The study of Jewish agricultural settlement in an organized form in the European Diaspora contributes to an understanding of the endeavors of Jews to improve their social and economic situation under the restrictive and oppressive Tsarist regime.The Jewish farmers’ efforts were a unique episode in the struggle for Jewish survival in the Diaspora, even as they held to Jewish values and lifestyle.
As archives in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine become more accessible, more new material is now appearing. In those countries, descendants of the colonists are finding material and developing websites. Although most are in the Russian language, various online translation tools help researchers.
Chaim Freedman is the force behind this site.
Here are some highlights:
Two valuable Russian books hold information about the Ekaterinoslav colonies:
The authors made detailed censuses of the colonies and provided statistics.
L. Uleinikov [Binshtok], Jewish Agricultural Colonies in Ekaterinoslav Province in 1890, St Petersburg, 1891;
I. Kankrin, Jewish Agricultural Colonies of Aleksandrov Uyezd Ekaterinoslav Province, Ekaterinoslav, 1893.
The census of the households included an overview of each colony and a summary of its history and assets. Kankrin added detailed house and street handwritten plans of the 10 colonies he studied, and sketches of buildings.
Other additions to the site:
Uleinikov includes complete lists of heads of all families (surname, name and patronymic) in 17 colonies of Ekaterinoslav Province, Aleksandrovsk and Mariupol Uyezds, with detailed record of family composition, military service, type of house, agricultural implements, livestock, land and its subdivision within family and notes about profession etc.
Kankrin studied in a similar fashion 10 colonies in Aleksandrovsk Uyezd and has even more information about colonists' families. He was obsessed with the idea that colonists in reality remained artisans and not worked much as agriculturalistsPartial translations are available.
-- Interview of Ukrainian residents of former Jewish colony Novozaltopol by Father Patrick Desbois; a horrifying account which demonstrates who actually carried out the massacre of nearly 800 Jews.
-- Photographs from the St. Petersburg Film archive and World ORT Photographic archive taken of many colonies in 1904 and 1922 showing public buildings such as schools, synagogues, municipal offices, and farmhouses.
-- "Nayzlatopler Rayon" [Novozlatopol Region] an account of the Sovietized colonies after the Revolution and Civil War.
-- "Destruction of Jewish Tradition under the Soviet Administration" [in process]
-- An article assessing the affect of Sovietization on the destruction of Jewish cultural and religious life with particular reference to the role of the Yevsekzia.
-- Revision lists from colonies Zelenopole and Mezhirech, 1850 and 1858.
-- Memoirs of Grafskoy 1907-1921 by the son of the colony's rabbi. Description of colony life, and reaction to post-Revolution pogroms.
-- Prenumeranten lists from two 1911 books include many residents.
-- A new links page for more information.
Chaim adds that Yakov Pasik's Russian site has been updated with English, photos and maps.
For more information, contact Chaim Freedman.