The Development of Jewish Agricultural Colonies

Podolsk, Bessarabia, Kherson and Ekaterinoslav Guberniyas

Bessarabia Bessarabia Region bordered by the Black Sea, Dniester, Danube and Prut rivers. The name Bessarabia is derived from that of Prince Bessarab, a prince of the Walachian family of the same name, who extended his rule into the area. By the end of the 15th century, the Turks conquered Bessarabia and ruled until 1812.  Jews were settled in this area from the 16th c.
1787 Colonization Movement
bulletSeries of resettlement programs
bullet39 foreign colonies were established along the Lower Dnieper River
1804 "The Status of Jews" A new class of farmers was created for Russian Jews
1807 Colonization

The first settlements were founded in Novorussiya (New Russia)

1810 Colonization Temporarily suspended
1811 Revision Lists

Novorusski Krai=New Russia

Documents 834 (2152 men) families from Chernigov and Mogilev living in Jewish Colonies

1812 Bessarabia In Russian Empire 1812-1856,
1818 Bessarabian Oblast Was formed
11 April 1823 Publication of an Edict Forcing Belarussian Jews to relinquish leases on taverns, inns and stores by 1824 and to re-settle in cities or towns or to turn to farming by 1825
1823 Ekaterinoslav Settlement began
1827 "Status of Jews"
1829 "Status of Jews" Imperial approval of rules for military recruiting of Jewish farmers settled according to directive of the government of State lands in Kherson gubernia.
Kherson Leading province before 1830ís. 28 colonies in Alexandrovsk; Elizabetgrad, Kherson; Tiraspol: 6 on private land, 22 on public land.
1830-1831 Districts of Western Russia including Letichev (Podalia).
bulletAs a result of the Polish-Uprising and subsequent defeat by the Russians, land was taken from the Polish landowners.
bulletIn 1830: 52 Jews were farming but no colonies established until 1844.
13 April 1835 "Status of Jews" Jews could cross over into the farming class without restrictions. They could settle on crown, purchased or leased land.
1836 Kherson District Emperor Nicholas issued a manifesto offering inducements to those of his Jewish subjects who should settle in the agricultural colonies of South Russia.
1836 Courland The first families to avail themselves of this offer were seventy from Courland led by Meyer Mendelssohn and Elijah Mitauer. Another group from Courland, consisting of 117 families, applied for permission to settle in the provinces of Siberia.
1837 Alexandrovsk District Land set aside for future colonists
1840 Kherson District  In 1840, 341, families, consisting of 2,530 persons from Courland, joined the agricultural colonies in the government of Kherson.
1844-1864 Districts of Western Russia Jewish Agricultural Colonies were founded. Between 1844-1852, 19 colonies were established.
26 December1844 "Status of Jewish Farmers" A proposal  known as Razbor: 'to declare Jews as useful". 10,000 Jews applied for status as colonists. Colonies in Volhynia, Podalia and Kiev established. Transfer to Alexandrovsk began
1844 Bessarabia Jewish population about 49,000
1844 Black Sea area Black Sea area Jewish population of Jews: over 40,000
1845 Ekterinoslav Pukha, I. States that Jewish colonists from Grodno, Kovno, Mogilev and Vitebsk gurberniyas settled in Zaporozhye region.

Establishment of  the colonies of  Krasnoselelovka, Mezhirich and Veseloye

1848 Ekterinoslav Establishment of  the colonies of Grafskaya, Nechayevka ad Novozlatopol Priyutnaya
1850 Ekterinoslav Establishment of  the colony of Gorkaya
1853 Ekterinoslav Establishment of  the colonies of Zelenopol, Sladkovodnoooye
1855 Ekterinoslav Establishment of  the colonies of Bogodarovka, Nadeshnaya, Roshkosnoye, Trudliubovka and Zatrishye
1849 Jewish Colonies with more than 200 men
1856 Bessarabia Part of Romania 1856-1878
1858 Kherson and Ekaterinoslav HaMagid reported a total Jewish population of 17,153 in the Jewish Agricultural Colonies* of Kherson and Ekaterinoslav Guberniyas.
30 May 1866 All provinces Alexander II canceled legislation ordering the transformation of Jews into farmers. Therefore, the settlement of Jews on public was lands discontinued
1866 Alexandrovsk 17 settlements
After 1866 All Provinces Conversion of colonies into farm trade settlements
1873 Bessarabian Oblast Became a Province. The total number of Jewish Colonies were 16. 1082 homesteads with 10,589 inhabitants. In Russian Empire 1878-1918.
May 1881 Ekaterinoslav Pogroms: mutilation and destruction acted upon the Jews
1897 All Empire Census

Ekaterinoslav: 747 Jewish farms with 5,142 inhabitants

Kherson had 19,419 Jewish inhabitants.

1918 Bessarabia Part of Romania 1918-1940
1924 Russia The formation of the Agro-Joint (American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation organized by the Joint Distribution Committee (J.D.C.): to bring into productive occupation the unfortunate masses of the Jews of Russia (2,700,000.The "declassed" ("lishenetz") deprived of all rights of citizenship, because neither peasant, Government employee, industrial or productive worker. Beginning of efforts of large-scale resettlement on the land as farmers. Of the previous colonies, there remained only about 15,000 Jewish farmers settled on the land in Russia. By 1937, there were new Colonies in Ukraine and Crimea due to the efforts of the Agro-Joint.
1940 Bessarabia In USSR (Moldavian SSR) 1940-1991

*Kherson: Bolshoya; Sde Menucha; Mala Sde Menucha; Brobrovi Kut; Bolshoa Nehar Tov; Mala Nehar Tov; Yafe Nehar; Inguletz; Kamioka; Islozistaya; Israelivka; Sageidok; Novi Berislav; Ilvovai; Novi Poltava; Romanovka; Novi Vitebsk; Novi podolsk; Novi Kovno; Ekaterinoslav: Ilvai Zlatopol; Vesulai; Krasnoselsk; Menireza; Nitziavka; Grafskaya


Sources: Avotaynu XV/2/14; Avotaynu XIII/4/31

Chapin and Weinstock, The Road to Letichev


Additional note: from Ayana Kimron

Glossary: Gubernia = province of the Russian Empire. Pale of Settlement
Russian: Cherta osedlosti = The 15 gubernias on the western edge of the
Russian Empire, to which Jewish residence was restricted, 1794 to 1917.




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