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For the landscape park in central Ukraine, see Sofiyivsky Park.
Trochinbrod / Zofiowka
Shtetl (completely destroyed)
Zofiowka (Trochenbrod) Post Office, Poland.jpg
Zofiówka Post Office, Wołyń Voivodeship, Poland before the Holocaust and Shtetl's meticulous eradication
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 Polish Zofiówka (pl) (Russian: СофиевкаSofiyevka, 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 of 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 (1941) and the ensuing Holocaust.[2] The nearest present-day villages are Yaromel (Яромель) and Klubochyn (Клубочин).[1]

The settlement inhabited entirely by 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 in the Russian Partition following the destruction of the anti-Tsarist November Uprising against the Russian Empire.[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 the 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 Kresy, 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]

After Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, the arriving German administration established a Jewish ghetto at Trochenbrod, confining there also Jews from nearby villages and towns. The Ghetto was liquidated in August and September 1942 in a series of uniformed police massacres.[3] Most of the Jews of Trochenbrod as well as of the neighbouring village Lozisht (Ignatówka in Polish) were murdered by the local collaborators,[1] consisting mostly of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police which rounded up the prisoners in the presence of only a few German SS men. According to Virtual Shtetl over 5,000 Jews were massacred, 3,500 of them from Zofiówka and 1,200 from Ignatówka among nearby settlements.[4][5] Fewer than 200 Jews managed to escape to the forest. The Soviet partisans hiding in the nearby village of Klubochyn assisted some 150 Jewish survivors. Some joined the resistance in the region and took up partisan action against the Nazis.[3] No more than 40 Jews from Trochimbrod remained at the end of the war.[3] The village itself was totally destroyed by fire and subsequently leveled out after World War II in Soviet Ukraine.[1] Now only fields and a forest can be found there, and an ominous flatland with a country road running through it.[2] One Ukrainian family in Klubochyn was executed for assisting Jews.[3] At the end of the war, the survivors numbering between 33,[1] and 40;[3] lived in the area of Lutsk.[1]

Trochenbrod in fiction[edit]

A fictionalized description of the shtetl at 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.[2]

Safran Foer, whose father and grandfather came from Trochenbrod, depicts fictionalized events in the village between 1791, the year in which the shtetl was first named, and 1942, when it was destroyed in the war.[2] Safran Foer's modern-day protagonist (who goes by the author's name and also by the name "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. The novel was criticized by a reviewer from Ukraine published by The Prague Post online.[3]


  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 The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod by Avrom Bendavid-Val. A Lost History, official website.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ivan Katchanovski (7 October 2004). "Not Everything Is Illuminated" (Internet Archive). The Prague Post. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Beit Tal (2010). "Zofiówka". POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Beit Tal (2014). "Truchenbrod – Lozisht". The Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora. Retrieved 25 December 2014.