October 24, 2015

A snapshot of life in Krasnostav

My grandfather Baruch (later Bernard) Krantzberg came from Krasnostav, a small shtetl in what is now Ukraine, west of Kiev. The other day I got an email from Mike Levin, a gentleman I know from the interwebs whose grandparents also came from Krasnostav.

Mike published an article on JewishGen that was written by a cousin of his mother's, who lived in and remembered the town, and he linked me to it.

This article proved to be a very interesting account of the town's history and lives of its inhabitants, especially regarding its Jewish population.

The article mentions that from the Bolshevik Revolution to the early 1920's, this was an unstable and frankly dangerous place to live, where Jews and their businesses were targeted. My grandfather's family ran a dry goods store, and one day it was raided by Cossacks. Great-aunt Gissie paid them off to leave; it was right about then that the family chose to get out.

My grandfather's family, circa 1915, in or near Krasnostav. Clockwise from left: my great-aunt Gissie, great-uncle Joel, great-aunt Ita, grandfather Baruch, and great-grandmother Nechama (seated).

The article also mentions by name my grandfather's older brother Moshe, who would immigrate to Ottawa, Canada, and teach at the Talmud Torah Hebrew School there. What I hadn't known is that he was a teacher back in the old country as well-- according to the article, he founded his own reformed "heider", or Hebrew school, where he taught Hebrew in Hebrew. For some reason, this was considered controversial, and it was shut down.

My great-uncle Moshe Krantzberg, rebel Hebrew school teacher, circa 1920's Canada

I want to thank Mike for sharing this glimpse into my grandfather's hometown and family.

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