NOTE: The photo above (on the right) is of Wysokie-Litovsk pre-WWII.
The POMERANTZ, and particularly the DUBINER/RUBIN families, came from Kamenets-Litovsk and Wysokie-Litovsk. The two towns were in very close proximity.
For more info on Wysokie-Litovsk visit the following websites:
Vysokoye means "upper" as in Upper Litovsk . It is a town in the Kamianiec district, Brest region, 40 km West of Kamianiec, and a station on the railway line Brest - Vysoka-Litousk.
There are various spellings: Wisokie-Litovsk, Visoky-Litovsk, Vosokie- Litew, and Vysoko-Litovsk, among others. The Yad Vashem search finds at least the following:
- Wysokie Litewskie, Brzesc Bugiem, Polesie , Poland
- Visoka Litovsk, Brzesc Bugiem, Polesie , Poland
- Vysokoye, Brzesc Bugiem, Polesie , Poland
- Wysoki Litovsk, Brzesc Bugiem, Polesie , Poland
- Visokie Litevskie, Brzesc Bugiem, Polesie , Poland
- Visoke Dlita, Brzesc Bugiem, Polesie , Poland
-- all listed in Brest Bugiem (Brest-on-the-River-Bug) District, Polesie Region, all (I think!) referring to the same place. If you see a listing for WYSOCK it is most likely another town in Volhynia. If you see just WYSOKIE it generally refers to WYSOKIE MAZOWIECKIE (also another town).
HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
The border between the Soviet Union and Third Reich ran along the Bug River. In September 1939, the Germans, in accordance with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact withdrew to the other side of the Bug River leaving Wysokie in the hands of the Soviet authorities. The Soviet authorities at that time were more concerned with the fact that everyone was a “good communist” rather than whether they were Jewish, Ukrainian, Russian or Belorussian.
When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, a ghetto was created in Wysokie and all the local Jews were confined there. November 2, 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and everyone was sent to Treblinka.The Soviet Union entered Poland September 17th, 1939 effectively ending any possibility of Polish defense. Polish armies were rounded up, Polish officers separated from the soldiers and about 20,000 of them were executed in the forests of Katyn, Kharkov and Miednoje. So the Soviets named one of the main streets in Wysokie “17th of September” to celebrate the “return” of these lands to them. The street name is still there.
The Wysokie-Litovsk website reports:
The most striking feature of old W-L was a marketplace, a square surrounded by high, thick walls that must have dated from medieval times. At the center of the marketplace was a large water pump and a pool. There was a large open space surrounding the pump with a dusty dirt-floor. People would "park" their horse-and-wagons, or set up small sales points, as simple as a peasant holding up some vegetables.
Inside the periphery of a tall stone wall, there were booths facing the center of the square. There were temporary habitations behind each booth, possibly built into alcoves on the inner side of the wall. The wall was pierced on each side by an arched passageway. Outside the wall there was a road around the entire periphery. Partly lining the road were groups of storefronts facing inward, each with raised sidewalks. At the west side of the square, there was a synagogue: the old or "high" synagogue, so named by the need to ascend steep steps to enter.
Jewish community election flyers (written in Yiddish) for the year 1939 refer to the shtetlakh of Kamenetz-Litovsk, Wysoko- Litovsk, and Verkhovitsh (+/- 35 kms N of WL) as belonging to the same RAYON and as electing common kahal representatives. This explains why some services, such as the fire-brigade, and obligations, such as filling the military recruitment quota imposed by the Russian Imperial authorities, were shared and met in common by these three shtetlakh.
List of W-L societies in the US and their respective cemeteries:
Wisoko Litowsker Bruderlicker Unt. Verein, VYSOKOYE, BYEL --- Wellwood, (Queens) Block 29, Section 2, Landsmanshaft
Wisoko Litowsker Bruderlicker Unt. Verein, VYSOKOYE, BYEL --- Mt. Judah, Section 2, Block 6, Landsmanshaft
Wisoko Litowsker Bruderlicker Unt. Verein, VYSOKOYE, BYEL --- Washington (B'klyn), Section 5, Post 497, Landsmanshaft
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS WORK IN PROGRESS. WE ARE NOT SURE THIS INFORMATION IS ENTIRELY CORRECT, AND WE KNOW IT IS INCOMPLETE.