TORCHIN (Pol. Torczyn), town in S. Volyn district, Ukraine; passed to Russia in 1795. In 1648–49 the Jews suffered at the hands of the Cossacks under *Chmielnicki. Because of their economic plight, the Council of the Four Lands (see *Councils of the Lands) granted the community a reduction in tax in 1726. The Jewish population numbered about 640 in 1765. During the 19th century various branches of crafts were developed whose products were sold on the Russian markets. In 1890 there were 21 tanneries and 66 shops in the town, most of them owned by Jews. The Jewish population numbered 1,748 in 1847, 2,629 (58% of total population) in 1897, and 1,480 (46%) in 1921. Between the two world wars, in independent Poland, all the Jewish parties were active in the town, as well as a branch of He-Ḥalutz, a sport association, and a library.
Before the outbreak of World War II there were about 1,600 Jews in Torczyn. In September 1939 the Red Army entered the town and a Soviet administration was established there until the outbreak of the German-Soviet war in June 1941. The Germans occupied the town on June 24, 1941. In January 1942 the Jews from Torczyn and its vicinity were concentrated in a closed ghetto in the town. The ghetto was liquidated at the end of August 1942 and most of the Jews were shot in the Jewish cemetery. During this Aktion some Jews succeeded in hiding and another group in escaping and joining a partisan unit that operated in the vicinity. After the war, the Jewish community of Torczyn was not reconstituted.
Halpern, Pinkas, index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 84.
[Shimon Leib Kirshenboim]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.