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Uncategorized | October 25, 2015
1915: List of Jewish army deserters from Slonim uezd

In 1914, at the beginning of World War I, there were some 400,000 Jewish soldiers and officers in the Russian Empire’s army. By 1916, their numbers had increased to 500,000, about 9% of all the soldiers in the army. During WW1, nearly 100,000 Jewish soldiers were killed, and some 2,500 soldiers received the highest honor, “Cross of Georgiy.” 1915 Russian-Jewish…

Uncategorized | September 18, 2015
1902 Largest Jewish businesses in shtetl Shklov

We are continuing series of posts about Shklov Jewish community 19th-beginning of 20th century. At that time, Shklov Jewish community was the most established out of all Jewish communities of Mogilev guberniya. Shopping center in Shklov beginning of 20th century, which has been recently rebuilt. Below is the list of largest Jewish businesses in shtetl Shklov, 1902.

Uncategorized | June 15, 2015
Shklov: Facts about Jewish religious life in Shklov from the late 1890s-early 1900s

By 1897, the Jewish population of Shklov was 5,122, or 78% of its total population. There were 11 registered synagogues and a yeshiva, a branch of the famous yeshiva in Slobodka. Former main synagogue of shtetl Shklov  Before 1906, Shklov’s chief Rabbi was Meir Shwartz, a member of the Orthodox Misnagdim movement. Following Rabbi Shwartz was Rabbi Yehuda-Leib Don-Yah’ya, who was…

Uncategorized | May 15, 2015
1946 JDC List of Jewish Residents of Belarus Who Survived WWII

In early 1946, after the end of WWII, the International Red Cross Committee was sent to the Soviet Union to estimate the magnitude of destruction and how to help survivors. While touring many places around the Soviet Union, the committee stopped in a few towns and shtetls in Belarus. Among the committee members was the Joint Distribution Committee’s representative, who…

Uncategorized | May 5, 2015
The Mezhirech agricultural colony, founded in 1846 by Jews from Mogilev guberniya

In the mid-19th-century, one goal of the Russian government was to encourage Jews to work the land. The government provided land in six guberniyas (provinces) of the Russian Empire for this purpose, including Yekaterinoslavskaya guberniya (today Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozh’ye region in Ukraine). One of these was the agricultural colony of Mezhirech. The Tzar provided many benefits for Jews who moved…

Uncategorized | April 16, 2015
1901 List of major donors for Jewish cemetery in Minsk

In the first half of the 19th century, Minsk had two Jewish cemeteries. One was closed to burials in 1851. In the 1920s, it was destroyed by the Communists and the campus of the Belorussian State University was built on its grounds. The other Jewish cemetery was closed to burials in 1898. In 1934, this cemetery was also destroyed and…

Uncategorized | February 22, 2015
1853 Synagogues of Minsk uezd / Samokhvalovichi, Ostroshitsky Gorodok , Rakov, Ivenets, Kamen, Stolbtsy, Sverzhen, Koydanovo, Rubezhevichi

Earlier in May 2014 we already published a list of synagogues of Mozyr uezd with names of town, rabbi and staff. Today we are posting a similar list of synagogue of Minsk uezd.  Former building of the synagogue in shtetl Ivenetz. The building was returned to the jewish community of Belarus and currently remains vacant. According to the 1850 Census…

Uncategorized | January 15, 2015
Jewish booksellers in Grodno and Vilno guberniyas

In the mid-19th century, “door-to-door” sales became very popular in the Russian Empire. This type of business required only the payment of a small tax, and there were no overhead expenses (no rent for a store, for example). Booksellers were also successfully selling their books by this method. However, they were required to comply with an 1845 law, which regulated…

Uncategorized | December 26, 2014
1922: List of young Jewish communist propagandists

Following the 1917 Revolution, the Communists needed Jewish propagandists for their philosophy who would travel to shtetls (Jewish villages and hamlets) and explain the events of the Revolution and what it meant for the country. They had to explain this to the residents, many of whom were illiterate and couldn’t even speak Russian. Jews in collective farm reading jewish communist…

Uncategorized | December 14, 2014
Belorussian synagogues under communist regime

In 1917, when the Communists in the former Russian Empire took power, traditional Jewish life was forced to go underground. The main wave of synagogue closings took place from 1922-23. By 1926, in Belarus, only 37 synagogues were open. By 1939, there were only 4. As a result, in almost every town underground cheders were organized. However, during 1937-1938, most…