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Personal planning of the tour on the topic of «The Jewish heritage»

The Jewish inhabited Belarus for many centuries. After the territory became a part of the Russian Empire its major part was taken by the area of Jewish habitancy. In 1941 more than a million of the Jewish lived in Belarus. The tragedy of the second world wat took away the lives of the majority of them.  

In every city, town, village, stow there remained the traces of Jewish life. Many cemeteries, that are looked after and abandoned, Jewish buildings, synagogues.

Everybody comes to Belarus to look at something special, something for himself. That is why it is to organize a personal tour that the Jewish Tour Agency pays great attention to.

Besides visiting Belarus we arrange personal tours all over CIS – Russia, Ukraine, Poland and other countries.

If you choose us you can reckon on transfer, kosher foods, best guides and interpreters (that you will feel comfortable and easy to communicte with), respect of all the norms and traditions of the religious Jewish people. We observe shabbes and duly celebrate all the Jewish holidays. We equally guarantee your full security. We will advise on visa issues, insurance and other documents, assist in selecting the route and help with  travel within the country.

We offer various options of accommodation for your choice: hotel (rooms of different categories), country house, villa. We provide transport of different  comfort level for your transportation.

Our agency will assist you in the genealogic research. We search for the information on your ancestors in the archives of Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Poland.

Meanwhile you are considering weather to visit the land of your ancestors you can send request to the archives to search on the names that interest you. To enable this you need to write to our address  info@jewish-tour.com and make the payment for the service.

The employee of the archives will collect the primary information. Further on you will be able to come and spend the delightful time looking for the «traces» of the ancestors and in that way enrich the knowledge of your family.

Perhaps you will be lucky to be able to find and visit the graves of the relatives, walk along the streets filled with the history of the generations.

In the event there is no possiblity to come to Belarus but you are interested in the information from the archives our personnel will be doing research for you. 

 

You will get the detailed report on the work done. The report will contain the photos of the documents or copies of the archival records.

Let us tell only about some of the places important for us that it is worth to come to Belarus and see.

In Belarus, Minsk there is the monument known to the Jewish worldwide – the memorial complex «The Pit».

This memorial is the tribute to the memory of the Jewish shot when the punitive operation of March 2nd, 1942. Three  years after Belarus was liberated from the invasion the obelisk was erected here reading «To the Jewish victims of the  Nazism ». For a long time the obelisk was the only memorial to the vistims of Holocost in Sovien Union. 

After the USSR collapsed the memorial was supplemented by the arrangement «Final Journey» - the stairs leading to the pit and 27 bronze descending figures on the sides.

Major shtetls of Belarus.

Mir.

In XX century it was one of the biggest and major shtetls not only in Belarus but in the whole Eastern Europe. It became known for the Jewish worldwide thanks to its yeshiva Mir. It is still acting at the territories of Israel and USA.

 

Presently at Mir there remained a part of the buildings typical for shtetl. You still can see the building of the synagogue, yeshiva, cheder and the boarding house at the cheder, pharmacy, town hall of the former qahal and bank, ordinary buildings of the town.

Almost all the building of the Jewish past are presently not used for purpose. For example, now there is the post office on the spot of the yeshiva. At the spot of the bank there is the kinder garden and the synagogue became the bank. 

The remains of the Jewish cemetery remained in Mir. The cemetery is located at North-east part of the shtetl at Pionerskaya str. Several hundreds of matzevahs are preserved till the present times.

Volozhin.

Volozhin was an important place for the spiritual life of the Lithuanian Jewish. In this town there was located one of the major yeshivas in all the Eastern Europe. Volozhin yeshiva was even named “mother of all the yeshivas”. The Jewish all over the world came to study there and many spiritual leaders graduated from it.

 

About 2 thousand of the Jewish in total or 70% of the total population lived in Volozhin. Following the population census of 1897 in Volozhin there was one synagogue and 4 praying schools.

Reconstructed Volozhin cemetery is located right in the center of the town. There is located the grave of the founder of the Volozhin yeshiva Rabbi  Chaim of Volozhin, other rabbis of Volozhin and the Jewish who were executed during the years of the second World War.

Currently the center of the town preserves the typical Jewish buildings. The building of the synagogue is lost. The famous yeshiva survived till nowadays. The Jewish community looks after it.    

Iwye  

At the end of XX century the Jewish made the absolute majority of the population of the shtetl. Out of 2173 people 1744 (or 810%) were Jewish.

The second World War changed everything after which the Jewish life in Iwye didn`t restore. Following the data of the last population census currently only 2 Jewish live in Iwye rejoin. Same destiny came up with the Iwye synagogue.  Only 3 buildings remained nowadays from the total of the complex. The synagogue itself currently accommodates sport school for children, and the butcher’s shop is located in the second one. Nothing is left from the Jewish cemetery. In the center of the town it is possible to see the residential houses remained that earlier belonged to the Jewish.

The memories of the horror event live not only in Iwye itself. Not far from it at Stonevitchi village once per annum on May 12th the Jewish all over the world come to honor memory of those executed during the second World War.

Memorial network in Bobruisk

Shortly after Bobruisk was occupied by the Nazi troops at the beginning of July 1941 the ghetto was created in the town that lasted untill the end of 1941. In December 30th, 1941 Bobruisk was announced the Jewish free town.

Memory of those terrific events is kept in the memorial network. Shoah memorials are mainly located at the Jewish cemetery in Bobruisk.

In the very center of Bobruisk there exists the alley dedicated to the “Righteous gentile” – people who saved the Jewish during Shoah. While walking at Bakharova Str., you will notice the memorial sign to the prisoners of Bobruisk Ghetto.

Synagogues of Belarus.

Presently more than 100 buildings of the former synagogues are preserved in Belarus. However many of them accommodate various institutions (for culture and sport): National drama theater and House of nature (Trinity Hill) in Minsk, cinema house “Belarus” in Brest…

Some ancient synagogues are the heritage asset and are under restoration or put on maintenance. For example the unique defensive synagogue in Byhov, synagogue yard in Ryzhany, synagogue in Slonim (1642) where the original Jewish mural paintings are preserved ….

Presently there are 8 operating synagogues in Belarus. Wonderful temples – heritage listed buildings are among them:

- big choral synagogue in Grodno (1578)  is one of the ancient operating and most beautiful in Europe (the museum of Jewish history is there);

 

The Choral synagogue in Grodno is the winner in two nominations at once; one of the biggest in Europe and the most ancient of the operating synagogues in the territory of ex-USSR.

The first building of the synagogue was built in 1575-1580s. Santi Gucci was invited for its construction. But 37 years after in 1617 the synagogue was ruined when fire. Afterwards the synagogue burnt out several times and was rebuilt every time after.

1940s appeared to be the most terrific for the synagogue. After the Soviets came to the city the synagogue was closed and during the Nazi troops invasion it was used as a place where the Jewish were gathered to be sent to the concentrated camps and prior to execution. Rich interior of the synagogue was looted. Later on the building was used as food production facility, pharmacy management and even as workshops.

After the Soviet Union collapsed the synagogue was returned to the Jewish community. Thanks to efforts of the community the building was managed to be restored: a part of the façade and the interior are repaired. The synagogue is opened not only for the prayers but for the visitors.  The museum of history of Grodno Jewish is open in the synagogue.

- Synagogue in Bobruisk (turn of the centuries ХVIII-XIX).

Synagogue in Slonim 

It is one more oldest synagogues that remained till nowadays in Belarus. It was constructed in early 1642 and was operating till 1939. After the war it was turned to warehouse. 

Its exterior differs greatly from the synagogue in Grodno – Slonim synagogue was constructed to be an important part of the defensive system in the city. But the thickness of the walls hides wonderful plasterwork, ornaments and mural painting. This beauty started to degrade after the fire happened in the year of 1881. But all of the same the synagogue remained operating.

Since the early 90s the building is gradually deteriorating. In 2000 it was passed to the Jewish community however no funds to restore the synagogue are found yet.

Hundreds of years the Jewish lived in small towns throughout Belarus in wooden houses with earth-roads and schools taught in Yiddish.

70 years ago June 22nd, 1941 Hitler troops penetrated into the country and within a short time devastated 800 thousand Jewish inhabiting the country – that is every eighth out of ten. Many of these who survived could not remain in their villages after the war and moved to the cities or migrated abroad.

Nowadays Jewish life in Belarus revives little by little.

IT IS WORTH COMING TO BELARUS TO BREATH IN THE FORETIME, WALK AROUND THE PLACES WHERE YOUR ANCESTORS USED TO LIVE, FEEL THE POWER AND UNITY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE.

The price does not include airfare and insurance
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Personal planning of the tour on the topic of «The Jewish heritage»

Reviews (5)

The Hymans, USA

We had a fantastic time in Belarus with knowledgable tour guides who made our visit so worthwhile. There was so much to learn about all of the Jewish sites. Our kosher meals were all arranged for us so we did not have to worry about the food. I would defintiely recommend this company.

Alexander, Israel

Thank you for the professionalism of your company!

Arial and Malka, Israel

My husband and I arrived in Minsk on a visit to friends and they took us on a tour of Jewish places in Minsk. It was very interesting!

Boris Kogan, USA

I would like to express my gratitude for their help in the search for archival and improvement on the graves of my relatives.

Dmitry, Israel

There have been Israeli investors in Minsk at the opening of the new plant. It was necessary to organize a 2 day entertainment. I liked that do not ship a lot of history. It is sufficient and in Israel. It was the military museum in the line of Stalin. Belarusian drank moonshine in a village Dudutki.