Shtetl Routes. Vestiges of Jewish cultural heritage in cross-border tourism in borderland of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine


Shtetl Routes. Vestiges of Jewish cultural heritage in cross-border tourism in borderland of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine


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Pidhaitsi - Cultural Heritage Card

Pidhaitsi is located on the coast of the river Koropets (Dniester’s confluent), 70 km from Ternopil and 30 km from Berezhany, 392 m above the sea level. Pidhaitsli is a district center in Ternopil region. As of 2013 the population amounted to 2, 866 persons. Obviously, the name comes from the designation of the place of location: “city near woods” (pid hayem). The town is located on the edge of Volyn-Podillya Upland. Due to the original microclimate it is also known as “Zymni Pidhaitsi”. It is known that the snow lies here several weeks longer than in the neighboring districts.

Buildings at the market square in Pidhaitsi
Buildings at the market square in Pidhaitsi (Author: Majuk, Emil)

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Pidhaitsi was already known from the XIV century. In the document the name of the landlord of those times is mentioned: Dionisiy from Pidhaitsi. The primitive settlement existed on the territory of the modern village Stare Misto which now is actually the Pidhaitsi suburbs, only one church was here. Pidhaitsi has become the city in 1463. The first written notice about the city is dated 1397. Kniagnytskys barons were the first famous owners of Pidhaitsi. Around 1414 Kniagnytskyi gave his daughter Elzhbeta in marriage to Mikhal Bychatskyi and gave Pidhaitsi to him. After Mikhal died in the battle with Tatars in 1438 Elzhbeta remained the owner of Pidhaitsi. She together with their five sons settled most probably in Buchach. One of her sons –Jacob Buchatskyi in 1448 received Pidhaitsi as a property and made the city his family nest. Buchatskys laid the castle here and the first Catholic parish in XV century. In 1534 the town became the property of Volskyi’s family. At that time the settlement did not have the rights of the city, but was called such in the documents. In 1539 Pidhaitsi received the Magdeburg right. The Pidhaitsi castle was restored and turned into a strong fortress.

During the times of Mikolay Volskyi a serious crisis occurred in the environment of Pidhaitsi Catholic community: Arianism expanded sweepingly in the city (antitrinitarians). Around 1600 Arians even captured Pidhaitsi Church. In 1605 Mikolai Volsky sold the city to Stanislav Goilskyi and Pidhaitsi became the residence of Golskyi’s family.

After the death of Stanislav Golskyi in 1612 Pidhaitsi were transferred to his brother Kamyanets castellan Yan Golskyi. However, in 1613 Yan died and his widow Sofiia from Zamiekhov Golska became the landlady of the city. In 1634 Sofiia Volska, sister-in-law of the owner Stanislav, founded the church the ruins of which survived to this day.

In 1641 Pidhaitsi became the ownership of Pototskyi’s family. This period was the time of the greatest prosperity in the history of the city. The castle was restored, the stone cross-like City Hall and other houses were built. Stanislav Pototskyi built the local castle and the city walls surrounding the city which protected the city against the Tatars’ invasion. In 1655 his wife laid the defensive wall. Apart from the church and synagogue there were 6 (in XVIII – 7) Rus churches on the territory of the city and its suburbs; in 1664 the Armenian (Armenian-Gregorian) church (obviously, stone) is mentioned. Thus, in Pidhaitsi, apart from the Christian (Catholics and Orthodox) and Jewish, there was also the Armenian community, headed by Armenian perfect. In 1650—1653 Rus community built the stone church of the God Mother’s Dormition which survived to this day. Stanislav Pototskyi Revera died in 1667. He was buried in the Holy Trinity Chapel, in Potoskyi’s family crypt. The year of death of Stanislav Pototskyi Revera, Hetman, and later the King Yan Sobiseki received the clear-cut victory over the Cossacks-Tatars’ forces of Petro Doroshenko. The agreement was signed in Pidhaitsi church according to which Petro Doroshenko and Zaporozhian host promised the loyalty to the Polish king.

The wars of the XVII century had negative impact on the city development. On 9-10 September 1678 huge Turkish army destroyed Pidhaitsi completely. To restore the city, Felix Kazymyr Pototskyi ordered to exempt Pidhaitsi from all taxes for 12 years, however, this did not help the city much. After the death of Felix Kazymyr the city was transferred to his son, and later – to the grandson Yevstakhiy. They all lived in the estates in the Historical Poland. Maryan was the last of Pototskyi’s family to live in Pidhaitsi. He was the second son of the earl Yezhy. After that their younger sister Katarzhyna Kossakovska (1724—1803) sold Pidhaitsi to Yuzef Bielskyi. During the reign of Belskyi’s family, as a result of the first division of Rzecz Pospolita the city was transferred to Gabsburg monarchy. In 1783 Pidhaitsi lost the status of the city and turned into the town. Magdeburg right in Halychyna was canceled in 1786.

The Jewish community existed in the city since the early XV century, as some matsevs are dated 1420. In 1519 Pidhaitsi receive the privilege to conduct the fairs and trades which had a positive impact on the development of the Jewish community of the city. The first written information about Jews connected with taxes is dated 1552. In 1580-1620-s in Pidhaitsi Benjamin Aaron Solnyk worked, the student of Lublin marshal and Cracow Remuh, outstanding expert in Galakha. In the late XIX century one of New York synagogues was named after him.

In XVIII century Pidhaitsi became one of the biggest centers of Sabbatianism and Frankism in Podillya. The proponents of Sabbatai Tzvi worked in the city – Shumel Yakiv Falk and Mozhe Davyd, who were considered the outstanding Cabalists. After the Sabbatianism and Frankism were condemned both proponents had to run. He ran to Lviv at first, where he was treated as a wonder-worker and the then – to Hamburg where he served as a Rabin. In 1759 Jacob Frank came to Pidhaitsi. On the verge of XVIII and XIX centuries many Jews started worshiping Hasidism. The successors of Hasids from Pidhaitsi live in New York and Jerusalem till now.

In the early ХХ century over 3, 000 Jews lived in the city. Before the First World War their amount was reduced to 2,000. In 1939 there were 3, 200 Jews in Pidhaitsi.

On the verge of XVIII—XIX centuries the Austrian power dismantled the Pidhaitsi castle, municipal brick fortifications and wooden churches which were in a critical condition, some parishes were dismissed, the church hospitals and cemeteries were liquidated. Big amount of Jews left Pidhaitsi, having moved to the new trading centers. In order to revive the city economy, on 08 June 1820 it was allowed to conduct 11 fairs. In 1867 the city became the center of the newly created Pidhaitsi county, and in early 1870-s Pidhaitsi were returned their status of the city and the municipal gmina was created. In 1887 there was a school in Pidhaitsi, where 7 teachers lectured, and the hospital for 60 patients. In May 1889 as a result of fire 75% of the municipal buildings burned. In 1908 the railway Pidhaitsi-Lviv was constructed (during the First World War this line plaid an important role for the so-called Brusilov Offensive). During the war Pidhaitsi were essentially damaged: 200 houses were destroyed, over 10% of the city population died. During the Ukrainian-Polish war 1918-1919 the city for some time was controlled by the Ukrainian forces.

Before the Second World War 7 thousand of people lived in the city, half of which were Jews. The city was the county center of Ternopil Voivodship.

On 04 July1941 Pidhaitsi were occupied by Wehrmacht. Germans arranged ghetto between the streets Halytska and Berezhanska where over 5, 000 thousand Jews were placed. The first “campaign” took place on 21 September 1942 in Jom Kipur, at that time about 1 thousand Jews were taken to the death camp in Belzhets. Next deportation took place on 31 October 1942. About 1, 200 persons were deported. Since December 1942 about 2, 000 Jews lived in Pidhaitsi ghetto. Starting from August 1942 ghetto was fenced with the steel wire. In 1942 the group of 100 persons headed by Israel Zylber escaped from ghetto. For the period of Ghetto functioning, gendarmerie and police conducted three mass shootings of Jews – in Summer 1942, 01 October 1942 and 06 June 1943. During the last campaign German occupational power sent the part of prisoners to Belzhets, and to the forced labor camp in Ternopil. Ghetto was liquidated in June 1943. In Pidhaitsi on Jewish cemetery in 1942-43 about 300 Jews died, including on 21 September 1942 – about 50, 12 April 1943 - over 40 persons. After Pidhaitsi liberation, in July 1944, about 50 Jews came back to Pidhaitsi.
For the period of the Second World War in the local ghetto over 7 thousand Jews died, 70% of the municipal housing fund was destroyed.

ArcheologyDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

On the territory of Pidhaitsi district the traces of Paleolithic culture, Bronze culture were found. In the village Lytvyniv the traces of komarivska and bilopototska culture were found, in the village of Shumliany the bronze sword of 9 century was excavated.

Religious institutionsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index


The stone synagogue was founded in the city in XVII century. It survived to this day. This building is considered the oldest in the city, several decades older than the Catholic church. Synagogue performed certain fortification functions, defending the Northern section of Rynok Square in the city. The poorest Jews of the city lived nearby. Their huts stood in rows in the narrow passes. Only one good house with its own porch was in this district. It belonged to Avramshe Vakden. In the interwar period, when Zionists won in the community government, Big synagogue has become the place of meeting for all Jews of the city. The national memory days were celebrated there, as well as Balruf Declaration anniversary, death anniversary of the leader of Zionist movement and Jewish Nation visionist Theodor Hertzel, etc. During such celebrations most of the city Jews closed their shops, put on their best clothes and went to the Synagogue to listen to the visionists and lecturers. The prayers on the national holidays of Austria or Poland were also conducted here and were attended by the local authorities and government delegates.


The synagogue Bet-Midrash was located in front of the big synagogue. The two more houses adjacent to the sanctuary were the praying houses. During the day and until late at night Torah was studied in the house. 

Hasidic synagogues

Eastward to the big synagogue there were two Hasidic synagogues in front of each other. They have not survived to this day, the only thing left from them is mikva. One of the buildings was called Husiatyn Kloitz. Below there was a synagogue called Yad Charutzim. On holidays the people came to Kloitz from all parts of the city to listen to prayers and the sweet voice of Hetzel Perel who conducted the prayers accompanied by his son Eliezer.


Parents sent their children to the primary Jewish school called kheder.

In Kheder Jewish children for the first time got acquainted with the printed work and Scripture. Only some children in the city did not pass through this school before further studies. Here the children studied in the comfort under the supervision of good people.

The second level of studying the Holy Scripture took place in kheder Shmuel Leiba. All weekly chapters of Torah were studied there in Khumash, children got acquainted with the secret Rashi scripture. The students studied the stories about the remains of the ancient prophets. It was called “line” research. The research copestone was studying of several treatises by Gemar: Bava Metsia and Bava Batra. When children came to age - the next level of studying Torah started.

Civil institutionsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index


In 1924 the county cooperative union was created in Pidhaitsi, in 1925— Plast. In 1930-s the football clubs were created: Jewish «Makkabi» and Polish “Club Sportowy”. The youth organizations “Sich”, “Sokil”, “Beitar, “Stsheltzy” operated here. In 1928-1934 the part of the County Ukrainian Culture House was built.

In the interwar period there were several Zionist organizations in the city popular among the local Jews.

Urban PlanningDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

In XVI century Pidhaitsi received the Magdeburg right. The city was further developed during the reign of the older son of Mikolai Volskyi – Stanislav, who was close to the king Zigmund II August and his son Mikolai. The city was developed towards the close hill, the new Rynok Square appears on its top, the stone buildings are built, the branched underground paths emerge inside the mountain. The first city emblem is known since 1554. There first craftsmen workshops appear; since 1590 the Charter of the first furriers’ workshop is known. The same year Pidhaitsi were granted the privilege for the weekly trades on Saturdays.

The city population, like the other Halychyna towns consisted of the representative of different nationalities. The city rights and obligations changed with the time. Jews lived on this territory already before Pidhaitsi has become the city. It is thought that Jews came here approximately in XVI century (the first mention about the community in the documents is dated 1552, it is connected with the tax per capita in the amount of 20 zloty). These were the first taxes paid by Jews. In 1544 Pidhaitsi are mentioned as «oppidum-castrum» (city-castle), here the churches were built, Jews settled, whose amount became the highest in all cities of the then Halytske County, the synagogue was built (the first mention of the Rabin who headed the Jewish community in Pidhaitsi is dated 1552).

In XVII century four peoples resided in the city – Poles, Jews, Ukrainians (called Rusins at that time) and Armenians. Rusins resided northward from the market, Poles in the eastern part of the city and Jews in the Southern and Armenians in western (they stayed only until XVIIІ century and left the city). Southward from the Market the numerous Jewish community of Pidhaitsi settled. And in 1539 when Pidhaitsi received the Magdeburg right (due to the petition of the settlement owners Volskyi family) and economic conditions improved, the community started growing rapidly.

The dynamics of the growth of Jews was so essential that already at the beginning of XVIII century they constituted the majority of the city population. Out of 33 stone houses in Market they owned 21 (as of 1788). In 1824 there were already 24 stone houses – i.e. 73 percent of all Rynok houses. The houses around synagogue also belonged to the Jews of the city. As a rule, these were one- or two-storey buildings, on the high socle floor, they had deep cellars.

In XVII century the city developed – the castle was fortified with the strong towers, as from the strategic point of view, taking into account the location right between the two high heels, it was quite vulnerable. All in all, the city location on the hill is untypical. In the mediaeval period the constructions were different: the castle – on the mountain, and the city – near the mountain foot. Obviously, there was some reason that the city which developed on the basis of Magdeburg self-government, migrated to the top of the hill, despite the fact that the relief aggravated the approach of Rynok Square by the carts. The Market Square itself (Today the Independence Square) is triangular, untypical for the Magdeburg cities, while the planning was conducted according to the German example (like staggered arrangement in Lviv), but was characteristic of the ancient Rus cities. Pidhaitsi Rynok Square is unique, as this is probably the only example of planning and spatial arrangement of the center in the form of triangular square in Ukraine. The similar square is only in Olyka, Volyn region. Primarily the building of the city hall was founded on the axe of the street.

After Halychyna was transferred to Gabsburg monarchy, the center of the Jewish community was relocated to Berezhany where the center of the regional Rabins was located. Only the "ordinary" Rabin, spiritual leader stayed in Pidhaitsi. However, his salary was bigger than that of Rabins of the other communities. It’s no wonder that the city gave different scholars and had quite essential cultural and moral achievements. David Polisiuk in “Hamagid” 1876 wrote the following about Pidhaitsi: «I don’t like the surrounding cities staying in the obscurity and isolation from world so that new light cannot penetrate them. Pidhaitsi, in contrast to them, develops like big cities, moves towards the progress and Haskala».

The Jews mostly engaged in trading, the part of them was tenants and minority was craftsmen. In 1650 Jewish community built the synagogue. In 1677 local authorities passed a strict law which presupposed certain restrictions with regard to Jews. This is described in the book “Gefen Yehudit”, (authored by Rabbi Zeev Ben Rabi Yehuda). In1580-1620 Benjamin Aaron Solnyk, student of Ram and Magarshal, was the Rabin in Pidhaitsi. He was one of the most reputed Rabins in Rzecz Pospolita, member of the “Four State Councils”, Author of the book “Masa of Benjamin". Later on his son Jacob became the Rabin.

Before the First World War the water mill, beer factory (destroyed in 1917), distillery, agricultural machines factory, county hospital (1874), brick factory worked in the city. According to the 1764 census there were 1, 079 Jews in the community. During XIX century the number of Jews increased and in 1910 they amounted to about 6, 000 persons. On the verge of the centuries many Jews migrated to the USA (namely, there is the synagogue of Benjamin’s discourse in New York). Pidhaitsi was one of the most «Jewish» cities of Halychyna – before the World War Two the Jewish community of the city amounted to about 53 % from the whole population. In 1939 out of 6, 000 residents 3, 200 were Jews. 

EthnographyDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Customs and traditions of the city

Some Jewish traditions presupposed some obligations – Jews were obliged to pay different taxes, for instance, for lighting candles on Friday evening, or for the wedding with the kosher meat.

The first day of Rosh-ha-Shana

Before the holiday the city residents were busy. However, the atmosphere of the approach of the Thrill Days could already be felt several weeks before Rosh-ha-Shana. According to the tradition, the first day of Rosh-ha-Shana was simultaneously the holiday and the retribution day. The Retribution day was arranged to judge all living creatures, therefore, it would be appropriate on this day to bow with the thrill and fear greater than any other holiday of the year. They knew and felt that this day they will be given to judgment in front of God. The break took place after Shakharit service. Some men and women left synagogue and wished a good and blessed year to everyone they met. Having read the shofar prayers, the earl plaid ekia-shevarim-terua in synagogue. After the service, people returned to their houses in order to eat, have rest and renew their energy, in order to go to the rivers and ponds for Tashla service in groups.

After the rest, in several hours, the city revived again. From all streets and passes, the men, women and children were leaving their houses, wearing the hair covers, scarves and shawls of different colors. The sound of the crowd, laughter and breezy conversation accompanied the pedestrians on their way to Tashla. Some were bright and smiling, the others were serious and gloomy. Some were even sad to tears. The crowds of worshipers approached the river saying the Tashla prayer, the main subject of which was "brining all sins to the depth of the sea". In order to symbolize washing from the sins in real manner the people inverted their pockets and shook them above the water. The Tashla prayers expressed the spiritual condition of the religious Jew on Rosh-ha-Shana.

The Tashla prayers ended and the sadness disappeared. However, the believers were still standing on the bank of the river till the last sun rays.

The monuments of architecture and buildingDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Jewish monuments

Synagogue (L. Ukrayinky Street)

The building of synagogue is located near Halytska gate, during the invasions served for the defensive purposes. By its size and walls thickness it resembles the fortress. Big synagogue in Pidhaitsi was built in the first half of XVII century. The first indirect mention of synagogue is dated 1552. Modern building was built, most probably in XVIІ century, according to the sources, the synagogue already existed in 1627. Some authors state that it was constructed as the Arian prayer house and only in 1640 the building was adapted for the purposes of synagogue. However, this version is not accepted by all researchers.

The synagogue foundation was complemented by one-storey buildings for women. The building was made of sandstone and was rectangular in planning. The flat walls were slotted by narrow windows, the east façade was fortified by buttresses one of which was dismantled. The upper part of the main portal in Renaissance style is partially preserved. In the synagogue interior the carved flora ornament and plasterwork preserved.  There was a time when, with regard to the defensive character, the synagogue was covered by the system of arch roofs, over which the live layer with loopholes was constructed. Unfortunately, it has not survived. The sanctuary was located near Halytska city gate and served as additional defensive fortification of the city. In the interior of the sanctuary the remains of the stone curving Aaron ha koleshu are still visible. Over the main entrance the inscription in Hebrew is still visible: „This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter.” (Psalm 118).

Bet-Mirdash. Bet-Mirdash (theological school) bordered on the synagogue – leftwards from the main entrance to the synagogue. Two more buildings neighboring to the sanctuary were the praying houses. Eastward from Rynok there were two Hasidic synagogues.

Mikva (ritual bath) is located not far from the synagogue, about one hundred meters away.

The houses around the synagogue belonged to the Jews of the city. They were one- or two-storey, as a rule, on the high socle floor, they had deep basements. The house is preserved in the city where the Jews lived with mezuzah trace (3 Zluky street).

Kirkut (L. Ukrayinky Street) there is kirkut 200 meters to the west from the synagogue. Like most of Jewish cemeteries, kirkut is located on the hill. Cemetery is quite big, is occupies 150 meters lengthwise. Kirkut is fenced. Northward the fragments of ancient entrance gates are reserved. Over 1500 tombs survived to this day, among them more than 50 are dated ХVІІ-ХVІІІ centuries. The oldest of the existing matsevs is dated 1647. The last burial in kirkut is dated 1952.

The grave of Benjamin Aaron, the son of Abraham Solnik who died in 1620 is located at the kirkut entrance. Benjamin Aaron served as Rabin and was the student of Natan Nat Spira from Cracow, the author of “Masat Benjamin”, “Ceder Mitsvot Nashim and Sefer-ha-Ebornot”.

In the north-eastern part of the cemetery there is a common grave where about 300 persons are buried, who were shot in this place during the Second World War.

Other monuments

Rynok Square is unique, this is probably the only example of planning and spatial arrangement of the center in the form of triangular square in Ukraine.

City Hall. The very building of the former city hall belonged to the unique buildings as this was the two-layer, octangular building. Similar construction of the city hall could be seen only in Tartakiv city hall (Lviv region). Behind the city hall on the market square there was a big quarter. The city hall is located in the city center, on Independence Square (former Rynok Square). It was built in 1931 in place of the old city hall, which was destroyed during the First World War. The city hall has three floors, with the asymmetric façade: left and right wing differ by the height of floors and the number and form of windows. In the middle of the façade there is the risalit which evolves into the small tower with one-face clock, about 1 meter in diameter. The tower is completed by the original spiky dome.

Holy Trinity Church – the stone sacral building of Pidhaitsi. Is dated 1634. Belongs to the Roman-Catholic Church, is being reconstructed. Was built in 1634 at the expense of Pidhaitsi owner Sofiia Golska. The researchers state that when building the new church in 1634 the elements of the old one were used (for instance, the stone plate with epitaphs dated 1608 and 1612 located above the stairs). Bell tower near the church is in the Renaissance style is of defensive character. The parochial church was closed in 1946 and turned into the warehouse. In 801- due to the fire the dome and the tower roof of the church collapsed. Since 2006 it was given to the Catholic parish. The interior is Baroque with the preserved Gothic fragments. It is believed that the church was constructed by the local builders. Inside the building there was organ and clock on the church tower, which was installed in 1896 in honor of 100th anniversary of riot headed by the general Tadeush Kostiushko. Certain stone sculptural decorations-angels are kept in the exposition of Olesko castle.

Assumption church. Built in 1650-1653. It is considered the unique building due to the construction of arches. The church is located in Berezhanska Street. It was declared the architectural monument of national significance: architectural construction does not have any analogues on the territory of Ukraine. Church is surrounded by the thick stone wall. There is a memorable cross in honor of Holy Sobriety, installed in 1876. The Assumption Church was built at the expense of the second wife of the city owner Stanislav Pototskyi Anna Mogylianka. It is known that big amounts for the construction of church and other voluntary contributions were made by the city owners: Pototsky family. This is the stone tripartite, three-storied building with the square beam, porch, apse canted from exterior and round from inside. Under the porch there is a deep basement, above it, on the second layer – choir balcony, and chapel on the third. The building peculiarity is the live detour with the arcade on the roof. Façades are decorated with the pilasters, and portals and windows framing – with the profiling and cutting in the Renaissance style. The church interior is complemented by the arts and sculptures of kiots in Baroque style of XVIII century.

Near the church, on the roadside, there is a bell tower dated XIX century. It stands in place of the old one destroyed in fire in 1889. In the older times the bell tower was the defense tower near Lvivska Gates as a part of the city fortifications, dismantled in the mid XVIII century.

Boris and Glib Church (1711—1772, wood.), bell towers of Boris and Glib (wooden, 1782)

Church of the Transfiguration. Built in 1772. Typical Halychyna wooden architecture.

Green plantations monumentsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

There are green plantations monuments in the city of state and local significance, namely, 4 black walnuts and plane tree have the state significance, Pidhaitsi spring has local significance, as swell as botanic reserve “Muzhylivskyi”, botanic monuments “Muzhylivska Dibrova”, “Rudnytska Buchyna”. 

Movable monumentsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Sculptures from Assumption Church were the ancient wooden sculptures from iconostasis and did not survive to this day to the full extent. Only two wooden sculptures of St. Peter and Paul dated XVII century are now kept in Kyiv museum of Ukrainian Arts.

Non-material valuesDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Pidhaitsi Rabins. The first Rabins in Pidhaitsi were Rabin Moshe and his son Rabin Yeguzha Leib. Benjamin Aaron Ben Abraham and his son Jacob from 1580 to 1620 were Rabins of Pidhaitsi. After him there was Rabin called David, who wrote “Tiferet Israel”. After that the Rabin Moshe Kats, ben rabbi Shaptai served as Rabin in Pidhaitsi and wrote his famous book called “Hashach”. In the early eighteen century Rabin Katzenelenbogen, the son of Shaul, who moved to Ansbach in Bavaria, was the Rabin in Pidhaitsi. The Rabin Moshe, the son of Rabin Menakhem Mendel born in Shemshel followed him. Then there was the son of the author of book “Pnei Yehoshua”, Rabin Iskhak Ber who later was elected the Mainz Rabin. On the way to his new position he died and was buried in Berlin. The Rabin Meshulam Zalman, the son of the Rabin Jacob Emden served in the mid eighteen century. Than Meshulam was the Rabin, he was also the Rabin of London for many years. Until 1772 the last Rabin was Symkha Rapaport, the son of the Rabin Khaim Khakoen Rapaport, the Rabin from Lviv.

David HaKohen Lilienfeld was the Rabin and author who lived in the first half of the 18th century. He was born in Pidhaitsi, his father was Rabin Leib Buchach. He served as the Rabin and missionary in Frankfurt an Oder for the last decades of his life. There he published his books: “Menora Zakharia”, novels, treatises about Shabbat, propagations for Saturdays and holidays, “Zakharia Meshulam”, novels of Talmud treatises; Zakharia Gameivin about the philosophical Kabala principles. He died in Frankfurt an Oder in 1791.

Aikhensten Izhak Izek was the last Rabin in the city (1908–1943). Genia Shvartz left her memories about the sufferings during the ghetto liquidation in Pidhaitsi. The memories of the childhood spent in Pidhaitsi by Oleksandr Kimmel are full of humor and the bitter sorrow for past.

Sabbatism. In Chortkiv the influence of Sabbatism was quite essential even after Shabatai Tzvi himself adopted Islam. In XVIII century the Rabin Gaim Malakh, one of the leaders of Sabbatism movement has settled in Pidhaitsi for a short period of time, due to him Pidhaitsi has become the center of Sabbatism. The Rabin Isaak Yissachar HaMagid was another famous Rabin as well as the Rabin Moshe David who was born in Pidhaitsi in 1696. Later he settled in Germany, where he died in 1766. There were Jews from Pidhaitsi who joined the Frankist movement. In 1759 508 Jews quitted the Orthodox Judaism and became the proponents of this heresy.

Rabin Jacob Emden, leader of movement against Shabatai Tzvi in the Central and Eastern Europe, fought against him. He knew about the situation in Pidhaitsi from his son who was the community Rabin. At the beginning of eighteenth century Rabbi Khaim Malakh, one more Tzvi’s follower, visited Pidhaitsi for a short period of time. Two very famous followers of Shabatai Tzvi came from Pidhaitsi at that time. One of them was Shumel Jacob Falk who lived in 1708-1782. From Pidhaitsi through Germany he came to London and was known as a wonder-working man. The second follower was Cabbalist Rabin Moshe David, born in Pidhaitsi who lived in Germany and belonged to people close to Rabin Jonathan Eibschitz.

Mikhaiel Vaikhert (1890—1967) — Jewish theatre worker, stage manager, issued the modern expressionist journal “Ringen” in Warsaw (in Hebrew), around which the world-known literary Jewish poetical modernist group “Khaliastra” concentrated (1921–1925) (at first it was called “Ringen”; in Hebrew); in the late 1920-s he founded the modernist “Yung Theatre”. 

Museums-archives-books collections – private collectionsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

There is a museum of Historical and Religious Studies in Pidhaitsi, located to the address: 13 Berezhanska Street, Ternopil region.

Places of memoryDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

The main place of memory in Pidhaitsi is the old kirkut, where within 1942 — 1943 about 300 Jews died. In places of the mass shootings today there is a memorial sign.

The list of referencesDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index


Author: Bozhena Zakaliuzna