Sverzhen before 1917


XIV century

- Sverzhen was a possession of the Great Princes of the Great Lithuanian Princedom.

1st half of XVI century

- Sverzhen was given to Khrebtovich magnate family, than to Vrzhevlevsky noble family, later to Sluzhka noble family.

Since 1575

- Sverzhen became a private possession of Radzivill magnate family of the Great Lithuanian Princedom.


- Nicholas Radzivill the Orphan founded Roman Catholic church in Sverzhen.


- Local Orthodox believers and Nicholas Radzivill the Orphan founded Baselian Church and Cloister in Sverzhen.

Late XVI century

- Jewish population appeared.

Apr. 26, 1706

- Sverzhen was burned to the ground by Sweden troops.


- a school was founded at the Cloister.

Since 1793

- in Russian Empire.

Since 1801

- a shtetle in Minsk District of Minsk Province.

Nov. 1812

- after Napoleon invasion and defeat Sverzhen was occupied by Russian troops.


- Roman Catholic chapel was founded in Sverzhen.


- old Cloister was closed, the church became parochial.


- another Orthodox chapel was founded in Sverzhen.

Vital Statistics


Number of Jews

Number of Non-Jews


Specific gravity in total population number

Late XVI century

Jewish population appeared



No info

Male adults only

No info




Both sexes

41,8 %



Total population

No info

Jewish Life

In 1721 Sverzhen kahal paid 1 000 zlotys of annual taxes.

In 1898 ROZIN Khaym son of Berko was a Jewish Deputy of the Shtetle Petty-Bourgeois Administration.

By 1900 there were a synagogue and 2 praying houses in Sverzhen.

Economical Review.

Traditional activities of local Jewish population were trade with timber, grain, and vodka and growing of fruits. Since early time Neman river was a main road for Sverzhen habitants. Sverzhen harbour was the 1st one upstream, and Neman trade was started from there. Usual width of Neman stream there was about 38 m, usual depth — about 1,5 m. The following flat-bottomed boats were used there: barges, semibarges, galleys, rowboats and rafts. All the boats were moved with poles downstream, with ropes — upstream.

During Russian principality, vodka trade was under state hard control and became less popular among Jewish businessmen. But Russian authorities did a lot to develop the region because of military and fiscal reasons mostly. First of all, old communications were reconstructed there:

- post communications road Minsk - Nesvizh-Slutsk;

- trade road Ivenets - Stolbtsy - Nesvizh;

- trade road Mir - Stolbtsy;

- old harbour.

In XIX, because of development of the AllRussian Market, new types of communications appeared in the region.

In 1889 in Sverzhen there were two water mills (their total annual income was 1 000 roubles).

That year Sverzhen harbour exported over 200 000 pieces of wood, which were brought to there in winter mostly.

In the beg. XX century different types of businesses became to develop, however, vegetables and timber ones stayed the most important. Here is the list of major business and trade enterprises of Sverzhen and the Subdistrict for 1902.

Name of owner

Type of business


Goldin Berko son of Meyer

Fabric store


Malkin Ghelya daughter of Khaym

Fabric store


Here is the table of development of Sverzhen in the 2nd half of XIX - early XX century:

Date of record

Number of houses







General cultural information.

In 1743-1883 the school existed at Sverzhen Baselian Cloister. There were up to 20 student there, which studied theology, monastic law, Latin language, geometry, arithmetic, history, rhetoric and philosophy.

After 1833, when the Cloister was closed, the school was transformed into a public one.

In beg. XX century in Sverzhen there were:

- a stone Orthodox church, built in 1590 (there was an icon of Godmother there, which considered to be holy and mysterious one);

- a stone Roman Catholic church, built in 1588;

- an Orthodox chapel, built in 1857;

- a Roman Catholic Chapel, built in 1814.

- a public primary school.

The closest doctor was in Nesvizh (28 km), post office and telegraph station were in Stolbtsy (3 km).

Copyright 1997-1998 Oleg Perzashkevich