Between the 14th and 18th centuries, Belarus was part of Poland-Lithuania, from the partitions of Poland (1772-95) until the 1917 revolution it was part of Russia. Under Soviet rule, it became the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Jewish settlement in Belarus began at the end of the 15th century. By 1847, the Jewish population was about 225,000, which grew to 725,000 by 1897 (13.6 of the total population). In 1921, the country was divided between the Soviet Union and Poland. In September, 1939, western Belorussia was annexed by the Soviet Union, but the Germans invaded in June, 1941. Prior to annexation, there were about 375,000 Jews in Soviet controlled Belorussia. There was at least that many Jews in the annexed portion of Belorussia. In 1970, the Jewish population of Belorussia was about 150,000. As a result of emigration, the Jewish population at the end of 1991 was estimated at about 58,000.
Encyclopedia Judaica, CD-Rom Edition, Keter Publishing
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