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Province:inne / inne (before 1939)
County:rejon berdyczowski / rejon berdyczowski (before 1939)
Community:Berdyczów / Berdyczów (before 1939)
Other names:Бердичів [j. ukraiński]; בערדיטשעוו [j. jidysz]; ברדיצ'ב [j. hebrajski]
49.9026° N / 28.5850° E
49°54'09" N / 28°35'06" E


Olga Pieńkowska

Berdychiv – a city of disctict importance in southern Ukraine, a raion capital in Zhitomir Oblast. It is located 41 km south of Zhitomir and 182 km southwest of Kyiv, on the Hnylopyat river.



Ariana Gharib Lee

Miejsce kaźni na terenie klasztoru Karmelitów Bosych | Kazimierz Piotrowski

The first record of Jewish life in Berdyczów dates back to 1593 and is a note informing of a Jew leasing a mill and obtaining the right to collect taxes on goods transported to the town through the causeway. At the time, Berdyczów was a small town with only 140 houses.

A Jewish community did not begin to develop until mid-18th century when the town’s owners, the Radziwiłł family, took to expanding Berdyczów. As it evolved into a fair town, its economic growth attracted Jews and enticed them to settle there. Jews were granted various leases that allowed them to produce alcohol and participate in trade and crafts. In 1732, a Jewish tailor’s guild was granted autonomy from the kehilla and obtained the right to conduct their own prayer services in the annex of the synagogue. In 1797, Prince Radziwiłł granted seven Jewish cloth merchants a monopoly on cloth trade. By the end of the 18th century, Jewish typography was established in Berdyczów (1798), which eventually became one of the greatest establishment of such kind in the Russian Empire. This cultural and economic growth led to Berdyczów being known as the “Jerusalem of Volhynia” by the mid-18th century.

As the Jewish community grew economically, it also developed a vibrant religious life. Prominent rabbis working during this period included Yekuti’el Zalman ben Simhah Bunim (d. 1760), Mosheh Avraham ben Yehi’el Mikhl (d. 1761) Mosheh ben Shemu’el (d. 1791), and Yosef Halperin, known as “Harif” (Shar One), who was head of the rabbinical court (d. 1784). During this period, Berdyczów also became one of the most important centres of Hassidism and was home to a number of Hassidic communities. Some of the promoters of Hassidism and its leaders in the town were Aleksander “the Shohet” (d. before 1773), disciple of Ba’al Shem Tov’s and father-in-law to Dov Ber of Linits (Il’intsy). Among the prominent inhabitants of the town there was also Tzaddik Levi Yitshak ben Me’ir (1740-1809), who lived in Berdyczów in 1785 and played crucial role in transforming the town into a centre of Hassidism. As the religious community in Berdyczów grew in size and importance over the course of the 18th century, the Berdyczów tzaddikim also gained non-religious influence among the Jewish community. In 1802, the Berdyczów tzaddikim and Jewis




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