A Brief Jewish History of Rozdol
   General  Rabbinic Leaders   During the Holocaust
Population Figures


Rozdol first appears as a private town in the year 1560.  The first recorded Jew, Aharon Hatchkovitz, appears in town records in 1614.  By 1628 there were two Jewish-owned homes in the town square as well as a cabin which served as a Jewish school.  (Other Jews apparently lived in homes owned by Christians.)

The community grew throughout the 1700's and 1800's and reached its height around 1880.  A fire that year destroyed part of the town and many of the Jews chose that time to leave for large cities as well as for foreign lands.  Emigration continued to increase, particularly during WWI and the Russian occupation which followed.

The first Jews in Rozdol worked as innkeepers, merchants and leaseholders on lands of the nobility. the 1800's brought small shopkeepers, peddlers and artisans.  Rozdol's Jewish merchants regularly brought their wares to the fairs in Mikolayev and other Galician towns.  Other Jews found the new Hassidic courts a source for service-based income.  There was no organized Jewish commercial organization until 1927, and even then it helped little against the growing strength of the Ukranian co-operative associations.

Organized Jewish life probably began to take shape before 1700 and the wooden synagogue (see painting and photo) built at the time stood until 1907, when it was destroyed by fire.  Another more substantial synagogue was completed in 1927, just above the cemetery.

Zionist organizations of a variety of orientations were formed in the 1900's, despite the overall Hassidic nature of the community.  In the elections to the Polish Siem in 1928, the Zionist party received 740 votes, compared to only 46 for Agudat Israel.  The Jews of Rozdol participated in the elections to the Zionist Congress in 1935, and the votes were divided among four parties.

A Hebrew school was set up in its own building after WWI and it remained in operation until 1939.  In 1927, the Zionist organizations set up a drama club and the proceeds from its performances went to help the local poor.

Rabbinic Leaders of Rozdol

The first Rabbi of the Rozdol community was Rabbi Moshe (ben R. Mordecai) Ashekenazi,
in the late 1600's.  He served until 1720, when he accepted a position in Lvov.

He was followed by Rabbi Fischel.

Later in the 1700's the position was filled by Rabbi Moshe Ashkenazi's son R. Asher Anshel.  He too removed to Lvov, where he died in 1794.

R. Chaim (ben R. Shlomo) Rappaport served until 1799, when he drowned in the river.
R. Moshe Ginzburg served until his death in 1805.
R. Moshe David Ashkenazi served until his death in 1814.
His son R. Gershon (who wrote "Avodat HaGereshunni") served until 1819, when he became Rabbi of Talometz.

At about that time, R. Yehudah Zvi Eichenstein (the son of R. Moshe from Sambor) formed the first Hassidic court in Rozdol.  R. Yehudah Zvi (who wrote several books) served until his death in 1847.

A second hassidic court was set up during this period by R. Moshe Chaim Taube, who died in 1831.

The two Hassidic courts were united by the marriage of R. Moshe Chaim's son R. Shlomo Taube to the daughter of R. Yehudah Zvi.  R. Shlomo served until his death in 1879.

From then until 1886, the Hassidic Rabbi of Rozdol was R. Yehezkel Shraga Halberstam (the son-in-law of R. Yehudah Zvi Eichenstein), who was the son of R. Chaim of Zanz.  In 1886 he moved to Stropkov.

In 1886, R. Pinchas Chaim (ben R. Zvi) Taube was appointed Rabbi and served until his death in 1935.

The last Rabbi of Rozdol was R. Matityahu Aharon Eichenstein, who was killed in the Holocaust.

The Encyclopedia Judaica cites an unproven tradition that Rabbi Israel Baal-Shem-Tov lived in Rozdol for a time.

R. Yehudah Gershon (ben R. Israel Yoel) Pickholz cites another set of rabbinic connections in Rozdol, which will be recorded here in due course.  He himself was a descendant of R. Zvi Hirsch Ashkenazi (the "Hacham Zvi") and it is not clear (to me) if this is the same Ashkenazi family who served in Rozdol.

Rozdol during the Holocaust

The Soviet Union took over East Galicia, including Rozdol, in late 1939.

The German invasion of Poland brought hundreds of Jewish refugees from the west and the Jewish population of Rozdol swelled to about 2500.  In June 1942, those Jews from the west were given seven days to tell the Soviet authorities if they wanted to accept Soviet citizenship.  Those who declined were to be returned forcibly to the Germans in western Poland.  Several weeks later, those who refused Soviet citizenship were gathered at night - as were some of those who preferred to stay - and packed into a train where they suffered for several days in the Mikolayev station, eventually to be sent not to the west, but to Siberia.

As of June 1942, there remained 1639 Jews in Rozdol.  Most were used by the Germans as scavengers.

On September 4-5, 1942, members of the SS brought most of Rozdol's Jews to Chodorov - some by truck and some on foot.  from there they were sent to Belzec. Those who remainded in Rozdol were sent to Stryj several weeks later.

In October 1942, a group of 150 Jews returned from Stryj, but it is not clear what the circumstances were.  On February 4, 1943 the remainder of the Jews in Rozdol were killed.

Four of Rozdol's Jews survived the Holocaust by hiding in the forests.

Back to History of Rozdol
Back to Rozdol Shtetlinks page
JewishGen Home page
Copyright ©1999 Israel Pickholtz