Tsaikishok (in Yiddish) lies in central Lithuania, on the main KaunasRaseiniai road near the Dubysa River, about 36 km. northwest of Kaunas. Apparently a settlement already existed on this site in 1457, but by the beginning of the seventeenth century there was substantial evidence of Tsaikishok's existence. In 1762 the town was granted the privilege to maintain a weekly market and a yearly fair. During the period of Russian rule (17951915) Tsaikishok was at first included in the province (Gubernia) of Vilna, and thereafter from 1843 in the Kovno Gubernia. During the years 19151918 the town was under German military occupation, and during the period of Independent Lithuania (19181940) it was a county administrative center in the Kovno district.
Jewish settlement till after World War I
Jews probably settled in Tsaikishok at the end of the eighteenth century. It is certain that in the second half of the nineteenth century an organized Jewish community existed, headed by a Rabbi.
According to the Russian census of 1897 there were 668 residents in Cekiske, including 432 Jews (65%).
A list dated 1871, of donors who gave money for the needy in Lithuania through the Aid Committee of Memel, contains quite a few names of Tsaikishok Jews. The fund raisers were Nakhman Shlezinger and Yisrael Segal.
The Hebrew newspaper HaMagid (1872) published a list of donors for victims of a famine in Persia, which included the names of 101 Tsaikishok Jews (see Appendix 1).
In 1887 a fire destroyed all the town's houses, including the two prayer buildings and the precious holy books housed there. A young woman was burnt to death, and only three houses were left undamaged. About 160 Jewish families were left roofless and in great poverty. The local rabbi, Avraham Levental, a wealthy man, also lost all his property. Jews of the neighboring towns Vilki (Vilkija), Srednik (Seredzius), Rasein (Raseiniai), Girtigola and others, were the first people to bring carts loaded with bread and other food products to the victims of the fire, who were camping in the open. The Hebrew newspaper HaMelitz from July 8th, 1887 published an appeal for help, signed by Eliyahu Gurland in the name of the victims.
In 1914, before World War I, about 200 Jewish families lived in Tsaikishok.
During World War I, in 1915, the retreating Russian army carried out pogroms against the Jews in many towns, with the participation of local peasants. Men were cruelly abused and women raped. Tsaikishok Jews were
later relieved to receive their exile orders to Russia, which saved them from this unbearable situation.
After the war few of the exiles returned to Tsaikishok and the number of the Jews decreased from year to year, until only about 60 families remained in the town before World War II.
During the period of independent Lithuania (19181940)
Following the passage of the Law of Autonomies for Minorities by the new Lithuanian government, the Minister for Jewish Affairs, Dr. Menachem (Max) Soloveitshik, ordered elections for community committees (Va'adei Kehilah) to be held in the summer of 1919. In Tsaikishok a community committee of seven members was elected, four from TseireiZion, two from Mizrahin and one from the artisans. This committee functioned until about the end of 1925 when the autonomy was annulled by a new Lithuanian government. For several years the committee was active in all aspects of Jewish life in town.
According to the first census performed by the government in 1923 there were then 577 residents, including 324 Jews (56%).
Tsaikishok Jews made their living from shopkeeping, commerce and crafts. According to the government survey on shops and industry in 1931 there were then twelve shops, all in Jewish hands: six textile shops, three restaurants, one grain shop, one pharmacy and one miscellaneous shop. Jews owned a wool combing plant, a leatherproducing plant and a feltproducing factory. Later a steamoperated flourmill and a sawmill were added. Many Jews rented fruit gardens, selling the fruit in the summer.
In 1937 there were eleven Jewish artisans: three tailors, three butchers, two shoemakers, one baker, one glazier and one barber.
The Jewish Popular Bank (Folksbank) played an important role in the economic life of Tsaikishok Jews. The bank was established in 1920 and was one of the first in Lithuania, beginning with 39 members. In 1927 their number had increased to 72, but in 1933 there were 60.
Of the eight telephone owners in 1939, one was Jewish.
Jewish children studied at the Yiddish elementary school. Beside the school there was a library with about 500 books.
A number of Tsaikishok Jews had adopted the Zionist ideal by the time of the first Zionist congresses. A delegate from Tsaikishok participated in the regional conference in Vilna in 1899. During the period of Independent Lithuania, many became members of the Zionist movement with all its nuances.
Among the Zionist parties and youth organizations there were the ZS Education Society in the name of Nakhman Sirkin, as well as HaShomer
HaTsair and others. Sport activities were organized at the local Maccabi branch, with forty members on average participating.
The results of the elections for the Zionist Congresses are given in the table below:
|Year||Total Shkalim||Total Votes||Labor Party
After the great fire of 1887, a new brick synagogue was built to serve also as a place for learning Torah, because the Beth Midrash, which had been destroyed in this fire, was not rebuilt.
The following are the Rabbis who officiated in Tsaikishok: Avraham HaCohen Levental (from 1859 until his death in 1894); Avraham Gordon (from 1903); Ya'akov Abramovitz (in the 1920's) and the last Rabbi ShemuelZe'ev Melamed, who was murdered in the Holocaust.
Persons of note born in Tsaikishok include Rabbi Mordehai Eliashberg (18171889), an enthusiastic Hovev Zion, about whom AhadHa'am wrote that his book The Book of the Golden Path (Warsaw, 1897) was more meaningful than a settlement in EretzYisrael. Also Rabbi Mosheh Zilber (who died in 1949 in Jerusalem), the father of Aba Hilel Silver, a famous leader of American Zionists.
During World War II
With the annexation by the Soviet Union, Lithuania becoming a Soviet Republic in 1940, and some Jewishowned shops and plants in Tsaikishok were nationalized. All Zionist parties and youth organizations were disbanded. About 60 Jewish families lived in the town at this time.
German soldiers entered Tsaikishok a week after the war between Germany and the Soviet Union began on June 22nd, 1941. However, even before a single German soldier was seen in town, Lithuanian nationalists took over. They detained Jews, mistreated them and murdered eighteen Jewish men.
According to Nazi documents (Jaeger report), on September 4th, 1941, 22 Jewish men, 64 women and 60 children were murdered.
It is known that Jews from Tsaikishok were also murdered in Eiragole (Ariogala) and Vilki (Vilkija).
|A mass grave in the forest of Pakarkle, 2 km. from Veliuona, where the remains of those murdered in Tsaikishok were transported and buried.|
Yad Vashem archives, Jerusalem, O3/1015
Central Zionist Archives: 55/1788; 55/1701; 13/15/131; Z4/2548
YIVO, New York, Collection of Lithuanian Communities, file 1539, pages 6970506
Dos Vort, Kovno (Yiddish), 10.9.1935; 2.1.1939
Di Yiddishe Shtime, Kovno (Yiddish),16.4.1923; 28.12.1937; 23.2.1938; 19.9.1938
Der Yiddisher Cooperator, Kovno (Yiddish), # 23, 1930
HaMelitz, St, Petersburg (Hebrew), 8.7.1887; 17.7.1887; 28.7.1887; 9.3.1893
Folksblat, Kovno (Yiddish), 15.8.1935; 2.1.1938
A list of 101 contributors from Tsaikishok for the victims of the Persian famine in 1872. It was published in HaMagid #10 (1872)
(JewishGen. Org. Databases, compiled by Jeffery Maynard)
BERNE Moshe BLOCH Zalman BOROWSKE Binyamin BOROWSKE Gavriel Bentzion BORSHTEIN Leib BORSHTEIN Sender BORSHTEIN Shimon CARMEL Yosef DOKTER Daniel EPSHTEIN Kalman FEIN Abba GOLD Moshe GRINBERG Shmuel (from Seredzius) HALEVI Abba HALEVI Yitzchok KA"TZ Avraham KARPEL Hillel KATZ Nechemiah Aharon KATZ Shraga KATZ Yeshiyahu Yitzchok KELMER Mordechai KILWINSKE Shlomo LAZBAN Eli LAZBAN Nisan MEHL Zalkind METZNER Hirsh MILNER Avraham MIRAGOLE Dovid Bentzion PEISECHOWITZ Matat PEISECHOWITZ Zalman PERIL Avraham PERIL Mordehai PERIL Yechezkel SEGAL Chaim SEGAL Isser SEGAL Yisroel ben Shmuel SEGAL Zachariah SENDERS Zale SHLEZINGER Nachman ben Avraham SHMID Eliezer SHOR Avraham SHTREICHMAN Tzvi SHTREINMAN Aharon TZIGELNIK Meir WASHKEITZ Moshe WEINER Eizik WELLER Betzalel YABLONSKI Moshe YAFE Yisroel YUDKOWSKE Avraham Yosef YUDKOWSKE Bentzion YUDKOWSKE Lea YUDKOWSKE Moshe Yitzchok ZILBER Isser ZILBER Moshe Mordechai ZILBER Yisroel Abba ben Hillel Aharon ben Dov Aharon ben H Aharon Hillel Ari ben Yitzchok (from Vilkija) Avraham Rabbi Avraham ben Dov Ber HaCohen Avraham ben Yitzchok Avraham Yitzchok Binyamin ben Reuven Chanoch Zondil (Cantor & Shohet) Dov ben Helman Dovid ben P Dovid ben Y Ephraim ben D Ephraim ben Yitzchok Hirsh ben Eizik Leib ben A Leib ben Moshe Leib ben Ozer Mattitiyahu ben Avraham Menachem ben Yisroel Mordechai Mordechai ben Meir Moshe ben N Moshe ben Zev Nachum ben Moshe Nechemiah ben L Reuven ben Binyamin Shabasai Yosef Shalom ben A Shalom ben Avraham Shlomo ben Boruch Shlomo ben Tzvi Shmuel ben Hillel Tzvi ben Dovid Tzvi ben Yakov Yakov ben Moshe Yakov ben Peretz Yehuda ben Tzvi Yitzchok ben Ch A Yitzchok ben Dov Yitzchok ben Pesach Yitzhok ben M Zerach ben Yehuda
List of 142 Tsaikishok donors to the Settlement of Eretz Yisrael
(From JewishGen.Org.>Databases>Lithuania>Hamelitz. Compiled by Jeffrey Maynard)
Surname Given Name Comments Source:
Year BEINE Yakov #205 1903 BERELOWITZ Chaim Pinchos #184 1899 BERELOWITZ Pinchos from
Surname Given Name Comments Source:
Year BERNE Libe #179 1900 BERNE Libe #263 1900 BERNE Yakov #179 1900 BERNE Yakov #263 1900 BERNE Yakov #240 1902 BLUMZOHN Shimon Yitzchok #205 1903 BLUMZOHN Shimon Yitzchok #240 1902 BLUMZON Chana #179 1900 BLUMZON Shimon Yitzchok #179 1900 BLUMZON Shimon Yitzchok #263 1900 BORON Rivka #205 1903 BORON Rivka #240 1902 BORON Rivka wife of Yakov Glazer #263 1900 BORON Yakov Hilel #179 1900 BORON Yakov Hillel #184 1899 BORON Yakov Hillel #205 1903 BORON Yakov Hillel #263 1900 BORON Yeshiahu Yitzchok #263 1900 BORON Yeshiyahu Yitzchok #179 1900 BORON Yeshiyahu Yitzchok #205 1903 BORON Yeshiyahu Yitzchok #240 1902 BOROWIK Avraham Shlomo #205 1903 BOROWIK Pesha #205 1903 BORSHTEIN Boruch #205 1903 BORSHTEIN Boruch #240 1902 DOV Yehuda #263 1900 FIN Moshe #205 1903 FIN Moshe #263 1900 FIN Moshe #240 1902 FIN Sarah wife of
Shimon Yitzchok Blumzon
wed #85 1899 FLOKCHIN Leib Yitzchok Rabbi #240 1902 FLOKCHIN Mashe #240 1902 FRIDMAN Shmuel #205 1903 FRIDMANN Shmuel #240 1902 GANDEL Leib #179 1900 GANDZ Leib #205 1903 GANZ Leib #240 1902 GELFAND Leib #240 1902 GITELMAN Shmuel #263 1900 GITELMANN Shmuel #240 1902 GITLMAN Shmuel #179 1900 GODSON Ari Leib #179 1900 GOLD Elimelech #179 1900 GOLD Elimelech #205 1903 GOLD Elimelech #263 1900 GOLD Elimelech #240 1902 GOLD Yitzchok #205 1903 GOLD Yitzchok #263 1900 GOLD Yitzchok #240 1902 GOLDPOND Leib #263 1900 GONDIN Avraham #263 1900 GORDON Avraham #179 1900 GORDON Avraham Rabbi Gaon #205 1903 GORDON Avraham #240 1902 GORDON Leib #263 1900 GORDON Raphel Leib #184 1899 GORDON Raphel Leib #77 1899 GROSMAN Rafel #263 1900 HELFAND Leib #205 1903 ITZKOWITZ Yehuda #205 1903 ITZKOWITZ Yehuda #240 1902 KERMANT Reuven #240 1902 KRIWANT Aba #263 1900 KRIWANT Aba #240 1902 KRIWANT Gedalia #205 1903 KRIWANT Reuven #205 1903 KRIWANT Tzvi #205 1903 LIPMAN Chaim Aharon #184 1899 LIPMAN Chaim Aharon #179 1900 LIPMAN Chaim Aharon #263 1900 LIPMAN Libe #179 1900 LIPMANN Chaim Aharon #205 1903 LIPMANN Chaim Aharon #240 1902 MELER Lipman #263 1900 NEIMAN Mordechai #263 1900 NEIMANN Yisroel #240 1902 NEIMARK Mordechai #205 1903 PASAREWITZ Matitiyahu #179 1900 PEISACHOWITZ Matitiahu #263 1900 PEISACHOWITZ Matitiahu #240 1902 PEISACHOWITZ Zalman #205 1903 PEISACHOWITZ Zalman #263 1900 PEISACHOWITZ Zalman #240 1902 PEREL Ari #263 1900 PERL Ari #179 1900 PERL Ari #205 1903 PERL Avraham #205 1903 PERL Miriam #240 1902 PESIL Avraham #240 1902 PLENER Yakov #205 1903 PLOKCHIN L #60 1899 PLOKCHIN Levi Yitzchok #179 1900 PLOTCHIN Levi Yitzchok #205 1903 PLOTCHIN Masha #205 1903 PLOTKIN Mashe female #263 1900 PLOTKIN Yitzchok #263 1900 PLOTZKIN Levi Yitzchok #231 1899 PREGER Reuven #240 1902 PREGER Yakov #240 1902 PRENER Yakov #263 1900 RAVITZ Dovid Moshe #179 1900 ROTKOWSKI Shmuel #263 1900 ROZENBERG Tzvi Yakov #179 1900 ROZENBERG Tzvi Yakov #263 1900 ROZENBERG Yakov Tzvi #205 1903 ROZENBERG Yakov Tzvi #240 1902 SHAFER Chana Miriam #205 1903 SHAFER Chanah Miriam #240 1902 SHAFER Naftali Hertz #263 1900 SHAFER Naftali Hertz #240 1902 SHAFER Naphtali Hertz #179 1900 SHAFER Naphtli Hertz #205 1903 SHITNOWITZ Binyomin Rabbi #179 1900 SHTREICHMAN Rivka #179 1900 SHTREICHMAN Yitzchok #179 1900 SHTREICHMAN Yitzchok #263 1900 SHTROBMANN Yitzchok #240 1902 SHUB Shlomo Noach #263 1900 STREICHMANN Aharon #205 1903 WEBTER Mordechai #205 1903 WECHTER Mordechai #240 1902 WEINIK Yosef #205 1903 WEIS Dov Ber #240 1902 WEISS Dov Ber #205 1903 WELER Lipman #179 1900 WELER Lipmann #240 1902 WELLER Lipmann #205 1903 WIGDEROWITZ Yitzchok #205 1903 WINIK Yosef #240 1902 WOROBUK Avraham Shlomo #240 1902 YAMKOWSKI Moshe Yitzchok #205 1903 YASKOWSKI Sh #205 1903 YOTKOWITZ Shmuel #240 1902 YOTKOWSKI Avraham Shimon #179 1900 YOTKOWSKI Moshe Yitzchok #179 1900 YOTKOWSKI Moshe Yitzchok #240 1902 YUDKOWSKI Yisroel Yitzchok #205 1903 YUTKOWSKI Moshe Yitzchok #263 1900 Roshel Rabbi's wife #205 1903
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