compiled from the sources at the bottom of the page by Ellen Sadove Renck
Lida/Lyda at 53º53 25º18
Lida Povet in the end of 16th century: The villages are Bakshty, Bastuny, Belitsa, Belogrud Benakonya, Berdovka, Blotka, Boltiniki, Dakudavo, Debrovo, Ditriki, Ditva, Dubichi, Dubrovno, Dovgily, Dvorischa, Eishishki, Elna, Gantsovichi, Girki, Glubokoe, Golunka, Gorodnoe, Gromki, Gudishki, Ischalna, Konyava, Krupa, Lebyada, Lida, Lipichno, Lubary, Lychkovo, Mikilevstchina, Moletichi, Motyli, Mozheikovo, Mitva, Nacha, Novy Dvor, Oldova, Olzhava, Ostrino, Palubniki, Pelesa, Perepechechi, Provozha, Radun, Raklishki, Richa, Rozhanka, Selets, Slusha, Skorby, Schany, Schutchin, Tanevichi,Tureisk, Volkovysk, Zblyany, Zheludok, Vasilishki, Vaverka, Velikaya, Verbilovichi, Verhlidy, Voleishi, Vaskevichi, Yatov, Yatvesk, Zabolote, Zamostje, Zhermuny, Zhizhma
Lida povet in the second half of 19th century: The villages are
Belitsa, Benyakoni, Dokudavo, Dombrovo, Lida, Gornyato, Gonchary, Myto,
Novaya Lebeda, Naroshe Orlya, Ostrino, Palyatkishki, Radun, Rozhanka,
Sabakintsy, Schutchin, Sluchi, Urzdika, Vasilishki, Zabolotj, Zabroevtsy,
"Lida" means "a place cleared of forest". The Lida River, a tributary of the Neman, flows through Lida. It is the capital of Lida povet, and a railway center for travel and shipping to Grodno,Vilnuis, Molodechno, and Baranovichi.
There are passing mentions of Lida in chronicles from 1180 on. Until the early 1300's, the settlement at Lida was a wood fortress. In 1323, Lithuanian Prince Gedimin built a stone/brick fortress there. 1380 is generally considered the founding year of the city of Lida. The fortress withstood Crusader attacks (from Prussia) in 1392 and 1394 but burned to the ground in 1710. Following the death of Gedimin, when Lithuania was divided into principalities, Lida became the capitol of one: the seat of Prince Olgierd.
Lida was in the Great Lithuanian Principality in the second half of
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and became a center of production
by craftsmen and trade. Lida was connected with Vilno, Novogrudak,
and Minsk and most closely
with Polotsk, source of raw materials (metal and so on). At that time, the town had the market aquare and four streets (Vilenskaya, Zamkovaya, Kamenskaya, and Krivaya). The suburb of Lida at that time was Zarechje. In 1588 Lida became the seat of Lida povet in Vilno voevodstvo. Magdeburg Rights were granted to Lida in 1590 and confirmed in 1776 by the Polish Sejm. By these rights, Lida held two annual fairs of little import to the local economy. About 1550, Lida was the uezd (wojewodztwo) center of Vilna province and seat of a Starosta (royal representative). The seal of the city of Lida was granted with the Magdeburg rights. The population at that time was between 2000 to 5000.
The 17th century was a difficult time in Lida. Caught in wars between Rechpospolitaya with Russia and Sweden. A depression resulted, and people moved out of Lida en masse. By 1786, only 514 inhabitants were left in Lida. Beginning 1795, Lida was part of the Russian Empire as a povet center of Slonim (1795). Then, Lida was part of Lithuania guberniya in 1797 and Grodno guberniya in 1801.
The town was greatly destroyed during the French occupation in 1812. In 1817, there were 770 people. The 1837 population was 1366 people in 324 houses. Beginning 1842, Lida is the povet center in Vilno gubernya. In 1863 and 1873, two beer factories were built in Lida. In 1870-80, leather factories, a tobaco factory, and a starch factory opened. In 1884, the railway Vilno-Lunenets was finished. In 1886 a letter from Chaim Abraham Kemenetzki on behalf of Lida residents was printed in Hamelitz. In 1907, the railway Molodechno-Mosty opened. The 1897 population was 8626 people. 47.2% of this population was illiterate.
A two-year school opened. Then, a parish school with the department for girls opened as did a Jewish school. In 1899, a 25-bed hospital opened. In 1901, cast-iron plant began to operate. In 1903, sawmill opened operation. At the end of nineteenth century and at the beginning of 20 century, two brick plants were built. In 1904, there were 1000 houses of which 275 were brick, fourteen small enterprises, four hospitals with beds for 115 people, and six elementary schools for 700 pupils. In 1904, the Russian Social Democratic Party was formed. During the revolutions of 1905-07, the uprisings of the workers took place, complete with political slogans. In 1914, there were almost 40 factories.
During WWI, Lida was occupied by the German troops. In 1919, the Red Army established Soviet power. On April 17 1919, Polish troops occupied Lida. On July 17, 1920, the Red Army returned. September 30, 1920 again began the Polish troop control. In accordance with Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, it belonged to Poland as the povet center in Novogrudok voevodstvo. In 1927, there were twenty-four factories in Lida. Forty-nine people employed at the agricultural machine factory. Forty-nine people worked at the mill "Avtomat". These were the biggest factories. 1928-were years of rapid growth in the prodution. A new ruiber-good's"Ardal" factory started up, employing almost 600-800 people. In 1939, Lida became part of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Beginning Januuary 15,1940, Lida was the center of Lida region, Baranovichi district. From June 27 1941 to July 9,1944, it was occupied by the German troops who anihilated almost 25,149 people. Beginning September 20,1944, Lida was in Grodno district.
The 1972 population was 49.7 thousand people. In the 1990s, there are
seventeen large industrial plants: agricultural machines, electric devices,
paint production, shoes, and beer. Lida in 1990s has sixteen secondary
schools, a gimnazia, a special econdary training school, a music training
college, forty kindergartens, two cinemas, an historical museum,
policlinics, two hospitals, and five monuments to the victims of WWII. Historical monuments: Lida Castle, Catholic Church (1765-70), and Iosif church (1797-1824).
History of the Jews in Lida
The origins of the Jewish community in Lida are obsure but possibly date from the mid-sixteenth century. King Stefan Batory granted a Charter of Privileges to Lida Jews in 1579, permitting the building of a synagogue. The first mention of a Jewish kahal was in 1623, when the Councils of the Lands subordinated Lida (defined as a medium-sized "local settlement) to the Grodno kahal. Those records report quarrels between the Lida kahal and its neighbors. In 1630, the old synagogue was repaired and a new one built under permission of King Ladislaus IV. An epidemic devastated the town in 1662. Rabbi David ben Aryeh Leib Lidai, who later moved to Amsterdam, was the Lida rabbi in 1671. His son Pethahian/Ptakhiyah and grandson David Benjamin [see their torah studies in book Ir David] succeeded him as Rabbi of Lida. In the early 18th century, most Lida Jews were innkeepers or dealt in agricultural products. A few grew crops on their own land.
In 1766, 1,167 Jews paid the poll tax in the Lida.In 1897, the 5,166 Jews were 68% of the town population in a district with 24,813 Jews (12%). >From early 1800 to 1845, Rabbi Elimelich Kameniecki was the Lida rabbi, followed by Rabbi Eliahu Akiva Kameniecki who was both dayan [religious jude] and rabbi. Elijah or Eliahu Schick ("Elinke Lider") was one of the 19th century rabbis and darshans [preacher]. Another was Rabbi Binyamin from Lida. In 1862, Lida had two merchants in the First Guild and five in the Third Guild, some of whom were probably Jewish. At that time, Lida had seventy-six shops and thirty-two commercial enterprises. The percent owned by Jews is unknown.
In 1878, the Kuidanov Hassidem, based in Lida, selected Rabbi Schlomke as their rabbi. Of special importance to the nineteenth century Lida Jewish community was Rabbi Moses Isaac Darszon (1828-1899), also known as the Kelmer Maggid. Rabbi Darszon was the leading preacher of the Musar Movement, that emphasiezed morality and behavior. Rabbi Darszon was born near Slonim and was known as a preacher by the age of fifteen. At age 21, he studied in Kovno with Rabbi Israel Lipkin Salanter, the founder of the Musar Movement. For over fifty years, Rabbi Darszon was the famous Maggid of the Musar Movement, charged by Rabbi Salanter with propagating its ideals. He was a preacher in various communities including Kelme, Lithuania from 1850 to 1853 but generally remained an itinerant preacher of daily ethical behavior toward Jew and gentile alike. He established scores of philanthropic societies and "Musar shtiebels" [conventicles for Musar study] as well as courses for poor workers. He visited London in 1884 and met with Nathan Adler and Samuel Montagu [Lord Swaythling]. His only published work is Tokhelet Hayim (Vilna, 1897): ten sermons that he chose as examples of his teachings. He settled in Lida in 1898 with his son Rabbi Ben Zion Darszon.
In 1879, Lida had 189 craftsmen including tobacco-pipe manufacturers, the majority of the craftsmen being Jews. In 1882, three tanneries are mentioned, probably belonging to Jews and two Sabbath candle manufacturers.
In 1886, Rabbi Yitzhak Yakov Reines, a religious-Zionist, became Lida's rabbi. The established the Lida Yeshiva in 1905, espousing tolerance and Zionism. At his initiative, the Mizrachi Movement held its founding conference in Lida in 1902. After Rabbi Reines died in Elul of 1918, Rabbi Aharon Rabinovich, who perished in the Holocaust, succeeded him. In the 1880's, thirteen prayerhouses were grouped around a large square. They all suffered fire damage about that time although the Butchers' Synagogue remained undamaged. The town had a cheder and a Talmud Torah for the poor. Shokdai Melachah [organized 1887] financed children from poor families to study crafts with artisans as well as Hebrew and Russian. Lida also had a hospital and Old Age Home. In the early nineteenth century, Lida had a governmental elementary school and a high school that opened in 1912. Meir Lider, Noah Lider, and Rabinovich were famous cantors from pre-World War I Lida. The Bund, Poalei Zion, and Socialist Zionists all formed in 1902, meeting secretly in the woods of Lida. In 1905, they held a joint public demonstration. The Warsaw-Siedlce-Lida-Molodeczno railway and the Baranowicze-Lidz-Vilna railway crossed Lida and spurred its economy. As a result, at the end of the nineteenth century to the start of WWI, two beer factories, soft-drink plants, a tobacco-pressing factory, two small tobacco factories, a sawmill, a soap factory, and a printing press, nearly all owned by Jews, appeared in Lida. The Jewish colonization association helped establish a cooperative bank. Thus, by the second half of the nineteenth century, the Jews prospered most of them shopkeepers, peddlers, or craftsmen participating in the local fairs.
I.J. Reines (Mizrachi leader) founded a modern yeshiva in 1905 that functioned until WWI and never reopened. Itzhak Yakov Reines, with the financial support of baron Ginzburg, reorganized the yeshiva's educational system. His reformed Yeshiva curriculum, with six years intervals of teaching, included, besides Talmud, Hebrew grammar and other subject as in the technical colleges.
During World War I, Lida was disrupted as young men were drafted and economic ties with the West severed. The town filled with refugees. The German army captured Lida on 20 September 1915 and instituted a military government. All residents, regardless of religious, faced forced labor while food was rationed. The economy deteriorated while Jewish cultural life flourished. Social clubs, choirs, and dramatic groups flourished. The revenues from the dramatic groups financed the library or lectures and book discussion groups. The German occupation ended in the last part of 1917.The Bolsheviks entered Lida in the winter of 1918. On Erev Passover 1919, the Polish army entered Lida. General Haller's troops executed a pogrom in which thirty-nine Jews died. In 1919, the Sholom Aleichem School [Yiddish} opened as part of the CISHO system.
By 1921, the total Jewish population was 5,419 in the town of Lida (40.4%) and 16,551 (8.5%) in the district. Half of the 302 Jewish workshops in the town of Lida were family enterprises. 37 Jewish farms existed. In the 1920's, most Jews engaged in commerce, crafts, and industry. Jews owned 302 workshops in 1921. The Jews were the primary owners of these ventures. A rubber boot factory called "Ardal", opened in 1928, employed 1,000 and became the second largest such business in Poland. Other businesses included a nail-casting plant, a chemical and paint factory, two breweries, two cooking-oil factories, five sawmills, five flourmills, and a brick and porcelain factory. Eighteen of the town's twenty-three physicans were Jewish. The "Folksbank" was founded in 1922 as a branch of a Vilna bank. By 1925, the bank had 283 members: 183 small merchants, 74 artisans, eight farmers, and 438 professionals. It awarded 1,548 loans totaling 126,976 gulden. The Merchants Bank appeared in1928. Lida also had a charitable fund (Gemilut Hessed). In 1923, a small yeshivah opened, directed by the Yeshivot committee in Vilna. The Talmud Torah school continued. From WWI to WWII, the Central Yiddish School Organization established a secular elementary school and a children's home [orphanage? nursery?] in addition to the Tarbut school. A Hebrew kindergarten and elementary school opened in the early 1920's as part of the Tarbut network of education. Jewish children attended both state, non-Jewish schools (about 15%) and those of the Jewish community. In total, there were four Jewish schools, three libraries, five dramatic groups, and evening adult-school classes. Lida had six trade unions, two craftsmen's unions, and three Jewish sports associations. Twelve synagogues existed in Lida between WWI and WWII. The eighteen-bed hospital had two wards for internal medicine and maternity. TOZ organized day camps for children from poor families, an infant care center, a dairy kitchen for needy mothers, and medical checkups for poor children.
From roughly 1921 to 1939, Lida was designated as a miasto powiat (county town like a county seat) in the First Uchastok, Lida powiat, and Nowogrodski woj, Poland. Two justices of the peace were in Lida and the Justice Court in Wilno. The 1928 population was 13,401. Railway lines servicing Lida were Baranowicze-Wilno and Molodeczno-Mosty. The post office, telephone, and telegraph were in Lida. Lida had a Starostie, Police Chief, Police Commissioner, Bureau of Imports and Taxes; Public Revenue and Monopolies; Dept. of Transportation; Office of Placement; Rural District Office; District Expropriation Commission; District Colonization Committee; Bureau of Weights and Measures. Religious communities included two Catholic churches, one Orthodox church, and one synagogue. Lida had three high schools, an industrial and trade school, a district hospital, a Jewish hospital, two old age homes, and an electric power station. Community organizations included the following: Merchants Association, Polish Merchants Association, a section of the Central Association of Warsaw Artisans, an Association of Military "Colonies", a Regional Agricultural Society, a section of the Association of Landowners of "confins", a Regional Union of Agricultural Circles, and "unions" for Employees of the Timber Industry, Sanitation Workers, Agricultural Labor Force, Nonqualified Worker, Railway Personnel, Tobacco Manufacturing Workers, Hairdressers, and Pharmacists. Markets were on Mondays.
The city also had mills, sawmills, breweries, a cement factory, and spinning mills.
Lida traditionally had no kahal or community council. The first such was created in the early 1920's under pressure from American relief groups to supervise aid. The Polish government recognized this group as the representative of the Jewish community even after aid ceased. The first election for this group occurred in 1932.The last was on 6 September 1936. Zionist movements were active.
Refugees streamed into Lida until the middle of September, 1939. On 18 September, 1939, the Red Army enterred Lida, then annexed to Grodno District of the Belorussian Republic. Vilna and south went to the Lithuanians so the border ran very close to Lida, attracting many who wanted to cross to Vilna. Russian border guards quickly took prisoners. The atmosphere changed to communism. The 1940 Jewish population of Lida was 15,000. The Soviets closed Jewish community institution when they ruled from 1939-1941 and destroyed the Jewish economic base. Jewish refugees from western Poland who sought refuge in Lida were deported to the Russian interior in summer 1940, generally to the Rybinsk area. German bombing of Lida around 22 or 25 June 1941 burned the Jewish center of the town leaving hundreds of Jewish casualties and five hundred Jews dead of the two thousand killed. On 27 June 1941, the Germans entered Lida. With the soldiers were Einsatzgruppe B units that ordered all professionals to present themselves of whom as many as ninety-six were brutalized and shot. One week later a Judenrat was formed with fourteen members, headed by a Jewish high school teacher named Kalman Lichtman, later replaces after his murder by Dr. Charny. All males ages fifteen to sixty went to a labor camp for six weeks. Women aged sixteen to forty were forced into labor, clearing rubble, cleaning the streets. They received soup and rotting potatos. Their daily ration was 125 grams of bread per person, no protein or fat. On 5 July 1941, all rabbis, shokhets, physicians, and teachers, about two hundred in all, were murdered near the village of Stoniewicze. Late in December 1941, the Jews were concentrated in a ghetto in one of the suburbs. The ghettoized Jews of Lida received Jews from Lipniszki, Juraciszki, Traby, Bielice [Belitsa], and Duoly. On May 7, 1942, Germans, Belorussian, and Poles surrounded and sealed the ghetto. The May 8, 1942 "Aktion" left only 1,250 people. The remainder was killed near Stoniewicze. Children were separated from parents and thrown into a pit, murdered with hand grenades. Adults were stripped, force into a pit, and shot with automatic weapons by a SD murder squad. The wounded died of suffocation. Only one person survived this Aktion. About two hundred escapees returned to the ghetto. According to the Soviet Commission to Investigate Nazi War Crimes, 5,670 people died that day. Of the remaining 1500 from Lida were joined by Jews fom Woronowa, Iwje, Radun, Zholudek, and other towns. They totalled about 4,000 people. On July 8, 120 of them were murdered. On 18 September 1943, they remaining Jews were told they were being taken to Lublin. They were crammed in boxcars and taken to Majdanek. Many of the youths fled at the end of 1942 to the Bielski partisans and Iskra in Naliboki forest. Baruch Levin led one group. The ghetto was destroyed from September 17 to 19, 1943. When the city was liberated on 5 July 1944, three hundred Jews survived, mostly partisans who later joined the Soviet army.
In the 1950's, the Russian confiscated the Jewish cemetery for a building site. A few Jewish families lived in Lida in the 1970's.
Ksiega Adresowa Handlowa, Warszawa Bydgoszcz 1929
The Book of Lida
Lost Jewish Worlds
Encyclopedia of the History of Belarus, Volume 4, 1997, Minsk., p.362-363
Need to convert old Russian units?
Fond 416-419: Lida uezd., Vilna gub 1834-1884
416. Conscription revision of tenants in Lida uezd. 1834
Lida and Lida uezd, Vilnja gub.
420. Fond 1564: 12 chronicles, Lida town head foundation 1880-1894, Inv. 1: documents about session
Fond 228: School list, Lida 1921-27.
Address: Grodno Region Department, Director: Miss Karina Botrakova, National Belorussian Historical Archives of Grodno
National Belorussian Historical Archives, Grodno Region Department,
Director: Miss Karina Brotrakova
421. Teizengauz Ploschad 2, Grodno 230001Belarus
Other possible research sources:
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