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Simferopol

SIMFEROPOL

SIMFEROPOL , city in the Crimea, now in Ukraine. Simferopol was founded in 1784 and until the 1917 Revolution it was the chief town of the province of Tavriya (Taurida), Crimean peninsula. Krimchaks (Crimean Jews) from other localities in the Crimea and Ashkenazi Jews from the regions of the Pale of Settlement began to settle there soon after its foundation. The number of Jews registered as taxpayers in 1803 was 471. During the 19th century the Jewish settlement increased considerably as a result of intensified emigration from other regions of the Pale of Settlement to the Crimean peninsula. In 1897 the Jews numbered 8,951 (18.3% of the total population), about 500 of whom belonged to the Krimchak community. Some 1,000 Karaites also lived in Simferopol at that time. About a quarter of the Jews were small merchants and craftsmen. Some Jews were working in tobacco factories and printing houses, many of which belonged to Jews. There was a community hospital, two talmudei torah, 2 private schools, a vocational school for girls, and a public library. In October 1905 pogroms broke out in the city and 42 Jews were killed. During World War i and the Civil War years many Jews who fled or were expelled from the battle regions or who otherwise escaped the riotous bands found refuge in Simferopol. The city became an important Zionist center for helping Russian emigrants to Palestine via Constantinople. In 1926 there were 17,364 Jews (19.6% of the population) in Simferopol, with their number growing to 22,791 in 1939 (16% of the total population). In the 1920s Simferopol was a place from where the Jewish farm settlers dispersed over Crimea. Nine Jewish settlements with 324 families were organized in the environs of the city, concentrated in two Jewish rural councils. A Jewish vocational school and several Yiddish elementary schools operated in the city. The Germans captured Simferopol on November 1, 1941. According to them they found 12,000–14,000 Jews. Sonderkommando 11b who settled in the city started with executions and by December 13, 1941, had murdered more than 10,000 Jews and about 2,500 *Krimchaks. In 1959 according to the census there were again about 11,200 Jews in Simferopol. One synagogue was closed down in 1959, but as of 1968 another was still functioning and matzot were officially permitted to be baked there. Outside the city there is a mass grave of 14,000 Jews murdered by the Nazis. No monument has been erected in their memory. Several kolkhozes housed about 50% of the Jews of the area. Most of the city's Jews emigrated in the 1990s.

bibliography:

Die Judenpogrome in Russland, 2 (1909), 163–8.

[Yehuda Slutsky /

Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]

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