שקלוב – Шклов – Shklov

Memorial to the Jews - victims of the Holocaust in the town of Shklov, Mogilev region. It is located on the territory of the Jewish cemetery in Shklov. צילום:Avner

למרבה המזל, הסבים שלי הרשל וציפורה גרוסמן היגרו בסוף המאה ה-19 באופן לגאלי לגמרי משקלוב למונטריאל, קנדה עם כל האחים והאחיות של הרשל. דור שלם החליט לעזוב את "the Old Country" האימפריה הרוסית. פקידי ההגירה במונטריאל לא יכלו לבטא את שם המשפחה ולכן כל אח זכה בשם אנגלו-פוני חדש כגון ״גרוסמן״ או ״גרוסנר״. בדור ההוא הסבים סיפרו מעט לילדיהם על החיים ״שם״. הפרט היחיד שיכלה אמי לספר על ארץ המקור של הוריה היה שהם עזבו את ״"Sklov-Mohilev Gebenya” – זאת אומרת ״שקלוב-מחוז מוגילב״. אני נשבעתי להתיצב בשקלוב, בלארוס לחקור ולהכיר את מקום מוצאם – וברוך ה׳ לא להגיד קדיש.

תולדות משפחת גרוסמן שהיגרה למונטריאל קנדה – The Grossman Family Emigrates to Canada

כל ילדיהם של אברהם גרוזנייר משקלוב החליטו לעזוב את שקלוב וכולם היגרו למונטריאל, קנדה בסוף המאה ה-19. תחת האימפריה הרוסית מותר היה להגר. לעומת זאת במשטר הקומוניסטי הגבול היה חסום. תנאי ההגירה צומצמו בארצות שונות – במיוחד בארה״ב החל משנת 1923. העקבות קושי של הפקיד הקנדי בשפות כשירדו מן האניה במונטריאל אח קיבל שם אנגלו-פוני גרוסמן או גרוסנר.

  • הרי צבי הרשל אלטר גרוסמן ואשתו חוה אווה ציפורה גרוסמן (הסבים שלי) ובנם פיליפ שרגא פיבוש שנולד עוד בשקלוב, יחזקאל צ׳ארלס גרוסנר, שרה גרוסנר, חיה לאה גרוסנר, וסנדר גרוסנר. להרי צבי הרשל וחוה ציפורה נולדו בקנדה: אנני גרוסמן, נתן גרוסמן, שמואל גרוסמן, אידה גרוסמן, שרה גרוסמן ורחל גרוסמן (התאומה הקטנה והמוז׳יניקית של המשפחה – אמא שלי).
Hirsh and his wife Tzipe left Shklov, Russia at the end of the 19th Century and immigrated to Montreal, Canada with all of Hirsh's siblings. Because the family name was difficult to pronounce for the Canadian Immigration Service, each sibling received a different family name. Hirsh became Grossman. Others became Grossner. The rest I don't know. The young man & young woman the photo are Hirsh and Tzipe. Aren't they beautiful? These paintings are in the home of their grandson, Harvey Grossman.
Hirsh and his wife Tzipe left Shklov, Russia at the end of the 19th Century and immigrated to Montreal, Canada with all of Hirsh's siblings. Because the family name was difficult to pronounce for the Canadian Immigration Service, each sibling received a different family name. Hirsh became Grossman. Others became Grossner. The rest I don't know. The young man & young woman the photo are Hirsh and Tzipe. Aren't they beautiful? These paintings are in the home of their grandson, Harvey Grossman.

All the children of Abraham Groznier (Krusnier?) decided to leave Shklov and to emigrate to Montreal at the end of the 19th Century: Hershel Zvi Alter Grossman, Yehezkel Charles Grossner, Sara Grossner, Chaya Layeh Grossner, and Sendor Grossner.

Hershel Harry Zvi and his wife Eva Zippora (my grandparents) arrived with their first born son, Phillip Shraga Feybush, who was born in Shklov. More children were born in Montreal: Annie, Nathan, Sam, Ida and the twins Sara and Rachel. Rachel was my mother.

Rachel Grossman-Cohen becomes an American citizen
Rachel Grossman-Cohen becomes an American citizen

Rachel Grossman-Cohen: Obituary in Citizen Register

Scan 31

The name "Alter" which means "Old" was added to Hershel Zvi's name when he became ill. Both my cousins, Harvey Zvi Grossman, Harvey Zvi Grotsky, and I are named after our grandfather, Hershel Harry Zvi Grossman.

1280px-Shklov1
בנין עיריית שקלוב                                                                                                                                                                                Shklov City Hall

להכיר  את שקלוב – Getting to know Shklov

שקלוב היא עיירה במחוז מוהילב (מוגילב) שבמזרח בלארוס, על גדת נהר דנייפר, כ-35 ק"מ צפונית למוהילב. נכון לשנת 2015 האוכלוסייה בה מונה כ-16,400 נפש. שקלוב מכונה ״בירת המלפפונים של בלארוס״.

Shkolv is a town in Mogilev Region located 35 kilometres north of Mogilev on the Dnieper river. It has a railway station on the line between Orsha and Mogilev. As of 2019, its population was 16,240  people. Shklov is the hometown of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The city commissioned the bronze statue of a cucumber, Wearing a bow-tie and a jacket, the cucumber statue stands in the middle of Shklov, which also hosts a statue to the Belarusian president. The cucumber has been grown in the town for more than 700 years, and each year local farmers harvested more than 10 thousand tons of the green vegetable. "Now we have two heroes," local residents told the news channel. "Which is more popular – the cucumber or the president.

מלכת המלפפונים fotobel
שקלוב מלכת המלפפונים של בלארוס – "Shklov is the "Cucumber Queen of Belarus
fotobel
Shklov
Shklov

איך מבטאים שקלוב?     ?How do you pronounce Shklov

בבלארוסית: Шклоў, ברוסית: Шклов, ביידיש: שקלאָוו, פולנית: Szkłów

An 18th century drawing of Škłoŭ (Polish, Szkłów)
An 18th century drawing of Škłoŭ – ציור של שקלוב במאה ה-18

 

Shklov Soldiers Memorial
Shklov Soldiers Memorial

סיור מודרך בשקלוב (בלארוסית) Guided Tour of Shklov in Belarusian

At least you can see the pictures.

תולדות שקלוב – History of Шклов – Shklov

  • התיעוד הראשון לעיר הוא משנת 1535.
  • בשנת 1655 נהרסה העיר בידי הקוזקים.
  • בשנים 1654 נערך קרב שקלוב במלחמת רוסיה-פולין בין רוסיה הצארית לבין האיחוד הפולני-ליטאי על השליטה בשטחי אוקראינה ובלרוס. המלחמה למעשה סיימה את התפקיד של האיחוד הפולני ליטאי כמעצמה אירופאית, ועצרה את התפשטות הנצרות קתולית מזרחה.
  • בשנת 1708 נחרבה ונשדדה בידי השוודים בפיקודו של גנרל לוונהופט.
  • בשנת 1812 פלש צבאו של נפוליאון לעיר, ובזזה.
  • בחלוקת פולין בסוף המאה ה-18 נכללה העיר בתחום האימפריה הרוסית.

The first records about the town are from 1535.  Shklov was field of many battles with the Prince of Shuisk, Poland-Lithuania, Tsarist Russia, and the Cossacks.  There were two famous battles named  "The Battle of Shklov": – In 1581 in the battle of Shklov , the Polish-Lithuanian army was defeated. On August 12, 1654, in the second Battle of Shklov, the army of the hetman Janusz Radziwill defeated the troops of the Moscow tsarist governor Jacob Cherkassky.

 After the 1st partition of Poland (1772) Shklov was part of the Russian Empire. At the beginning of the 19th century – Shklov was an important trading center, with a marina on the Dnieper and later, in the early 20th century, with the railway station on the Orsha-Mogilev line. 

Map of city of Shklov – מפת העיר שקלוב

תולדות יהודי שקלוב – History of the Jews of Shklov

יהודים התיישבו בשקלוב בתקופה מוקדמת, קרוב לוודאי בתחילת המאה השש-עשרה. מיקומה של העיר על קו הגבול שבין האימפריה הרוסית ופולין חשף אותה לעיתים קרובות להרס המלחמות, והיהודים, שהיוו את רוב אוכלוסייתה, היו הסובלים העיקריים מכך.

בשנת 1897 נמנו בעיר 5,422 יהודים, רוב תושביה, ובתקופה זו היו בה שני בתי כנסת, עשרים ושבעה בתי תפילה יהודיים, בית ספר ממלכתי יהודי, בית חולים יהודי וכמה מוסדות חינוך וצדקה נוספים. היהודים בעיר ניהלו סחר נרחב בחיטה ובסחורות אחרות. בתקופה הסובייטית שבין מלחמות העולם פחת מספר היהודים בעיר, וטרם פרוץ מלחמת העולם השנייה עמד על כ-2,100 איש.

שקלוב נודעה כשטעטל בעל חשיבות. הייתה בה השפעה ניכרת של הגאון מווילנה, והיא מוזכרת לתהילה בפי בנו של הלה בהקדמה לביאור לשולחן ערוך, כאשר גם כמה מבחירי תלמידי הגר"א היו מן העיר.

Jews apparently first settled in Shklov during the 16th Century.

By the end of the 17th Century the traveler Korb wrote (Regestyi Radpis 2) that the Jews formed the "wealthiest and most influential class in the town," which was then a commercial center at the Junction of trade routes between Russia and Western Europe.

Long before there were Jewish communities in the land of the tsars, Jews inhabited a region which they called "Medinas Rusiya", "the Land of Russia." Prior to its annexation by Russia, "the Land of Russia" was not a center of rabbinic culture. But in 1772, when it was absorbed by Tsarist Russia, this remote region was severed from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; its 65,000 Jews were thus cut off from the heartland of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Forced into independence, these Jews set about forging a community with its own religious leadership and institutions. The three great intellectual currents in East European Jewry – Hasidism, Rabbinic Mitnagdism, and Haskalah – all converged on Eastern Belorussia, where they clashed and competed. In the course of a generation, the community of Shklov – the most prominent of the towns in the area – witnessed an explosion of intellectual and cultural activity. The intrusion of modernity came through several avenues, including interaction with members of the Russian aristocracy and contact with Moses Mendelssohn and his circle of Enlightened Jews in Berlin. This intrusion led to a transformation of local Jewish culture and thought. Hebrew works of art and science flourished. Projects to reform Jewish education along European lines abounded. And activist efforts began to secure the political and social emancipation of Russian Jewry. This is a social and intellectual odysseys of merchants, maskilim, and rabbis, and their varied attempts to combine Judaism and European culture. 

"Golden Era" for Jews in Shklov 1772-1812 – תור הזהב של יהודי שקלוב

The "Golden Era" of the Shklov Jewish community was the period between its annexation by Russia in 1772 and the Napoleonic War of 1812. During this "Golden Era," Shklov was a thriving economic and cultural center, which boasted a renowned Yeshiva that had been established by Binyamin Rivlin (1728-1812), a close disciple and associate of the Vilna Gaon.  Rav Rivlin single-handedly played a major role in helping to make Shklov into a center of rabbinic learning in the 1770's, which it remained until he left for the Holy Land in 1812, immediately after Russia's defeat of Napoleon. 

Jewish Life in Shklov after Russian Annexation – יהודי שקלוב לאחר הסיפוח לרוסיה

With the partition of Poland in 1772, the part of Belorussia that includes Shklov was annexed by Russia. After becoming part of Russia, Shklov developed as important commercial center on the trade route linking Russia with Western Europe. Although most of the Jews of the Pale of Settlement were poverty-striken, a certain number of Jews of Shklov acquired wealth as traders, merchants and suppliers for the army. Although Jews were prohibited from settling in Moscow until the end of the 18th century, with the Russian annexation of Belorussia in 1772, several Jewish merchants from Shklov took up residence in Moscow; one of the most notable of these merchants was the trader and contractor, Nathan Note Notkin of Shklov.  In 1783 the first Jewish printing house in Belarus was established in Shklov.  During the "Golden Era" Shklov became the largest center of Hebrew printing in Eastern Europe. However, Shklov's prominence as a political center of Russian Jewry later declined in the early 1800's, and its role as a center of Hebrew printing was soon surpassed by Vilna and Grodno. Among the most famous books printed in Shklov was the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, the major recodification of the Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Ladi, known to Chabad Hassidim as "The Alter Rebbe," author of The Tanya.   Also known as Shulchan Aruch Harav, the first section was printed in Shkov in 1814. 

The Jews of Shklov and the Vilna Gaon  – יחסי יהודי שקלוב לגאון מוילנה

One of the major intellectual schisms of the 18th century was the struggle for influence between Chassidism and its opponents, who were known as "Misnagdim" or "Mitnagdim. "The Jews in the town of Shklov enjoyed a close relationship with Rabbi Elijah (Eliyahu) ben Shlomo Zalmanthe, the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797), and Shklov thus played a unique role in the battle against Chassidism. In early 1772, Shklov became the first Jewish community in Eastern Europe to issue an official ban against the Chassidim.

Vilna Gaon authentic portrait
Vilna Gaon authentic portrait

The Rule of Semyon Zorich in Shklov – תקופת השלטון של זוריך בשקלוב

In 1784 the empress ennobled Zorich, gave him an estate, and made him a governor of Shklov until his death in 1799. Under the leadership of Zorich, Shklov became a veritable "Belarussian Versailles." During this period when Zorich feted a lavish court in Shklov, approximately 80 percent of the town's population was Jewish.

״The Perushim and the "Yishuv" – הפרושים והישוב

Followers of the Vilna Gaon from Shklov who emigrated to the Land of Israel played a key role in early emigration to the Land of Israel, and building the early "Yishuv" (settlement) in both Safed and Jerusalem.   The Perushim, a group of disciples of the Vilna Gaon who left from Vilna, Lithuania, and Belarus for the Land of Israel, began their journey to the Holy Land from Shklov, as some of the key leaders of this movement were from Shklov. Shklov's rabbinic elite to emigrated to the Land of Israel with the Perushim.

Mass Emigration from Sklov – הגירה המונית משקלוב

During the 19th Century, Shklov was a predominantly Jewish town. According to the 1897 Census, at the end of the 19th century, 5,422 Jews lived in Shklov, comprising 78% of the total population. At that time there were more than ten synagogues and prayer houses functioning.  The Jewish Encyclopedia published in 1905, reported that at that time the Jewish population of Shklov had grown to about 12,000, which was nearly 88% of the total population.  However, during the early 20th century many of Shklov's Jews then left the town, either for the big towns and cities, or to emigrate, and by 1939 only 2,132 Jews remained, comprising 26.2% of the population.

The Jewish Encyclopedia published in 1905, reported that at that time the Jewish population of Shklov had grown to about 12,000, which was nearly 88% of the total population.  However, during the early 20th century many of Shklov's Jews then left the town, either for the big towns and cities, or to emigrate, and by 1939 only 2,132 Jews remained, comprising 26.2% of the population.

יהדות שקלוב תחת קונוניזם – Shklov Jewery under Communism

In Shklov a very brave rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Feinstein risked his life to continue running a secret underground yeshiva until the 1930s. He was arrested in the Spring of 1936 for the "crime" of continuing to teach Torah. Police took Rav Mordechai Feinstein away from his holiday table during the Jewish religious festival of Shavuout, and deported him to Siberia, where he later died in exile.

"YevSektsia" was headed by Semyon Dimanstein. Dimanstein actually had smicha (rabbinic ordination) from the Lubavicher Rebbe, but nonetheless after becoming a staunch Communist, later interrogated the Rebbe and gave the order to arrest him  in 1927. Ironically, the YevSektsia was disbanded in 1929, and many of its leading members perished in the Great Purge in the 1930s. Dimanstein, himself, was arrested and received death sentence in 1938 and was executed.   

With the advent of Communism came the banning of religious practice in the Soviet Union. In Belorussia, the Communist Party, and in particular the Jewish Section of the Party, known as the "YevSektsia" waged an extremely active campaign of propaganda and persecution against the Jewish religious way of life. Though comprised of Jews, the goal of the YevSektsia was to destroy Jewish tradition, and wipe out Judaism as a religion. The YevSektsia started trying to close the Jewish religious schools as early as 1924. The Jewish schools (hederim) and yeshivas were closed down and synagogue buildings were converted to secular use.    Instead, a network of kindergartens and schools were opened where Communist ideology was taught, and notions of religion were ridiculed. As the Jewish Communists worked to create a framework for a Soviet-inspired secular national-Jewish culture in Belorussia, at first a network of Jewish schools giving instruction in  Yiddish. A Yiddish School operated in Shklov until 1934, when the Yiddish schools were shut down.

The majority of the Jews who remained in Shklov, along with thousands of Jews from nearby towns who had taken refuge in Shklov, were mercilessly murdered during World War II in a series of hideous mass shooting actions carried out by the Nazi forces in 1941.

עם פרוץ מבצע ברברוסה גויסו גברים יהודים רבים מהעיר לצבא האדום, וחלק מיתר האוכלוסייה היהודית בה ניסו להימלט לעומק ברית המועצות, אך נאלצו לשוב לעיר בשל הדרכים החסומות. ב-12 ביולי 1941 נכנסו לעיר הגרמנים, וגירשו חלק מיהודיה לכפר הסמוך ריז'קוביצ'י, בו רצחו לאחר סלקציה 84 יהודים. את יתר היהודים שהובאו לכפר שיכנו הגרמנים תחת כיפת השמיים בכיכר הכפר, תחת שמירה של שוטרים בלארוסים, אשר מנעו בתורם אספקת מזון ליהודים.

יתר יהודי שקלוב שנותרו בעיר רוכזו בגטו שהוקם במספר בתים הרוסים בה. על יהודי הגטו הטילו הגרמנים גזירות שונות, ובהן חובת ענידת טלאי צהוב.

ב-2 באוקטובר 1941 פשטו על הכפר ריז'קוביצ'י שוטרים גרמנים, פינים ובלארוסים, ורצחו את כל היהודים שרוכזו בו בסמוך לכפר זרצ'יה הסמוך לדנייפר. בסמוך לאחר מכן רצחו הגרמנים בזרצ'יה גם את 1,459 היהודים שנותרו בגטו שקלוב ובקולחוז הסמוך אליה, לאחר שהובלו לשם במשאיות.

בתי כנסת בשקלוב – Synagogues in Shklov

Anatoly Nalivaev . Shklovskaya synagogue .תמונה::NalivaevAA - בית כנסת בשקלוב
Anatoly Nalivaev . Shklovskaya synagogue .תמונה:: NalivaevAA – בית כנסת בשקלוב

 

The old synagogue building with flying butresses located at 99 Dikuna Street, near the edge of town, is the oldest building in Shklov.   Its old bricks are from the period of the Great Lithuanian Kingdom (Veliki Knyajestvo Litovski).    The building served as a synagogue until the Revolution, and then was shut down.   After World War II it housed a school.   The building is currently used as an Auto School.   The side building that was once a Jewish School (Cheder) is now a tool shop.   This building is on the State List of Historical-Cultural Treasures of Belarus.  

 

This building across the street from the synagogue housed a Yeshiva
This building across the street from the synagogue housed a Yeshiva

Eye Witnesses to the Murders – עדויות לרצח יהודים

 

 

Inhabitants of the second ghetto, located in Shklov, the occupants were taken by car to the pits near the villages of Zarechye and Ryzhkovichi. Then stripped to underwear, laid on the ground and killed. Many were previously beaten, and children were thrown into a hole alive. The death toll of approximately 3,200.

According to S.M. Petrovskaya, the executions were carried out in the fall of 1941 and in December 1941. According to the testimony of eyewitness R. A. Sher, the chief lieutenant of the secret field police Rogner, his assistant field officer Ewald Julius and the chief model officer Eger Emil took an active part in the execution.

The number of Jews who lived before the war in Shklov, Zarechye and Ryzhkovichi does not correspond to the death toll indicated in the documents. To date, it is not possible to explain this difference in numbers. Probably, the number of those killed in Shklov, Zarechye, Ryzhkovichi does not exceed 3,200 people.

הנצחה – Memorial

The place of execution of the Shklov Jews was located in a field near Shklov. After the war, the field was plowed and sown with potatoes. Approximately in 1955, at the request of relatives, the remains of the dead were exhumed and transported to the city’s Jewish cemetery in the village of Ryzhkovichi, where a monument was erected. We climbed up a steep hill to reach the graves and monuments. You can see the steep steps below.

Memorial to the Jews - victims of the Holocaust in the town of Shklov, Mogilev region. It is located on the territory of the Jewish cemetery in Shklov. צילום:Avner
Memorial to the Jews – victims of the Holocaust in the town of Shklov, Mogilev region. It is located on the territory of the Jewish cemetery in Shklov.
צילום:Avner  – אנדרטה לקרבנות השואה בשקלוב
הכניסה לבית העלמין היהודי Mikhail Dirko, March 2016
הכניסה לבית העלמין היהודי – The entrance to the Jewish Cemetery 
Mikhail Dirko, March 2016

Prayers for Holocaust Victims – תפילות להרוגי השואה

מפת איזור שקלוב – מוגילב        Map: Shklov-Mogilev

ביבליוגרפיה

יומנו השלם של אברהם זלמן כהן: Hebrew autobiograhy of Abraham Zalman Cohen describing Jewish life in Czarist White Russian village of Bogushevichi, Communist Revolution, escape and immigration to the United State, work in New York City and Peekskill, NY and building a family in the Jewish Community of Ossining, NY/

Forty Five Years on the Block – The Autobiography Of Abraham Zalman Cohen: אנגלית

מכתבים ששלח אליהו – צבי – הירש כהן – כגן מבלרוס אל בנו ואל קרובי משפחתו בארה"ב : Letters sent by Eliahu – Zvi – Hirsh Cohen – Kagan to his son, Avraham – Zalman Cohen, in 1927 through 1937

All the links to our pilgrimage to Belarus

מינסק – Minsk

יאמא – Yama

מאלי טרוסטינץ – Maly Trostinets

חאטין –  Khatyn

בורוסוב – Borisov

שקלוב – Shklov

םוגילב – Mogilev

בושאַוויץ – Bogushevichi

סמילביצ׳י – Смілавічы

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