VORONEZH


VORONEZH, city and region in Southern Central Russia. The province of Voronezh lay outside the Jewish Pale of *Settlement, and until 1917 Jews were forbidden to settle there. The Russian authorities also took special steps at the beginning of the 19th century to remove Jews from the province, in order to prevent them from influencing those Russian sectarians who inclined toward Judaism (the Subbotniki, who were numerous there). Small groups of Jews, entitled to settle outside the boundaries of the Pale, nevertheless found their way into the province during the 19th century. In 1874, 319 Jews lived in the town and obtained permission to maintain a synagogue in a private house. The constitution of their community received official authorization in 1890. In 1897 there were 2,888 Jews in the Voronezh province, of whom 1,708 resided in the town of Voronezh. The Jewish population of the town was assaulted during the wave of riots which broke out in Russia in October 1905, and the community was attacked again during the Russian Civil War (1918–20). After World War I, the number of Jews in Voronezh increased and by 1926 had reached 5,208 (4.3% of the general population). The community suffered severely during the Nazi occupation (July 1942 to January 1943). According to the 1959 census, there were 6,179 Jews in the Voronezh district, most of whom lived in the city of Voronezh, though their real number was estimated at close to 10,000. There was no synagogue, as the old synagogue was turned into a storehouse for building material (reported in the New York Times, June 19, 1959). When the Jews attempted to repossess the synagogue, the authorities said that they must first purchase a new storehouse and then renovate the building, but the community lacked the necessary funds. In 1959 the Star of David was removed from the synagogue wall. There was no separate Jewish cemetery. In 2002 there were 1,522 Jews in the Voronezh district.

[Abraham N. Poliak]


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