was the birthplace of my grandfather, Solomon Sovel, (Zalman
Zavelsky) and his brothers."
Glukhov was the ancestral
home of the Zavelsky family. The town where Eliezar and Moishe
Zavelsky were born.
1993 was the 1,000 - year anniversary of Glukhov. The town
is located in the Chernigov province of the Ukraine and is
about a five hour drive from Kiev. The population in 1926
was 16,000. After W.W.II the population was 2,551. The Russian
spelling of the name is Glukhov. Today, the town is also known
by the name of Hlukhiv, the Ukrainian spelling.
At first a territory, Glukhov came into being in 993. Located
in a wooded and swampy area it received it's name, Glukhov,
because it means "deaf", hard to reach or out of
the way. The name Glukhov can be found in the "Russian
Chronicle" in 1152. At that time it was not a town, but
a village. After what was called "The Black Plague"
in 1352, there was nothing written about the town for 250
As a result of a Russian victory over Lithuania in 1503, Glukhov
was consolidated into Russia. However, after the peace treaty
with Poland it again became a part of that country. In 1686
Glukhov became a part of Ukraine after a long and bloody war
with the Ukrainian Liberation Army.
Between 1700 and 1721 Glukhov became the center of the war
between Russia and Sweden and was occupied by Russians. By
the year 1782 most of Ukraine, including Glukhov, became a
part of Russia. During that period, Glukhov started to grow
and became one of the biggest trade centers of occupied Ukraine.
In 1803 the reconstruction of Glukhov began. The town map
plan was completely changed. When the reconstruction of Glukhov
began many Jewish people settled in the town. It was at this
time that the Zavelsky family first came to Glukhov.
Many houses and small businesses were demolished during the
reconstruction. The wooden monastery was rebuilt, the fort
walls were torn down and trading plazas and boulevards were
built. Glukhov changed from a small town and became one of
the trade centers of Russia. In 1850 about 10,000 people of
different religions lived in the town. There were 218 shops,
14 wineries, 2 hotels, 11 rental houses, 5 small factories,
22 concrete houses, 1103 wooden houses. In 1867 a concrete
temple was built next to the Kiev gates.
In 1898, Kiev Moscovskaya Street (the merchant street) had
two synagogues. Many of the Jewish men made jewelry for Glukhov
and other towns.
In 1905 riots by the workers destroyed many factories and
businesses. In that same year railroad workers and post office
clerks also went on strike. In 1906 many small businesses
closed their doors while the industrial giants created more
jobs. During that period the population of Glukhov was 18,000
people. About 5,000 were Jews, 12,000 Russians, Ukranians
and Byelorussians, 100 from Poland, 50 Germans and people
of other origins.
In 1912 the first electric station lit up Glukhov. For the
first time in history, the streets of Glukhov were bright
at night. In 1914 there was an epidemic which killed almost
half of the town's population. Half of all newborn babies
Before the revolution in 1917 Glukhov had a Jewish School
and two synagogues. During the pograms and the revolution
many people were shot by the army, both Jewish and non Jewish.
After the revolution, many of the Zavelsky family left Glukhov
and moved to Kharkov. At this time, the government did not
allow the Jewish people to take care of the cemetery. It was
not until after 1970 that the Jewish residents were allowed
to take down the trees that the government had planted over
the cemetery and to tend it. Now, there are a few older Jewish
people who come once a month to clean the grounds, The cemetery
is not taken care of by the town.
In 1918 there was a Rabbi Rochavesky in Glukhov with whom
the Zavelsky family had a good relationship. The Rabbi died
in the 1917 revolution. Many of Glukhov's Jews left the town
after the revolution and before W.W.II. In 1941 there were
500 Jewish families in the town.
During our 1995 visit to Glukhov, we met
with the Mayor, Orest Nikolaevich Ovsinskii. The Mayor provided
the following information during our visit:Population of the
town of Glukhov 39,200; Number of Jews now, 165; No synagogues;
Newspaper, yes; Jewish cemetery, yes; Hotel, yes; Museum,
yes; Local occupations: dairy, baker, food products, agricultural-related
business, few factories; mostly filmmaking. The Mayor said
he was happy to know "my little town is known in America."
The Mayor invited an elder from the Jewish community, Zinovy
Mikailovich Dwoskin, born in 1907 in Glukhov to speak with
us and to act as our guide to Jewish sites in Glukhov. Zinovy
recalls the Zavelsky family as a large one--all working in
the family business--a candy factory. Zinovy does not remember
what happened to them because many Jews fled in 1941. After
the Holocaust, less than one-half returned. Pre 1941, 500
Jewish families lived in the town of Glukhov. More than 1,000
people (mostly Jews from Glukhov) were murdered during the
Holocaust in Borak, a nearby town. A Jewish cemetery does
exist, but most of the older stones are in Hebrew and the
letters are very faded and difficult to read. According to
the Mayor, there is no one in Glukhov who can read Hebrew
inscriptions. The synagogue in Glukhov was destroyed and another
building constructed on the site.
The vice-mayor of Glukhov, Dimitri Savitsky, told us many
facts about the Jewish people of Glukhov: During the pograms
many Jews hid in non Jewish houses. In 1937, the Russians
took all of the rich people of Glukhov to Siberia. These people
were mostly non Jewish. Many of the relatives of those who
went to Siberia asked the Jewish people who remained in Glukhov
to watch their property. Before W.W.II, the mayor of Glukhov
was Jewish. When the war began he became a partisan. He survived
the war and returned to live in Glukhov.
During the war, the Germans buried their soldiers who were
killed in the park in the middle of the town. After the war,
the townspeople removed the bodies. Dimitri told us that his
father said " how is it possible that when we go to the
park we walk on German soldiers."
The town of Glukhov is the region center. Today there are
3000 Jews living in the entire region. During the Holocaust
9000 Jewish people from the region were killed.
Dimitri told us that there was a Jewish photographer by the
name of Lubamilsky who was killed by the Germans. He left
a trail of buttons as the Germans took him away. Later the
trail was followed and it took the people to the place where
he was shot.
People knew that if German soldiers took someone to "talk,"
they should take something to leave a trail. Most often, this
trail led to the forest in Borak.