Kremenets is a 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 Ternopil Oblast
Ternopil Oblast
Ternopil Oblast is an oblast' of Ukraine. Its administrative center is Ternopil, through which flows the Seret River, a tributary of the Dnister.-Geography:...

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 western 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...

. It is 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 Kremenets Raion (district
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"...

), and rests 18 km north-east of the great Pochayiv Monastery. The city is situated in the historic region of 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...



According to some sources the Kremenets fortress was built in the eighth or ninth century, and later became a part of Kievan Rus’. The first documented reference to the fortress is given in a Polish encyclopedic dictionary written in 1064. The first reference to Kremenets in Old Slavic literature dates from 1226 when the city's ruler, Mstislav the Bold
Mstislav the Bold
Mstislav Mstislavich the Bold was one of the most popular and active princes of Kievan Rus' in the decades preceding Mongol invasion of Rus. He was the maternal grandfather of Alexander Nevsky and the prince Leo of Galicia....

, defeated the Hungarian army of King Andrew II nearby. During the Mongol invasion of Rus
Mongol invasion of Rus
The Mongol invasion of Russia was resumed on 21 December 1237 marking the resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked the medieval powers of Poland, Kiev, Hungary, and miscellaneous tribes of less organized peoples...

 in 1240-41, Kremenets was one of few cities that Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

 failed to capture. In 1382, after the death of Louis I of Hungary, Lithuanian duke Liubartas captured Kremenets from the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

. The city obtained Magdeburg rights
Magdeburg rights
Magdeburg Rights or Magdeburg Law were a set of German town laws regulating the degree of internal autonomy within cities and villages granted by a local ruler. Modelled and named after the laws of the German city of Magdeburg and developed during many centuries of the Holy Roman Empire, it was...

 in 1431, and in 1569, after 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...

, it became part of Crown of Poland, known as Krzemieniec.

In the fall of 1648 Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

 Colonel Maxym Kryvonis
Maxym Kryvonis
Maksym Kryvonis was one of the Cossack leaders of Khmelnytsky Uprising. In the first stage of the uprising he was the leader of the most radical faction of the rebels who rejected all compromises with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and wanted to drive all Catholics and Jews out of...

 surrounded the Krzemieniec fortress. In October, after a six week siege, the Polish garrison surrendered. As a consequence of the fighting, the fortress was severely damaged and was never rebuilt. In 1795 Krzemieniec was annexed by 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...

 following the Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Third Partition of Poland
The Third Partition of Poland or Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in 1795 as the third and last of three partitions that ended the existence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.-Background:...

. It remained a part of Russia 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...

. In 1921, following Peace of Riga
Peace of Riga
The Peace of Riga, also known as the Treaty of Riga; was signed in Riga on 18 March 1921, between Poland, Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine. The treaty ended the Polish-Soviet War....

, the town returned to Poland, and was part of Volhynian Voivodeship. In the interwar period, Krzemieniec was famous for its renowned high school, Liceum Krzemienieckie
Liceum Krzemienieckie
Liceum Krzemienieckie was a renowned Polish high school, which existed from 1805 to 1831, and then in the interbellum period, from 1922 to 1939.-Beginnings:...

, founded in 1803 by Tadeusz Czacki
Tadeusz Czacki
Tadeusz Czacki , was a Polish historian, pedagogue and numismatist. Czacki played an important part in the Enlightenment in Poland.-Biography:...


The Jews of Kremenets

Jews are known to have settled in the Kremenets area as early as 1438, when the Grand Duke of Lithuania gave them a charter. However, in 1495 Lithuania expelled its Jews until 1503. A Polish Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 however operated in Kremenets during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Jewish community expanded and prospered through the 16th century. Around the middle of the century, rabbinical representatives of the Kahal
Kahal is a moshav in the Galilee near Highway 85 in northern Israel. The moshav is a combined agricultural community. It lies at the border of the Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee, north of Lake Kinneret and just northwest of Tabgha. It belongs to the Mevo'ot HaHermon Regional Council and was...

s of Poland began gathering at the great Fairs to conduct the business of the Jewish communities. These conferences became known as the Council of the Four Lands. Volhynian representatives were from Ostrog
Ostrog may refer to:* Ostrog, Slovenia, a settlement in Šentjernej municipality in Slovenia* Ostrog monastery, a Serbian Orthodox Christian monastery in Montenegro* Ostroh, a historic town in Ukraine* Ostrog, a Russian term for a small fortress...

 and Kremenets.

Khmelnytsky Uprising
The Khmelnytsky Uprising, was a Cossack rebellion in the Ukraine between the years 1648–1657 which turned into a Ukrainian war of liberation from Poland...

’s Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

 against the Polish land owners from 1648 through 1651, followed by the Russian-Swedish wars against Poland-Lithuania from 1654-1656, devastated the Jewish population of western Ukraine. Many Jews were murdered, while others fled. Jews were not allowed to rebuild their destroyed homes. Kremenets never again regained its former importance. All that was left as the Russians took control in 1793 was “an impoverished community of petty traders and craftsmen.”

Jewish life gradually revived and Kremenets became a secondary center 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...

 (enlightenment) in Eastern Europe in the period 1772 through 1781. By the end of the 19th century, Jews once again were active in the economic life of the town, primarily in the paper industry and as cobblers and carpenters. They exported their goods to other towns in Russia and Poland. Under Polish rule, in the early 1930s, two Yiddish periodicals were published. They merged in 1933 into a single weekly newspaper, Kremenitser Lebn (Kremenets Life).

The Holocaust Period

The Nazis destroyed the Jewish community of Kremenets. Except for those who left Kremenets before the war and 14 survivors, all 15,000 people who lived in Kremenets in 1941 were murdered.

The Soviet authorities annexed the town on September 22, 1939. In the spring of 1940 the refugees from western Poland were obliged to register with the authorities and to declare whether they wished to take up Soviet citizenship
Soviet people
Soviet people or Soviet nation was an umbrella demonym for the population of the Soviet Union. Initially used as a nonspecific reference to the Soviet population, it was eventually declared to be a "new historical, social and international unity of people".-Nationality politics in early Soviet...

 or return to their former homes, now under German occupation. Jewish communal life was forbidden, and Zionist leaders were forced to move to other cities to keep their past activities from the knowledge of the authorities. By 1941 the Jewish population had increased to over 15,000 including over 4,000 refugees.

In June 1941, the German Einsatzgruppe “C” carried out a mass slaughter of Jews in the Generalbezirk Wolhynien-Podolien District, which was part of Reichskommissariat Ukraine
Reichskommissariat Ukraine
Reichskommissariat Ukraine , literally "Reich Commissariat of Ukraine", was the civilian occupation regime of much of German-occupied Ukraine during World War II. Between September 1941 and March 1944, the Reichskommissariat was administered by Reichskommissar Erich Koch as a colony...

. The District included all of 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...


“A few days after the German-Soviet war broke out (June 22, 1941) the Germans reached the area. Hundreds of young Jews managed to flee to the Soviet Union. 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...

 broke out in early July 1941, where 800 men, women and children were killed. In August 1941 the 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...

 ordered all Jews with academic status to report for registration. All those who did so were murdered, and the Jewish community's leadership was destroyed. That month the Germans set fire to the main synagogue and exacted a fine of 11 kg. of gold from the community.

A Judenrat
Judenräte were administrative bodies during the Second World War that the Germans required Jews to form in the German occupied territory of Poland, and later in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union It is the overall term for the enforcement bodies established by the Nazi occupiers to...

 was imposed. The head, Benjamin Katz was murdered for his refusal to collaborate with the Nazis. At the end of January 1942 a ghetto was established and on March 1 was closed off from the rest of the city. The inmates endured great hardship and there was a serious shortage of water.

In the summer of 1942 the Germans began the systematic liquidation of the 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...

s in the provincial towns. In some of them revolts broke out, the ghetto inmates resisting their deportation, setting the ghetto houses on fire and making mass attempts to escape to the forests. Nesvizh, Mir
Mir, Belarus
Mir is an urban settlement in Kareličy raion, Hrodna Voblast, Belarus on the banks of Miranka River, about 85 kilometers southwest of the national capital, Minsk....

, Lachva, Kletsk, and Kremenets were some of the places where ghetto revolts
Ghetto uprising
Ghetto uprisings were armed revolts by Jews and other groups incarcerated in ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europes during World War II against the plans to deport the inhabitants to concentration and extermination camps....


On July 22, 1942, there was armed resistance by the Jews of the Kremenets ghetto against the Germans, who were trying to exterminate them. The Kremenets ghetto's lasted for two weeks, and 19,000 Jews were murdered.

On August 10, 1942, the Germans initiated a two-week long Aktion to annihilate the inmates, setting the ghetto ablaze to drive out those in hiding. Fifteen hundred able-bodied persons were dispatched as slave laborers to Bialokrynica, where they later met their death. The vast majority of the ghetto inhabitants rounded up in the Aktion were taken in groups and murdered over trenches dug near the railway station, near a former army camp. The local Zionist leader Benjamin Landsberg committed suicide. Only 14 of the Kremenets community survived the Holocaust. Societies of former residents of Kremenets function in Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the U.S. and Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...


Although the Jewish presence in Kremenets was physically destroyed, the memory of Jewish Kremenetsers lived on. In the postwar years, those who successfully emigrated before the onset of hostilities, survivors of the Holocaust, and their descendants published two Yizkor Books and a series of memorial Bulletins.


Today the economy of Kremenets is supported by Orthodox pilgrims who come to visit the cathedrals, the nunnery, and the nearby Pochayiv Lavra
Pochayiv Lavra
Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra has for centuries been the foremost spiritual and ideological centre of various Orthodox denominations in Western Ukraine. The monastery tops a 60-metre hill in the town of Pochayiv, Ternopil Oblast, 18 km southwest of Kremenets and 50 km north of Ternopil...

 as well as by Polish tourists visiting the Slovatski museum. There is also a large sugar refinery, but the plant was closed during the financial crisis of 2007–2010.

Famous people

  • Mark Kac
    Mark Kac
    Mark Kac was a Polish mathematician. His main interest was probability theory. His question, "Can one hear the shape of a drum?" set off research into spectral theory, with the idea of understanding the extent to which the spectrum allows one to read back the geometry. Kac completed his Ph.D...

    , mathematical physicist
  • Juliusz Słowacki, Polish romantic poet
    Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

  • Vitaliy Shumbarets
    Vitaliy Shumbarets
    Vitaliy Shumbarets is a Ukrainian ski jumper who has competed since 2003. He finished 45th in the individual normal hill event at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver....

     - World cup ski
    A ski is a long, flat device worn on the foot, usually attached through a boot, designed to help the wearer slide smoothly over snow. Originally intended as an aid to travel in snowy regions, they are now mainly used for recreational and sporting purposes...

  • Isaac Stern
    Isaac Stern
    Isaac Stern was a Ukrainian-born violinist. He was renowned for his recordings and for discovering new musical talent.-Biography:Isaac Stern was born into a Jewish family in Kremenets, Ukraine. He was fourteen months old when his family moved to San Francisco...

    , violin virtuoso
  • Kazimierz Urbanik, mathematician

External links

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