The Reich family in Dobrianychi

The following map shows the village of Dobrianychi. According to my research Wilhelm Reich was born here on March 24, 1897 in house No. 55 on Colony street. His grandfather Chaim Hersch Reich owned house No. 44 and was also the tenant of the local tavern (ukr: “korchma”).

The following map shows the historical places identified in relation to the Reich family:

  1. Reich’s birth house on Colony street

    According to the cadastral register the owner of the house originally was the German colonist Christian Fischer (1818-1881), who’s tomb stone can be found on the village’s “old” cemetery. According to Wilhelm Reich’s birth certificate he was born (and circumcised 4 days later) in this particular house. The building, however, does not exist anymore.

    The settlers on the colony were presumably protestant. In the planning process of colonies it was standard to keep the different confessions separated by village. In this regard, the cadastral register shows that the evangelical church was a large land owner in Dobrianychi. According to evangelical church documents a chapel with a German school (with 1 class) was established on Colony street. But also this building does not exist anymore.

    The further consequences of this information are now open to discussion: Did Wilhelm Reich’s father Leon buy the house after Fischer’s death for his own wife and family? In his marriage certificate Leon Reich is officially declared a resident of Dobrianychi. Why does the house not exist anymore today, while other houses on Colony street (yellow line) have remained? Did the house get ruined by natural decay or was it purposely demolished (because it was Jewish)? The satellite image of colony street demonstrates the open gap on the map. Today the village grocery store (see title photo above) is located roughly at the position, where Wilhelm Reich was presumably born.

  2. Reich’s grandfather’s house

    Wilhelm Reich’s grandfather Chaim Hersh Reich had been living in Dobrianychi at least since 1875 (according to the cadestral register). He owned a house in the old part of the village, which can be found downhill to the South. Also that house has been demolished. On its territory a new house and garden were created.

  3. Village tavern

    According to Wilhelm Reich’s autobiographical notes (published under the name “The passion of youth”), Chaim Hersh Reich was the tenant of the village tavern (ukr: “korchma”). Those taverns were very important places of social activity. According to the cadastral map the village tavern was situated on the road to the church (where e.g. on Sundays all the people passed by on their way to and after service). Also the tavern was demolished. According to a local resident, however, much this took place rather recently at the end of the 20th century. Under Soviet rule the tavern was used as a utility shed for farm appliances. It was a stone building. After the fall of the collective farm system in 1991, people used the stones as building material for their houses.