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Jews in Staryi Sambir, Ukraine

Staryi Sambir is a settlement in the Lviv region of Ukraine. In sources, it is known from the XI century as Sambir. Destroyed during the Mongol-Tatar invasion. Some of the townspeople moved to the town of Pogonich, calling it Novyi Sambir. Over time, Novyi Sambir began to be called Sambir, and the original city - Staryi Sambir. As a result of the division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, it became part of Austria-Hungary. From 1921 to 1939, it was part of Poland.

The residence of Jews on the territory of Staryi Sambir has been known since the beginning of the 16th century. In 1519, King Sigmund I allowed Jews to settle in the Sambir eldership. Moreover, in 1542 and 1551, royal decrees forbade Jews to settle in Sambir. There were no prohibitions on living in Staryi Sambir, but the city did not attract Jews economically. They preferred to settle in its suburbs. The Jews had no influence on urban planning. For a long time, there was no hospital or educational institutions in the city. Jews from Staryi Sambir travelled to Sambir, located 20 km away, to study and receive treatment.

It was only after obtaining the Magdeburg Law in the 1550s that Staryi Sambir became a center for the nearby Jewish shtetls. In the 17th century, the Sambir economy court confirmed the permission for Jews to settle in Staryi Sambir.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a Jewish school and a library in the city, and the Zionist movement developed. By the 1920s, Jews constituted up to 80% of the population in Staryi Sambir. Several wealthy and influential Jewish families lived in the town. Thus, the Lam family built a private synagogue located in their own house. Yosef Lam, one of the family members, was a member of the first Knesset in Israel.

Before the transfer of Staryi Sambir to Poland, the mayor of the city was the Jew Aaron Avertdam.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, several fires occurred in the city. In 1925, before Yom Kippur, two synagogues were destroyed by fire in Staryi Sambor. The Jewish community of Sambor helped to restore them.

The Jews of Staryi Sambir suffered from requisitions during the Russian occupation of the city in 1918. After the Soviet occupation in 1939, part of the Jewish population became victims of repression and was exiled to Siberia, and some were deprived of their property.

The Nazis captured the city on June 30, 1941. The Jews were plundered. According to the recollections of eyewitnesses, the invaders took away their gold, furs and valuables, made them wear distinctive signs. The Jews of Staryi Sambir, who remained in the city after the occupation, were sent to the ghetto created by the Nazis in Sambir. Of the 2.3 thousand Jews who were in the occupation, 15 people survived.