“Kulautuva” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania

54° 56' / 23° 36'

Translation of the “Kulautuva” 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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(Page 595)

Kulautuva

In Yiddish, Kalatove

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shimon Joffe

A settlement in the Kaunas district, 19 km west of Kaunas, on the right bank of the Nemunas River, midway between Kaunas and Jurbarkas. Kulautuva served as a popular resort area for the residents of Kaunas due to having 1500 acres of a dense pine forest and being near Kaunas. In 1933, Kulautuva received the formal status of being a resort location (“Kurort”). The main means of transportation between Kulautuva and Kaunas was by magnificent boats (called in Hebrew at that time by the name of “Kitriot”) which sailed on the Nemunas. There was much traffic on the river, especially during the weekends. Hundreds of Jewish families from Kaunas and the surrounding areas used to come to Kulautuva each summer even before WWI. As the high holidays approached, Kulautuva would become empty and only its permanent residents (125 in 1923) would remain in the settlement.

From the early 1930's, a permanent Jewish settlement emerged in Kulautuva. At that time it had 16 families. They made their living mainly by maintaining the resort area and by operating small auxiliary farms. The children studied in Kaunas or in Vilkija. In 1931, a dispute broke out in the small Jewish community of Kulautuva regarding the slaughtering rights in the settlement, namely, should slaughterers come from Kaunas or Zapyskis? A synagogue for the residents Kulautuva and its vacationers was inaugurated in 1935. According to official data at that time, 80% of the vacationers were Jews. An establishment by the name of “Yeshurun”, which helped Jewish children recover from illnesses, also functioned in Kulautuva during the vacation season. Each summer “Yeshurun” hosted in Kulautuva 3 groups of 130 youth each. The many buildings, including “Yeshurun's” synagogue, were built on a lot which was granted by the government.

The fate of the few Jews who remained in Kulautuva when Germany conquered Lithuania was the same as the fate of the Jews in the surrounding areas: some of them were murdered by Lithuanians who served among the ranks of the German occupying forces, and some of them were imprisoned in the Kaunas ghetto, which functioned until July, 1944.

Bibliography:

YIVO - Lithuanian Communities' Collection: file 1676.
Di Yiddishe Shtime [The Jewish Voice] – (Kaunas), 8.7.1931, 10.7.1931, 29.7.1935, 510.7.1936.
Folksblat [The People's Newspaper] – (Kaunas), 17.7.1936.

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