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Vinnytsya Oblast

Tomashpil – Sawn Stone Producer of Ukraine

Near the banks of the Rusava river lies a town by the name of Tomashpil, or Tomashpol. It falls under the Vinnytsya Oblast and has an estimated population of approximately 6 000 residents. The town's name, when translated directly, means ‘the city of St. Thomas’, and it is also the Tomashpil district's administration sector. The district has many smaller villages that are located through out the 780 square kilometer district. Vapniarka is the nearest railway station to Tomashpil, and is almost 20 kilometers from the town.

Tomashpil and its surrounding areas fell under the rule of the Grand
Duchy of Lithuania until it was passed over to Poland in the year 1569. It
was during the time it was under the Polish rule, that Tomashpil was first mentioned in the
year 1616. It was juggled between Poland and the Russian Empire from 1917,
but finally became a part of Ukraine in 1991. It is also known that
Tomashpil had a large Jewish community from the 17th century, but these also fell
victim to the mass murder and persecution of the Jewish during the war. The
Jewish cemetery that is located in Tomashpil was established in the year
1928.

Many well-known people had their roots in this small town in the
Vinnytsya oblast. One of these was Kyrylo Stetsenko. He was famous for his natural
composing gift and also his active role as teacher, activist and conductor.
One of his most memorable moments was being ordained in the year 1911, as a
pastor in a nearby village within the Tomashpil district. A rabbi by the
name of Twerky of Tomashpil is another famous figure that is well-known from
Tomashpil, as was his father, Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Nezon. Over the
years, many personal accounts of the war have surfaced, such as the story of
Alexander Savranskiy who was born in Tomashpil in the year 1930 and lived
through the devastating wartime in the Tomashpil Ghetto with his mother.
Another survivor of this terrifying time was Shike Driz who was sent away
from his childhood home in Tomashpil to have a better chance of
survival.

Today, the scars of the war are hardly noticeable in the town, as it
concentrates on industries such as textiles, sugar, stone and limestone. The
town of Tomashpil is known as the largest resource for sawn stone in the
entire Ukraine. It is a town that has lived through hard times and has grown
to be an industrious and stable community.