THE MAIN JEWISH PLACES IN KIEV
During the excursion about the Jewish Kyiv man realized the fact that this city is not only multinational by its consistency, but also multicultural. The processes of the so-called “melting pot” do not occur here. In our city all cultures retain their identity, while at the same time enriching other culture with their traditions and achievements. However, Kyiv is famous not only for its tolerance to representatives of different cultures. It has great religious freedom and toleration. So it has been from ancient times.
In view of the fact that in the archaeological layers of Kyiv there are significant materials, which has been left by the Khazars-Jews and Muslim Arabs, there were also speculations about the foundation of the city by these peoples. Judaists consider the founder of Kyiv one of the Khazar Khagans, and Muslims – the Arab commander Marwan ibn-Muhammad, who marched north through the Caucasus Range and took prisoner at the “Slavic River” (some researchers supposes that it was the Lower Don, and others – Dnipro River) 20 thousand Slavs.
During the excursion of Jewish Kyiv our guide without minimizing the importance of either one or the other, will tell you about the origin of Arab dirhams and Khazar ceramics among archaeological finds. They appeared in Kyiv as a result of peaceful coexistence and trade, but not as a result of the conquest of the city.
The Judeo-Khazar community was originated in Kyiv (according to the “Tale of Bygone Years”) very early, in the area of the Kozhumyaky tract: “over the Pasynets Ruchai, be sedy and Khozars” (“over the Stepchild Stream, where the Khazars settled”). It was thanks to the Khazar settlers, who in the past, being nomads, were famous for embossing the skins, in ancient Kyiv there was a profession of tanneries and goatskins. In memory of this on the modern map of Kyiv there is a neighbourhood Kozhumyaky.
A significant Jewish community existed (according to the annals) in the XI-XIII century in the area of modern Lvivska Square in the so-called Kopyryov End. There was also a wooden synagogue. Thus, the Jewish community of Kyiv counts at least a millennium. Some representatives of this community in Kyiv have gained worldwide fame. For example, writer Shalom Aleichem and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Mayer. Our guide will take you to the Golda’s house and the Shalom Aleichem monument, and if you are hungry, then he will show you the way to the restaurant of kosher food “King David”. In our city there are several active synagogues, the most notable of which is the Galician synagogue (Zhylyanska Str., 97). Remarkable in its architecture and Karaite kenassa, in which now houses the “House of the actor.”
More detailed information about the Jewish Kyiv you can find out by clicking on the icons under the route map.
The national historical and memorial reserve “Babyi Yar” is a world-famous place for mass shootings of the population, mostly Jews, conducted by German troops during the occupation of Kiev. In 1870 some part of Babyi Yar became Lukyanovka cemetery, which is a protected area nowadays. In 1891-1894 a new Jewish cemetery was founded next to Babyi Yar. In 1937 it was closed, and during the Second World War it was destroyed. During the fascist occupation, Babiy Yar was used to carry out mass shootings. According to various sources, more than 100,000 people were shot there. Today it is a national historical and memorial reserve.
The Rosenberg Synagogue. The construction of its building was funded in 1899 by the merchant Gabriel-Yakov Rosenberg and is located on the Shchekavytska Street, 29. With the advent of Soviet power, the synagogue was closed at one time, but after the World War II the synagogue was restored. Before the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence, it was the only functioning Jewish prayer house in Kyiv. Today it is the synagogue of the Kyiv Jewish community.
The Brodsky Synagogue was built in 1898 with the donations of the Kyiv Jew – millionaire Lazar Brodsky and is situadted on the street Shota Rustavelli, 13. Since the Jews were not allowed to build religious buildings in the central part of Kyiv, the draft of the synagogue was rejected by the provincial authorities. It was allowed to accommodate living and household premises for ritual purposes. Then Brodsky and Kyiv rabbi Evsei Zukkerman decided to play smart by sending a complaint and a drawing of the side facade of the synagogue, from where the building looked like a household premise to St. Petersburg. And the Senate gave its permission. The building was built in a year, construction was carried out by Lev Ginzburg’s best construction company in the city. In 1926, the building was transferred to the club for a trade union of handicraftsmen. Since 1955, a children’s puppet theater was located there, in 1997 the building was transferred to the Jewish community of Kyiv. There is a museum in the hall of the synagogue where one can see the work of the Israeli sculptor Frank Meisler, the fragment of the Torah scroll of the 2nd-5th c., a copy of the key from the opening of the synagogue in 1898, ancient books, bales, tefillins, mezuzah, candlesticks.
Mezhyhirska Street is one of the streets of Podil near Kontraktova Square, where Jews settled and Jewish communities rented houses. So on the Mezhyhirska Str., 3/7 is the profitable house of confectioner Balabukha. At one time, one of the apartments in the house was adapted for a Jewish chapel for the community of Jews who took part in the Russo-Japanese War. In the 1890’s on Mezhyhirska Str. lived and engaged in shoemaking Chaim Fridlyand. But the shoemaker is not so famous as his sons Mikhail and Boris are famous, one of which is the Soviet publicist and poet Mikhail Koltsov, the second is the cartoonist Boris Efimov. On the Mezhyhirska Street, 20 \ 37 was a profitable complex, owned by a famous Kyiv philanthropist A. Tereshchenko until 1908. At one time here on the second and third floors housed the Jewish moth “Makarivska” (on behalf of the tsadik – the Jewish righteous from the town of Makariv). In 1908 the estate was purchased by Jewish entrepreneurs A. Schwartz and V. Bokshitsky. Mansion on the Mezhyhirska Str., 23/22 served as a residential complex with a Jewish prayer house. The building is an architectural monument. The last owner of the apartment building in the Neo-Renaissance style on Mezhyhirska Street, 26/24 was the merchant O.M. Feldman. Particular attention deserves a third-floor window with semicircular lintels and stucco ornamentation.
Yaroslavska Street is a street at Podil, which was very popular with the local Jewish community, because at the time of the “Pale of Settlement”, more Jews here had the right for permanent residence. In connection with that fact, a lot of Jewish prayer places, schools and shelters arose on the Yaroslavska Street. Until now, a lot of buildings of the turn of the XIX-XX century have been preserved along the street. So on the Yaroslavska Str., 40 locates a building, built in 1910 on the funds of Margarita Goldschmidt Brodskaya (daughter of the famous Jewish philanthropist Lazar Brodsky) and served as a day shelter for Jewish girls. On the Yaroslavska Str., 8 in the 1890’s the Jewish community of the Lukyanivka and Podil police stations rented here the house for the chapel. On the Yaroslavska Str., 17/22 in 1901 was built two-storeyed building, which housed with bath rooms. Baths were called “Moscow” and belonged to a businessman in Kyiv – the Jew Yakov Kapler. In 1904, one can not help mentioning the son of Kapler, Alexei, who became a famous Soviet director (“Striped Trip”) and an anchorman (“Kinopanorama” program). In addition, there were pharmacies on the street (№ 4, 20, 38), profitable houses (№ 10, 19, 21, 55), land banks (№ 2, 15, 24, 47, 49), free clinic (№ 27) , Goldberg’s Jewish sausage establishment (No. 26/24), Hefter’s sleeve facility (No. 30), Lviv’s bookbinding facility (No. 41), Goldstein’s and Tsipeniuk’s manufacturing shops (No. 9) and (No. 12), Shreiber’s workshops (No. 15) and Haita (No. 48).
Lieberman’s mansion is a house on Bankova Street, 2, called the Gingerbread house, was built in 1879 on the order of the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Fyodor Trepov. In 1896 it was redeemed by the sugar manufacturer Simha Lieberman, who rebuilt the house, making from it a rich bourgeois palace-mansion. Interestingly that in one of the rooms in the house, Lieberman asked to make a sliding ceiling, so that once a year during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot he can pray in the open air according to the Jewish canons. In Soviet times, the original ceiling was sealed. After 1917 here were located various military headquarters, the Soviet People’s Commissariat of the republic, the city house of propaganda and agitation named after I. Stalin. Nowadays, the National Union of Writers of Ukraine is located in Lieberman’s house.
National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” (NTUU “KPI”) is one of the largest universities in Ukraine, founded in 1898. The creation of the polytechnic institute was attended by patrons and politicians, scientists and industrialists. Significant contributions were made by such outstanding personalities as Minister of Finance S. Witte, Maecenas M. Tereshchenko and sugar-maker L. Brodsky. Thanks to Lazar Brodsky, the issues of building a university and ensuring work in the first academic years were resolved. Also, the committee for the establishment of KPI included the owner of a brick factory, Yakov Berner. According to some sources, he chose the place to build the institute. And the construction firm of another famous Kyivite Jew, Lev Ginzburg, built the first five corps of the KPI. Today it is the largest university in Ukraine, which in 1995 received the status of the National Technical University of Ukraine. The main building of NTUU “KPI” is located in the park at the address: Victory Avenue, 37.
The Bessarabska market – opened since 1912 on the Bessarabska Square in the centre of Kyiv. The market was built according to the project of architect Genrikh Gai with the help of a famous Kyivite Jew – patron and sugar-maker Lazar Brodsky. It was the first in the capital covered market and the main object of the square. A special feature of the construction is steel structures with lanterns supporting the roof, the facade of the building is decorated with stucco and clock. The Bessarabska market has been fully preserved to the present day and is considered the most expensive point of sale in Kyiv.