Mizhhirya community

Mizhhirya, Ukraine
Мiжгiр’я, Yкраïна

Mizhhirya was part of the Kingdom of Hungary (11th century – 1920 and 1938-1944) with the name of Ökörmező in the Máramaros megye (county), next part of Czechoslovakia (1920-1938) with the name of Mežhorje , next part of the Soviet Union (Ukraine) (1945-1991) with the name of Mezhgor’ye and, since 1991, known as Mizhhirya in the Mizhhirskiy (Mizhhirs’kyy) rayon (district) of the Zakarpats’ka oblast (county) of Ukraine.

Other spellings/names variations for Mizhhirya are Volové, Miżhirja, Wolowe, Volovets, Volova, Volovoje, Mezsgorje, Mizhgirya and Mizhhiria. In Yiddish, Mizhhirya was referred to as Volovo .

Mizhhirya is located about 36 miles E of Mukacheve and 25 miles NNE of Khust.

~ History ~

The first Jews probably settled in Mizhhirya in the mid-18th century, numbering 11 in 1768, and 130 in 1830. In 1877, the population of Mizhhirya was 2,077, made up of Hungarians, Rusyns and Jews and comprised the following religions: Roman Catholic (47); Greek Orthodox (1,756); Reformed (5), and Jewish (269).

In 1921, the Jewish population was 766. The children attended a Czech school. (In the 20’s, there was a failed attempt to establish a Hebrew gymnasium.) A few dozen Jews attended a yeshiva run by the community’s rabbi, Aharon TEITELBAUM. Jews owned most of the businesses (39 of 45 stores) and there were 23 Jews working as artisans. Jews owned a bank and a number of factories, some producing alcoholic beverages and furniture. A few Jews were doctors or lawyers and a few were administrative officials.

By 1941, Mizhhirya had 942 Jewish inhabitants with a synagogue and a mikvah.

Today, Mizhhirya is a large village of about 4,292 inhabitants nestled between two mountains (one, 402 meters high; the other, 424 meters high), hence its name Mizhhirya, which means “between mountains.” A number of Hungarians, Ukrainians, Russians and Ruthenians still live there. A great number of the Mizhhirya’s Jews were murdered in the Holocaust; no Jews live there today.