“Juzintai” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania
(Jūžintai, Lithuania)

54° 47' / 25° 41'

Translation of the “Juzintai” chapter
from Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Josef Rosin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1996



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Barry Mann


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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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(Pages 319 - 320)


Written by Rafael Julius

Translated by Shaul Yannai

(Yiddish, Yuzhint)

A town in the Rokiskis district.

Juzintai is located in northern Lithuania, on the western shore of Lake Juzintas, 21 km south of Rokiskis, the district's city. The town was surrounded by fields and pastures. In the past, 60-70 families lived there and among them were 12 Jewish families (50-60 people). In 1866, the town had 202 inhabitants and the size of the population did not change much until 1897, when it had 236 inhabitants. According to the 1923 census, the town had 55 Jews (31 men and 34 women). Only a few families remained in the town before the Holocaust.

The Juzintai estate and its church are mentioned in documents dating back to 1595. During the first half of the 19th century, the town served as the center of the county. In 1905, during the revolutionary events, there was a big demonstration in the region. A unit from the Czar's military that specialized in inflicting punishments was summoned urgently to the region. It fired at the crowds and many were hurt. The main event in the town was the biannual fair which was eagerly anticipated by all the residents of the surrounding areas.

The Christian population in the region engaged in agriculture and the Jews in the town were shop owners or artisans. On Sundays, the Christians would go to the local church and then buy at the Jewish shops what they needed. There were also Jews in many villages in the region who were farmers and who also engaged in commerce. Relations between the Jews and the non-Jews were generally good. In this regard, we want to mention a memorable event whose unknown facts overshadow what is actually known about it: the daughters of Idel Niklisker (named after the village Niklisok where he lived, and who specialized in raising cattle) were in daily contact with the Christian girls in the village and used to go with them to tend to the cattle grazing in the pastures. While they were in the meadows, the Christians girls would teach them their Christian prayers. One day, one of his daughters was kidnapped and hidden. A Jewish woman from the village who disguised herself as a beggar discovered where his daughter was hidden. The father asked the law court to have his daughter returned to him. The court ruled that the daughter was to be returned to her family. The local priest provoked a mob who unleashed its vengeance against the Jews in the nearby town of Dusetos. The property of many Jews was stolen. Subsequently, while Jews from the surrounding villages celebrated one of the Jewish holidays in Juzintai, rioters burned their homes. The Jews who lost their homes were forced to move to nearby towns.

Juzintai did not have a synagogue. The community prayed in the house of Rabbi Avraham-Hirsh Levit, who was a scholar and made legal rulings when necessary. Although he studied in a Yeshiva, was ordained as a Rabbi, and was also a butcher, he did not want to serve as a formal Rabbi and never engaged in butchery. Levit was a great merchant and owned a few houses in town. He was respected throughout the surrounding areas. Many Jews engaged in butchery but there wasn't a “shokhet” (ritual slaughterer) in town, so the Jews used the services of the “shokhet” from Kamajai, who used to come to Juzintai every now and then. In the 1930's the town had a “shokhet” and also a “melamed” (teacher) who, among other things, also taught Hebrew. Until that time, the town's children studied with a “melamed” who was brought into town from elsewhere; and the older students studied in Rokiskis.

One of the Jews in the town was Haim-Yudel Brikman, an expert in agriculture and who leased fields which he cultivated with his family members. He used to bring a “melamed” teach his ten children and the same “melamed” also used to teach the other children. Brikman's children and grandchildren live on Kibbutzim in Israel.

The life of the Jews of Juzintai changed somewhat after WWI. Modern life changed this town as well. At that time, the town had 8 telephones; none were owned by Jews. “Di Yiddishe Shtime” (“The Jewish Voice”) newspaper was brought in from Kaunas. A few readers were subscribers in libraries in nearby towns. The Jews of Juzintai were Zionists and the youth participated in “Hakhshara” (training) as preparatory steps before emigrating to Eretz-Yisrael. During the period between the two world wars the town's Jews emigrated to Eretz-Yisrael, while prior to that they emigrated to the United States and then to South Africa.

As the elections to the 14th Zionist Congress (1925) approached, a few “Shekalim” (membership dues to the Zionist Organization) were also sold in Juzintai. 20 people from the town participated in the election to the 19th Congress (1935). All of them voted for the “Eretz-Yisrael HaOvedet” party.

In the summer of 1941, after the Nazis conquered Lithuania, it is likely that the remaining Jews in the town were transferred to Rokiskis where they were murdered together with the other Jews from the surrounding areas either in Rokiskis or in nearby Obeliai. There is a story that many years before that, drunken peasants attacked Jews and broke windows in their homes. One of the Jews retaliated by attacking the rioters and one of the rioters became a cripple for the rest of his life. He swore that his children or grandchildren woul get rid of the Jews. His descendants, as the story goes, were the ones who murdered the Jews of Juzintai.


Yad Vashem Archives, 55/ 1701, 55/1788, 13/15/131, 4Z/2548.
Bakaltshuk-Felin, M., Yizkor Book of Rakishok and Environs, Johannesburg, 1953, pp. 350-352.
Blackbook of Localities (1923 Census).

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