New Mikva Address
Previously Closest Mikva
Minsk- 4 Hour Drive
Capital of Vitebsk oblast, Belarus.
The first Jewish settlement appears to have been established in Vitebsk at the end of the 16th century. The charter given to the residents of Vitebsk in 1597 by Sigismund III Vasa forbids Jews “in accordance with long-held practice” to dwell within the town. Still, it appears that some Jews did live there, under the protection of the local nobility, both before and after 1597. The Jewish community developed, though not without conflict with the Christian population of the town over Jewish rights and privileges. In 1627 the local ruler S. Sangushko granted permission for the construction of a synagogue in the town. A document from the 17th century takes note of “the Jew’s gate”.
Vitebsk had a Chabad Yeshivah until 1930. In 1923 there were 39,714 Jews (43.7% of the total population). In 1926 there were 37,013 (37.5%). With the Nazi conquest of the town in July 1941 part of the Jewish population fled into the interior of Russia. The town was destroyed in a fire started by the retreating Red Army. The 16, 000 Jews who remained behind were imprisoned in a ghetto. On October 8, 1941 their systematic liquidation began.
The community now boasts a beautiful Synagogue and with your Help the Mikvah will soon be completed.