Monday, April 14, 2008

A Vanished Village

Today's Washington Post has a fascinating story about a unique Polish town.

Trochenbrod, founded in the early 19th century as a way for Jews to avoid long mandatory service in the Russian army, was one of a kind. While there were large Jewish communities in many cities and tiny Jewish farming villages scattered across Eastern Europe, Trochenbrod was an all-Jewish town the likes of which had not existed since ancient times.
The town prospered until the Soviets invaded in 1939, followed two years later by the Germans.
A handful of skilled tradesmen were taken to other towns by the Germans and worked to death or executed. A Jewish historian writing in April 1945, shortly before Germany surrendered, said only 33 of the town's residents were still alive by the end of 1944. By then, the town had returned to Soviet control.

The survivors had nothing to return to. Germans and Ukrainians had burned some of the buildings in the village. Other houses had been looted, disassembled and destroyed by partisans and farmers in the area. After the war, the Soviets bulldozed what remained and turned the land into a collective farm.

Trochenbrod had ceased to exist. [Link]


My grandfather camefrom a village in Poland that I can pronounce, but can't spell. I'm looking for a Polish-English tranlation site.


JewishGen's Communities Database and Gazetteer are great ways to find Eastern European villages—especially if you aren't sure of the spelling.

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