David Chapin

Austin, Texas


 Scharogrod is "Shargorod", a town in Litin District, Podolia Province. I had the pleasure of visiting this town in 1995.   Because of its unique  geographic history, it is one of the best preserved towns in all of Podolia. At one time, it was nearly 90% Jewish, and all the Jewish houses from the turn of the 19th-20th century are still preserved. In addition, it has one of the oldest Jewish synagogue buildings still standing in Ukraine, built probably in the 1400s. The cemetery is also quite unique, with burials starting from the 1600s and going on thru to the modern day. In fact, it never lost its Jewish population. Several photos of Shargorod and references are in my book, "The Road from Letichev".

One of the reasons it was so well preserved is that the battles of WWII passed it by. The Nazis quickly occupied it in 1941, but then they gave it to their Rumanian allies as part of a newly formed territory called "Transnistria". Jews were not slaughtered during the war here as they were in adjacent occupied parts of Ukraine. When it was liberated in 1944, the Rumanians fled rather than fight, so it stayed in a relatively pristine state. Even today, it is one of the very few places in Ukraine where you can get an understanding of how Jews lived before the Russian Revolution.