The list from which I have compiled this database is far from comprehensive. Many thousands of Jews were murdered in the pogroms of 1918-1920, immediately following World War One, and during the Russian Revolution. Not all the victims were killed in Ukraine, of course; however, in Ukraine itself there were many more victims than those named in this database. A small number of the people in this database had lived in Belarus.
The database is imperfect. There were many times when I found myself asking questions to which there are no answers. Were these consecutively listed people related, for instance?
IGRA and I wish to thank Prof. Gur Alroey for preparing the original database. Even given its imperfections, this list is better than no list, and may make valuable genealogical information available to researchers. Part of the material was previously published under the title Megilat Hatevah (Scroll of Slaughter), Book One: A-B, by E. D. (Eliezer David) Rosenthal, Havura Publishers, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1927. This book has been copied and placed online at www.hebrewbooks.org by Haim Tesha. At this website, one can find more information about the towns and villages. There is a foreword by Haim Nahman Bialik, in which he mentions that Rosenthal himself was a survivor of the pogroms, and considered the publishing of the lists of names as keeping a solemn vow he’d made. He mentions that Rosenthal was very ill at the time, but had hoped to survive long enough to complete the project. According to Bialik, the lists were published bit by bit. The letters of the alphabet A-B refer to the names of the cities, towns and villages. The information had to be smuggled out of Russia to Israel, because it never would have been published in Russia, of which Ukraine was a part, at the time. Bialik called for people to contribute to the project, so that all of the information could be published. Whether this came about, I don’t know.
The material with which I have worked is not the primary material but instead is material which has been previously transcribed. The transcription is of varying quality. But I have contacted Gnazim Archives, and they replied that they do not have any additional information. The lists appear to be a composite of different lists compiled by different people, in different styles. The lists contain the name of the region, the name of the town where the victims resided, surnames if they existed, given names where available, sex of the persons, in many cases their ages, and in some cases, relationships. Relatively few have their professions listed.
In rare cases I have made assumptions, where I have considered this entirely logical. In these cases, there are no notes about relationships, but, for instance, two consecutive names from the same village with the same surname. An example follows:
Kiev Gubernia Bosnovski (village) Kozlov Zvi son of Ephraim
Kiev Gubernia Bosnovski (village) Kozlov Moshe son of Zvi son of Ephraim
There are a few reasons for reaching this conclusion:
- The consecutive listing
- The fact that they lived in a village, and not a city, which means that there is little likelihood of their not being related. In fact, they are the only 2 listed from this village
- The son Zvi and the father Zvi
I believe that if I hadn’t linked these people, some important information might be lost. However, in general, I did not make very many assumptions. Instead I chose to err on the side of caution. Where there are consecutive listings of 2 men from the same larger town with the same father’s name and similar ages, I have mostly not allowed myself to assume the connection. Only if there is another clue, did I assume the connection.
When it comes to assigning parents, I do not make the assumption that the wife of the father is also the mother of the child. It is entirely possible that she is a second wife. The only exception is when the murdered child was a baby. If the child was under a year old, it is most likely that the wife was also the mother of the child. In most cases, in the original database, the father’s name only is given, but there are exceptions.
The transcriber, or the original compiler of the information, used a system of not following up with the surnames. Occasionally, the first of a group has a surname, then the others have none. I have come to the conclusion that they indeed have the same surname. In cases where there is a given name for a wife, but for some reason, she has no surname, I match her surname to her husband’s.
A large percentage of the listings are of little or no value. Where it says, “a man from another town”, or “9 people buried in a mass grave”, with no identifying details, I am not deleting the listing, but no search of the database will bring up such a listing.
The town names remain as they appear in the database I worked with. This means that some of the names are former town names. For example: Proskurov in the lists=Khmelnytskyy today. For one town, spelled in transcription from Hebrew, there are two different spellings: Krivaezert or Krivoye Ozero; in some cases, there are double listings as a result. The current name for this city is Krivye Ozero. Some of the same names appear in the town under each spelling.
After graduating from the U of Wisconsin/Madison, in 1969 Ellen moved to Israel, and lived on a kibbutz for over a year. It was her second time in Israel. When she left the kibbutz, she moved to Jerusalem; for the past 40 years, she has lived in Ramat Gan. When her husband Zvi decided to go into business for himself, and started an investment business, she became a “silent partner”. She has three children: Avner, Amir, who lives in Washington D.C., and Raquel; three granddaughters; and two cats.
Since 1995, Ellen has been actively researching her family’s roots, with ancestors from five modern-day countries. This has included traveling to ancestral towns, documenting old Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania and Germany, writing articles on topics related to her research, and translating material from Hebrew to English. It has been a rewarding, educational experience, involving contacts on four continents, not including Israel which is in Asia. Ellen has published three family books: We Were All Klutzes, about the Klots (and Kling) families of Lithuania; The Werthans of Rotenburg an der Fulda; and The Brenn Family of Pinsk.