Jews in Odessa, Ukraine

https://bit.ly/3v6PB8k — online burials catalog.

Odessa is the regional center of southern Ukraine with a population of over 1 million people. It was first mentioned in sources as Kachibey in 1415. Since the 16th century, the settlement has been known as Khadzhibey. In 1789, it was captured by Russian troops. Since 1794, an imperial decree was issued on the founding of a city on the site of Khadzhibey. Since that time, in the imperial and Soviet times, the official history of Odessa was conducted.

Jews lived in Khadzhibey before its occupation by Russian troops. According to sources, there were at least six Jewish families in Khadzhibey, and a Jewish cemetery has been operating since 1793. In imperial times, it became known as the First Jewish Cemetery in Odessa.

Already in 1796, Meir Elmanovich was the vowel of the Odessa City Duma. Three years later, among the vowel sources mention the Jew Tevel Lazarevich. Since 1798, a Jewish community and a synagogue functioned in the city. A Jewish hospital has been operating since 1800. In 1826, the community received permission to open a school.

The city’s Jewish population grew at the expense of visitors from Europe and Galicia. The settlers were mainly engaged in trade and crafts. If in 1827, there were 336 Jewish merchants in Odessa, then three decades later their number increased to 3,100. By the 1880s, Jews owned 10 out of 12 Odessa banks, 14 out of 16 trading companies and two out of three loan offices.

By the end of the 19th century, 138 thousand Jews lived in the city, who made up more than 34% of the local population.

Odessa Jews were the first in the empire to survive the pogroms. In the city, they happened in 1821, 1859, 1871, 1881, 1886, 1905. In response, the Jews created self-defense units. As a result, during the revolutionary events of the 1917–1920s, there were no pogroms in the city, despite the frequent changes of power.

Odessa was one of the centers of Yiddish culture. The first daily newspaper in Yiddish appeared here in 1910 and the P. Hirschbein Theater, which gave performances in Yiddish.

In the 1917–1920s, Zionist organizations operated in the city. 109 out of 188 publications in Hebrew were published in the city on the territory of the former empire.

In 1939, about 180 thousand Jews lived in Odessa. They accounted for over 29% of the population. With the outbreak of hostilities, refugees from Bessarabia and nearby settlements replenished the Jewish population. Researchers believe that about 80–90 thousand Jews were evacuated or were drafted into the Red Army. At the time of the occupation in October 1941, 100 thousand Jews remained in the city.

About 600 local ghetto prisoners and several hundred Jews, who were hiding in the catacombs or the city, were able to survive the Holocaust.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Odessa Jews en masse sought the right to repatriation. More than 17 thousand Jews left the city.

In 2001, Jews made up 1.2% of the city’s population. There were 12.4 thousand of them.

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