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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Ukraine: Crimea

Jews in Crimea since Hellenistic times - Khazars - Jewish settlements - Tatars - Genoese and Ottoman Crimea - Czarist rule and Pale of Settlement - Soviets and Jewish settlements - Holocaust with Tatar collaboration - Crimea Republic project of 1944 as an espionage trial of the "USA" - Soviet rule and Jews in Crimea after 1945

Encyclopaedia Judaica
                (1971): Crimea, vol. 5, col. 1104, map with Jewish
                population in 1970
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5, col. 1104, map with Jewish population in 1970

from: Crimea; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 5; Lustiger and Yehuda Bauer

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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[Jews since Hellenistic times in Crimea - Bible sources - thesis about converted Khazars]

CRIMEA (Rus. Krym or Krim), peninsula of S. European Russia on the Black Sea; since 1954 oblast of Ukrainian S.S.R.

Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages.

Jews first settled in the southeastern area and a Jewish Hellenistic community existed there by the end of the first century C.E. (inscriptions). *Jerome (d. 420; on Zech. 10:11, Obad. 20) heard from Jews that the Jewish settlers by the Bosporus were descended from families exiled by the Assyrians and Babylonians, and from deported warriors of *Bar Kokhba; the Bosporus was called by the Jews "Sepharad". In ancient and medieval times southeastern Crimea was linked to the Taman Peninsula, across the Kerch Strait.

In the seventh to tenth centuries the *Khazar conquerors had there their regional center from which they ruled much of Crimea and confronted the Byzantine coastal base of Cherson, near the present Sevastopol. The Arab geographers Idrisi and Abu al-fida' call the Khazar city merely Khazariyya (Khazaria); it was located on the site of the town Sennaya (formerly Phanagoria), adjacent to the Jewish settlement mentioned by the Byzantine historian Theophanes, and is probably identical with the port Samkush (Samkerch) "of the Jews", referred to by the Arabic geographer Ibn al-Faquih.

Tombstones of Jews and Khazar proselytes have Jewish Hellenistic ornamentation. Similar Jewish tombstones have been found in Kerch and Partenit (Parthenita), near Yalta.

The Byzantine chronicler Cedrinus relates that in 1016 a Byzantine Russian-assisted fleet subdued the region of Khazaria ruled by Georgios Tzoulos. The Russians were henceforth represented by a prince at Tmutorokan (Taman), while the Byzantines overlooked most of Crimea from Cherson. The Khazars served as the prince's military (col. 1103)

auxiliaries in an inner Russian conflict in 1023, and in 1079 intervened with Byzantium in the competition for the princely office; this led to their massacre in 1083.

From the 9th to 15th centuries the terms "Gazaria" (as the territory) and "Gazari" (as the population) were understood in Western Europe as the Taman peninsula and the adjacent changeable Crimean area. Gazaria is, according to Poliak, the "Kazariyya" mentioned by the 12th-century Jewish travelers *Benjamin of Tuleda (in connection with the sea trade with Constantinople and Alexandria), and *Pethahiah of Regensburg (the Kuban delta).

Isaac *Abrabanel commenting on Genesis 10:3 equates the "Qasari" in "Ashkenaz" with Gazaria, "below" (south of) the Azov Sea.

In the 16th to 17th centuries "Gazaria" and "Crimea" were synonymous. This late usage led the Russian historian N.M. Karamzin (1816) to regard the Crimea as the ultimate domain of the Khazar kings, lost in 1016. After C.M.Y. Fraehn (1822) had dated the downfall of the Caspian Khazars to 969, the period 969-1016 was left for the duration of the mythical Crimean kingdom, considered henceforth as Jewish. The early draft of H. *Graetz's "History of the Jews" (1860) included the history of the kingdom, written according to the manuscript discoveries claimed by the Karaite collector A. *Firkovich.

After these claims had been attacked, the story was partly, but mechanically, deleted: in the late version the Crimean kingdom has a beginning but no end (Eng. ed., 3 (1949), 222ff.). Graetz's original coherent description continued to influence Jewish historians, notably S. *Dubnow (History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, 1 (1916), 28ff.). Firkovich also is the source of the idea that the Crimea was the cultural center which influenced the conversion of the Khazar royalty to Judaism, and that the Crimean Karaites were descended from ancient Israelite settlers and Khazar converts.

The rival Karaite historian M. Sultanski (d. 1862) regarded the Crimean Karaites as purely medieval Jewish immigrants from various parts, while later Karaite authors consider that they were basically Khazars-Turks. The Rabbanite *Krimchaks (i.e., "Crimeans") were also sometimes considered basically Khazars. All these views are founded on the late meaning of "Gazaria". Foreign Karaites (contrary to Rabbanites) in Khazar times never claimed that the Khazars had converted to Judaism and sometimes displayed intense hatred toward them (even expecting them to fight the Messiah in Erez Israel): the sect was then seeking to uphold the Palestinian descent of the Jews and Judaism.

[The first Jewish settlements]

In late antiquity and the early medieval period, Crimean Jewish tradition and records indicate that Jewish settlement existed in the following units:

THE CHERSONESE (CHERSON).

Jews were living there at least in the 9th to 11th centuries. Excavations have shown that the locality never recuperated from a devastation in the (col. 1104)

late tenth century by the Russians (988?), and was ultimately destroyed at the end of the 14th (by Tamerlane's raiders, 1395/6?). The Hebrew letter attributed to the Khazar Kind Joseph (long version) lists among his tributaries in the 950s localities from Samkerch to "Gruzin" (Cherson?), including Kerch and "Bartenit". The Hebrew "Cambridge Document" claims that under him "Shurshun" was made tributary by a counteroffensive against Byzantium after the Byzantine-instigated Russian raid on Samkerch.

"GOTHIA".

This is the medieval name for the rugged mountains north of Cherson, so -called after a Teutonic tribe which had remained there following the great migrations. The city of Partenit was the coastal mart of Gothia; a Jewish tombstone inscription there mentioned "Her(i)f(r)idil [a Teutonic name] ha-kohen [priest]."

Around 787 the Khazars placed their garrison in Doros, the capital of Gothia; the Life of Bishop John tells of the unsuccessful revolt he instigated. Doros is assumed despite temporary doubts of archaeologists in 1928-38) to be the "eagle's nest" later called Mangup (first in Joseph's Letter, as his tributary). In Ottoman-Tatar times (1475-1783) it increasingly became an all-Jewish (mostly Karaite) town.

CHUFUT-KALE.

More to the north, a similar fortress town, known under the Tatars as Qirquer (Quirqer), became referred to more frequently as *Chufut-Kale ("the Jews' Fortress", Heb. Sela ha-Yehudim). Excavations of 1946-61 showed that it existed on the site from the 10th or 11th century; a Christian cemetery (late fifth to early ninth centuries) attests the corresponding beginnings of the enormous Jewish cemetery. Here, also, it was under Tatar rule that the town definitely became all Jewish (mostly Karaite); it later had a Hebrew printing press (1734).

Tatar Times. [caravan point, Judaizers and Jewish revival]

The conquest of Eastern Europe by the Tatars (Mongols) in 1236-40 made the Crimea the foremost link for the trans-Asian caravans with the Mediterranean and Western trade. The Crimean Tatar center was Solkhat or Qyrym (from which the name "the Crimea" derives); now Stary Krym, inland near the port of Kaffa (now Feodosiya), the city was made by the Genoese the center of their activities in Gazaria and on the Black Sea.

The contact of the Crimean Jews with the outside world grew. The Jew "Khoza Kokos" was Muscovy's representative there in 1472-75. According to a Russian tradition Jews from Crimea were among the instigators of the movement of *Judaizers in 15th-century Muscovy. There was a Jewish revival in Taman, by then ethnically Circassian and ruled by the Genoese Guizolfis (1419-82), who were considered Jews in modern Jewish historiography and Christians in Russian. In Muscovite documents the lasts ruler is called a "Jew" and "Hebrew" as well as "Italian" and "Circassian"; if so-called after the environment, this significantly (col. 1105)

emphasizes the Jewish resurgence [[revival]]. However the Tatar decline commenced early. The Karaites of Poland (western Ukraine) and Lithuania later considered that they had been deported from Solkhat by Lithuanian raiders under Witold (Votort), 1392-1430.

[Genoese Crimea - Ottoman Crimea - conversion to Judaism at the home of Genghis Khan]

The Genoese extended their possessions from Kaffa, and their relatively mild attitude to other communities (including the Jews) maintained prosperity in the area despite the shrinking geographical extent of trade. From around 1420 the Tatar realm [[territory]] of inner Crimea developed into a split kingdom.

After the Ottomans conquered the Genoese possessions in 1475, they made the inland Tatars Vassals, used them for raiding Muscovy and Poland-Lithuania, and protected them from reprisals by a vast belt of scorched earth (depopulated steppe). This led to a sharp economic decline and massive emigration. The remaining population was basically Tatar, which was then a Muslim Turkish-speaking blend under leadership of Mongol descent. The remaining Krimchaks and Karaites shared their tongue and many customs, though the two communities differed somewhat in these respects both from each other as well as from the Tatars.

Their divergent existence is certain from Tatar times only. The Mongol influence, which made the Karaite anthropological type distinct, must be attributed to conversions, but of the early Tatar conquerors; a point unknown to former scholars who disputed the matter. Conversions to Judaism even took place at the home of Genghis Khan. Only this can explain the transfer of strategic strongholds to Jews (mainly Karaites), and the establishment by the Crimean Tatar kings of the unfortified valley suburb of the "Jews' Fortress" as the new capital Baghche-Saray (Bakhchisarai, 1454). It officially became a distinct town only in the 17th century. [...]

Tatar raids into the Ukraine and neighboring districts of Poland-Lithuania in the 16th centuries, in particular during the Tatar alliance with *Chmielnicki in 1648, brought into Tatar hands many Jewish captives, who were usually ransomed by Jews. [...]


Czarist Rule (1783-1917). [Jewish mass flight to Ottoman territory - Pale of Settlement without Sevastopol and Yalta - split between Karaite and other Jewish communities - religious life and writers]

During the Russian conquest of Crimea from the Turks the Jewish communities suffered severely. Many Jews left for Ottoman territory [[mostly to Istanbul]]. In 1783, when Crimea was annexed by Russia, there were 469 Jewish families (Rabbanite and Karaite) living in the peninsula. [...]

After the Russian annexation of Crimea it was included in the *Pale of Settlement (1791), although the major centers of development were later excluded, among them the military port of Sevastopol (1829-59, later admitting wealthier Jews), and the resort Yalta (1893).

Czarist-Russian Pale of Settlement with Crimea
                  [1]
Czarist-Russian Pale of Settlement with Crimea [1]

Jewish settlers from Russia soon outnumbered the small local communities (Krimchaks, Karaites). There were 2,837 Jews living in Crimea in 1847. The Karaites' successful struggle for exemption from the anti-Jewish czarist legislation (1863), and the abandonment of the common fortress towns (now ruins) because of the economic revival in the lowlands, definitely estranged the Karaite society from the rest of Jewry.

From 1867 to 1900 Hayyim Hezakiah *Medini officiated as chief rabbi of Crimean Jewry, and did much to raise the level of the spiritual and cultural life of the community. Among the few scholars of Crimean Jewry notable were Abraham *Kirimi, author of Sefat Emet, a commentary on the torah, in the 14th century, and David *Lekhno, author of Mishkan David, in the 18th century.

In the 19th century the archaeological discoveries of the Karaite scholar A. Firkovich, part of which were found to be forgeries, caused a sensation among scholars. There were 28,703 Jews living in Crimea in 1897 (5.1% of the total population) and 5,400 Karaites. The Krimchak Jews numbered 3,300. The large communities were in *Simferopol (8,951 persons); *Kerch (4,774); Sevastopol (3,910); *Karasubazar (Belogorsk; 3,144, nearly all Krimchaks); *Feodosiya (3,109); and Yevpatoriya (Eupatoria).

[A.N.P.] (col. 1106)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5,
                  col. 1105, Karaite cemetery in Crimea
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5, col. 1105, Karaite cemetery in Crimea

Soviet Rule [1917-1941]

There were 39,921 Jews living in Crimea in 1926 (6.1% of the total population), of whom 17,364 lived in Simferopol (19.6%); 5,204 in Sevastopol; 3,248 in Feodosiya (11.3%); 3,067 in Kerch; and 2,409 in Yevpatoriya (10.6%). IN the early 1920s a movement for Jewish agricultural settlement in Crimea began, pioneered by members of *He-Haluz, who established the hakhsharah groups [[pioneer training groups]] of Tel Hai (1922), mishmar (1924), and Ma'yan (1925) in the Dzhankoi area. They were followed by numerous other Jewish groups. In 1924 the Soviet government initiated a large-scale settlement project to be implemented through *Komzet with aid from the "American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. A number of Soviet Jewish leaders who were concerned with this project, such as M. (Y.) *Larin and A. Bragin, regarded it as the nucleus for establishing a Jewish Soviet Socialist Republic in the Crimea. However, by the beginning of the 1930s, when it became clear that the unoccupied land available in Crimea was not adequate for large-scale settlement, the movement concentrated mainly on promoting settlement in *Birobidzhan.

the state allocated 342,000 hectares of land for Jewish settlement in Crimea, on which 5,150 families had settled by 1931, including a commune established by a group of the *Gedud ha-Avodah, who had returned from Palestine, named Yoya Nova. [...] Some of the settlements were organized in two Jewish national districts: Freidorf (in 1930) and Larindorf (1935).>

Details:

Since 1921 the "Soviet" regime had plans to install a Jewish republic in the Crimea (Lustiger, p. 82).

In August 1924 a State's Committee for Settlement in the Crimea (Komert, Russian: Komset) is found under Jewish-Soviet leadership of Juri Larin. Communist state money and land is given for Jewish Krim colonization, all in all 342'000 ha of land. Money is also collected in the Western countries for this (Lustiger, p.82, 83).

For this projected Jewish colony in the Crimea the "American"-Jewish organization Joint is making much propaganda so even West European Jews arrive in the Crimea of the "Soviet Union", with the support of the "American" Jew James Rosenberg from the Joint (Lustiger, p.82)

In February 1925 a special company "Geselschaft fur einordnen jid oif erd in FSSR" (Geserd, Russ. Oset) is found. It's a half official land settlement organization for Jews in the Crimea (Lustiger p.82) under leadership of Juri Larin (Russ. Michail Lurje), stepfather of Bucharin and high Jewish party official (Lustiger, p. 83). The task of Geserd is to collect money for Jewish settlements in the Crimea in the whole world. Offices are opened in the whole world (Lustiger, p.82).

The Jews got land which was cut from the neighbors and this was not a good atmosphere at all and Antisemitism grew until WW II: See: Yehuda Bauer: A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939, chapter II:

<Under Rosen's direction, 5,646 families were settled between 1924 and 1928, some in the Ukraine, some in the Crimea. [...]  The head of COMZET was a non-Jewish vice-premier of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, Peter Smidovich, a man who was very much interested in the success of the venture. He was influential in obtaining the government's agreement to the Jewish settlement of a large tract of land in the Crimea; as much as one million acres were set aside for use by Jewish settlers. [...] It is an indubitable fact that the settlements in the Crimea (Bauer, p.60)

founded by the Agro-Joint included a number of Zionist colonies settled by people who saw the Crimea as a stepping-stone on the road to Palestine. There were some 13 of these with Hebrew names, some of them - like Tel Chai (there were two separate settlements by that name), Mishmar, Khaklai, Avoda, Kheruth, Maaian, Kadimah - having distinct Palestine-centered connotations.

In 1928 there were 112 Agro-Joint colonies in the Ukraine and 105 in the Crimea. In addition to these, Agro-Joint also helped other colonies with occasional loans or by other means.> (Bauer, p.61)

In 1927/1928 the Soviet Regime used the Jews for tactical reasons:

<At this juncture Russia came forward with the idea of a vast expansion of the Jewish colonization scheme and offered the Jews large tracts of land, especially in the Crimea. In 1927/8 it was obviously interested in transforming the Jewish population into a productive and loyal force. It also needed grain, and the establishment and encouragement of state farms (sovkhozy), which were set up on state lands, had so far not been very successful. Moreover, Soviet Russia needed American dollars very badly, and an arrangement with JDC meant not only a contribution to the solution of the pressing Jewish problem, but also an influx of both hard currency and valuable machinery, of which the Soviets were very short.> (Bauer, p.62)

<In 1929 79 new groups were settled in the Crimea and three more in the Ukraine. The total number of families settled was 2,276.> (Bauer, p.69)

There were tactical jail punishments against Jews in Crimea to show to the non-Jews:

<The situation looked very grim nevertheless. Boris Smolar, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) journalist who happened to be in Russia at that time, cabled on November 24, 1929, that "notwithstanding their loyalty", four of the Jewish colonists in the Crimea

were nevertheless arrested and sentenced to three years' jail each [and] their property confiscated, leaving only the property mortgaged by the Agro-Joint which according to law cannot be confiscated. ... The local population assured me (that) even government officials are aware that (the) arrested submitted all (the surplus grain) they could. However, arrest was made with (the) purpose of showing neighboring non-Jewish peasants that also Jews are arrested.> (Bauer, p.71)

German and Tartar settlers had to leave land to the Jews in Crimea:

<Investment for the establishment of colonies was not interrupted. According to one set of JDC figures,

-- in 1929, 2,276 families were settled;
-- in 1930, 2,250;
-- by the end of 1930, it was said that some 12,100 families had been settled by the Agro-Joint on its colonies in the Ukraine and in the Crimea.

It was claimed that 289 colonies had been founded. A Jewish autonomous region was established near Krivoi Rog around the center of Kalinindorf.

German and Tartar settlers in the Crimea had been moved "voluntarily" to allow for close Jewish settlement.> (Bauer, p.75)

The set up of the Jewish settlements happened by the "American" Agrojoint. Yiddish became the official language in the Jewish settlements (Lustiger, p.82). Tatar, Russian and Ukraine parts of the population began to resist because the Jews were said having the most fertile land. Add to this Crimea was seen to be too little for a republic of all Russian Jews and any Jewish republic in the Crimea would have no future, so (Lustiger, p.83).

<Five autonomous Jewish districts (p. 103) were founded (Freidorf in February 1931, Stalindorf in June 1930, Kalinindorf in March 1937, New Zlatopol in 1929, and Larindorf in January 1935).> (p.104)

With the Biro-Bidjan project since 1928 the Crimea project is downgraded and no state's money is given any more for the Jewish Crimea project (Lustiger, p. 83).

<Many of the settlers left the colonies when collectivation was introduces in the early 1930s and with increasing industrialization in the Soviet Union.> (col. 1107)

Details can be seen again in the book of Yehuda Bauer and Lustiger. During 1930-1931 many Jews left Crimean Jewish collectives to work in the new industries:

The 86 common farms were converted into kolkhozes and a big part of the Jewish kind of living is made impossible by this (Lustiger, p. 83).

<During collectivization, some Jewish farmers in the Crimea tended to run away because of the collectivization drive. Rosen himself stated that "400 families had run away from the colonies during the drive."

Zionist colonies had their Hebrew names changed, and the Communists instituted strict political control. "Great numbers of Jewish settlers who were brought during last month from shtetlach into colonies to join collectives are returning home", cabled Smolar from Moscow in April [1930]. They were saying that recent Soviet decrees opened wider possibilities for them in shtetlach than in collective colonies. This resulted in a lack of laborers on the farms and endangered the existence of many Jewish collectives, which had to go to the expense of hiring labor. Even when they arrived, new Jewish settlers didn't remain on the collectives.> (Bauer, p.82)

<In 1931 1,800 families were settled, about 50 % of the number originally planned; the Jews had become the third largest group in the Crimea.> (Bauer, p.83)

< Then in 1932/3 another famine struck the Soviet Union. > (Bauer, p.83)

In the same year 1932 the boss of Geserd Juri Larin dies and the Jewish settlement movement in the Crimea stops (Lustiger, p.83).

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5,
                    col. 1107, Jewish winegrowers in Crimea, 1930
                    approx.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5, col. 1107, Jewish winegrowers in Crimea, 1930 approx.

<In 1932-34, work [[of the Joint]] was concentrated in the Crimea. Government supervision in all respects except the purely agroeconomic one was complete. Some of the assets of the Agro-Joint were  not, it s true, handed over: for example, the Jankoy tractor station and repair shop, buildings in Simferopol and Moscow, supplies, and commodities.> (Bauer, p.90)

<Rosen claimed that in 1933 only 1,400 families were settled in the Crimea, but even this looked rather doubtful.> (Bauer, p.89)

<After 1934 no more claims are made of families settling on land in the Crimea, the Ukraine, or White Russia. JDC claimed that altogether 14,036 families had been settled in its (Bauer, p.83) colonies by 1934.> (Bauer, p.84)

<Jews now did not have to go to the Crimea in order to become small-scale farmers on the outskirts of villages and towns, but could do so wherever they lived. The Jewish economic position continued to improve, and the Agro-Joint and its operations seemed to be more and more superfluous.> (Bauer, p.89)

< In about 1934 a consolidation of the tracts settled by the Jewish settlers in the Crimea took place. Villages were united under a common administration.> (Bauer, p.103)

<Even after the termination of its actual settlement work in 1934, the Agro-Joint still maintained a large staff of experts who, with income from the existing assets and some very small sums in dollars, continued to advise the settlements about their agricultural production. The Jankoy station was one of the prototypes of the MTS tractor stations that were to provide tractor work for the kolkhozy later on. In other respects too, such as well-drilling and horticulture, Agro-Joint help was still significant.> (Bauer, p.90)

In 1935 the "Soviet" government planned more Jewish settlers in Crimea and Biro-Bijan:

<The Soviet proposal was that 1,000 Jewish families and 500 single people would be settled, some in Biro-Bidjan, some in the Crimea (100 families) and the Ukraine, in both agriculture and industry. The Agro-Joint would provide the money to transport them to the Russian border and then supervise the agricultural settlement in the Crimea and in Biro-Bidjan.> (Bauer, p. 93)

[[All in all it can be admitted that German and Tartar settlers in Crimea did not like the Jewish colonies in Crimea very much because they had to give land to them, because they knew that the Jewish settlements were only for tactical reasons to the advantage of the "Soviet" regime and they just waited for a moment to take revenge. So these Jews there were in a latent danger and nobody worried about this but the Jewish "organizations" considered the Crimean settlements as a training for the founding of racist Herzl Israel against the Arabs]].

<By 1938 there were 86 Jewish kolkhozes in Crimea cultivating an area of 158,850 hectares with 20,000 inhabitants (one-third of the total number of Jews in Crimea).> (col. 1107)

1939 are living 85,000 Jews in Crimea, inclusive 7,000 Krimchaks and 5,000 Karaites, a Jewish splinter group (Lustiger, p.174).

Before NS German occupation [[in 1941]] Stalin let deport the German friendly elements from Crimea [[in 1940-1941]].
(In: Martin Gilbert: Soviet History Atlas 1972, map 45)

[Holocaust 1941-1942: Destruction of the Jewish settlements in the Crimea]

With the German occupation in 1941 the Jewish settlement and colonies in the Crimea were annihilated. The Nazis organized the systematic liquidation of the Ashkenazi (col. 1107)

Jews and Krimchaks, but did not include the Karaites. According to a provisional report from the beginning of 1942, 20,149 Jews from western Crimea alone had already been "liquidated". On April 16, 1942, Crimea was declared Judenrein.

Map of Holocaust massacres in the Crimea
                    1941-1942 (map originally by Martin Gilbert)
biggerMap of Holocaust massacres in the Crimea 1941-1942 [2]

Almost all Jews in Crimea are murdered in July 1941 by Einsatzgruppe D. The Karaites are declared non-Jews by the Hitler regime and are not persecuted (Lustiger, p.174). The Tatars in Crimea were collaborating with the NS regime to annihilate the Jews in Crimea (Lustiger, p.175).

In July 1942 the NS regime declares the Crimea Tatars as an "allied people". But the NS regime has further plans to settle Germans from Romania and South Tyrol there to form a German "Gibraltar" there with "Goths", to form another "Goths land", a "German spa to reign over the Black Sea. Hitler dreams of a motorway down to Crimea to reach it within 2 days (Lustiger, p.174).

In the second half of 1943 Joint officials from Jewish organizations, James Rosenberg (Joint) and Louis Levine (Jewish Russian War Relief), suggest the "revival" of the Crimea project (Lustiger, p.176).

At the end of December 1943 the Russian Jewish agents from the Jewish anti-Fascist Committee (JAFK) Micho'els and Fefer declare officially that there would be founded another Jewish Republic in the Crimea, and this fantasy is wandering through the Jewish press in the whole world until 1946 (p.177-178). This illusion has it's base on the factors
-- that Jewish population is extremely poor at this time
-- that all Jewish colonies are eliminated at this time
-- that Jewish partisans and soldiers give their lives in the Red Army
-- that there could be organized easily massive aid of goods and money from abroad (p.176).

On 24 February 1944 the Jewish anti-Fascist Committee (JAFK) under Micho'els, Epstein and Fefer publishes a Crimea memorandum (Lustiger, p.177-178) with the indication that 1.5 mio. Jews were murdered on the former German occupied territories (Lustiger, 180). The government for a Jewish Crimean republic are already distributed:
-- Micho'els should be the president of the Jewish Republic
-- Epstein should be head of the government
-- Schimeliowitsh should be health minister
-- Kwitko should be education minister
-- Trainin should be justice minister
-- Jusefowitsh should be boss of the labor unions
-- Markish should be head of the writer's union (Lustiger, p.179).

But Stalin estimates the new Jewish Crimea project as a game of "American" [[racist]] Zionists to give the base for an "American" invasion of Russia. So, Stalin rejects the project (Lustiger, p.179).

On 7 May 1944 Crimea is occupied by communist Red Army forces when Sevastopol falls (Lustiger, p.175).

Stalin has other actions: In March 1944 the 180,000 Crimean Tatars are collectively deported because of collaboration with the Third Reich (Lustiger, p.175), resp. from 10 to 30 May 1944 200,000 Crimea Tatar inhabitants are deported to Kazakhstan, within 40,000 children. The reason is that 20,000 Tatars had deserted and would fight in the Tatar legion within the Wehrmacht. Ukrainians and Russian people is not suffering deportation even if Ukrainians and Russian deserters are fighting in the Wehrmacht (Lustiger, p.175).

In the middle of 1944 Kaganowitsh from the "Soviet" regime rejects the Jewish Crimea plan which is an invention of actors and poets (Lustiger, p.178).

In May 1945 the Jewish anti-Fascist Committee (JAFK) is still waiting for an agreement with the "Soviet" regime with a future Jewish Crimean Republic (Lustiger, p.178).

In the beginning of 1949 the "Soviet" regime arrests members of the Jewish anti-Fascist Committee above all because of the Crimea Project (Lustiger, p.180).

In 1952 there is the process against the protagonists of the Jewish Crimea project (Lustiger, p.193). On 28 June 1952 Fefer avows the espionage activity for the "USA" and he had misused the confidence of Western personalities (Lustiger, p.151). The process ends with death sentences for the protagonists of the Crimea project of 1944 (Lustiger, p.179).

But some Jews from the central "Soviet Union" seem to have been allowed to settle in the Crimea after 1945:

<After the war Jewish settlement in Crimea was renewed, and in 1959, the Jewish population numbered 26,374 (2.2% of the total population), according to the official census, of whom 11,200 lived in Simferopol (6%) and 3,100 in Sevastopol.

In 1970 the Jewish population of Crimea was concentrated in Simferopol, with an estimated Jewish population of 15,000; Sevastopol, where there was one small synagogue in the Jewish cemetery; Yevpatoria, with an estimated Jewish population of 8-10,000; and in smaller communities, e.g., Kerch, Yalta, and Feodosia.

[Y.S.]

Bibliography

-- A. Harkavy: Altjuedische Denkmaeler aus der Krim (1876)
-- O. Lerner: Yevrei v novorossiyskom kraye (1901)
-- A.N. Poliak: Kazariyyah (Heb., 1942)
-- J. Golde: Di Yidishe Erdarbeter in Krim (1932)
-- B. Nevelshtein: Freydorfskiy Yevreyskiy Natsionalny Rayon (1934)
-- B. West (ed.): Be-Hevlei Kelayah (1963), 138-45> (col. 1108)


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Sources

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea,
                            vol. 5, col. 1103-1104
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5, col. 1103-1104
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea,
                            vol. 5, col. 1105-1106
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5, col. 1105-1106
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea,
                            vol. 5, col. 1107-1108
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Crimea, vol. 5, col. 1107-1108



Other sources

-- Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper. A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939; The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974, ISBN 0-8276-0048-8

-- Arno Lustiger: Rotbuch: Stalin und die Juden. Die tragische Geschichte des Jüdischen Antifaschistischen Komitees und der sowjetischen Juden; Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1998. Ausgabe 2000, ISBN 3-7466-8049-2

[1] map of Pale of Settlement: http://cambridgeforecast.wordpress.com/category/judaica/

[2] Martin Gilbert: Endlösung. Atlas 1982, map 102



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