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Opening Hours:

Sunday to Thursday: ‬09:00-17:00

Fridays and Holiday eves: ‬09:00-14:00

Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and all Jewish Holidays.

Entrance to the Holocaust History Museum is not permitted for children under the age of 10. Babies in strollers or carriers will not be permitted to enter.

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The Holocaust of the Mountain Jews

Kiril Feferman

The Mountain Jews lived in the Eastern and Southern Caucasus (mainly in Krasnaia Sloboda in Azerbaijan), as well as in various autonomous republics of the modern-day Russian Federation: Chechnya, Dagestan (the town of Derbent), Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria (the town of Nalchik), and North Ossetia (Mozdok). The Jewish communities in the Eastern Caucasus apparently emerged in the early medieval period, as a result of the settling of Persian Jews along trade routes. From the beginning of the 19th century, all the Mountain Jewish communities lay within the Russian Empire, and later in the Soviet Union1.  Mountain Jews speak several dialects of the Tat language (a Western Iranian language spoken by the Tats, an indigenous Iranian people of the Caucasus), which is also referred to as Dzhuguri by the Mountain Jews themselves. In recent centuries, the Mountain Jews adopted the Sephardic rite of Rabbinic Judaism. On the eve of World War II, there were 35,000 Mountain Jews living in the USSR2.  As part of the Soviet policy of collectivization of the early 1930s, hundreds of Mountain Jews found themselves in the kolkhozes (collective farms) of the North Caucasus, including Menzhinskoe and Bogdanovka in the Kursk Raion, Ordzhonikidze (present-day Stavropol) Krai. More than 100 of them were moved to the Shaumian kolkhoz in the Yevpatoria Raion of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea.

  • 1. On the history of the Mountain Jews, see Mordechai Altshuler, Yehudei Mizrah Kavkaz: Toledot Hayehudim Haharariyim Mereshit Hame'ah Hatesha-esreh (Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute; the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1990) (Hebrew); Zvi Gitelman, A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present, 2nd ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), pp. 196–211; Valerii Dymshits, ed., Gorskie evrei: Istoriia, etnografiia, kul’tura (Jerusalem–Moscow: Znanie, 1999), p. 462 (Russian); Judaic-Slavic Journal, 2(4) (2020) (Istoriia i kul'tura gorskikh evreev).
  • 2. Altshuler, Yehudei Mizrah Kavkaz, p. 151.