views updated


KALINKOVICHI , townlet in Polesye district, Belarus. In 1811 there were 108 Jews, and in 1897 their number grew to 1,341. All inhabitants of the town were then Jews. Many of them traded in flour, and others worked in crafts. The invalid Jewish author Joseph Ḥayyim Dorozhka (1869–1919), who lived in Kalinkovichi, was the leading spirit behind an attempt made during 1911–12 to introduce Hebrew as the spoken language of the town. For this purpose, a network of Hebrew schools was established. The townlet suffered heavily at the end of the Civil War (1920). In March 1920 the Polish soldiers staged a pogrom, and on November 10, 1920, Balakhovich's gang killed 32 Jews. At that time many Jews from the surrounding district flocked to the town. The 3,106 Jews living in Kalinkovichi in 1926 constituted about half of the total population, and in 1939 it reached 3,386 Jews (out of a total population of 9,799). From 1923 there was a Yiddish school, with 397 pupils enrolled in 1930. Classes for adult studies were also available at this time. Shlome *Simon, who was born there, described the town in Vortslen (1956) and Tsvaygn (1960). The Jewish Soviet poet Zalman Telesin was also a native of Kalinkovichi. The Germans occupied Kalinkovichi on August 22, 1941. Many Jews had fled before. On September 22, 1941, the remaining 700 were murdered by the Nazis. The last synagogue was closed down in 1960, after 10 of the 20 "aldermen" responsible for its upkeep were compelled to sign a letter accusing the Jews of organizing illegal activity within the synagogue.


Z. Baharow, in: He-Avar, 16 (1969), 245–52; Z. Epstein, Y.Ḥ. Dorozhka (Heb., 1934).

[Yehuda Slutsky /

Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]