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Pushkin

Pushkin, Leningrad County, Leningrad District, Russia

To enlarge the map click here Ekaterininsky Palace Ekaterininsky Palace The International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem

Pushkin (before the Bolshevik Revolution, Tsarskoye Selo) is located in the Russian Federation outside the former Pale of Settlement, 27 kilometers from Leningrad (St. Petersburg).
Since the eighteenth century, the tsar’s summer palace, Ekaterininsky Palace (the palace of Catherine the Great), has been located in Tsarskoye Selo, as well as the famous Lyceum, from which a significant section of the Russian cultural elite graduated, including Alexander Pushkin. After the revolution, the town was renamed Detskoye Selo, and in 1937, Pushkin, marking the one hundredth anniversary of the poet’s death.
The first reference to Tsarskoye Selo’s Jewish population dates back to 1830, when Jews who had served in the Tsar’s Army appeared in the town. According to Russian law, from the 1860s retired Jewish solders could reside beyond the Pale of Settlement together with their families. Thus the first permanent Jewish community of Tsarskoye Selo was formed. As time passed, synagogues opened in the town and a plot of land was given to the Jews at the local cemetery.
During the Soviet period, migration from the areas of traditional Jewish residence to beyond the former Pale, mainly to Moscow and Leningrad, reached its highest point, mostly due to social and cultural influences. The population census of 1926 registered 537 Jews living in Pushkin, although the number constantly increased. The high population density in Leningrad forced Jews to settle in towns nearby, among them Pushkin.
Pushkin was occupied by the Germans on September 17, 1941. The town quickly became part of the front line, as the Germans did not manage to move further east during the entire Leningrad blockade of 1941-1944. The Jewish population of Pushkin was liquidated in a number of murder operations in October 1941, mostly in Ekaterininsky and Babolovsky Parks near Ekaterininsky Palace. According to some sources, another group of Jews was shot at the border of Pushkin’s military airfield and nearby swamps. The victims’ bodies were thrown a ditch, prepared in advance.
The Red Army liberated Pushkin on January 24, 1944.