Yurevichi, Belarus

Rechitsa Uyezd, Minsk Gubernia

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Jewish Farmers In Belarus During The 1920s

Smilovitsky, Leonid. “The Jewish Farmers in Belarus During the 1920s.” Jewish Political Studies Review Jerusalem. Vol. 9, No 1-2. (1997): Pages 59-72.

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  • Jews enter Belarus in late 14th centure with permission of Vitovt, Prince of the Great Kingdom of Lithuania.
    • Immigrated from Western Europe, mostly Germany and Poland
  • 1917 Russian revolution. Civil war and pogroms take place; result in Jews supporting Bolshevik Party
    • Jews attempt to emigrate. Civil war stopped emigration.
  • New Economic Policy
    • abolition of private trade; restrictions on small artisans. Depriving rights (Lishentsy), “persons without any definite kind of occupation”
    • Former Jewish merchants, dealers, trademen, shopkeepers, mediators, melameds (teachers), craftsmen, handicraft workers
    • These Jews lived with the help of remitances from abroad
  • Soviets try to solve Jewish poverty by allowing them to be farmers
    • Insufficient land in Belarus to add Jewish farmers.
    • Therefore, it was necessary to “evict” all Jews who wanted to be farmers
    • Early Jewish collective farms created naturally between 1918-1920. Founded by groups of workers, craftsmen, petty merchants, dealers and shopkeepers to save themselves from famine
    • In 1921, new Jewish collective farms stopped
    • Between 1924-1925, 80 Jewish collective farms created in BSSR
  • Aid for Jewish farming came from
    • American-Jewish United Agricultural Corporation (Agrojoint)
    • Society for Spreading Farming and Handicraft amoung Jews
    • Jewish Colonial Society
    • Resettlement of one Jewish family cost between 1800-2200 rubles
  • Jews were over 20% of the Belarus Communist Party, but never more than 10% of the population.


  • Jews living in cities and towns interacted with the villare and rural economies
    • trade in the forest industries
    • leather industries
    • Peddling village produce (flax, hemp and bristles) in the city
    • agriculture
  • After Revolution, high unemployment
    • Blacksmiths were better off
    • Tanners, dressmakers, tailors, shoemakers and others were jobless
sources/articles/jewish_farmers_in_belarus_during_the_1920s.txt · Last modified: 2023/03/04 21:57 by

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