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Bykhov, Belarus

BYKHOV (or Stary Bykhov), city on the River Dnieper, Mogilev district, Belarus. It was one of the most important fortified cities in Belorussia. The Jewish community is mentioned in the reports of the period of the *Chmielnicki massacres 1648–49. In 1652 the Lithuanian Council (Va'ad ha-Medinah) decided to grant 40 zloti to the local synagogue. The minutes book of the ḥevra kaddisha of Bykhov contains entries from 1673. Three hundred Jews in Bykhov were massacred when it was captured by the Russians in 1659. For the help they extended to Polish troops in 1662, the Jews received a grant of privilege from the king Michael Wisniowiecki in 1669 relieving them of taxes for 20 years to ease conditions after the destruction of the city. A conference of the communities of the "Lands of Russia" (a part of Lithuanian Council; see *Councils of the Lands ) met in Bykhov in 1670. In 1758 the community was given a special privilege by the lord of the city. The Jewish population numbered 887 in 1766; 3,046 in 1847; 3,037 in 1897 (47.6% of the total); 2,575 in 1926 (32.5%); and 2,295 (total population 11,026) in 1939. During the Soviet period most of the Jews were artisans and laborers and 44 families joined two kolkhozes. Bykhov was occupied by the Germans on July 4, 1941, and in September they murdered 250 Jews. In November, 4,000 Jews from the town and environs were held in the local castle for a few days without food and water and then executed. In 1943 children of mixed marriages were murdered. Two monuments were erected in Bykhov in memory of those killed. One bears the Russian inscription "Here lie buried the Jews of Bykhov murdered by German Fascists" above which is a magen david. In 1970 about 800 Jews lived in Bykhov; there was no synagogue.


Dubnow, Divrei, 7 (1940), 18, 52, 82; P. Marek, in: Voshkod, 23 no. 5 (1903), 71–91; Kogan, in: Yevreyskaya starina, 4 (1911), 114–6. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jewish Life, S.V.

[Simha Katz / Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]

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