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KOSOV (Pol. Kosów ), town in Ivano-Frankovsk (formerly Stanislavov) district, Ukraine; within Poland until 1772 when it passed to Austria; reverted to Poland between 1919 and 1939. Although Jews are mentioned in 1635, the organized community formed at the beginning of the 18th century. During the 1730s *Israel b. Eliezer, the Ba'al Shem Tov, stayed in the vicinity of Kosov with his family. During the middle and the second half of the 18th century, *Naḥman of Kosov, a disciple of the Ba'al Shem Tov, and *Baruch b. Abraham of Kosov (d. 1795) were active there. A branch of the ḥasidic dynasty of the Hager family was founded there during the last decade of the 18th century. The descendants of R. Jacob Koppel Ḥasid (d. 1787) served as rabbis of the town for 150 years: his son Menahem Mendel between 1790 and 1827; his son Ḥayyim, until 1854; Jacob Samson until 1880; his son Moses, until 1925; and Ḥayyim, who perished in the Holocaust in 1942. According to the census of 1764, the community of Kosov (including villagers from the surrounding area) numbered 343 families. They earned their livelihood in small trade, forestry, crafts, transportation, tailoring, and the leasing of inns. During the 19th century the Jews of Kosov also traded in cereals (particularly from Bukovina) and livestock, and were occupied in crafts such as carpentry, locksmithery, wood-carving, and carpet weaving. In 1847 Ḥasidim from Kosov built a synagogue in Safed. The community numbered 2,179 persons (78% of the total population) in 1880, 2,563 (82%) in 1900, 2,950 (53%) in 1910, and 2,166 (51%) in 1921. A vocational school was established in the town in 1898 with the assistance of the fund of Baron Maurice de *Hirsch. The local Agudat Zion, organized in 1898, established the Safah Berurah Hebrew school in 1909. In 1928, 40 carpet weavers formed a cooperative. A Jewish cooperative bank was founded in the town in 1929. All Zionist parties were active in the interwar period. A fortnightly newspaper, Kosover Shtime, was published there between 1934 and 1936. Half of the members of the municipal council elected in 1928 were Jews. In 1929 Jacob Gertner was elected as mayor. He resigned in 1934 as a result of government pressure. A railway that reached the town added tourism (Carpathian foothills) to the Jewish livehoods.

After the outbreak of World War ii many Jews from western Poland took refuge in Kosov, and the Jewish population had increased to 4,000 by 1941. Under Soviet rule (1939–41) the community institutions and political parties were disbanded. The widely known local carpet industry largely ceased.

[Arthur Cygielman]

Holocaust Period

When the war between Germany and the Soviet Union broke out in June 1941, small groups of young Jews joined the retreating Soviet army and later fought against the Germans. Kosov was captured by the Hungarian Axis forces in early July. A local Jewish emergency committee was set up comprising the community leaders who had been active before September 1939. Acting under and in conjunction with the Hungarian military administration, it prevented groups of Ukrainian nationalists from attacking Jews and Jewish property. Jewish refugees from Subcarpathian Ruthenia, recently annexed by Hungary, who were not recognized as Hungarian citizens, sought shelter in Kosov, and the committee, with the cooperation of the local Jews, gave them assistance and medical care. In September 1941 the Germans took over the town's administration. In an Aktion on Oct. 16–17, 2,200 Jews, about half of the community, were taken to the hill behind the Moskalowka bridge and murdered. That winter the Jews struggled against starvation and epidemics. The Judenrat established soup kitchens and other aid. On April 24, 1942, 600 Jews without working papers were sent to Kolomyya. As the extermination campaign heightened, more attempts were made by Jews to cross the border to Romania. In early May 1942 a ghetto was established. On Sept. 7, 1942, another Aktion was carried out. The Jews were rounded up in the square and the German and Ukrainian police searched the houses and killed about 150 persons who had disobeyed the order to assemble. About 600 Jews were marched to Kolomyya and from there sent to *Belzec death camp. A number of able-bodied men were sent to the Janowska Street camp in Lvov. Only a few persons managed to go into hiding. On Sept. 28, 1942, the Germans announced that persons in hiding could now come out and remain, but all those who appeared were killed. On Nov. 4, 1942, the last suvivors of the Kosov community were sent to Kolomyya and the city was declared judenrein. In the following months the Germans and Ukrainians continued to track down and murder Jews who had taken refuge in the forests and in the city.

[Aharon Weiss]


G. Kressel and L. Olitsky (eds.), Sefer Kosov (1964); B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 101, 122, 148, 154, 157; I. Alfasi, Tiferet she-ba-Malkhut (Beit Kosov-Vizhnitz; 1961).