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Jews in Kiev, Ukraine

It has been known about Jews in the capital of Ukraine since the 10th century. A 30-line letter has survived about the fate of a member of the Kiev community, Yaakov ben Hanukkah, who ended up in a debt prison. Members of the Kiev community appealed to European Jews with a request to help ransom the prisoner. Thanks to the document called "Kiev Letter", historians know the names of 11 members of the Kiev community.

The fact that the Jewish population lived in Kiev in the XI-XII centuries is evidenced by the name "Zhidovsky quarter", which is regularly mentioned in sources about the city. The famous toponym of Kiev became "Zhidovskiye Vorota". The Hypatian Chronicle under the year 1113 contains a story about the Kiev uprising, during which the Jewish quarter was plundered.

A stable Jewish population lived in Kiev until the time of the Khmelnitskiy Uprising. Then the Kiev community was destroyed. The restoration of the Jewish population of Kiev falls on the imperial period. In 1791, Catherine II issued a decree on the Pale of Settlement, which included Kiev.

However, already in 1827, Nicholas I issued a decree prohibiting Jews from settling in Kiev. Despite the prohibitions, according to some sources, about 39 thousand Jews lived in Kiev as a "temporary population".

Since the 1860s, a permanent Jewish community has been formed from merchants of the first guild and retired soldiers. By the end of the 19th century in Kiev, every ninth merchant of the first guild was a Jew. Golda Meir - Prime Minister of Israel (1898) and Ephraim Katzir (1916) - President of Israel were born in Kiev.

In 1918, the Ukrainian Central Rada granted national and personal autonomy to Jews. In the 1920s, Kiev became the center of the Yiddish culture of Ukraine.

In September 1941, Kiev was occupied by the Nazis. 33,700 Jews were killed in Babiy Yar.

From 1945 to 1953, the Jewish intelligentsia of Kiev was the target of repression by the Stalinist regime. In the 1960s, the Jews of Kiev waged a "struggle for memory" - they took actions that prevented the tragedy of Babiy Yar from being forgotten.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Kiev Jews fought for the right to emigrate to Israel. As a result, an influential community of Kiev Jews was formed in Israel. Since the late 1980s, there has been a revival of Jewish life in Kiev. A cabinet of Jewish history and culture was opened at the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Institute of Jewish Studies was established, and the International Solomon Institute and other organizations are working.

According to the 2001 census, 17.9 thousand Jews lived in Kiev.