Dutch Settlements in Domachevo village
Domachevo is a small village in Brest region, located on the border with Poland, where a checkpoint is situated. Such geographical location could not set a seal on the history and development of Domachevo. It was famous for its multi-religious diversity, there coexisted Jewish synagogues, Orthodox churches, Lutheran and Catholic churches. That’s why the first settlements of Protestants on the territory of the Republic of Belarus appeared there.
The appearance of the Protestant communities in Domachevo dates back to the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Radziwill Chorny, a famous representative of noble family, supported the ideas of the Reformation, however, thanks to his patronage, in major cities one after another, Protestant communities appeared. In 1564 in the floodplain of the Western Bug, near the territory of Domachevo that time, the first Dutchmen settled who came to Belarus in order to spread the ideas of the Reformation. They founded two settlements - Neudorf and Neubrov, which located five or six miles to the northwest, and two or three miles to the west respectively. In fact, they formed one village, divided into two halves with the church and the parish, located between Neudorf and Neybrov. Local people called them “golendry”.
The life and development of these communities have not been investigated yet. Disparate data about it can be found in the literary works of famous Belarusian ethnographer I.K. Kirkor as well. Prior to that, for the first time the existence of community was mentioned only in 1600, when the inhabitants of Neudorf selected a new pastor Yang Yoram. There is another date of the Protestant settlements foundation - 1790, but it probably belongs to the second wave of settlers among the Protestants, who, according to old residents, were invited here by the Empress Catherine the Great, who supported the Reformation movement.
The land where the Dutch communities settled, often suffered fr om floods. However, despite repeated floods, that washed buildings, persistent and hardworking people built there houses of stone, church and school for Protestant and Catholic children. Dutch settlers were engaged in dairy farming, horses breeding, and soon became one of the most prosperous in the county. By the way, to keep the floods, settlers invented a very clever method: when Bug River spilled over its banks, they lifted animals on the ropes to the attic and they waited till the flood is over. Already in the beginning of the 20th century, the colonists had its own dairy cooperative.
When the Germans came these lands, they even declared the Dutch settlement of German settlement, the so-called "folsdoyche" that allowed them to avoid the destruction and devastation (unlike Domachevo, wh ere about 3,800 people were killed during the war, as well as the Jewish community and Lutheran Cathedral were completely destroyed).
Dutch descendants from Domachevo locality spread all over the world, and now they live in Poland, the United States and Germany. Native people of the Belarusian village honor their past and still create the communities "Neudorf-Neubrov". Some of them come to visit their historical homeland from time to time.If you still have not been to Domachevo, it will amaze you with unique evidence of
the existence of the Protestant communities. On the outskirts of the village,
not far from the Lutheran cemetery, you can see the historic monuments. Unfortunately,
the Lutheran church has not been preserved, but its foundation is still
standing and is also available for viewing. Besides, even the Orthodox Church
honors the Protestant heritage: two magnificent chandeliers can be found in the
local church, salvaged from the church building.