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Brief History of the City of Lviv
(Polish: Lwow=English: Lvov; German: Lemberg; Ukrainian: Lviv)
From its establishment in the 1200s to German occupation in 1939
by Jessica Landfried, June 2002
- Prince Danylo of Galicia founded Lviv in the 13th century.
- One hundred years later the Polish Kings took control of Lviv.
- Lviv was a very important city in the Polish-Lithuanian alliance.
- The Polish built beautiful churches, including the Dominican, Carmelite, Jesuit, Benedictine, and Bernadine.
- Lvivs named was changed to Lwow.
- In 1773 Lviv was ruled by Austria under the first partition of Poland until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.
- Austria changed the name of Lviv to Lemberg, and made it the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia.
- Austria contributed parks, cobble stone streets, and an opera house.
- Even after the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Lviv has remained a European city.
- In the 19th century the Poles owned most of the land, and the Jews owned most of the shops and Inns.
- There was a lot of poverty in Lviv as well as all over Galicia.
- In the late 1880s and early 1900s more then 2 million people emigrated from the Kingdom of Galicia and headed to France and Germany.
Reid Anna. Border Land: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine. Westview Press; Great Britain, 1997.
A Brief History, From http://www.icmp.lviv.ua/LVIV/history.html
- Lviv was founded as a fort in the mid-13th century by Prince Danylo Halitski of Galicia, a former principality of Kyivan Rus. The first mention of Lviv in early chronicles is from 1256, although archeological excavation in 1993 revealed that the first settlements appeared in the 6th century. Galicia, with Lviv as its chief city, has kept its identity despite many boundary changes and centuries of rule by outside powers.
- Lviv quickly became the center of trade and commerce for the region. The city's favorable location on the crossroads of trade routes led to its rapid economic development.
- Galicia was taken over by Poland in the 14th century. Its nobility eventually adopted the Polish language and religion - Roman Catholicism but the vast majority of people remained Ukrainian Orthodox and later joined the Greek Catholic Church which acknowledged the Pope's spiritual supremacy but adhered to the area's Orthodox forms of worship. From 1356 the burghers had the right of self-government, which implied that all city issues were to be solved by a city council, elected by wealthy citizens.
- The first half of the 17th century appeared to be the most active period in the city's development, by that time there where 25-30 thousand people. About 30 craft organizations were active by that time, involving 133 different specialities. Starting in the second half of the 17th century there was a decline in Lviv's development.
- In the First Partition of Poland (1772), Galicia became part of the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire but remained dominated by Poles.
- In 1784, the first university was opened. Lectures were held in Latin, German, Polish and Ukrainian.
- In the second half of the nineteenth century, construction, trade, transport and industry started to develop rapidly until the first world war started. Towards the end of the 19th century, Lviv became the center of a new Ukrainian national movement. Many prominent cultural and political leaders lived in Lviv, among them Ivan Franko, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, it was a meeting place of Ukrainian, Polish, and Jewish cultures.
- With the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire at the end of Word War I, Lviv was proclaimed capital of the independent Republic of West Ukraine. But the troops of the re-emergent Poland seized the city, and Lviv returned to Polish rule until the Red Army took control in September, 1939. L'viv was occupied by Germany from 1941 to 1944. Almost entire Jewish population was murder in concentration camps in Lviv and elsewhere. In 1944, Lviv again went under Soviet rule.
- L'viv was an important center of activities of Ukrainian dissidents. Since late 1980s the city became a leading force in Ukraine's movement towards sovereignty and democracy.
- The activity of the Greek Catholic Church, prohibited in 1946, started again, the RUKH movement won the elections. On August 24, 1991 Lviv began a new era as the Supreme Council of Ukraine adopted a declaration of independence.
- Now, L'viv a major economic and cultural center on the Western region of independent Ukrainian state. Despite tremendons difficulties, economics reforms, among them privatization of enterprises and land proceed in L'viv more rapidly than in many other Ukrainian economics centers.
I also found some websites with great pictures of historic buildings and places in Lviv and some maps.
History of Lviv under Nazi occupation (renamed Lemberg)
By Faithe Gottlieb, June 2002 [links to glossary at the LA Museum of Tolerance]
In 1939, Lvovs population was 340,000 of whom 110,000 were Jews. On September 17, 1939, the Soviets entered Lvov, imposing their system on the city. Some 100,000 Jewish refugees from the German - occupied areas of Poland crowded into Lvov; in the summer of 1940 many of them were expelled to the remote regions of the Soviet Union.
On June 22, 1941, about 10,000 Jews escaped from the city with the Red Army and nine days later, the Germans occupied Lvov. Like the Soviets who preceded them, the Nazis in Lvov faced local opposition from both Ukrainian and Polish forces. An increasingly powerful Soviet partisan movement also weakened their grip on the Lvov region. Reports from all sides of the fighting, and from the Nazi administration itself, describe the violence of everyday practices. With the German entry, the rumor was spread that Jews had taken part in the execution of Ukrainian political prisoners. Shortly thereafter, the killing of Jews by Einsatzgruppe C, German soldiers, and Ukrainian nationalists began. By July 3, 1941, 4,000 Jews had been murdered. On July 8, the wearing of the Jewish badge was ordered. From July 25 to 27, the Ukrainians murdered 2,000 Jews in pogroms that came to be known as the Petliura days.
At the end of July a temporary committee was established, that soon became the Judenrat, with Dr. Joseph Parnes as chairman. While Parnes tried to stand up for the community, there was essentially nothing he could do to save Lvov from its inevitable fate. In August, the Jews were forced to pay a 20 million-ruble ransom, and to ensure the payment, many Jewish hostages were taken. Even though the money was paid on time, the hostages lives were not spared. During that summer, Jewish property was plundered, Jews were drafted for forced labor, and synagogues were burned down. In September a Jewish police force was established. Parnes was killed in the end of October, when he refused to hand over Jews to the JANOWSKA camp. His place was taken by Abraham Rotfeld.
On November 8, 1941, the Germans mandated that a ghetto be established by December 15. While not all the Jews were concentrated there, tens of thousands were. In the course of the move 5,000 elderly and sick Jews were killed. Ghetto life in Lvov was typical of that of other ghettos established throughout Poland. Considered to be a large ghetto, with over 100,000 occupants, the inhabitants suffered from the same burdens as their unlucky counterparts. The ghetto was infested with disease and malnutrition. Poor sanitation and overcrowding further facilitated the unbearable conditions. Like many other ghetto establishments, many could not survive the living requirements.
That winter, the Germans began sending Jews to labor camps. In February 1942, Rotfeld died and Henryk Landsberg took his place. In March 1942, the Judenrat was ordered to prepare lists allegedly to send Jews east to work. A delegation of rabbis appealed to Landsberg not to cooperate, but he did, believing if the Germans were to carry out the deportation, more Jews would be killed. From March 19, 1942 for a month, 15,000 Jews were sent to Belzec.
On July 8, 1942, 7,000 Jews without certificates of employment were put in Janowska. From August 10, until August 23, 50,000 Jews were sent to Belzec. In September the remaining Jews outside the ghetto were herded into a greatly less populated ghetto. Landesberg along with a group of Jewish employees were hanged by the Germans, and Eduard Eberson was made Judenrat chairman. In November, 5,000 "unproductive" persons were put in Janowska or sent to Belzec. Unemployed Jews were hunted down systematically. In January 1943 the Lvov ghetto was officially designated a Judenlager (Jewish camp). Ten thousand Jews without work cards were killed, and the Judenrat was disbanded. On March 17, 1,500 Jews were murdered near the city at Piasky, and 800 were sent to Auschwitz. Beginning on June 1, 1943, the Germans and Ukrainians sent 7,000 Jews to Janowska, where they were soon put to death, and some 3,000 were murdered in the ghetto. When Jews resisted with arms, killing nine and wounding twenty, buildings in the ghetto were blown up to force Jews out into the open. Attempts to organize armed resistance in the ghetto had been made earlier, but had generally failed, as had attempts to flee to the forest and establish resistance centers. One small group, did kill a German policeman, and some individuals did reach the forests where they contacted partisans. Like most other ghettos in Poland, the Lvov establishment was dissolved in late 1943, and the remaining inhabitants were sent to various camps or marched into the forest and shot.
History of Lviv in Post-War Period
By Courtney Salera, June 2002
- After the conclusion of the war Allied leaders met at Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam and decided to return Poland to its medieval boundaries. The frontiers shifted 120 miles west, and Lviv became part of Ukraine in 1944.
- Ukraine became a charter member of the United Nations, and all parts of the country were united under Soviet rule.
- The Sovietization of Western Ukraine (including Lviv) was accompanied by totalitarian controls and terror by the NKVD, or Russian police force.
- In 1946-7 the fourth Five Year Plan was put into action, but the mass collectivization of farms coupled with the after effects of the war and drought led to a huge famine in which over one million perished.
- In Western Ukraine around 78,000 intellectuals and activists were deported to Siberia.
- In 1948 the persecution of Ukrainian writers and publications began in a campaign to stamp out western influences and Ukrainian nationalism.
- In the 1950s Khrushchev was more lenient towards Ukraine then Stalin, and many were allowed to return from exile.
- Since the late 1980s Lviv has become a center of activities for Ukrainian dissent, as well as a leading force in Ukraines movement to sovereignty and democracy.
- On August 24, 1991 the Supreme Council of Ukraine adopted a Declaration of Independence.
- Lviv is now a major economic and cultural center in Ukraine.
Subtelny, Orest. Ukraine a History 3rd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000).
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