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Province:inne / tarnopolskie (before 1939)
County:Тернопільська область [obwód tarnopolski], Збаразький район [rejon zbaraski] / zbaraski (before 1939)
Community:Збараж / Zbaraż (before 1939)
Other names:זבאריזש [j. jidysz]; Збараж [j. ukraiński]; Sbarasch [j. niemiecki]
49.6653° N / 25.7774° E
49°39'55" N / 25°46'38" E


Robert Kuwałek /

Widok ogólny miasteczka | Nieznany

Jews resided in Zbarazh (Pol.: Zbaraż) already at the beginning of the 16th century. The Jewish cemetery dates back to 1510, construction of the synagogue to 1537. The first document mentioning Jews and Christians inhabiting the town together dates back to 1593. The development of the Jewish Religious Council took place in the first half of the 17th century.

At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries Zbarazh became an important Hassidic centre. Zew Wolf of Zbarazh, son of the Maggid of Zolochiv (Pol.: Złoczów), established the first Hassidic court here. He was followed by Meshullam Fayvish Halevi Heller, son of the Tsaddik from Sniatyn (Pol.: Śniatyń). In 1765 there were already 910 Jews in Zbarazh, and in 1900 as much as 2896, which constituted 35% of the total population of the town. Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (The Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland) quotes an even higher number of Jewish residents in Zbarazh, namely 3632 out of the total of 8785. Wilhelm Feldman, eminent Polish journalist, writer, historian and critic of literature, author of Współczesna literatura polska (Modern Polish Literature) was born in Zbarazh, and grew up amongst the town assimilationist circles. Already at the age of 18, in 1886 Feldman launched an action of turning Jews into “proper citizens”, by publishing a series of texts propagating assimilation, such as Asymilatorzy, syjoniści i Polacy (Assimilationists, Zionists and Poles) and O Żargonie żydowskim (On the Jewish Jargon). In 1887 the Zbarazh Jewish community was badly affected by the great fire which swept through the town. The 20th century offered new perspectives of development to its population with the opening of the railway line Tarnopol-Zbaraż-Łanowce in 1906, which was extended to the railway junction in Szepietówka. The railway line provided the local manufacturers and artisans with new commercial outlets.

In the interwar period Zbarazh was a county town within the Tarnopol Province. In 1939 town population totalled approximately 10 thousand, including 3 thousand Jew.. The main occupations of Jews from Zbarazh were trading in mercer, livestock, timber, haberdashery, horses, grain, alcoholic beverages and various kinds of craft (tanning, tailoring, leather-stitching, shoemaking), as well as medical and legal services. In 1921 Ida Fink, the Polish-l


Local history

Robert Kuwałek /

Zbaraż was first mentioned in the early 13th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries, it was owned by the Knyazes of Nieświcz and other Dukes of Lithuania. Semen, son of Knyaz Vasyl of Nieświcz, who died in the Tatar invasions, took over the town; he started the Zbaraski dynasty which took its name from Zbaraż and ruled it until the first half of the 17th century. In 1620, Krzysztof Zbaraski, staroste of Kremenets, started building a castle, which was to be built in a different location than the old one, destroyed on numerous occasions by the Tatars. His brother Jerzy completed the gatehouse construction and founded a fortified city in the neighbourhood. He also funded a parochial church and a Bernardine monastery. Following the extinction of the dynasty (none of the Zbaraski brothers ever married) Zbaraż was taken over by their relatives, the Wiśniowiecki family.

In 1649, Zbaraż made history, withstanding the siege by Cossack and Tatar troops for over a month. The Polish army counted 14 thousand soldiers while the opponent could have even had even 300 thousand. Jarema Wiśniowiecki was in command of the fortress defence. The troops of Bohdan Khmelnytsky did not leave the Zbaraż area until the Treaty of Zboriv was signed. However, before the Battle of Berestechko the Cossacks managed to briefly seize the Zbaraż castle. In 1675, Zbaraż was conquered by the Turks. After the invasions, Dymitr Wiśniowiecki successfully rebuilt the castle and the settlement, which obtained town privileges in 1689.

At the end of the 17th century, the Potocki family took over Zbaraż by way of inheritance. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Wincenty Potocki refurbished the castle for residential purposes and located some of his collections there. Unfortunately, expensive purchases for his collection and a carefree lifestyle led him to financial ruin.

Historically, Zbaraż formed part of Volhynia until the First Partition of Poland. It was annexed to Galicia after 1772, when Austria annexed the southern part of the Volhynia Voivodeship. That was also when the Potockis sold Zbaraż to Princess Jadwiga Lubomirska de Ligne. The castle, however, remained derelict and fell into ruin.

Under Austrian rule, Zbaraż was a county capital since 1869. For some time in the 19th century, a sugar factory and numerous county offices were located th




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