Husiatyn (Ukrainian: Гусятин) is a town in the Ternopil Oblast (province) of western Ukraine. Alternate spellings include Gusyatin, Husyatin, and Hsiatyn. Husiatyn is the administrative center of the Husiatyn Raion (district), and is located on the west bank of the Zbruch River. This river formed the old boundary between Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century, and the boundary between the Republic of Poland and the Soviet Union during the inter-war period of the twentieth century.
Husiatyn was first mentioned in documents in 1559, a time when it was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the year that it was granted self-government under the Magdeburg Law. At this time it was located in the province of Podolia. It came under Austrian rule in 1772 with other parts of Southern Podolia (the region between the Zbruch and the Seret rivers) and attached to the Austrian Crown Land of Galicia and Lodomeria. The Emperor Joseph II toured this area immediately after its annexation to Austria and was very impressed by the fertility of the soil and its future prospects. It remained a county centre under Austrian rule until the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the declaration of the Western Ukrainian People's Republic in late 1918. In 1919, the Ukrainian Galician Army fought the Bolsheviks there but was driven out by the Poles who thereafter annexed the area to the Second Polish Republic. In 1939 it was annexed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In the nineteenth century, the population of Husiatyn County was predominantly Ukrainian, though there was a small Polish landowning stratum and some Jews in the town. In the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, Southern Podolia, including Husiatyn County witnessed large-scale out-migration of its peasant population to western Canada.
Husiatyn and Hasidism
Husiatyn was home to a large Jewish population prior to the Holocaust, and in particular was the base for a significant Hasidic group of the Husiatyner dynasty and their Rebbes, that went four generations in Husiatyn: Shraga Feivish Friedman, (1835-1894) 1st Rebbe of Husiatyn; Yisroel Friedman, (1858-1949) 2nd Rebbe of Husiatyn, Yaakov Friedman, (1878-1957) 3rd Rebbe of Husiatyn, and Yitzchok Friedman, (1900-1968) 4th and last Rebbe of Husiatyn.
Architectural monuments in the town of Husiatyn include the ruins of a seventeenth-century castle, a sixteenth-century church, a seventeenth-century town hall and synagogue built in the renaissance style, and a sixteenth-century Bernardine monastery and church.
Prior to 1928, in the village of Chornokintsi Velyki (Czarnokońce Wielkie in Polish), Husiatyn County, a neolithic grave complete with a coffin was found.
The population in 1978 was estimated at 2,800.
- Paulus Adelsgruber, L. Cohen, B. Kuzmany, Getrennt und Doch Verbunden: Grenzstädte Zwischen Osterreich und Russland 1772 - 1918 (Böhlau, Vienna/Cologne/Weimar 2011).
- Stella Hryniuk, Peasants With Promise: Ukrainians in Southeastern Galicia (Edmonton, 1991). On the endpapers of this book, there is a map showing all of the villages of the five counties of Southern Podolia, including Husiatyn County.
- Przewodnik po Województwie Tarnopolskiem z mapą [Guide to the Ternopil Region with a Map](Ternopil, 1928; reprinted circa, 1990). Contains much historical material.