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Chapter 10

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

Abyss of Despair

Rabbi Nathan Hanover

Bloch Publishing Company
New York, 5710‑1950

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please
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Chapter 12

 p80  XI

The massacres of the holy community of Bar

When the Polish troops fled from the camp, the Tartars and the Ukrainians looted the whole camp, taking an abundance of silver and gold, carts and the very best horses. Then Chmiel, together with his army and the Tartars, prepared to conquer the fortified cities in the Kingdom of Poland. He sent some of his forces to capture the city of Bar, because in that fortified city was a large settlement of Jews and nobles. When the enemies came close to the city, the gunners on the wall shot at them and they were unable to storm the wall. And they laid siege to the city for many days.

What did the local people, the Ukrainians, do? They dug a tunnel under the city and allowed the scoundrels to enter the city at night, and the enemies began to massacre the people. The Jews and nobles took refuge in the mighty fortress and they fortified it strongly. There were no Ukrainians among them. And the enemies laid siege to the fortress several days, and they built against it mounds and bucklers,1 and they shot at them with big cannons, which they call in German, Roeder Biksen, until they subdued the fortress and killed all the Jews and the nobles therein, inflicting  p81 upon them the most violent deaths in the world, and they took the booty for prey. The number of the slain in the city of Bar was approximately two thousand Jewish persons.

And the oppressor, Chmiel, together with all his army, marched on the city of Konstantynow, and from there to Zaslaw and from there to the capital city of Ostrog — these communities had already been destroyed by the Ukrainians — and from there to Great Dubno. There, too, was a fortress which had not its equal in all the Kingdom of Poland, and it was under the rule of General Duke Dominik. When the Duke and the nobles had fled from the battle field, several hundred Jews who had hoped to take refuge in the fortress, remained there. As the scoundrels approached the city of Dubno, a general and eighty of the Duke's warriors entered the fortress and locked it with bolts and bars. They fortified the stronghold and did not permit a single Jew to enter. Thus all of the Jews were slain in front of the fortress, some eleven hundred Jewish persons. When Chmiel arrived in the city of Dubno, he was amazed at the strength of the fortress, and said that it would have been impossible to capture it, and the nobles were fools to have fled from it. In that fortress were stored great treasures of the Jews and nobles but he refrained from besieging it because of its strength.

From there he proceeded to the city of Brody which was under the rule of General Choronzhy,2 who had been the enemy of Chmiel, and who had sought to kill him. Chmiel destroyed all the provinces under the  p82 Choronzhy's rule, especially the city of Brody, his metropolis, which he devastated and set on fire. All the Jews and the nobles fled into the fortress, for it was formidable, having a double wall to protect it, and it was surrounded by a moat. Several thousand Jews and nobles took refuge in it. The enemy besieged the fortress many days but could not get to the wall, for the gunners shot at them with cannons, and killed large numbers of them. And the enemies were unable to capture them. Nevertheless, there was great terror among the defenders because of the plague which broke out within. "Without shall the sword bereave, and in the chambers, terror."3 Approximately one thousand Jewish persons died of the plague. Plagues of great proportions broke out in all the other fortresses that were besieged by the enemies.

The Editor's Notes:

 (p126)  1 Ezekiel 21:27.

2 Koniecpolski.

3 Deut. 32:25.

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Page updated: 18 Dec 22