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Shklov

Shklov, Shklov County, Mogilev District, Belarus

To enlarge the map click here Area of the former flax factory in Shklov where a ghetto was set up 
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Photo by Alexander Litin, 2008 Area of the former flax factory in Shklov where a ghetto was set up
Photo by Alexander Litin, 2008
The International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem

Jews began to settle in Shklov in the second half of the 17th century. The town was an important Jewish religious center, where a yeshiva was established in the 18th century. At the end of the century Shklov also became the center of the Haskalah movement and the largest center of Hebrew printing in Russia. Prominent activists of the Haskalah, such as Note Notkin and Leib Nevakovich lived and worked in Shklov. At the end of the 19th century 5,422 Jews lived in Shklov, comprising 78 percent of the total population.
Under Soviet rule most of Shklov's Jews initially earned their living from commerce (until it was liquidated by the Soviet authorities at the beginning of the 1930s) and crafts. A small proportion of Jews worked as white collar workers and several dozen Jewish families as agricultural workers. In the 1920s the Jewish kolkhoz "Iskra" was established in the vicinity of Shklov. A Yiddish school operated in Shklov until all the Yiddish schools in Belorussia were closed in mid-1938.
In 1939 only 2,132 Jews remained, comprising 26.2 percent of the town's population. The rest of Shkolv's Jews, especially the young people, left the town for big towns and cities.
After the beginning of the German-Soviet War on June 22, 1941 many Jewish refugees arrived in Shklov. The town was occupied by the Germans on July 12, 1941. Few Jews succeeded in escaping. The first German troops who entered Shklov murdered 25 Jews in the town park. At the end of July 1941 the Germans appointed a local administration which ordered the concentration of Shklov's Jews into two ghettos - in the village of Ryzhkovichi, south of Shklov (in a fenced-off area near the local church) and in the area of a flax factory. About 100 other Jews were confined to the territory of the "Iskra" kolkhoz. The inmates of the Shklov ghettos were ordered to wear yellow Stars of David. They were humiliated, abused, and killed. The Jews were hardly given any food and were compelled to beg from the local residents. From mid-July to the beginning of October 1941 Shklov Jews were murdered by the Germans in murder operations at five different murder sites.
Shklov was liberated by the Red Army on June 27 or 28, 1944.