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NEMIROV:

Massacre in Cossacks' Uprising.

Town in the government of Podolia, Russian Poland. Of the period before 1648 it is only known that Nemirov was one of the great centers of Jewish learning in Podolia and that its rabbis were men of high reputation. Of these the most celebrated were R. Yom-Ṭob Lipmann Heller and Jehiel Michael ben Eliezer, who was martyred during the Cossacks' Uprising in 1648. In that outbreak the Jews of Nemirov suffered the most. The town being a fortified one, the Jews of the neighboring places, in dread of the Cossacks, sought refuge in it, thus swelling its Jewish population so that it exceeded 6,000. Three hundred Cossacks were sent by Chmielnicki to conquer Nemirov, and they made use of Polish flags, thus deceiving the Jewish inhabitants. The non-Jewish population, Greek Christians, were aware of this deception of the enemy, and urged the Jews to open the gates to the supposed Poles. The gates being opened, the Cossacks, assisted by the non-Jewish population, rushed upon the unsuspecting Jews and cruelly massacred 6,000 of them—men, women, and children—who chose death rather than forcible baptism (June 10, 1648). A small number saved their lives; some by temporarily changing their religion, and others by escaping to the neighboring fortified town of Tulchin (Hannover, "Yewen Meẓulah," p. 5a, Venice, 1653). The massacre of Nemirov was considered the most terrible of that period. It has given rise to many legends, glorifying the heroic martyrdom of the Jews; and a requiem for the martyrs is still read on the 20th of Siwan, the anniversary of the event according to the Jewish calendar, in all the synagogues of Podolia.

The Jewish population of Nemirov soon, however, began to increase. Wishneweezki, the great Polish general, and a friend of the Jews, on hearing of the slaughter of the latter at Nemirov, which town was his own property, marched against the place with an army of 3,000 and took revenge by massacring a great number of the inhabitants and the Cossacks (ib. p. 6a). The insurrection of the Cossacks was gradually quelled in Podolia; the few Jews of Nemirov who had escaped death by changing their religion returned openly to their old faith; and the Jewish community gradually regained its former importance.

Under Turkish Rule.

In 1672 Podolia came under the sway of the Turks, whose rule continued until 1699. At that time Yuri, second son of Chmielnicki, settled at Nemirov, and, in order to increase his income, imposed a tax upon every newly married couple in the district, irrespective of creed or nationality. A rich Jewish merchant of Nemirov, named Aaron, being a favorite of the Turkish authorities, thought himself secure in resisting this unjust impost, and on the marriage of his son refused to pay it. Yuri then sent his servants, who burned Aaron's house, and, not finding him at home, carried off his wife to Yuri, who caused her to be cruelly murdered. Aaron thereupon appealed to the Turkish pasha at Kamenetz-Podolsk, who summoned Yuri before him. Yuri confessed, and was executed.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century Nemirov became a center of the Bratzlaver Ḥasidim, under the leadership of Nathan ben Naphtali Hertz, who disseminated thence the precepts of his teacher, Naḥman of Bratzlav.

In 1896 the Jews of Nemirov numbered 2,874 in a total population of 7,129.

Bibliography:
  • Litinsky, Ḳorot Podolia, i. 23, 27, 33, Odessa, 1895;
  • Grätz, Gesch. Hebrew transl., viii. 134, 139, Warsaw, 1899;
  • Gurland, Le-Ḳorot ha-Gezerot be-Yisrael, passim.
H. R. A. S. W.
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