views updated


LUBAVICH (Lyubavichi ), small town in Smolensk district, Russia; until 1917 it was in Mogilev province (gubernia), Belorussia. The Jewish population numbered 1,164 in 1847 and 1,660 (67.3% of the total) in 1897. Lubavich became the center of *Chabad Ḥasidism in Lithuania, Belorussia, and the eastern Ukraine after Dov Ber, the son of the founder of the *Chabad system, *Shneour Zalman of Lyady, moved from Lyady to Lubavich in 1813. His nephew and son-in-law Menahem Mendel (the "Ẓemaḥ-Ẓedek") extended the influence of the dynasty (see *Schneersohn). The Jews in the town mainly earned their livelihood from the flax trade, and in providing for the many Ḥasidim who visited their "rabbi" there. His grandson Shalom Baer established the yeshivah Tomekhei Temimim in 1897 in Lubavich. He left Lubavich in 1915, but the name of the town remained connected with the Chabad movement (the "Lubavich Ḥasidim"). After the 1917 Revolution the town's economy declined and the Jews suffered from persecution by the *Yevsektsiya. In 1926 there were only 967 Jews in Lubavich (50% of the total population). Of the 205 families living then, 43 were in engaged in agriculture, 80 in crafts, and 27 in trade, and the others unemployed. In 1939 the number of Jews dropped to a couple of hundred. The Germans entered the town on July 21 or 22, 1941, and a few days later a group of working Jews was executed. In November 1941 a ghetto was organized and refugees from Vitebsk and Rudnia were brought there. The ghetto's 483 inhabitants were soon murdered outside the town.


Z. Har-Shefer, in: He-Avar, 2 (1954), 86–93; B. Dinur, Be-Olam she-Shaka (1958), 145–55; M. Fainsod, Smolensk under Soviet Rule (1958), 441–3.

[Yehuda Slutsky]