Boguslav (Boslov), Ukraine

Table of Contents
  • Boguslav Background
  • Kiev Contacts and Research
  • Boguslav Researchers
  • Travel to Boguslav - July 1997
  • Jewish Cemetery
  • Images of Boguslav and Jewish Cemetery



    Boguslav Background

    Boguslav and Boslov are the same place. Boslov, I believe, is the Yiddish and Boguslav is the Russian/Ukrainian name. Boguslav is 63 miles (100 km) south-south-east of Kiev. It is located at 49 33' N and 30 53' E.

    There is a Boslover (those who came from Boslov or nearby) section of in Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, NY. My great-grandfather is buried there. There is also a Boslover section in a Philadelphia cemetery.

    David Kleiman from New York City visited Boguslav in 1989. He photographed many stones and wrote about the trip in Avotaynu in 1990. (David, if you are out there, please contact me.)

    Kiev Contacts and Research

    Julia Zevelev ( of the Jewish Preservation Committee of Ukraine coordinates local guides and genealogy research in archive. Julia works for Rabbi Blaich who is the Orthodox Rabbi in Kiev (Tel 416-2422 or 416-4056). Moshe Asmon is the Chabad Rabbi who works out of the synagogue in the center of Kiev (which is doubles as a community theater) Tel 225-0069. I have hired a researcher, Dmitry, affiliated with Julia, who has been searching for records for me in Kiev from Boguslav and other villages. Records do exist, but I haven't had any positive results so far for the names I'm searching (GOLDITCH and TURBIN). My guide in Ukraine was Yan Privozotski who was coordinated through Julia.

    Boguslav Researchers

    There is a (very) informal email list of Boguslav researchers coordinated by Milt Botwinick. The information below comes from this list, my contact with other researchers, and the JewishGen Family Finder. To send an email to all on this list that have email, copy and paste this into your email program:  (You may need to change to semi-colons to commas for your email program.);;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
    Researcher (JGFF Code#) and Address
    Names Searching
    Cara Alson (#2421)
    7626 Teesdale Ave
    No Hollywood, CA 91605
      Lachoff, Lakoff, Laykoff, Liachow
    S. Nora Banner (#3197)
    6533 Alpine Lane
    Bradenton, FL 34208
      Chernofsky, Cherny
    Lillian M. Bernstein (#3456)
    104 Mandala Court
    Walnut Creek, CA 94596
    Rick Bialac (#1653)
    3051 Edgewood Drive
    Leah Bisel Skvira and Tetiev: ZERDANOWSKI, GOLDICH
    Phyllis Bismanovsky (#7803) Shostak, Orlofsky, Orlevitsky, Chernakoff
    Milton E Botwinick (#1426)
    PO Box 13464
    Philadelphia, PA
    Arthur Chimes    
    Ronald D. Doctor
    Portland, Oregon Dubinsky
    Mikhael Feldctein FELDSTEIN, COHAN, KOGAN
    Renee Poland Gottesman 
    2290 Onyx Street (#5543)
    Paula Agranat Hurwitz (#1588)
    350 E. Del Mar, #120
    Pasadena, CA 91101 AGRANAT
    David Kleiman (#1373)
    245 West 75th Street
    New York, NY 10023
    David Lieberman (#10217) 318 West 100th St. #3-C New York, NY 10025 Slusky
    Robert W. Marlin (#3069)
    PO Box 948194
    Maitland, FL 32794
      Budiansky, Budinoff, Koraris, Kuraris
    Helen Nestor (#3368)
    3120 Lewiston Ave.
    Berkeley, CA 94705 Boguslav
    Lewis P. Orans (#10072) 5800 Woodway Apt. 436 Houston, TX 77057 RJAWSKY
    Margaret Parkhurst (#1705)
    1714 Cleveland Rd
    Glendale, CA 91202
    Lois Sernoff Yompolsky
    Yakov Shafranovich Ozeryanskaya
    Reba Solomon LISANSKY
    Bert Spector RUBIN
    Peter Speer (#10618) Rosenberg, Reznikov, Reznik
    Michael R. Tobin (#3433)
    39 Amherst Road
    Wellesley, MA  02482 TURBIN, TOBIN, GOLDITCH
    Barry Yunes YUNES
    Ilya Zeldes (#7151), 5735-1 Foxlake Drive, Ft. Myers FL 33917 ZELDES

    25 July 1997 - Boguslav (Boslov), Ukraine

    Below is a summary of my trip to Boguslav. Because I may publish this sometime in the future, I reserve the copyright.

    Kiev to Boguslav. Yan Privozotski (Unanskaya St, 37 Fl. 31, Kiev 252087, Ukraine, Tel (044) 229-6141, Fax 229-8069) is my guide. He was arranged through Julia Zeveleva ( from the Jewish Preservation Committee of Ukraine. Yan picks me up at my hotel with a driver and we travel 2 1/2 hours to Boguslav. The car we are in is a small Ukrainian car that was borrowed from the driver's mother. Because his mother has a leg disability, the car had been modified to only have hand controls. The driver works very hard to coordinate the gas, brake, and clutch, and directionals. The car is about 10 years old and rusted though on the floorboards. The further we travel from Kiev the smaller the road becomes. To get from one highway to the next, we had to take some local streets through a town. This happened just as the rain turned into a downpour. The dirt roads we were on in this town turned into rivers of mud. The car almost got stuck numerous times. Water come through the floorboards. At the end of the day driving back into Kiev we get pulled (waved) over by the police. The driver pays a "fine" and we continue on our way. He explains through Yan that this is a common occurance for all drivers and just a way for the police to make some pocket money.

    Old and New. Boguslav has two sections divided by a large bridge. Old Boguslav, the town dating from 1032 AD and where the Jews lived, is on the east side of the bridge. (If I recall correctly.) The modern, larger, town of Boguslav is on the other side. The old town has a Soviet tank on the small town square commemorating a battle from WW2 and nearby has another monument and graves of a few fallen heroes.

    Lunch. Across from the town square, we have lunch in a family run "cafe." At night, the restaurant doubles as a disco. While Yan orders lunch for us from the woman, her son, maybe 18 years old, shows off the disco sound and light system while playing bad American music from the 70's. His black American T-shirt says "DARE to Keep Kids Off Drugs." Lunch consists of borsht, brisket, boiled potatoes, pickles, bread, and other typical miscellany.

    Historical Museum. A block or two down the street we visit the Boguslav Historical Museum. It is quite an impressive local museum and I recommend visitors to see it. As you walk through, it takes you on a tour of Boguslav from prehistoric times, though the founding of the city in 1032 AD, through the 19th and 20th centuries of peasant living, revolution, and Soviet times. We asked the woman who managed the museum if the museum had any records of Jews who lived in the town. She said no, but that there were still some buildings nearby that used to be part of the Jewish village. She offered to give us a little tour and found some keys to another building.

    We walked down the street and she pointed out a number of buildings that used to be part of the Jewish village and then showed us a prominent building on a corner. She said the building used to be the Jewish school. During WW2, it was used by the Gestapo as a local headquarters and small prison. She opened the door with her keys and showed us the inside. One of the small rooms, one used as a prison cell, remains the way it was found as the Gestapo left it. The doorway was open and covered in barbed wire. On the inside, on one of the walls was scribbled the words of a prisoner from August 28, 1943.

    Finding the Jewish Cemetery in Boguslav. From the town square (WW2 tank) in the old town, head out of town (east?) back towards Kiev. (Head away from the new part of Boguslav.) Travel 1/2 to 1 mile (1-2 km) and turn left on to a side road. Then go about 1/2 mile and the cemetery is on the right behind a white fence. There is a cement factory on the left. Park in a small lot just past the cemetery.

    Parts of the cemetery are completely overgrown making access to the stones extremely difficult. Other areas have been kept clear, probably by local grazing animals. Most of the stones are in place, but some have been knocked over or only the base remains. I guess there are maybe 200 stones there, some with all Hebrew writing, some post WW2 with all Russian writing. The cemetery is on a hill overlooking a wide expanse of a valley and surrounding farms. It's quite a beautiful and peaceful place. The gravestones themselves are in pretty good condition, but obviously worn. The stones are mostly very light in color which makes reading them very difficult. Using shaving cream (which can be harmful to the stone) or talcum powder to try to make reading the stones easier was of little use because of their light color. An earlier visitor had painted many of the stones with black paint where the letters are. This made reading and photographing the stones easier. I would recommend future visitors continue this effort. I was able to photograph about 30 of the stones.


    Michael Tobin
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