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Jews in Antopol

The town is located in Western Polesie, in the current Brest region of Belarus. At different times it was under the jurisdiction of Poland and the Russian Empire. According to historical data, Jews were seen in Polesie back in the 14th century, however, their active settlement in Antopol itself was documented in archives around the middle of the 17th century.

Between 1701 and 1706 the city came under Swedish occupation, when many Jews from the local community were killed. A reminder of this remains a number of Jewish graves located along the road to the city.

One of the memorable events for the city's Jewish community was the visit of Antopol by two Jewish emissaries from Jerusalem in the 1880s. Subsequently, they noted the city and its community in their travel notes about visiting those regions.

By the end of the 19th century, Antopol was a typical Jewish shtetl, in which the majority of residents were Jews. Therefore, if in 1847 there were 1,108 Jews in the town, then in 1897 there were 3,140, ​​with a total population of 3,870 inhabitants. The Jewish community had its own separate cemetery, as well as a synagogue. Fires often occurred in the city, and in 1869, after one of them, Antopol almost completely burned down, but after some time it was restored again. During the First World War, the Antopol synagogue was burned, but over time a new one was built in its place.

Many Jews in Polesie were mainly engaged in agriculture, and the Antopol community was no exception. They also fed and sold poultry, and imported small agricultural equipment from Europe, which they resold on the local market. The Jews of Antopol were tenants and lessors of land, houses, and owned land. Many local peasants were hired to work for Jewish farmers - growing potatoes, corn, vegetables, weeding gardens, etc. According to some reports, before the First World War there were more than two dozen Jewish farmers in the city and its surroundings.

After the collapse of the Russian Empire and Poland gaining independence, until World War II, Antopol was located in the Polesie Voivodeship. There were five beth midrash (House of Learning) and one shtiebel (house of prayer) in the city.

The invasion of Poland in 1939 by the USSR, and then by Germany, led to a sharp migration of Jews to Antopol - up to 2,300 people out of a total city population of approximately 3,000. The Soviet government managed to nationalize all enterprises and houses of Jews. The Germans, having captured the city in 1941, deported all the Jews to the ghetto. It was liquidated in October 1942; all its Jewish prisoners were exterminated.

Antopol was liberated by Soviet troops in July 1944.