Located at 52°26' N, 30°59' E in Gomel uezd, Mogilev guberniya, 106 miles SSE of Mohilev. Alternate names: Homyel' [Bel], Gomel [Rus], Homl [Yid], Homel [Pol, Ger], Gomelis [Lith], Homlye, Homiel, Russian/Belarusian: Гoмeль. Yiddish: האָמל. Yizkor: Arim ve-imahot be-yisrael; matsevet kodesh le-kehilot yisrael she-nehrevu bi-yedei aritsim u-tmeim be-milhemet ha-olam ha-aharona, vol. 2 (Jerusalem, 1948). Slownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), III, pp. 117-118: "Homel".
Jewish settlement began with the annexation of the town to Lithuania in 1537. Belitsa (became a suburb of Gomel in 1854) is mentioned in 1639 as a Lithuanian communities. In 1648, many refugees from the Ukraine fled the Chmielnicki Massacres to Gomel, but the Cossacks reached Gomel and massacred about 2,000 Jews. Some converted Christianity, but returned to Judaism when the Poles returned in 1665 and the Jewish community renewed. 1765 Jewish population was 658 Jews. The annual fair attracted many Jewish merchants. The community increased from 1847 Jewish population was 2,373 with 1,552 in Belitsa. 1897 Jewish population: 20,385 in 1897 (56.4%). 30 synagogues existed but only two remained in 1941. Gomel district 1959 Jewish population: 45,000. 1970 Jewish population: 20,000 in 1970. The 1990s mass emigration left a few thousand Jews with no synagogue. [Synagogue: 13 Sennaya Steet.] (In 1963 the police took away two Torah scrolls and all religious articles.) Town history. General town information. [March 2009]
Forward article and video on the remains of the Jewish Cemetery in Gomel.Belarus lacks a law on the restitution of community property; and by law, cemeteries can be reclaimed for other use 50 years after the last burial. [November 2010]
New Cemetery: 1946. photos.
Ancient Cemetery: Destroyed in the 1950s. The stadium in Gomel built shortly after World War II on the site of an ancient Jewish cemetery resulted in some bones reinterred during the original construction. Others remained under the stadium. Workers building the new lighting mast recently found bones from the ancient Jewish cemetery during the reconstruction of a stadium. Two possible places for reburial were an old Jewish cemetery and the Jewish section of a modern cemetery in Gomel. Belarus workers move bones from Jewish cemetery to dump and April 13, 2008 Jerusalem Post article. [March 2009]
|Last Updated on Sunday, 28 November 2010 18:29|