KURSK, capital of Kursk district, Russian Federation. Before the 1917 Revolution, Kursk was outside the *Pale of Settlement. In 1858 there were 458 Jews in the entire province (gubernia), most of them army veterans. The numbers for the province had risen to 4,355 in 1897, 1,689 of them (2.2% of the total population) in the city itself. The Kursk community was under the jurisdiction of the rabbi of Konotop. A pogrom occurred on October 20, 1905. In 1926, the Jewish population in the city was 4,154 (4.2%) and 4,914 (4.1%) in 1939. A Yiddish school existed from the early 1920s. The Germans occupied Kursk on November 2, 1941, and it seems that most of the town's Jews managed to escape. Nine Jews were killed a week later, 150 by February 1941, and a 100 in June or July 1942. In November 1956, after the *Sinai Campaign, the local Jews were compelled to sign an anti-Israel declaration published in Izvestiya. The only synagogue left in Kursk was closed by the authorities in the late 1960s. In 1970 the Jewish population of Kursk was estimated at about 9,000. In the early 2000s fewer than 1,000 remained but Jewish life had revived.


Die Judenpogrome in Russland, 2 (1910), 513.

[Yehuda Slutsky /

Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]

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