Lachowicze, Belarus

Country of Belarus

Minsk Gubernia, Belarus

 

Lachowicze in Polish, Lyakhovichi in English, it is located in the south central Baranovichi oblast of Belarus, 5 km southeast of Baranovichi; 107 km north of Pinsk at 53:02n    26:16e.  It is situated about 150 km east of the border with modern Poland.  The city was passed in 1795 from Poland to Russia; reverted in 1921 to Poland; and ceded to the U.S.S.R. in 1945

Map of Lachowicze and Vicinity - circa 1805

 

Map of Lachowicze and Vicinity – English Translation - circa 1805


From

To

#

Description of land adjusting to the Minsk Gubernia borders

A

B

 

Land of the big village Zhukovy Borok with small village - Prince Dominic Radziwill property (largest landowner in Belarus)

B

C

 

Land of the town Stolptsy with big villages and small village of Prince Adam Chartoryzhsky (friend of the Czar Alexander I, member of the commission that created Jewish legislation)

C

D

 

Land of the town Sverzhen' and Nikolaevshchizna with big villages and small village of Prince Dominic Radziwill

D

E

 

Land of the big village Govezno with country mansion and small village of Nesvizh Roman Catholic Benedict convent

E

F

 

Land of the town Nesvizh with country mansion and small village of Prince Dominic Radziwill

F

G

 

Land of town Nesvizh

G

H

 

Land of the town Nesvizh with small village of the same Prince Dominic Radziwill

H

J

1

Land of the country mansion Malev with country mansion and small village of Trotsk (shtetl near Vilna) voevoda (Governor) Prince Josif Radziwill

J

K

2

Land of the small village Gusaki of Roman Catholic plebania of Kletsk

K

L

3

Land of the small village Kozly through property of kashtelyan Obukhovich and Zubovski

L

M

4

Land of the small village Kozly of kashtelyan Obukhovich

M

N

5

Land of the small village Zhilich of Trotsk voevoda Prince Josif Radziwill

N

O

6

Land of the country mansion Yanov of the landlord Filip Obukhovich 

O

P

7

Land of the shtetl Lyakhovichi with country mansion, big villages and small village - property of  elderman Kossakovsky widow

P

Q

8

Land of the country mansion Yanov of the same landlord Filip Obukhovich 

Q

R

9

Land of the small village Ostreika through property of landlords Obukhovich and Klimashevsky

R

S

10

Land of the small village Ostreika of the same Klimashevsky

S

T

11

Land of the small village Domashov of kashtelyan Obukhovich

T

U

12

Land of the shtetl Lyakhovichi with small village - property of the elderman

U

W

13

Land of the small village Kovali through property of different landlords

W

X

14

Land of the shtetl Lyakhovichi with small village - property of the elderman

X

Y

15

Land of the village Turki of the landlord Kunevich

Y

Z

16

Land of the country mansion Denisovshchizna of the landlord Josif Kobylinsky

Z

a

17

Land of different landlords

a

b

18

Land of the country mansion Denisovshchizna of the landlord Josif Kobylinsky

b

c

19

Land of the mentioned above Lyakhovichi with small village - property of the elderman

c

d

20

Land of the village Gostilovichi - property of Kobylinsky and Bukhovitsky

d

e

21

Land of the country mansion Denisovshchizna with villages of Josif Kobylinsky

e

f

22

Land of the same town Lyakhovichi with small village - property of the elderman

f

g

23

Land of the town Nedvedich with country mansion, big villages and villages of the Anshef-General the baron Benigsen

g

h

24

Land of the country mansion Gorodyshche with villages of the same Bukhovetsky

h

i

25

Land of the town Nedvedich of the Baron Benigsen

 

Povet

Grid

#

Location

Location

Type

Slutsk

Novogrudok

S

 

 

1

Nesvizh

town

S

JK

10/11

2

Ferbovi[...]

estate

S

JK

10/11

3

Pokhabovshchizna

village

S/N

JK

10/11

4

Ferbovi[…] - Lipovo

road

S

JK

10/11

5

Lipovo

village

S

JK

10/11

6

Mikhalevo

estate

S

JK

10/11

7

Malevo

village

S

JK

10/11

8

Malevo - Nesvizh(?)

road

S/N

JK

11

9

Usha

river

S/N

JK

12

10

Yaskevichi - Lipovo

road

S

JK

12/13

11

Uyaskevici

village

S

JK

12/13

12

Lipovo

village

S

JK

12/13

13

Lipovo

estate

S/N

JK

13

14

nameless

creek

S/N

JK

13/14

15

Gorodnitsa

river

S/N

JK

13/14

16

Slonim - Melevo - Nesvizh(?)

road

N

JK

13/14

17

Trukhany

village

S/N

JK

15

18

(?) - Malevo

road

S

JK

15/16

19

Gusaki

village

S

JK

15/16

20

Olkhovka

estate

S

JK

15/16

21

Zvarki

estate

N

JK

17/18

22

Kalionka

estate

S

JK

17/18

23

Usakovshchizna

estate

S

JK

17/18

24

Usakovshchizna

village

S

KL

18/19

25

Klinki

village

N

KL

18/19

26

Kozly

village

S/N

L

19

27

nameless

creek

N

L

19

28

Maloedy

village

N

L

19

29

Anoshkevichi

village

N

LM

19/20

30

Narutsevichi

village

S

LM

19/20

31

Kalinovichi

village

N

MN

21/22

32

Senkovshchizna

estate

S

MN

21/22

33

Zhilichi

village

N

MN

22

34

Gritskovichi

village

S/N

NO

22/23

35

? - Ordva

road

N

NO

22/23

36

Matsaliovshchizna

village

N

NO

22/23

37

Zhukovshchizna

village

S

NO

22/23

38

Zaritov

village

N

QR

22/23

39

Berezovka

estate

N

QR

22/23

40

Mikhalovshchizna

estate

N

QR

22/23

41

Yanov

estate

S

QR

22/23

42

Ostreiki

village

S

QR

22/23

43

Ostreiki

estate

S

QR

22/23

44

Zherebkovichi

village

S/N

ST

24/25

45

? - Saniovka

road

N

ST

24/25

46

Domashi

village

S

ST

24/25

47

Sheveli

village

S

TU

24/25

48

Old Lyakhovichi

village

N

TU

24/25

49

Sumarokovshchizna

estate

N

TU

24/25

50

Volosovichi

village

N

TU

24/25

51

Trebovichi

village

N

TU

24/25

52

Ved'ma

estate

S

TU

25/26

53

Ved'myanka

river

S

TU

25/26

54

Podlesye

village

N

TU

25/26

55

Romashki

village

N

TU

25/26

56

Lozovichi

village

N

TU

25/26

57

Slonim - Kletsk

road

N

TU

25/26

58

Kornevshchizna

estate

S/N

U

26

59

nameless

creek

N

UW

26/27

60

Dubina

estate

S/N

UW

26/27

61

Ved'myanka

river

N

UW

26/27

62

Prenichki?

village

S/N

UW

26/27

63

Darevo - Lyakhovichi

road

S

UW

26/27

64

Bol'shaya Logva

village

S

UW

27/28

65

Kovali

village

N

UW

27/28

66

Koreni

village

N

W

28

67

Tomashi

village

S

WX

28/29

68

Lyakhovichi

village

S

WX

28/29

69

Yazhevichi

estate

S

WX

28/29

70

Lotva

village

S/N

WX

28/29

71

Darevo - Lyakhovichi

road

N

WX

28/29

72

Sikuny

estate

N

WX

28/29

73

Turki

village

N

WX

28/29

74

Sekuny

village

N

X

29

75

Koniki

village

N

YZ

29/30

76

Gaslovshchizna

estate

S

XYZ

29/30

77

Ved'ma

river

S

Y

29/30

78

Goldovichi

big village

S

Y

29/30

79

Zadvor'ye

village

S

Y

29/30

80

Petukhovshchizna

village

S

YZ

29/30

81

Denisovshchizna

estate

 

Zd

30/39

82

not on the map

 

S/N

de

40

83

Ostrov - Lyakhovichi

road

S

ef

40/41

84

Litovka

estate

S

ef

40/41

85

Litovka

village

S/N

ef

42

86

Gorodyshch - Lyakhovichi

road

S/N

ef

42/43

87

Gorodyshch - Olkhovets

road

N

hi

45/46

88

Sherbatov

estate

N

hi

45/46

89

Shcherbovo

village

S

hi

45/46

90

Zelevshchizna ?

estate

N

hi

45/46

91

Lipnitsa

estate

N

hi

45/46

92

Lipnitsa

village

S

hi

47

93

Mikhisha ?

village

N

hi

47/48

94

Kolpachi

village

N

hi

47/48

95

Gorodyshch - Krivoshin

road

S

hi

47/48

96

Krivoshin

mestechko

S/N

hi

47/48

97

Krivoshin - Beresnevichi

road

N

hi

47/48

98

Retikov

estate

S/N

hi

48

99

? - Shatsk

road

Legend

Povet: From Polish times, these were administrative divisions that became uyezd in the Russian Empire.
Grid: On the Novogrudok side, landmarks are shown by numbers 10, 11, 12, ... 48 where 25/26 means between 25  and 26. On the Slutsk side, landmarks are shown by letters: J, K, L, ..Z, a, b, ... i where KL means between K and L.
Location: The name for any object on the map
Location Type: The type of object on the map
Commentary: Commentary about the location

Note     I am especially grateful to Dr. Henryk Limon of Geneva, Switzerland who located this map in the first place and sent it to Neville Lamdan, who made it available to the Lachowicze Special Interest Group.

Limon Henryk
Dr ing.
ch. Pisteur 7 Genève
1255 Veyrier/GE 022 890 01 01
Fax 022 890 01 02

Map of Lachowicze.  circa 1929

            The above map is from the Library of Congress cartographic collection.  It is from Poland, 1:25,000, Sheet 36-42-J, “Lachowicze”.  It is from 1929 and was published in 1930.  Lachowicze (Polish); Lyakhovichi (Russian): 53º-2 M. 26º16’ E.

 Arial photograph of Lachowicze.  circa 1939

 

Summary

           Jews were living in Lachowicze by the first quarter of the 17th century.  According to a decision of the Lithuanian Council of 1623, the community was subordinated to the kahal of Pinsk.  During the second half of the 18th century, the city’s annual fairs were an important meeting place for Jewish merchants.  Throughout the centuries, the area has had a certain strategic importance.  Situated not far to the north of the great Pripet Marshes, it lies on the axis between Warsaw and Moscow, through Brest-Litovsk, Minsk and Smolensk.   It was traversed by Napoleon’s armies on their vain march to Moscow in 1812.  Over a century later, during Wrold War I, it was the scene of heaving fighting between Russia and Germany.
            In the 19th century, the Jews in and around Lachowicze thought of themselves as “Litvaks” (Lithuanians) – even though from a formal point of view they had been Poles throughout the 18th century and were Russians in the 19th century.  This anomaly illustrates how tenuous the connection was between political geography and Jewish consciousness.  Put in other terms, it shows how tenacious Jewish religious and communcal traditions were, despite political and other changes in the surrounding non-Jewish world.
           The reason why the residents of Lachowicze thought of themselves as Litvaks went back to days gone by, when Jews in the area enjoyed a dgree of autonomy under the Jewish “Council of the Realm of Lithuania”.  For over a century and a quarter, from 1623 to 1764, when the Council ceased to exist, Lachowicze was within the “bailiwick” of the Kahal (Community) of Pinsk, 100 kilometers to the south.  This affiliation to Lithuania clearly outlasted the truncation of the Grand Duchy, the successive partitions of Poland from 1772 onwards and the consequent expansion of the “Pale of Settlement”, which was the area in Imperial Russia within which Jewish settlement was legal.
            In 1766, there were 729 Jewish poll tax payers; in 1847 - 1071; in 1897 - 3846. and in 1921 - 1656, which was 58.7% of the total population.  Before World War I, there were 8,000-10,000 people in Lachowicze.  Afterwards, less than 4,000 people returned.  In 1931, the population was 4,547 and currently is about 1656.
            There were many synagogues in Lachowicze prior to the World Wars.  The Kalter and Schneidershe (Tailor) Shuls were destroyed in World War I and not rebuilt.  The Schustershe (Shoemakers’) Shul was destroyed in World War I and rebuilt.  The Mikvah survived the first World War, but was destroyed in World War II.  The Jewish cemetery was at the intersection of Sidowsk gast (street) and Tayta gast.  There was also a Yeshiva in Lachowicze prior to the Holocaust.
            The following excerpts are from the Lachowicze Yizkor book, “Lachowicze: Sefer Zikaron, Y. Rubin (ed.), Association of Former Residents of Lachowicze, Tel Aviv 1948-49.”   A special thanks goes out to Stephen and Andrew Warshall for translating many parts of the Lachowicze Yizkor Book.

Shuls of Lechowitz

by Alter Brevda of Tel Aviv

(written on his sickbed, shortly before his death)

 

The Kalte Shul was an architectural rarity, not only to us, but renowned in the whole neighborhood. Over the door was written the age (was it necessary to point to the indication of the construction date?) from 500 years back. To come into the shul one had to descend 5-6 little steps, to fulfill what is said: " from the depths I call to you Lord". Right across from the door was the great circular bima, for the reading of Torah, and over it was a canopy with a carved giant eagle within it. In its beak the eagle always held a cake. That was the eruv, in order to prevent the Lechowitzer Jews from desecrating the Shabbos, Heaven forbid, to have to carry a burden on the Shabbos. The rabbi alone used to prevent, that the cake should not be too old or moldy, and he used often to change it for a fresh one. The aron kodesh, in the eastern wall, with its powerful height held up the ceiling. It was composed of a whole network of rarely beautiful carvings. At every opening of the aron kodesh doors flew out doves-cherubim, which bore a delicately carved keter torah. A little higher, two other doves held the Crown of Priesthood: two priestly hands held up with their fingers as during the Priestly Blessing. And even higher glistened with its splendor the Crown of Kingship. On both sides of the aron kodesh were set in the earth four-cornered stone tables and on right and left there were menorahs on them. The lectern was decorated with short verses and abbreviations. The ceiling of the shul was like a great basin painted in sky blue, and on it painted the sun, moon, and stars, as well as also all twelve tribes with their flags and symbols, woven through with various flowers and with verses. By the ledge of the walls were a lot of little candlesticks. On Chanukah and Simchas Torah candles were lit in all of them to achieve an appearance of fiery illumination. All four walls were covered with carved texts of prayers and supplications and of angels and seraphim-names. On the western wall, over the door - a pair of large lions with open mouths. Over us children - I remember - they would always cast fear, just as in the verse carved nearby: "A lion roars, who shall not fear?". Our Kalte Shul was the real "small Beis haMikdosh". When you would come in to this our shul from outside, from the small dark little houses, and set eyes on all the splendor, you used to begin to understand the sense of "this is nothing but the house of God" ...

And as the shul so also its gabais and clergy: beauty leads to beauty. The two gabais of those whom I remember: - Yakov Layzer, a Jew, a scholar of uncommonly stately appearance, and Eliyahu Liess, my brother-in-law, a great scholar, the Cantor Lippe was known as the pious maskil (enlightened one) of that time.

 

Kalte Shul

 

            The Groyser Beis Midrash was a large building with vaulted immense doors, where was the place of study for Chevra Sha’s, Chevra Mishnayos, Chevra Ayin-Yakov, Chevra Tehillim. There all strata of the congregation, from scholars to ordinary Jews, used, as they say, to concentrate on studying and saying Torah for its own sake. From among the eminent members of that Groyser Beis Midrash should here be remembered Hirshel der Schreiber (his official family name: Mishkowsky), who received his name "schreiber" in recognition of his talent for writing written letters just like printing. He printed out and ornamented the walls of the Beis Midrash, between all twelve windows, with texts of various prayers, blessings of the Torah, counting. With pithy printed texts was provided also the lectern, over which the eternal light burned constantly, day and night.

 

 

Groyser Beis Midrash

 

            The Schustershe [Shoemakers’] Shul, the Schneidershe [Tailors'] Shul, two Chasidic meeting houses, - one where in its time prayed the great R. Aharle, and the other of the Koidanover Chasidim - all of these were also to be found in the shul-court. For the sake of completeness one must also recall the Beis-Yakov Shul, which was erected through the rich man of the town, R. Avraham-Yakov Kaplan, a Jew a great scholar and master of charity with a branched-out beautiful family. His son Pinye took for son-in-law the Pinsker Rabbi's brother, a famous son of Torah, who in himself combined Torah and enlightenment (he, that son-in-law of Pinye's, Tzizling, with his children and children's children, Pinye's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, live with us in the land of Israel and occupy a distinguished place in local social life).

 

 

Schneidershe Shul

 

The Rescued Sefer Torah

by Nisan Tukachinsky

dedicated to my good friend Rabbi Moshe Aharon Mikhlin, Chicago

 

            1915. The Germans are invading Russia. Every day there continues through Lechowitz a stream of covered wagons. Without a beginning, without an end. Refugees fleeing from deep in Poland. They flee from the war. They flow through our village to the Slutsk highway.

      Whenever an axle breaks or a horse collapses, the entire stream halts. Goyim quickly jump down from the wagons to drag aside the broken wagon or the dead horse and the stream starts up again.

      Lechowitz is already used to this. On nobody does it now make any impression.

            One day, it was at 10 o'clock in the morning, suddenly the line of wagons stands still! From a particular place are heard curses, cries - heavens open! Goyim jump down from the wagons. In the air wave whiphandles, shaft-braces, shafts. Jews: shopkeepers, butchers, hostlers - all run to the place. And there one sees: a tall goy stands on a wagon, thrashes his horse with the whip, yanks the reins, swears with deadly curses. But his horse - doesn't budge! What is going on there?

            Several Jews managed to penetrate into the thick of it and there they saw - Father in heaven! Who would have known it? who could have predicted this, that Rabbi Mikhal Rabinowitz, the most gentle, the kindest, the son-in-law of the wealthy Avraham Yakov, that he alone should be the culprit in the whole mess? Now look! Sweat glued by the Lord to his forehead, lips bloodied, his long coat torn, his clenched hands twisted in the horse's bridle as in a tefillin strap, there dangles Rabbi Mikhal, hanging and dragging the horse's head down to the ground! And sounds, queer hoarse sounds, can be heard from his mouth. "You must give it to me, scoundrel! Here, the Torah! You will not move from this place!"

            And when he saw Jews:

            "Here, here, brothers, rescue the Torah!"

            For a moment it is as though a thunderbolt has struck the Jews on the head. Rabbi Mikhal? He, who was always afraid of a fly? Rabbi Mikhal who, his whole life, knew only one path - the way from home to the House of Study and back again! What is he doing here? But as soon as the Lechowitzer Jews hear the words: TORAH! RESCUE THE TORAH! they jump nearer - Rabbi Mikhal, what are you saying? Where Torah, what Torah?

            There, Jews, there, go quickly, by the goy on the covered wagon! - he squeezed out the words and immediately fainted.   In an instant several hostlers replaced Rabbi Mikhal by the horse. Other Jews went up to the goy's covered wagon. - In truth, the wagon is in fact covered with the parchment of a Sefer Torah ...

            At another time such a goy might have been killed by the Lechowitzer Jews, as he deserves. But in that time, God forbid!

            Who knows how the story would have ended if a butcher had not hit upon an idea - buy it up. And the goy did not permit himself to act too reluctant: it was apparent with whom he was dealing. It lasted a short while - the goy received a fiver with a sack in addition - and the Torah was transferred to Jewish hands ...

            In my whole life I have never seen anybody so happy as Rabbi Mikhal Rabinowitz at that time. Tired, pale as chalk, but with a holy fire in his good blue eyes and with a contented smile on his bruised lips, he went with measured little steps on his customary way, on the way to the House of Study.

            The Torah, now already wrapped, covered with a bridal veil of new velvet, pressed to his heart like his own only child.

            The whole gathered multitude of Jews followed Rabbi Mikhal in dead silence ...

 

            On October 28, 1941, Nazi extermination commandos murdered 2,000 Jews.  On June 10, 1942, the SS massacred 1,200 Jews in an Aktion, but a small number of Jews managed to escape into the forest.  According to the survivors, the people had to dig their own graves and the Nazis covered some of the Jews up while they were still alive.  “The ground rattle for 3 days”.  For some reason, after the Holocaust, no visitors were allowed to visit Lachowicze for some time.

            The Committee for Commemoration the Nazi Victims of Lachovitz exists in Israel.  Although very few members are still alive, they continue to exist as able.  In 1993, the head of the group, Moshe Inditzky, wrote the following speech and delivered it in Lachowicze, Belarus: 

“We are standing here, on this sacred place, in which every handful of the ground is absorbed with the blood of the killed and slaughtered, men, women and children of Lachovitz Jewish Congregation.  Who were commanded to take off their clothes until completely naked.  Around them stood the Nazis and their Litvik collaborators and fired on them by machine guns non-stop and afterwards threw their bodies inside a grave that was prepared in advance.

 

This is the history of the 20th century.  It is the first time that a whole nation became victim to planned extermination.  Such a horror did not happen in recorded history.

 

Never was an industry made for the purpose of creating a product called death.  Only in the forties Hitler prepared a plan for the extermination of the Jewish people and also other nations.

 

52 years passed since this cruel and tragic period.

 

On the 29th of October, 1941, in the early morning, the City of Lachovitz was surrounded by the Nazi soldiers and their Litvik collaborators, as well as local military, and cruelly expelled all the Jews to the market center and commanded them to sit down with their hands up.

 

At 8 o’clock in the morning came the command that all persons with a profession get up and stand aside.  About 1,000 persons gathered and they were concentrated in the house and courtyard of Bracha Tuksinsky which was near the market.  The remaining, about 4,000 person were taken in groups of about 150 persons to Klein Latwa, a distance of about 500 meters from the train station of Widzma, where there were graves which the Jews dug before their slaughter.  Around these graves stood Nazi division s with machine guns.  Those who ran away were shot and cruelly laid in blood pools all the way to Klein Latva.

 

Near the graves, the remaining were commanded to take off their clothes until completely naked.  They were inspected to see if they had valuable articles and those who had gold teeth, they broke their teeth and took out the gold teeth.  After each group, they poured chlore and the firing continued until 9 o’clock in the evening.  The voices and screaming were heard for a long distance.  They were buried still alive and the land raised up for a long time.  In this way, were killed and buried alive about 4,000 of Lachovitz Jews.

 

We, the remnants of the Holocaust, point out with great sorrow, the fact that on the day when this horrible tragedy happened, all the world around did not raise any voice.

 

The next morning, on the 30th of October, 1941, the Germans came and proclaimed that all professionals who were in the house and courtyard of Tuksinsky, no harm will come to them and they should come back.  Also, those who fled and hidden should enter the ghetto which was established in the areas of Shulhoiffe and Havingen, and all of them will get work.  About 1,500 persons gathered in the ghetto, men, women and children.  The Jews lived in the ghetto in poverty, very crowded and the hunger was unbearable.  Most of them were taken to hard labor to build roads, but salary and food they did not get.

 

On the 20th of July, 1942, the ghetto was surrounded by the Nazi Germans and their collaborators and started to move group after group to Klein Latva, not far from the place of the first slaughter.  There, they were commanded to take off their clothes and shot mercilessly and even buried them while still alive.

 

After this terrifying slaughter, after some days, gathered some more hundreds of Jews who were hiding or fled.  After about a week, early morning came the Nazis and their collaborators to take out the remaining Jews.  But this time, the Jews fought back and killed one of the officers and the remaining burnt the ghetto.

 

A few decades ran away to the forest and after a few months joined the Partizans and with the liberation of the Red Army, joined the Army and continued to fight against the Nazi beast and to revenge the blood of Holocaust victims.  A large number of them were killed during the fighting.

 

I, Moshe Inditzky, on the 25th of June, 1942, in the morning, together with friend, Yulik Rafas, fled on bicycles through Kalzek to Russia, fought with the Red Army against the Nazis and was severely wounded near Danzig.  Thanks to the U.S.S.R., I and also hundreds of thousands of our people remainded alive.

 

We don’t forget and we don’t forgive.  The fearful torned eyes of our brothers who died and did not know why and what for.  Their screaming and tears and cry are heard until now.

 

We did not break down in front of the helpless ness which was here.  We got up from the ashes of the victims and established the State of Israel, a democratic country of moral value, culture and military power.

 

For our murdered brothers, the State of Israel has come too late.  The State of Israel promises to protect every Jew in every place.  Our blood will no more be shed in vain.

 

May their memory be blessed!!.”

 

The Committee for Commemorating the Nazi Victims of Lachovitz.

Moshe Inditzky, P.O. Box 1686, Tel-Aviv 61016, Israel. 

Telephone: 03-5603947 

Fax: 972-03-5603905

      

Street Map of Lachowicze (Lyakhoviche) from Lachowicze Yizkor Book

            Lachowicze’s main industries today are agricultural processing like flaxseed and grain and manufacturing such as haberdashery and soap. An old Polish fortress was assaulted in 1660 by Russians.  A 17th-century castle still exists there today.

 

 

1. Big Synagogue

2. Kalter Shul

3. Cobbler’s Shul

4. Bet Yacov Shul

5. Tailor’s Shul

6. Wedding Place

7. K’yodaniver Shul

8. Stolenook Shul

9. Mikvah

10. Water Well

11. Firehouse

12. Bridges

13. Slaughter House

14. Stores

15. Water Mill

16. ?

17. School Yard

 

Detail of Street Map of Lachowicze

Street in Lachowicze – Pre-1940

            The first balcony on the left was Nechama Raisel’s Inn.  The enclosed balcony on the right was the house of Albert Bonde.

 

Street in Lachowicze – Pre-1940

Street in Lachowicze – 1997 

 

Shmuel Kaplan – Lachowicze Holocaust Memorial - 1997

 

            This memorial is at the site of the mass grave of Jews from Lachowicze who were killed in the Holocaust.  It was built in 1993 with the assistance of Moshe Inditzky, of Tel-Aviv, Israel.  The Hebrew inscription on the top half of the Memorial reads:

 

"Mass Grave
of the Jews of the Community
of Lachovitz (the Lord will avenge their blood)
who were murdered by the Nazis
and their Fascist helpers.

572-573               1941-1942

For Eternity
their Memory will not be Forgotten
May their Souls be Bound up in the Book of Life"

  

Former Lachowicze Synagogue - 1997

 

                This building at Pevermyska Ulica #12 (First of May Street) was the site where one of the synagogues of Lachowicze existed prior to the Holocaust.  It is currently used as a fish factory.  The stairs above were probably the ones that led up to the “Israch Nachin”, the women’s gallery, where the women sat in the synagogue.

 

  Back of Former Lachowicze Synagogue - 1997

Around Lachowicze - 1997

 

 

 

Jewish Woman in Lachowicze - 1997

 

House in Lachowicze - 1997

            The Jewish lady pictured above moved to Lachowicze after the Holocaust and has lived there ever since.   An example of a house is pictured above next to her.  Most of them are wooden framed houses with ruffled metal sheeting on the roof. 

Vinograd Family House in Lachowicze – 1997

                        The above house was owned by the Vinograd family, who were Jewish, in Lachowicze, Belarus.

Former Jewish Cemetery in Lachowicze - 1997


            This cemetery was destroyed for the final time in 1962, when people took the stones that remained and used them to build their houses.  There are no stones remaining.

 

Records

1805 Jewish Tavern Keepers

This is an unusual list of 50 or so Jewish tavern keepers in the Novogrudok "povet" (district in Polish) of the Minsk Gubernya who were seeking to register themselves and their family groups as "petty bourgeois" ("meshchane" in Russian) in the nearby town or "shtetl" of Lachowicze ("Lechovich" in Yiddish).

It is not immediately clear why such a list should have been put together late in 1805.  In 1795, Jews in villages were required by law to register themselves in an urban center, according to their class (overwhelmingly "meshchane").  In December 1804, a major piece of legislation was approved by Czar Alexander I which, inter alia, contemplated the expulsion of Jews from the villages into the towns, as of January 1, 1808 in Western Russia.. Since over a third of the Jews in the countryside lived from the liquor trade (manufacture and distribution, through inns and taverns), the present list may conceivable have been drawn up with an eye to their eventual re-location.   For various reasons, however, this draconian measure was only partially implemented and was then set aside in 1812.

                        According to the notes, almost 90% of the Jews on the list fall into three broad categories:

In December 1804, Jews had been required by law to adopt permanent surnames, but by the time this list was prepared most had still not done so. Except for three families (Busel, Epshten & Epshtel), all the rest identified themselves – or were identified by the Russian officials – by the use of patronyms (based on their fathers' names) or toponyns (based on their places of origin) as "surnames". So, for example, 8 are called "Lyakhovitski".
            Only five of the 33 separate "surnames" on the list (Busel, Epshten, Epshtel, Berkovich and Snovsky) appear in the 1816-19 Revision (Census) Lists for Lachowicze. This seems to imply that, in the decade after 1805, the 28 bearers of the other names on the list went off and adopted different surnames of their own for permanent use (= good insight to name formation).   As a result, the "surnames" on the list are probably misleading. Given names look reliable.
            Most of the family groups are small, suggesting that parents managed to keep many of their children off the lists (perhaps to avoid taxes, as conscription of Jews only began in 1827).  Ages given, especially the more advanced, often may really be approximations.   Only 27 of the 250 or so people on the list are shown as 50 years old and above, which may say something about life expectancy at the time.
                        Most of the Jews were born in the Novogrudok "povet" or in the nearby districts of Slutsk and Slonin. Exceptionally, one had been born in Pinsk, about 65 miles south. Their taverns were located in seven "parafiya's" (sub-districts) within a radius of about 10 miles from Lyakhivichi.
            Most of the villages mentioned were tiny and several may have been hamlets at best.   The number of Jewish taverns, especially in such isolated places, seems remarkable.   Very little personal information is offered. Two Jews are specifically recorded as distillers ("liquor makers"), perhaps beyond being tavern keepers. Another couple are laborers.
            The region had been part of Poland until 1795 and thus the land and villages belonged to Polish nobles, petty aristocracy and country squires, whose names are meticulously recorded.  Some land belonged to the Church (mainly Polish Roman Catholic), including a Seminary in Vilna, about 125 miles away.
            Polish terms and administrative divisions were still in use. This was soon to change to Russian.

Neville Lamdan,
Vatican, December 2000

 

1816 Census of Lachowicze

             Census records or Revizskaya Skazka in Russian, were composed by the District Fiscal Chamber  for the entire family and included ages.  It was recorded by the name of the head of the family and included all family members.  The books were composed for all of the settlements of Belarussian provinces, including Jewish ones.  There were two forms of Revizskaya Skazka, ordinary and additional.  The ordinary one was composed during general Russian Revision.  For Belarus they were in 1795 (5th Revision which had very few family names), in 1811 (6th Revision which included family names), in 1816 (7th Revision which included family names), and in 1858 (10th Revision which included family names).  The additional book was composed on a family or group of families that were missed in the ordinary book.
            Jews did their best to avoid registering, or at least, provided incorrect information for male family members.  This should be taken into account when interpreting the information.
            The Fiscal Chamber was dismissed in 1874, whereby the final census was completed.  There were 76 families listed made up of 364 individuals whose information was recorded in 1811 and in 1816.  

Age Group (Years)

Number of individuals

1-9

32

10-19

22

20-29

77

30-39

69

40-49

47

50-59

25

60-69

6

Absent in 1816

7

Died between 1811 and 1816

54

Disappeared in 1816

1

Ran Away between 1811 and 1816

19

                         In a review by a fellow researcher, Neville Lamdan, he concluded that the number of Jews included on the 1816 and 1819 lists were probably understated, perhaps by a substantial margin.  Although the statistics from the 1833-1835 Revizskaya Skazka have not been located, he bases his conclusion on primarily two elements:

1.                   The number of Jewish taxpayers in 1766, according to Encyclopedia Judaica, was 729.  That number needs to be adjusted to include spouses and spinsters, yielding 1458 individuals if you double the initial figure.  Then, you must add approximately two children per household where the children were still living at home (one-half the number of tax payers times two children) which is about 730.   This would bring the total estimated number of Jews in Lachowicze in 1766 to about 2,200.

The question then remains how the number of Jews could have decreased from 2,200 in 1766 to 787 in 1819?  Based on general history from the area, the number of Jews was not decreasing at the end of the 18th century.

2.                   As for the death of young people, it is obvious that parents went to great lengths to protect their sons from the Czar’s Army.  But 201 people under the age of 21 years out of a total of 787 individuals is far from realistic.  Taking a minimalist view, there should have been as many young people as there were adults in the shtetl, meaning 600 at least.   If this assumption is correct, the 1819 figure needs to be adjusted upward to about 1,200 plus a few more to account for families that were not counted at all.

            In total, this would put us much closer to the 2,200 Jews accounted for in 1766 in the 1816-1819 time period.

            The 1816 Census of Lachowicze contained the following information:

             It is interesting to note how they inquired as to the individual’s name in 1811 while taking the 1816 Census.  This is probably due to its use in determining if individuals should be serving in the military since there was a period of time when all males were supposed to serve 25 years in the military.

 

1819 Census of Lachowicze

            There were 217 families listed made up of 452 individuals whose information was recorded in the 1819 Census of Lachowicze.  

Age Group (Years)

Number of individuals

1-9

36

10-19

99

20-29

104

30-39

88

40-49

87

50-59

22

60-69

14

Unknown

2

             The 1819 Census of Lachowicze contained the following information:

1862 and 1868 Tax Lists

             The 1862 and 1868 Tax Lists were composed of individuals who were taxed in Lachowicze.    They contained the following information: 

 

1883 and 1884 Deputy and Electors Tax Lists

             The 1883 and 1884 Deputy and Electors Tax Lists show individuals who are both homeowners and their elected representatives.  The homeowners, called electors, elect representatives, called deputies, to serve on their behalf.  Each deputy represented five (5) households each.  They ran for these positions in an election and became responsible for tax distribution and collection.
            The Jewish community members who were homeowners were referred to as "domovladel'tsy".  Those that take on governmental positions to represent the community are referred to as “pyatidvornye deputaty”.
 
           The Deputy 1883 list had 39 individuals mapping to the following age groupings:

Age Group (Years)

Number of individuals

1-9

0

10-19

0

20-29

0

30-39

6

40-49

14

50-59

16

60-69

3

             The Deputy 1884 list had 46 individuals mapping to the following age groupings: 

Age Group (Years)

Number of individuals

1-9

0

10-19

0

20-29

0

30-39

7

40-49

14

50-59

18

60-69

5

Unknown

2

The Electors 1884 list had 113 individuals mapping to the following age groupings: 

Age Group (Years)

Number of individuals

1-9

0

10-19

0

20-29

4

30-39

38

40-49

36

50-59

21

60-69

10

>70

3

Unknown

1

            The 1883 and 1884 Deputy and Electors Tax Lists of Lachowicze contained the following information: 

 

1884 Tax List

            The 1884 Tax List is composed of individuals who were taxed in Lachowicze.  This list corresponds to the above noted 1883 and 1884 Deputy and Electors Tax Lists in as much as those lay the groundwork to collect the taxes and this list notes the actual taxes collected.  There were 814 individuals listed.

            The 1884 Tax List of Lachowicze contained the following information:

 

1880, 1889 and 1890 Draft Lists

            Draft lists were composed by District Military Departments since 1874.  They used to show the male parts of families with ages and often parents.  The father’s name was usually shown in the patronymic, but the mother’s name was typically not shown.  These lists are fairly accurate and still exist for many places within Belarus. 

            All men were required to register for the draft at age 18 until they were 45 years of age. Once in the military, you were required to serve for 25 years, therefore if you entered at age 18 you would not exit the military until age 42  - if you survived combat.  Furthermore, after leaving the military, your condition, compounded with the life span at the time, meant your life was essentially over.  For this reason, many people around the age of 18 years claimed to be younger.  At the same time, people around 45 years claimed to be older. Another trick which was used was reporting only one man's name on behalf of five males.  What this meant was that five males would each serve 5 years in the military, but only be reported as a single man in each of several censuses.  This was done since a man could survive 5 years in the military and still live a long, healthy life.

            Several draft lists were found for Lachowicze, including 1880, 1889 and 1890.  The following is the wording from each respective list.

1880

            "Slutsk uyezd Draft Office announced that in the present year of 1880, by the age shown from the census performed by Highest Decree of October 2, 1874, as well as by the Draft Office from appearance determined age, listed below are people ready to perform military duty; therefore, they, by articles 97 and 98 of military statute ought to obtain conscription registration certificates from the responsible institution, particularly the Slutsk uyezd Jewish Community."

1.       The men in the list are Jews from Slutsk uyezd - Lachowicze

2.       They reached the age of 21 by 1874 according to census data, but because many avoided the census, it was common to estimate the age by appearance.

3.       They have to register in the draft office and get certificates to participate in draft lot casting.

            So it was all men from Lachowicze who were 21 or look 21. Of course, some of them could have died or moved between 1874 and 1880.  In most cases, about 50% of children could survive to this age.  There were 92 individuals in this list from Lachowicze.

1889

            “Lachowicze Volost Administration requires that November 1 of this year, 1889, have to come to the 4th draft office in Lachowicze, people that are included in the Lachowicze Draft List for this 1889 year to undergo age evaluation by appearance; particularly next Lachowicze community meshchane of Slutsk uyezd.”   There were 21 individuals in this list.

1890

            “Slutsk Town Administration announced that people listed below are included in draft lists for this year of 1889 by the Administration and have to come timely to the draft office to begin their military service and undergo age evaluation by appearance.”   There were 111 individuals in this list.

 

1903 and 1911 Vsia Rossiia - "All Russia" Business Directory

Vsia Rossiia is a business directory for all of Russia.  It was published in 1903 and 1911 and is indexed by gubernia, or geographic area.   The one that covers Lachowicze is Minsk Gubernia. 

 

1905, 1906 and 1907 Voter Lists

      A Voter List is some sort of index for real estate and business records of settlement.  The records denote whether or not the individual owned a house, lived in an apartment, or owned a business.  A classification was also assigned which determined the level of business the person was involved with.  The 1905 list had 7 individuals from Lachowicze listed.  The 1906, 193 individuals and the 1907, 155 individuals respectively.

      The 1905, 1906 and 1907 Voter Lists of Lachowicze contained the following information: 

 

Congregation B’nai Isaac Anshei Lechowitz, New York

                         Congregation B’nai Isaac Anshei Lechowitz, once existed in New York City, New York at 217 Henry Street.  In October 1961, they erected a memorial “In Memory of the Four Thousand Men Women and Children of Lechowitz White Russia” at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York.  This is in the Lechovitcher section of the cemetery in Plot 5-C.

            In 1963, a letter was sent out with a photograph of the monument by the congregation asking for the names and addresses of other landsmen from Lachowicze so that they could send a copy of the photograph to them as well.  It noted that the mass grave in Lachowicze lies in the vicinity of Mala Lotwa and Polstanek.  The contact names included: Irving Suchoff, 145 Second Avenue, New York City, N.Y., Jack Lubosh (Luboszyc), 1120 Brighton Beach Ave., Brooklyn 35, N.Y., and Rita Malach (Milikowski), Gual 4, Bat Yam, Israel.  Along with it was a subscription form, inviting them to inscribe the names of their loved ones in a special memorial edition of the "Forwerts" (Jewish Daily Forward) newspaper of New York, to be published on April 21, 1963.  It states "The proceeds will go for children in Israel".

            In 1965, an invitation was sent out inviting people to a memorial ceremony “to be held on November 2, 1965, to mark the 24th anniversary of the brutal slaughter of the whole community by the bloody German murderers and their cruel collaborators, the Poles and White Russians". It contained the details of the program.  It also invited the recipients “to reserve the date of November 14, 1965 for the unveiling of the monument in memory of the martyrs who died in Lechovitz. It was signed by the Lechovitzer Yizkor Committee: Alter Wall, Irving Suchoff, Stera Muskat, Necha Mandel, and Jack Lubosh.”

            In 1979, the President was A. Wohl and the Secretary was Irving Suchow.  Mr. Wohl resided at 1260 Burke Avenue, Bronx, NY 10469, Phone: 881-5043 and Mr. Suchow resided at 410 East 6th Street, New York, NY  1009, Phone: Algonquin 42880.  Neither of the individuals could be found when researched in 1999.

 

Lachowicze Holocaust Monument: Beth David Cemetery, Elmont, New York - 1961

"In Eternal Memory [In Hebrew]

 

In eternal memory of the martyrs who fell "in the Holy Name" ("Al Kiddush Ha-Shem", in Hebrew) by Nazi murder.  Four thousand men, women and children in Lechovitz, White Russia, 8 Cheshvan, '572 (1941). [In Yiddish]

 

In memory of the four thousand men, women, and children of Lechowitz, White Russia.  Innocently and cruelly slain at the brutal hands of the Nazi invaders, October 29, 1941.  Erected, October 1961.”

Lechowitzer Ladies Auxiliary

             The Lechowitzer Ladies Auxiliary was founded in 1934 to raise funds to support home town and New York charities.  It also provided social functions to the members.  It was affiliated with the Congregation B’nai Isaac Anshei Lechowitz (see above), established in 1889.  It met in the congregation’s building at 217 Henry Street in New York City, New York.

            Some records from the organization are still available and can be found at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York in Record Group 990.  Existing records include the Minutes between 1952 and 1960; Financial records between 1947 and 1956 and meeting announcements including notices of the Congregation Anshei Lechowitz.

            The “Minutes” are contained in two hard-bound, ruled notebooks and are hand-written in Yiddish.  The first notebook runs from December 7, 1952 to January 3, 1954 and has the name of Fanny Siegal on the front.  The second notebook covers December 30, 1956 to June 5, 1960 and has the name of Goldie Leor on the front.

The “Financial Records” also consist of two hard-bound notebooks.  The first one has an alphabetical side-index and includes dues paid by members of the Ladies' Auxiliary.   The second is an account book for the period between January 6, 1952 and  December 16, 1956.  It was kept by Fanny Siegal, Secretary.

The "Meeting Announcements" are few and random, covering a period from roughly 1950 to 1961.

 

Hebrew Subscription Lists

Sefer haPrenumerantn, Hebrew Subscription Lists by Berl Kagan, published in 1975 by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and KTAV, lists approximately 350,000 subscribers from 8767 Jewish communities in Europe and North Africa.  There is only one entry for Lachowicze (4222) and it is for a Mr. Aviv.

 

Lachowicze Yizkor Book

             Lachowicze: Sefer Zikaron, Y. Rubin (ed.), Association of Former Residents of Lachowicze, Tel Aviv 1948-49.”   Igud Yotzei Lehevich, Tel-Aviv, Israel. 

Record Summary

Year

Document

File Information

1805

Census of Lachowicze

Record Group 333, Inventory 9, Item 184

1816

Register Book (Revizskaya Skazka) 7th Revision 

Record Group 309, Inventory 9, Item 220

1834

Register Book (Revizskaya Skazka) 8th Revision

Record Group 333, Inventory 9, File 973

1862

Supplemental Revision Tax List

Record Group 333, Inventory 9, Item 901

1864

Pomeshiks attempting to become Avoryanim

Record Group 333 Inventory 2, Item 2158

1868

Supplemental Revision Tax List

Record Group 333, Inventory 9, Item 896

1874

Family Lists (List of Inhabitants)

Record Group 333, Inventory 9, Item 910

1874 List of Jewish Males Record Group 330, Inventory 1, Item 111 (7/04)

1875

List of Founders of School of Prayer

Record Group 299, Inventory 2, Case 7514

1877

Family Lists (List of Inhabitants)

 

1877

List of Taxpayers / Lachowicze

Record Group 359, Inventory 2, Item 1

1880

Draft List

Minskie Gubernski Vedomosti (Newspaper), May, 1880

1883

List of Army Registrations / Lachowicze

Record Group 308, Inventory 2, Item 1

1884

List of Taxpayers / Pomeshiks

Record Group 299, Inventory 2, Item 8530

1886

List of Taxpayers / Lachowicze

 

1888

List of Taxpayers / Lachowicze

Record Group 359, Inventory 1, Item 163

1889

Draft List

Minskie Gubernski Vedomosti (Newspaper), 1889, #71, Page 1

1890

Draft List

Minskie Gubernski Vedomosti (Newspaper), 1890, #88, page 2   

1890

List of Small Businesses and Shops in Slutsk Uyezd.

 

1893

Military Records

Record Group 308, Inventory 1, Item 2190

1895

List of Army Registrations / Lachowicze

Record Group 333, Inventory 3, Item 12

1895

Draft List

Minskie Gubernski Vedomosti (Newspaper), May 26, 1904, #39   

1900

Government Records – Request to Governor

Record Group 308, Inventory 1, Item 3391

1903

Vsia Rossia “All Russia” Business Directory

Minsk Gubernia

1904 List of landholders Record Group 359, Inventory 1, Item 110 (7/04)

1905

Voter List

 

1906

Voter List

 

1907

Voter List

Record Group 259, Inventory 1, Item 7785

1907

List of Taxpayers / Lachowicze

 

1907

List of People with Property Insurance / Slutsk Uyezd

 

1911

Court Documents

Record Group 517 Inventory 195, Item 1

1911

Vsia Rossia “All Russia” Business Directory

Minsk Gubernia

Contact Information

 For additional information, contact Gary Palgon at GMPalgon@yahoo.com.