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TOLSTOYE (Pol. Thuste ), town in Tarnopol district, W. Ukraine. Jews first settled in Tolstoye in the late 17th century. In the mid-1720s *Israel b. Eliezer, Ba'al Shem Tov, came to settle with his family and from there he started to preach his doctrine (1736). The gravestone of his mother was in the old local cemetery until World War ii. From the first partition of Poland in 1772 until 1918, Tolstoye was under Austrian rule. In the 19th century the Jews traded in agricultural produce, timber, cloth, and beverages. They numbered 2,157 (67% of the total population) in 1880; 2,172 (59%) in 1900; and 1,196 (46%) in 1921. Ḥasidism was preponderant in Tolstoye; the wealthy members of the community (estate owners, contractors, and merchants of forest produce and hides) were followers of the ẓaddik of Chortkov, whereas shopkeepers, grain merchants, brokers, and scholars adhered to Viznitsa Ḥasidism, and the artisans were followers of the ẓaddik of Kopychintsy. In 1914 and 1916 the Jews suffered at the hands of the Russian army. Between the two world wars, in independent Poland, all the Zionist parties were active in the town and there was a *Tarbut Hebrew school.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshboim]

Holocaust Period

With the outbreak of war between Germany and the U.S.S.R. (June 22, 1941), groups of Jewish youth attempted to escape to the Soviet Union with the retreating Soviet army, but only a few succeeded. The city was captured by the Hungarian army, which was an ally of Germany. The Ukrainians attacked the Jews and looted their property, and Jews were drafted into work camps and agricultural farms in the area. In March 1942 the remnants of the Jewish communities of the entire area were concentrated in Tolstoye. In July 1942, 200 people were arrested and sent off in an "unknown direction." On Oct. 5, 1942, about 1,000 people were transported to the *Belzec death camp and about 150 were killed on the spot. On May 27, 1943, about 3,000 people were concentrated in the market square and were taken from there to the Jewish cemetery, where they were killed. About 1,000 people remained in the city, and they were murdered in an Aktion on June 6, 1943. The last 80 Jews were transported to Czortkow and found their deaths there. Many of the Jews who had fled to the forests fell into the hands of the fanatic Ukrainian Bandera gangs, but some of them joined partisan units. The remnants of the Tolstoye community were liberated from the camps in the area in March 1944. They soon immigrated to Palestine and the West. Jewish life was not reconstituted in Tolstoye after the war.

[Aharon Weiss]


B. Wasiutyński, Ludność źydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 141; G. Lindberg (ed.), Sefer Tluste (1965); I. Alfasi, Sefer ha-Admorim (1961), 9, 10; Dubnow, Ḥasidut, 44, 48, 51.

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