Stanisławów, established in 1654, quickly evolved into an important trade center. In the years 1663-1664, in order to reinforce the town's position, its owner, Andrzej Potocki, invited the Armenians and Jews from Moldavia and Hungary. They were granted personal rights, the right to settle and tax reliefs. They had their own, independent council, they received land to build houses. In 1654 another privilege was granted that guaranteed the newcomers religious freedom (Neminem ad exercitum liberum religionis admittendi).

The Jewish street in Stanisławów was situated near the embankment. There was a synagogue, three other buildings of religious purposes, as well as houses, pharmacies and shops. Jews were allowed to engage in the trade of gold, silver, furs, clothes, hats and other merchandises. They were allowed to sell articles in their shops and buildings, but not in the market place. Only Jewish butchers and bakers enjoyed this privilege, though they had to pay a relevant fee to the owner of the town. Usually, they settled accounts by delivering goods to his palace. They were allowed to trade every day except on Christian holidays, when the shops opened after mass. The privilege also allowed Jews to open a distillery, where they could produce liquors, meads and vodka in exchange for 2 or 3 zlotys of annual fee.The same rules applied to the owners of watermills. However, the majority of Jews worked as shoemakers, blacksmiths, butchers, musicians and pitch burners. On the 24th of April 1664, the butchers in Stanisławów received a privilege from Potocki which permitted them to found their own guild, though with a Catholic president. Alongside with the guild, the Jewish butchers received 12 slaughterhouses and in May 1722 they received the next 12. There was another regulation which allowed Jews to buy buildings from Christians and sell them to Christians, which at that time was a rare case. In case of fire, they were expected to actively participate in fire fighting [1.1].

In the late 17th century, the Jewish quarter was located at the Trynitarski Square, next to the town embankment. That is where Jews built their first synagogue, a Beth Midrash and a mikvah. The first wooden synagogue became the centre of the Jewish quarter. A Frisian wanderer and diplomate, Ulryk Werdum, described the temple when he visited Stanisłałów in 1672. Behind the town walls, on the road to Tyśmienica, the authorities marked a plot for a Jewish cemetery. A Frenchmen named d'Aleyrac, who was passing through Stanisławów in 1886, mentioned that the town's market was under the control of rich Armenians. The Jews, on the other hand, owned the majority of small shops and taverns.

Stanisławów suffered heavy losses during the war between the Polish Republic and Turkey (1683-1699). All residents were ordered to defend the town: everyone, including Jews, was obliged to have armour and a sufficient amount of gun powder. Stanisławów also suffered from the Khmelnytsky Uprising and the fights between Polish kings, Augustus II and Stanisław Leszczyński. After Augustus' victory, his troops entered the city and forced its inhabitants to maintain their stationing. Many Jews left the town, which made the situation even worse. After the 1719 pogrom of Jews, the local fraternity Chevra Kadisha (which existed from 1692) forbade its members to lease rooms for shops in Christian houses.

The growth of the town, and the re-development of the Jewish community, were possible only after the situation stabilised. In 1732, the Stanisławów Kehila included 1470 people, whereas the total number of inhabitants amounted to 3321 (44.3%). On the 9th of May1736, the Armenians in Stanisławów wrote a complaint to Józef Potocki in which they accused Jews of an illegal takeover of the market, inn-keeping and trade and forcing Christian merchants to forfeit their houses. Potocki convened a council whose aim was to determine what type of activities Jews could engage with. They were forbidden to open taverns and inns in the buildings rented from Armenians. By way of recompensation, Potocki allowed the Armenians to build their temples. With an ordinance of 24th of April 1743, he also charged the Jews with a special tax amounting to 1000 zl per year. The first installment was to be paid to the 1st of March and the second to the 1st of September. The payment was to be made directly to the hands of the Armenian prior and the money was to be used for the construction of the said church. However, after the church had been built, the Jewish society was not relieved from the tax. The town governors decided that the tax would be a donation for the church, so its clergymen could pray for the peace and tranquility of the Potocki family [1.1.1].

The old synagogue, built in 1665, proved insufficient for the large Stanisławów Jewish community. When Potocki built his new palace outside the town walls, Jews started to settle not only around the old synagogue. In accordance with the new privileges, granted in the years 1717-1721, they received the right to build another quarter and a new synagogue close to the Tyśmienicka Gate. Moreover, Józef Potocki donated wood and money for the construction. Unfortunately, the new synagogue also proved to be too small. Leib ben Nissan, who visited Stanisławów in 1745, noted that Jews were building a brick one.

In 1761, the archbishop of Lviv received the representatives of the Stanisławów Kehila, composed of: rabbi Dow Berish ben Jaakow Awraham, Chaim ben Jaakow (the chief of the community) and Isroel ben Aharon. The delegation asked for permission to build a new, brick synagogue. The next owner of the town, Eustachy Potocki, was in favour of the construction, the archbishop also agreed, though under some conditions: in case of fire, the synagogue could not be rebuilt without his consent. Also, it was forbidden to hire Christians to clean the synagogue. The construction of the church took 16 years and finished in 1777, when the town was already under the Austrian occupation [1.1.1].

The first rabbis in Stanisłałów were: Josef ben Menasze (recorded in 1699), Arie Leibisz Mordechaj Auerbach and Meir Margolis (in the years 1740-1750). Then the function was performed by Levi ben Szlomo Aszkenazi (1680-1752), author of Bet Halevi (1732) and Ateret Shlomo (1735). After his death, the already mentioned Dow Berisz Jaakow ben Awraham from Kowl became rabbi, an opponent of Frankists and Sabbatians. He participated in the debates which took place from 17 July until 10 September 1759, responding to allegations of Catholic clergy and Frankists. The next rabbi was gaon Abraham, who came from the rabbinical court in Poznań. In 1770 he was replaced by Joel Katz, who was previously the head of the rabbinical court in Otynia; this rabbi drowned in the river. His successor was Jehuda Zelka, known as the author of Ravid Hazahav.

In 1772, the town came under Austrian occuption. Stanisławów became the centre of the circuit - the Austrian administrative unit. At that time, 17 500 Jews lived in the town and its surroundings; they owned 1577 houses. At the end of the eighteenth century there were 220 craftsmen in Stanisławów, of which 151 (68.8%) were Christians living in and around the city; whereas 69, only Jews (31.4%), lived in the town itself.

Another factor that affected the situation of Jews in Stanisławów, was the fact that Austrian authorities began to fight with Jewish inn-keeping in Galicia. One of the governors, baron Levenwald, thought that closing Jewish taverns would be beneficiary for the society and force Jews to engage in more necessary professions. In 1782, Emperor Joseph II issued a decree on this matter. One of the results was the unsuccessful foundation of a Jewish agricultural farm called “New Babylon” near Bolechów. In 1791, Austrian authorities forbade Jews to settle in villages or open inns and taverns selling alcoholic beverages. The Stanisławów Jewish community sent a delegation to the government, composed of Jakub Landau and Meir Schener, with a request to cancel the ban. The government refused, causing a large wave of Jewish emigration from Stanisławów to Moldavia and Wallachia. When the situation became problematic, the government in Vienna gave instructions to its consul in Jassa to prevent further migration.

In 1788, a Jewish school, based on the ideas of Hertz Homberg, was opened in Stanisławów. Usually, there were two teachers and a headmaster in the school, however, in Stanisławów there was only one teacher - Jankiel Reinberg who was paid 200 forints.

In 1818, rabbi Elijahu ben Szlomo Bursztyn founded the first charitable organisation in Stanisławów which granted loans to the poor. The first sum collected by rabbi Bursztyn amounted to 500 forints. One person was entitled to 50 -100 kreuzers. The organisation was the first of such kind in Galicia. Soon, similar charities appeared in Wojniłow, Przemyśl, Rudniki, Dolina, Bołszowce, Żydaczow, Tyśmienica, Dobromil and Bóbrka [1.1.1].

The first important rabbi at the time of the partition was the successor of Jehuda Zelka, Eliezer Halewi Ish Horowitz, who performed the function in the years 1784-1844. He came from the rabbinical court in Działoszyce and was the great-grandson of rabbi Icchak Hamburger. He tried to prevent the development of Hassidism. The movement, which originated in the nearby region of Podole, also appeared in Stanisławów in the 1920s. Initially, it was supported mainly by villages and small shtetls, later - with the support of Austrians - it became popular also in bigger centres, such as Stanisławów. Józef Perl (1773-1839) was the leader of Hassids from Tarnopol. However, the successors of Horowitz also fought with the influence of hassidism, eg. by opposing the politicization of hassidic courts. Among them were: Arie Lejbisz, author of the posthumously published work Pnei Arie (1876) and gaon Abraham (1845-1887), author of the three-volume Bar Liwai. Abraham was succeeded by his son Icchak Lewi (1888-1904), who belonged to the new era - a supporter of Zionism, a representative of the liberal course, who agreed to lay the foundation for the construction of a reformed synagogue. Another rabbi of the town was Arie Leibisz (1904-1909) [1.2] founder of the yeshiva in Stanisławów, also known as one of the few Orthodox rabbis, open to Zionism. The one but last rabbi was David Halewi Horowitz (1909-1934), and the last one was his son - Mosze Horowitz, murdered by the Germans.

The constitution adopted by the Emperor of Austria on the 25th of April in 1848 guaranteed religious freedom in the Austrian Empire. It strenghened the position of the Jewish population in Stanisławów. One of the most significant figures since the 1830s was Joel Halpern who actively participated in social life, established charity organizations and centres for religious studies. His son, Abraham Halpern, had a monopoly on selling salt in Galicia and established his own bank. During the revolution in 1848, Abraham Halpern set up a special Jewish subdivision of the National Guard in Stanisławów under the leadership of Leon Zaks. The revolutions of 1848 reverberated strongly among the local Jews. The Secretary of the Jewish Club in Stanisławów, dr. Hirshman, gave a speech in the synagogue on the occasion of the revolution and the coronation of emperor Francis Joseph II. At that time, a Polish newspaper, “Dziennik Stanisławowski”, presented a positive attitude towards Jews. However, only a very small part of the Jewish intelligentsia supported the Polish national movement; the majority was more inclined towards German culture. In 1848, 15 Christians and 27 Jews were elected to the town council, which provoked a negative reaction of the Poles. It is worth noting, that the local Jewish elites were related to the Halpern family. During the 1887 election to the Stanisławów town council, out of 18 members of the council 3 were Abraham Halpern's brothers, 5 - his family members, 2 - further relatives and 1 - his son-in-law [1.1.1].

Jewish culture blossomed in Stanisławów. For many years, a famous poet, Abraham Jaakow Bibering (1818-1882), served as the secretary of the Jewish community. A collection of his works Agudath Shoshanim was published in Vienna in 1876. He was also one of the first propagators of the Hebrew language.  

During the Polish-Ukrainian conflict concerning Eastern Galicia, on 25th December 1918, the Jewish National Council of Stanisławów presented the government of the West Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR) with a petition demanding national and cultural autonomy for Jews. On the 6th of January1919, the president of the Jewish National Council of Stanisławów, Dr. Karol Halpern, and Dr. Reuben Jonas paid a visit to the Prime Minister of ZUNR, Dr. Lew Haliński, emphasising that Jews were willing to take part in governing the country, referring to the declaration of equality between all ethnic minorities, declared by ZUNR on the 19th October 1918. Despite this, Jews, who wished to remain neutral in the conflict, were quickly marginalized and Western Ukrainian authorities began to present hostile attitudes towards them. On 23-24 March 1919, there were riots in Stanisławów, combined with robbing Jewish shops. In April 1919, efforts were made to introduce a national-cultural autonomy for Jews. Women were even allowed to participate in the delegation. In total 50 representatives of the Jewish community, including 6 women, were elected [1.1.1].In May 1919, the Polish army under the command of General Haller approached Stanisławów. On 25th of May, the ZUNR government fled from Stanisławów to Czortków.

In the 1920s the local Jewish population was divided into two groups. One was pro-Polish and associated with the newspaper “Rozwój” and the other one was more orthodox. During the first elections to the municipal council, out of the 36 new members, 12 were Jews. In total, in1921 in Stanisławów, there operated 730 Jewish enterprises, 726 Jewish shops and 130 Jewish workers. Among the 730 enterprises, however, only 490 employed workers; the others were family enterprises. 10 leather industry plants stood out, especially the Margoschow family factory, which employed 380 people. Jews were also active in the timber industry, milling industry, brick production and food industry (e.g. 20 bakeries with 120 employees). Craft was dominated by tailors.

During the interwar period, Jews began to lose their exposed position in Stanisławów for the benefit of Poles and Ukrainians. The Polish population was attracted by the regional offices and the military garrison. The Ukrainians arrived in bigger numbers after the connection of the town of Knihinin, with approx.10 thousand residents. Up until 1937, no new industrial plant was established in the town. In contrast, the crisis of 1929-1930 caused an increase in the number of bankruptcies by 150% and a rise in the unemployment rate up to 30%.

One of the most important Jewish organizations in the interwar period in Stanisławów was the Merchants' Association, which, in 1923, had approx. 1 thousand members. Artisans belonged to the Yad Charuzim, which existed since the days of Galicia, and in 1924 had 600 members. However, the financial sector, including, among others, Jewish banks, was affected by permament crisis.There were spectacular bankruptcies and massess of savers lost all their savings, e.g. the banker, Izaak Chaim Grifel in 1924 or Eister's, Keler's and Wizenfeld's "People's Cooperative Bank" in 1935.

In the elections to the city council in 1927, 4 Poles, 3 Jews and 1Ukrainian were elected. A Zionist, Dr. Aleksander Biterman, became the vice-mayor. In 1933,  23 Poles, 17 Jews and 3 Ukrainians were elected. The Zionists, the association of small traders, Agudath and Yad Charuzim gained representation. In 1939, only the representatives of the Zionists were elected: general (5 seats) and left (3 seats).Jewish deputies to the Sejm elected in Stanisławów in 1922, 1928 and 1930 were: a Zionist, Reuwen Jonas, and twice Henryk Rozmarin, head of the nationwide "Makabi". The town also had numerous Jewish charities, an orphanage, a field kitchen for the poor, a hospital, two dormitories. Traditional fraternities also functioned, such as Linas ha-Cedek, Hachnasat Orchim, Bikur Cholim, Tomchei Nistarim and so on. From 1924, the Taaz Organization organized holiday camps for children.

Among the educational institutions there were: the Talmud-Torah, functioning under the auspices of Agudath; a school for girls Bet Yaakov, existing from 1924; Yeshiva Or Torah, founded already in the Galician era, but re-opened in 1924 (in the years 1927-1937 it was headed by Szymon Kraut); the Safa Berura School with the Hebrew languauge. There were at least two kindergartens. Jews also attended public schools. At first it was mostly the German Junior High School (Jews constituted 90% of the students), and after 1924 - the Jewish Junior High School (in the 1930s it had nearly 500 students!). In 1937 the Stanislawów Jewish Junior High School was covered by the national education system; it was the only such case out of the 13 Jewish junior high school schools in Poland. The agricultural school for girls, the so-called Zofiówka, founded by Zofia Halpern in 1922, is also worth mentioning; the school for locksmiths, existing from1922, after four years developed into a foundry-electrical school. Vocational schools from Stanisławów sent many educated professionals to Palestine.

Cultural projects worth mentioning include: the journal "Der Morgen", which had nationwide ambitions and was published in Yiddish (ed. Adolf Barser) in 1927, and the literary-artistic monthly "Shtagen", edited by Max Tabaka, which appered from 1932-1939, with such great authors as Horace Safrin and Leon Streit. There was also the Zionist weekly "Di Wokh" (1934-1939), the school journal "Shoyt" (1933-1939) and the ephemeral "Głos Stanisławowski" addressed to merchants and craftsmen (1927-1928). There were a couple of Jewish libraries (including a community library from 1926). Among sporting organisations, Ha-Koach had the strongest position.

On the 26th of July1941, after the Germans entered Stanisławów, Judenrat was established. At the beginning of August 1941, hundreds of Jews, mainly representatives of liberal professions, were shot. Only 10 Jewish doctors and 13 engineers were spared. In the autumn of 1941, a ghetto was established, which was finally liquidated in 1943. On the 31th of March 1942, about 5000 Jews were executed; another several thousand were killed in April in the same year. In April, September and October 1942, Jews were transported to the extermination camp in Bełżec. Other cases of genocide, when thousands of Jews were executed, took place in the summer of 1942 and on the 12th of December1942. In February1943 the ghetto was liquidated. Next, on the 25th of April and 25th of June1943, Jews who remained in the labour camp were murdered. Tens of Jewish professionals remained detained in the Stanisławów prison till the spring of 1944. Approximately 1500 Jews, who survived in the East, returned to the town after it had been occupied by the Soviets in July1944 [1.1.1].

In 1999, about one thousand Jews lived in the town, now known as Iwano-Frankiwsk [1.1.1].


  • Sefer Stanislav, [in:] Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, vol. 5, ed. D. Sadan, M. Gelehrter, Tel Awiw 1952.

  • Stanislaw, [in:] Encyclopaedia Judaica, ed. F. Skolnik, M. Berenbaum, vol. 19, Detroit 2007, pp. 162–163.

  • Stanislawow (I), [in:] Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 2, New York 2001, pp. 1233–1235.

  • Stanisławów, [in:] Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, Bloomington – Indianapolis 2012, pp. 831–834.

  • Wozniak T., Hebrejśkyj use-swit Hałyczyny, Lwiw 2007.

  • [1.1] Wozniak T., Hebrejśkyj use-swit Hałyczyny, Lwiw 2007.
  • [1.1.1] [a] [b] [c] [d] [e] [f] [g] Wozniak T., Hebrejśkyj use-swit Hałyczyny, Lwiw 2007.
  • [1.2] the source text, by Taras Woźniak, mentions two rabbis of Stanisławów with identical surnames - editor's note