“Zemaiciu Kalvariaya” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania

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Translation of the “Zemaiciu Kalvariaya” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Dov Levin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1996

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for permission to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

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 595)

Zemaichu Kalvariaya (Lith.)

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by

Kalvarija is a village and the center of the region of the district of Telz, in the Zhamot province that is in the northwest of Lithuania, on the banks of the rive Varduva. According to historical sources, until the 17th century the town was called Gardai and also “New Jerusalem”, apparently because of the burials of Catholic holy people who were there and which attracted pilgrims from everywhere. Since 1964 the village has been called Varduva, on the name of the river.

In 1865 there were 375 residents of Kalvaija Zhamot; in Kalvarija in 1897 – 840. Until World War I there was a small Jewish community in the town. Apparently the Jews were exiled to the center of Russia in 1915 and some of them did not return. The national census conducted by the independent Lithuanian government in 1923 numbered 25 Jews, among 712 residents. Most probably the Jews, who remained during the Nazi conquest, were murdered by the Lithuanians who cooperated with the Nazi regime*.

* According to the staff at the Cultural Center in the town in a meeting with the translator in September 2004, there were seven Jewish stores in the town before World War II.

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