Dobre Jewish Cemetery
The Dobre Jewish cemetery is depicted on Russian topographic maps of the 1860s, which means it presumably emerged soon after the colony was founded. It is marked also on topographic maps of 1941. According to the Russian Jewish Encyclopedia, the cemetery was demolished during WWII and the remains were re-buried after the war at the village cemetery. A local born in Dobre in 1946 told the ESJF team that she remembers the cemetery remains. She was told to gather gravestone fragments to use for construction. Gathering them, she recounted they had letters which she could not read. She told that the graves are still there and were not removed to the municipal cemetery.
Dobre is a Jewish agricultural colony founded in 1856. The first Jews who settled in Dobre in 1856 to 1857 were 52 families from the Vilna Province who relocated here. In 1859, the Jewish population of Dobre numbered 481 (162 households). In the same year, a synagogue was built. In 1897, the Jewish population grew to 2,277 (88% of the total population). The other population were German colonists, who had been invited to settle in Dobre to share their agricultural skills. By the late 19th century, 270 Jewish families were engaged in the agricultural sector. Also, the Jews occupied the spheres of the domestic craft and petty trade. In 1867, a first elementary school was opened. In 1891, three synagogues were operational. Also, at that time Jews ran a bathhouse, a feldsher’s station, 18 shops and warehouses, and two taverns in the town. Rabbi Itzhak Pushnits, the great-grandfather of M.- M. Shneerson, served in Dobre between 1854 and 1904. In 1911, a single-grade primary school with a three-year study period was opened. A public library also functioned. During WWI,refugees arrived fleeing the front, and pogroms against the Jewish population took place in 1918 and 1919. During the interwar period, three Jewish schools, clubs, a library, a kindergarten as well as an ambulatory operated. Collectivisation lead to the reduction of the Jewish population, which numbered 2,153 in 1931. The religious community was liquidated in 1938 as a consequence of communist policy. Just before the Nazi’s occupation of Dobre in 1941, 1,277 Jews were living here. 179 Jews were mustered to the front. In 1941, according to different sources, 389 to 560 Jews were murdered and the Jewish cemetery was destroyed. In 1958, the victims’ remains were reburied in the village cemetery in a mass grave, and an obelisk was erected above it. After the war, 85 people returned from their evacuation to the Soviet Union, and 30 people from the army. After 1945, 36 Jewish families, amounting to 185 people, lived in Dobre.