Jews in Zhlobin, Belarus
Zhlobin is the center of the district of the same name and the third most populous city in the Gomel region of Belarus. It has been known in sources since the 15th century. Sources mention the presence of Jews in the village since the 17th century. It is known that in the 1760s a Jewish pogrom was staged in the city by haidamaks. In the 1770s, over 200 Jews lived here.
In 1793, the settlement becomes part of the Russian Empire. The city found itself within the Pale of Settlement. This contributed to the growth of the Jewish population. By the middle of the 19th century, 1.5 thousand Jews lived here. By the 1880s, Jewish population of Zhlobin reached its peak. Jews owned over 50% of the houses in the city. They made up 82.2% of the total population. There were five synagogues in the city.
In the spring of 1885, Zhlobin suffered from a fire. All 5 synagogues and 194 of 205 houses belonging to Jews were burned down. By the end of the 19th century, the Jewish population of the city was 1.7 thousand, or 52.4% of the townspeople. Jews were engaged in handicraft production. They owned a slaughterhouse, a candle factory, a mill and a grain mill.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a Jewish loan and credit company, a bookstore and a printing house operated in the city.
In the 1920s, despite the restrictions imposed by the communist government, religious life continued in the city, and an illegal yeshiva was operating. Until the 1930s, Zhlobin Jews baked matzo and used the services of a shochet.
By 1939, Jews were the second ethnic group in the city after Belarusians. Their number was 3.7 thousand people. They constituted 19.9% of the population of Zhlobin.
During the Holocaust, the city's Jewish community suffered greatly. The Nazis occupied the city and created two ghettos. After the release of Zhlobin, only four ghetto prisoners survived there. After the war, the local Communist Party committee obstructed the restoration of Holocaust history. For example, in one of the secondary schools, a teacher decided to create a memorial plaque for the dead graduates. Since the school was Jewish in the 1930s, there were many Jewish names among the victims, and the management ordered it to stop working, calling it "the criminal sortie of the Zionist."
After the war, the Jews built a wooden building with their own money, which served as a synagogue. After some time, the authorities requisitioned the building, giving it over to the Komsomol district committee.
In 1948, local Jews tried to get the authorities to register a religious community. In the 1950s, two minyans gathered regularly in the city.
According to the 2009 census, Jews in the city made up 0.07% of the population. There were 56 of them.