Białoruś / Брэсцкая вобласць (obwód brzeski)
|בתי כנסת, בתי תפילה ועוד||בתי קברות||אתרי זכרון ליהודים שנרצחו||יודאיקה במוזיאונים||אחר|
|פרובינציה:||inne / poleskie (לפני 1939)|
|מחוז:||rejon drohiczyński / kobryński (לפני 1939)|
|קהילה:||Antopol / Antopol (לפני 1939)|
|שמות אחרים:||Антопаль [j. białoruski]; Antapoli [j. jidysz]|
Antopol is located 28 km west of Drohiczyn, 2 km from the Antopol rail station on the Polesie railroad line (Brest – Żabinka – Luninets), and on the Brest – Kobryń – Pinsk road.
The Jewish community in Antopol had most likely begun to form in the 17th century. According to some information, Jews could have had settled there in 1604. The wars between Russia and the Republic of Poland in the 17th century, and the subsequent political instability at the beginning of the 18th century failed to facilitate the flourishing of the Jewish commune. Lack of information about the early history of the Jewish population had led to fictitious data. For example the statement popular on the Internet saying that many Jews were killed during the “Swedish occupation” in 1706 is false. It finds no grounding in historical sources. The claim that the graves on the road to Antopol, which are called “Swedish,” are Jewish is also untrue. Only in the mid-18th century did the economic situation change, and the local aristocracy began to favor Jewish merchants and artisans, whom had their share in the development of the town. This had positive impact on the situation of the Jewish community.
In the Russian Empire
After the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, Antopol became part of the Russian Empire, and the Jewish community had to live according to the legislature limiting the rights of the Jewish community. Fairs, which were organized on a regular basis, facilitated the development of commerce in the town and economic contacts. Jewish merchants had played an important role in trade. In 1822, Jews already figured as owners of permanent stalls. In the mid-19th century, a sizable Jewish community inhabited the town. According to a census of 1847, 1,108 Jews had lived in Antopol. Jewish communal life in Antopol was similar to that in other shtetls. Fires had caused considerable economic losses. The Jewish community in Antopol had suffered greatly as a result of a fire that broke out in 1858. Fifteen houses of wealthy Jews, who had belonged to the most important sponsors of the local Jewish community, burned down. The authorities concluded that after this fire the Jewish community had suffered from such impoverishment that they had to abolish part of the overdue “candle tax” – meaning taxes from the sale of Shabbat and holiday candles, and used for maintenance of state Jewish schools. Jewish youth left the ghetto hoping to receive better education and find work in large cities in the Russian
Andrej Zamojski /
According to archeological data, settlement in the area of contemporary Antopol already existed in the 11th-12th centuries. A fort has remained a few kilometers north of Antopol. It is likely that the local population traded with foreign merchants, because a treasure consisting of 200 coins (drachmas from the latter part of the 10th century) was found in the vicinity of the town. Antopol and its surroundings were part of the Pryszychasty village, known since the 15th century (currently it is the village of Pierwszomajsk, Pryszychasty). An estate was established nearby; the first mention of it appeared in 1703 (the Pryszychasty and Antopol estate). In Ukraine and Belarus, the names of small towns ending in –pol or –pole are patronymic. The word derivation base contains the name of a ruler of a “pole” (field). In 1719, a Basilian monastery was built here. In 1731, the town received a privilege to organize market fairs three times a year. In 1750, there was mention of a monastery and a synagogue. A school was active in the town in the last quarter of the 18th century. After the Third Partition of Poland, Antopol became part of the Russian Empire. From 1795, the town was part of Kobryn county in the Slonim province; from 1797 – of the Lithuanian province; and from 1801 it belonged to the Grodno province. The “Name Decree” of 4 February 1806 referred to Antopol as a private town. During the Napoleonic wars of 1812, the inhabitants of Antopol suffered as a result of tributes paid to the French and Russian armies. Military activities were conducted in the town’s vicinity. Upon resistance against the French army, the Russians (under the leadership of Czaplin) blocked the road to Antopol and took over the French military column. Due to military actions and losses sustained by the inhabitants, the number of the town’s residents decreased. In 1863, 1,560 residents were registered in the town. In the 1860s, Kazimierz Ożarowski ruled Antopol; he owned 228 serfs. Those peasants (113 men and 115 women) belonged to the estate, but were not counted in the total number of population. The economic development of the province facilitated the economic development of the town. Antopol had a good location, with one of the nine postal routes running through it. Hence, a post station existed here. In the 19th century, craftsmanship and trade served a