- DAVID-GORODOK (Pol. Dawidgródek; Heb. דוד קורדוק), town in Brest-Litovsk oblast, Belarus; until 1793 and from 1921 to 1939 within Poland. Jews are first known there from the middle of the 17th century. In 1667 David-Gorodok had an established community linked to that of pinsk . There were 408 Jews aged over one year living in David-Gorodok in 1766, and 386 in 1784. Main occupations were innkeeping, the sale of alcoholic liquor, trade in timber and forest produce, and cattle breeding. Jews were active in forest exploitation and the development of river navigation to the Ukraine and Baltic Sea which expanded in David-Gorodok in the 19th century, and the community increased. It numbered 1,572 in 1847, and 3,087 (40% of the total population) in 1897. In 1898, to offset the growing competition of the railroads, a number of Jewish carters there invested in a steamship. A further group founded a motorbus company in 1921. The majority in the community were mitnaggedim . The local supporters of the bund (prominent among them A. Litvak ) and the Territorialist Socialist movement were active in the 1905 revolution and self-defense against pogroms was organized in the community. The Po'alei Zion party resumed activities in David-Gorodok in 1917. In the elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly in 1917, the local Zionist Organization received 740 votes and the Po'alei Zion 640 votes. The Jews in David-Gorodok suffered during the Revolution and the Polish-Soviet war (1917–1921). During Sukkot 1921 soldiers of the "White" General Bulak-Balakhovich who arrived with the Polish army were stationed there for several weeks, during which they went on a rampage of robbery, rape, and murder, receiving 100,000 rubles as ransom from the Jews. The Jewish population numbered 2,832 (28.1% of the total) in 1921. The american jewish joint distribution committee provided considerable relief to the community. Jews owned sawmills, flour mills, and tanneries. They rented estates and lakes, and exported their products. Most of the retail trade was in Jewish hands. He-Ḥalutz began activities in David-Gorodok in 1921, the mizrachi in 1925, and Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa 'ir in 1927. A tarbut Hebrew elementary school was founded in 1924 (it numbered 400 pupils in 1934), and a Hebrew religious school, Yavneh, in 1927. The director of Tarbut, Abraham Olszanski, founded a group for Hebrew-speakers, Benei Yehudah, in 1931, which spread over Poland and became a movement. In 1928, when elections to the municipal councils were held in Poland under full democratic conditions, eight Jews were elected in David-Gorodok among the 24 members of the council. (Arthur Cygielman) -Ḥasidism There was a ḥasidic dynasty called after the township of the same name. The Ḥasidim of the Gorodok dynasty proper should be distinguished from the followers of menahem mendel of vitebsk , also sometimes called Ḥasidim of Gorodok (Yid. Horodok). The dynasty, whose followers came mainly from Polesia, was founded at the beginning of the 19th century by ZE'EV WOLFF GINSBURG (son of the ẓaddik Samuel of Kashivka (Volhynia), the av bet din of David-Gorodok. He was followed by his son DAVID, his grandson ISRAEL JOSEPH HA-LEVI (d. c. 1899), the most influential member of the dynasty, and the latter's grandson ISAAC (d. 1908). The Ḥasidim of David-Gorodok were mostly artisans and simple people and their ẓaddikim behaved modestly. Their style of prayer was more sedate than that of most ḥasidim and they had special melodies. Isaac's descendants perished during the Holocaust. (Wolf Zeev Rabinowitsch) Holocaust Period From Sept. 19, 1939, until July 5, 1941, the town was under Soviet rule and the Jewish population increased with the influx of refugees from German-occupied western Poland. The Soviet regime introduced drastic changes in economic, religious, and social life. Jewish community institutions were disbanded; the Hebrew tarbut school continued to function in Yiddish; private economic initiative was stifled; and artisans were organized into cooperatives. The Orthodox Jewish congregation made efforts to overcome difficulties imposed on their religious life. On the holidays, prayer services were held earlier in the morning so the men could appear at their places of work. In the summer of 1940 local Zionist and Revisionist leaders were arrested, followed in February 1941 by the arrest of over ten other community leaders. In April that year the young men were drafted into the Soviet army. When war broke out between Germany and the U.S.S.R. on June 22, 1941, Jewish groups attempted to flee to the Soviet interior. The Germans entered David-Gorodok on July 5, 1941. A local gentile delegation appeared before the Germans in Pinsk with a request to be allowed to attack the Jews. The Germans willingly acceded and issued orders for all Jewish males 14 years of age or older to appear in the square by the church. From there they were taken to the town of Hinowski where they had to dig the trenches in which they were murdered and buried. The Germans set up a ghetto for the surviving women and children. Sealed within, they suffered from disease and starvation. When the ghetto was liquidated in the summer of 1942, some of the inhabitants reached the partisans active in the vicinity. By the time Soviet forces reentered in 1944 no Jews were left alive in David-Gorodok. Later, very few survivors came back, mostly from the U.S.S.R. They all left David-Gorodok within a short time for the West and some of them settled in Israel. (Aharon Weiss) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Hasidism (1970), 209–14, 227. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sefer Zikkaron David-Horodok (1956).
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.
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