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Jews of Vyshny Volochyok

Vyshny Volochyok was founded on the Valdai Hills, on its northeastern outskirts. The city is located on the Tsna River. At different times it had different status - just a city (since 1770), the district center of the Tver province of the Russian Empire (XIX century - early XX century), the regional center of the Tver region of the Russian Federation today.

Vyshny Volochyok received the status of a city according to the order of Empress Catherine II, which gave impetus to its economic prosperity. The convenient geographical location contributed to the influx of merchants and the development of various crafts. Very soon the city became one of the largest settlements in the Tver province. These and other factors contributed to the fact that Jewish families of traders and artisans flocked to Vyshny Volochyok. The opening of the Nikolaev railway was an event that dramatically changed the economic life of the city and contributed to the growth of its Jewish community. And although the Jewish community in Vyshny Volochyok was never particularly large, it played a significant role in its economic life and in the history of this city. The Vyshny Volochyok synagogue became the first in the Tver province, largely due to the presence of a railway station where Jews from other cities could come.

According to house books in 1863, there were 106 Jews in Vyshny Volochyok, in 1897 there were 341. This accounted for only 1.8% of all city residents. At the end of the 19th century, the city had two synagogues and a Jewish cemetery. Despite their small numbers, the Jews of Vyshny Volochyok were actively engaged in small trade and crafts, adhered to their faith and traditions.

According to archival data, not far from the Vyshny Volochyok railway station there was a railway battalion in which there were many Jewish soldiers. A soldiers' chapel was even opened in the city, but since the authorities did not give official permission for this, it did not last long and was closed.

Soviet power was established in Vyshny Volochyok already in 1917, at the very beginning of the revolution. Some Jews participated in the revolutionary events, but most Jews cared about the survival of their families in these troubled times. On the territory of the Tver province and in the Vyshny Volochyok uezd, an anti-Bolshevik uprising of the “greens” took place, which is why some local Jews were forced to move to other regions so as not to fall into the hands of the pogromists. After the civil war, there were practically no working factories and plants left in the city, as well as retail outlets, many of which belonged to Jews before the revolution. However, the Jewish community of Vyshny Volochyok in 1926 numbered 593 people (1.9% of residents), but as of 1939 it had decreased to 504.

During World War II, the Germans did not reach the city, but it remained in the front line and was bombed.