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For the landscape park in central Ukraine, see Sofiyivsky Park.
Trochinbrod / Zofiowka
Shtetl (completely destroyed)
Red pog.svg
Zofiówka location east of Belzec in World War II
Trochinbrod / Zofiowka is located in Ukraine
Trochinbrod / Zofiowka
Trochinbrod / Zofiowka
Location of eradicated town of Trochinbrod (Zofiówka) within present-day Ukraine
Coordinates: 50°55′15″N 25°41′50″E / 50.92083°N 25.69722°E / 50.92083; 25.69722Coordinates: 50°55′15″N 25°41′50″E / 50.92083°N 25.69722°E / 50.92083; 25.69722
Country  Ukraine
Founded 1835, Russian Empire
Destroyed 1942, occupied Poland
Named for Sofia of Württemberg
 • Total 6.99 km2 (2.70 sq mi)
Website A Lost History

Trochenbrod or Trohinbrod, also Sofievka or Zofiówka in Polish (Sofiyovka in Russian, Ukrainian: Трохимбрід, Trokhymbrid), was an exclusively Jewish shtetl (a small town) located before World War II in the Wołyń Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic,[1] at an area 1,728 acres (6.99 km2). It was situated about 30 kilometres (19 mi) northeast of Łuck in present-day western Ukraine. After the joint invasion of Poland in September 1939 by the Soviet Union and the Third Reich, the town was annexed for two years into the Ukrainian SSR by Joseph Stalin. However, it was completely eradicated in the course of the Nazi German Operation Barbarossa of 1941 and the ensuing Holocaust. The nearest present-day villages are Yaromel (Яромель) and Klubochyn (Клубочин).[1]

The settlement inhabited entirely by the Jews was named after Sofia (hence Sofievka or Zofiówka), a Württemberg princess married to a future Tsar of Russia. She donated a parcel of land for the Jewish settlement from the Russian Partition following the destruction of an anti-Tsarist uprising in the partitioned Poland.[1]


Sofievka (Trochenbrod) was founded in 1835, initially as a farming colony for the dispossessed Jews, and with time developed into a small town. The population grew from around 1,200 inhabitants (235 families) in 1889, to 1,580 in 1897.[1] The name is Yiddish for "Dry Bread" or "Bread without Butter".

Towards the end of World War One, during the Polish-Soviet War, the town was fought for by the forces of re-emerging sovereign Poland and the Red Army. In the Peace of Riga it was legally ceded to Poland. It became part of the Wołyń Voivodeship in the Kresy region. By 1938 the exclusively Jewish population of the town's had grown to at least 3,000.[1] Most of the population were engaged in agriculture, dairy farming and tanning.

There were seven synagogues in Trochenbrod. In 1939, the town, along with the rest of western Ukraine, was invaded by the Soviet Union (see Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). The rabbi at this time was Rabbi Gershon Weissmann. The Communists exiled him to Siberia after accusing him of being involved in underground salt trading.[1]

The Holocaust[edit]

When Nazi Germany later invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, it established a ghetto at Trochenbrod, bringing in Jews from nearby villages and towns. The Trochenbrod ghetto was liquidated by the Nazis in August and September 1942.[2] Most of the Jews of Trochenbrod as well as of the neighbouring village Lozisht were murdered, as were the other Jews of Volhynia.[1] The local police force consisting mostly of Ukrainians helped to round up the Jews; however, Ukrainian partisans from the nearest village, Klubochyn, assisted a Jewish resistance group in Trochenbrod and took up military action against the Nazis.[2] No more than 200 Jews from the Trochenbrod ghetto and nearby areas survived the massacre.[2] The village itself was totally destroyed by fire.[1] Now only fields and a forest can be found there. The Ukrainian residents of Klubochyn were also murdered for assisting Trochenbrod Jews and the Klubochyn partisans.[2]

A few of the inhabitants managed to escape the murder and destruction. At the end of the war, the survivors numbered between 33[1] and 40;[2] most were found in the area near Lutsk.[1]

Trochenbrod in fiction[edit]

A fictional version of the shtetl, Trachimbrod, was featured in the 2002 novel Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer as well as in the 2005 film based on the novel.

Safran Foer's story describes fictional events in the village between 1791, the year in which the shtetl was first named, and 1942, when it was destroyed in the war. Safran Foer's protagonist (who goes by the author's name and also by the name "The Hero", or "The Collector" in the film version) comes to Ukraine to look for a woman named Augustine, who saved his grandfather in the war. A reviewer from The Prague Post laments that the book misrepresents the history of Jews in Ukraine and that the factual history of the massacre at Trochenbrod "...stands in a sharp contrast to claims made in the book."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Eleazar Barco (Bork) (April 22, 1999) [Written before World War Two]. "Trochinbrod - Zofiowka". Translated from Hebrew by Karen Engel. Transcribed by Gary Sokolow (, Internet Archive). Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ivan Katchanovski (7 October 2004). "Not Everything Is Illuminated" (Internet Archive). The Prague Post. Retrieved 24 December 2014.