Chortkiv district, Ternopil region
- Pinkas Hakehillot Polin: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume II, pages 349-350, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. Translated by Lancy Spalter, JewishGen, Inc.
- Hryhoriy Arshynov, European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, 2019. Sukhostav Jewish Cemetery
|Tombstone from the Jewish cemetery Sukhostav
Year - Total Population - Jews
1765 - 218 - 57 *
1880 - 2,282 - 614
1921 - 1,987 - 378
*including settlers of neighboring towns
In 1553, the owner of the town of Jablonow was authorized by the king to turn his town into a city; a weekly market day and two annual fairs were instituted for Jablonow. The city itself was not erected in the same place, but the town of Suchostaw was built at a certain distance, to serve as urban center for the noble estate of the region.
Suchostaw was destroyed during the Cossack-Sweden wars (1648-1656) and the 1664 census states: “Before the war, 90 people resided here and there was an inn in the place; presently the town is barren and there is nary a denizen in it.”
The town was restored and the 1765 census accounts for 218 denizens. The fast-growing city of Kopyczyntse, located only 8 kms away impeded the development of Suchostaw.
For as long as it existed, Suchostaw never became more than a small urban settlement, in which the Christian majority worked in agriculture or agriculture-oriented occupations (blacksmiths, coopers, etc.), whereas the Jewish population engaged in land leases, small business, peddling and handcrafts.
During WWI the town was harmed, many houses were burnt or destroyed and part of the population abandoned the place.
Probably the first Jews had already settled in Suchostaw by the time of the rulings of 1648-1649 that caused the total destruction of the town. With the town's restoration, a number of Jewish families settled down in Suchostaw and engaged in innkeeping, tenancy and trade.
During the 19th Century the settlement grew and the number of shopkeepers, peddlers and craftsmen increased. As a result of the torments (houses burnt down and ransacked, rapes) inflicted on the local Jews during the Russian conquest in WWI, some 200 Jews left Suchostaw to larger cities or to other countries.
Some 40 families stayed behind and continued with their occupations in small trade, peddling in nearby villages and handcrafts.
In 1923, the craftsmen founded their organization “Yad Harutzim”.
In 1928 the Gmilut Hassadim (Benefactory) Fund was established but its capital was meager and so were the loans to its members; in 1933-1934 only two loans were granted amounting to a total of 150 zloty.
At the beginning, the Suchostaw Jewish community was annexed to the Kopyczyntse community, but in the 1830's it became somewhat independent. From that time, there are mentions of the Suchostaw rabbi, Rabbi Avraham-Itzhak Bick.
In 1866, Rabbi Pinchas ben Moshe Horovitz was appointed Chief Rabbinical Judge. From Suchostaw, Rabbi Pinchas went on to officiate in Husyatin in Russia, and from there to Husyatin in Galicia.
During the inter-war period Rabbi Arieh-Leybush Rokach served as Rabbi of Suchostaw. Apparently he also directed a Chassidic court.
Rabbi Aryeh-Leybush and his son Rabbi Abraham-Yehoshua-Heschel Rokach were killed in the Holocaust in 1942.
The town's synagogue (erected at the end of the 18th century) was built of wood and drew the attention of the “Viennese Archeological Society”, which extended to it its patronage.
There were many legends around the synagogue (“fire flames do not touch it”, etc.).
Most of the Jewish denizens of Suchostaw were Chassidim, mainly the Husyatin-Ryszin Chassidim, as was the Kloiz (college) established in the town.
In the inter-war period, this underpopulated settlement saw the establishment of branches of the Zionist organizations Ezra (in 1925), the Revisionists and Beitar (1931 – seemingly the only youth group in Suchostaw) and Hitachdut Poalei Zion (in 1933, 1934).
In the elections to the Zionist Congress in 1935, which were held at the “Husyatin Kloiz”, the General Zionists received 76 votes, Mizrachi – 1 vote, and the Working Eretz Israel party received 106 votes.
There is no information about the fate of this small Jewish settlement during WWII, apart from the fact that the German invasion exterminated it. In 1942, the local Jews were expelled to the nearby town of Chorstkov.