Belarus SIG #Belarus Re: Minsk City Jews ( belarus digest: August 05, 2002) #belarus


On August 5, 2002, Marlene Bishow (mlbishow@...) wrote in part:

<<Generally speaking, Jews
were not allowed to live in Minsk proper, but it was the capital of the
province (gubernia) and a place that everyone knew, so they said that was
where they were from.>>

I agree with Ms. Bishow that because Minsk was the capital of the province
and a place everyone knew, people said that was where they came from.

But contrary to what Ms. Bishow apparently believes, many Jews were allowed
to live and in fact did live in Minsk proper.

Jews began trickling into Minsk during the 15th century and during the 16th
they formed a large part of the city's population. In the 17th century,
Jews were granted privileges by the Polish grand duke Jan Kazimierz. During
the 19th century, Jews formed a majority of the city's population. They
supported many established Jewish educational and religious institutions and
many Minsk Jews were open to new maskhalic, labor, and Zionist undertakings.
In fact the city became one of the largest concentrations of Jews within the
Pale. A major Zionist conference was held in Minsk in 1902.


there are Minsk Jewish homeowner lists, respectively dated 1889 and 1911.

I have noticed that many Jewishgenners labor under the misapprehension that
Jews were not permitted to live in major Russian cities. It is true that most
Jews were prohibited >from establishing residence, but quite a few successful
and/or educated Jews did live in cities, like Odessa, Kiev, St, Petersburg,
and even Moscow. As for "lesser" Jews, many managed to bribe their way into
staying in Russian/Ukrainian cities for some lengths of time as merchants,
traders, artisans, students, or servants.

Because during much of its history, Belarus was governed by Polish kings and
nobles, who often looked benevolently at Jews, even for only the monetary
advantages Jews provided them, Jewish life was not as onerous and restrictive
as it later became under Russian domination.

Of course, I do not mean to dispute that. as Ms. Bishow wrote, her
grandfather was born in Sverzhen while others in her family came >from

Naomi Fatouros (nee FELDMAN)
Bloomington, Indiana
Researching: BELKOWSKY and BIELKOWSKY, Odessa and Berdichev;ROTHSTEIN,
Kremenchug; FELDMAN, Pinsk; SCHUTZ, RETTIG, WAHL, Shcherets; LEVY, Mulhouse;
SAS or SASS,Podwolochisk; RAPOPORT, Tarnopol, Korostyshev; BEHAM, Salok and
Kharkov; WOLPIANSKY, Ostryna.

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