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Podvolochisk

PODVOLOCHISK

PODVOLOCHISK (Pol. Podwoloczyska ), town in Tornopol district, Ukraine. Jews were among the founders of Podvolochisk in 1860s. Before World War ii Podvolochisk was within the Tarnopol district in Poland, and was a grain and milling center. Between the two world wars the town included a customs station between Poland and the Soviet Union. In 1865 there were 2,200 Jewish inhabitants in the town, who constituted 70% of the total population. In 1921 the Jews numbered 2,275 (62% of the total population). After World War i, in independent Poland, the economic situation of the Jews became precarious because the town was isolated from its previous markets; trade was reduced and the Jews could not earn their livelihood. The organization of Jewish merchants attempted to alleviate the situation but could not find a solution because of the hostile attitude of the Polish authorities who sought to strengthen the Polish element of this border town. The situation became so bad that, by 1925, the tradesmen required communal assistance. Jewish life was vibrant in Podvolochisk and community elections were held in 1924 and 1928. Jews also participated in the municipal elections in 1933. Among the rabbis of the community were members of the *Babad family, including Joshua Heshel and his son Judah Leibush who was rabbi on the eve of the Holocaust.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

The city was captured by the Germans on July 7, 1941, and about 70 Jews were immediately killed. Economic restrictions were decreed, and seizure of Jews for forced-labor camps began. The Ukrainian population also attacked the Jews. An extension of the Kamionki labor camp was established in the city, a number of streets were marked off by barbed wire, and young Jews were put there. Many died of overwork, disease, and torture. In September 1942 a part of the camp population was transferred to Zbaraz and Kamionki. The labor camp in the city was liquidated on June 29, 1943. Those who worked in the Kamionki camp perished later. After the war, the Jewish community was not reconstituted in the city.

[Aharon Weiss]

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