RADUN


RADUN (Pol. Raduń; Yid. Radin), a town in Grodno district, Belarus. Originally a Polish royal estate, Radun became important in the 16th century because it was situated on the main road between Cracow and Vilna. Jews were still forbidden to live there in 1538 and Jewish farmers who cultivated lands in the vicinity exerted their influence to have Radun granted municipal status so that they would not be expelled. In 1623 the Council of the Province of Lithuania (see Councils of the *Lands) made the Radun community subordinate to that of Grodno. In 1765 there were 581 poll tax-paying Jews in Radun and district; in the town itself there were 283 Jews in 1847; 896 (53.3 percent of the total population) in 1897; and 671 (53.5 percent) in 1925. The center of Radun spiritual life was the yeshivah founded in 1869 by *Israel Meir ha-Kohen (the Ḥafez Ḥayyim). Its fame was widespread and the 300 students came from far and near. In 1940 most of the yeshivah students were transferred to United States via Japan. The Jews of Radun earned their livelihood from commerce, crafts, and agriculture; in the 1920s, 12 percent of the 200 members of the Jewish cooperative bank were farmers. In 1922 the *Yekopo relief society in Vilna gave loans to 19 farms, covering an area of 420 dessiatines (1,134 acres).

[Dov Rabin]

Holocaust Period

Before the outbreak of World War II, there were about 800 Jews in Radun. In September 1939 the Red Army entered the town and a Soviet administration was established there until the outbreak of the German-Soviet war. The Germans occupied the town on June, 30, 1941. In October a ghetto was established containing 1,700 persons, from neighboring towns: Dowgielishki, Zablocie, Zirmun and Nacha. A large-scale Aktion took place on May 10, 1942, when 1,000 Jews were killed, 300 escaped to the forests, some joining partisan units; the remaining skilled artisans were sent to Szczuczyn and from there, after a while, to their deaths in an unknown place. After the war the Jewish community of Radun was not reconstituted.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

S. Dubnow (ed.), Pinkas ha-Medinah (1925), 17–18; A. Rivkes, in: Life, 1 (1951), 653; Unzer Hilf, 1–3 (1921–23); Yahadut Lita, 3 (1967), 57–58.

[Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]


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