Jewish Community of Belarus
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The Jewish population of Belarus in 1897 was more than 911,000 - which is 14,2% of the total population in Belarus.

There were 21,547 Jews in Mogilev ( which is 50% of the total population of Mogilev).
There were 34,440 (52%) Jews in Vitebsk.
There were 47,562 (52%) Jews in Minsk.
There were 20,385 (55%) Jews in Gomel.
There were 30,260 (65%) Jews in Brest.
There were 21,065 (74%) Jews in Pinsk.

There were 984,000 Jews in Belarus in 1909 - which is 13,2% of the total population in Belarus.

317,000 Jews left Belarus within 1897-1917 time period or 29% of the total number of Jewish emigrants who left Russia.

When the Brest peace pact was signed in 1921, one part of the Belarusian territory (37%) passed to Poland. According to the agreement signed between the USSR and Germany in 1939 this territory was returned to Belarus. There were 407,000 Jews in 1926 in Belarus, that is 8, 2% from the total population of the Republic of Belarus.

Jewish population of Belarus in 1926

DistrictPopulation (in thousand)(%) of the total population
Minsk District70,713,1
Bobruisk District52,49,9
Borisov District23,46,2
Vitebsk District53,49,2
Gomel District45,611,2
Kalinkovichi District19,35,1
Mogilev District34,66,5
Mozyr District27,38,3
Orsha District24,55,9
Polotsk District17,35,4
Slutsk District20,96,7
Rechitza District17,66,9

Proportion of Jewish urban, shtetl and rural population of Belarus in percentage terms (%)

Types of places of residence18971926
Cities43,863,3
Shtetls37,524,8
Villages18,711,9


There were 53,696 (40, 8% of total city population) Jews in Minsk in 1926.
There were 37,745 (43, 7%) Jews in Gomel in 1926.
There were 37,013 (37, 5%) Jews in Vitebsk in 1926.
There were 21,558 (42, 0%) Jews in Bobruisk in 1926.
There were 17,105 (34, 1%) Jews in Moghilev in 1926.

In 1928 - 55, 5% of Jewish children attended Jewish schools in Belarus.

There were 1,313 Jews in Chechersk of Gomel Region in 1926. 202 Jewish boys and girls left this town within 1927-1929. 150 out of 202 were accepted in Universities of Leningrad, Russia.

There were 22 Jewish collective farms in Belarus in 1930 and more than 9,000 Jews were employed there, in 1935 - only 7 collective farms remained and 794 Jews kept their jobs.

There were 375,100 thousand Jews in Belarus in 1939, which is 6,7% of the total population of the Republic of Belarus.

87, 8% (329,395) of all Belarusian Jews lived in cities in 1939.

There were 723,500 thousand Jews in Western Belarus in 1931. This territory was under Polish patronage till 1939.

Jewish population of shtetls such as: Dyatlovo, Skydel, Ivie, Schuchin, Antopol, Kamenetz, Vysokoe - accounted to more than 75 % of total population in 1931.

In 1931 greater part of Jews was concentrated in the following cities of Western Belarus: Brest (15,630 people), in Pinsk (17,513 people) and in Grodno (18,697 people).

In 1926 - 90% of Belarusian Jews considered Yiddish their native language, in 1939 - 55%.

In 1940 - 65,796 Jews moved from Poland to Belarus.

About 2,200,000 civilians were killed during World War II in Belarus. 810,000 out of 2,200,000 - were Jews including 528,000 Jews who were killed in Western Belarus and 282,000 Jews who were killed in Eastern Belarus.

There were 25,000 Jews in Brest in June, 1941 and only 344 Jews remained in Brest in 1945.

There were 14,691 Jews in Western Belarus in 1959 which is 10% of the total population of Belarus.

Region Jewish population (in thousand) Percentage to the total population of region (%)

RegionJewish population (in thousand)Percentage to the total population of region (%)
1959197019591970
Brest Region650,50,4
Vitebsk Region1917,31,51,3
Gomel Region4542,33,32,5
Grodno Region3,83,20,30,3
Minsk38,847,17,65,1
Minsk Region9,17,30,60,5
Moghilev Region28,425,82,42,1

There were 150,100 Jews in Belarus in 1959.
There were 148,000 Jews in Belarus in 1970.
There were 135,400 Jews in Belarus in 1979.
There were 111,977 Jews in Belarus in 1989.

CityJewish population (in thousand)Percentage to the total population of the city (%)
1979198919791989
Minsk46,339,43,62,3
Gomel26,722,75,63,9
Bobruisk13,410,55,84,1
Vitebsk9,48,22,72,1
Moghilev7,86,72,21,6
Mozyr3,63,23,42,5

7, 4% of total Jewish population left USSR within 1968-1981.

9,955 Jews left USSR within 1979-1988, from which
2,157 Jews left for Israel.

Between 1980 and 1989 almost 14% of total Jewish population emigrated from USSR.

Number of Jewish population that emigrated from Belarus to Israel:

In 1989 - 14,158 people
In 1990 - 33,085 people
In 1991 - 15,146 people
In 1992 - 3,157 people
In 1993 - 2,431 people
In 1994 - 2,952 people
In 1995 - 3,705 people
In 1996 - 3,324 people
Total: 77,958 people

17,289 Jews emigrated from Minsk to Israel within 1989-1991,
13,370 Jews emigrated from Gomel to Israel within 1989-1991
5,575 Jews emigrated from Bobruisk to Israel within 1989-1991.

Changes in Jewish population of Belarus within 1989-1999

RegionJewish populationPercentage of Jews to the total population of the Republic of Belarus (%)
1989199919891999
Brest Region3,2271,1270,20,1
Vitebsk Region12,7024,6330,90,2
Gomel Region31,7705,8961,90,4
Grodno Region2,2089380,20,1
Minsk Region4,4361,5430,30,1
Minsk city39,15410,1412,40,6
Total111,97727,8101,10,3

Jewish population of some Belarusian cities for 1999 year:

Minsk - 10,141
Gomel - 4,029
Vitebsk - 2,883
Mogilev- 1,698
Bobruisk- 1,360
Orsha - 641
Grodno- 609
Mozyr - 565
Borisov-565
Polotzk - 489
Brest- 415
Rechitza- 340
Baranovichy- 208
Zhlobin- 181
Molodechno- 113
Svetlogorsk (Propoisk)- 112
Lida - 111




 
 
 
 
 
 
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