«Jewish Observer»
February 2002
5762 Shvat

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There are unique materials about the history of the Jews of Eastern Galicia, Western Volyn and Zakarpatja (1933-1945) in the monograph of Professor Yakov Khonigsman "The Catastrophe of the Jewish people of Western Ukraine". The Jews of these regions in different times used to be citizens of Poland, Romania, Czekhoslovakia, Hungary and Ukrainian SSR. The author describes the demography, economic, employment status and regional differences of the Jews of Western Ukraine during the two World Wars. He also shows the community and spiritual life of the Abraham's descendants, the activity of the Jewish organizations of the region.

The difficult situation of the Jews was conditioned not only by the manifestation of intolerance towards the adherents of another faith, but also by the necessity of political compromise towards Ukrainian, Polish and other national structures, which often were at war with each other. These problems were replaced by others when the West-Ukrainian lands joined the USSR.

The public organizations were replaced by the structures headed by the Communist Party, and the private business, which fed the majority of Jews of the region, was prohibited.

The Nazi regime, established in Western Ukraine soon after the German invasion, created the system of robbing and isolating Jews in ghettos.

The terror and robbery of Jews was done with the help of the judenrates, the leaders of which were executed for the smallest disobedience to the Nazi. The Nazi genocide of Jews with the active assistance of local collaborators was accompanied by the liquidation of ghettos.

There are also some materials in the monograph about the participation of Jews in the Resistance movement of 1941-1943 and also about the rescue of synagogue by Christians. Analyzing the Polish sources about the activity of Catholic clergymen in saving Jews, Yakov Khonigsman points out that the authors of the sources have overestimated the role of the Christian organizations in saving Jewish children.

This book has already become a bibliographical rarity in Ukraine, but it was born again thanks to the translation into German, which, with no doubt, will increase the number of readers.

For further information about the book by Yakov Khonigsman in German address:

Dr. Raymond M. Guggenheim,
Taegernstrasse 28, CH-8127 Forch /Switzerland.
Tel. +411 980 32 71, Fax + 411 980 00 09
e-mail: rayguggenheim@compuserve.com

The approximate price of the book: 35 -10 Euro plus mail expenses.

Khonigsman J.C. "The Catastrophe of the Jews of Western Ukraine".

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© 2002 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org