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 Zavelsky Family of Glukhov
Click here read the excerpts from "Our Visit to Kharkov Diary" for more information and photos.
Location: Northeastern Ukraine. Coordinates: 49',58"N, 36',20"E
Population: Approximately 2.5 millions in urban districts
Language: Mainly Russian and Ukrainian. Current politics has strong Ukrainian tendency. There are people speaking some Hebrew, Yiddish, Georgian also.

Our Zavelsky family members emigrated to Kharkov from Glukhov after the revolution in 1917.

The city lies in northeast Ukraine, second only in size to Kiev, the capital. It is also Ukraine's most important manufacturing center. A modern industrial city that only developed during the second half of the 19th century. Kharkov is a major educational and industrial research center, with Kharkov State University (1805) and technical schools training engineers for the cities industries.

It's modern industrial development, beginning in the 1860s was due to both the rise of the coal and steel industry in the nearby Donets Basin and to the construction of railroads.

Kharkov was outside the Pale of Settlement. Jewish merchants often attended large fairs held there from the second half of the 18th century. Individual Jews even settled there without hindrance.

In 1868, the Jews of Kharkov were permitted to build a synagogue and nominate a community council. In that period there were 35 families of Jewish merchants and craftsman. There were 26 Jewish pupils studying at the local secondary school and university and 68 Jewish soldiers. When fairs were held, some 3000 Jews would visit the town.

Toward the end of the 19th century, many Jewish youths from the provinces of the Pale began to attend the University of Kharkov, and in 1886 the 414 Jewish students formed 28.3% of the student body.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, Kharkov served as the capital of Ukraine from 1817 to 1934.

Before W.W.II, anti-Semitism was rampant. Jewish people had no choice but to keep their nationality, language and culture a secret. There were no Jewish schools and children were not taught Hebrew.

When the Germans occupied Kharkov at the end of 1941, the Jews still present were concentrated within the buildings of an abandoned factory on the outskirts of town, and in January 1942 were killed at the site known as Drobitzky Yar, about 5 miles from Kharkov. After the liberation of Kharkov by the Soviet army, two mass graves, containing over 15,000 bodies, were discovered on this spot.

Many of our Zavelsky relatives spent the war period in Siberia.

Kharkov was heavily damaged in W.W.II and has since been rebuilt. Jewish settlement was renewed in Kharkov after the war, and the Jewish population numbered over 84,000 in 1959 and was estimated at about 80,000 in 1970.

The last synagogue was closed down by the authorities in 1948-49. All subsequent attempts to obtain permission to organize a synagogue were unsuccessful, and the former synagogue was converted into a sports gymnasium.

The old synagogue is now being restored. We visited the site in 1995.

#1...Kharkov in the old days
#2...Alan and Marjorie with Rafael Zavelsky in Kharkov, 1995. It was wonderful seeing Kharkov with our second cousin.
#3...Kharkov in the old days.
#4...Kharkov in the old days.
#5...German troops in the streets of Kharkov in the beginning of the Nazi occupation. August 1941
#6...Street view 1995 of a building in the former Jewish quarter of Kharkov.
To see additional Kharkov pictures, click here.