21 December 2010


In a prime position on the river Dniester, Khotyn (Chotyn, Chocim, Hotin, Хотин) soon became an important commercial center, known mainly for its military fortress (photo), scene of bloody clashes between Moldavians, Turks, Austrians and Poles, that today can be visited by tourists.

In the past, the town belonged to the Principality of Moldova (1359-1812), to the Tsarist province of Bessarabia (1812-1917), to the Democratic Republic of Moldova (1917-1918), to the Kingdom of Romania (1918-1940, 1941-1944) and to the Soviet Union (1940-1941, 1944-1991), now part of the administrative Ukrainian region of Chernivtsi.

In 1897, it amounted 23,800 inhabitants. Most of them were Jews and Russians. It is possible that the Jews have begun to settle in the city since the 15th century, at the invitation of the Moldavian prince Stephen the Great, who, interested in developing the economy, drew significant communities of Jews, Armenians and Greeks.

After World War I, Khotyn became the northernmost city of Romania, 283km from Chisinau and 554km from Bucharest.

In 1930, Khotyn had 15,287 inhabitants, out of which 37.7% Jewish, 36.6% Russians 14.8% Ukrainians and 8.8% Romanians. Although industrialized, the city, not connected to the railroad, became a center of trade for products from nearby villages: cereals, livestock and livestock products.

Khotyn had a power plant, a brewery, a factory of brandy, five oil mills, two factories of fondant, a soap factory, 12 mills, a limestone quarry, three brick factories, an abattoir, seven bank branches, a Jewish hospital and 17 synagogues.

The Soviet regime imposed changes in the ethnic composition of the city. In 1959, its population was composed of 72% Ukrainians,  16%
Russians, 8% Jews and 4% Romanians. While the Romanian population was deported by Stalin's orders in 1940 to Kazakhstan, much of the Jewish population was exterminated during World War II.

It is estimated that in 2007 the city had 10,438 inhabitants, of whom only about 10 Jews.

1 comment:

  1. I was happy to find this post. Am researching my Weintraube ancestors in Khotyn late 1800s (not so much luck this far), and it was great getting this overview of a city I else know nothing about :)
    Greetings from Denmark
    NB - awesome music!