The building of Jewish handicraft school in Minsk

Minsk

Architecture, Industrial buildings

Little, who knows, but the Jewish population of Minsk made a very significant contribution to its development. In the late 17th century after the uprising of Bohdan Khmelnytsky it was necessary to rebuild the ruined city. King Jan Sobessky issued a Charter which read that Jews were allowed to organize workshops and to build houses, and a synagogue, cemetery and a mikvah were fully exempted from taxes.

The Jewish community began to grow rapidly and by the end of the 19th century it became the fourth largest in the Russian Empire. About 40% of Minsk population was Jewish population. The city was growing along with the growth of the Jewish community. A large number of enterprises and educational institutions were built by the community in this period.

One of such institutions became the building of Jewish handicraft school. Within its walls students were taught more than 30 professions, without which the development of everyday life of society was impossible. For example: doctors and pharmacists, locksmiths and blacksmiths, carpenters and tanners and others. The exception was the so-called “sacred work”, i.e. work on the production of ritual items.

As before most of workshops were Christian, but they could not to compete with Jews. Everybody knew that they were the best workers, that is why they were not sitting idle.

The building of Jewish handicraft school had not served its direct purpose for a long time. During the Soviet time it was rebuilt, its designated purpose was changed, and currently it is difficult to tell on its appearance that this is a pre-revolutionary building.  

In 1939 in the building of Jewish handicraft school was created Minsk cartographic factory. During the Great Patriotic War the work of the enterprise was stopped, but at the end of 1944 it was resumed. Its name was RUE “Minsk printing factory”.

At that time the factory played a great role. A group of people from Gomel was sent in the dilapidated building – it was a new team, which was to start the production essentially from ground zero.

Printing shops were restored one after  another: first a cartography shop, then a shop with typewriters, a shop of preparing forms, a laboratory and a bindery shop, a technical editorial office.

During its activity Minsk printing factory received a lot of crucial and really important tasks to print atlases and maps: the Big Atlas of the World, the Atlas of agriculture of the USSR, the Sea Atlas and others.

In 1994 the factory became an enterprise of the Department of the State signs.

In 1997 they began to release control customs stamps. The level of protection of these stamps is equal to the level of security of Schengen visas.

In 1999 the factory was assigned the task of producing various kinds of lottery tickets, including with an erasable covering.

In 2002 the factory began the production of bills of lading and in 2004 – the production of excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products.  

Nowadays have been developed many techniques and mastered different equipment. As in the beginning of its way, when the building was Jewish handicraft school, so now it also performs important functions not only for the development of Minsk, but the state as a whole. 

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