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Rezekne (Rezhitsa) 1799, 1802, 1865, 1897

Document Provided by Aleksandrs Feigmanis


     Already in 1799 Rezhitsa became known as a place where Jews were accused of using the blood of Christians in Pesach. In 1802, 26 Christian merchants live in Rezhitsa and only 3 Jewish merchants, 187 Christian citizens and 533 Jewish citizens. In 1803 a Russian traveler described Rezhitsa as a pitiful city with only one street, no skilled craftsmen, no open air markets (fairs). In that era the Jews participated in the government of the city.


     In 1897, Rezhitsa had 10,795 inhabitants of whom 6,478 were Jewish.


     At the end of the XIX Century Rezhitsa had 2 orthodox churches, 2 Old Believers prayer houses, 10 synagogues. An important attraction were the ruins of the old castle, built in 1257 by the Knights of the Livonian Order. At the end of the XIX Century there were 2 private Jewish schools for the study of the Talmud and Torah. Five plants with 28 workers which produced a profits of 24,450 Rubles per year. By then there were 1,081 craftsmen. Commerce in the city was weakly developed: there were 403 merchants' shops, 303 traded in small goods. It is interesting that the the poorest Jewish people lived in a neighborhood called "America."


     The famous Russian writer, Juri Tynianov (1894 - 1943) was born in Rezhitsa. He was considered to be a master of the Russian historical novel. His works include the novels: Pushkin, Kuhla, and Death of Vazir-Muhtar.


     Rezhitsa in 1835: Description by the Russian geographer Deimidovich, Vitebskije Gubernskije Vedomosti, Pg 1, 1865.


     "Some words about Rezhitsa. The city is located near the St. Petersburg-Warsaw railroad line, by two sides of Petersburg chauses (sic) and is a quiet clean city. There are no factories except for one brewery which receives its hops from abroad. All industry is represented by small buy-sell trade institutions. The city has 1 orthodox church, 1 catholic church and 3 Old-Believers prayer houses. The town is remarkable by the ruins of an old castle. An old ledged says that this castle was built by Queen Ruzhina, her name is the basis for the name of the city.