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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk District and Towns



For many years this was a fortified city. The addict of 1812 forbade Jews building within a fortress. Jews were the majority of the artisans, factory workers and also worked in building. They played a prominent part in industry and commerce. Dvinsk became a center of Jewish workers movements (Bund, Poli Zion). The workers formed a strong defense organization, which deterred the pogroms of 1903. Most of the people killed in the demonstrations, during the 1905 revolution, were Jews. Dvinsk was a center of Torah learning. Prominent Rabbis were:

  • Meir Simcha HaKohen
  • Joeeph Rozin

The head of the bund, Noah Meisel, became a member of the Latvian Parliament. The Zionist movement was strong (Zeirei Zion, HeHalutz [had a Hachshara]). The Zionists sent a delegate to the first Zionist Congress. There were Jewish and Hebrew Elementary Schools, a municipal Hebrew High School and an ORT vocational school. There were communal institutions and a sports organization. The Germans occupied the city in June 1941, a pogrom was organized, synagogues were burned down or requisitioned by the army and a ghetto was set up. In October1941 the Jews of the ghetto were murdered. About 1000 professionals and experts remained. The ghetto was liquidated in May 1942. (EJ)

There is a database which gives much information about Dvinsk.

There is an article in he Jewish Encyclopedia about Dvinsk.