KIROVOGRAD


KIROVOGRAD (until 1924 Yelizavetgrad, from 1924 to 1936 Zinovyevsk, and from 1936 to 1939 Kirovo), district capital in Ukraine. Jews began to settle in Kirovograd in 1769 together with other nationalities. In 1799 they numbered 398 persons (out of 4,327 total population), and in 1803 there were 574 Jews listed in the municipal register. The Jewish population of Kirovograd increased rapidly during the 19th century as a result of the settlement of the New Russia provinces by Jewish emigrants from the northern provinces of the *Pale of Settlement. In 1861 there were 8,073 Jews in the city, while in 1897 their numbers had increased to 23,967 (39% of the total population). In 1879 there were 120 large-scale Jewish merchants among 160; 650 petty traders among the 900; 280 Jewish craftsmen and 368 Christians; and 46 Jewish landowners. From the mid-19th century there were an old-age home for 25 people, about 50 ḥadarim, two first-level state Jewish schools, two talmudei torah, and 17 private schools, mostly for girls. In 1882 a Reform anti-talmudic society called the Bible Brotherhood (Bibleitzy) was founded by Jacob *Gordin. Severe riots broke out in Kirovograd on April 15–17, 1881, marking the beginning of the spate of pogroms which struck the Jews of southern Russia during the 1880s. The damage from robbery and destruction of shops and houses was estimated at 1.9 million rubles. In 1887 there were 12 Jewish city council members out of 67. At the end of the 19th century there were signs of powerful tendencies toward assimilation and russification among the Jews of Kirovograd, but at the same time the nationalist and Zionist movement under the leadership of V. *Tiomkin also gained adherents. The Jews played an important role in the town. The majority of the flour mills and the spirit and tobacco factories were under their control, and the commerce in grain was also concentrated in their hands. On October 18–19, 1905, a state-sponsored pogrom occurred, 11 Jews were murdered, 150 wounded, and the police forbade the mutual Christian-Jewish self-defense to intervene. In the course of World War I about 3,000 deported Jews reached Kirovograd. Among them was the Lida yeshivah with 96 pupils. During the Civil War there were three pogroms in 1919: the first, on February 4–5, claimed the lives of 13 Jewish self-defenders; the second, on May 15–17, resulted in 1,926 killed; and the third, on August 11, claimed about 1,000 victims. The last two pogroms were staged by the Grigoryev gang. With the establishment of the Soviet regime, Jewish institutions were closed down and Jewish communal life was suppressed. In 1926, 18,358 Jews (27.6% of the total population) lived in Kirovograd, with the number dropping to 14,641 (14.6%) by 1939. During the 1920s trade was liquidated, and some Jewish merchants went to work in factories, while 142 families settled on land. In 1925 there were 2,500 Jewish artisans, and they composed the vast majority in some trade unions, such as 99% in the tailors' union and 75% in the printers' union. In 1929 most of the workers in the textile industry were Jews, and among 6,000 workers of the farm machinery factory – 900 were Jews. In the 1920s there were several Yiddish schools, but due to the pressure of the authorities and the russified parents most of them closed in the 1930s. The Germans occupied the town on August 14, 1941. The registration by nationality showed a bit more than 5,000 Jews in town. On August 23 and in mid-September Einsatzkommando 4b murdered a few hundred Jews. Several hundreds of men were taken to a camp and killed after a while. On September 30, 1941, all Jews were gathered together, taken to anti-tank ditches about 3 km. from town, and murdered there. Anyone hiding who was caught was executed in prison. Only about ten Jews survived. In 1970 the Jewish population was estimated at about 10,000. The synagogue was closed by the authorities in 1957 but returned to the community in 1991 as Jewish life revived despite large-scale emigration.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Die Judenpogrome in Russland, 2 (1909), 138–43; E. Heifetz, The Slaughter of the Jews in the Ukraine in 1919 (1921), 243–8; Rosenthal, in: Reshumot, 3 (1923), 413–14; E. Tcherikower, Di Ukrainer Pogromen in Yor 1919 (1965), index.

[Yehuda Slutsky /

Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.