Memorial at the Cemetery of Holy Order of the Living. Image by Chana Revell Kotzin, 2021.

Remembering the Pogroms

During and after WWI, Jewish residents of Sokolivka-Ustingrad were increasingly subject to harassment and attacks by soldiers, militias and non-Jewish civilians. From 1916 to 1919, the Jewish population of Sokolivka Ustingrad suffered not just one pogrom, but many. In 1916 armed peasants, rode into the village, and attacked property. Nearly 250 Jews died in Sokolivka that year.  In the following year, Chaika (Ida) Shuman‘s four brothers were killed. Then in 1918, Chaika’s father was murdered and she, with her husband Peretz Shuman, left Sokolivka. In Buffalo, just over 45 years later, a monument was unveiled to remember her father’s fate, along with hundreds of others. A listing of the names of the victims of that 1918 pogrom are listed on a plaque inside Holy Order of the Living.

Another decade later and Chaika Shuman would bring back the terror of that day in an article published in the Buffalo Jewish Review in 1978.

In an oral history below, Ben Berkun recalled similar experiences of the attack. You can also read another testimony by him here.

With death appearing to be an increasingly predictable fate, Sokolivkers left as fast as they were able after 1919. But in a world barely recovered from the impacts of WWI, a global flu pandemic that had killed millions, and refugee dislocations due to the creation of the Soviet Union, escape and travel itself were rarely easy or straightforward.

Ben Berkun recalls the pogroms vividly in his oral history about life in Sokolivka.

by Ben Berkun | Permission of Paula Binyamin with the help of Stuart Bogom.

Recollections of Molly Winer (born Malka Wowneboj)

In this handwritten exercise book, written many decades after emigration from Sokolivka, Molly recalls her family life in the small town, as well as several attacks against her family and friends during the pogroms. She also recounts her emigration to the United States and settling in Buffalo on the East Side. Courtesy of her daughter, Marsha Dautch with permission.

View the Book


Memorial Ben Berkun