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Mogilev

Mogilev, Mogilev County, Mogilev District, Belarus

To enlarge the map click here Jews from Mogilev on the way to forced labor, 1941 Jews from Mogilev on the way to forced labor, 1941 Bundesarchiv Koblenz 138-1083-26, copy YVA, Photo Collection 3955/360 Jews clearing rubble from a street in Mogilev, 1941 Jews clearing rubble from a street in Mogilev, 1941 YVA, Photo Collection 1570 Former Tsukerman Synagogue in Mogilev, today school for training potential  Olympic athletes
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Photo by Vladimir Levin, 2007 Former Tsukerman Synagogue in Mogilev, today school for training potential Olympic athletes
Photo by Vladimir Levin, 2007
Courtesy Vladimir Levin

The first reference to a Jewish presence in Mogilev dates to the beginning of the 16th century. In 1654-1655, in the course of the Russian-Polish war, the Jews of Mogilev suffered greatly from the pogroms carried out by Russian troops.
At the beginning of the 20th century the city had approximately 25,000 Jews, who constituted about half of the total population. At that time Mogilev became an important center of Bundist and Zionist activity. In October 1904 there was a pogrom in Mogilev.
During the Soviet period many of Mogilev's Jews were craftsmen; many others were workers in factories or employees in Soviet institutions. At that time there were several Yiddish schools in Mogilev; they were closed in mid-1938. From 1927 to the mid-1930s the city court had a Yiddish division.
In January 1939 19,715 Jews lived in the city, comprising 19.8 percent of the total population. After September 1939 several hundred Jewish refugees from Poland arrived in Mogilev.
When the Nazis invaded the USSR on June 22, 1941, the Belarusian Communist Party and government leadership moved to Mogilev. Many Jews succeeded in leaving Mogilev. Mogilev was occupied by the Germans on July 26, 1941. About 6,500-7,500 Jews from the city did not escape the Nazi occupation. In the second half of August 1941 80 Jews were shot to death by members of Einsatzkommando 8B (commanded by Otto Bradfisch) on the pretext that they had displayed signs of resisting the occupation.
Also in August, the Mogilev ghetto was established. During the same period Einsatzkommando 8B, whose headquarters was in the city, caught 113 Jews trying to flee Mogilev and murdered them.
Most of Mogilev's Jews were killed in two major murder operations in October 1941. The Jewish "specialists" (skilled workers) were spared in these massacres and put into a labor camp at the the Dimitrov factory on the western outskirts of the city. The inmates of this camp, including those who had been transfered from Slonim at the end of May 1942, were murdered between October 1941 and September 1943. In September 1943 120 camp inmates were transferred to Minsk.
Mogilev was liberated by the Red Army on June 28, 1944.