What follows is based on an outline history of Rohatyn’s Jewish community assembled by Alex Feller for the Rohatyn Shtetl Research Group. You can also jump to a selection of articles we have written to give more depth to some of these events and themes, on History and Culture.
We are not professional historians, but we appreciate the value of history in contemporary life. We agree with others that “history, saved and preserved, is the foundation for future generations.”
This page is the first part of a selective history of the Jewish community of Rohatyn; the story continues on other pages about the Shoah, and about Jewish Rohatyners around the world today. This history comes from many sources (linked here where possible) and many perspectives, Jewish and otherwise, and includes historical facts (plus some legends) about Rohatyn – both Jewish and non-Jewish – because it’s not really possible to separate the Jews from Rohatyn’s history, as the information here will demonstrate. Even within the Jewish community of Rohatyn, there were different beliefs, perspectives, and engagement with others in the city.
The history is presented here as a timeline, with links to sources and to additional short articles which illuminate selected people, events, or historical themes. A list of references used appears at the end of this page.
Crown of Poland
1372~1378 – First settlement in the area of Rohatyn, during the reign of Prince Vladislaus II of Opole serving as Governor of the Ruthenian Voivodeship within the former Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia for the Crown of Poland. 
1415 – The settlement of Rohatyn is destroyed; it is then rebuilt over a town previously named Filipowice, by Woloczko Przsluzyc, a landlord of Red Ruthenia.  In the same year, Rohatyn receives Magdeburg rights from King Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland, establishing the city under its own commercial control. 
1432 – The Polish King confiscates Rohatyn county after prosecution of Iwaszko, Woloczko’s son, for betrayal. 
1433 Jun 24 – Rohatyn county is acquired by Chodecki de Powala. 
1463 – First documentation of Jews in Rohatyn. Shimshon of Żydaczów is recorded as trading cattle in the Rohatyn market. 
1520s – According to legend, a young Ruthenian woman and Rohatyn native named Roxelana is abducted by Tatars as a slave, selected for the harem of Suleiman I the Magnificent, becomes his favorite wife (haseki sultan), and ultimately wields great power in the Ottoman Empire.
1564 – First documentation of Jewish settlement in Rohatyn. 
1582 – Mendel Izakowicz leases the collection of taxes on liquor in Rohatyn. 
1614 – A Dominican monastery is founded north of the rynek, in what is now the city’s market area. 
1618 – Battles with Tatars
1647 – A large iconostasis is created in the Church of the Holy Spirit.  In 2013, the Church of the Holy Spirit is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List with 15 other distinctive regional wooden churches.
1648~1657 – The Khmelnytsky Uprising (Cossack Rebellion) pits the Cossack Hetmanate and Orthodox Ukrainian peasants against Roman Catholic landlords and their Jewish leaseholders; massacres and reprisals terrorize both sides throughout the region around Rohatyn.  
1669 – Invasion of Rohatyn by Tartars. 
1693 – Tax revenues for the entire district of Rohatyn are leased for one year by Count Sieniawski to Moszko Juszkowicz and Abramko Szajewicz
1700s – The Rohatyn Jewish community becomes independent. 
1700~1710 – Hayim Malakh establishes a messianic Sabbatian Jewish community in Rohatyn and nearby towns; as his heretical beliefs become known in the larger Jewish community, he is persecuted by other rabbis and expelled from Poland. However, the movement continues in the area.
1710 – The taxable adult population of the Rohatyn District is counted: 1730 people, including 282 Jews, most of whom lived in the town of Rohatyn itself.
1718 – Jews are restricted from collecting taxes, customs, and rent, and hiring Christian servants. 
1725 – An inventory is conducted of the (taxable) properties and businesses in Rohatyn District; many Jews are individually named on the rynek and within town.
1729 – The wooden St. Nicholas Church is founded near the old Jewish cemetery. 
1740s~1760s – Start and rapid rise of Hasidic Judaism, a mystical branch of Orthodox Judaism, in eastern Poland and western Ukraine under the leadership of Rabbis Yisroel ben Eliezer (the Baal Shem Tov) and Dov Ber ben Avraham, the Meggid of Mezeritch.
1755~1759 – The Rohatyn Jewish family of Elisha Schorr hosts the heretical Jewish leader (and self-proclaimed reincarnation of Sabbatai Zevi) Jacob Frank with some of his followers in town, during the heyday of Frankism in the region.  Protest by the traditional Jewish community turns to claims of transgressions against orthodox Jewish law, including adultery and orgies; along with others, Schorr’s daughter Chaya is accused at a rabbinical court in Satanów of having sexual relations with several men, with the knowledge and permission of her husband. Schorr’s sons participate in a religious disputation conducted by the bishop of Kamieniec Podolski; success by the Frankists over the rabbis results in an order to destroy all copies of the Talmud in Poland. Later many Frankists abandon Judaism completely; Frank himself was baptized in Lwów cathedral in 1759.  
Age of Empires: Habsburg, Austria, and Austria-Hungary
1772 – The First Partition of Poland ends the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria is established under Maria Theresa, Empress of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty. Rohatyn is under Austrian imperial rule for the next 145 years.
1776 – Jewish autonomy is cancelled. Heavy taxes are placed on Jews and the collection of debts. 
1782 Jan 2 – Emperor Joseph II issues an Edict of Tolerance, intended to make Jews useful to the state. It allows Jewish children to attend schools, adults to work as merchants and open factories, and eliminated selective taxation on Jews, but it forbade the use of written Hebrew and spoken Yiddish.
1784 Jul 27 – Joseph II issues an edict to survey and classify all of the houses, land, and agricultural outputs of the entire Austrian Empire. The registers progress for four years and are nearly completed in 1788, providing a detailed perspective of the population and land of Rohatyn, Galicia, and the Empire. [12 23:1; p.12-13; Andrew Zalewski, “Early Galician Population Surveys”]
1787 Jul 23 – Joseph II issues a decree (“Das Patent über die Judennamen“) requiring Jews of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire to adopt a Germanic surname by the first of the following year.
1788 – A Jewish school is established in Rohatyn by H. Homburg, and headed by a teacher named Kornfeld. 
1789 – A new Galician tax order (urbarium) is issued.
1806 – Jewish schools are ordered closed. 
1808 – Formation of the Rohatyn kahal, an elected Jewish bureaucracy. The kahal controlled the income of the community through taxes, and paid wages to the rav (Rabbi), the shames (beadle), the sofer (scribe), the shochet (ritual slaughterer), the chazan (cantor), and the bath attendants. [12 17:1; p.12-13; Jacob Weiss, “Lemberg to Warsaw”]
1817 Jul – A freak hailstorm damages crops, kills livestock, and injures residents of Rohatyn.
1831~1873 – Repeated cholera pandemics strike Galicia, in 1831 and 1847 (the Asiatic Cholera Pandemic), 1854 (the Great Cholera Pandemic), and then in 1871 and 1873 (the Fourth Cholera Pandemic). Cholera and typhus remain risks for Galicia and Europe into the 20th century.
1836 – Heavy floods devastate Galicia.
1844~1848 – Recurring famines in Galicia. Famine would return again in 1853.
1846 – An imperial cadastral survey and map are completed in Rohatyn.
1846 – The peasant uprising of 1846, also called the Galician Slaughter. A revolt against serfdom, but the Austrian government uses the uprising to suppress a growing rebellion sparked in Kraków by nationalist Polish nobles intending to re-establish an independent Poland. A few thousand are killed, more than 400 manor houses are destroyed, and croplands are heavily damaged (leading to further famine). The parliamentary Estates of Galicia are disbanded.
1861 Feb 26 – A new regional assembly, the Diet of Galicia and Lodomeria, is established to reinstate representational government; selective suffrage gives significant influence to the predominantly Polish landowning class.
1868 – Conditions of the Jews of Rohatyn begin to improve. Jews are allowed to vote for candidates to the town council. 
1904 – A synagogue is built in Rohatyn with beautiful murals. A complementary Hebrew School is established, headed by Rafal Soferman. 
1906 – Scholars advising Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the imperial throne of Austro-Hungary, address growing ethnic and nationalistic unrest throughout the Empire with a proposal to federalize the dual monarchy into 14 self-governing states drawn around ethnic concentrations, a new United States of Greater Austria. Had Franz Ferdinand succeeded to the throne, Rohatyn would have become part of the new state of Ost-Galizien (East Galicia), with a Ukrainian ethnic majority.
1907 – Rohatyn’s Ukrainian gymnasium is established. 
1907 May – Austrian parliamentary elections in the 29th District (including Rohatyn) turn ugly, and prompt Jewish and Ukrainian voters to join forces against the Polish-Austrian establishment in an unsuccessful effort to gain representation.
1910 – A Polish gymnasium is established. 
1913 Jun – 21-year-old Gershon Rot (George Roth) has his professional Yiddish theater debut in the role of “Ayzikl” in Moshe Richter’s hit play, Herzela Meyuchas (Herzl the Aristrocrat) in Rohatyn.
1914 Jun 28 – Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo. Although the event occurs 1000km away, within four years it will result in the near-total destruction of Rohatyn.
 The Galitzianer: The Quarterly Journal of Gesher Galicia: http://www.geshergalicia.org/