Monday, January 7, 2008

Zvenigorodka, Ukraine

Based on the records I've found for several branches of the family tree, we have cousins from Zvenigorodka (also spelled Zvenyhorodka, Zvenyhorodka, and Zwienigorodka), Ukraine. Dr. Saul, Solomon Lutsky, and his family listed this town as their last residence when they came to America in 1921. It's also the last residence listed for some Hochfeld cousins (Belinsky branch of the family tree) when they came to the US in 1909. Zvenigorodka is located 41 miles NE of Uman, 72 miles NW of Kirovohgrad (fka Elizavetgrad). It is also located only 13 miles from Lysyanka, the town where my g-grandparents Louis Lutsky and Lena Belinsky were probably born. Zvenigorodka is located in the Kiev district/province.

According to The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life, a single Jewish lessee was present in 1765. In 1897, the Jewish population was 6,389. Jews set up a candle factory and a tobacco plant. Many worked on the estates during the grain harvest. Zvenigoridka was the birthplace of Baron Horace Gunzberg/Guenzburg and the Hebrew writer Natan Agmon Bistritski/Bistritsky. In 1924, under the Soviets, 360 Jewish artisans were organized in unions. A few dozen Jewish families founded a kolkhoz (cooperative agricultural enterprise) nearby. Two Yiddish-language elementary schools and a vocational school were opened in the town. An education institute for needy children (aged 4-8) was founded in 1927. In the same year, a Jewish law court began operating and in 1931 a Yiddish-language agricultural school was established. The Jewish population in 1939 was 1,957. The Nazis occupied Zvenigorodka on July 29, 1941, setting up a ghetto where the Jews of Katerynopol were also confined. On June 14, 1942, at least 1,500 Jews were executed in the Oforny forest.

According to the RTR Foundation website, the following records survive in the Kiev and/or Cherkassy archives:

-birth - 1861-1862; 1887-1889; 1897; 1903; 1904; 1907; 1908
-census/list of inhabitants - 1847, 1849, 1853
-voter lists - 1853
-pogroms - 1905
-address book - 1849
-Jewish school/students - 1852-3
-taxpayer lists - 1847, 1852, 1915
-Jewish hospital records - 1906
-local govt document - 1905 list of Jews who participated in the revoluntionary movement in Zvenigorodka
-local govt document - 1910-11 list of small shop owners


Anonymous said...

In 2001 I met a fellow on a train from Siberia to Moscow. I eventually learned that his family was originally from Zvenigorodka where their family name had been "Kogan" (that's what happens to "Cohen" in Cyrillic). Around 1910 two brothers -- I think one was "Daniil" -- had emigrated to Philadelphia and opened a dressmaking shop. Then came the 1917 revolution and the Stalin years when it became too dangerous to write, so a farewell letter was sent. After that the brother who remained in Zvenigorodka was persecuted as an "enemy of the people" or "bourgeois bloodsucker" once too often, so he took his family to Siberia to create new identities under "Russian" names. He could not have foreseen the Holocaust when Zvenigorodka's remaining Jews were annihilated, and that probably is what his relatives in Philadelphia assumed.

I have not been able to locate any Kogans in greater Philadelphia who can connect themselves to this story. Perhaps they moved on or changed their names. If this seems to connect with anyone's family history, I can be reached here:

Anonymous said...

I'm working on the genealogy of the Ganapol(sky) family from Zveigorodka. If this name is familiar to anyone, please be in contact.

Alan Steinfeld

Anonymous said...


I'm doing research on the Vaslavsky family from Zvenigorodka. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone with information about the family or about Zvenigorodka itself.

Nina Robbins

Bamboo Guy said...

I am doing research about my relatives that lived in Lysyanka and Zvenigorodka. Last names include Veksler (Wexler), Geyer and Khariton.
If these names are familiar to anyone or if you have any suggestions for my search please contact me.

Alex K

Anonymous said...

I am researching my families past and believe that my relatives came from Zvenigorodka.

There names are offer, oiffer and krashemco, crachemko

Does anyone have information on this town, family names, local sites. I plan to visit at some point


Anonymous said...

my family was from lysianka. my grandmother was the daughter of abraham and bessie rabinowitz. my grandmother chana and her sister raisl emigrated to new york in the early 1900's. they belonged to an established group called the lysianka ladies (in america), who helped people from their town to survive in new york. does anyone know the rabinowitz family from lysianka, or have any other information to add?

noyma said...

My mother and her sister left Zvenigorodka just prior to World War I. The family name was Podkaminsky. Her name was Esther, her sister was Yetta. Her father, Sanna, was a miller. The family moved from Lysanka to Zvenigorodka. Another sister and family moved to Kharkov in the 1930s.She and one married daughter survived World War II. A second married daughter and family were murdered in Zvenigorodka by the Nazis. We received a letter from my mother's sister in the 1950s. I wrote her a letter but I never received an answer.The married name of the daughter who survived in Kharkov was Shvartsman. Any information would be appreciated.

Robert Cherery said...

I, too, am researching my family who came from Zvenigorodka. Is that another name for Zwinograd? And does any one have information on a family named Czernobelky or Chernobelsky? They are mine, on my father's side. Thanks, Robert.

Anonymous said...

I'm primarily looking for families named Khutoryansky, Chercass (or variations), Kitaigorodsky, Magaziner, Gorbatyuk, Hochfeld. Granoff (Granovsky), Yudell. I am interested in the list of documents that Sharon posted and how they can be accessed. Any information or leads will be greatly appreciated, Because of the scarcity of records, I have only been able to go back about 2 generations to the people who immigrated in the 1920s. Would like to go back further if I can. thank you. Helen

Sharon said...

To find out which records have survived for your towns, use and These websites will also tell you where the records are located and how to go about requesting them. You may even find the extracted data in the JewishGen databases.
I see the Hochfeld name in your list. My gg-grandfather's sister, Elke Belinki, married Benjamin Hochfeld (Gochfeld in the old country) of Zwenigorodka.