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SKVIRA, city in Kiev oblast, Ukraine. Skvira was an ancient town which was completely destroyed at the end of the 16th century. In 1736 it was mentioned as a village leased by a Jewish lessee. In 1789 there were 37 Jewish houses out of a total of 197 houses counted that year. In 1847 Jews registered in Skvira numbered 2,184. During the 1840s the ẓaddik R. Isaac Twersky (of the Chernobyl dynasty) settled in Skvira. The Jewish community was primarily engaged in the trade of grain and other agricultural products. In 1897 there were 8,910 Jews (49.5% of the population) in Skvira. During the Civil War, Jews suffered severely from belligerent armies and during the pogroms which frequently occurred, several hundred Jews were killed. The number of Jews decreased considerably after World War I and in 1926 there were only 4,681 Jews (33.6% of the population) remaining. Under the Soviet regime the religious and communal life of the Jews of Skvira was dissolved. The Germans entered the town in September 1941. Almost 1,000 Jews who did not succeed in escaping were murdered. The Jewish population was estimated in the late 1960s at about 500. The *Twersky ḥasidic line emanating from Skvira eventually settled in the U.S. where they founded their own township called New Square (Skvira) in Rockland County, New York.


Reshummot, 3 (1923), 214–21; Y. Ereẓ (ed.), Sefer Z.S. (1963), 108–10.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.