Pages Navigation Menu

Belilovka

Belilovka
  • German
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Ukranian

Belilovka is a village in the Ruzhin district of the Zhitomir region.

In the XVI through XVIII centuries, it was a village of Kiev county and voivodship, a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1793, it was incorporated into the Russian Empire.

In the XIX and early XX centuries, it was a shtetl of Berdichev uyezd, Kiev gubernia.

The first records of Jews in Belilovka date back to 1719.

Get Directions

We learned that in April 1735 an attorney of Duke Liubomirsky, the owner of Belilovka, complained about several dozens of cossacks having attacked the village. They robbed, beat, and humiliated people of the shtetl, particularly Jews. Three Jewish citizens were tortured to death.

There used to be a market on the place of a current park by the 1920’s. A current market is also situated in the center of the shtetl but it covers only a small part of the pre-revolutionary one.

There used to be a market on the place of a current park by the 1920’s. A current market is also situated in the center of the shtetl but it covers only a small part of the pre-revolutionary one.

In 1863, there were two synagogues in Belilovka. Shloyme Makhrinsky (1880 – ?) was a rabbi in Belilovka starting in 1900. In 1912, a savings and credit society was functioning in Belilovka.

The main occupation of the Jewish population of Belilovka was traded. However, there were also Jewish pharmacists, dentists, and tailors in the shtetl. There was a tannery and a grits factory in the shtetl as well. Up to 200 Jewish families lived in Belilovka.

View to the former shtetl's center from the hill

View to the former shtetl’s center from the hill

In 1919, the Jewish population of the shtetl suffered from a pogrom. Belilovka Jews were looted. I didn’t find more information about this period 🙁

Modern market square occupy only small part of old market

Modern market square occupies an only a small part of old market

In the 1920’s, a Jewish school was opened in the shtetl. In the 1930’s, it was turned into a Ukrainian school but locals kept calling it “Jewish” even after WWII. The school building existed until 1981, and then a new school was built.

The synagogue was closed in the 1920’s and building was preserved until the 1960’s. It was used as a stable and a granary. In the 1960’s, it was ruined and a mill was built in its place. Mill, 2018

The synagogue was closed in the 1920’s and building was preserved until the 1960’s. It was used as a stable and a granary. In the 1960’s, it was ruined and a mill was built in its place. Mill, 2018

 

Jewish population of Belilovka:
1763 – 124 Jews
1847 — 1008 Jews
1897 — 2223 (46%)
1923 — 2130 Jews
1939 — 633 еврея (11%).
2017 – 1 Jews
2018 – 0

Holocaust

In 1939, 633 Jews lived in Belilovka. They were 11% of the total population. It was occupied in July, 1941. Some of the Jews had evacuated to the East before the occupation. Also, many young men had been called up for military service in the Red Army. About 300 Jews remained in the village…

In July – October 1941, the village was ruled by the German military commandant’s office. Starting in November 1941, Belilovka was incorporated into Ruzhin gebit in Zhitomir General County of Reichskommissariat Ukraine. In Belilovka, Jews were ordered to wear the Star of David, to surrender all their gold and valuable, they were forced to do hard labor without being paid, they were prohibited from leaving the village, and they were constantly tortured and looted by the Ukrainian police. The Roytman and Kipnis families were shot in their houses. Their properties were looted. The Jew Gershzon was beaten to death.

On the 10th of September 1941, the police gathered all the Jews in the center of the shtetl and announced an “evacuation”. The column of Jews was surrounded by the local police and escorted to the local railway station. While heading to the place of the shooting some Jews gave their children to the Ukrainians. The number of children who were saved in such a way is unknown. After the war these children were taken by their relatives who returned from the evacuation. At this day unknown number Jews were shot near Rostovitsa railway station.

More details about Holocaust in Belilovka can be found in interview of Holocaust survival Boris Lisyanskiy.

Holocaust mass grave:

Some Jewish names can be found on the memorial to the locals who were drafted to Soviet Army and killed in 1941-1945:

In the 1950s in Belilovka some Jews erected a monument to the local Holocaust victims with inscriptions in Yiddish and in Russian.
The Yiddish inscription says: “Eternal memory to the murdered ones, murdered by the German fascists on September 10, 1941 (the 19th of the month of Elul) in the town of Belilovka. We are one.” The Russian inscription says: “Eternal memory to the victims of German fascism, murdered on September 10, 1941 in the town of Belilovka. From all their relatives and dear ones.”
On the back of the monument, there is a third inscription, in Yiddish and Russian. This text notes that 850 people are buried at the place where this monument stands.

Relatives of perished Jews near the mass grave in Belilovka, 1980's

Relatives of perished Jews near the mass grave in Belilovka, 1980’s

After the shooting locals looted the Jewish houses. However, some buildings were preserved until the 1980’s – 1990’s. One of them served as a drugstore for a long time. In 1981, a new school building was erected in the center on the place where old Jewish stalls used to be. An old well was situated in the territory of the school. In fall 1941, Jews threw their valuables and jewelry in that well when they were led to the place of the shooting. After the war locals tried to find those values but they failed.

After the Holocaust

After the war several Jewish families returned to the shtetl. Locals remember Berko who managed to survive during the war: He hid in Maryanovka and was engaged in weaving nodes. They also remember a tailor David and shop director Matus Pinkhusovich.
One local woman recalled an elderly Jewish couple who used to live in a dilapidated house. However, she couldn’t remember their surname.

The last Jewish woman in the village was Fruma Grigorevna Yuditsky (1914 – 2017). Though she wasn’t quite local as she moved to the shtetl from somewhere in Russia after World War II.

Famous Jews from Belilovka

Shloyme Lopate (Lopatin) (1902, Belilovka – 1943, died at the front), a poet.

Jewish cemetery

We can assume that the first burials were at this cemetery in the XVIII century. It was the only Jewish cemetery in Belilovka.
After World War II the cemetery wasn’t used and local Jews buried their relatives at the Ukrainian cemetery.

The majority of the gravestones are absent. They might have been stolen by members of the local population. A part of the cemetery is cultivated and serves as village vegetable gardens. Only a few dozens of gravestones have been preserved.

 

 

 

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: