Train travel Ukraine 19th-20th Century/ #ukraine

Sheryl Stahl

My ggps lived in Kolomea, moved to Chernowitz for a few years and then moved back to Kolomea before coming to the US.
I know there was a train between the 2 cities, but does anyone know about travel between the 2 cities at the turn of the last century? Was it common? Was there anything pushing or pulling them?


Sheryl Stahl (Los Angeles)

Suwalki (RAKOVSKI, OKRAGLINSKI,) Wizajni (RAKOVSKI) Kalvarja
Odessa (STESSEL) Pervomaysk (STESSEL)  Grzymalow (LANDAU) Kolomyya (STAHL,



Interesting question, Sheryl, and similar to thoughts I've had. 

Hopefully, you don't mind my adding to your message.  My grandmother took her three children from Czernowitz sometime in 1914, and moved to Vienna.  I have wondered what the likely routing would have been & how long such a trip would have taken. ( I remember hearing how my father felt sorry about wounded soldiers he saw, and then decided he wanted to become a doctor. *He did in fact, become a doctor.) Would the train have gone through Lwow?  What would the cost of such a trip have been?


Leah H. Snider

HEILPERN (Brody, Czernowitz, Vienna)
KORPUS (Lwow, Vienna)
MANDELKIERN (Lublin, Chelm)
GOLDENTHAL (Brody, Berlin, Vienna)

Shelley Mitchell

Regarding train travel between Kolomea and Czernovitz.  
Travel from Kolomea was common enough because of the inability of Kolomea to produce enough grain to feed its people.  During the war, the train from Kolomea, by then a significant ghetto, was used to transport Jews to Belzec.
Shelley Mitchell

Shelley Mitchell, NYC    shemit@...
Searching for TERNER, GOLDSCHEIN, KONIGSBERG, SCHONFELD, in Kolomyya; PLATZ, in Delaytn; and TOPF, in Radautz and Kolomea.

Ittai Hershman

On the question of train travel, I excerpt from a 2011 review essay in the NYRB by the historian Timothy Snyder that has stuck in my brain for obvious reasons:
"Her [Empress Maria Theresia] new, formerly Polish territory, christened Galicia, ran from Oświęcim (which she called Auschwitz) in the west to Lwów (which she called Lemberg) and its Carpathian hinterlands in the east. It was roughly divided by the San River into a western, primarily Polish half and an eastern, Ukrainian half. Her successors extended Galicia to the north, incorporating the ancient Polish capital Cracow in 1846. Like Auschwitz, Cracow became the namesake of an Austrian duchy, but both in fact lay within Galicia. …. when the revolutions of 1848 spread through Europe, Poles in Galicia pursued their own national liberation from the Habsburgs with rather less fervor than might have been expected. Indeed, some Polish aristocrats were envisioning a Polish civil society under Habsburg rule and the state investments that would be required to create its economic basis. Like other East European modernizers of the mid-nineteenth century, the Polish dramatist and aristocrat Aleksander Fredro lobbied for railways, advocating a rail line from easterly Lemberg, the Galician provincial capital, to westerly Auschwitz, near the border with Prussia.
Traditional Jewish life endured in Galicia because the state was unable to remake it; but the economies of the shtetls collapsed in times of poverty brought by crop failures in the country and mass production in the city. [By 1990] Christians and Jews were drawn from their shrinking plots or failing trades by the demand for labor in the New World, particularly in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. Baltic shipping companies based in Hamburg and Bremen sought to lure Galicians to their vessels. To this end, they employed agents who scattered throughout the province, using means fair or foul to attract immigrants to one company or another.
Galicians wishing to emigrate passed through Auschwitz. As Fredro had wished half a century before, Auschwitz was the train station that permitted Galicians to travel the province from east to west, to Germany—and so to the Baltic Sea, and the wider world. The main shipping companies had offices in Auschwitz; the Hamburg line, Hapag, used a hotel across the street from the Auschwitz train station, located in a neighboring settlement called Birkenau. Those who passed through the town found it hard to leave Auschwitz without booking passage to the New World. People who looked like peasants were arrested by the bribed police, taken to the Hapag offices for a mock interrogation, strip-searched, deprived of whatever money was found on their persons, and given a ticket that they usually could not even read.”

Carole Shaw

I believe someone recently enquired about train travel to Lemberg (present Lviv) from Czernowitz (present Chernivtsi) or between other parts of Ukraine in pre WW1 days to elucidate the journey their forebears might have undertaken to reach the UK/US.


Both these town are now in Ukraine but previously in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The line between these 2 town was constructed in 1866 and other lines followed to the rest of the Ukraine in subsequent years.  Further information can be found at


Last year I was planning a rail trip from SW Ukraine to Lviv.  The journey from Chernivtsi to Lviv takes 4-6 hours.


Carole Shaw, London UK
SCHNEIDER: Kamanets Podolsk, Ukraine & Libava/ Libau/Liepaja, Latvia
KLUGMAN, GOLDSCHMID (plus variations), BRAUER: Libava/Libau/Liepaja, Latvia & Johannesburg
SAMSON, BLIK: Amsterdam, Zandvoort, Holland


ZANDGRUNDT (plus variations), SANDGROUND: Warsaw, London and beyond

JACOBOVITCH/JACKSON: Staszow, Poland & London

KOSKOVITCH/KENTON: Staszow, Poland & London


Sharon Taylor

Since the trip you described took place in 1914, it’s likely that they were being evacuated or that they chose to flee as the Russian army advanced. The Austrian government was active in evacuating civilians from the war zone, moving them west to Vienna, Bohemia and Moravia. During this time, the military had priority for train travel, so civilians were often left stranded for hours or even days until a train became available for their use. Villagers along the way brought food to the stranded travelers during long delays. Yizkor books in JewishGen’s collection have several firsthand accounts by Jews who fled Galicia during this time.

Sharon Taylor
Philadelphia, PA
Researching NEMETH, BLOCH, INGIER in Mariampol/ Stanislawow Galicia and WIESNER, FLEISIG in Kulikow/Lemberg Galicia

Bruce Drake

According to the Kolmyaa Yizkor book, Lemberg-Chernowitz train line was completed with a station in Kolomea.