Jews in the USSR

»A New Epoch for Jews in Germany« - panel 6

The number of Jews in the Soviet Union:

  • Prior to the Second World War: 5.2 million (estimated)

  • After the Second World War: 2.2 million

  • At the last census in the USSR (1989): 1.4 million

  • At a census in Russia in 2002: approximately 230,000

  • At the latest census in Russia (2010): approximately 157,000

Official data does not say much about the true number of Jews in the Soviet Union because, in the census, many Jews declared their nationality as “Russian” during the Soviet era.

The proportion of the Jewish population relative to the total population of the USSR declined from 1.1% in 1959 to 0.5% in 1989.


  • Governmentpromoted assimilation.
  • The desire of many Jews to conceal their Jewish identity in the face of difficulties and an atmosphere of antiSemitism.

Out of 10,000 Soviet Jews, 315 graduated from universities and technical colleges (as compared to 182 graduates per 10,000 people in the overall Soviet average).

Despite restricted access to educational institutions in the USSR, Jews had a well above average education and professional status:

10.8% of Soviet Jews were scientists.

10% were legal professionals.

14.7% were medical doctors.

About 2 million Jews and their family members have left the USSR, or Russia, (for Israel, Canada, Australia, France, the USA, and Germany) in the last 25 years.


Soviet Homeland (1961-1991) by the Association of Soviet Authors (Moscow) was the only Yiddish literary magazine in the Soviet Union with a monthly circulation of 25,000 copies (9000 of which were distributed abroad).


Exhibition: A New Epoch for Jews in Germany
Duration: From 11th December 2016 to 7th January 2017
Location: Bürgersaal, Neues Rathaus, Hannover
Panel: 6 from 15
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond
Concept and texts: Kathrin Leibmann
Design: Stanislav Ivanchuk