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Jewish Agricultural Colonies in Russia - part two

by Harry D. Boonin

reprinted with his permission from ROOTS-KEY,

Newsletter of Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles.

Spring 1992


Go to Elk:Judischen Kolonien in Rusland


The Jewish Encyclopedia  Funk and Wagnals 1951


Go to Jewish Agricultural Colonies in the Western Governments:

(Grodno, Kiev, Kovno, Minsk, Mohilev, Podolsk, Vilna, Vitebsk and Volhynia)


Go to History of Colonization (Ekaterinoslav Colonies)



In a previous article on this subject (Roots-Key, Vol.11, No. 1, Spring 1991), 39 agricultural colonies in Kherson and Ekaterinoslav Guberniyas were listed. I have located additional information concerning some of these colonies and some information about colonies in Podolia Guberniya.


In the 1892 index Sistematicheski Ukazatel' literatury o evreakh na russkom yazike (A Systematic Index of the  Literature of the Jews in the Russian Language), St. Petersburg, 1892, there are 70 entries describing the colonies of New Russia and the southwestern area. The entries are numbered 5020 through 5089a. Entries 5039 and 5040 are for Kherson Guberniya itself; entries 5056 through 5060 are for Ekaterinoslav Guberniya and entries 5078 and 5079 are for Podolia Guberniya.

The following entries are for

individual colonies:



Agricultural Colony

Index No.

New Berislav




New Zlatopol

5065, 5066



There are other entries in Sistematicheski that reference colonies not listed in the previous article published in Roots-Key. The entries in Sistematicheski, for the most part, refer the reader to newspapers and periodicals published in Russia from 1708 to 1889. Most of the papers were published after 1860. Some of these newspapers may be found in the United States in major repositories such as the Library of Congress, YIVO, the New York Public Library and Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.


Another source containing information on these colonies is the Russian Imperial Government Series on Microfilm in the Library of Congress - A Guide to the Uncatalogued Collection, compiled by Harold M. Leich (Washington: Library of Congress, 1985).

The guide's catalog number is Z 6956 S65 L52. The microfilm number is 83/5231. There are 967 different titles, two of which are described by Harold and James Rhode in their article: "Russian Sources in Western Libraries" (Avotaynu, Vol. VI, No. 4, Winter 1990). A third title not noted in the Rhode article is Evreiskiiaa zemlediel' chesldia poselniia Ekaterinoslavskoi guberniya (Jewish Agricultural Colonies in Ekaterinoslav Guberniya), microfilm number 83/5231-813. The title is on Reel 172, pages 77-106. The information, covering both Alexandrovskii and Mariupolskii Districts of Ekaterinoslav Guberniya, unfortunately contains only statistical and not personal data on these colonies. Perhaps a closer examination will reveal more details.

With respect to the colonies of Big and Little Nagartav, Kherson District, Kherson Guberniya, see the article in Rechi po pogromhim delam (Speeches about Pogrom Matters), Kiev, 1908 (Hebrew Union College No. HUC X21 R98, pages 43-48, where the pogrom in Nagartav in 1881 is described).

Recently Maurice R. Commanday, who addressed the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles in September 1991, received the results of ongoing research in Kirovograd concerning the beginnings of Jewish agricultural colonies in the Elizabetgrad District of Kherson Gubemiya. The following information, obtained from archival sources in Kirovograd, was furnished to Mr. Commanday by the Association for the Jewish Culture of Kirovograd.2 Jews were allowed to settle in the territory by a law of November 16, 1769. (From 1765 to 1806 the territory around Elizabetgrad was called Novorossisk.) "Besides the cities and the shtetls in which the Jews had small shops and trading posts, there were also some agricultural colonies which were organized by Jewish peasants. The everyday lives of the peasants, in spite of large subsidies from the government, were so fragile and difficult and so economically marginal that an ukase of April 6, 1810 halted the movement of Jews into the Novorossisk province which order was lifted only in 1837, and in all Jewish colonies in the Kherson province in 1849."

Concerning the colony of Gromoklaya (or Glomokleya), Mr. Commanday was advised that in 1896 the police chief of Bobrenitz made the following inventory of the colony: "48 families and houses, population 334 (164 males and 170 females). There was a Jewish house of worship, a post office, a small general store, and a bath house. The nearest city was 75 versts (50 miles)." Mr. Commanday was also advised that the three major colonies in Elizabetgrad district, i.e., Gromoklaya, Israelevka and Sagaydak) remained in existence as collectives until 1941.

1. Another entry for New Berislav (No. 4994) is listed under a different heading Sistematicheski

2. Mr. Commanday notes that the information found by the Association for Jewish Culture of Kirovograd is perhaps the "...earliest physical records of agricultural collective organizations (kibbutzim) among the Jews in the modern era."


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