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Dzerzhinsk (formerly Romanov)

Dzerzhinsk (formerly Romanov), Dzerzhinsk County, Zhitomir District, Ukraine

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The first reference to Jewish settlement in the town of Romanov (since 1931 Dzerzhinsk) relates to 1787. With the Bolshevik revolution, the civil war (1918-1920), and the following two years when gangs continued to harass the Jewish population of Ukraine, the Jews of Dzerzhinsk suffered violence from the alternating regimes.
All the shops, many previously owned by the Jews, were closed by the Soviets at the beginning of the 1930s. Many Jews had to work in local factories. while a number of Jewish artisans joined cooperatives.
In 1931 twenty Jewish families established the Jewish kolkhoz “Lenins Veg” (The Way of Lenin). By the end of 1939 less than half of the kolkhoz members were Jewish.
A Jewish ethnic soviet (council) operated in Dzerzhinsk and, from 1926, a Yiddish school as well, until they were liquidated at the end of the 1930s. In 1939 the town had 1,720 Jews, conmprising 24 percent of the total population.
Dzerzhinsk was occupied by the Germans on July 10, 1941. Several Jewish families escaped to the Soviet interior. Some Jews arrived in Dzerzhinsk from nearby locations in order to flee eastward but did not succeed in escaping German occupation. The Jews then in the town were killed by the Germans, with the assistance of Ukrainian collaborators, between August and December 1941 at four murder sites near Dzerzhinsk. Only a few Jews managed to survive, mainly in villages close to the town.
The Red Army liberated Dzerzhinsk on January 1, 1944.