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Karaim is a member of the Turkic language family, a group of languages of  Eurasia spoken by historically nomadic peoples. Within the Turkic family, Karaim is identified as a member of the Kipchak language group, in turn a member of the Western branch of the Turkic language family.
Karaim features agglutination and vowel harmony. Genetic evidence for the inclusion of the Karaim language in the Turkic language family is undisputed, based on common vocabulary and grammar. The Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish languages made significant contributions to the Karaim lexicon of Karaite Jews living in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania.
Most dialects of Karaim are now extinct. Maintenance of the Karaim language in Galicia is now endangered due to the dispersal of Karaim speakers under the Soviet regime post-World War II and the very small number and old age of fluent speakers remaining Children and grandchildren of Karaim speakers speak Ukraininan  or Russian, and only the oldest generation still speaks Karaim.
Karaites believe they observe the original form of Judaism, as prescribed by God in the Tanakh, and do not accept what they consider to be later additions to the Tanakh such as the Oral Law of Rabbinic Judaism.
The Karaites regard them as descendants of Karaite Jews who settled in Crimea and adopted a form of the  Karaim language. Others view them as descendants of Khazar converts to Karaite Judaism. Today many Crimean Karaites deny Israelite origins and consider themselves to be descendants of the Khazars. They have used the Torah religion and followed the  Talmudic Judaism.
The German invasion caused fatal  bereavements: the Karaite Jewish community, that made 30% of the town Halych population before the war, almost disappeared. During the WW ll the fascists organized a ghetto in the town .The Nazis had serious reservations towards the Karaites. SS Obergruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger wrote:
“Their Mosaic religion is unwelcome. However, on grounds of race, language and religious dogma discrimination against the Karaites is unacceptable”.
Despite their exempt status, confusion led to initial massacres. German soldiers who came across Karaims in Russia during the initial phase of Operation Barbarossa, not aware of their legal status under German law, attacked them; 200 were killed at Babi Yar alone. German allies such as the Vichy Republic began to require the Karaites to register as Jews.
At soviet times the ethnic Karaites were persecuted and had to write in the documents that they were Russians. They were deprived of the possibility to profess their religion, study the native language, culture. During the 50 years of the soviet power our ancient town lost many cultural, architectural and historic monuments, which had given the town its uniqueness. Assimilation and emigration greatly reduced the ranks of the Karaim community. A few thousand Karaims remain in Western Ukraine. Many of the immigrated to  Israel, Turkey, the United States, and Great Britain.
Nowadays, at the time of restoring the historical heritage of the Ukrainian society, it would be unfair to forget the values  and the cultural inheritance brought to our culture and life by the Karaites community as well as their unique language.
The Karaim language must be returned to the local communities and schools, where students  can  study the language and research the heritage of the Karaim folk.
There is a museum of the Karaim folk in the town of Galich. But the workers of this museum tell you that there are only two old Karaim women in Galicia. There are no people who would recognize themselves as Karaims. This is also the official statements of local nationalistic power authorities.
Obviously is it a lie. Many people in Western Ukraine are afraid to tell about their nationality and they are registered in passports as “Ukrainian” what means for them just the population of the territory of Ukraine.
It is very important to renaissance the forgotten languages in Galicia. And the first language which should be revival is the Karaim language. This language can restore the old connections of Galicia with the Karaim folk in Crimea and with the religions of Judaism.


The museum of the Karaim folk in the town of Galich


The typical Karaim temple and the house in Galicia

Andriy Mykytyn

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Lv  | 21.3.2013
I'm sure there are more than two in Lithuania. Especially in Trakai, where they make up an active religious community and a cultural society. I think it would be impossible if there were only two of them:)

Chania  | 12.1.2013
Try to cure your legs, because it is too late to cure your head. You don't have the slightest idea about Karaims. Where did you find those thousands od Karaims in Western Ukraine? In 1939 there were 122 Karaims in Halych (and about 60 in Lutsk). After WWII a group of Halych Karaims and almost all from Lutsk moved to Poland. The people in Museum (nationalist or not, it doesn't matter) are right: at present there are only 2 old ladies living in Halych. One man lives there from time to time, 2 more live in Ivano-Frankowsk, 2 in Lithuania, 1 in Poland.

Andriy Mykytyn, Author  | 13.1.2013
Before 1943, a community of Western (so called “polish”) Karaims numbered about 1 000 in Western Ukraine. But after the war Karaims were afraid to recognize them to register as Karaims because they could be deported to Uzbekistan. Many of them got married with Ukrainians but still they remember their nationality. At the present time they do not have any possibility to learn their language and keep their faith and traditions. Also being Karaims doesn’t give them any privilege as well as being polish and to receive so called “Polish card”. Announce the Green Card for Karaims and you will see how thousands of them will improve their Karaim nationality.

Andriy Mykytyn, Author  | 13.1.2013
If you will take into account the official Ukrainian statistics you will discover that there are only 5 Jews in Ivano-Frankivsk and 10 Jewish people in Lviv. But also you will know that 85% !!!!!! of the population of Donetsk, Kharkov and Odessa use and speak Ukrainian language fluently

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