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Yevpatoria

Yevpatoria, Yevpatoria County, Crimean ASSR District, Russia (today Ukraine)

To enlarge the map click here Building of the former military school where the Jews of Yevpatoria were concentrated before their mass murder 
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Photo by Mikhail Tyaglyi, 2010 Building of the former military school where the Jews of Yevpatoria were concentrated before their mass murder
Photo by Mikhail Tyaglyi, 2010
The International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem

The first Jewish settlements in the Yevpatoria area existed in ancient times. When the Crimean peninsula was conquered by the Russian Empire at the end of the 18th century, 100 Karaite families and a number of Krymachaks (Crimean Jews) lived in Yevpatoria, which was then known as the Gezlyov Fortress. In the 19th century the town of Yevpatoria became the spiritual center of the Karaites and the khakham, the highest Karaite religious authority, had his seat there. In 1897 1,592 Jews (Krymchaks and Ashkenazi Jews) and 1,505 Karaites lived in Yevpatoria.
At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century there were branches of various Zionist organizations, as well as one of the Bund, in the town. In 1905 there was a pogrom in Yevpatoria.
In the 1920s Jewish agricultural settlements started to be established around Yevpatoria, whose total population had grown significantly. At the end of the 1920s the newspaper "Kollektivist" was published for Jewish agricultural colonists. There were Yiddish schools in the city.
In 1939 4,249 Jews lived in Yevpatoria, comprising 9 percent of the total population.
Yevpatoria was occupied by German troops on November 6, 1941. A majority of the Jews succeeded in leaving before the Germans arrived.
On the day the German forces entered Yevpatoria all the Jews remaining in the city were ordered to report for registration, a Judenrat was set up, and the Jews were ordered to wear a yellow Star of David. The Jews were also ordered to hand over to the occupation authorities all their valuables. Most of the Jews of Yevpatoria were shot on November 23, 1941. Although Yevpatoria was declared "judenrein" on December 15, at the end of December 150 Krymchaks were shot by members of Sonderkommando 11b. The killing of Jews who had gone into hiding but were discovered by Germans and their local collaborators, as well as of Jews collected in the city from surrounding kolkhozes, continued into 1942.
Yevpatoria was liberated by the Red Army on April 13, 1944.