Berdychiv is a historic city
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 in the Zhytomyr Oblast
Zhytomyr Oblast
Zhytomyr Oblast is an oblast of northern Ukraine. The administrative center of the oblast is the city of Zhytomyr.-History:The oblast was created as part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on September 22, 1937....

Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...

) of northern Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. Serving as the administrative center
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 of the Berdychiv Raion
Berdychiv Raion
Berdychiv Raion is a raion of Zhytomyr Oblast, northern Ukraine. Its administrative centre is located at Berdychiv. The raion covers an area of 865.2 square kilometres and as of 2011 it had a population of 29,551 people....

A raion is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet countries. The term, which is from French rayon 'honeycomb, department,' describes both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is commonly translated in English as "district"...

), the city itself is of direct oblast subordinance, and is located 44 km (27.3 mi) south of the oblast capital, Zhytomyr
Zhytomyr is a city in the North of the western half of Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Zhytomyr Oblast , as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Zhytomyr Raion...

, at around 49°54′N 28°35′E.

The current estimated population is around 88,000 (as of 2001).


In 1430, Grand Duke of Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 Vitautas (великий князь литовський Вітовт) granted the rights over the area to Kalinik, the procurator (намісник) of Putyvl
Putyvl or Putivl is a town in north-east Ukraine, in Sumy Oblast. Currently about 20,000 people live in Putyvl.-History:One of the original Siverian towns, Putyvl was first mentioned as early as 1146 as an important fortress contested between Chernigov and Novgorod-Seversky principalities of...

 and Zvenigorod, and it is believed that his servant named Berdich founded a khutor
Khutor or khutir is usually taken to refer to a single-homestead rural settlement of Eastern Europe.In Cossack-settled lands that encompassed today's Ukraine, Kuban, and the lower Don river basin the word khutor was used to describe new settlements which had detached themselves from stanitsas...

(remote settlement) there. However the etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 of the name Berdychiv is not known.

In 1483, Crimean Tatar
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

s destroyed the settlement. During the 1546 partition between Lithuania and Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, the region was listed as a property of Lithuanian magnate (Tyszkiewicz). According to the Union of Lublin
Union of Lublin
The Union of Lublin replaced the personal union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a real union and an elective monarchy, since Sigismund II Augustus, the last of the Jagiellons, remained childless after three marriages. In addition, the autonomy of Royal Prussia was...

 (1569), Volhynia
Volhynia, Volynia, or Volyn is a historic region in western Ukraine located between the rivers Prypiat and Southern Bug River, to the north of Galicia and Podolia; the region is named for the former city of Volyn or Velyn, said to have been located on the Southern Bug River, whose name may come...

 formed a province of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...


The fortified Carmelite monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 (built from 1627-1642 under the sponsorship of Janusz Tyszkiewicz Łohojski), captured and plundered by Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Zynoviy Mykhailovych Khmelnytsky was a hetman of the Zaporozhian Cossack Hetmanate of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth . He led an uprising against the Commonwealth and its magnates which resulted in the creation of a Cossack state...

 in 1647, was disestablished in 1864.

In 1764, Kazimierz Pulaski
Kazimierz Pulaski
Casimir Pulaski, or Kazimierz Pułaski in Polish of Ślepowron coat-of-arms , was a Polish soldier, nobleman, and politician who has been called "the father of American cavalry"....

 defended the city with his 700 men surrounded by royal army during Bar Confederation
Bar Confederation
The Bar Confederation was an association of Polish nobles formed at the fortress of Bar in Podolia in 1768 to defend the internal and external independence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth against Russian influence and against King Stanisław August Poniatowski and Polish reformers who were...


The town underwent rapid development after king Stanisław August Poniatowski, under pressure from the powerful Radziwiłł family, granted it the unusual right to organize ten fair
A fair or fayre is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may ten weeks. ...

s a year. This made Berdychiv one of the most important trading and banking centers in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and later, the Russian Empire. At the time, the saying "Pisz na Berdyczów!" ('Send letters to Berdychiv!') had a idiomatic meaning; because merchants from all over Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and the rest of eastern and central Europe were sure to visit the town within two or three months of each other, it became a central poste restante
Poste restante
Poste restante or general delivery is a service where the post office holds mail until the recipient calls for it...

 (post office box) of the region. Later, because of the phrase being used in a popular poem by Juliusz Słowacki, "Pisz na Berdyczów!" acquired a second meaning as a brush-off; "send me a letter to nowhere" or "leave me alone".

The banking industry was moved from Berdychiv to Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 (a major port city) after 1850, and the town became impoverished again in a short period of time.

In 1846, the town had 1893 buildings, 69 of which were brick-made, 11 streets, 80 walkways and 4 squares. Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon....

 visited it in 1850 and noted that its unplanned development made it resemble the dance of a polka
The polka is a Central European dance and also a genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia...

 as some buildings leaned left while others leaned right.

Jewish history

According to the census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 of 1789, the Jews constituted 75% of Berdychiv's population (1,951 out of 2,640, of whom 246 were liquor-dealers, 452 houseowners, 134 merchants, 188 artisans, 150 clerks and 56 idlers). In 1797, Prince Radziwill
The Radziwiłł family is an noble family of Lithuanian origin. The descendants of Kristinas Astikas, a close associate of the 14th century Lithuanian ruler Vytautas, were highly prominent for centuries, first in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, later in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the...

 granted seven Jewish families the monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

A privilege is a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. It can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth...

 of the cloth trade in the town. Jews were a major driving force of the town's commerce in the first half of the 19th century, founding a number of trading companies (some traded internationally), banking establishments, and serving as agents of the neighboring estates of Polish nobility (szlachta
The szlachta was a legally privileged noble class with origins in the Kingdom of Poland. It gained considerable institutional privileges during the 1333-1370 reign of Casimir the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of...


By the end of the 18th century, Berdychiv became an important center of Hasidism. As the town grew, a number of noted scholars served as rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s there, including Lieber the Great and Joseph the Harif and the Tzadik
Tzadik/Zadik/Sadiq is a title given to personalities in Jewish tradition considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The root of the word ṣadiq, is ṣ-d-q , which means "justice" or "righteousness", also the root of Tzedakah...

 Levi Yosef Yitzhak of Berdichev (the author of Kedushat Levi), who lived and taught there until his death in 1809. See also Berditchev (Hasidic dynasty)
Berditchev (Hasidic dynasty)
Berditchev Hasidim, also known in Yiddish as Berditchiver Hasidim, originated in the town of Berdychiv, which over the years was under the control of Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine....

In its heyday, Berdychiv accounted some eighty synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s and batei midrash, and was famous for its cantor
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...


Berdychiv was also one of the centers of the conflict between Hasidim
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 and Mitnagdim. As the ideas of Haskalah
Haskalah , the Jewish Enlightenment, was a movement among European Jews in the 18th–19th centuries that advocated adopting enlightenment values, pressing for better integration into European society, and increasing education in secular studies, Hebrew language, and Jewish history...

 influenced parts of the Jewish communities, a large group of Maskilim formed in Berdychiv in the 1820s.

In 1847, 23,160 Jews resided in Berdychiv and by 1861 the number doubled to 46,683, constituting the second largest Jewish community in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. The May Laws
May Laws
Temporary regulations regarding the Jews were proposed by minister of internal affairs Nikolai Ignatyev and enacted on May 15 , 1882, by Tsar Alexander III of Russia...

 of 1882 and other government persecutions affected Jewish population and in 1897, out of the town's population of 53,728, 41,617 (about 80%) were Jewish. 58% of Jewish males and 32% of Jewish females were literate.

Until World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the natural growth was balanced by the emigration. During the 1917 October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 and Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, the mayor of the town was the Bundist leader D. Lipets. In early 1919, the Jews of Berdychiv became victims of a pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

 and in 1920 the advancing Soviet troops destroyed most of the city by the artillery fire.

The Soviet authorities closed or destroyed most of the town's synagogues.

In the 1920s, Yiddish language
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 was officially recognized and in 1924, the first in Ukraine official law court to conduct its affairs in Yiddish was established in the city, but in the 1930s, the use of Yiddish was curtailed and all Jewish cultural activities were suspended before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


Most civilians from areas near the border did not have a chance to evacuate when the Nazi
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

s began their invasion on June 22, 1941. An "extermination" unit was established in Berdychiv in early July 1941 and a Jewish ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

 was set up. It was liquidated on October 5, 1941, after all the inhabitants were murdered.

The Nazis killed about 20,000 to 30,000 Jews who had not evacuated Berdychiv. A 1973 Ukrainian-language article about the history of Berdychiv says:"Гестапівці стратили 38 536 чоловік." (Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 killed 38,536 persons.) In line with the official Soviet policy regarding the Jews and the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, the article does not mention the word "Jew" and did not acknowledge the genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 of the Jews.


Year | Total population Jewish population
1789 2,640 1,951 (75%)
1847 ? 23,160
1861 ? 46,683
1867 52,563 41,617 (80%)
1926 55,417 30,812 (55.6%)
1941 ? 0
1946 ? 6,000
1972 77,000 15,000 (est)
1989 92,000 ?
2001 88,000 1000


  • Boris Sidis
    Boris Sidis
    Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D. was a Ukrainian Jewish psychologist, physician, psychiatrist, and philosopher of education. Sidis founded the New York State Psychopathic Institute and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. He was the father of the child prodigy William James Sidis...

     (Born in 1867)
  • Jacob Pavlovitch Adler
    Jacob Pavlovitch Adler
    Jacob Pavlovich Adler , born Yankev P. Adler, was a Jewish actor and star of Yiddish theater, first in Odessa, and later in London and New York City....

     (mother Hessye Halperin was born)
  • Valeriy Skvortsov
    Valeriy Skvortsov
    Valeriy Sergeyevich Skvortsov is a former high jumper who represented the USSR in the 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics.Skvortsov was first noticed by Soviet high jump coach Viktor Lonsky, who offered him training in a converted sports gym located within the walls of an old Catholic cathedral...

     (born in 1945; Soviet high jumper; European champion)
  • Sholom Aleichem
    Sholom Aleichem
    Sholem Aleichem was the pen name of Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, a leading Yiddish author and playwright...

  • Honoré de Balzac
    Honoré de Balzac
    Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon....

     (married in)
  • Isaac Fridman Lutzkaya (Born in 1926, Mexican actor) d. 2007.
  • Joseph Conrad
    Joseph Conrad
    Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

    , writer (Born in 1857, Polish nobility)
  • Abraham Firkovich
    Abraham Firkovich
    Abraham ben Samuel Firkovich was a famous leader of the Qarays . He was born in Lutsk, Volhynia, then lived in Lithuania, and finally settled in Çufut Qale, Crimea. Firkovich was a communal leader and hakham...

    , Karaim hakham (lived)
  • Abraham Goldfaden
    Abraham Goldfaden
    Abraham Goldfaden ; was an Russian-born Jewish poet, playwright, stage director and actor in the languages Yiddish and Hebrew, author of some 40 plays.Goldfaden is considered the father of the Jewish modern theatre.In 1876 he founded in...

  • Israel Grodner
    Israel Grodner
    Israel Grodner was one of the founding performers in Yiddish theater. A Lithuanian Jew who moved at the age of 16 to Berdichev, Ukraine, Russian Empire, the Broder singer and actor was in Iaşi, Romania in 1876 when Abraham Goldfaden recruited him as the first actor for what became the first...

  • Vasily Grossman
    Vasily Grossman
    Vasily Semyonovich Grossman was a Soviet writer and journalist. Grossman trained as an engineer and worked in the Donets Basin, but changed career in the 1930s and published short stories and several novels...

  • Felix Lembersky
    Felix Lembersky
    Felix Lembersky was a Russian/Soviet painter, artist, teacher, theater stage designer and community organizer of Jewish-Ukrainian origin....

    , fine arts, painter (1913–1970), born and raised in Berdychiv, worked as theater stage designer
  • Der Nister
    Der Nister
    thumb|250px|Der Nister sitting behind [[Marc Chagall]] at the [[Malakhovka, Moscow Oblast|Malakhovka]] Jewish boys refuge.Der Nister was the penname of Pinchus Kahanovich , a Yiddish author, philosopher, translator, and critic...

  • Antoni Protazy Potocki
    Antoni Protazy Potocki
    Antoni Protazy Potocki , aka Prot, was a Polish noble . Knight of the Order of the White Eagle, awarded on May 8, 1781....

    , szlachta (owned and organized several factories in the village of Makhnivka, near Berdychiv)
  • Mendele Mocher Sforim
    Mendele Mocher Sforim
    Mendele Mocher Sforim , December 21, 1835 = January 2, 1836 , Kapyl — November 25, 1917 = December 8, 1917...

  • Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev
    Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev
    Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev , also known as the Berdichever, was a rabbi and Hasidic leader. He was the rabbi of Ryczywół, Żelechów, Pinsk and Berdychiv, for which he is best known...

     (Levi Yosef Yitzhak of Berdichev), Torah commentator, chassidic rabbi, leader, religious song writer, and leader of the Berditchev
    Berditchev (Hasidic dynasty)
    Berditchev Hasidim, also known in Yiddish as Berditchiver Hasidim, originated in the town of Berdychiv, which over the years was under the control of Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine....

     Hasidic dynasty.

Some sources erroneously claim that the great pianist
A pianist is a musician who plays the piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers, solo instrumentalists, or other performers.-Choice of genres:...

 Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

 was born in Berdychiv. However, Horowitz's birth certificate unequivocally states Kiev as his birthplace.

See also

  • Shtetl
    A shtetl was typically a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust. Shtetls were mainly found in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania...

  • Names of European cities in different languages
    Names of European cities in different languages
    Many cities in Europe have different names in different languages. Some cities have also undergone name changes for political or other reasons. This article attempts to give all known different names for all major cities that are geographically or historically and culturally in Europe...

  • History of the Jews in Russia and the Soviet Union
    History of the Jews in Russia and the Soviet Union
    The vast territories of the Russian Empire at one time hosted the largest populations of Jews in the diaspora. Within these territories the Jewish community flourished and developed many of modern Judaism's most distinctive theological and cultural traditions, while also facing periods of...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.