Tuesday, December 8, 2015



The following is from the State Archives of the Odessa Region:

“Such kind of Juridical Acts as Regulation for Jews (1804, 1835, 1844), Regulations for box taxes (1839), Rules for industrial activity of Jews only in towns, posads and stettles (1847) and others show the main directions of Russian government policy concerning Jews. Materials on this are also concentrated in a special complex of files called “About Jewish colonies in Novorissia Gubernias” (Fund 1, Opis 2, 1837-1847, 101 files).
These are directions and reports of the central and local authorities about financing housing, applications of Jews from Podolia, Mogilev, Vitebsk, Grodno, Kovno and Minsk Gubernias regarding resettlement in Novorossia, issuence of passports, valuable information about economic and social development of Jewish colonies of Bobrovy Kut, Sejdemenukha (Bolshaya and Malaya), Nagartav (Bolshoj and Malyj), Inguletz, Izluchistaya, L’wowa, Yefengar, Novyj Berislav, Kamenka, Israilevka, Novopoltavka, Sagajdak.
The history of Odessa is reflected in the records of numerous urban institutions. Odessa City Magistrate (Fund 17), founded in 1795, carried out administrative and court functions concerning merchants and petty bourgeois, primarily for foreigners. Its records contain important materials on economic matters such as: handing out commercial certificates, licenses, valuation sheets, probate of ownership, references, decisions on complaints and applications, bankruptcies etc. Through the registers of merchants, organizations of merchant guilds, information about capital investments, announced by merchants, and their estates, one can deduce who were the first businessmen in Odessa and what was the contribution of the national communities and separate individuals to the general economic structure of the city. Very important is “Alphabet of the Jews” for 1811 – the first special list of the Odessa Jews. 
The economic life of Odessa and former Kherson Guberniya is reflected
in the documents of various financial institutions such as:Odessa Uyezd
Treasure (F. 32, 1827-1920), Excise Office in Kherson Guberniya (F. 33, 1879-
1919), Zemsky Bank of Kherson Guberniya (F. 249, 1865-1919), Bessarabsko-
Tavricheskij Land Bank (F. 305, 1872-1920), Tax Inspectors in Odessa (F. 7, 1886-1919), private banks of Samuil Barbash, Ashkenazi and others. These funds include financial documentation, business correspondence, revision registers of population, merchant certificates, information about their properties, warrants, notary acts, information about export-import operations through theOdessa port, descriptions of enterprises, works and factories, contracts of sale, gifts, and bartering etc.
Very informative are such funds as: Upper-level Courses for Women, St. Paul Secondary School at the Evangelic-Lutheran Church in Odesssa, Odessa Jewish School Tamud-Torah, Odessa 6-grade Commercial School by Efrussi, Odessa Craft School of “Trud” Odessa 8-grade Commercial School of G.F.Faig, Odessa Polytechnic Courses of I.Hoin Private dental schools of I.Margolin, I.Redals, Ravinskij and Trop, other numerous state and private schools and gimnaziums.
One of the most requested funds for those, who studied Judaism and Jewish genealogy, is the Fund 39, Odessa City Rabbi (1846, 1854, 1875-1920). It consists of 319 metric books with birth, marriage, divorce and death entries and 193 books of the name indexes to them. Famous people born in Odessa include the founder of New Zionism Vladimir Zhabotinskii, the writer Isaak Babel (Bobel in original), the great violinist David Oistrakh. These individuals’ birth entries have been preserved in the Odessa Archives. The victims of pogroms in 1881-1886, 1905, and 1919 were registered in the metric death books of the Odessa City Rabbi (F. 39). In the Fund 39 you can find information not only about Jews, included to the Odessa merchants or petty bourgeois (meshchanin), but also about Jews who came in Odessa from various places of Russian Empire, mainly from Podolia, Kiev Guberniya, Belorussia, and Poland, or those who arrived from abroad and kept the status of foreign subject.
The Fund 920, The Balta City Rabbi, Podol’skaya Gubernia, includes 63 metric books in Russian and Ivrit (Hebrew) for 1862 – 1918 and 47 books of the name indexes to them.
The Fund 923, The Sinagogues and Houses of Preyer in Balta District (Uezd), Podol’skaya Gubernia, contains 1 metric birth book on the Jewish colony of Abazovka (now the village of Korytne in Balta District (Rayon) in Odessa Oblast (Region)) for 1879 – 1918, and 3 birth, marriage and death books on the village of Peschana for 1890-1918. 
Further detailed information about the economic and social state of population in the 1920-30s is in the separate funds of ethnic organizations, societies, educational institutions and political formations, including the Jewish ones, such as:
Fund R-5138, Odessa City Bureau of Central Board of the Union of Societies for Artisan and Agricultural Work “ORTFERBAND”(1919-1938, 1101 files), contains minutes, reports about Jewish population in Odessa Guberniya. There are also lists of Jewish households, colonies, communities, resettlers; correspondence with various organizations including Central Committee of Union “ORT” in Berlin, regarding importing agricultural equipment and machines and supplying peasants with them. There is also information about the establishment and development of professional education for Jewish youth and a 5-year agreement between the Soviet government and “ORT”. 
Fund R-1509, Society for land arrangement of working Jews, Odessa branch, “OZET” (1925-1932, 114 files) consists of applications by poor Jews desiring to settle in national collective farms (kolhoz) in Ogessa Okrug or to resettle in Birobidzhan, Jewish Authonomy National Okrug, also minutes of the Commission for Settling Jews and its correspondence, information about its officials. Some materials relate the appearance of the Jewish national administrative-territorial units like Stalindorf or Kalinindorf Rayons. Similar records are in two other funds such as: Fund R-1511, Representative of the Committee for Land Distribution Among Working Jews in Odessa Oblast “KOMZET”(1925-1930, 51 files), and Fund R-1510, Odessa Oblast Council of the Society for Land Distribution Among Working Jews “OZET” (1932-1938, 264 files).
Fund R-5275, Odessa District (Rayon) Commission of All-Ukrainian Jewish Public Committee for Relief for Victims of Pogroms “EVOBSCHESTKOM (1920-1924, 342 files) depicts the dramatic events among the Jewish population, during the period of the Russian Revolution and Civil War (1917-1920). These is evidence of victims and official reports about the pogroms of 1919-1920 in the village of Goloskovo (Pervomajsk uyezd, Odessa Guberniya), and other places. There are also lists of victims, killed by Grigoriev’s band, information about the organization and activity of the Boguslav self-defense guard. The Fund contains numerous lists of pogrom victims, their applications for assistance and forms, registers of refugees from the various parts of Ukraine, questionnaires of individuals who had relatives abroad, correspondence regarding people emigrating to Palestine. Some documents shed the light upon the links between the Ukrainian and American Jewish societies. Three separate Funds of Representatives from All-Ukrainian “EVOBSCHESTKOM”in Ananjev, Balta and Berezovka Uyezds (FF. R-5994, R-5295, R-5297, 116 files) contain similar documents for 1920-1923.

Funds of Soviet Educational institutions such as the Institute of People Education, Odessa University, Odessa German Pedagogical Institute, Polytechnical Institute, Stalin Jewish Agricultural Institute in Odessa, Jewish Agricultural Institute in Novo-Poltavka, Odessa Jewish Pedagogical College, Odessa Jewish College for Precision Mechanics (Trust of “Ukrainian Film”), schools, courses for workers and other ones contain management records, lists of teachers and students, progress-sheets, results of examinations, diploma works, personal files.
One of the most important is a private fund of the Professor of History Dr. Saul Borovoj (F. R-7400, 1927-1983, 35 files) with his curriculum vitae, materials for his book about credits and banks in Russia, correspondence with famous scientists (L.Grossman, N.Rosental, O.Vainstein, P.Berkov and others), information on participation of Dr. Borovoj at various conferences, also collection of the maps of Odessa (photocopies from the Moscow Military Historical Archives).
The actress Liya Bugova (Feldscher) (F. R-7972, 1905-1985, 100 files) left very interesting documents about three Jewish theatres in Ukraine during 1920-30s - “Kunst Winkl” in Kiev, “Router Fakel” in Vinnitsa and “GOSSET” in Odessa. There are lists of actors, materials about performances in various Ukrainian cities and towns, playbills, notes about history of theatres in Ukraine, newspapers, critics’ articles, photos of staff and actors, including L.Bugova in the costumes of her characters.
Funds of attorneys Yurij Grossfeld (F. 195), Isaak Khmelnitskij (F.R-5250), Solomon Shapiro (F.194) and Mikhail Zwilling (F. 193) contain materials of proceedings of trial for the leaders of various political movements and parties, accused for their revolutionary activity, possesion of the illegal literature and arms. These are also cases of Bejlis (1911), Livshiz and other “bomb-throwers” (1905), anarchist Wolf Gologorski (1905), doctor N.Rabinovich and others.
The journalist Isidor Brodovski (Fund 269) collected more than 5000 proclamations, newspapers, placards and applications, published by various political parties and public societies that represent a wide social and political life in the Russian Empire, at the end of ХIХ- beginning ХХ cent.
The private Fund of economist Pyotr Routenberg (F. 267, 1916-1920, 15 files) contains letters from editors of magazines Evrejskaya Mysl’(Jewish View) and Ob’edinenie (Consolidation) on social and political subjects. It also contains information on the economic reform projects in 1919 and a copy of protocols of the Defense Council, acting in the period of English-French occupation of Odessa (1919)

The archives of the former Odessa Oblast Communist Party and Komsomol members were put in the Odessa Archives in 1992 with 4726 funds for 1902-1992.

The process of declassifying the Funds of German-Romanian occupation was begun in 1990. A full register of these funds has been published. More than 20,000 former ghettoe prisoners requested information from the archives for the purpose of identifying the damages, filing for compensation, or confirming their Jewish identity.

Archival documents are presented at the numerous exhibits in cooperation with libraries and museums (Jewish, Literary, Historical).”