POLONNOYE, town in the Khmelnitski (Proskurov) district, Ukraine. Jews are mentioned in 1601, and by the middle of the century it was an important community in volhynia . In 1648, the time of the chmielnicki massacres , when the Cossack armies approached the town about 12,000 Jews found refuge in its fortress, defending themselves, together with Poles, against the enemy. When the Cossacks overran the town about 300 Jews gathered in the bet ha-midrash and, led by the kabbalist R. Samson Ostropoler , they wrapped themselves in their tallitot and met death with a prayer on their lips. The number of dead in the town was estimated at 10,000. In 1684 the owner of the town, Countess Lyubomirskaya, granted Jews letters-patent which authorized them to build houses in one of the town's quarters. They were also exempted from military service in exchange for a special payment in favor of the Christian inhabitants, "…with the exception of a general mobilization in the event of an attack by the enemy." In the 18th century the Jews suffered from attacks by the Haidamacks and from Polish and Swedish soldiers. Polonnoye rapidly became an important commercial and spiritual center. During the second half of the 18th century, two of the pillars of Hasidism (and disciples of the Ba'al Shem Tov), aryeh judah leib ("The 'Mokhiah' of Polonnoye," d. 1770) and after him, jacob joseph ha-kohen (d. 1782), held the rabbinical positions of the town. Hebrew printers were active in Polonnoye between 1782and 1820. Among them was Samuel b. Issachar Ber, who also printed in korets and shklov , and who transferred the press to ostrog in 1794. Another was Joseph b. Ẓevi ha-Kohen, active from 1800 to 1820, who founded another press in medzibezh , in 1815. Altogether some 90 works, mostly kabbalistic, ḥasidic, and ethical, were issued, some of the latter in Yiddish.   In 1847 there were 2,647 Jews in Polonnoye and, according to the census, there were 7,910 Jews (48.5% of the population) in 1897. In 1919 the town was at the center of the battle area between the Red and Ukrainian armies, and consequently, during Passover of that year, most of the inhabitants fled to nearby towns. In September calvary units of Budenny rioted, robbing and killing about 40 Jews. In 1926 there were 5,337 Jews (32.5% of the population) in Polonnoye, and their number dropped further by 1939 to 4,171 (30% of the total population. The Germans occupied the town on July 6, 1941, and after a month they executed 19 Jews as Communist agents. On August 23, 1941 they murdered 113, and in June 1942 they killed 1,200. In all the Germans murdered about 2,000 Jews. There was no information available on the presence of Jews in Polonnoye after World War II. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: N.N. Hannover, Yeven Meẓulah; Sefer Zwihl (Novograd-Volynskiy) (1962), 253–5 (Heb. part); Ḥ.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Polanyah (19502), 102–3. (Yehuda Slutsky)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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