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by Miriam Weiner and Valery Bazarov


The church in the center foreground is
the present-day site of the Central
State Historical Archives in Lviv, 1994
(Photo credit: Miriam Weiner)
Bernardynski Square (former Bernardine
Monastery) c. 1920 (see left)
(Source: Miriam Weiner archives)


The Jews in Galicia, without packing a carton or leaving their front door, have managed to reside in many different countries due to shifting borders and changes in governing authorities. The name comes from the name of the city Halych (Halicz in Polish), which was the capital of the early principality.

• Galicia was first a principality from 1141–1340.
• In 1300, the capital was moved to Lviv.
• Beginning in 1340, the region was fought over and changed hands several times between Hungary, Poland and Ukrainian princes.
• From 1349–1772, Galicia remained in Polish hands, when it was lost to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
• In 1918, Poland regained authority over Galicia following World War I.
• In 1939, Eastern Galicia became the part of the USSR.
• In 1941, during the onslaught of the Germans on Russian soil and until they were driven from the region in 1944, Galicia was under Nazi occupation as part of the General Government.
• After liberation, Galicia again became a part of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic
• In 1991, when the USSR collapsed, independent Ukraine emerged.


A view from the old Jewish quarter of Lvov, 1991

However, Galicia was home for Jews long before the formation of the Russian Empire. The parchment documents (Fond 131, Delo 866, 1233–1923), collected by the Ukrainian scholar I. Vagilevich and Polish historian K. Rasp, contain information about the Jews, who resided in the Galician and Vladimir Principalities. These Jews were merchants, contractors, physicians in the service of Russian princes and tsars, Polish kings and nobility of the XIV–XVI centuries.

Information about Jewish merchants and artisans, their relationship with the Jewish communities in Germany, Austria, and Czechia, their privileges and rights granted by the kings and princes can be found in the files of the “Collection of the Letters of the Statesmen of Ukraine and Poland in the XVI–XIX Centuries"
(Fond 132, Delo 1234, 1516–1888).

The material described within this article can be divided into the following categories:

Record Groups Relating Primarily to the Jewish Community
Record Groups Relating to the General Population Which Include Jewish Names
Sources and Acknowledgements

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