Jews of Ukraine constitute the third-largest Jewish community in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world. The Jewish population mainly lives in Kyiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv, and Odesa as well as in numerous small towns.
In the 19th century, Ukraine was densely populated by Jews. Despite the restrictions, Jews played a significant role in the development of trade and industry, and especially in the development of large cities such as Kyiv, Odesa, and Kharkiv. Many of the most important Jewish thinkers of the modern era were born there.
Throughout this time, religious and Zionist activity was forced underground. The Soviet authorities created four Jewish autonomous regions in the southern part of the republic and the Crimea. So, it was before World War II, until they were captured by Germany. The Jews of Ukraine account for most of the Soviet Holocaust victims.
Many Ukrainians took an active part in the destruction of their Jewish neighbors. After the war, the surviving Jews were often met with hostility, and the repression of Jewish cultural and spiritual life was particularly significant in Soviet Ukraine. Moreover, Kyiv became the center of anti-Semitic publishing activity.
The collapse of communism and the re-establishment of independent Ukraine laid the foundation for the revival of Jewish life. Jewish communities in many cities were restored. Synagogues and mikvahs now operate in many cities with Jewish populations. Community life in Ukraine is supported by invited foreign rabbis.