Uzda, on river Uzdzianka (a tributary of
Usa), 75 km from Minsk, is known since the middle of 15th century.
There are a lot of legends connected with the name of this small city (Belarussian
- miastechka, Yiddish - shtetl). According to one of the legend, Slav troops
defeated tatar`s army of Koidan. Koidan was wounded and felt off
hourse, caught a bridle (Belarussian - Uzda) and said: "The death
met me here".
Since XVI century Uzda was a possession of Kaviachinski (famous belarussian kalvinists) family, in XVIII century - Zafisha family and after this of duke Krasinski. During the existance of Rech Paspalitaya (a union between Polish kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) Uzda was a part of Minsk Voevodstvo.
Jews lived in Uzda since the second quater of 17th century. In 1765 Uzda kagal (community) has 263 jews.
In 1793 Russian troops occupied Uzda. Under Russian rule Uzda was a center of volast in Igumen uezd of Minsk gubernia. 1618 jews lived in Uzda in 1847. The results of the famous russian census of 1897 for Uzda were: 2756 inhabitants - 2.068 of them jews.
Russian geographer V.P. Semionov wrote in his "Rossija. Polnoe gographicheskoe opisanie nashego Otechestva" (Russia. Full gepgraphical description of our Motherland) in the begining of the 20th century: "The majority of Uzda population are jews. They have a synagogue".
The main jewish occupations in Uzda were: trade and handicraft. Jews took an active role in UZda trade, They bought in Minsk or Staubcy wine, groceries and sold this products in Uzda. Also, they bought in Uzda region agricultural products: flour, fat, groats, honey, flax and sold it in Minsk and Stoubcy. In the end of XVIII - XIX century a real center of a shtetl was a Rynachnaya (Market) square. Here were a lot of small jewish stores, houses of merchants and craftsmen. Uzda had a fair every Sunday. Also,
in shtetl were several mills, a hospital, since 1890 - a chemist`s shop, since 1894 - post and telegraph-office. The majority of jewish craftsmen were the shoe-makers and tailors. The biggest Uzda plants were alcohol-plant "Uzdzianka", flour-grind plant "Zakreushchina" and so on.
After World War I, Feberuary and Bolshevik revolutions German troops (February-November 1918) and Polish (August 1919 - July 1920) occupied Uzda. Polish troops organized here a bloody jewish pogrom.
According to the Riga treaty of 1921 Uzda was a Soviet town. Since July, 1924, Uzda was a region in Minsk akruga, since 1938 - in Minsk oblast. Jews were 62.5 % of Uzda population. They had a school in Yiddish. In 1938 Uzda had 3.500 inhabitants.
On the 22th of June, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union. On the 28th of July german troops occupied Uzda. They organized a ghetto. 1740 Uzda jews were killed. It was the end of more then 300 years of Uzda jewish history.
Soviet troops liberated Uzda on 4th of July, 1944.