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Following the Nazi murder of some 750 Jews from the town of Skalat in the Tarnapol district of Ukraine on this date in 1943, a resistance group was organized under the leadership of a young man named Michael Glanz. The group collected weapons but was still unprepared for the next Nazi Aktion, on May 9, in which 660 more were killed. Only 400 Skalat Jews survived in a nearby slave labor camp, where another resistance group was formed. When Soviet partisans began operating in the area, thirty Jews escaped the camp and joined their ranks. “All but seven fell in fighting against the Germans,” writes Aharon Weiss at Encyclopedia.com. “On July 28, 1943, the last of the Jews in the Skalat camp were murdered. About 300 Jews had found temporary refuge in the forests in the vicinity, but they were attacked by the Ukrainian bands led by Bandera, and only 200 survived the war.” There had been nearly 5,000 Jews in Skalat before the town fell to the Nazis on July 5, 1941.
“There was a Jewish settlement in the town during the 16th century, and 686 Jews lived there in 1765. The Jewish population increased during the 19th century and numbered 3,256 (55% of the total) in 1890 and 2,791 (49%) in 1900. During the 19th century khasidism had considerable influence in the community . . .” --Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim, Encyclopedia Judaica
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.