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Kalinkavičy is the center of the eponymous district of the Gomel region of Belarus. Known since the 16th century. The settlement received the status of a city in 1925. Jews appeared in Kalinkavičy in the second half of the 17th century. Families who fled from the pogroms in Ukraine moved here.
Since 1793, the settlement became part of the Russian Empire. Until 1805, it was the property of Prince Shakhovsky, and then passed into the possession of the treasury.
To increase tax collection, the tsarist government encouraged the resettlement of Jews from villages to townships. Therefore, by the end of the 19th century, 1.3 thousand Jews lived here, who made up 100% of the population. By that time, apart from Kalinkavičy , only Komarin in Rechitsky Uyezd of the Gomel province and Lubonichi in Bobruysky Uyezd of the Minsk province were completely Jewish. The Jews of the town were engaged in trade and handicrafts.
In 1882, a railway passed through Kalinkavičy , and in 1910, the Odessa-St. Petersburg branch made the town an important railway junction.
By the beginning of the new twentieth century, 2 thousand Jews lived in Kalinkavičy . There were three synagogues, a Jewish savings and loan association, a library and a literary society. Since 1912, an underground printing house of the Bund Party has been operating in the city.
In 1911, the Jewish community made the historic decision to make Hebrew a spoken language. Kalinkavičy also became famous thanks to the school of melamed Leib Shulman, who, in addition to religious subjects, taught children the Russian language, mathematics and a number of other sciences.
In March and November 1920, the Jews of Kalinkavičy suffered from pogroms by the Poles and White Guardsmen. In the spring of 1926, 16 families from the city moved to the Ukrainian Crimea. By the late 1930s, the authorities had closed all synagogues in the city. But the faithful gathered for prayer in private homes.
In 1940, 3.4 thousand Jews lived in the city, who constituted 35% of the population. Kalinkavičy was occupied in August 1941. In September, the Nazis relocated local Jews to a ghetto on Dachnaya Street, on the outskirts of the city. On September 21, 1941, they were sent in columns near the railway station, and the next day they were shot outside the city.
After the war in 1946, a religious community was registered in the city and a synagogue operated. In 1953, the Kalinkavičy community at their own expense installed a memorial sign at the place of execution of Jews. In 1996, a granite monument was erected at the expense of emigrants from Kalinkavičy .
In 1960, the authorities closed the synagogue and cancelled the registration of the community. In the 1970s and 1980s, Jews gathered minyan in private houses.
The religious community reappeared in 1994. Since the late 1990s, a Jewish Sunday school has been operating in the city. According to the 2009 census, 79 Jews (0.21%) remained in Kalinkavičy .
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