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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

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

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, Lvov’s 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

Subtelny, Orest. Ukraine a History 3rd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000).

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