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Arkady Podlipsky.

Memories of Z. Mekler


Bayevo is a village in Dubrovno region, 120 kilometers away from Vitebsk. In 1995 the population was 297 people.

The village was first mentioned in documents in 1560 and in 1609 was known as a place where the Polish Rada met with Russian ambassadors. In 1718 the first Orthodox Church was built, in 1785 – the second. In 1792 Bayevo had 78 homesteads, including 17 Jewish; a mill and a distillery. In 1772 the village was annexed to Russia. In 1897 the population grew to 892 people and 145 homesteads. In addition to the two churches, there was also a chapel, a Jewish prayer house, an alms-house, a parish school, a first-aid station, two bakeries, a water mill and three wind mills, a fullery, 6 shops, 6 blacksmith shops and a tavern.

Before the Great Patriotic war the population of the village was 1095 people and there were 220 homesteads.

Jews started settling in Bayevo at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1851 the Jewish population constituted 168 people, in 1869 – 238 people and in 1880 – 697 people. According to the first all-Russian census of 1897 the number of Jews in Bayevo dropped to 505 people, which constituted 55.7% of the total population.

In the first years of the Soviet regime, when there was a possibility to move to cities, the Jewish population started to decrease and in 1923 dropped to 243 people. The Jews in Bayevo were involved in traditional crafts, working as shoemakers, tailors, carpenters and blacksmiths. After a collective farm was established in Bayevo, some of them switched to agriculture.

In the middle of the 19th century a synagogue and a Heder were opened in the village. In the middle of the 20s, the local mikveh was closed down. Arie-Sholom Varshavsky was working as a shoihet in Bayevo.

The village was occupied by the Nazis in July, 1941. Due to the fact that the Jews lived close to each other (about 200 people) there was no need to establish a ghetto.

From the story of a local resident V. Dolzhenkova: “It was at the end of September, beginning of October, 1941. I heard shooting and saw an old Jew running away from a German. He did not manage to escape, however. The murderer shot him at Vasily Gusentsov’s house. The owner of the house was later made to dig a grave and bury the body near his house.”

Another resident, A. Frolov, narrated: “At the beginning of October, 1941, Nazis from Goretsky region arrived in Bayevo. They gathered all the Jews from the village. I remember a Jewish man saw it and dashed towards the river but was killed.”

All the Jews from Bayevo were shot in a tank-ditch not far from the Mereya River. Several people were lucky to survive: Naum Eidlin, who was away at the time of execution (later he got ill and died), his daughter Yelizaveta and two small granddaughters Luba and Lida, whose father was Russian.

Among those, who were shot:

The Blumkins – parents and son Aron,

The Blumkins – parents, two sons and a daughter,

The Meklers – parents and son Leva,

The Meklers – parents and daughter Genia,

The Naphins – parents and son Moisey,

Basia Eidlina and her huusband

(The first five families were mentioned in G.Vinnitsa’s book “The word of memory”, Orsha, 1997)

Several Jews from Bayevo joined the Red army, some of them were killed. Pavel Grigorievich Chertok was buried in Lvov (1910-1944), the following people were announced as missing: Solomon Leontievich Rak (1911-1944), Haim Aronovich Chertok (1913-19440, Matvei Naumovich Eidlin (1921-?). Naum Aronovich (Aron Naumovich) Krot was buried in the bed of honor, together with other soldiers of the Soviet Army.

Currently there are no Jews living in Bayevo. The village was a birthplace of Nikolai Aleksandrovich Gorulev, a Belarusian writer (1919-1980), and Samuil Matveyevich Eidlin, a Jewish Yiddish writer (1914-1986).

Arkady Podlipsky

Jewish settlements in Vitebsk region

Vitebsk Albrehtovo Babinovichi Baran Bayevo Begoml Beshenkovichi Bocheikovo Bogushevsk Borkovichi Braslav Bychiha Chashniki Disna Dobromysli Dokshitsy Druya Dubrovno Glubokoye Gorodok Kamen Kohanovo Kolyshki Kopys Krasnopolie Kublichi Lepel Liady Liozno Lukoml Luzhki Lyntupy Miory Obol Oboltsy Orsha Osintorf Ostrovno Parafianovo Plissa Polotsk Prozorki Senno Sharkovshina Shumilino Sirotino Slaveni Smolyany Surazh Tolochin Ulla Verhnedvinsk Vidzy Volyntsy Yanovichi Yezerishe Zhary Ziabki

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