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Białystok Jews: historical overview

By Jewish Historical Institute

On 14th to 16th June, there was a pogrom against the Jews in Białystok, which ended in killing 82 Jews. In scientific publications, however, reappears an opinion that the pogrom was provoked by the Russian authorities, as it was the case in Chisinau (1903), Odessa and Jekaterynosław (1905).

Jewish settlement in Podlasie appeared in the fifteenth century. It was 1522 when Tykocin’s Duke Albert Gasztołd brought to Tykocin nine Jewish families who founded the Kahal and the cemetery. Since that time, Tykocin had become the center of the Jewish community and the largest Jewish community in Podlasie. However, the first mention of the Jews living in Białystok estates dates back to 1658. In Białystok the privilege De non tolerandis Judaeis did not apply. Also, a city having fiscal privileges was an encouraging place for settlement.

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