“Nacioniskis” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania

Translation of the “Nacioniskis” 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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Nacioniskis (Lith.)

In Yiddish, Natsyonishok

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shaul Yannai

A village in northern Lithuania in the county of Juzintai, near the Peskan and Grumbla lakes within the district of Rokiskis. Before WWI, the entire population of the village was Jewish and it had 20 Jewish families who were farmers. Almost each family had approximately 100 hectares of fertile land on which they cultivated grains, flax and vegetables. Each family also had cattle and chicken coops. Nevertheless, they had a difficult time making a living. Thus, in order to increase their revenue, the men (mostly during the winter) were forced to engage in commerce and labor, and the women in sawing. Nacioniskis had a Bet Midrash and also a “Kheder” for the children. The local Rabbi, who worked in agriculture, was also the community's “Shokhet” (slaughterer), and also provided that service to the Jews of Juzintai, located 7 km from Nacioniskis.

During WWI, the Jews of Nacioniskis did not flee to other places, as did many of the Jews of the nearby towns of Svedasai and Kamajai. They continued to cultivate their land even though they suffered much from the German occupying authorities. In 1921, when the government of Lithuania declared autonomy for the Jews, a ruling community committee of 5 members was elected in the village. This committee was active for a certain period of time in most areas of Jewish life in the village.

The economic situation of the Jews of Nacioniskis did not improve during the period of Independent Lithuania. They also suffered from the “Agrarian Reform”, which forced people to move to isolated farms. In particular, they feared the growing severance from the Jewish public, and the increasing likelihood that their descendents become assimilated among their non-Jewish neighbors. Therefore, the Jews of Nacioniskis started selling their land to farmers in the surrounding areas and moved to nearby towns; some of them emigrated to the United States or to South Africa. In 1935, only 3 families remained in Nacioniskis. When Germany conquered Lithuania, the fate of the Jews who remained in Nacioniskis was the same as the fate of the Jews in the surrounding areas: all of them were murdered by Lithuanian nationalists who were active in the service of the German occupying forces.

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