The following is excerpted from Tzemach Tzedek and the Haskala Movement, by Joseph Schneersohn, ca. 1962, pg. 10, posted on the Discussion Group in May 1997 by Don Mopsick

It was about the year 1844 that [Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn] purchased some 3600 desiaten (about 9700 acres) of forest and farm land laced with brooks, from Prince Schtzedrinov, in Minsk. He invited over 300 Jewish families to settle in the new colony of Schtzedrin, under the supervision of a special board.

The land was distributed to the settlers at no cost, every family receiving enough land for a home and farm buildings, and several acres for cultivation and pasture, besides farm equipment. Some 700 desiaten were thus distributed. The other 1800 desiaten of forest were sold to one Efraim Holodetz of Bobruisk, a condition of the sale being that lumber be supplied for homes and stables for the colonists.

The settlers were granted special government privileges, among them a long term loan of 200 rubles, by the Provincial treasury, to be repaid with farm produce. The settlers prospered and were soon able to devote several periods of the year to Torah study. The purchase money paid by Holodetz was used to defray the expenses and debts of colonization. Part of the down-payment was sent by the Rabbi to the Holy Land, and the rest contributed to his regular Charity Fund .

The establishment of the Schtzedrin colony impressed Russian Jewry and Government officials alike. The Governors of Minsk, Vitebsk, and Mogilev provinces wrote laudatory letters to the Ministry of the Interior in regard to the officially sanctioned colony. The Governor of Minsk noted the beneficial effects of the colony in diverting Jews from unstable and insecure petty trading activities.

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Bobruisk District Historical Economic Summaries

Provided by

The Minsk Historical Genealogy Group

Oleg Perzashkevich, Director.

Village of Shchedrin

Bobruisk District Historical Economic Summaries

Provided by The Minsk Historical Genealogy Group

Shchedrin before 1917


Before 1793 - Shchedrin, called also Shchodrin, was a shtetle in Rechitsa District of Minsk Province of Rech Pospolitaya, owned by Polish King.

1793-1917 - Shchedrin was a shtetle in Russian Empire.

Since 1801 - Shchedrin was a shtetle in Bobruisk District of Minsk Empire, owned by State.

1844 - Jewish merchant of the 1st guild Shneyerson bought some land and part of the shtetle of Shchedrin from the State and founded there an agricultural colony.

[In 1858 there were 641 in the Jewish Colony. In 1897, 4022 of which 212 were not Jews. By 1909 there were 5600 and Jews were over 80 percent of the population]

Jewish Life

In 1844, after obtaining permission to live in rural area and to work on land, some Jewish families from that area rented the land from the Shchedrin owner Shneyerson and moved there.

Since 1880s as far as agricultural activity was not too popular among Shchedrin Jews, many of them returned to traditional life of local Jews: business and trade.

In 1898 there were 1558 (274 families) Jews rent 1853 hectares of land for money and worked as peasants, 2464 Jews were busy with trade and business.

In the early XX century there were 6 praying houses in Shchedrin.

Economic Review

Traditional activities of local population were agriculture, growing of flax and chopping of wood. Local Jews traditionally traded with fabrics there.

During Russian principality the authorities did a lot to develop the region because of military and fiscal reasons mostly. First of all, old road Parichi - Shchedrin - Stepi was reconstructed there.

In XIX, because of development of the All-Russian Market, new types of communications appeared in the area in 1873. Construction of the railroad and highways provoked new increase of development of local settlements. Since Shchedrin occurred on the strategic way from Central to Southern Belarus, those changes effect seriously on development of the Shtetle. Since the closest railway station was 17 km afar in Krasny Bereg, the old road Parichi - Stepi was lengthened to Krasny Bereg.

Since 1870s also telegraph station was located in Shchedrin.

In 1890 there were 470 wooden houses in Shchedrin.

In 1909 there were 620 wooden houses in Shchedrin.