LYAKHOVICHI


LYAKHOVICHI (Pol. Łachowicze; Yid. לעכוויטש), city in Brest-Litovsk oblast, Belarus. Jews were living in Lyakhovichi by the first quarter of the 17th century. According to a decision of the Lithuanian Council of 1623 (see *Councils of the Lands), the community was subordinated to the kahal of *Pinsk. During the second half of the 18th century the city's annual fairs were an important meeting place for Jewish merchants. There were 729 Jewish poll tax payers in 1766; in 1847 the community numbered 1,071, increasing to 3,846 (76.6% of the total population) in 1897. A branch of the Karlin ḥasidic dynasty prevailed in the town. The chaos during World War I and the immediate postwar years caused a drop in the Jewish population and in 1921 it numbered only 1,656 (58.7%). A Tarbut school and a yeshivah with 50 pupils operated there.

[Encyclopaedia Judaica (Germany)]

Holocaust Period

On the eve of the German occupation (June 24, 1941) the community consisted of 6,000 Jews. The Germans entered town on June 26, and on June 28 a number of Jewish community leaders were murdered in the nearby forest, following which a pogrom broke out in which 82 Jews were killed (July 1). In fall 1941 the Jews were ordered to assemble in the marketplace, where a Selektion was made to separate the 1,500 able-bodied from the 2,000 "nonproductive." The latter were taken to a trench and murdered; some tried to escape but most of these were shot. The "productive" persons were interned in a ghetto. A group of young persons, led by Zalman Rabinowicz, Josef Peker, and Haim Abramowicz, organized resistance units. On June 10, 1942, a second Aktion was carried out in which 1,200 Jews were murdered. Some attempts at resistance were thenmade. When an Aktion to liquidate the entire ghetto was carried out the Germans met with armed resistance. Some ghetto inmates escaped to the forests and joined the partisans, among them Shmuel Mordkowski, who was an outstanding resistance fighter. The rest were killed on June 24, 1942. Fewer than ten Jews survived in Lyakhovichi. About 80 Jews from the town who had joined the Soviet army in 1941 also survived.

[Aharon Weiss]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Lachowicze, Sefer Zikkaron (Heb. and Yid., 1949); Halpern, Pinkas, index; S. Dubnow (ed.), Pinkas ha-Medinah (1925), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Połsce w wiekach XIX I XX (1930), 84; I. Schiper (ed.), Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index.


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