57°22' / 22°35'
Translation of "Valdemarpils" chapter
from Pinkas Hakehillot Latvia v'Estonia
Written by: Dov Levin
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem, 1988
Betsy Thal Gephart
sincere appreciation to
for permission to put this material on the JewishGen web site.
This is a translation from:
Pinkas Hakehillot Latvia and Estonia:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Latvia and Estonia,
Edited by Dov Levin, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
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Jews were to be found there already by the last quarter of the eighteenth century; in the communal minute book of Hasenput from that period (see Aizpute), it is recorded that testimony was taken from Rabbi Kalonymos ben Feivish from Sassmacken. It appears that he served as a rabbi or Jewish legal authority there. Another document from 1805 tells of the settlement of Jewish merchants in Sassmacken. The Kehilla (Jewish communal self-government) was established around this time. In the course of the nineteenth century the Jewish settlement grew and in 1881 constituted close to seventy percent of the total population Afterwards the number of Jews began to decline as did their percentage within the general population; this process of decline continued until the First World War.
After the aforementioned Rabbi Kalonymous, various rabbis served consecutively until the First World War. Among them were Rabbi Moshe Yitzhak Halevi in the second quarter of the nineteenth century (see Liepaja and Kuldiga) and Rabbi Moshe Lerenblatt intermittently from the middle of the century until close to the time of his death in 1887. Rabbi Lerenblatt left behind writings on Halacha and Aggada. Rabbi Abraham Samuel Rovitzky, his son-in-law served from 1887 until 1901. And Rabbi Abraham Samuel Levenberg, who was expert in languages and who wrote a book on the commentary of Ramban served from 1901 to 1912. On the eve of the First World War Rabbi Moshe Ahronblatt served in the position of rabbi in Valdemarpils.
In 1901 there was in Valdemarpils a private school for boys named after Dubinsky. Most of the Jews left the city during the First World War. In the course of the war six members of the Jewish community were killed or wounded, and twenty four private homes were either destroyed or damaged.
Some of the local Jews participated in Zionist activities: in 1926, 22 heads of household contributed to the Rosh Hashana drive of the Jewish National Fund and 14 donated to the Keren Hayesod. In 1928 20 heads of household contributed to the Jewish National Fund. In the Zionist Congress elections that took place in 1933, 24 people participated, and the votes divided as follows: Revisionists -13; Mizrachi-9; Zionist Organization list -1; Labor Israel list -1.
In the Second World War
In June 1940 Valdemarpils fell into the hands of the Soviets and in the beginning of July 1941 was occupied by the Germans. The Jews of Valdemarpils were murdered in the summer or fall of 1941 along with the majority of the Jews of Latvia. There is no accurate information about the circumstances of their murder.
Archive of the Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews, II K 32
Central Zionist Archives, Z -4/215-18
AJDC Archives, Countries-Latvia (1920-1923)
Alexander A. Landesco, Report 7
Ovchinsky, Levi, Toldot Yeshivat Hayehudim B'kurland (History of the Jews in Kurland)
Gottlieb, S.N., Sefer Oholei Shem (Book of the Tents of Shem)
Blackbook of Localities
The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer
Maza enciklopedjia III
Salnais, V., Pilsetu apraksti (1935)
Skujenieka, M., Otra Tautas skaitisana Latvija (1925-1928)
ValstsÉCeturta Tautas skaitisana Latvija (1935)
Evreiskaya entsiklopedia T. IV, str. 23
Evreiskoe statistichesko obshestvo, evreiskoe naselentse Rossii
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