of NEP in the 1930s
During the 1920s and 1930s orchestrated war of the working class was dominating, so poor Jews got more rights and former bourgeoisie was loosing all rights and got into the Gulag system. Add to this there was famine by the revolution and the lasting war between "Reds" and "Whites", and add to this there was a "collectivization" in the Ukraine which affected many Jewish peasants so there was no bread in Ukraine at the end and millions died. The communist regime of the "Soviet Union" stabilized the situation by New Economic Policy (NEP) which was abrogated in the 1930s because of suspicion of espionage. See all this in: Yehuda Bauer: Joint, and see: Encyclopaedia Judaica: Russia, vol. 14, col. 458-463]].

[100,000 Jews killed in Ukrainian Polish war 1919-1921]

<The sense of disaster was already deeply embedded in the consciousness of European Jews by the events which followed right after the end of World War I. The far greater horrors of the Nazi Holocaust have by now half obscured the murder of about (col. 1054)

one hundred thousand Jews, including women and children, in the Russian-Polish borderland, where Ukrainian and counter-revolutionary Russian army units systematically engaged in killing Jews in the years 1919-21. (col. 1055)>
(from: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1054-1055)

[[And this was the big reason for the emigration wave of the young generation]].

Ukraine during World War II

<During World War II great parts of the Ukrainian population wholeheartedly collaborated with the Nazis in exterminating the Jews in the occupied Ukraine.> (col. 1517)

<For the history of Ukrainian Jewry after World War I and in the Holocaust see *Russia [[but there is no indication about WW II in Ukraine in the *Russia article]].> (col. 1515)

[[Details about Ukraine during WW II
A big part of the Ukrainian Jews was well integrated and could organize the flight to the central "Soviet Union" with the communists and with the Red Army ("Big Flight from Barbarossa", see: *Holocaust, Rescue from). Since 22 June 1941 Ukraine had 10 more days time for the flight because the southern part of the front moved only since 3 July 1941 (see: *Rumania). The staying Jews who had the hope that the situation would not be so bad or were tired to fly or could not organize a flight were denounced by the staying population who were only waiting for the NS occupation. So, the staying Jews were mostly annihilated by the German-Ukrainian Einsatzgruppen in several waves 1941-1943, putting them first into ghettos and then brought to secret places and killed by mass shootings. Others went to the partisans or could hide themselves in a "Christian" family or in a forest or changed names or religion or both, or they became "indispensable" (Germ.: "unabkömmlich") etc. At the end of the war in the Ukraine in 1944 there was a big mass flight of the survivors from the communist Red Army to Palestine or to other non-communist countries. The anti-Semitic "Christian" Orthodox church which gave the ground and was the main force for  Antisemitism is never mentioned as culprit in this article]].

After World War II. [Jews coming back from central "Soviet Union" claiming for their flats, possessions and positions]

During the last stages of World War II and in the period after it, when Nikita Khrushchev was the ruling party man of the Ukraine, Ukrainian Jews who, during the occupation, fled or were evacuated to Soviet Asia, began to stream back and claim their previous housing, possessions, and positions.

[[Many flats and houses did not exist any more, so the struggle for housing was enormous, also because the main part of the Jews came from towns and not from the countryside]].

They were met with outspoken hostility by most of the Ukrainians who had taken their place. The administration refused to interfere in favor of the Jews and generally showed "understanding" for the anti-Jewish reaction, even hushing up [[covering]] violent clashes (as, e.g., in Kiev).

[[As since 1948 the Israel regime under dictator Ben Gurion was cooperating with criminal CIA and criminal "USA" Stalin cut off all connections between the eastern and western Jewry because Israel became another "American" state and was a stone of the encirclement of the "Soviet Union" (which was financed also by the criminal "USA" of course...]]

[Harsh Antisemitism since Khrushchev, closed synagogues and labor camps]

When Khrushchev became the ruling figure in the U.S.S.R. after Stalin's death, and particularly in the 1960s, the traditional hatred of Jews in the Ukraine was again allowed to find free expression in pseudo-scientific literature (e.g., the book by the professional anti-Semite (col. 1518)

Trofim Kichko, Judaism without Embellishment, which appeared in 1963 under the auspices of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences) and in various popular brochures and periodicals. This official anti-Jewish atmosphere prevailed in the Ukraine during the whole postwar period.

[[CIA policy and Israel policy with the criminal "USA" did not change, and after Stalin had died the "Soviet" policy did not change either, so anti-Semitism in the "Soviet Union only got stronger and stronger as a general act of propaganda...]]

The only synagogue in Kharkov was closed down in 1948 and its aged rabbi sent to a labor camp.

[[It can be admitted that there were not many synagogues any more because Ukrainian towns were completely destroyed by German and Russian bombings 1941-1944]].

In Kiev the only remaining synagogue was put under severe surveillance of the secret police, more than in other Soviet cities. Yiddish folklore concerts and shows were  almost completely banned from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, though they were allowed to take place occasionally in Ukrainian provincial towns.

An interesting reaction to this trend "from above" became noticeable in the late 1960s among Ukrainian intellectuals who openly strove to achieve more freedom in civil and national rights. Though engaged in defending the Ukrainian character of their republic against "russification", some of them went out of their way to emphasize their solidarity with Jewish demands for the revival of Jewish culture and education. They also identified with the Jewish attempt to keep alive the remembrance of the Holocaust against the official policy of obliterating it.

Young Ukrainian writers, most of them Communist Party members, expressed this new trend in Ukrainian national thought in various ways, and even in labor camps after their arrest for "bourgeois nationalism". A particular impression was made in 1966 by the speech of the writer Ivan Dzyuba in *Babi Yar on the anniversary of the massacre (October 29). It was published only in the West, but it became widely known among Jews and educated non-Jews in the Ukraine.

From 1969 some Jewish families in Kharkov, Kiev, and Odessa were allowed to leave the U.S.S.R. for [[Herzl]] Israel. (col. 1519)

[Numbers of Jews in the Ukraine 16th century to 1959]

<UKRAINE (Rus. Ukraina), Union Republic in the southwestern U.S.S.R. At the close of the 16th century there were about 45,000 Jews (out of the 100,000 Jews who were then presumably in the whole of Poland) living in the eastern regions of Poland which were inhabited by Ukrainians.

Before the *Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-49 (col. 1513)

their numbers had increased to at least 150,000; in the census of 1764, 258,000 Jews were enumerated, though in fact their number was over 300,000.

In 1847, according to official sources, there were almost 600,000 Jews in the Ukrainian regions belonging to Russia (the provinces of southwestern Russia - *Volhynia, *Podolia, and *Kiev; of "Little Russia" - *Chernigov and *Poltava; and of "New Russia" - Yekaterinoslav (*Dnepropetrovsk), *Kherson, and Taurida), though they actually numbered up to 900,000.
According to the population census of 1897 (the first general census in Russia), there were 1,927,268 Jews in these regions, 9.2% of the total population of the Ukraine.

The census of 1926 enumerated 1,574,391 Jews in the Ukraine, subsequent to the detachment of half of the province of Volhynia (the second half was then within the borders of Poland), half of the province of Taurida, and a small section of the province of Chiernigov, while several districts of the Don region had been incorporated into it. The Jews then constituted 5,43% of the total population of the Ukraine.

The census of 1939 enumerated 1,532,827 Jews in the Ukraine (4.9% of the total).

According to the census of 1959, which also included the Jews of the regions which had passed to Russia after World War II (eastern *Galicia, northern *Bukovina, *Subcarpathian Ruthenia), there were 840,319 Jews in the Ukraine (2% of the total). According to this census, which was generally regarded as underestimating their numbers, Jews were concentrated in the towns of Kiev (153,500), *Odessa (106,700), *Kharkov (84,000), Dnepropetrovsk (52,800), *Chernovtsy (Czernowitz; 36,500), *Lvov (24,700), and *Donetsk (21,000). About 80% of the Jews of the Ukraine declared their mother tongue as Russian, about 17% (142,240) as Yiddish, and only about 3% as Ukrainian. (col. 1514)

Jews in Ukraine
16th century
about 45,000xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
over 150,000xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1764 (census)
over 300,000 estimatedxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1847 (official sources)
almost 600,000xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
actually up to 900,000xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1897 (census)
1917-1921 (exodus, (col. 1515)

1926 (census)
1959 (census)
from: Ukraine; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 15, col. 1513-1514, 1515

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-- I.I. Malyshevski: Yevrei v yuzhnoy Rusi i Kiyeve v X.XII vekakh (1878)
-- Akhiv yugo-zapadnoy Rossii, 5 pt. 2 (1890)
-- M. Zilberfarb: Dos Yidishe Avtonomye in Ukraine (1919)
-- L. Khazanovich: Der Yidisher Ministerium un die Yidishe Khurbn in Ukraine (1920)
-- E. Heifetz: The Slaughter of the Jews in the Ukraine in 1919 (1921)
-- J. Lestschinsky: Dos YidisheFolk in Tsifern (1922)
-- idem: Ha-Yehudim be-Rusyah ha-Sovyetit (1943)
-- A. Druyanow (ed.): Reshummot, 3 (1923)
-- E. Tcherikower: Antisemitizm un Pogromen in Ukraine 1917-1918 (1923)
-- Committee of Jewish Delegations: The Pogroms in the Ukraine under the Ukrainian Governments, 1917-1920 (1927)
-- E.D. Rosenthal: Megillat ha-Tevah, 3 pts. (1927-31)
-- H. Landau, in: YIVO Shriftn far Ekonomik un Statistik, 1 (1928), 98-104
-- Eshkol. Enziklopedyah Yisre'elit, 1 (1929), 1054-83
-- J. Kantor: Di Yidishe Bafelkerung in Ukraine (1929)
-- J. Shatzky, in: YIVO Historishe Sektsye: Gzeyres Takh (1938)
-- L. Zinger: Dos Banayte Folk (1941)
-- B. Dionaburg, in: Zion, 8-10 (1943-45)
-- S. Ettinger: ibid., 20 (1955), 128-52; 21 (1956), 107-42
-- R. Mahler: Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Polin (1946)
-- I. Halpern: Beit Yisrael be-Polin, I (1948), 80-91
-- Dubnow, Divrei, 7 (repr. 1958)
-- O.S. Brik: Ukrayinsko-yevreysky yzayemovidnosyny (1961)
-- S.I. Goldelman: Jewish National Autonomy in Ukraine, 1917-1920 (1968)
-- V. Chornovil: The Chornovil Papers (1968), 222-6 (speech of Ivan Dzyuba).

[ED.]> (col. 1519)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine,
                            vol. 15, col. 1513-1514
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol. 15, col. 1513-1514
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine,
                            vol. 15, col. 1515-1516
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol. 15, col. 1515-1516
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine,
                            vol. 15, col. 1517-1518
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol. 15, col. 1517-1518
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine,
                            vol. 15, col. 1519
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Ukraine, vol. 15, col. 1519