“Tver” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania
(Tverai, Lithuania)

55°44' / 22°09'

Translation of the “Tver” 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 298)

Teverai (Lith.)

Tver (Yiddish)

A town in the region of Telz

Written by Josef Rosin

Translated by [1]

YearTotal
Population
JewsJews as
percentage
of Total
Population
1833438....
1897820....
192356410218%
1940..15-20 families 

Tverai is in the northwest of Lithuania in the Zhamot area, about 20 kilometers south of the capital city of Telz. Until the 16th century Tverai was the main city of the region. In 1640 the city received a license to have a weekly market and a yearly fair. During the Russian regime (1795-1915) Tver became part of the Vilna district, and afterwards the Kovno district. In the time of Lithuanian independence (1918-1940), it was the central city of the region.

When the law of autonomy was enacted, the Jewish Community Council consisting of seven people who were elected, was active for a number of years in all aspects of Jewish life in the town.

In the year 1935 there were 18 Jewish families in the town; most of them owned land and were employed in agriculture. Eight families had small stores. The Lithuanian economic crisis of the 1930s also affected the Jews and most of them had financial difficulties. There was a Lithuanian school for children in the town, which had no place for Jewish children. In cases of illness, it was necessary to travel to the nearest neighboring town or to get a doctor from there, something which was very expensive. There was no Jewish cemetery in Tver and the Jews had to be buried in Vorna [today Varniai] or Ritova [today Ritavas].

On April 11, 1939 a fire broke out in Tverai and the houses of ten Jewish families, the Prayer House and the house of the rabbi were destroyed. Also burnt were harvests and animals. Most of the houses were insured.

Among the rabbis who held positions in the town were: Rabbi Gershon Lifshitz (1891-1901), author of the book Bnei Gershon (Vilna, 5659) [Gershon's Sons, Vilna, 1899]; the last rabbi of Tver, Rabbi Baruch Yaffe, died in the Holocaust.

When Lithuania became part of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940, there was practically no change in life style for the Jews of Tver. With the invasion of the German army to the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Lithuanians in Tver began to organize and to attack the Jews. In the middle of July they moved them all to Viesvenai, where Jews from other towns in the Telz district were brought. The fate of the Jews of Tver was the fate of all the other Jews of the area (e.g., Ritova, Alsheid).

Names of the martyrs of the town are in the archives at Yad Vashem.

  1. Words in brackets are translations by Gilda Kurtzman Return

lit298a.jpg [23 KB] lit298b.jpg [19 KB]
Pictures from Tver of today


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