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Anatoly Shneider

Sprinca Rohkind

Yulia Krukovskaya


Tolochin is where I and my ancestors were born. At the time of my youth it was a big town, located on the way from Minsk to Moscow.

Our family adhered to the Jewish traditions. Our life was saturated with religion and the traditions were taught from generation to generation. For men every day began with a prayer. The food was also traditionally Jewish. Naturally, pork was prohibited. There were two shoichets in Tolochin. We were not allowed to eat meat with blood.

Sabbath was strictly a day off. On Sabbath we were not allowed either to work or cook, clean or make fire. For all these things a special person was invited (Sababth goy). He was given bread or a pie. We were not allowed even to touch money on Sabbath.

Preparation for Sabbath started in advance. On Thursday we washed the floors, prepared dough for bread and bought all the food.

On Friday evening everything was ready for the celebration. The table was laid and the women lit the candles. The men prayed and then everyone had dinner.

However, life in Tolochin was not as quiet as one can imagine. We were especially concerned about the progroms happening here and there. The atmosphere in Tolochin was not peaceful, either.

Life changed drastically after the revolution. I clearly remember Tolochin before and after the revolution. I left the town in 1921, after my mother died, and visited it every summer. After the war I never went there. Every time I travelled to Moscow and the train passed Tolochin I looked at the houses, which were built on the place of our houses. I felt like crying. I could not even visit the graves of my relatives – all of them had been destroyed…

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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