Sokolivka: Once Home

Beginning Again

Members of the Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein Drum Corps and Patrol, 1943. Courtesy of Sue and Eric Recoon.

Community Building

Sokolivka emigres began community institutions as soon as they arrived in Buffalo in the early twentieth century. A small Chasidic community was already established in Buffalo from different parts of Eastern Europe, but like many small Jewish communities who came through family and friends “chain” or personal network linked migrations, the opportunity to recreate organizations with other home town members or landsmann proved attractive. Sokolifkers were no different to other groups and added their own voices to the profusion of separate landsmann organizations on the East Side. Quickly an informal then more formal landsleit Chasidic synagogue, Anshe Sokolivka was founded alongside a burial society, Holy Order of the Living (1909) followed by a benefit and social club, the Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein in 1913. For more information about each of these organizations, click on the organizational boxes below. Many of the Sokolivkers of the earlier generation arrivals helped raised funds for Sokolivkers who fled the pogroms and settled temporarily in Romania in Kishinev. In addition earlier arrivals were more financially established by the 1920s and could provide a source of potential employment such as the Wagner Folding Box company, founded by Abraham Wagner.

Sokolivkers joined a vibrant East Side Jewish community and established themselves initially as junk collectors, peddlers, fruit vendors and other entry level occupations. Helped by Sokolivker and local organizations like the Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association, the rise of Sokolivkers like other East Side Jews was remarkable. In this religiously and culturally rich neighborhood, Sokolifkers also joined other Jewish organizations like the Workman’s Circle, participated in Yiddish theater, and learned English in the night schools run-through the Jewish Community Building and public schools. For many Sokolifkers the opportunity to become full citizens was a highly sought after prize, one previously circumscribed in their former homes of Sokolivka-Justingrad.

Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein (UUV)

Organizations  /  Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein (UUV) The Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein (UUV) was founded in 1913 as an immigrant benefit club that provided social, credit and death benefits to its members with Sokolivka roots.OverviewThe Ustingrader...

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Holy Order of the Living Cemetery

Organizations  /  Holy Order of the Living Cemetery Holy Order of the Living was founded in 1909 and is located in Cheektowaga on Pine Ridge Road.OverviewHoly Order of the Living was founded in 1909 to provide burial rights according to Orthodox ritual. The cemetery...

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Anshe Sokolivka

Synagogues  /  Anshe SokolivkaThe congregation of Anshe Sokolivka formed around 1908 and was also known as the Spring Street Shul.OverviewKnown as the “Spring Street Shul,” Anshe Sokolovka built their congregational home at 350 Spring Street in 1917, between William...

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The Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein Ladies Auxiliary minute book for 1938 to 1946 was lovingly preserved by Charlie Shuman. The JBHC have digitized the first 50 pages of this thick ledger as part of a longer term project to scan the entire minute book. We are looking for volunteer translators willing to work on individual pages.  If you would like to volunteer, and sign up for an individual page, please email the JBHC coordinator here. We will post translations as they become available.


Carrel family, c. 1952

Carrels and Finkelsteins, 1940s