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Skala Research Group — Volume 17, Issue 3

by Tony Hausner

In 1978, the Skala Benevolent Society (SBS) published a yizkor book called Skala. The book was written by the shtetl’s former Jewish residents who either had survived the Holocaust or had been born in Skala and previously had emigrated. Its purpose was to honor Skala’s Jewish community, which had been annihilated by the Nazis and their allies. Most of the contributors to the original book were the survivors themselves, who felt a deep inner compulsion and moral obligation to those who perished, to tell the story of Jewish Skala and to share with their children and future generations their memories of suffering, struggle, and loss. The yizkor book was written primarily in Yiddish and Hebrew and was largely inaccessible to many modern Skala researchers, most of whose families came from this shtetl. Skala on the River Zbrucz, a translation of the entire yizkor book into English, has now been published by the Skala Research Group (whose members are investigating their roots in Skala) and the SBS.


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Situated in eastern Galicia and once ruled by Austro-Hungary, the town of Skala was part of Poland during World War II. It now is called Skala Podil’ska and is part of Ukraine. The Skala yizkor book includes articles, photographs, and documents on the history of the town’s Jews from the 15th century up to and including the Holocaust, when the Jewish community was completely destroyed. This material recalls a once vibrant shtetl and its people, the environment in which they lived, and their hopes, dreams, and struggles for survival. The yizkor book also describes the tragic events of the Holocaust and stories of those who survived, and provides a list of Skala’s Holocaust victims and survivors. The English translation contains a new chapter about the town’s righteous gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust, as well as photographs showing Skala as it is today. It is a precious legacy that deserves to be preserved.

For copies, please contact Tony Hausner at thausner@gmail.com. This book took four years to produce using a team of translators.

On a related note, I will be traveling soon to Skala and nearby towns, such as Borszczow, Czortkow, Mielnitsa, and Kalush. Feel free to contact me regarding this trip.


Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization carrying out Jewish genealogical and historical research on Galicia, formerly a province of Austria-Hungary and today divided between southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. The research work includes the indexing of archival vital records and census books, Holocaust-period records, Josephine and Franciscan cadastral surveys, lists of Jewish taxpayers, and records of Galician medical students and doctors - all added to our searchable online database. In addition, we reproduce regional and cadastral maps for our online Map Room. We conduct educational research and publish a quarterly research journal, the Galitzianer. Gesher Galicia is also organized for the purpose of maintaining networking and online discussion groups and to promote and support Jewish heritage preservation work in the areas of the former Galicia.

You can search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and archival inventories, and read about member benefits starting at $50 per year. You can also join online.

Our general contact address: info@geshergalicia.org