Jews in Chernigov, Ukraine
Chernigov is a regional center in Ukraine. In written sources, it has been known since the 10th century in the list of lands that paid tribute to the Khazars. At the same time, the first Jews appeared in the city. The existence of the community has been known since the 11th century. Also in written sources, it is said that in the pre-Mongol period the city was one of the centers of Jewish scholarship.
After the Mongol invasion and until the 16th century, there is no data on the residence of Jews in the city. The first mentions date back to 1611. During the time of Khmelnytsky, some of the Chernigov Jews fled with the Poles, and some were exterminated.
Only in the 18th century did written sources mention Jews living in the city. It is also known that in 1703 and 1708 they became victims of pogroms. After the partition of Poland in 1793, the Jewish population of Chernigov increased. In 1821, sources mention the expulsion of Jews from the state and Cossack settlements of Chernigov region. However, already in 1836 there were 18.6 thousand Jews in the province. 3 thousand of them lived in Chernigov itself. In the 1860s, the province was included in the Pale of Settlement.
By the end of the 19th century, 8.8 thousand Jews lived in the city, who made up almost a third of the local population. In the entire province, there were 114.4 thousand Jews, who constituted 5% of the population. This made the Chernigov region the most sparsely populated by Jews province within the Pale of Settlement.
Interestingly, although the Jews constituted a small minority in the Chernigov province, 329 of the 650 pogroms that swept the empire in 1905 fell on this region. In Chernigov itself, local Jews organized self-defense units that tried to resist the pogromists. For this, in 1906, many members of the self-defense were put on trial on charges of illegal possession of weapons.
In 1910, 13.9 thousand Jews lived in the city, the Talmud-Torah, three male and three female private and one male public Jewish school worked. During the revolution of 1918-1920, the community suffered from pogroms that were staged by all participants in the conflict, from whites to the troops of the Directory and the Red Army.
By 1939, there were 12.2 thousand Jews in the city. Chernigov was occupied from September 1941 to September 1943. During this time, the Nazis killed about 10 thousand Jews. 260 Jews managed to escape.
In 1959, the Jewish population of the city was 6 thousand people. Then the last synagogue was closed. In 1989, 4.5 thousand Jews lived in Chernigov. The Jewish community was registered that year.