Iwye is a small town in the Grodno region of Belarus. It is not a typical small regional settlement. Its population, which is now about 8,000 was composed from adherents of four different religions. The overall number of officially active communities is 18. This cozy town is rich with its cultural and religious traditions that are kept carefully by the inhabitants.
Chronicles tell that Iwye was found as a duke's court aside a fortress in 1444. A version says that the town's name was borrowed from the name of Ewa, the wife of duke Gedimin.
As the time flew, representors of four different nationalities settled in Iwye. Those include Belarusians, Poles, Belarusian Tatars and Jews. There are still catholic and orthodox churches as well as a mosque that have their doors open for adherents of different religions. The history of the Jewish community is way more complicated
Jewish community in Iwye:
Unique documents tell that before the October Revolution there were circa 1,400 Jews in the town. They had their own synagogue and about 150 private buildings belonged to Jews, 1931 official statistics tell that there were over 2,000 Jews in the settlement, thus composing about 76% of overall city population.
Nazi occupation brought some irreversible and cruel changes to the life of the Jewish community. It was almost completely executed. Jewish culture that survived to our days is seen only in architecture of historical buildings. Those are four buildings of former synagogues, as well as some single-typed houses with a date "1929" engraved on them – marking the year of a great fire that broke in Iwye.
Places of interest:
• A monument of the four Iwie religions, composed of arrows that point to each religion's venue in the town
• The Stone Circle – a sign to commemorate 14 significant events throughout Iwye's history. During the WWII it was the point where the entrance to local ghetto was situated. The destroyed Jewish cemetery was situated nearby.
• The aforementioned four buildings of former synagogues