ROMNY , city in Sumy district, Ukraine. The beginnings of a Jewish community date from the 18th century. In 1803 there were 127 Jews in the town, and in 1847 the Jews numbered 759. The community developed rapidly after the opening of the Romny-Libava railway line (1874), which became one of the important trade arteries of western Russia. From 1863 to 1901, Eliezer Arlosoroff served as the local rabbi. Tensions arising from economic competition between Jews and Christians resulted in pogroms in 1881 and, most seriously, on October 19–20, 1905, when 8 Jews were killed and 30 injured. In 1897 there were 6,378 Jews in Romny (28.3 percent of the total population); on the eve of World War i the number was estimated at 13,400 (43 percent of the total population). During the war, thousands of refugees from the battle areas fled to Romny. In 1919 *Denikin's troops organized a pogrom with loss of Jewish life and property. Under the Soviet regime, Romny declined economically; many Jews went to work in textile factories and on the railway. By 1926 the number of Jews had declined to 8,593 (about 33 percent of the population) and dropped further to 3,834 in 1939 (15 percent of the total population). Jewish public life was stifled. Romny was occupied by the Germans on September 10, 1941. In early November they concentrated the Jews in army barracks, and on November 19 they murdered 3,000 Jews, and by January 1942 they had killed another 700. In 1959 there were about 1,100 Jews (about 3 percent of the total population) living in Romny. Romny was the native town of P. *Rutenberg and Ch. *Arlosoroff. During the Second *Aliyah period, the "Romny Group," associated with Trumpeldor, which figured in the early development of the kibbutz movement in Palestine, was organized in the city.
Die Judenpogrome in Russland, 2 (1909), 257–62; B. Fishko, Gilgulei Ḥayyim (1948), 26–47; M. Peysyuk, Bleter Zikhroynes, 3 (1944), 62–81.
[Yehuda Slutsky /
Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]