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Jews in Ternopil, Ukraine

Ternopil is the regional center of Ukraine. Founded as a private town in 1550 by Jan Amor Tarnowski. After the division of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, it came under the rule of Austria. From 1809 to 1815, it was under the jurisdiction of the Russian Empire. From 1815 to 1918, under the rule of Austria-Hungary. From 1918 to 1919 - the capital of the West Ukrainian People's Republic. From 1919 to 1939 - under the rule of Poland.

In the 1550s, Jews received permission to settle in all parts of Ternopil, except for the market square. In the 1620s, the community acquired the right to build a synagogue. The structure was erected as a defensive one, with loopholes, since Ternopil Jews were obliged to defend part of the city wall under the leadership of the "Jewish hetman".

In the second half of the 17th century, the community was restored in the city. In 1740, the owner of the city, hetman J. Potocki, not only confirmed the right of Jews to settle in the city, but also granted them permission to produce and trade in alcohol. According to the data of 1765, 1.2 thousand Jews lived in Ternopil.

After the partition of Poland in 1772, the position of the community changed. The Austrian authorities raised taxes and in 1791 deprived Jews of the right to manufacture and sell alcohol.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Ternopil became the center of the Galician Haskalah. In 1812, a printing house appeared here, printing secular Jewish books, and two years later - a newspaper in Hebrew. In 1813, a Jewish school was founded with the teaching of tradition and secular subjects.

In the first half of the 19th century, the Lviv and Zhidachev rabbis declared the Ternopil enlighteners here. Since the second half of the 19th century, Orthodox Christians have taken the leading positions in the community leadership.

By the 1860s, the Jewish population of the city increased to 11 thousand people and made up 52% ​​of the townspeople. By the beginning of the twentieth century, due to emigration to America, the number of Ternopil Jews decreased to 13.4 thousand (44% of the townspeople).

The Jewish community was plundered during the Russian occupation of the First World War and then persecuted after the Soviet occupation in 1939. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Ternopil Jews were among the victims of the Polish-Ukrainian confrontation for power in the region.

In the summer of 1941, the city was occupied by the Nazis. In July, the first Jewish ghetto in Eastern Galicia was created here. More than 100 Ternopil Jews survived the Holocaust. By the 1980s, 500 Jews lived in the city. In the early 1990s, the number of Jews increased to 2 thousand. At the same time, Jewish organizations began to work. By the early 2000s, there were more than 160 Jews in the entire Ternopil region.