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Jewish shtetl Krasnapolle

The shtetl of Krasnapolle, after the annexation of this part of Belarus to the Russian Empire, belonged to the Cherikovsky district of the Mogilev province. According to the data found in the pinkasim (an act book in the Jewish communities) of the Krasnapolle burial brotherhood, the earliest list of its members dates back to 1760, although it is believed that Jews lived here in earlier periods, when this region was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Most likely, Jews began to settle in Krasnapolle at the beginning of the 18th century, gradually increasing their community. According to some reports, in different periods the share of the Jewish population of the town exceeded 80%, which gave the right to call it a shtetl. At one time, when there were relatively few Jews in Krasnapolle, the town was the subqahal of the Cherikov (county) qahal.

According to the city census of 1847, the Krasnapolle Jewish community numbered about 1,500 members. In 1897, 3248 inhabitants lived in Krasnapolle, of which 2692 people (almost 83%) were Jews.

As of 1910, there were 5 prayer schools, a private school for Jewish children, and a synagogue in Krasnapolle. The Jewish population was mainly engaged in petty trade and handicrafts. In addition, there were Jewish doctors and merchants in the town. The main trading life in the town took place in the center, near the market square. Also, the Jews owned all 9 oil mills, a pharmacy warehouse, a distillery, a tannery, and several dozen shops.

During the troubled periods of the revolution and civil war, the Jewish community of the shtetl was repeatedly subjected to pogroms and looting. During the period of collectivization, a Jewish collective farm was created in the suburbs. The school, which taught in Yiddish, worked in Krasnapolle until 1938. Before the war, in 1939, 1180 Jews (33%) lived in the town.

The occupation of the town by the Germans took place in mid-August 1941. And although most of the Jews had previously left the city, the remaining Germans were driven into a ghetto organized almost immediately. For two months, its prisoners were subjected to constant abuse and forced labor, they had no food, medicine, and no rights at all.

The entire Jewish population of Krasnapolle was destroyed by the Germans in two stages - in the fall of 1941, and in the summer of 1942. Their property was looted both by the Germans and their henchmen, the policemen, and by some of the local residents. According to eyewitness data, after the mass executions of 1941-1942, only one female doctor survived from the entire Jewish community, but the Germans killed her in the spring of 1943.

Krasnapolle was liberated by the Red Army in October 1943, however, the Jewish community of the city was not destined to wait for the liberators...