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STOLBTSY (Pol. Stolpce ; Yid. Stoybts, Shtoptsi ), town in Minsk district, Belorus; until 1793 and between the two world wars within Poland. Jews settled there from the end of the 16th century. In 1632 the Minsk community, among others, assisted the Jews in Stolbtsy in combating a blood *libel. Jewish merchants of Stolbtsy are referred to in legal archives of Minsk (1678) and of the supreme tribunal of Lithuania (1704), as traders in salt and salted fish. During the 18th century Jews there engaged in the export of agricultural products, flax, and lumber (floated down the Niemen River) to Koenigsberg in East Prussia, and the import of salt, spices, and cloths. The Jewish population numbered 259 in 1811; 1,315 in 1847; and 2,409 (64% of the total) in 1897. In the second half of the 19th century Jews developed the timber trade – from tree felling to sawing and other by-products – and in the 20th century founded sawmills which employed some Jewish workers. A Ḥovevei Zion society was established as early as 1885 and Zionist activity began from the beginning of the 20th century. A *Bund group was organized in Stolbtsy in 1905–06, and a branch of the Po'alei *Zion in which Zalman Rubashov (*Shazar) was active. In the same period Jewish youth and workers in Stolbtsy organized*self-defense against pogroms by the population of the neighboring villages.

During World War i about half of the Jews of Stolbtsy left the city. Those remaining suffered severely during the civil war in 1919–20 from the struggle for control of the area between the Red Army and those who opposed it. In 1921 Stolbtsy was incorporated within Poland as a border town. There were then 1,428 Jewish inhabitants (48% of the total). The Jewish economy was severely affected as a result of the city being cut off from its previous markets, and particularly as a result of the hostile attitude of the antisemitic government, as well as by the organized Polish competition. In the interwar period all Jewish parties were active in Stolbtsy and a hakhsharah farm of *He-Ḥalutz was organized. Jewish educational institutions were developed, and included a *Tarbut school and two Orthodox schools, "Ḥorev" for boys, and a Beth Jacob for girls.

[Dov Rubin]

Holocaust Period

After the outbreak of World War ii, during the period of Soviet rule in Stolbtsy (1939–41), the Jewish community institutions were disbanded and all Jewish political activities were prohibited. In the spring of 1941 Jewish youth were mobilized in the Soviet army, and later fought against Germany. After the outbreak of war between Germany and the Soviet Union (June 22, 1941), groups of Jewish youth attempted to reach the Soviet interior, but were prevented by the Soviets. At the beginning of the German occupation there were more than 3,000 Jews in the town. As early as July 1941 about 80 of them were executed. A ghetto was established at the end of 1941. In February 1942 hundreds of Jews were murdered at the local Jewish cemetery. In the spring of 1942 an underground resistance group was organized in the ghetto, and attempts were made to acquire arms. On May 15, 1942, the first group left the ghetto for the forests to make contact with the partisans. In September 1942 most of the Jewish population was killed, about 500 skilled workers remaining in the ghetto. Some were sent to the camps at Baranovichi and Minsk. A few Jewish groups escaped to the forests, joined the partisans, and carried out important combat operations against the Germans and their collaborators.

[Aharon Weiss]


Akty izdavayemye Wilenskoy Kommissiyei dlyarazbora drevnikh aktov, 29 (1902), 48, 312; S. Dubnow (ed.), Pinkas ha-Medinah (1925), 55; Kh. G. Korobkov, in: Yevreyskaya Starina, 4 (1910), 23–24; Vaysrusishe Visnshaft-Akademye, Tsaytshrift, 4 (1930), 72; Sefer Stoybts (1965); Z. Shazar, Kokhevei Boker (19503), 117ff.; E. Tcherikower, Anti-semitizm un Pogromen in Ukraine 191819 (1928), 146–7; Haynt (July 25–27, 1939); Sefer ha-Partizanim ha-Yehudiyyum, 1 (1959), 568–72.