Over 1,000 Belz Hasidim visit Western Ukrainian city of their origin

2017/5/11 21:27:20

In May 1942, there were over 1,540 local Jewish residents and refugees in Belz. On June 2, 1942, 1,000 Jews were deported to Hrubieszów and from there to the Sobibór extermination camp.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From RISU, May 10, 2017 - On May 9 more than 1,000 Hasidic pilgrims from Israel, Great Britain, and the United States arrived in Belz, the small city central to the group’s history.

 

Belz is a small city in Sokal Raion of Lviv Oblast (region) of Western Ukraine, near the border with Poland. The Ashkenazi Jewish community in Belz was established circa 14th century. In 1665, the Jews in Belz received equal rights and duties. The town became home to a Hasidic dynasty in the early 19th century. At that time, the Rav of Belz, Rabbi Shalom Rokeach (1779–1855), also known as the Sar Shalom, joined the Hasidic movement by studying with the Maggid of Lutsk, who sent him to Belz to establish the community and become the first Belzer Rebbe from 1817 to 1855.

 

Rebbes of Belz

 

Rabbi Sholom Rokeach (1779–1855)

 

Rabbi Yehoshua Rokeach (1825–1894)

 

Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach (1854–1926)

 

Rabbi Aharon Rokeach (1877–1957)

 

Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach (b. 1948)

 

At the beginning of World War I, Belz had 6100 inhabitants, including 3600 Jews, 1600 Ukrainians, and 900 Poles. During the German and Soviet invasion of Poland (September 1939), most of the Jews of Belz fled to the Soviet Union in Autumn 1939.

 

In May 1942, there were over 1,540 local Jewish residents and refugees in Belz. On June 2, 1942, 1,000 Jews were deported to Hrubieszów and from there to the Sobibór extermination camp. Another 504 were brought to Hrubieszów in September of that year, after they were no longer needed to work on the farms in the area. The majority of Belzer Hasidim were killed in the Holocaust.

 

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The commentary above is from Paul Goble’s “Window on Eurasia” series and appears here with the author’s permission. Contact Goble at: paul.goble@gmail.com

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