“Punia” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania

54° 31' / 24° 06'

Translation of the “Punia” 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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(Page 453)


In Yiddish, Pun

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shaul Yannai

A large village on the right bank of the Nemuas River, 12 km north of Alytus, the district's city. During the period of Russian rule in the 19th century, the village was administratively part of the the Trakai district within the Vilnius region. In 1847, the Jewish community in the village numbered 155 people. They had a wooden synagogue (which was disassembled in 1933 by an order of Lithuanian authorities). The number of Jews in the village reached 200 after the 1863 rebellion against the Russian Rule. In 1897, 1,133 residents lived in the village, of which 1,045 (92%) were Jews. Henceforward, their number decreased due to emigration. Not more than 2 dozen Jewish families remained in the village during the period of Independent Lithuania. During the 1880's, Rabbi Dr. Yitzkhak Har-Shoshan (Rosenberg), the author of the books “Yekhi HaMelekh (Vilnius, 1883) and “Yerom Moshe” (Vilnius, 1886) visited the village.

According to the 1931 Lithuanian government census, the village had at that time a fabric store and a turpentine factory, which were owned by Jews. In 1937, there was a Jewish carpenter in the village.

On August 29, 1941, about 2 months after Germany occupied Lithuania, most of the Jews in the village were transferred to the county town of Butrimonys. Some of them were transferred to the district city of Alytus, while others were imprisoned in a sort of ghetto in Butrimonys. On September 9, 1941 (17 Elul, 5701), all the Jews of Punia (including those who remained in the village) were let to Kaludziai, where pits were already ready for them. The adults were separated from the children. The adults were shot to death by armed Lithuanians and the children were pushed into the pits and most of them were buried while alive.


Totoraitis Jonas, Sudovijos Istorija, Kaunas, 1938.

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