Kiev War Memorial
(photo by richard L baum)
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine
Its map coordinates are 50° 26' north latitude and 30° 31' east longitude.
Pre-Holocaust Jewish population: 140,256
Name Variants: Kiev [Russian and Yiddish]; Kyyiv [Ukrainian]; Kijew [German]; Kijów [Polish]
Kiev, situated on the Dneiper River,
has been a key commercial crossroad between Europe and Asia since its founding in
the ninth century. Jews have lived in Kiev since its earliest days and have
played a significant role in the city's economic development, despite perennial
hostility from the surrounding community.
The Kievan Jewish community was wealthy and vibrant. By the end of the
nineteenth century it had a beautiful synagogue, a hospital for the poor, over twenty
schools, and a library. There were lawyers, physicians, and engineers, as well as
merchants, artisans, and members of the military.
Jews made up about seventeen percent of Kiev University's student body.
Golda Meir was born in Kiev. Shalom Aleichem lived in the city. Writers, among
whom are Ilya Ehrenburg and J. Kaminer, were also natives of Kiev.