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Belaya Tserkov

Belaya Tserkov

Biała Cerkiew (Polish), Bilá Cirkev (Slovakian), Biserica Alba (Romanian), Fehéregyháza (Hungarian), Shvartze Timme (Yiddish Transliteration), Белая Церковь – Belaia Tserkov, Belaya Tserkov (Russian), Біла Церква – Bila Tserkva (Ukrainian), שדה לבן (Hebrew)

Belaya Tserkov is an ancient city in Kiev district, Ukraine, center of a fertile agricultural region.

Beginning

A community was formed there toward the end of the 16th century; 100 houses in Jewish ownership out of a total of 800 are recorded in 1646. The community was destroyed during the Chmielnicki rising in 1648, and again suffered at the beginning of the Haidamack rising in 1703. Subsequently, Jews again began to settle there, in 1765 numbering 1,876 poll-tax-payers in the town and its vicinity.

After Belaya Tserkov had been attacked by the hordes under Cossack general Gonta (1768), only 223 Jewish inhabitants remained. The community increased to 1,077 in 1787; 6,665 in 1847; and 18,720 in 1897 (54% of the total population). The grain trade and sugar industry contributed to the growth of the town during the 19th century.

In 1904, Jews owned 250 workshops and 25 factories engaged in light industry employing 300 Jewish workers. The Jews there suffered from pogroms in 1905.  The population reached 21,542 by 1910.

During the civil war of 1919–20, about 850 Jews were massacred in Belaya Tserkov by Ukrainian troops, bands of peasants, and soldiers of the White Army.

I find this report on JDC Archiv website, it gave wide description of Belaya Tserkov Jewish community state at 1923:

Kiev, April 26th, 1923.

Blelaya Tserkov Is at present a district centre, the administrative organs of which handle all the former Vasilkovsky Uyesd and part of the former Skvirsky and Tarashansky Uyesds. Before the war, Blelaya Tserkov was one of the largest points of the Kiev Gubernla, and was surpassed only by Berdlchev in regard to the size of the population, extensive trade and the cultural level of its Inhabitants.

Before the pogroms there was a total population of 30,000, of which 20,000 were Jews. These figures did not change during the war and time of pogroms, as the number of Jews murdered, dead and having left the town, was replaced by refugees from other towns and villages who took refuge during the pogroms in Blelaya Taerkov and who settled there.

There were two pogroms in Belaya Tserkov, which were made by the Denikin and Petlura gangs in August 1919. These pogroms resulted in I5O being murdered and 300 wounded, 12 houses were destroyed. The entire population has greatly suffered from these pogroms.

The main occupations of the Jewish population in Blelaya Taerkov at the present time are manual arts and petty trade. The percentages of these are approximately: Artisans including the unemployed 40% Tradesmen, chiefly engaged in small trade 50% Persons of liberal professions 10%

Big Synagoga in Balaya Tserkov.

Big Synagoga in Balaya Tserkov.

In view of the fact that the basic occupation of the Jewish population in Blelaya Tserkov was trade, (mainly in grain and products) it’s economical conditions have grown considerably worse during the period from 1918 to 1922. The pogroms and following stoppage in trade and the unemployment greatly decreased the material welfare of the population.

More than a half of the artisans and trades-people have lost their economic standing and must be considered as belonging to the category in need of social reconstruction relief. 1000 families of refugees from the adjoining pogromised points, concentrated in this town, also belong in the same category.

The neediest inhabitants of the town comprises

Local Refugees Total
Widows 300 200 500
Orphans 400 200 600
Half Orphans 600 200 800
Persons having lost capacity for work 600 200 800
Total  1900 800 2700

The number of refugees desiring to be re-evacuated is not very great – 60 families.

Relief to the pogromised was being administered in Blelaya Tserkov by the Evobshestcom by organising Children’s Homes; by the JOINT by supplying the Children’s Homes with food-stuffs and clothing by the ARA, the Pomgol and the Representatives of the ORT. The JOINT has also delivered 20 food packages and 80 suits of underwear to the Home for Aged and has distributed 97 individual packages among the poorest population of the town, and also 600 suits of underwear for individual distribution.

LIST OF CHILDREN’S INSTITUTIONS IN BELAYA TSERKOV:

CHILDREN’S HOMES Full orphans Half orphans Child with parents TOTAL
Closed home under name of R. Luxemburg 39 7 2 48
Same under name of K. Liebknecht 40 16 - 56
Same under name of 3rd International 23 5 1 29
Homes for favus infected children 18 8 - 26
Total 120 36 3 159

SCHOOLS: 1. Professional Technical schools 46 2. Public Schools 200 General number of children In Children’s Institutions 404

All the Children’s Institutions of Belaya Tserkov are handled by the Narobraz. Children’s Homes are irregularly supplied by the latter with fuel and bread: they are subventioned by the JOINT through the Evobschestcom. The Homes are in need of a great many things: the children have not sufficient shoes, underwear and bed linen.

Belaya Tserkov map in 1913

Belaya Tserkov map in 1913

The general equipment also is very scanty: thus, there are not beds enough for all the children and they sleep two in one bed. The shortage of beds especially handicaps the normal course of treatment of children in favus homes. The general condition of the health of children is unsatisfactory. Many of them are in need of treatment in sanatoriums and better nourishment. There are oases of anemia and tuberculosis among the children. All the premises in which the Homes are located are in need of repairs.

The Professional School for 46 children existing in Belaya Tserkov function normally, enabling the children to pursue successfully the course of studies in manual arts. The School works as yet only for the Children’s Homes, fulfilling their orders in order to give this school the possibility to maintain Itself, it is necessary to open the more workshops, the turner’s and look-smith’s and to equip in additionally with instruments. A sum of $1000 is required for this purpose.

Out of the two Homes for Aged which formerly existed in Blelaya Tserkov, one is closed due to the lack of funds, so feat there is at present only one Home for Aged maintained by the Sobies. Under normal conditions, the Home can accommodate only 30-35 persons, but in view of the influx of refugees, the number of its inmates exceeds 45. The supply of the Home with food-stuffs is inadequate and does not cover the minimum requirements of the Aged. Lately, the conditions of the Home have considerably improved owing to the 20 food packages and 60 suits of underwear received by it from the JOINT.

Medical aid is rendered by the Ouzdrav. There are 3 hospitals with a total bed capacity of 150 beds and one Central dispensary (the total number of people visiting it monthly being 3,600). It must, however, be pointed out that the above mentioned medical institutions do not cover the requirements of the pogromised and impoverished population.

The bathhouse of Belaya Tserkov is destroyed and is in need of repairs.

There is an Agricultural Jewish Artel “Sower” in Belaya Tserkov consisting of 17 persons (refugees) which, notwithstanding the lack of funds succeeded in carrying out two seeding campaigns. This artel rents at present, two farms with 10 desyatins of land from the Ouzemotdel; in the first of these farms which may be used for productive cultures, the houses must be repaired; the second farm is a milk farm. The Artel has a Home for its members. The Joint has delivered to the Artel one horse plow, 20 poods oats and 50 poods potatoes.

The outstanding needs of Blelaya Tserkov are: First, it is essential to repair the premises of the Chldlren’s Homes, to equip them additionally with household articles and to provide them with underwear, clothing and shoes. Taking into consideration the great number of homeless children in Blelaya Tserkov, it is also a matter of great urgency to open in this town one Children Asylum for 160 children, and two closed children’s Homes for 100 children. The Home for favus infected children is in need of a Rontgen cabinet. It is necessary to assist the -Professional Technical School in every way so as to enlarge it. With regard to the medical Relief, it is necessary to provide the existing hospitals and dispensary with medicaments and medical supplies, as well as to maintain a certain number of beds for the neediest inhabitants of them town. The bath must be repaired. With regard to the social aid for invalids, it is necessary to repair the existing Home for Aged and to supply it with all the necessaries, as well as to reopen the closed one. The organization of a Loan-Saving society must be considered as the most substantial kind of relief which may be administered to the population of Blelaya Tserkov, as this will extend to small tradesmen and artisans cheap credit. According to the information on hand, the organization of such a Loan-saving Society is already in progress. The Agricultural Artel is in need of live stock and equipment, seeds and of a subvention for repairing of the house on one of the farms.

In 1917-1918, the Yiddish-language Zionist newspaper “Der Emes” was published in Bila Tserkva. At the beginning of the 1920s, branches of the Cultural League and the Yevsektsiya (the Jewish section of the Soviet Communist party) were created. In 1920, there was a small Jewish farm known as “Ge-Haluts” in Bila Tserkva; during the collectivisation period, a considerable proportion of the farms were united into cooperative societies.

There were 7 Jewish labour schools, pedagogical and agricultural technical schools. In the mid 1920s, natives of Bila Tserkva founded 5 agricultural settlements in Kherson district. The religious and cultural life of the community, which numbered 15,624 (36.4%) in 1926, came to an end with the establishment of the Soviet government. Under the Soviets in 1929, 240 artisans were organized in cooperatives and 3,628 were unemployed. Of these, 2,655 were sent to the local sugar refinery and 847 went to work in the nearby kolkhozes. Two Yiddish schools operated in Belaya Tserkov, one of them a vocational school. In 1939, Jews numbered 9,284 (20% of the total population).

Holocaust

The city was occupied by the Germans on July 16, 1941. Only small proportion of the Jewish population had time to evacuate to the eastern regions of the country. According to historian A. Kruglov, 9,284 Jews lived in Bila Tserkva prior to 1941. Executions of the Jewish residents of Bila Tserkva took place on August 19-20 and 22, 1941 on teritorry of military area №7.

Jewish population of Belaya Tserkov:
1765 – 1457 jews
1897 — 18720 (52,9%)
1910 — 21542 (30,8%)
1926 — 15624 (36,4%)
1939 ~ 9300 (ок. 20%)
1959 ~ 5500 (7,8%)
1989 — 3823 jews
2012 ~ 1500 jews

Near 300 Jewish POWs were killed in Stalag 334 at military area №7. Bila Tserkva was the first settlement were children were shot together with men and women. Around 700 Jews (August 19-20, 1941) were executed behind the shooting gallery on military area №3 by Aizantcengrup 4a of Paul Blobe. 90 Jewish childrens were killed at August 22, 1941 by Ukrainian police (presumably they were members of OUN-M). Details about this bloody Holocaust page you can find on Yad-Vashem site.

In spring 1942 near 500 jews from nearby towns and childrean from mixed families where killed at military area №7.

Graves on military area №7 were opened at 1943 before liberation and most corps were burned.

After the liberation of Bila Tserkva in 1943, many Jewish survivors returned to the town. In 1944, a Jewish community was created.

After WWII

Iron Magen David above the hospital's laboratory porch in Belaya Tserkov

Iron Magen David above the hospital’s laboratory porch in Belaya Tserkov

There were 5,600 Jews listed as residents in Be-laya Tserkov in the 1959 census. Its sole synagogue was closed in 1962 and Jews conducted private prayer services. During the 1965 High Holidays, militia broke into such minyanim , arrested participants and confiscated religious articles. In 1970, the Jewish population was estimated at 15,000. The majority of Bila Tserkva’s Jewish population repatriated to Israel or left for other countries including the USA and Germany during the late 1980s/1990s.

According to the Encyclopedia of Russian Jewry, approximately 10,000 Jews lived in Bila Tserkva in 1994, while the all-Ukrainian census of 2001 noted that Bila Tserkva’s Jewish population did not exceed 150 people. Today the Jewish community is thought to number about 700. The Shalom Aleichem Society of Jewish Culture was created in 1989. Its head, Doctor H. Berman, was elected the Chairman of Jewish community. Since the early 1990s, a Jewish Sunday school, a “Hesed” (Albina B.D.), a Jewish amateur theatre (“Gute freint”), and a Jewish day school (“Or Avner”) have been established.

In 1993, a commemorative tablet was mounted on the house where Shalom Aleichem lived between 1883 and 1887.  The city also houses a Jewish religious community and minyan under the direction of Rabbi Meir Oltsberg, the Shalom Aleichem Society of Jewish Culture (Murakhovsky B.S.) and the Sochnut Jewish Agency (Kutsenko E.). Official Jewish School website http://mitsva.org.ua and really it is website of all Jewish organization in city so you can use it for contact with them.

Places

Jewish Hospital

Jewish Hospital

Jewish Hospital

Jewish Hospital was built at the expence of Jewish philanthropist Nahman Byalik in 1903. Now it is laboratory of municipal hospital. Iron Magen David still hang above the laboratory porch :)

Pre-Revolution photo of Byalik Hospital

Pre-Revolution photo of Byalik Hospital

Jewish State School

Jewish State School

Jewish State School

Jewish School was built at the expence of Brodskiy family in 1901. Later this school became Talmud-Tora. Building was nationalize in 1920th. Now it is art school for children.

Synagogue of Artisans

Synagogue of Artisans in Belaya Tserkov

Synagogue of Artisans in Belaya Tserkov

Was built in the beginning of XX century. Now it is сlothing studio.

Synagogue of Merchants

Synagogue of Merchants in Belaya Tserkov

Synagogue of Merchants in Belaya Tserkov

Synagogue was build in 1910and nationalize in 1929. Now it is medical college.

Сhoral Synagogue

Сhoral Synagogue in Belaya Tserkov

Сhoral Synagogue in Belaya Tserkov

Synagogue was build in 1850-1860 and nationalize in 1929. Now it is college.

Rabbi House

Rabbi House

Rabbi House

House built in 1910 and situated between 2 Synagogues – Synagogue of Artisans and Сhoral Synagogue. Building was nationalize in 1920th. Now it is use as a library of the medical college.

 Jewish Cemeteries information was gavered by Lo-Tishkah organization

Old Jewish Cemetery

Ohel on the site of destroyed Jewish Cemetery

Ohel on the site of destroyed Jewish Cemetery

The cemetery site is now located on military territory at Shalom Aleichema street. It is marked by an ohel. While the ohel is open to visitors, the rest of the area is restricted and is no longer accessible.

Cemetery was established ~ in 16th century and was destoyed in 1943 during the German occupation. The destruction began on March 3 and finished on April 17, 1943. All tombstones and monuments were knocked down and broken up by forced labourers from the villages of Alexandria, Rotok and Zarechye. The land is now used for military purposes and access is restricted.

The sign on the ohel reads as follows (translation from Hebrew):

The territory around the ohel, including the military buildings, is part of the Jewish cemetery where many of our brothers from the people of Israel are buried, among them – the children of the temple of Besht: *Rabbi Abraham Polotsker, may we be protected by his merits; *the author of the book “Hesed le-Avraam”, a friend of Besht, Rabbi Moshe, may we be protected by his merits; *Rabbi Chaim, may we be protected by his merits. The pupils of Besht: *Rabbi Aaron Shmuel haKohen, may we be protected by his merits, the author of the book “Ve-tsiva ha-kohen”, The pupil of Maggid from Mezhyrich. “… the place you are standing at is the Holy Land’ (Ex. 3:5)).

It is not known whether the burial register for this cemetery is still in existence.

Jews from Nastashka village were also buried at this cemetery.

Jewish Section on Kievskaya Municipal Cemetery

Enterance to the Jewish section of Municipal Cemetery

Enterance to the Jewish section of Municipal Cemetery

The municipal cemetery is situated at 166, Kievskaya street. The Jewish section is known as the Old Jewish Cemetery.

At the beginning of the 20th century there was a small Jewish cemetery at this site. In 1945 this cemetery was demolished and in its place a municipal cemetery was established, with a Jewish section. Only a few tombstones remain from the old cemetery. The community brought a large number of tombstones from the cemetery on Shalom Aleichem St., demolished in 1943. In the 1970s, the city authorities needed to release a part of the land at the municipal cemetery, and the Jewish section was moved a hundred meters to the north, and the old gravestones were moved again. Several graves were left in the old section, now a Christian cemetery.

Fewer than 25% of the tombstones in the Jewish section are damaged. Inscriptions are in Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish. The tablet- and boot-shaped gravestones are made of granite, marble and limestone. Many have images.

Monument in the memory of Holocaust victims

Monument in the memory of Holocaust victims

The oldest tombstone is thought to have survived from the pre-war cemetery. According to the cemetery caretaker, the Germans did not destroy this tombstone at the request of local citizens who supposedly believed that ancient books with magical magic powers lay underneath. The inscription on the stone is as follows (translation from Hebrew):
Moshe, the son of Menashe, Zeidenberg. 18.12.1889 – 18.04. 1901. Born on the 7th of Tevet 5640, Died on the 12th of Iyar 5661. May his soul be bound in the bond of life.

At the main entrance to the cemetery there is a large sign with the cemetery rules and a plan. There is no specific sign for the Jewish section. The gate has an iron Star of David at the top.

Second monument to Holocaust victims

Second monument to Holocaust victims

The Jewish section is situated in the northern part of the cemetery; it is separated from the rest of the territory by paths. The cemetery is separated from the road by a brick wall, in the foundations of which contain Jewish gravestones according to local residents. The northern side is surrounded by a concrete fence, behind which there is a stonemason’s workshop. The boundaries of the Jewish section are roughly 100m x 200m.
The burials register for this cemetery is thought to be held by the cemetery authorities.

The cemetery is under the care of the Bila Tserkva ‘ritual services department’. It appears to be reasonably well-maintained.

Mass grave

Mass grave

The mass grave can be found near the entrance to the Jewish section of the Kievskaya municipal cemetery. According to inscription it is only a monument in the memory of Holocaust victims but not a grave.

Another monument to Holocaust victims located on this cemetery.  It can be found near the entrance to the Jewish section, approximately next to the third row of graves. I haven’t gavered information if it is a just monument or a gravestone…

On this cemetery were reburied remains of Holocaust victims from Military Area №7.  The mass grave is marked by a small monument deep in the Jewish section of the Kievskaya municipal cemetery.

Jewish Section of Sukhyi Yar Municipal Cemetery

Jewish Section on Sukhiy Yar Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Section on Sukhiy Yar Jewish Cemetery

This Jewish section is the most recent among those officially granted to the Jewish communities of the Kiev region (1982). The municipal cemetery is situated on the ring road in the direction of Skvyra. The Jewish section is known as the New Jewish Cemetery.

The Jewish section is not surrounded by a fence; instead it is marked by a black stone ‘kerb’. The boundaries of the Jewish section are roughly 100m x 100m. The cemetery is well-maintained.
The cemetery’s gravestones are made from granite, marble and limestone. All are in a good state of repair – none are damaged. Inscriptions are in Russian. All monuments have legible inscriptions with names and years of birth and death. Most tombstones have photographs.

The cemetery is under the care of the Bila Tserkva ‘ritual services department’. It appears to be well-maintained.

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