MOLODECHNO, town in Molodechno district, W. Belarus; during the interwar period it was within Poland. The Jewish community in Molodechno started in the early 18th century and numbered 251 in 1847, increasing to 1,105 (46 percent of the total population) in 1897. After improvement in the economic situation resulting from the construction of a railroad in 1905, the Great Synagogue was erected in 1906. Later a prayer house was built by the Ḥasidim. A government school for Jewish boys, with a special vocational department and boarding facilities, was erected but was destroyed at the time of the Polish annexation. In 1925 the Jews numbered 950. Under Polish rule Jewish children received their education in the Hebrew tarbut elementary school. The Jews were mainly engaged in trade and crafts. During World War II Molodechno was annexed from September 1939 to July 1941, liquidating Jewish economy and public life. The Germans entered Molodechno in July and immediately killed 50 Jews. In October they murdered another 400 to 800, and the remaining 350–600 were herded in a barn and burned alive in December 1941. (Zeev Elyashiv / Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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