“Vezaiciai” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania
(Vežaičiai, Lithuania)

55° 35' / 22° 53'

Translation of the “Vezaiciai” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Dov Levin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1996


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Acknowledgments

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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 229)

Vezaiciai

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shaul Yannai

In Yiddish, Vizhaits

A large village in the Kretinga district in western Lithuania, 5 km east of Gargzdai. The settlement originated as an estate that was also called Vezaiciai. In 1784, an estate owner by the name of Wolmer built a church in Vezaiciai. A Jewish community was established in the village around that time. The community had a Beth Midrash. In matters of burial and religious services, the Jews of Vezaiciai were aided by the Jewish community of Gargzdai. In 1831, during the period of the Polish rebellion, the Jews suffered from many malicious suits and persecutions, both from the rebels and the Russian authorities. One of the Jews in the village, Velvele (Ze'ev) Factor, who was forced to transfer a letter of service to the Russian army, was caught by the rebels and was hanged. Due to the persecutions, the great hardships, and other reasons which such acts brought on the Jewish community, the community ceased to exist in the middle of the 19th century and its Jews moved to other places. Some of the stories that remain from the period of the Jewish community of Vezaiciai have to do with the personality of Rabbi Avraham, author of the book “Ma'alot HaTorah”. Rabbi Avraham was the brother of the Gaon of Vilna, whose grandson lived in the village.

According to a version which we cannot verify, some Jews lived in Vezaiciai during the 1930's. According to the same source, a temporary ghetto for Jewish women and children from the surrounding areas was established in the village in the autumn of 1941 until they were murdered.

Bibliography:

Shois, K, “My Shtetl Gargzdai”, YIVO Blatter, Vol. 19, pp. 358-360.
Sviesa (local paper of the Jurbarkas region, in Lithuanian), 23.8.1990.


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