Outline from the History of the Region

Kosivshchyna has been inhabited since ancient times. The oldest archeological finds on the territory date back to the 20-th millennium B. C. (village Kosmach). Kosiv appeared as a village in times of Halych-Volynian princely at the beginning of XIV century and as a town in 1565. Mountains attracted people, by the way, with salt sources. Kosiv was founded near one of them, 5-7 thousand tons of salt were mined annually here. Later this region got under the dominion of Poland (end of XIV century), then Austria (end of XVIII century), after that again Poland (1918–1939), and from 1939 it was annexed to the USSR.

Over 600 years Hutsuls had lived under the foreign oppression, but they didn’t submit. They preserved their language, way of life, customs, art. They have constantly been fighting againts their subjugators. In XVI–XVIII century this struggle grows into the form of opryshky movement. Opryshky were called those who initiated armed conflicts against their oppressors. The most famous of them was Olexa Dovbush (XVIII century). His glory is being heard around Hutsulshchyna nowadays. His struggle and deeds remind one of generous robber Robin Good. The remains of the fortress ramparts on Miska (Castle) mountain above the center of Kosiv remind us of those days.

Hutsuls took part in the Ukrainian National revolution in 1918–1920 as the warriors of the Ukrainian Sichovykh Striltsiv legion and Ukrainian Halytska Army. In 1920 they rose in rebellion against Poland, which occupied this region. In 1940–50-th Hutsulshchyna was the battlefield of the Ukrainian Rebellious Army against the fascist invaders and communist regime. Thousands of the inhabitants of the region were subjected to repression. 142 inhabitants of Kosiv were imprisoned, 195 were deportated, 43 were shot. Hutsuls were and remain Ukrainian patriots, who unanimously voted for the independence of Ukraine in 1991.

The Jews have played an important role in the history of our region. They were engaged in trade, handicrafts, usury. Khasydysm — one of the wide­spread trends of Judaism appeared exactly in Kosiv. The founder of khasydysm was Israel ben Eliaser or Baal Shem Tov, who founded in Kosiv the first khasyd community in the middle of XVIII century. Jakob Koppel Khasyd, Mena Barukh, Menakhem Mendel, Nakhman Kosover, Khaim Haher were his famous righteous men — followers.

The Jews of Kosiv and it’s district (approximately 10 thousand people) were annihilated in the “operation” on October 15–16, 1941 and the following months. There is a memorable mark on the place of the mass murder. The Jewish cemetery is also in our town.

The town was greatly destroyed because of the 5 mounthes front in 1944. In course of the actions over 700 soviet soldiers were killed. Nearly 40 Kosiv inhabitants, mobilized to the Soviet Army, fell in battles.

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