“Skiemonys” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania
(Lithuania)

55° 25' / 25° 16'

Translation of the “Skiemonys” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Josef Rosin

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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(Page 699)

Skiemonys

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shaul Yannai

In Yiddish, Shkumiyan, also Shekumyan

A county town in northeastern Lithuania, on the banks of the Lukna River in the district of Utena, 16 km southeast of Anyksciai. Skiemonys is mentioned in documents from the beginning of the 18th century as a town and as the seat of an Augustine Church. The town served as the center of the county from the middle of the 19th century and onwards. In 1886, it had 321 residents. About half of them were Jews, most of which engaged in labor and others in petty trade. They also owned a leather processing workshop and 2 flourmills. The local synagogue was built through a donation by Rabbi Yitzkhak from the nearby village of Baltusova, and also through aid provided by an estate owner in the area.

The Rabbis who served in Skiemonys were: Rabbi Aharon Stein (from 1884) and Rabbi Avraham Meirovitz (from 1909). One of the town's natives was Dr. Mordekhai Katz, a journalist and author, who wrote in the newspapers of “HaZefira”, “HaDoar” and “Morgen Zhurnal” (New York).

According to the 1923 census, which was conducted at the beginning of the period of Independent Lithuania, Skiemonys had 473 residents, of which 128 residents (22%) were Jews. Although the number of Jews in the town was small, during 1922-1925 they were nevertheless able to manage an organized community, which was headed by an elected committee of 5 members. Many of the town's Jews left the town because their economic conditions deteriorated from year to year. On the eve of WWII, the town had only a few dozen Jewish families.

In June 1940, after Lithuania was conquered by the Germans, Lithuanian nationalists took control of the region, including Skiemonys, and they hurt the Jews severely. As far as we know, all the Jews who remained in Skiemonys were taken to Anyksciai, and on August 29, 1941 (6 Elul, 5701), they were murdered by being shot to death together with the Jews of Anyksciai.

Bibliography:

YIVO - Lithuanian Communities' Collection: files 1321-1922, pages 60928-61062.
Gotlieb, Ohalei Shem, p. 203.

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