views updated


ROGACHEV , city in Gomel district, Belarus. The number of Jews counted as paying the poll tax in 1766 was 200. The community of Rogachev came under Russian domination in 1772. In 1797 there were 888 Jews in Rogachev (approximately 80 percent of the total population). The community was under the influence of *Chabad Ḥasidism. At the close of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, the community grew larger as the result of its commerce in wood. The number of Jews rose in 1897 to 5,047 (55 percent) and it was doubled by the eve of World War i. During the civil war years, the economic situation of Rogachev deteriorated so that by 1926 there were fewer Jews, 5,327 (47.5 percent), declining to 4,601 in 1939 (30.3 percent of the total population). Under the Soviet regime, the public and religious life of the Jews was stifled. A Jewish artisans' union with 150 members conducted its official activities in Yiddish. There were three Jewish kolkhozes. A Yiddish school with 320 pupils functioned there. Germans entered the town on July 3, 1941, and gathered the Jews into a ghetto, where they suffered from overcrowding, hunger, and disease. Between November 1941 and March 1942, 3,500 Jews were executed. The 1959 census gave no indication of Jews living in Rogachev, though their number was estimated at about 750. Rogachev was the native town of Joseph *Rozin, known as "the Rogachover." It was also the birthplace of the painter Tanhum Kaplan and the Yiddish poet Shmuel *Halkin; after Halkin's death in 1960 a street was named after him.

[Yehuda Slutsky /

Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]