1914 - 1918 World War One
Last update 7/27/2014 Alex Feller
Timeline of Rohatyn: World War I
This page is a work in progress. This page will hopefully describe the events occurring in Rohatyn during World War One. Photos and family stories are welcome.
TIMELINE OF WORLD WAR ONE
June 28, 1914: Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, heirs to the Austrian throne, are assassinated by Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, in Sarajevo.(1)
July 28, 1914: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Serbia seeks help from Russia. Russia gains allegiance from France.(1)
August 1, 1914: Germany declares war on Russia. (1)
August 3, 1914: Germany declares war on France. (1)
August 4, 1914: Britain declares war on Germany as Germany invades Belgium. (1)
August 5, 1914: Austria declares war on Russia.
August 10, 1914: Russian armies cross Galician border.
August 25, 1914: The Austrians receive reports that a small number of Russian units had crossed the eastern border and were heading towards Tarnopol (2)
August 26- 30, 1914: The Battle of Gnila Lipa. See Map of Eastern Front (3)
August 26, 1914: The two armies clash. Three Austrian corps (XII, III and XI) moved east towards the Zlota Lipa. As they encountered the lead Russian troops, the Austrians launched a series of unsuccessful attacks against what they believed were smaller Russian units. Instead they were facing the powerful vanguard of two armies contained eight corps. By the end of the day the Austrians were in headlong retreat ? two divisions reached Lemberg, 25 miles to the rear.(2)
August 27, 1914: The Austrian commander in chief, General Conrad von H?tzendorf, ordered the third army to form a new line on the Gnila-Lipa. The Russians, expected to encounter the main Austro-Hungarian army at any moment, advanced slowly and carefully westwards, giving the Austrians the time they needed to create their new line. Even so, the Austrians were badly outnumbered. 115 Austrian battalions with 376 guns faced 292 Russian battalions and 750 guns.(2)
August 29, 1914: http://nagyhaboru.blog.hu/2013/08/30/rohatyn_1914_augusztus_29
August 30, 1914: The Russians attack and push the Austrians back in chaos. This time the Austrians didn?t stop until they were west of Lemberg.(2)
Sept 2, Stanislau fell to Russia
September 3, 1914: Russian army captures Lemberg in the Battle of Lemberg. Austrian army withdraws. Some Jews flee. Cities come under rule of Czar Nicholas II. Russian ruble replaces Austrian crone. Prices rise as inflation devalues wealth. Russian police and Cossacks patrol city. Initially, schools are closed only to reopen using Russian textbooks and language. (1)
June 19 ,1915: Lemberg is recaptured by Austrian army. Men are forcibly conscripted by the Russians. Russian burn buildings as the retreat back to their border. (1)
June 22, 1915: Liberation of Lemberg.
June 22-30, 1915: About this time, the Russian Army captures 570 Jewish men from Rohatyn and takes them to Russia to avoid becoming Austrian soldiers. They are marched to Kiev and then by railway to Belinisky in Penza Province in Russia. There they remain until the summer of 1915 when they are sent to Tarnopol where they remain until 1917. In the summer of 1917, the men returned to Rohatyn. (5, 7)
June 26-30, 1915: The German-Austrian Army battles the Russian Army around Rohatyn. (6)
July 1, 1915: von Linsingen's German South armee cross the Gnila Lipa River south of Rohatyn, capturing numbers of Russians.(4)
July 5, 1915: Mr. Rubin Gl?cksmann, at present on the battlefield, and part of the German Southern Army under Graf Bothmer writes a letter from Rohatyn to Dr. Heinrich Schiffmann in Vienna. (5) It is probable that Rubin Glucksmann is a writer/correspondent for the Jewish Free Press of Vienna while Dr. Heinrich Schiffmann is a board member of a Zionist organization in Vienna. Letter written below:
About the Russian Dominance in Rohatyn (Galicia)
(Original record from the ?Jewish Archives?)
Letter from Mr. Rubin Gl?cksmann, at present on the battlefield. 30,5 cm Mortar Battery 2, 1. Corps Graf Bothmer, German Southern Army, to Dr. Heinrich Schiffmann, Vienna.
Rohatyn, Ju [ne] [ly] 5, 1915
When I last met you in Vienna I promised you a vivid letter exchange. The events triggered by the war don?t always allow keeping a promise. It is however war events which urge me to write to you at this time?. The tragedy, the Jewish people had to endure in Galicia in these recent days, exceeds even the kind of agony which could have sprung from Dante?s imagination. I drove here yesterday from Stryj passing by Zydaczow, Chodorow, and Knihinicze, south of Rohatyn. All is destroyed by fire and the sword. Bare chimneys rise from the rubble to the skies. Most residents of these small towns are Jews. Women and children lie in the streets between ruins and rubble. Most men have been deported to Russia. The residents of Knihinicze are trying to contain the fires laid by the Moskalen [cognomen for Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine] while the Cossacks shoot at them. I myself dressed several gunshot wounds and burns. The grounds are filled with the tears and laments of the despaired women and children. Their homes incinerated, their fathers and husbands deported to Russia towards an uncertain future.
It is only now in Rohatyn that I am able to conduct a more precise census as we are taking a more extensive rest. In this small, picturesque town, resembling South Tyrol with its scenery and layout, the rage of the Russian Beast has been at its worst. Here the Russians set fires twice. The first time when the Cossack patrols marched in, the second time in an even more thorough fashion, when the Moskalen [cognomen for Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine] were forced to flee. A Russian back area command which has been in charge over the past six month was lead by a Commander by the name Porebna whose atrocity can be described as on the verge to perversion. One example out of many more: Two women, Esther Schorr and Sure Botfeld, both beyond 50 years of age, allegedly sold soap for 2 Kopecks beyond the mandatory maximum price. For this reason the Commander ordered each of the women to be punished by 51 strokes carried out with a Nagaika [typical Cossack horsewhip]. One of the women died on the spot.
When the Russians sensed the end of their reign they tried to entice the Polish and Ruthenian population with promises and threats to move to Russia. But the latter replied that they would only bend to force. Finally the Russians let up. But all Jews were rounded up and nearly all men that were left, 570 in total were escorted to Russia. One day, when the Russian Beast will be held responsible for its atrocities it will be difficult for them to argue that they were displacing the future Austrian soldiers. Because amongst the abducted were many old people and children. A few examples:
Srul G o t t l i e b, age 85
Berl E i g e n, age 78
Meier S t e l z e r, age 94
Samuel B r u n n, age 90
Moses F a u s t, age 70
Wolf S c h w a r z, age 72
Mendl B l o c k s b e r g, age 12
Moses S t o c k, age 85
Leib Michael P o c z t e r, age 70
Srul P o c z t e r, age 13
Hersch H i r s c h e n h a u t, age 12
Juda H i r s c h e n h a u t, age 10
Isak S p i e g e l, age 65
Elias Aron K l a r i n e t a r, age 65
Aron B e r e n f e l d, age 70
Eisig S c h a r l e r, age 70
Osias Kalman F u c h s, age 65
Jeanette R o t r a u b (a woman who was deported to Russia in lieu of her hiding husband)
Simche Natan R o t r a u b, age over 50
Jonas R a p p a p o r t, age 75
Simche T o t f e l d, age 80
Salom. W e i l e r, age 73
If one wanted to precisely describe the tribulation of the Jews in Galicia during the Russian reign, one would have to expand the history of martyr of the Jewish people by many volumes. It is just as our unequaled Z u c k e r m a n n quoted. The blitheness of triumph mixes with the pain over the destroyed values, our desecrated land and our disgraced people. Those who are not on the battlefields first and foremost must take on the following duty: Vehemently stir up the public conscience and put all your strength and efforts to saving the people who have been stripped of all their possessions, so they will be spared from starvation and find at least provisional shelter. Our armies are constantly pressing ahead. Once we gained ground in Bessarabia and Volhynia, we will be able to do the same for Galicia as Hindenburg did for his East Prussia through imposition of contributions in conquered Lithuania. Until then the worst hardship must be alleviated. The rail connection is perfect. By means of public subscription rights, subsistence trains must be outfitted to provide the people with food. It might be possible through the intervention of a neutral government, by repressive measures to obtain the return of the abducted men. To engage in obtaining all this with energy and without any loss of time is now your duty.
The heads of Jewish families were expelled in August of 1914. They were released a few months later but were only able to reach Tarnopol as Rohatyn was on the other side of the war front. They finally arrived in Rohatyn in 1917 except for 150 men who died of plagues.
June 4, 1916: The Russian army attacks the area 10 miles east of Rohatyn in a battle known as the Brusilov Offensive. 190,000 Austrian soldiers are taken prisoner.(1)
November 21, 1916: Emperor Franz Josef dies. (1)
March, 1917: The Russian Revolution. Czar Nicholas II abdicates his throne to the Socialist Provisional Government. The end of the Romanov monarchy. (1)
1918: Jewish Hospital established for short period
July 16, 1918: Nicholas Romanov and his family are executed by Bolsheviks in the Ural Mountains.(1)
November, 1918: The Austrian Hungarian Empire collapses.(1)
November 11, 1918: World War One ends.(1)
1. The Galitzianer, Vol 17, No. 1, Nov. 2009. Lemberg to Warsaw by Jacob Weiss.
2. Rickard, J (28 August 2007), Battle of Gnila Lipa, 26-30 August 1914 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_gnila_lipa.html also see http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_lemberg1914.html
5. Letter printed in Judisches Archiv by Komitee "Judisches Kreigsarchiv" published by R. Lowit in Wein in January 1916. Translation from German provided by member Edgar.
The complete book can be found online at http://www.archive.org/details/jdischesarchiv00komiuoft
The following links are images of pages from this book describing the events of WW1 in Rohatyn.
Lists of names and ages for elderly and young people exiled into Russia are included in these pages.
Jewish War Archive page 1: PDF File (See below under 'Attachments') or Online
Jewish War Archive page 2: PDF File (See below under 'Attachments') or Online
Jewish War Archive page 3: PDF File (See below under 'Attachments') or Online
7. Howard Steinmetz
 Pinkas for Rohatyn
Random Acts of Heroic Love
This picture taken of Rohatyn during World War One show the many buildings that were destroyed.
At the left, an Austrian soldier poses for the picture. In the middle, a women is walking. At the right, a boy stands at the corner.
On the back of this photo, a description of Rohatyn is written in German.
"In Rohatyn it looks terrible. All the houses in ruin, the returned inhabitants live in these ruins between debris and dirt.
They beg us for a loaf of bread and surround our field-kitchen with every possible recipients . Like animals, the children fall upon the rubbish.
Here, the Russians did take away every man and child up to 12 years. The lament of the remained women is sad to hear.
Here also is a large cemetery with many fired traitors. We had here our first dead comrade , died of a sun-stroke."
A written account of events occurring during World War One in the town of Knihynicze by Aryeh Rebisch, the grandfather of Ruthy Erez.
Translated from the Rohatyn Yizkor Book.
"The real trouble for the Jews began with the outbreak of World War I. A few Jewish families, including mine, saved themselves by fleeing to Bohemia. Most Jews remained, however, and suffered great hardship at the hands of the Russians and, more to the point, at the hands of the local Ukrainian population. When the Russian Army left Knihynicze, in 1915, they deported the entire male population of the shtetl, including Rabbi Berel, into the depths of Russia. The women and children remained in the shtetl, untouched. The yoke of earning a livelihood now fell upon the women. The shtetl was nearly empty. Even worse was the situation of the children, as at this point, there weren't even any cheders. Children grew up without supervision and without education. This generation of youth didn't know a letter from a hole in the ground.
We returned in the beginning of 1918. The Austrian monarchy had fallen. The Western Ukrainian Republic was established in our area, and our troubles grew greater. We put up with a lot from the Ukrainian soldiers who openly robbed and plundered the Jews, who simply let them do it. On top of this, the Ukrainians organized their own cooperatives in competition with the Jewish businesses. Strong propaganda was circulated, instructing the non-Jewish population not to buy from Jews. "