Print and digital literature applicable to our program is large and varied; our research for references and guidance will likely continue for years. We hope that others interested in this work will return to this page for updates, and will also contact us with suggestions for additional resources we can use in our work.
The list below includes books, magazine and journal articles, web sites, and other text and image resources which may be helpful in Jewish heritage work and education about the former Jewish community of Rohatyn; we have used many of these resources in the development of this website, and we encourage anyone with an interest in the topics and the area to consider each of them. Much larger reference lists are available on the website of Jewish Heritage Europe (see below), categorized both by topic (e.g. Jewish Cemeteries) and by region (e.g. Ukraine); it’s not surprising that most of the references listed below are also in the JHE bibliography. And for anyone living in or visiting Lviv near Rohatyn in Ukraine, the library of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe (see below) is an important asset, and was the first contact we had with several of the books and other media on our list.
Note that many of the resources listed here cover issues in nearby Central European countries such as Poland, Lithuania, or Belarus; because of a shared heritage over centuries in this part of the world, much of these data and methods are applicable in Ukraine even though the modern states are different. Some resources cover heritage issues in North America, but again there are useful lessons on materials and methods which can be applied in Rohatyn. And although the primary focus here is on the Jewish heritage and history of Rohatyn, daily life in town demonstrates what this article describes as a common interest and need for conservation of heritage sites for all religions, and the intercultural cooperation which benefits all.
We encourage you to contact us with questions or suggestions for additional resources.
Reclaiming Memory: Urban regeneration in the historic Jewish quarters of Central European cities
Murzyn-Kupisz, Monika, and Jacek Purchla, editors. 2009. Kraków, Poland: International Cultural Center.
Proceedings of an international conference held in Kraków in 2007 on the intersecting topics of memory, heritage, and the re-vitalization of urban spaces since the fall of Communism. Relates memory and identity, the real and the imaginary, and the dilemmas of rediscovering or reconstructing Jewish heritage where it ceased to exist for decades.
Good Practices in the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Heritage: A Guide Based on the Polish and Belarusian Experiences
Bielawska, A., A. Maksimowska, and A. Sidarovich, editors. 2012. Warsaw: Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Evaluation of cultural landscapes, memory, and identity; cultural history and heritage; and presentation of practical experience by leaders in Jewish heritage conservation and promotion in Central Europe. Also available in Polish, and as a pdf.
Preserving Jewish Heritage in Poland
Kadlčík, Piotr, Monika Krawczyk, Ruth Ellen Gruber, Weronika Litwin, Małgorzata Omilanowska. 2012. Warszawa: Fundacja Ochrony Dziedzictwa Żydowskiego.
Published on the 10th anniversary of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODŻ), the album presents Polish Jewish heritage sites in space, time, and other dimensions; the drive to preserve surviving sites; the history and projects of the foundation; and a large number of project photographs which inspire and compel. Although the organization and funding sources are different, the Foundation’s twinned efforts in preservation and education are useful examples for our Rohatyn program. In Polish and English; also available as a pdf.
Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places
Lehrer, Erica T. 2013. Bloomington, Indiana, USA: Indiana University Press.
Foreign Jews fascinated with Poland, Poles fascinated by Judaism and the memory of people who almost disappeared from their land. An anthropological and personal study of the growing phenomenon of Jewish heritage tourism, from the perspectives of both the tourists and the people and institutions interacting with them.
A Graveyard Preservation Primer
Strangstad, Lynette. Second edition, 2013. Lanham, Maryland, USA: AltaMira Press / AASLH.
Documentation, methods, materials, and ethics for graveyard conservation.
Matzevot for Everyday Use
Baksik, Łukasz, Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, Ewa Toniak, Jan Tomasz Gross, Agnieszka Kowalska. 2013. Czarne and Uptown Foundation.
Photographer Łukasz Baksik grapples with the residue of destroyed Jewish cemeteries in Poland, discovering recycled headstones used as construction materials in roads, buildings, parks, etc. Encountering an old matzevah used as a grindstone sparked his documentary photography project. In Polish and English.
Regional and Local History and Current Events
Polin: 1000 Year History of Polish Jews
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara, and Antony Polansky, editors. 2014. Warsaw: Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
More than a catalog of the core exhibition of Polin: Museum of the History of Polish Jews (see below), this book describes the shared but very diverse historical experience of Jews in lands now part of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, and beyond. Tangible and intangible culture are used to illustrate the relationships between the many different Jewish communities and their integration with non-Jewish communities throughout historical Poland.
Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots
Zalewski, Andrew. 2014. Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, USA: Thelzo Press.
A history of the author’s Jewish ancestry within the context of the political, religious, and social events of the region before, during, and after it was called Galicia. Direct traces of his family history begins in Rohatyn, and facts about life in Rohatyn appear in more than half the chapters.
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
Snyder, Timothy. 2010. New York, New York, USA: Basic Books.
A re-examination of the history of the region comprising what is modern-day Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and the Baltic states, from the 1930s thru WWII, in particular the political and military actions which caused tens of millions to die during the period. Includes specific focus on actions and reactions in what is now western Ukraine.
The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews
Desbois, Father Patrick. 2007; English translation by Catherine Spencer 2008. New York, New York, USA: St, Martin’s Griffin / Macmillan.
Through archival research, ballistic evidence, and new local eyewitness testimonies, sites of Nazi-led mass executions throughout Ukraine are revealed and documented, providing precision and a new understanding of the process of the Shoah east of the death camps. By the head of Yahad-In Unum (see below).
The Bridal Canopy
Agnon, S.Y. 1931; English translation 1967; re-issue 2015. Jerusalem, Israel: The Toby Press / Koren Publishers.
A novel from the Nobel Prize winner for Literature (1966), and considered one of the first classics of modern Hebrew literature. Through a fictional account of comically quixotic travels through towns and villages of early 19th-century Galicia, Agnon brings shtetl experiences and the diversity of Jewish communities to life. Many eastern Galician place names are recognizable in Yiddish variants; Rohatyn is the location for much of the action in the second half of the book.
Genealogy and Family History
Geography and Genealogy: Locating Personal Pasts
Timothy, Dallen J. and Jeanne Kay Guelke, editors. 2008. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Tools and information sources used by geographers and their applications to family history research; family history as a socio-cultural practice. Addresses the geographical and more general scholarly aspects of genealogy.
Pihach, John D. 2007. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press.
An introductory guide to genealogy research, including strategies and methods, records searches in Ukraine and abroad, records analysis, the use of historical maps, and with numerous reference sections on alphabets and languages, surname and given name traditions, and the history of the region. Focused primarily on western Ukraine and southeastern Poland, and on people with Ukrainian ancestors, but many of the methods and sources are equally useful to descendants of Jewish and Polish ancestors in the area.
Dialogue and Reconciliation
Kozlowski, Maciej, Andrej Folwarczny, and Michał Bilewicz, editors. 2006. Warsaw, Poland: Jacek Santorski & Co. Agencja Wydawnicza.
A collaborative project between the Forum for Dialogue Among Nations (see below) and the American Jewish Committee which gathers 50 important questions from young Poles and Jews about their shared and separate histories, and answers them with essays by experts in the areas of history, sociology, Polish-Jewish relations, and religion. Some of the topics are specific to post-war Poland, but most are equally applicable to Ukraine. A sampling of questions and answers is also available online.
Literature in the Ashes of History
Caruth, Cathy. 2013. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press.
A review of psychoanalysis, literature, and politics on the topic of the disappearance of history in Europe.
On the Web
Jewish Heritage Europe
JHE is a communication and information portal with news and guidance on Jewish heritage preservation across Europe. Serves as an exchange between organizations and individuals at all levels. Includes a wealth of past and current information on projects in Ukraine, including news articles on our work in Rohatyn going back to 2012, as well as resource lists of books and websites categorized by topic and by country. Created to support the objectives of the 2009 Bratislava Statement on preservation of historic European Jewish heritage. Sponsor of a 2013 international seminar and workshop on Managing Jewish Immovable Heritage in Europe, which included a presentation by Marla Raucher Osborn on the connection between genealogy and heritage preservation in Rohatyn.
The Magurycz Association is an informal group of stonemasons who have worked for 30 years to preserve stone markers and monuments in disused cemeteries in Poland and neighboring countries; much of their work has focused on the rescue of abandoned cemeteries founded by ethnic groups who were displaced by the Soviets after WWII (including Lemkos and Boykos with ties to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church). Association members have developed expertise in the conservation of stone art monuments in Central Europe; they engage and train volunteers in new projects each year. Also with an active interest page on facebook.
The Matzevah Foundation
A US-based Christian non-profit organization working since 2010 in Jewish cemeteries in Poland, The Matzevah Foundation (TMF) puts its three principles into action every year: Remembering, Restoring, Reconciling. TMF partners with Polish Jewish heritage organizations, local volunteers, and volunteers from the US and elsewhere who self-fund their own travel, to clean Jewish cemeteries and restore matzevot, monuments, fences, and the intangible connections between descendant Jews and the current residents of towns where these cemeteries survive. TMF has generously shared their heritage preservation expertise and partnership strategies with us at conferences and in meetings, as well as on-site working with them on their projects.
Association for Graveyard Studies
A North American non-profit working to “foster appreciation of the cultural significance of gravestones and burial grounds through their study and preservation.” Publishes an annual journal (“Markers”; past issues are available online) and maintains an online knowledge center on preservation methods.
A one-man blog and information website focused on gravestone conservation, with majority examples and techniques applicable to North America but with general methods and some materials useful anywhere. A lengthy, useful glossary of terms plus a FAQ and a page of links to other organizations, suppliers, training, and reference cemeteries. Especially useful are the numerous how-to articles with detailed issues and strategies. The website has not been updated in a couple of years, but the archived info is a helpful reference.
U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
An independent agency of the US government, the commission is chartered to identify, report on, and cooperate with governments in Eastern and Central Europe on the preservation of cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings that are associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens, particularly endangered properties. The commission is active in Ukraine, and has documented the Rohatyn old and new Jewish cemeteries plus two surviving former synagogues.
Yahad – In Unum
Yahad – In Unum is a French non-governmental organization working ‘to unsilence a chapter of history’ on the mass executions of Jews and Roma in seven countries of central and eastern Europe. Investigating through on-site forensic research and interviews with local witnesses, Yahad – In Unum identifies and documents execution sites outside the WWII death camps, to bring the “holocaust by bullets” into public discussion and study. In addition to cooperation with Yahad – In Unum on data and testimony for Rohatyn, in 2011 we also joined one of their educational tours for a teaching visit to killing sites east of Lviv.
ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative
Created and funded as a Germany-based program with field offices in Kyiv in 2015, the ESJF works to define, protect, and preserve Jewish cemeteries in central and eastern Europe, through projects which survey the sites and construct cemetery walls and locking gates, along with an initial clearing and cleaning of the cemetery grounds. Some 30 cemeteries were fenced in its first year, and more than double that the next. Partnering with government and NGO organizations, ESJF is also developing efficient methods and materials for site work which respects Halakhic law, scientific approaches, local regulations, and cemetery neighbors.
State Register of Immovable Monuments of Ukraine
The register catalogs significant cultural property in Ukraine. Wikipedia has a lengthy description in Ukrainian and a much shorter English description. Wikimedia Commons has images and some descriptions of registered monuments and buildings across Ukraine (in Ukrainian). Photos of heritage monuments in Rohatyn (in English and Ukrainian) are also grouped; many of those photos were submitted by us. Pictured among the Rohatyn monuments are the beit midrash, the Ukrainian and the former Polish gymnasiums, all of the surviving historic churches, the former sokol building, and many of the market square buildings where Jewish families once lived.
Jewish Galicia & Bukovina
A website and non-profit organization ‘dedicated to the documentation, preservation and educational dissemination of the history and rich cultural heritage of the Jewish communities of Galicia and Bukovina.’ Encyclopedic in scope, the website combines articles on the Jewish history of the region with databases of heritage sites, some quite detailed. The cemeteries database includes an entry for Rohatyn’s old Jewish cemetery, and a search for members of the Rohatyn Jewish community yields results even out of town, for example this matzevah for a Rohatyn Jew buried in Solotvin.
Regional and Local History and Current Events
City of Rohatyn
News and information about and by the City. Covers issues of city administration, road works, utilities, cultural events, and a weather forecast. Includes an index to City officials, council members, and a search utility for shops and services in town. In Ukrainian. The city also now has an active facebook page with local news and events and a growing collection of historical photos from Rohatyn and the region, including a gallery of Jewish Rohatyn.
Center for Urban History of East Central Europe
“The Center” in Lviv, Ukraine is a private non-profit institution of historical scholarship engaged in academic and cultural activities. Their website is a growing resource for both data and analysis, and a portal for historical and educational projects and publications developed by Center staff and in collaboration with other institutes and individual researchers, in Lviv, greater Ukraine, and across Europe. Also onsite in their Lviv office is an excellent library with books (many in English and German) and other media on urban history and studies, histories of the regions of East Central Europe but especially Galicia and Ukraine, and related material from other branches of the humanities. Besides English, the Center’s website is also fully functional in Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian.
A database and portal for Polin: Museum of the History of Polish Jews, covering the lands of historical Poland, including western Ukraine. The site functions also as a social network and community in that users contribute to tell the stories of their families, their towns, and their histories. The scope of the work is astounding, yet the site is already rich with information covering a large geographic area and a long historical period. A section on Rohatyn has been started with input from us and others; more information will always help. In Polish, with a growing number of pages in English.
Polin: Museum of the History of Polish Jews
The website of the large new museum in Warsaw is a valuable resource itself. In addition to the Virtual Shtetl portal (see above), the museum also hosts two other information sites: the Central Judaica Database, which digitizes and organizes Judaica collections assembled by institutions and individuals, and the museum’s Resource Center, which collects research materials used in the development of museum exhibitions as well as general references for individual researchers.
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
The world’s largest archive and library focused on “the thousand-year history of Jewish life in Eastern Europe and Russia in all its aspects: language, history, religion, folkways and material culture.” Also hosts cultural and educational events, and publishes works on a large variety of topics, including an online Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe.
A digital platform and sub-network of Europeana providing integrated access to the most important European Jewish heritage collections in worldwide museums, libraries, and archives. A digital resource of books, newspapers, photographs, postcards, music, oral history, and museum objects. A partner with JudaicaLink, providing access to key reference works of Jewish culture and history. An excerpt from their newsletter provides more information about the project.
Galicia Jewish Museum
Established in the Kazimierz district of Kraków, Poland more than 10 years ago, the museum serves as an educational resource and as a host for cultural events which focus on the Jewish past, present, and future in Galicia: southeast Poland and western Ukraine. With both permanent and temporary exhibitions, ongoing education programs and publications, a large bookshop, and frequent lectures, concerts, and family events, the museum is a hub for learning. All exhibitions are in Polish and English.
Jason Francisco: An Unfinished Memory
Subtitled “Jewish Heritage and the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia”, and curated as a permanent exhibition for the Galicia Jewish Museum (see above), the site and installation combine Francisco’s research, photographs, and essays in an effort, in his words, “to speak of remembrance and brokenness” and “to mix historical imagination into the perception of the everyday world.” Particularly relevant to our own work is the exhibition section “Interventions Against Tracelessness“, which features Rohatyn.
Christian Herrmann: Vanished World
Blog site of a photographer covering issues of Jewish heritage in Central Europe, and leading heritage preservation projects in Bukovina. A frequent visitor to Rohatyn, thanks to friendships with us and others working in the region. Herrmann has also published a companion book of photographs (which features the Rohatyn old Jewish cemetery on the cover) and a moveable exhibition of his studies of Galicia and Bukovina. For insight to his perspectives on heritage issues in this part of Central Europe, see this excellent interview with him by Virtual Shtetl.
Wikipedia: Jewish-Ukrainian relations in Eastern Galicia
A summary of social and economic relations between two of the three largest ethnic groups in what is now western Ukraine, for the period 1795 thru WWII (Austrian Galicia and the Second Polish Republic). In English only.
An unabridged web version of the 12-volume Jewish Encyclopedia published in the early 20th century, when many Jews lived in Rohatyn. Includes over 15,000 articles and illustrations, including important topics such as cemetery traditions.
Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies
The UCHS is a non-governmental research and education institution focused on “regional aspects of the Holocaust on Ukrainian lands; reflection of the Holocaust in the mass-media of the Nazi-occupied Ukraine; Nazi ideology and the mechanisms of its implementation, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, comparative research of the Holocaust and other cases of genocide.”
Cross-Cultural Tourism and Local Development
A cross-border project to document and promote the mixed cultural heritage of Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian borderlands, Shtetl Routes is gathering and building a wide variety of historical material on towns and communities in the region. The goal of the project is to develop narratives and tools that can be successfully used in tourism, and to support local development. Planned and ongoing projects include research expeditions to inventory Jewish heritage sites, virtual tourist trails covering Jewish heritage sites, digital reconstructions of historical towns, guidebooks, and training sessions for local guides. Already the web site includes photo essays and other information about the city and history of Rohatyn (with far more historical information available in the Ukrainian version of the site).
Genealogy and Family History
Rohatyn Shtetl Research Group
The RSRG is a closed genealogy research group with descendants of Rohatyn families living all over the world. Primarily focused on Jewish family research for pre-war Rohatyn, the group scope has expanded to include nearby towns in the Rohatyn District, and to include a number of Polish and Ukrainian descendants and supporters. Supported by a data-rich internal website and an email forum, it also has a closed interest group on facebook. Founded and managed by Dr. Alex Feller. More information about the group is available on this site on the history page “Jewish Rohatyners Today“, and on the education page “Genealogy“. If you have Jewish roots in Rohatyn and are interested to join the group, see this separate information page or use the “Contacts” page on this site to send a message.
The largest Jewish genealogy organization in the world, and an umbrella organization for special interest groups (SIGs) covering every region in which Jews have lived. Rohatyn is in the Galician SIG, managed by Gesher Galicia (see below), but JewishGen’s website includes databases and many general resources applicable to researchers of any region. An outstanding starting point for anyone beginning with Jewish genealogy, and a reliable reference for experienced researchers. Affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Also with an interest page on facebook. Our town is richly represented in JewishGen’s town-focused KehilaLinks page for Rohatyn, which includes a very wide variety of historical, genealogical, and geographical info about the Jewish community of the town.
An international genealogy organization with a primary focus on researching Jewish roots in the former Austrian Empire province of Galicia, but with with diverse community records which span all of the ethnic and religious groups which once occupied the region. Includes a historical records database and maps for many towns in former Galicia, including Rohatyn. Several members of the RSRG (above) are directors and/or volunteers of Gesher Galicia. Also with an interest page on facebook.
Jewish Records Indexing – Poland
A vast searchable database of historical Jewish vital records indexes (birth, marriage, death) covering more than 500 towns in the historical region of Poland, including Rohatyn and its neighbors.
A Jewish historical institute focused on preserving 20th-century Jewish family stories from Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Although Centropa does not currently have a presence in Ukraine, their methods, exhibitions, and teaching materials are an excellent model for our efforts in Rohatyn; their motto “preserving Jewish memory – bringing history to life” fits our goals well.
Dialogue and Reconciliation
Forum for Dialogue Among Nations
A Polish non-profit organization whose mission is to foster Polish-Jewish dialogue, eradicate antisemitism and teach tolerance through education. Using traditional seminars and publications together with innovative exchange programs, the Forum is a model for education and reconciliation efforts in Central Europe.
A French non-profit organization established to research the killing sites and mass graves of Jewish and other minority victims of Nazi mobile murder groups in what s now Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Moldova. Uses archival research and field ballistic evidence together with local eyewitness interviews to recover history and locate human remains. Presents findings in traveling exhibitions and the organization website (including an interactive map), and develops public education resources to explain the history of the Einsatzgruppen.