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Antopol

Antopol, Kobryn County, Polesie District, Poland (today Belarus)

To enlarge the map click here Jewish orpanage in Antopol Jewish orpanage in Antopol Photo Collection YVA/3488_36

The first Jewish settlement in Antopol apparently began in 1604. The number of Jews in Antopol increased significantly during the second half of the 19th century, by its end reaching 3,137 or 81 percent of the town's total population. In 1880 a railway station was opened in the town. In the early 20th century there were 150 members of the local branch of the Bund and 100 members of the Socialist Zionist movement.
During the Russian civil war Antopol was occupied by various armed groups that harmed the local Jews and looted their property. In 1918 three Jews were murdered in a pogrom perpetrated by Bulak Balakhovich's troops, which were collaborating with the Polish army. Between the two world wars Antopol was part of an independent Polish state. The 1,800 Jews who lived in the town comprised 80 percent of the total population. The local Jews earned their livelihood as artisans, merchants, clothing and food manufacturers, teachers, white-collar workers, and farmers. Jewish educational institutions included a Hebrew–language Tarbut school (and, for a while, a parallel kindergarten), a library with works in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian, a talmud torah, and a yeshiva. The Jewish community operated its own pharmacy and hospital, as well as traditional welfare and charitable institutions, including an orphanage.
Following the secret appendix to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviets occupied Antopol in September 1939. Soviet policy then aimed at destroying all forms of former political and social life, including Jewish ones, in Soviet occupied Poland, as in other Soviet occupied territories. All Jewish independent institutions were closed, Hebrew Tarbut schools were reorganized as Yiddish Soviet ones.
The Germans occupied Antopol on June 25, 1941. They confiscated Jewish valuables, banned all contacts of Jews with the Christian population, required the Jewish inhabitants to wear a yellow badge, and conscripted Jews as forced laborers. On German orders a five-member Judenrat and a five-member Jewish order service were organized. On August 28, 1941 in Antopol the Third Regiment of the SS Order Police murdered 257 people, evidently including a large (but unknown) number of Jews. In early October about 150 Jewish men were murdered, while the rest of the Jews were concentrated in a ghetto that was not totally closed. Several weeks later Jews from nearby villages and from Horodec, Szereszow, and Żabinka were taken to the Antopol ghetto, raising its population to 2,500. Later the ghetto was divided into two parts. Ghetto A was fenced in with boards and barbed wire and was designated for skilled workers and members of their families; all of them were issued certificates. Most of the town's Jews were imprisoned in Ghetto B. Both ghettos were liquidated in a number of murder operations that were carried out in July, August, and mid-October 1942.
Antopol was liberated by the Red Army on July 10, 1944.