The building of the men's Jewish school in Minsk

Minsk

Architecture, Industrial buildings

The Jewish part of population played an active role in the life of Belarus. In 1902 in Minsk there was a conference of Zionists, in 1903 self-defense organization was created by Jews in Minsk. According to the 1909 census in Minsk, the Jews prevailed among other nationalities: 43.3% in comparison with the Russian (34.8%). In the late XIX - early XX century in Minsk there were many Jewish establishments, such as women’s Jewish gymnasium, men’s Jewish gymnasium, dental school and more. In addition, a hospital and agricultural farm were built by Jews in the Belarusian capital.

The building of Men’s Jewish school was built in 1912. The four-storey building is symmetrical. The central part of the building is deeper than the main facade. There are two wings. The main facade features rectangular windows, while the upper floor has arched windows.

During the Soviet period, the Jewish school was closed. It happened after the dissolution of the Jewish community in 1920. Since 1921 the building belonged to the Belarusian State University and served as an educational institution. It is important to note that the following half-century for Jews living on the territory of Belarus, like many Jews in the USSR, was a tough period of time. In 1959, it was decided to close the synagogue in Minsk, and in 1960 burial was prohibited in a Jewish cemetery.

In 1992, the Yakub Kolas National State Humanities Lyceum was opened and existed until 2003. The fate of the Lyceum is interesting. The institution was founded on January 15, 1990. However, its way of teaching did not correspond with the political views of our time, so in 2003, studying in the lyceum was considered illegal. According to the head of the Kolas Lyceum, for the 25 years of its existence, about 1500 students studied there.

Two years later, in 2005, internal reconstruction works took place and roof was updated. Nowadays, the building is occupied by the court.  

The building of men’s Jewish school in Minsk is a good example of the Jews’ life full of events during XIX-XX centuries. It is a part of many thematic excursions. 

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