“Pagegiai” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania
(Pagėgiai, Lithuania)

55° 8' / 21° 55'

Translation of the “Pagegiai” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Josef Rosin

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 447-448)


Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shaul Yannai

In Yiddish, Pagegen

A city in the Klaipeda province in western Lithuania.

Pagegiai is located near the Gege River, 6 km north of Tilsit in eastern Prussia. Pagegiai originated as a small village whose population was mostly German. It started growing into a city in 1870 when the Tilsit-Klaipeda railway line was constructed near the village. In 1887, it already had 662 residents and among them were several Jews. In 1923, when the Klaipeda province (including Pagegiai) was annexed to Lithuania, the city grew at an accelerated pace. In 1925, it had 1,404 residents, and in 1923, about 4,000 residents. At that time, 50 Jewish families lived in the city. They made their livelihood mostly from commerce, customs' brokerage and petty trade. The pharmacy in Pagegiai was owned by a Jew. In 1939, the city had 144 telephones; 7 of them were owned by Jews. 29 people participated in the 1935 Zionist Congress elections: 25 voted for the General Zionists A party and 3 for the Eretz-Yisrael HaOveded party.

On March 22, 1939, the province of Klaipeda was annexed to Nazi Germany. The Jews who remained in Pagegiai till that day were able to leave the city during the last hours before the annexation and move to nearby towns in Lithuania, where they were basically absorbed economically and socially. In June, 1941, after Germany conquered Lithuania, the fate of the Jews of Pagegiai was the same as the fate of the Jews in the surrounding towns: all of them perished either by being shot to death or through forced labor in labor camps.


Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem, files 55/1788, Z-4/2548.

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