Volochisk Jewish genealogy

Volochisk circa 1900

If you’re researching your Volochisk Jewish roots (also often spelled Wolochisk, Woloczysk, or Volochys’k), please join our Facebook group, Volochisk Descendants. Together we are fundraising to pay for researchers and translators for Jewish Volochisk records. So far we’ve hired a researcher to go to the Zhitomir archives, where he has photographed the 1850 Volochisk revision list, and is now working on a translation of this document.

Translation is laborious and expensive, and donations are appreciated. Or, if you can read Russian and would be willing contribute your time, it would be greatly appreciated. Please contact me for more details.

Jewish history of Volochisk 

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust offers a short history of Volochisk. “Jews arrived in the 18th century and numbered 774 in 1767. Jews were attached in riots on 5 May 1881. With the town located on the Russian-Austrian border, Jews engaged in some smuggling and traded in farm produce, particularly eggs and geese. In 1897, the Jewish population was 3,295 (49% of the total). Most Jews were expelled in WW1, returning to find their homes and stores pillaged. In the 1920s and 1930s, a Jewish council (Soviet) was active in the town. By 1939 the Jewish population had fallen to 521. The Germans arrived in Volochisk on 5 July 1941. In August 1942 about 5,000 Jews were murdered, including about 600 from Kupel, Voitovetz, and other towns in the area.”1

Today, there is very little evidence of the town’s Jewish past.

Geography and nearby villages

Volochisk was a frontier town on the edge of the Russian Empire. Just across the river was its sister city, Podvolochisk (or Pidvolochys’k or Podwoloczyska), which, before the first World War, was part of Galicia, and separated from Volochisk by a hard border. At the time, Volochisk was part of Starokonstantinov district, in the Volhynia region of the Russian Empire. 

Because of the dearth of records for Volochisk, it’s important to check nearby towns for records. Podvolochisk, part of the Austrian Empire and then the Polish Empire, is a rich source of records for the area. In the section below you can find a list of Podvolochisk resources. 

Other nearby towns* where Volochiskers often emigrated to were: 

Kupel – There are pages of results on Yad Vashem for people born in Volochisk but living in Kupel, suggesting that there was a lot of movement between Volochisk and Kupel, which was 16 miles away.

Starokonstantinov – More than 100 miles from Volochisk, Starokonstantinov was the seat of the province, and perhaps more importantly has ongoing translation projects that have been turning up Volochiskers.

Tarnoruda – 9 miles SSE of Volochisk, Tarnoruda was part of Galicia, but many Volochiskers ended up there or married people from there.

Satiniv – Although Sataniv (Satanov) was located 20 miles south of Volochisk, the Satanover Benevolent Society was filled with Volochiskers. 

*Note, the towns above are not the closest towns to Volochisk, but they are the towns where the most records of people from Volochisk are currently found. As more records are translated, this may change. 

This site is a good one for seeing exactly where each of these small villages are in relation to larger nearby towns. 

Volochisk Jewish genealogy

If you’re new to researching your Volochisk Jewish roots, be assured that even though they aren’t on Jewishgen, there are records from Jewish Volochisk! If you know of any others, please let me know.

Ukraine archives

Below are links to scans of Volochisk records from the Ukrainian archives. The files are large PDFs and are entirely in Russian.

Thank you to Alex Krakovsky for scanning many of these revision lists and to Alex Denisenko for his diligent research and archive photos. 

The Zhitomir Archive reading room. Photo by Alex Denisenko.

Kehilalinks

Volochisk has Kehilalinks page, which offers lots of contextual context as well as names of people who lived there before the war.

On the excellent Krasilov Kehilalinks page, there are a few Volochisk records:

Podvolochisk

There are more resources for Podvolochisk (or Pidvolochys’k or Podwoloczyska), Volochisk’s sister city in the Austrian empire. Just a mile away from Volochisk, there was a lot of movement between the two towns — and because of its history, Podvolochisk has much wider record coverage — so it’s worth checking for your family there, too. 

More names

Part of the 1834 Volochisk revision list.

Additional information about Volochisk

Additional Jewish Volochisk resources:

Volochisk Kehilalinks page. Very complete page with lots of interesting stories, resources, photographs, and schematics of the town pre-war. I’m in the process of updating this, but because of the ancient format requirements, I’m just adding new content on this site instead.

Yad Vashem. Untold Stories: Volochisk with a short history and the tragic end of Jewish Volochisk, plus details of the murder site at the Volochisk Brick Factory.

Jewishgen’s Volochisk community page with links to other nearby towns.

First Wolochisker Benevolent Association:

The First Wolochisker Benevolent Association was the landsmanshaft for Volochisk. There are several plots at Montefiore Cemetery in New York, and you can find a list of all of the burials here.

YIVO has records from the First Wolochisker Benevolent Association, the Volochisk landsmanshaft, but the records are not online. 

Museum of Family History has a page about the First Wolochisker Benevolent Association section at Montefiore Cemetery with photos of the monuments with names.

How you can help

If you’d like to see more Volochisk Jewish records translated, please join our Facebook group and donate to our translation fund; your contributions make a huge difference. If you can read Russian, and are willing to check the headers on pages of revision books to help us find the Volochisk pages so we can send them for translation, or if you’re able to do translations yourself, we would be incredibly grateful for your help. We’d love someone who can look at the headers of 1837-1875 Additional revisions of the Jews of Starokonstantinov County and find which pages have Volochisk families on them. We also can also use the help of Yiddish and Hebrew translators. And most importantly, we need contributions to pay for our researcher in Ukraine who has already been to the Zhitomir archive twice this year, searching for Volochisk records, and to translate these records.

Please get in touch if you’d like to donate or offer your assistance.

Undated photo of the Volochisk synogogue.

  1. Shmuel Spector and Geoffrey Wigoder, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. Seredina-Buda-Z (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2001), 1411.