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