Kolky Jewish Cemetery
The exact date of the Kolky Jewish cemetery’s foundation is unknown, but it most likely dates from the 16th or 17th century. The cemetery appears on Russian maps of the region from the 1880s and was demolished during the Soviet era. References to a Jewish presence in Kolky begin in the mid 16th century. The community suffered during the Khmelnitsky uprising. In 1784, 197 Jews lived in Kolky, and a century later, in 1887, the Jewish population had reached 2,537 individuals (57.7% of the total population). By that time four synagogues were operating and different Hasidic trends, including Trisk and Stepan, were popular among local Jews. During WWI, a fire destroyed the town and many Jews fled, reducing their population to 724 (33.7% of the total population) after the war. A Tarbut Hebrew school operated in Kolky until 1927. Four libraries were active in the city: a Tarbut library, the Y. L. Peretz library, and two libraries sponsored by Bund and Poale Zion, and the Chashmonai sports organisation. By late 1937, the Jewish population numbered 860. The Wehrmacht arrived in July 1941 and set up a ghetto in October 1941. It imprisoned 2,500 Jews in total, including locals, those from surrounding villages, and some migrants from Poland. Overpopulation and unsanitary conditions spread disease and caused high mortality rates within the ghetto. The majority of Jews were murdered in September 1942. In 1991, a monument was erected on the site of the mass grave.