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City in Ukraine. Jews came to Odessa at the end of the 18th century from Poland and Lithuania. They participated in the rapid development of the city, engaging in commerce and various trades, as well as in the professions. The Enlightenment movement of the 19th century played an important role in the Odessa Jewish community. The first Russian-Jewish weekly was published here. The weekly Hebrew newspaper, Ha-Melitz, and a Yiddish weekly Folksblat made their appearance in Odessa. By the end of the 19th century, the town became a center of Zionism, Hebrew, and Yiddish literature. Some of the foremost Hebrew writers, among them Mendele Mocher Sefarim, Ahad Ha-Am, Chaim Nachman Bialik, and Joseph Klausner lived and wrote in Odessa. Here also was the seat of the central committee of Hoveve Zion, whose leaders were Leon Pinsker and, later, Menachem Ussishkin. During times of stress, waves of antisemitic attacks swept over the city. In the 1905 pogrom, thirty Jews were killed and many more injured. Odessa’s Jewish youth joined in the self-defense movement, at that time an innovation in Jewish life. Odessa Jewry also suffered greatly during the civil war in 1918-1919. On the eve of World War II, Odessa’s Jewish population neared 160,000. Most were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators from 1941 to 1943. The current Jewish population of the city is unknown.

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