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Tuchin

TUCHIN

TUCHIN (Pol. Tuczyn ), village in Rovno oblast, Ukraine, within Poland before 1772 and between the two world wars. Jews began to settle there at the beginning of the 18th century. There were 514 Jews paying the poll-tax in Tuchin in 1765. Jews of Tuchin in the 19th century were occupied in small-scale trade in agricultural products, the raising of livestock, and crafts. The establishment of an army garrison in the vicinity at the beginning of the 20th century brought improvements in the economic sphere. The Jewish population numbered 1,180 in 1847; 2,535 (67% of the total) in 1897; and 2,159 (73%) in 1921. During the civil war in 1918–20, the Jews in Tuchin suffered from the frequent changes of the forces in control of the area (Ukrainians, Soviets, and Poles). Within Poland, in the interwar period, Zionist parties were active in the community. The livelihood of the Jews in Tuchin was severely affected from 1925 by the support given by the Polish authorities to Poles who settled there.

[Shimon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust and Contemporary Periods

The number of Jews in Tuchin increased to some 3,000 in 1941 when refugees from western Poland found temporary shelter there. Under the Soviet occupation (1939–41), the Jewish organizations were not permitted to function. Tuchin was captured by the Germans on July 4, 1941, and the signal given to the Ukrainians to carry out pogroms in which 70 Jews were killed. That month 20 Jewish leaders were arrested and shot. In the following years various forms of persecution including restriction of movement, the seizure of able-bodied people for slave labor, and the wearing of the yellow *badge were introduced. Some of the intelligentsia were murdered. A ghetto was established in August 1942. At this time, news reached the community about the wholesale murder of the Jewish population in the neighboring cities. On Sept. 23, 1942, an order was given for all Jews to assemble at the ghetto gate. The leaders of the community were aware of the impending disaster and a decision to revolt was then taken by the head of the Judenrat, Gecel Schwarzman, supported by his two deputies, Meir Himmelfarb and Tuwia Czuwak. The Jews themselves set fire to many houses in the ghetto for defense purposes when the Germans began to break into it. Some young Jews had managed to acquire firearms, and the Jews in the ghetto offered strong resistance. Many fell in the fighting that ensued. Subsequently some 2,000 Jews escaped to the forests, but many of them were delivered up by Ukrainian peasants to the Germans. The Nazi authorities issued a proclamation that those who returned to the ghetto voluntarily would be allowed to live on there. Approximately 300 Jews returned, and were immediately taken to the local cemetery and shot. Those who remained in the forests suffered from hunger and exposure and were harassed by the Ukrainian gangs of Stefan Bandera. A few Tuchin Jews managed to reach the Soviet partisans and joined them in their struggle against the Germans. The revolt of the Tuchin Jewish community was exceptional in that an entire and united community challenged the German forces.

After the war, the community was not revived. The survivors settled in Israel, the United States, and Canada. A memorial book, Sefer Zikkaron li-Kehillot Tuchin-Krippe (Heb. and Yid.), was published in 1967.

[Aharon Weiss]

bibliography:

B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 85; Cholavski, in: Yalkut Moreshet, 2 (1964), no. 2, 81–95, English summary.

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