“Lyduvenai” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania
(Lyduvėnai, Lithuania)

55° 31' / 23° 05'

Translation of the “Lyduvenai” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Dov Levin

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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(Pages 354-355)


In Yiddish, Liduvyan

Written by Josef Rosin

Translated by Shaul Yannai

A small town in the Raseiniai district.

Year General
1841 283 ..
1923 547 ~90
1940 .. few

Lyduvenai is located in the Samogitia province in northwestern Lithuania, on the right bank of the Dubysa River, about 15 km north of Raseiniai, the district's city. Lyduvenai is mentioned in historical documents from the end of the 15th century. In 1558, King Zigmund August granted the privilege to establish a town next to the estate by name of Lyduvenai, to hold there a weekly market day, and to maintain pubs. In 1662, there were already Jews in the town: 4 men and 4 women, and a few children and elderly. Jews settled in the town mostly after the 1831 Polish rebellion, when the Russians took control of the estate. In 1854, a few Jewish families from Lyduvenai settled in Preni near Siluva, on land that the government provided them free of charge.

During WWI, while Germany occupied Lithuania, the German authorities built a 570 meter long railway line as a bridge above the Dubysa Valley; its height above the river was 42 meters. This bridge was the biggest one in Lithuania.

In 1883, 3 big fires broke out within 2 days in Lyduvenai. 70 Jewish homes burned down; only the Bet Midrash and 2 small houses remained intact.

During the years 1889-1929, the Rabbi who served in the town was Rabbi Avraham-Abeli, the son of Rabbi Ben Tsiyon.

When Independent Lithuania was established, approximately 90 Jews resided in Lyduvenai. In October, 1922, 45 Jews from the town voted to the first Lithuanian Seimas. The Zionist party received 35 votes, “Akhdut” (Agudat Yisrael) – 7 votes, and the Democrats – 3.

During the period under discussion, the number of Jews in the town declined gradually; on the eve of WWII, only a few dozen Jews remained in Lyduvenai and in the villages in the surrounding areas. 12 Jews from the town voted to the 19th Zionist Congress; apparently, they made up the entire adult Jewish population there. 8 voted for the Grossmanists and 4 for the Mizrakhi.

In 1937, there was a shoemaker in the town. In 1939, the town had 5 telephones. One of the latter was owned by a Jew who owned a sawmill and a flourmill.

In 1940, when Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union and it became a Soviet republic, the commerce was nationalized and all Zionist activities were forbidden.

We do not have an account of what happened to the Jews that were in Lyduvenai after the Germans entered the town a few days after Germany invaded the Soviet Union. We can assume that they were murdered and buried in one of the mass graves that are located near the town. On August 15 and 16, 1941, a group of about 100 Jews were taken out of Siluva and the surrounding areas, and was led to Padubysys, a distance of about 6 km from Lyduvanai, and were murdered and buried there in a mass grave. Another mass grave is located in the sand pits near the village of Ribukai, approximately 1 km northeast of Lyduvenai; about 300 Jews were murdered there on August 21, 1941 (28 Av, 5701).

At the beginning of the 1990's, a memorial plaque with an inscription in Yiddish was erected at the murder site. The inscription reads: “In this place, during the days of August 15-16, 1941, Hitler's murderers and their local collaborators murdered approximately 120 Jewish men, women and children from Padubysys, Lyduvenai, and Bulavenai”.


Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem, files, Z-4/2548, 55/1701, 55/1788, 13/15/131.
YIVO - Lithuanian Communities' Collection, file 1525, pp. 69551, 69554.
Masines Zudynes Lietuvoje (Mass Murders in Lithuania), Volume 2, p. 402.

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