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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Ukraine: Odessa

Jewish center - Zionist center - pogroms - Jewish literary center - Holocaust with Big Flight from Barbarossa, deportations, ghettos and mass shootings - again Jewish center since 1944

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971):
                Odessa, vol.12, col.1321, drawing of the main synagogue
                of Odessa built in 1840
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Odessa, vol.12, col.1321, drawing of the main synagogue of Odessa built in 1840

from: Odessa; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 12

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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[Odessa as industrial and commercial center for Ukraine - second largest Jewish community after Warsaw]

ODESSA, capital of Odessa oblast, Ukrainian S.S.R.

In the 19th century it became the industrial and commercial center for southern Russia. In 1865 a university was founded. Odessa was an important center of the Russian revolutionary movement. Under the Soviet regime it lost some of its importance. In October 1941 Odessa was occupied by the German and Rumanian armies and was under Rumanian military rule until its liberation in April 1944.

From the 1880s until the 1920s the Jewish community of Odessa was the second largest in the whole of Russia (after *Warsaw, the capital of Poland, then within czarist Russia) and it had considerable influence of the Jews of the country. The principal characteristics of this community, and responsible for its particular importance, were the rapid and constant growth of the Jewish population and its extensive participation in the economic development of the town, the outstanding "Western" character of its cultural life and numerous communal institutions, especially educational and economic institutions, the social and political activity of the Jewish public, the mood of tension and struggle which was impressed on its history, and the Hebrew literary center which emerged there.

[End of 18th century]: Beginnings of the Community.

The Russians found six Jews when they took the fortress of Khadzhi-Bei in 1789: the oldest Jewish tombstone in the cemetery dates from 1793. Five Jews were among those who in 1794 received plots for the erection of houses and shops and the planting of gardens.

The Gemilut Hesed Shel Emet society (hevra kaddisha [[Jewish burial society]]) was founded in 1795. In 1796 Jews participated in the administration of the town. The kahal (community administration) was already in existence in 1798, when the first synagogue was built; the first rabbi to hold office, in 1809, was Isaac Rabinovich of Bendery. (col. 1319)

Growth of the Jewish Population.

According to estimates of that period, the Jews formed approximately 10% of the total population in 1795; c. 20% (12,000 persons) during the 1840s, c. 25% (75,000 persons) in 1887, and 34.4% (165,000) upon the eve of World War I. Official statistics on the Jewish population are available from the 1850s. According to an official assessment of 1855, there were 17,000 Jews (21.7%) in town; and according to the general censuses there were 139,984 Jews (34.65% of the population) in 1897; 153,194 Jews (36.4%) in 1926; 180,000 (29.8%) in 1939; and 106,700 Jews (c. 16%) in 1959.

Economic Status.

[Little shops - great grain trade - wholesale trade]

From the start, the Jews of Odessa engaged in retail trade and crafts. Their representation in these occupations remained important. In 1910 56% of the small shops were still owned by Jews; they also constituted 63% of the town's craftsmen. Jewish economy in Odessa was distinguished by the role played by Jews in the export of grain via the harbor, in wholesale trade, banking and industry, the large numbers of Jews engaged in the liberal professions, and the existence of a large Jewish proletariat in variegated employment.

During the first half of the 19th century, the participation of the Jews in the grain export trade was limited to the purchase of grain in the villages and estates, and to brokerage and mediation in the capacity of subagents for the large export companies, which were Greek, Italian, and French.

By 1838 Jews were well represented among the officials of the exchange, and as classifiers, sorters, weighers, and even loaders of grain. From the 1860s, however, Jewish enterprises won a predominant place in the grain export and succeeded in supplanting the export companies of foreign merchants from their monopolist positions.

During the early 1870s, the greater part of the (col. 1320)

grain exports was handled by Jews, and by 1910 over 80% of grain export companies were Jewish owned, while Jews were responsible for almost 90% (89.2%) of grain exports. This success in Jewish trade was not only due to greater efficiency in the organization of purchases and rapidity in their expedition, but was also connected with the constant rise of grain prices and the decline of commercial profit rates, which resulted in a tremendous increase of the grain exports which passed through the port of Odessa.

Jews also held an important share of the wholesale trade; about one-half of the wholesale enterprises were owned by Jews in 1910. During the 1840s most of the bankers and moneychangers were Jews, and at the beginning of the 20th century 70% of the banks of Odessa were administered by them. Among the industrialists, Jews formed 43%, but their manufactured products amounted only to 39%. In 1910 70% of those engaged in medicine were Jews; c. 56% of those engaged in law, and c. 27% of those engaged in technical professions (engineers, architects, chemists, etc.).

[Crafts, industry, working class]

About two-thirds of the Jewish population were engaged in crafts and industry, in transportation and services, and in other categories of labor. More than one-half of these (about one-third of the Jewish population) belonged, from the social point of view, to the proletariat - industrial workers, apprentices in workshops, and ordinary laborers. During the 1880s these formed a considerable part of the Jewish proletariat (about one-third), and their standard of living as that of the poorer classes, was very low. With the progress of industrialization in Odessa, many of them were integrated in new enterprises and the number of unskilled workers decreased.

[New shifting after 1917: commercial clerks, tailors, free professions - workers, trade, private industries]

The October Revolution of 1917 brought a decline in the commercial status of Odessa as well as the process of socialization. While this affected the means of livelihood of the majority of Jews, much of their experience and skills were utilized in the new social and economic structure under different designations. In 1926 Jews formed the overwhelming majority of the commercial clerks (in government stores and cooperatives), c. 90% of the members of the tailors' union, 67% of the members of the printing workers' union, c. 53% of those employed in the timber industries, c. 48% of the municipal workers (which also included drivers, electricians, etc.), and c. 40% of the members of the free professionals' union. Thousands of Jewish workers found employment in heavy industry (metal industry, sugar refineries, ship building), in which Jews had formerly been absent, and of which only 27% were members of the trade unions; during the same year, the Jews formed up to 64% of those engaged in the smaller private industries (col. 1321)

which occupied some of those thousands who had remained unemployed and had not been successfully integrated within the new economic regime.

Cultural Trends. [lazy in Jewish culture and pioneer in assimilation]

From the cultural aspect the Odessa community was the most "Western" in character in the "Pale of Settlement. Its population was gathered from all the regions of Russia and even from abroad (particularly from *Brody in Galicia and from Germany, during the 1820s-30s), and the throwing off of tradition became a quite familiar occurrence. This situation was expressed by a popular Jewish saying:

"The fire of Hell burns around Odessa up to a distance of ten parasangs" [[ten times 2 to 4 miles]].

The low standard of Torah learning within the community and the general ignorance and apathy of the Odessa Jews in their attitude to Judaism were depicted [[illustrated]] in popular witticisms [[remarks]], as well as in literature (Y.T. *Lewinsky). Linguistic and cultural Russian assimilation encompassed widespread classes and thus formed a social basis for the community's role as an active and organized center for the spread off Russian education among the Jews of southern Russia. The social and economic position of the maskilim [[followers of the Haskalah, enlightenment Jews, secularists]] of Odessa (the "Brodyists") drew them closer to the authorities and enabled them to gain considerable influence within the community and the shaping of its institutions. Odessa was thus the first community in Russia to be directed by maskilim, who retained their control over its administration throughout its existence: the "Council of the Wealthy and Permanently Appointed Jews" and later the "Commission of the Twenty" (which also included the delegates of the synagogue officials), which was organized as an opposition to the leadership of the community after 1905.

Educational and Communal Institutions. [Jewish schools in Russian language - Jewish students in state's institutions - Jewish schools and Jewish institutions]

The cultural character of the community was reflected in its educational institutions. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were still about 200 hadarim [[small Jewish schools]], attended by about 5,000 pupils, in Odessa; 97% of these pupils came from the masses of the poor, and the hadarim were generally not of high standing. At the same time, about 6,500 pupils (boys and girls) attended 40 Jewish elementary schools (of which three were talmudei torah and 13 of the *Society for the Promotion of Culture among the Jews of Russia) of public, governmental, or semipublic categories.

The language of instruction in these schools was Russian, whilst Jewish subjects held an insignificant place or were hardly studies at all. Many Jewish pupils studies at the government municipal schools (in 1886, over 200 pupils - 8%) and government secondary schools (about 50% of the male and female pupils in 1910), about 2,500 pupils in private secondary schools, and about 700 pupils in Jewish vocational schools (for boys and girls); there were also many hundreds of Jewish students at the university (the maximum figure in 1906 was 746). In addition, Jews studied at the governmental college for music and arts (60%) and the advanced private professional colleges (for dentistry, midwifery, etc.). There were also numerous evening classes and courses for adults.

Of the Jewish schools, noteworthy was the vocational school Trud ("Labor") which was founded in 1864 and was the best of its class, and the yeshivah [[Jewish Torah school]] (founded 1866) which after 1906, when it was headed by Rav Za'ir (Hayyim *Tchernowitz) and its teachers included H.N. *Bialik and J. *Klausner, attracted excellent pupils and achieved fame.

The educational institutions of Odessa became examples and models for other communities from the foundation of the first Jewish public school (in 1826), in which an attempt was made to provide a general and modern Hebrew education (with modern literature as a subject of study) under the direction of Bezalel *Stern; it had considerable influence within the Haskalah movement of Russia. Other institutions which also served as models included the (col. 1322)

synagogue of the "Brodyists", where a choir and modern singing were introduced during the 1840s, and in 1901, an organ; orphanages; agricultural training farms; summer camps for invalid children; and a large and well-equipped hospital.

Social and Political Activities. [politics, newspapers, Jewish awareness and liberation movement - racist Zionism]

The prominent social and political activities of the Jews of Odessa had considerable influence on the rest of Russian Jewry. The community leaders and maskilim [[followers of the Haskalah, enlightenment Jews, secularists]] showed considerable initiative and made frequent representations to the authorities to obtain improvements in the condition of the Jews and their legal equality with the other inhabitants during the 1840s, 1850s, and 1870s, and called for the punishment of those who took part in the pogroms of 1871, 1881, and 1905 (see below).

They were the first in Russia to adopt the system of publicly and courageously defending the Jews in the Russian-Jewish press which they had established (*Razsvet (1860), of Joachim H. *Tarnopol and O.A. *Rabinovich; [[racist?]] *Zion of E. Soloveichik and L. *Pinsker; Den (1869), of S. *Ornstein with the permanent collaboration of I.G. *Orshanski and M. *Morgulis), while the criticisms they published of internal Jewish matters were also sharp and violent in tone.

The Hebrew and Yiddish Haskalah press (*Ha-Meliz, 1860; *Kol Mevasser, 1863) which had been born in Odessa (under the editorship of A. *Zederbaum) also adopted this "radical" attitude to some extent. Jews of Odessa contributed largely to the local press, where they also discussed Jewish affairs. At the beginning of the 20th century, a style of Jewish awareness became apparent in discussions of Russian-speaking and Russian-educated Jews (V. *Jabotinsky and his circle) which was widely echoed within the Jewish public, particularly in southern Russia. The social and political awakening of the Jewish masses was also widespread in Odessa. Odessa Jews played an extensive and even prominent part in all trends of the Russian liberation movement. The [[racist Herzl]] Zionist movement also attracted masses of people.

The Pogroms.

This social and political awakening of the masses arose in the atmosphere of strain and struggle surrounding the life of the community. Anti-Jewish outbreaks occurred on five occasions (1821, 1859, 1871, 1881, 1905) in Odessa, as well as many attempted attacks of unsuccessful efforts to provoke them. Intensive anti-Jewish agitation

[[the "Christian" church as the main driving force for Antisemitism is never mentioned in Encyclopaedia Judaica]]

shadowed and accompanied the growth of the Jewish population and its economic and cultural achievements. Almost every sector of the Christian population contributed to the agitation and took part in the pogroms: the monopolists of the grain export (especially the Greeks in 1821; 1859; 1871) in an attempt to strike at their Jewish rivals, wealthy Russian merchants, nationalist Ukrainian intellectuals, and Christian members of the liberal professions who regarded the respected economic position of the Jews, who were "deprived of rights" in the other towns of the country, and their Russian acculturation as "the exploitation of Christians and masters at the hands of heretics and foreigners" (1871; 1881).

The government administration and its supporters favored the *pogroms as a means for punishing the Jews for their participation in the revolutionary movement; pogroms were also an effective medium for diverting the anger of the discontented masses from opposition to the government to hatred of the Jews (1881, 1905); the masses, the "barefoot", the destitute, the unemployed, and the embittered of the large port city were always ready to take part in robbery and looting.

The severest pogroms occurred in 1905, and the collaboration of the authorities in their organization was evident. In this outbreak, over 300 Jews lost their lives, whilst thousands of families were injured. Among the victims were over 50 members of the Jewish *self-defense (col. 1323)

had deterred [[repelled]] attempted pogroms. After the Revolution, the movement. [[?]] Attempts to organize the movement [[of self-defense]] had already been made at the time of the pogroms of the 1881, but in this city inhabited by Jewish masses it had formed part of their existence before then and on many occasions had deterred attempted pogroms. After the Revolution, during 1917-19, the Association of Jewish Combatants was formed by ex-officers and soldiers of the Russian army. It was due to the existence of this association that no pogroms occurred in Odessa throughout the civil War period [[1917-1921]].

Zionist and Literary Center. [Odessa as a center of the racist Zionist movement - and emigration to Palestine through Odessa]

From the inception of the [[racist?]] *Hibbat Zion movement, Odessa served as its chief center. From here issued the first calls of M.L. *Lilienblum ("The revival of Israel on the land of its ancestors") [[Arabs don't seem to be asked]] and L. Pinsker ("Auto-Emancipation") which gave rise to the movement, worked for its unity ("Zerubbavel", 1883), and headed the leadership which was established after the *Kattowitz Conference ("Mazkeret Moshe", 1885-89). The *Benei Moshe society (founded by *Ahad Ha-Am in 1889), which attempted to organize the intellectuals and activists of the movement, was established in Odessa. Odessa was also chosen as the seat of the settlement committee (the *Odessa Committee, called officially The Society for the Support of Agricultural Workers and Craftsmen in Syria and Palestine), the only legally authorized institution of the movement in Russia (1890-1917). Several other economic institutions for practical activities in Palestine (Geulah, the Carmel branch, etc.) were associated with it. Jewish emigration from Russia to Erez Israel also passed through Odessa, which became the "Gateway to Zion."

The social awakening of the masses gave rise to the popular character of the Zionist movement in Odessa. It succeeded in establishing an influential and ramified organization, attracting a stream of intellectual and energetic youth from the townlets of the Pale of Settlement to Odessa - the center of culture and site of numerous schools - and provided the Jewish national movement with powerful propagandists, especially from among the ranks of those devoted to Hebrew literature. The group of authors and activists which rallied around the [[anti-Arab racist]] Zionist movement and actively participated in the work of its institutions included M.L. Lilienblum and Ahad Ha-Am, M.M. *Ussishkin, who headed the Odessa Committee during its last decade of existence, and M. *Dizengoff, Zalman *Epstein and Y.T. Lewinsky, M. *Ben-Ammi and H. *Rawnitzky, H.N. Bialik and J. *Klausner, A. *Druyanow and A.M. Berakhyahu (Borochov), H. *Tchernowitz, S. Pen, M. *Gluecksohn and V. Jabotinsky.

These had great influence on this youth, who were not only initiated into Jewish national activity, but were enriched in Jewish culture and broadened in general education.

[Odessa as a Jewish literary center]

Important literary forums were established in Odessa (Kavveret, 1890; Pardes, 1891- (col. 1324)

95; *Ha-Shilo'ah, 1897-1902; 1907-17; *Haolam, 1912-17); their editors (Ahad Ha-Am, Y.H. Rawnitzky, H.N. Bialik, J. Klausner, A. Druyanow, and M. Gluecksohn) not only succeeded in raising them to a high literary standard but also won considerable influence among the public through the ideological integrity of their publications. The publishing houses established in Odessa (Rawnitzky, Moriah; H. N. Bialik and Y.H. Rawnitzky, S. *Ben-Zion and Y.T. Lewinsky, *Devir, founded by Bialik and his circle, from 1919) were also systematic in their standards and consistently loyal to their ideology.

A Hebrew literary center and "Hebrew climate" was created in Odessa. It united the Hebrew writers by an internal bond more closely than in any other place; it attracted toward Hebrew literature authors who had become estranged from it or who had never approached it (Mendele Mokher Seforim, S. *Dubnow, Ben-David, M. Ben-Ammi, S.S. *Frug, V. Jabotinsky); it produced new authors who were to play an important and valuable role in literature (S. *Tchernichowsky, J. Klausner, N. *Slouschz, etc.); it attracted talented young authors (S. Ben-Zion, Y. *Berkowitz, J. *Fichmann, Z. *Shneour, A.A. *Kabak, . *Steinman, and many others) who sought the benefit of this congenial literary meeting place refecting the spirit of its distinguished founders (Ahad Ha-Am and H.N. Bialik).

The arguments between the leaders of the national movement (Ahad Ha-Am and S. Dubnow, M.M. Ussishkin and V. Jabotinsky) and its opponents, grouped around the local branch of the Society for Promotion of Culture among the Jews of Russia who stood for "striking civic roots, linguistic-cultural assimilation, and general ideals" (M. Morgulis, J. *Bikerman, etc.), were published at length and grew in severity from year to year, their influence penetrating far beyond Odessa.

[since 1921: Kharkov and Kiev take over the lead as Jewish literary center in Ukraine - Russian-Jewish fiction novels]

With the advent of the Soviet regime, Odessa ceased to be the Jewish cultural center in southern Russia. The symbol of the destruction of Hebrew culture was the departure from Odessa for Constantinople in June 1921 of a group of Hebrew authors led by Bialik. The *Yevsektsiya chose *Kharkov and *Kiev as centers for its activities among the Jews of the Ukraine Russian-oriented assimilation prevailed among the Jews of Odessa in the 1920s (though the city belonged to the Ukraine).

Over 77% of the Jewish pupils attended Russian schools in 1926 and only 22% Yiddish schools. At the University, where up to 40% of the student role was Jewish, a faculty of Yiddish existed for several years which also engaged in research of the history of Jews in southern Russia. The renowned Jewish libraries of the city were amalgamated into a single library named after Mendele Mokher Seforim. In the later 1930s, as in the rest of Russia, Jewish cultural activity ceased in Odessa and was eventually completely eradicated.

The rich Jewish life in Odessa found vivid expression in Russian-Jewish fiction, as, e.g., in the novels of *Yushkevich, in Jabotinsky's autobiographical stories and his novel Piatero ("They Were Five", 1936) and particularly in the colorful Odessa Tales by Isaac *Babel, which covered both the pre-revolutionary and the revolutionary period and described the Jewish proletariat and underworld of the city.

[B.D.]>

[[Addition: Communist terror of hunger in Ukraine 1918-1921 - NEP - end of NEP in the 1930s
During the 1920s and 1930s orchestrated war of the working class was dominating, so poor Jews got more rights and former bourgeoisie was loosing all rights and got into the Gulag system. Add to this there was famine by the revolution and the lasting war between "Reds" and "Whites", and add to this there was a "collectivization" in the Ukraine which affected many Jewish peasants so there was no bread in Ukraine at the end and millions died. The communist regime of the "Soviet Union" stabilized the situation by New Economic Policy (NEP) which was abrogated in the 1930s because of suspicion of espionage. See all this in: Yehuda Bauer: Joint, and see: Encyclopaedia Judaica: Russia, vol. 14, col. 458-463]].

Holocaust Period. [Jewish mass flight to central "Soviet Union" - Rumanian-German occupation]

1939 were 180,000 (29.8%) Jews in Odessa. (col. 1320).

<After June 21, 1941, many Jews from Bukovina, Bessarabia and western Ukraine fled from German and Rumanian rule to Odessa.>

[[Addition: Big Flight from Barbarossa
A big part of the Ukrainian Jews was well integrated and could organize the flight to the central "Soviet Union" with the communists and with the Red Army ("Big Flight from Barbarossa", see: *Holocaust, Rescue from). Since 22 June 1941 Ukraine had 10 more days time for the flight because the southern part of the front moved only since 3 July 1941 (see: *Rumania). The staying Jews who had the hope that the situation would not be so bad or were tired to fly or could not organize a flight were denounced by the staying population who were only waiting for the NS occupation. So, the staying Jews were mostly annihilated by the German-Ukrainian Einsatzgruppen in several waves 1941-1943, putting them first into ghettos and then brought to secret places and killed by mass shootings. Others went to the partisans or could hide themselves in a "Christian" family or in a forest or changed names or religion or both, or they became "indispensable" (Germ.: "unabkömmlich") etc.]]

<Some Jews in Odessa were called up to the Red Army, and many others left during the two months' siege of the city. When Odessa was occupied on Oct. 16, 1941, by General Ciuperca's Fourth Rumanian Army assisted by German units, 80,000-90,000 Jews remained in Odessa [[so about 100,000 had managed to organize a flight or were under way or in the forests or in partisan groups or were hidden in "Christian" families or had changed name or religion or both etc.]]. Two special commando groups, known as Sonderkommando 11B, which belonged (col. 1325)

to the Einsatzgruppe D headed by Otto Ohlendorf and the Rumanian Operative Echelon, were assigned to the army. These groups killed about 8,000 Jews on the first day of the occupation. The entire population had to submit to a census. Special centers for the census were created for registering Jews, and all those who reported (about 3,000-4,000 Jews) were shot on the pretext that they were "communist agents".

[22 October 1941: Blasted military general headquarters - and revenge actions with mass murder on the Jews]

On Oct. 22, 1941, an explosion wrecked a part of the building of the Rumanian military general headquarters (the former headquarters of the Soviet secret police). General Glogojeanu, the city's military commander, and many Rumanian and German officers and soldiers were killed. In the first reprisals carried out the following day, 5,000 persons, most of them Jews, were killed. Many of them were hanged at crossings and in the public squares. Ion *Antonescu ordered the execution of 200 Communists for every officer who had been killed, and 100 for every soldier, and ordered that one member of every Jewish family be taken hostage. Nineteen thousand Jews were arrested and brought to the square at the harbor, doused [[watered]] with gasoline, and burned.

Another 16,000 were taken the following day to the outskirts, where all of them were massacred. Some of them, bound 40 or 50 side by side, were thrown in an antitank ditch and shot. All the others were crowded into four stores in three of which the Jews were killed by machinegun fire. The fourth store was blown up on October 25, at the hour when the headquarters had been blown up three days earlier. The other three stores were set on fire to prevent possible escape by the wounded. The massacres were commanded by Rumanian officers, but organized by Sonderkommando 11 specialists.

Another 5,000 Jews were subsequently arrested, and soon after the massacres, deported to camps set up in Bogdanovka, Domanevka, Krivoye Ozero, and other villages, where about 70,000 Jews, all from southern *Transnistria, were concentrated. During December 1941 and January 1942, almost all of them were killed by special troops of Sonderkommando (Russia) aided by Rumanian police soldiers, Ukrainian militia, and, especially, by the *SS units, made up of former German colonists in the region ("VoMi"=Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle). The burning of corpses lasted for two months.

[Ghettos in Odessa with 30,000 remaining Jews - death by cold outside - private flight attempts]

Approximately 30,000 Jews still lived in Odessa and were segregated in two ghettos set up at Slobodka and Dalnik on the outskirts. Only a small number could find accommodation in the few houses there, while the vast majority were forced to live outside in the snow and storm. Most of them froze within a few days. Typhus accounted for hundreds of victims daily. Official records dating from that period show the attempts of Jews to save themselves by falsifying documents on ethnic origin, by giving children to Christian families, or by marrying their children to Christians, while many Jews found shelter with non-Jewish friends or in the catacombs. (col. 1326)

some of them under false documents or in hiding in the catacombs. Others were given shelter by non-Jewish families. There had been numerous informers among the local Russians and Ukrainians but also persons who risked their liberty and even their lives to save Jews. (col. 1327)

[Odessa - capital of Transnistria: deportations to Berezovka and the camps Berezovka and Golta - farms - aid in the camps by Rumanian Committee - and further shootings for a "judenrein" Odessa]

On Dec. 7, 1941, Odessa became the capital of Transnistria. The governor, G. Alexianu, and all the administrative institutions transferred their headquarters from Tiraspol to Odessa. Subsequently, steps were taken to make Odessa *judenrein. First, an order was issued on Jan. 7, 1942, forcing the Jews to turn over all the gold jewels, and objects of value in their possession. The transfer of Jews to camps in the Berezovka and Golta regions began on Jan. 12, 1942. By February 23, 19,582 Jews were dispatched in 43 overcrowded convoys by cattle truck and then by train from Odessa to Berezovka. The bodies of 50 to 60 people who died in each transport were burned near the arrival platform in the sight of their families. From Berezovka, the Jews, divided into groups, were sent by a forced march to the camps in the districts of Berezovka and Golta. Most of those sent to the Golta died from frost, (col. 1326)

starvation, or disease in the stables where they were quartered. The survivors, with Jewish deportees from Rumania, were sent to work on local Rumanian farms. Those who managed to receive the aid sent from the Jewish Relief Committee in Bucharest survived. The Domanevka ghetto inhabitants survived, with the deportees from Rumania, due to their superior self-organization. The people sent to the camps in the vicinity of the German colonies in the district of Berezovka were all killed by SS commando units consisting entirely of local Germans.

["Judenrein" Odessa: Jewish tombstones are sold - Jewish library destroyed - apartments for "Volksdeutsche" - "Deutsches Haus"- crafts workshops - Rumanian Relief Committee]

After the last convoy left on Feb. 23, 1942, Odessa was proclaimed judenrein. The local inhabitants and the occupying forces looted Jewish property. The old Jewish cemetery was desecrated and hundreds of granite and marble tombstones were shipped to Rumania and sold. The gravestone of the poet Simon Frug was recovered and after the war laid in the Jewish cemetery of Bucharest.

The Mendele Mokher Seforim Library was sacked and the building demolished.

In August 1942 Alexianu and SS-Brigadefuehrer Hoffmeyer - head of Sonderkommando R - signed an agreement transferring to the 7,500 Volksdeutsche living in Odessa all the local Jewish-owned apartments, including the furniture.

The Jewish Theater became the Deutsches Haus for entertaining the German troops in Odessa.

In the summer of 1942 the Rumanian authorities organized various handicraft workshops for their employees' service for which they brought 50 of the best Jewish artisans from the Transnistrian ghettos (deportees from Rumania). They were  segregated in ghetto-like quarters in a building on Adolf Hitler Street (formerly Yekaterinovskaya Street).

A delegation of the Relief Committee from Bucharest, authorized by the government to visit the ghettos of Transnistria, succeeded in January 1943 in sending them some funds.

[10 April 1944: Communist occupation]

Soviet troops under General Malinovsky returned to Odessa on April 10, 1944. It is estimated that at the time of liberation [[communist occupation]], a few thousand Jews were living in Odessa. [...]

In the report of the "Soviet Extraordinary Commission for the estimation of the losses of Odessa's inhabitants" (June 14, 1944), it is not mentioned that the greatest number of victims were Jews. On the other hand, two well-known Rumanian writers (George Calinescu and Aurel *Baranga) wrote on the Holocaust of the Jews in Odessa.

[D.L.]

[[The communist regime draw many surviving Jews into the Red Army, and the Jewish death rate in the Red Army was especially high]].


Contemporary Period. [Odessa becomes a new Jewish center under the communist regime 1944-1971]

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Odessa, vol.12,
                  col.1324, former synagogue is sports hall
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Odessa, vol.12, col.1324, former synagogue is sports hall

After the Jewish survivors returned [[from central "Soviet Union"]], Odessa became one of the largest Jewish centers of the Soviet Union. However there was no manifestation of communal or cultural life. Until 1956 Israel vessels visited the port of Odessa for loading and unloading, and Israel sailors visited the harbor club and were seen in the city's streets.

In 1962 private prayer groups were dispersed by the authorities and religious articles found among them were confiscated. A denunciation of the Jewish religious congregation and its employees appeared in the local paper in 1964. Mazzah baking by the Jewish congregation was practically prohibited during 1959-65. It was again allowed in 1966.

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Odessa,
                          vol.12, col.1320, gave stone of 1924, visited
                          in 1966 Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Odessa, vol.12, col.1320, gave stone of 1924, visited in 1966. Tombstone in Odessa of Isaac Babel's father (d. 1924), with "1966" painted on it to indicate to the authorities that the grave was visited during that year. Stones on graves in the U.S.S.R. not visited for over a year were normally removed and sold.

In 1968 the synagogue burned down, but was later rebuilt. While it was still in ruins, thousands of Jews, many of them youngsters, came to the site on Simhat Torah eve to dance and sing.

In the 1959 census 102,200 Jews were registered in Odessa, but the actual number has been estimated at about 180,000 (14-15% of the total population). There remained only one synagogue in Odessa, on the outskirts of the city, whose rabbi, Israil Schwarzblatt, was (col. 1327)

the sole rabbi ordained in the Moscow Yeshivah (founded by Rabbi *Schliefer). The old Jewish cemeteries were in disrepair. From 1968 several Jewish families were allowed to emigrate to [[Herzl]] Israel, following the increased demand for exit permits of Soviet Jews in the wake of the Six-Day War (1967).

[ED.]

[[In this Six-Day War the racist Herzl Zionist clique in Jerusalem could reach the Nile as a frontier of "Greater Israel", one of the aims of racist Zionism which is indicated in 1st Mose chapter 15 phrase 18, and this phrase is not decleared illegal until today (2008)]].


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Bibliography

-- Eshkol, Enziklopedyah Yisre'elit, 1 (1929), 809-26
-- B. Shohetman, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 2 (1948), 58-108 (incl. bibl.)
-- J. Lestschinsky: Dos Sovetishe ydntum (1941; Heb. tr. Ha-Yehudim be-Rusyah ha-Sovyetit, 1943)
-- A.P. Subbotin: V cherte yevreyskoy osedlosti, 2 (1888)
-- J.J. Lerner: Yevrei v Novorossiyskom kraye-istoricheskiye ocherki (1901)
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-- idem, in: Yad Vashem Studies (1967), 135-54
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-- PK Romanyah (1969), 390-4> (col. 1328)




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Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in Odessa, vol. 12, col. 1327-1328




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