Nesvizh is a town in Minsk region of Belarus. It is well-known as a touristic destination and a settlement with rich history. Nesvizh's population is about 15.000 people.
Nesvizh has gone through numerous changes throughout the centuries, mostly because of being the royal family property. 16th century was the heyday of the town, thanks to the Radzivill rule. Jews enjoyed a peaceful lifestyle centuries along until 1939.
Despite the Radzivill resolution that the Jews of the town had to live in their own district, it didn't have any significant negative influence on the community. Jews enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. Jews had their voice in the town municipality, the community was a prominent part of the bigger Brest community. Jews had the right to pray in their Nesvizh synagogue. At the wake of the 20th century the community had two synagogues, a Jewish cemetery and several educational venues under the Tarbut sponsorship. Jews worked at trading and craftsmanship.
The community experienced serious persecution after Nesvizh became part of Soviet-ruled Belarusian SSR. In 1935 the authorities took the synagogues and prohibited any religious activity. The conditions worsened since the Nazis occupied Nesvizh and established their rule. Starting from June 24, 1941, only two days into war action in Belarus territories, the local Nazi authorities had established a ghetto and venues of Jewish police and judenrat. October 30, 1941 marked mass execution of the Jewish population.
Sadly, even decades after the war, no Jewish community was restored in Nesvizh. According to 2000s statistics, there were less than ten Jews living in the town.
Places of interest:
• The Radzivill castle, a trademark sight of Nesvizh. Served as the Radzivill royal family residence for centuries along
• One of the oldest city halls of Belarus (circa 14th century, restored). Part of its museum exhibition is dedicated to Jewish community, including Torah fragments.
• A former building of Tarbut school
• The Slutsk gate – an unique historical site, was one of the town's fortress posts in the 17th century
• The Kazimir synagogue, now a fire station. The house of S. Holiavsky, one of the perpetrators of Nesvizh ghetto uprising, is situated nearby
• A monument to the Holocaust victims
• A wooden house, former synagogue
• Remains of Jewish cemetery
• Simha Haim Walkomitz – a Jewish Renaissance figure
• Falk Heilpern – a journalist, has established the first Jewish children magazine in Belarus
• Rabbi Beit Halevi – a prominent religious figure
• Nahum Levi Shomer – a writer
• Aharon Zisling – the first Agricultural Minister of Israel
• Bernard Shelwin – Jewish-American journalist
• David Farfel – a professor of medicine, prominent Jewish anti-Nazi resistance figure