SEVASTOPOL, city in Crimea, Ukraine. Jews lived there in the Greek period when the city was called Khersones. Shortly after its foundation in 1784, Jews began to settle in Sevastopol, many of them from Galicia. They engaged in commerce and crafts and some acted as purveyors to the local garrison. The community was severely struck by a plague which broke out in the town in 1825. The development of the community was brought to a sudden halt as a result of the government's decision in 1829 to prohibit residence in the town, which had become the chief Russian naval base on the Black Sea, to all Jews, as constituting a danger to security, with the exception of those who served in the army. Jews already living there were ordered to leave the town within two years, and even temporary residence or visits were restricted. The order did not apply to the karaites . The local authorities unsuccessfully attempted to have the order rescinded, pointing out the harm which would be caused to the Jews themselves and to the town generally. The expulsion was halted for three years, after which Sevastopol was closed to Jews. In 1842, even a temporary stay by Jews in Sevastopol was limited to one month. During the Crimean War (1854–56) many Jews took part in the defense of Sevastopol and about 500 fell in battle. A monument was erected to their memory in the city in 1864. From 1859 various categories of Jews (merchants registered in the guilds, with their servants and clerks, and artisans) were authorized to live in Sevastopol; there was also some alleviation in the attitude toward visits and temporary residence of Jews in the town. Thus the Jewish settlement was renewed during the second half of the 19th century, and in 1880 numbered 400. In 1874 a "house of prayer for soldiers" was opened in Sevastopol, and in 1884 the construction of a synagogue was completed. Jews began to play an important role in the foreign trade which passed through the port, especially grain commerce. By 1897 3,910 Jews lived in Sevastopol (7.4% of the total population), including about 70 families of "Krimchaks" (Jews from Crimea itself). About 830 Karaites were also living in the city. In 1907 the authorities again began to expel Jews from various parts of Sevastopol, and by 1910 their numbers had decreased to 3,655. With the revolution of 1917 and abolition of all the anti-Jewish restrictions, many more Jews settled in Sevastopol. By 1926 their numbers reached 5,204 (7%). In 1939 they numbered 5,988 (5.5% of the total population). -Holocaust and Contemporary Periods Sevastopol was occupied by the Germans on July 12, 1941. They soon collected 4,200 Jews who remained in the city and from its environs, and they murdered them in ditches outside the town and in gas vans. A small synagogue and Jewish cemetery were maintained in the late 1960s. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M.I. Mysh, Rukovodstvo k russkomu zakonodatelstvu o yevreyakh (1890); D. Polonski, Istoricheskiy ocherk sevastopolskoy yevreyskoy obshchiny (1909). (Yehuda Slutsky)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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