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Drogicin, Belarus

"Drohitchin" (Yiddish)

Драгічын , Drohiczyn , Dragichyn , Drahichyn

Lat: 52 11', Long: 25 09'



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Compiled by Benjamin M. Eisenstein

Updated: Mar, 2014

Copyright 2014 Benjamin M. Eisenstein

Contact Benjamin M. Eisenstein

Maps


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This was originally a hand drawn map in the Drogicin yiskor book.

Drogicin City Map

Background Information


There is a yiskor book for Drogicin the title of which can be translated as "Drohitchin: Five Hundred Years of Jewish Life". The dedication reads "In memory of the five thousand Jewish souls from Drohitchin who perished at the hands of the murderous Germans in two mass slaughters". Written by Rabbi Dov Warshawsky, it is a compilation of stories, history and biography contributed by survivors of the holocaust. It is written in Yiddish. The following is a brief overview gathered from the book.

The Polesye is the area that Drogicin is located. It is one of the great swampy areas of Europe. These swamps served to protect the town from the armies of King Karl XII of Sweden, Napoleon Bonapart and the Germans in WWI. The rest of the area contains forests and rivers. The rivers were a good source of fish, and thus income for the area. Lumber was also a major business in the area.

The earliest reference to Jews from the town can be found in the records of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, the so called Registry. These show that Jews farmed some significant plots in the area in the years 1463-1494.The annual contribution of these tenant farmers was 6,000 Groshen.

The 1766 census indicated 510 Jewish souls in the town. This may be low because 2 gilders had to be paid for each Jew in taxes. In 1847, according to the official census, there were 843 Jews in Drohitchin. The economic conditions of the area improved in the early part of the twentieth century, due to the opening of a railroad station (in Nagorye) and then the construction of a road from the station to Drogicin. In 1921 there were 1521 Jews and by 1939 there were 4500.

Religious life was very important in the town. It was a center for Cabalism. In the late part of the eighteenth century lived one of the old Drogicin rabbis, Reb Dovid Yafa (Jaffee, Yaffe). Reb Dovid Came from Reb Mordkhe Yafa's family. Reb Mordkhe was known as "Master of the Garments." In addition to being a great rabbi, Reb Dovid was also a great cabalist. Legend has it that he created a golem. Later the town was influenced by the Khassidic Movement.

The Jews of Drogicin formed a vigilante group before WWII which allowed them to stand up against the growing anti-semitism. There were no pogroms during that time due to the proud and defiant attitude of the Jews of Drogicin. However with the German occupation, Jewish Drohitchin was destroyed in two mass slaughters on October 17 and July 25, 1942.

Searchable Databases

 

Drogicin Yizkor Book

The Drogicin Yizkor book is now available in both on-line and in print form!

This book is both history and memoir, and it includes poetry, tributes, and many photos. Former Drohitchin residents and descendants contributed first-hand accounts to this book so that future generations could learn about the long history of this once vibrant Jewish community. Read and treasure this heart-wrenching account of a Jewish world that no longer exists. Also contained is a necrology of the Shoah victims from Drogicin and nearby towns murdered in the two Drogicin massacres ( July 25 and October 15, 1942).

For more information about the book in print and how to purchase the book, go to: 

The online version of the book can be found at:


Other Drogicin Links


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