KONOTOP Jews Past and Present


In cases of conflict, people came to him as a public judge, even in cases when the conflict developed between Jews and Christians. Another very distinguished personality was “Kazyoni”12 Rabbi Aron Marshov, famous public figure and physician. He was an orphan and he was raised by the Jewish community. He achieved the highest Jewish education. He went through all stages of religious education, including Heder, Talmud-Torah, and Yeshivot, as per the established schedule and was preparing himself to become a spiritual ravine. But when his education was coming to the end, a rich Jew came to the Yeshivot in Konotop and asked the governors of the Yeshivot for the name of a groom for his daughter and he should be one of its best pupils. The future son-in-law was promised freedom in choosing his endeavors up to continuation the Talmud study.

Marshov was recommended to be the groom. The marriage took place, but Marshov made a decision that was unexpected by the father-in-law. He started to study the course of sciences in the Gymnasium13 with the goal to pass the examinations and receive his diploma as an external student (student, who was allowed to take the courses, but without the need to regularly attend the lectures).

Thanks to his natural abilities and outstanding memory allowed him to achieve this goal within three years. Later, he went to Germany for study at the University of Bonn and returned to Russia with a diploma of physician. He combined his professional work with public service and as head of the Jewish community in Konotop and leader of the Zionist organization. He became the most popular man in the town. During the civil war of 1918—1920, he conducted negotiations on the behalf of the town with multiple changing [political] powers taxing the community. During rigorous political discussions of that time, he invented the famous expression, “Bolshevism — this is the socialism of wild men.” Bolsheviks didn't forgive him that expression and he was compelled to leave the town in 1924. Later, he moved to Palestine. The power in town changed many times during the war: Denikin's,14 Petlura's,15 Soviet power, German occupation troops, and Ukrainians, who were headed by Hetman Skoropadskiy.16


12 In Russian, the word, “Kazyoni,” refers to the concept of belonging to or in association

with the government or public domain.

13 Secular high school rather than the religious Yeshivot.

14 General of White Russian Tsar.

15 A bandit, anti-Semitic gangster, who killed Jews.

16 Ukrainian leadership was called Hetman.


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