The City of Drohobych

Drohobych was founded about 900 years ago, due to the salt found in the region. Today Drohobych is a city of about 80,000 people, approximately 90 kilometers southwest of Lviv, and mostly inhabited by Ukrainians. According to Alfred Schreyer, there are only about 1,250 Poles and 65 Jews left in Drohobych. Schreyer is the last surviving pre-WWII Jewish resident. Between the two wars, Drohobych counted about 42,000 inhabitants: one third Poles; one third Ukrainians; and a third Jews. The Second World War brought huge turmoil. Five thousand Jews were transported to Belcez and gassed, another 11,000 were shot in the Broniza Woods. The Poles escaped or were chased away and Ukrainians from nearby villages settled in the town. 

After the partition of Poland in 1772, the city was part of the Austrian Crown land, Galicia. From 1918 to 1939 it belonged again to Poland. In the fall of 1939, the Nazis came but withdrew, in compliance with the Hitler/Stalin Pact (August 1939), and were replaced by the Soviets. They stayed until June 1941, but then withdrew against the Nazi aggression, which led to the destruction of the Jews in Drohobych. In August 1944 the Soviet powers took over again and stayed until 1991. Since then Drohobych is part of independent Ukraine, founded in 1991.

In the middle of the 19th century substantial oil reserves were found in neighboring Borislav, resulting in an oil boom that brought capitalists from around the world. Oil was drilled in Borislav, and refineries were built in Drohobych, which prospered considerably, along with the neighboring spa resort town of Truskawez. Bruno Schulz, the Polish writer of Jewish descent, put Drohobych on the map of world literature with his beloved books, The Street of Crocodiles and The Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass.