Ann Rabinowitz <annrab@...>
This is a followup to my continuing posts about various happenings
in our ancestral shtetls, many of which were disasters. These
references were found in the Jewish Chronicle (London) and I use the
spelling they used in their articles.
Someone asked me about fires in the year of 1865 as their relative
had died in one. I was unable to find info on their town, but did
find other towns mentioned that had fire issues aplenty:
In 1865, a fire started which destroyed 108 Jewish houses in Gorodok
in Wilna. Three days after that, Grodno burned with the lost of 82
Jewish homes. Then, Borisoff, in Mohilew, suffered >from the loss of
its synagogue, 295 Jewish houses and 135 shops.
The largest fire appeared to be the one in Kolomea, a substantial
town of 20,000 people, 15,000 of which were Jews. During a
devastating hurricane, on Friday, May 12, 1865, at 9:00 A.M., the
premises of Herr Chaim Scharf caught fire and reduced the town to
ashes. All of the synagogues and the famous rabbinical libraries
were destroyed and 800 Jewish families were reduced to beggary in a
few hours as the flames blazed.
The Emperor Franz Josef heard of the disaster by telegraph and
immediately sent 600 pounds whilst the military commander donated
350 pounds of his own money. It was thought to be the first time that
Christians had donated money for which a portion had gone to Jews.