Jewish Kiev

Jewish Kiev

The history of Kiev as, indeed, the history of other major European cities is closely connected with the life of many ethnic communities. Among the large number of them, Jewish population in Kiev has always been the most powerful. Jewish community has left a vivid imprint on the history and culture of the Ukrainian capital.

From the time of Kievan Rus and in the Middle Ages, traders and merchants of Podil were Jews. In Kiev, there were a large number of synagogues, Jewish secondary and higher education establishments. For example, the synagogue at the corner of Rustaveli and Rognedinskaya Street appeared in Kiev in 1898. A well-known Kiev millionaire and philanthropist – "sugar king" Lazar Brodskiy – allowed a large amount of money for its construction. In 1926, Brodsky Synagogue was confiscated by Soviet authorities. During the Soviet times, the synagogue was used as a club of handicraft, during the German occupation - as a stable of horses for the army, and later as a puppet theater. Only in 1997 it was again transferred to the Jewish community of Kiev. During the Jewish tour in Kiev you can also see the large Kiev Choral Synagogue and Galician Synagogue. Other famous places, such as Bessarabian Market, the housing of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, appeared on the map due to Jewish philanthropists.

Many outstanding Jewish scientists, doctors, businessmen, engineers and artists lived and worked in Kiev. Here are just some of them: writers Sholom-Aleichem and Isaac Babel, poets Ilya Ehrenburg and Osip Mandelstam, politicians Efraim Katzir and Golda Meir.

Jewish history of Kiev has both good and tragic times. In the northwestern part of the city there is notorious Babiy Yar. During the World War II this was a place of mass executions of civilians, mostly Jews and Gypsies, as well as Soviet prisoners of war in 1941. Various sources inform about the different number of victims (about a hundred thousand people). Only a few people managed to escape from Babiy Yar. At present in Babiy Yar there are several monuments and memorial complex to victims of the Holocaust and other victims of mass executions.

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