“Kurtuvenai” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania
(Kurtuvėnai, Lithuania)

55° 50 / 23° 3'

Translation of the “Kurtuvenai” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Dov Levin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1996


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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Lita: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Lithuania,
Editor: Prof. Dov Levin, Assistant Editor: Josef Rosin, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.


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(Pages 567)

Kurtuvenai

In Yiddish, Kurtevyan

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shimon Joffe

A county town, 20 km. south west of the district town Siauliai, situated on both sides of the Kurtuva River. The beginning of this town lay in an estate owned over many generations of aristocratic families, among them the Nagurski, Parchevski and Plater families. From the middle of the 18th century some of the grounds of the estate turned into a town with markets and annual fairs. In 1841, Kurtuvenai had 636 inhabitants, one quarter of these being Jews. The Jews worked in crafts and petty trade. Of the three shops in town, one belonged to a Jew. The social and spiritual life of the Jews centered around the local synagogue. The town also had a rabbi. During the First World War the town was completely burnt down and only some of the Jews resettled there.

According to a census conducted by the independent Lithuanian government in 1923, Kurtuvenai had 295 inhabitants including 103 Jews (55 females and 48 males). According to a survey conducted by the Lithuanian government in 1931, the town had 2 plants for carding wool, a shop for heating materials, and a Jewish owned flour mill. Because of economic difficulties, the Jewish population of Kurtuvenai fell from year to year. By the beginning of the Second World War, there were only a few Jews left in town.

After the German invasion of Lithuania in June 1941, the fate that befell the local Jews was that of their compatriots in the neighboring towns; Vaiguva, Saukenai and Uzventis. Lithuanian and Soviet sources state that some 500 persons were murdered in this area on September 1941 (22 Elul, 5701), and were buried near the hillock Bubiai.

Bibliography:

Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem, M-9/15(6).
Maisines Zudynes Lietuvoje (Mass Murders in Lithuania), II, p. 404.

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