GADYACH, city in Poltava district, Ukraine. From the beginning of the 19th century, the city had a small Jewish community and was renowned as the burial place of the founder of Chabad Ḥasidism, R. *Shneur Zalman of Lyady. He died in 1813 while fleeing from the armies of Napoleon and was brought to Gadyach, where a monument was built over his tomb. The Jewish community numbered 883 in 1847, and by 1897 had increased to 1,853 (24% of the total population). With the outbreak of pogroms in October 1905, Jewish property was looted. Under the Soviet regime the Jewish population declined as many left for the larger towns. In 1926 Gadyach had 1,764 Jews (17.3% of the total), dropping to 633 (5,8%) in 1939. Gadyach was occupied by the Germans on September 27, 1941, and the remaining Jews there were soon murdered. The life of the Jews under German occupation is described in Esh ha-Tamid by A. Ẓefoni (Ẓvi Preigerzon) (1966). In 1970 the number of Jews in Gadyach was estimated at about 75 (15 families). From the 1990s hundreds of hasidim from all over the Ukraine gathered annually in the town to pray at Shneur Zalman's grave.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.