STRY


STRY (Pol. Stryj), city in Lvov district, Ukraine. With the development of trade between eastern Poland and Hungary at the beginning of the 16th century, Jews were invited to settle in Stry by the governor, Jan Tarlowski, who wanted to counterbalance the number of Ruthenians (i.e., Ukrainians) in the city. In 1576 King Stephen Báthory (1575–86) issued the first legal confirmation of permanent Jewish settlement, granting the Jews the same terms as the other townsmen. The leaders of the city fought for almost 100 years against this privilege. In 1589 King Sigismund III Vasa confirmed the rights of the Jews, warning the townsmen not to harm them. Stry's Jews engaged in wholesale and retail trade, leasing of customs, brewing beer, and making and selling wine. At the end of the 17th and during the 18th century Jews imported wine and horses from Hungary, exported bulls, grain, and salt, leased estates and flour mills, bred cattle, and traded in cloth. A few of them were goldsmiths and tailors. The extent of their trade is reflected in the enterprise of Samuel Haymovich, who sold 18,000 barrels of salt annually between 1701 and 1704. The volume of their trade in Hungarian wines and horses is recorded in Ber of Bolechow's The Memoirs of Ber of Bolechow 17231805 ((1922), index).

An organized Jewish community, subordinate to the district of *Przemysl, existed from the end of the 16th century. In 1634 Stry's Jews were allowed to buy land for a synagogue (built in 1660) and a cemetery. There were 70 Jews (5% of the total population) living in the city in 1662. Between 1652 and 1670 Jews acquired 11 houses. The ruler of the city, John Sobieski (later king of Poland, 1674–96), ordered in 1663 that the municipal authorities include two representatives of the kahal in every consultation on the city's taxes. As king he ordered in 1676 that a second market day be held every Tuesday since the regular market day was on Saturday. Finally, in 1696, the city authorities reached a compromise with the Jews and transferred the market day from Saturday to Friday. The community was permitted to build a new wooden synagogue in 1689. Accusing them of stealing sacred objects from a church, Stry's Catholic priests brought certain Jews to trial in 1697; the case dragged on until 1708, when the charge was dropped. In 1714 the Jewish community paid a poll tax of 2,000 zlotys, and in 1756 there were 1,727 Jews in Stry and its district who paid this tax. The city became part of the Austrian Empire in 1772, remaining as such until 1918. In 1795 the community was composed of 444 Jewish families living in the city and nine in its suburbs. At the end of the 18th century Ḥasidism began to exert an influence in Stry. Notable rabbis of Stry were Aryeh Leib b. Joseph ha-Kohen *Heller (1788–1813) and Jacob *Lorberbaum (1830–32).

Since limitations were imposed on wine selling and leasing of estates in the 1820s, the number of Jewish families earning their living from tailoring, the fur trade, bakery, carpentry, and tinsmithing increased. In the 1870s Jewish entrepreneurs established a foundry, wood mills, a soap factory, and a match factory. In 1873 a Jewish hospital was built. In the mid-1880s the Hebrew author Isaac Aaron Bernfeld was a teacher of religion in the governmental secondary schools, which were attended by more than 400 Jewish students in 1910. In the same year a boarding school for 30 Jewish students from the area was opened. The nationalistic awakening among young educated Jews led to the foundation of the Admat Yisrael society (1891) to support Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel. In 1893 the first Jewish workers' association in Stry (Briderlekhkeyt) was organized.

At the beginning of World War I the Jewish community suffered during the Russian invasion of Galicia. With the disintegration of the Hapsburg Empire in 1918, a Jewish *self-defense group with approximately 40 members was organized. In 1918–19, during the period of the Ukrainian independence, a Jewish National Assembly, headed by E. *Byk and M. Binenstock (1881–1923), and a Jewish militia were established, and a weekly newspaper, Yidishe Folksshtime, was published in Stry. Between the two world wars, when Stry was part of Poland, all the Zionist parties and Agudat *Israel had branches there. A vocational school set up by the American Jewish Joint Distribution *Committee (Joint), a *Tarbut school, and a Safah Berurah school were founded during the 1920s. The historian and geographer Abraham Jacob *Brawer and the educator and poet Eisig *Silberschlag were born in Stry which was also the home of the Polish-Jewish author J. *Stryjkowski who describes Jewish life there prior to World War II in many of his works. The Jewish population of the city was 10,988 (40% of the total) in 1921, 10,869 in 1931, and approximately 12,000 in 1939.

[Arthur Cygieman]

Holocaust Period

When the city was occupied by the Soviet Union after the outbreak of World War II, organized Jewish life came to a standstill. All charitable, religious, and cultural institutions were closed, and some of the leaders of the community were arrested and deported. In 1941, before the Germans entered Stry, even official Soviet Jewish leaders were arrested, including Beni Garfunkel and Benjamin Klein, and some others were executed. When the Germans occupied Stry, on July 2, 1941, hundreds of Jews were immediately killed by the Ukrainians aided by the Nazis. Oskar Hutrer was appointed head of the *Judenrat. At the first mass execution, in November 1941, 1,200 Jews were shot in the Holobotow Forest. The winter of 1941–42 was marked by frequent manhunts for young Jews, who were sent to labor camps, where many of them died. The second mass Aktion took place in May 1942. On Sept. 1, 1942 thousands of Jews were sent to the *Belzec extermination camp. This was followed by the deportation of 2,000 Jews to the same camp on Oct. 17–18, 1942. Before the local ghetto was established, on Dec. 1, 1942, small numbers of Jews managed to escape to Hungary via the Carpathian Mountains. Further Aktionen took place in February 1943, when 2,000 Jews were killed in the city itself, and on May 22, 1943, when 1,000 Jews were murdered in the local cemetery. The ghetto was finally liquidated at the beginning of June 1943, Jewish houses were systematically burned down, and any Jews hiding in the ruins were killed. In July the labor camps were also liquidated, so that by August 1943 Stry became *judenrein. In the following months Jews in hiding were caught and executed. When the Soviet army occupied Stry on Aug. 8, 1944, there were only a few Jewish survivors. No Jewish community was reestablished. Societies of Stry Jews were established in Israel and the United States.

[Aharon Weiss]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Halpern, Pinkas, index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 123, 131, 148, 154; S. Borensztejn, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w okresie międzywojennym (1963), 279; M. Bersohn, Dyplomataryusz, dotyczący Ẓydowska w Polsce (1910), no. 294; A. Prohaska, Historja miasta Stryja (1926); I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemach polskich (1937), index; Sefer Stry (1962).


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.