Yevpatoria: Jewish pages of history
Yevpatoria, located on the western coast of Crimea, is often mentioned in Jewish documents in the Tatar manner - Kezlev. The city was founded by the Greeks in the Kalamita Bay of the Crimean Peninsula around the 6th century BC as a colony, which soon received its name in honor of the Greek king Eupator. Yevpatoria for all its existence had many owners, and even more people who settled there.
The Jewish community existed in Yevpatoria at the time when the city was owned by the Tatar khans - that means, from the 15th to the 18th century. When Crimea was conquered by the Russian Empire at the end of the 18th century, many Jews from the Yevpatoria community, fearing repression and oppression, moved to Turkey. So by the end of the 1700s, the number of Jews living in Yevpatoria was small, mostly Rabbanites. The largest at that time, and in some other periods, was the Karaite community of the city.
Since the middle of the 19th century, there has been an increase in the Jewish population of Yevpatoria. Thus, according to the archival data of the Russian Empire, in 1867 325 Jews lived in the city, in 1889 - 565, and in 1897 - already 1592 Jews (8.8% of all residents).
The first pogroms were experienced by the Jewish community of Yevpatoria during the first revolution in Russia in 1905. There were also persecutions from the so-called "Tsarist Okhrana" - a political investigation. In 1914, 14 residents of Yevpatoria were convicted - Jews, whom the authorities accused of prohibited Zionist activities.
In 1911-12, two large city synagogues were built in Yevpatoria - Merchant and Craft. And if the first one did not stand the test of time and the Soviet government, having lost its original appearance and purpose, then the second one, “Egie Kapai”, is still valid today. This synagogue is today the only Jewish religious building in the city.
During the years of the revolution of 1917 and the subsequent civil war, many Jewish settlers arrived in Yevpatoria. For them, the Soviet government opened schools for teaching children, reading rooms, published a newspaper, and even created a Jewish collective farm.
In October 1941, Yevpatoria was occupied by the Germans for a long 29 months. In fact, from the first days, the Nazis subjected the Jewish population of the city to repression and humiliation. All Jews were registered; after which they were obliged to wear a special sign on their clothes - a six-pointed yellow star.
The first mass executions of Jews began in November 1941 and continued until January 1942, then they were resumed in March. The de-occupation of Yevpatoria took place in April 1944.
In the post-war period, especially in the 1970s and 1990s, the majority of Yevpatoria Jews left for their historical homeland, the United States or other Western countries. Nevertheless, Jews still live in Yevpatoria today and have their own communities.