Joshua Skarf <jskarf@...>
No one seems to have any information about the Jewish hospital in Uman, so I looked a little deeper using the Historical Jewish Press website and found a fair amount of information. I thought I'd share what I've managed to find:Â
In the mid-19th century, the city of Uman was home to a Jewish hospital for the poor.(1) The 50-bed hospital was originally built by Kalman Tolchinsky, a wealthy donor in Uman who also paid for the city bathhouses to be renovated.(2) The hospital was built with gardens and a vineyard around it.(3) When Tolchinsky died in 1865, six men were chosen to serve as trustees of the hospital, each funding it for two months a year. They were Yakov Ettinger, Azriel Meir Yakilitz, Yona and Chaim Ettinger, Zalman Bernstein, and Kalman Aurbach. They brought an influx of funds that allowed the hospital to improve its food and services to the poor of Uman.(4) Shortly after, the hospital was destroyed and then rebuilt by a Mr. Rappaport, who ran the hospital for ten years.(5) At the end of 19th century funds were collected to renovate the hospital.(6) The hospital was still functioning in 1919, when victims of the Ukrainian pogroms were brought there for treatment >from surrounding villages.(7)
In the 1860s, the hospital was small and lacked resources. It had four rooms, each holding between 5-10 patients. Patients were given simple rations of bread and water as well as donated clothes. The hospital had 3 orderlies and one doctor who would make house-calls twice a week. The rooms were poorly insulated and heated.(8) In 1880, the medical staff was increased to four doctors.(9)
from the 1840s through the 1860s, the hospital was funded by a city-stipulated monopoly on sourdough, which at the time was used for baked goods in place of yeast.(10) Butchers also paid a tax on their sales to the hospital, and individual patients often made donations to the hospital. In 1863, the financial stability of the hospital was compromised when a citizen began importing sourdough and selling it on his own, for individual profit. Rabbis issued decrees against this practice, but it apparently continued as the townspeople preferred the low prices and high-quality sourdough. At least one angry citizen suspected that the directors of the hospital were pocketing part of these funds.(11) Over the years the operating costs were supplemented by rich donors, especially building costs.Â
(1) The earliest reference I found to the hospital was in 1861, but the author was unaware of who had set up the hospital or when it had occurred. The author writes that it has existed â??for many years.â?? (â??Masa Umanâ?? in Hamelitz 22 Aug 1861, I.866-868)Â
(2) Evel Kavedâ in Hamelitz 16 Nov 1865, IV.634
(3) Hamelitz, 6 Dec 1865, IV.372
(4) Hamelitz 8 Jul 1879, XXVII.551
(5) Hamelitz 18 7, 1884 859-863
(6) The Ukraine SIG is currently collecting funds to translate a collection about this fundraising campaign.
(7) The Slaughter of the Ukrainian Jews in 1919, 348. The Ukraine Terror and the Jewish Peril, p.13
(9) Hamelitz 8 Jun 1880, 175.
(10) Beit Cholim Mechirat Shâmarim ba-Ir Umanâ in Hamelitz 20 Aug 1863, III.475-478.
(11) Masa Umanâ in Hamelitz, 22 Aug 1861.