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Druya

DRUYA

DRUYA (Pol. Druja ), town in Molodechno district, Belarus. The Jewish community is mentioned in the late 16th century. Many Jews there were occupied in the local soap industry and others traded in farm products, like flax, grain, and hides. They dominated trade. In the late 18th century a beautiful synagogue was constructed. The community numbered 1,305 in 1766; 2,366 in 1847; 3,006 in 1897 (out of a total population of 4,742); 1,011 (41%) in 1921; and 1,800 in 1925. The author Alter *Druyanow was born in Druya. After wwi, Jewish merchants resumed their trade in agricultural products; others were artisans. The center of cultural life was the Bund-dominated Yiddish school.

[Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]

Holocaust Period

On the eve of World War II the Jewish population of Druya numbered about 1,500. Between October 1939 and June 1941 Druya was occupied by the Soviets. On July 6, 1941, after the outbreak of the German-Soviet war, the Germans entered the town. During the first days of the war many people accused of allegiance to the Soviets were killed. In April 1942 two ghettos were created, one for workers, the second for non-workers. On July 2, 1942, the Germans surrounded the ghettos in order to liquidate them. The inhabitants tried to break out and some groups succeeded in reaching the forests. In order to prevent a mass escape, the Germans shot at Jews and set the ghettos aflame. Some of those who escaped to the forest joined the partisans around the village of Balnia and participated in activities against the Germans. About 50–60 persons survived.

[Aharon Weiss]

bibliography:

I. Schipper, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemach polskich (1937), index; B. Wasiutiński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce… (1930), 84; O. Hedemann, Dzisna i Druja (1934); A. Druyanow, in: Reshumot, 1 (1925), 437–49; Yad Vashem Archives.

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