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PODGAITSY (Pol. Podhajce ; in Jewish tradition, Pedaayets ), city, W. Tarnopol district, Ukraine. A Jewish community existed in Podgaitsy during the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the rabbinical seat was held by Benjamin Aaron b. Abraham Solnik, who died in 1610. He published a collection of 112 responsa and legal novellae in his work Masat Binyamin. After the invasion of the town by the Tatars in 1667 and the massacre which they perpetrated among the Jews, R. Ze'ev b. Judah Leib wrote an elegy in memory of the victims. According to the census of 1764 there were 1,079 Jews. There were some adherents of Jacob *Frank, but the greatest influence came from the ḥasidic dynasties of Belz and Ruzhany. During the 19th century, under Austrian rule, the Jewish population increased, and by 1910 numbered about 6,000. However, Podgaitsy's importance subsequently declined and according to the census of 1931 only 2,872 Jews were left.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

When war broke out between Germany and the U.S.S.R. (June 22, 1941), Podgaitsy was occupied by the Germans, and the Jews immediately became victims of attacks by the Ukrainian population. They were forced to pay fines, their movement was restricted outside the city, and they were subjected to forced labor. L. Lilenfeld headed the *Judenrat. In the winter of 1941–42 many died from hunger and disease. On Sept. 21, 1942, over 1,000 Jews were sent to the *Belzec death camp, and on October 30, 1,500 people were sent there. Survivors of the community tried to find shelter in neighboring forests; due to informers, however, many fell into German hands and were executed. On June 6, 1943, the community was completely liquidated and the ghetto and the city were declared judenrein. After the war the community was not reconstituted.

[Aharon Weiss]