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The Jewish Community of Akniste

Akniste


A town in the Akniste municipality, in south east Latvia.

Until World War I it was part of the district of Kovno, Lithuania.

Between 1920-1940 Latvia was independent, and between 1940-1991 part of the USSR.
 

21st Century

Akniste has a place of worship of the Hassidim housed in a wooden building.

There is a memorial for the Jews who were murdered in World War II.

 

History

Jews first came to Akniste during the 1860s. There was neither a cemetery nor a hevra kadisha (burial society), and the dead were buried in the neighboring town, Subat.

In 1920 the community numbered 194 which comprised more than 50% of the inhabitants.

The community established two synagogues, a library and a drama circle.

In the elections for the 18th Zionist congress, the labor Eretz Israel list received the majority of votes.

In 1935 the community numbered 199, 42% of the total population.


The Holocaust Period

Following the Ribbentrop-Molotov accord, signed in August 1939 between Germany and the USSR, the Red Army entered Latvia. In the summer of 1940 a Soviet regime was installed.

On the outbreak of war between Germany and Russia (June 22, 1941), a number of Jews of Akniste managed to escape to the interior of Russia before the Germans conquered the area.

Under the German occupation, during the second half of July 1941, all the Jews, about 200 in number, who had remained were murdered. According to one version, they were assembled in a hotel on the pretext that they would be moved to another place. From there they were taken to the bank of the river where they were shot.

 

Postwar

After the war, because of the fact that there was no Jewish cemetery, the survivors set a memorial, to those who had been murdered, in a corner of the Catholic cemetery.

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
126906
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:

Ilukste

A sub-district town in the Zemgale district (formerly Kurland), south eastern Latvia.

Between 1920-1940 Latvia was independent, and between 1940-1991 part of the USSR.

Until the end of the 18th century the town was privately owned and the inhabitants were Christian Poles. Jews who entered the town during this period were often attacked and killed. The first Jews to settle in the town, two brothers who were tailors, came under the protection of a Polish baroness, wife of the governor of the place. Thanks to the efforts of the baroness and her two brothers, permission was granted to Jews in the surrounding villages to enter the town. They rented a building for use as a synagogue and in 1832 a shochet (ritual slaughterer) was engaged. A mikveh (ritual bath) was built. There was neither a Jewish cemetery nor a hevra kadisha (burial society), and the Jews buried their dead in the neighboring towns, Subat and Griva.

From 1847 a rabbi officiated in the town. The community, which was mainly composed of hassidim, founded a Talmud torah. The first beth hamidrash was built in 1845, and two more were opened by 1900. Social institutions included a welfare society and a society which provided clothing for the needy. A bikkur cholim (sick visiting society) was established in 1865. In 1897 the community numbered 842, and by 1910 the number had increased to 1,016. During World War I the town changed hands several times, and most of the inhabitants left.

The majority of the Jews earned a living as shopkeepers or from different trades. In 1933, in the elections to the 18th Zionist Congress, seven of the Jews voted. They cast their votes for the Labor Eretz Israel list. In 1935 there were 71 Jews in the town, comprising 5% of the population.


The Holocaust Period

As a result of the Ribbentrop - Molotov accord, which was signed in August 1939, between Germany and the USSR, the Red Army entered Latvia. In the summer of 1940 a Soviet government was installed.

About ten days after the outbreak of war between Germany and the USSR (June 22, 1941), German forces captured the town. According to testimony, a short while after the occupation the Jews of Ilukste were sent to the ghetto in Daugavpils (previously Dvinsk), and murdered in the forests. The town was liberated by the Red Army on July 29, 1944.

Subate

Subata

A town in the Ilukste district, Zemgale region (formerly Kurland), Latvia.

Old Shobat was established in 1550 on the shores of a lake. In 1685 two German barons founded new Subata on their estates, on the opposite side of the lake. In 1795 the area was annexed by Russia. In 1894 the two parts of Subata united and city status was conferred on the town. After World War I the town was a sub-district.

Regulations governing the establishment of the town, from 1686, forbade the settlement of Jews there. There is no information about the formation of a Jewish community in the place, but at the beginning of the 19th century there were a rabbi and shochet (ritual slaughterer) in the town. Jews from neighboring towns were buried in the cemetery. From the middle of the 19th century there was a succession of rabbis officiating. During the course of the century the Jewish population grew rapidly, and in 1897, the 978 Jews comprised 49% of the residents.

The rabbi from 1898-1915, Rabbi Avraham Binyamin Teitz, fostered welfare activities. In this period a beth midrash (seminary) was opened, with separate houses of prayers for the hassidim and mitnagdim.

In 1910 there were 772 Jews in the town, representing 27% of the total population.

Until World War I the boys learned in three hadarim and the girls in a Russian elementary school.

In 1915 the Jews were banished by the authorities to the interior of Russia.

Not all of them returned to the town after the war and in 1920, with the establishment of an independent Latvia, the community of Subata numbered 533. With the financial help of relatives who were living overseas and the support of the Joint (a relief agency of American Jewry), the community was rehabilitated. The rabbi was assisted by a shochet (ritual slaughterer), and three houses of prayers were founded. A Jewish elementary school was opened, with both Hebrew and Yiddish as the teaching languages. At the school, which enjoyed municipal support and which consisted of 6 classes in 1926, refresher courses for teachers were held in the summers. From 1930 there existed a Jewish school using Russian as the medium of instruction.

Cultural and welfare activities of the community were organized by the Vroien Verein (women`s society).

The Jews of Subata made a living from commerce and trades, mainly dealing in flax. After World War I, many of the Jews who returned to the town found their homes and businesses had been taken over by Russians. They turned to the Gemilluth Hesed fund which had been set up with financial help by the Joint. In 1928 a loans and savings bank was opened in the town, which also helped communities in the surroundings. In 1935 the Jews comprised 26% of the population, while 33 out of 80 shops and enterprises were Jewish owned.

During the 1920s there was overt anti-semitism, mainly on the part of Latvian youth who interfered in Jewish events.

At this time the Hashomer Zionist organization was active, and the Zionist youth established a branch of Hashomer Hatsa`ir.

In 1935, out of a total of 1,489 inhabitants there were 387 Jews.


The Holocaust Period

Following the Ribbentrop-Molotov accord, signed by Germany and the USSR in August 1939, the Red Army entered Latvia and in the summer of 1940 installed a Soviet regime. A number of Jews integrated into the new government and others served as members of the municipal council. With the German attack on the USSR (June 22, 1941), Jewish refugees from Lithuania came to the town. Some of the refugees, and a small number of local Jews, fled to the interior of Russia.

At the end of June 1941 the Germans occupied the town. The Jews who had remained in Subata were murdered during the summer or autumn of that year in a nearby forest. The children were the first ones to be shot to death before the eyes of their parents. The adults were shot in two separate pits. According to one version, some members of the community were expelled, before the extermination action, to Daugavpils (or Dvinsk) which is not far away, and they suffered the same fate as the Jews of that town.


On July 13, 1944 the town was liberated by the Red Army.

The majority of the survivors settled in Riga after the war. After a year a memorial service was arranged in Subata at the monument which had been erected to the memory of those who had been murdered.

Latvia

Latvijas Republika - Republic of Latvia

A country in the Baltic region of northern Europe, member of the European Union (EU). Until 1991 part of the Soviet Union.

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 4,700 out of 2,000,000 (0.2%). Main Jewish organization: 

Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia
Phone: 371 672 85 601
Email: jewishlv@gmail.com
          secretary@lvjewish.lv

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The Jewish Community of Akniste

Akniste


A town in the Akniste municipality, in south east Latvia.

Until World War I it was part of the district of Kovno, Lithuania.

Between 1920-1940 Latvia was independent, and between 1940-1991 part of the USSR.
 

21st Century

Akniste has a place of worship of the Hassidim housed in a wooden building.

There is a memorial for the Jews who were murdered in World War II.

 

History

Jews first came to Akniste during the 1860s. There was neither a cemetery nor a hevra kadisha (burial society), and the dead were buried in the neighboring town, Subat.

In 1920 the community numbered 194 which comprised more than 50% of the inhabitants.

The community established two synagogues, a library and a drama circle.

In the elections for the 18th Zionist congress, the labor Eretz Israel list received the majority of votes.

In 1935 the community numbered 199, 42% of the total population.


The Holocaust Period

Following the Ribbentrop-Molotov accord, signed in August 1939 between Germany and the USSR, the Red Army entered Latvia. In the summer of 1940 a Soviet regime was installed.

On the outbreak of war between Germany and Russia (June 22, 1941), a number of Jews of Akniste managed to escape to the interior of Russia before the Germans conquered the area.

Under the German occupation, during the second half of July 1941, all the Jews, about 200 in number, who had remained were murdered. According to one version, they were assembled in a hotel on the pretext that they would be moved to another place. From there they were taken to the bank of the river where they were shot.

 

Postwar

After the war, because of the fact that there was no Jewish cemetery, the survivors set a memorial, to those who had been murdered, in a corner of the Catholic cemetery.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Ilukste

Ilukste

A sub-district town in the Zemgale district (formerly Kurland), south eastern Latvia.

Between 1920-1940 Latvia was independent, and between 1940-1991 part of the USSR.

Until the end of the 18th century the town was privately owned and the inhabitants were Christian Poles. Jews who entered the town during this period were often attacked and killed. The first Jews to settle in the town, two brothers who were tailors, came under the protection of a Polish baroness, wife of the governor of the place. Thanks to the efforts of the baroness and her two brothers, permission was granted to Jews in the surrounding villages to enter the town. They rented a building for use as a synagogue and in 1832 a shochet (ritual slaughterer) was engaged. A mikveh (ritual bath) was built. There was neither a Jewish cemetery nor a hevra kadisha (burial society), and the Jews buried their dead in the neighboring towns, Subat and Griva.

From 1847 a rabbi officiated in the town. The community, which was mainly composed of hassidim, founded a Talmud torah. The first beth hamidrash was built in 1845, and two more were opened by 1900. Social institutions included a welfare society and a society which provided clothing for the needy. A bikkur cholim (sick visiting society) was established in 1865. In 1897 the community numbered 842, and by 1910 the number had increased to 1,016. During World War I the town changed hands several times, and most of the inhabitants left.

The majority of the Jews earned a living as shopkeepers or from different trades. In 1933, in the elections to the 18th Zionist Congress, seven of the Jews voted. They cast their votes for the Labor Eretz Israel list. In 1935 there were 71 Jews in the town, comprising 5% of the population.


The Holocaust Period

As a result of the Ribbentrop - Molotov accord, which was signed in August 1939, between Germany and the USSR, the Red Army entered Latvia. In the summer of 1940 a Soviet government was installed.

About ten days after the outbreak of war between Germany and the USSR (June 22, 1941), German forces captured the town. According to testimony, a short while after the occupation the Jews of Ilukste were sent to the ghetto in Daugavpils (previously Dvinsk), and murdered in the forests. The town was liberated by the Red Army on July 29, 1944.

Subate

Subate

Subata

A town in the Ilukste district, Zemgale region (formerly Kurland), Latvia.

Old Shobat was established in 1550 on the shores of a lake. In 1685 two German barons founded new Subata on their estates, on the opposite side of the lake. In 1795 the area was annexed by Russia. In 1894 the two parts of Subata united and city status was conferred on the town. After World War I the town was a sub-district.

Regulations governing the establishment of the town, from 1686, forbade the settlement of Jews there. There is no information about the formation of a Jewish community in the place, but at the beginning of the 19th century there were a rabbi and shochet (ritual slaughterer) in the town. Jews from neighboring towns were buried in the cemetery. From the middle of the 19th century there was a succession of rabbis officiating. During the course of the century the Jewish population grew rapidly, and in 1897, the 978 Jews comprised 49% of the residents.

The rabbi from 1898-1915, Rabbi Avraham Binyamin Teitz, fostered welfare activities. In this period a beth midrash (seminary) was opened, with separate houses of prayers for the hassidim and mitnagdim.

In 1910 there were 772 Jews in the town, representing 27% of the total population.

Until World War I the boys learned in three hadarim and the girls in a Russian elementary school.

In 1915 the Jews were banished by the authorities to the interior of Russia.

Not all of them returned to the town after the war and in 1920, with the establishment of an independent Latvia, the community of Subata numbered 533. With the financial help of relatives who were living overseas and the support of the Joint (a relief agency of American Jewry), the community was rehabilitated. The rabbi was assisted by a shochet (ritual slaughterer), and three houses of prayers were founded. A Jewish elementary school was opened, with both Hebrew and Yiddish as the teaching languages. At the school, which enjoyed municipal support and which consisted of 6 classes in 1926, refresher courses for teachers were held in the summers. From 1930 there existed a Jewish school using Russian as the medium of instruction.

Cultural and welfare activities of the community were organized by the Vroien Verein (women`s society).

The Jews of Subata made a living from commerce and trades, mainly dealing in flax. After World War I, many of the Jews who returned to the town found their homes and businesses had been taken over by Russians. They turned to the Gemilluth Hesed fund which had been set up with financial help by the Joint. In 1928 a loans and savings bank was opened in the town, which also helped communities in the surroundings. In 1935 the Jews comprised 26% of the population, while 33 out of 80 shops and enterprises were Jewish owned.

During the 1920s there was overt anti-semitism, mainly on the part of Latvian youth who interfered in Jewish events.

At this time the Hashomer Zionist organization was active, and the Zionist youth established a branch of Hashomer Hatsa`ir.

In 1935, out of a total of 1,489 inhabitants there were 387 Jews.


The Holocaust Period

Following the Ribbentrop-Molotov accord, signed by Germany and the USSR in August 1939, the Red Army entered Latvia and in the summer of 1940 installed a Soviet regime. A number of Jews integrated into the new government and others served as members of the municipal council. With the German attack on the USSR (June 22, 1941), Jewish refugees from Lithuania came to the town. Some of the refugees, and a small number of local Jews, fled to the interior of Russia.

At the end of June 1941 the Germans occupied the town. The Jews who had remained in Subata were murdered during the summer or autumn of that year in a nearby forest. The children were the first ones to be shot to death before the eyes of their parents. The adults were shot in two separate pits. According to one version, some members of the community were expelled, before the extermination action, to Daugavpils (or Dvinsk) which is not far away, and they suffered the same fate as the Jews of that town.


On July 13, 1944 the town was liberated by the Red Army.

The majority of the survivors settled in Riga after the war. After a year a memorial service was arranged in Subata at the monument which had been erected to the memory of those who had been murdered.

Latvia

Latvia

Latvijas Republika - Republic of Latvia

A country in the Baltic region of northern Europe, member of the European Union (EU). Until 1991 part of the Soviet Union.

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 4,700 out of 2,000,000 (0.2%). Main Jewish organization: 

Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia
Phone: 371 672 85 601
Email: jewishlv@gmail.com
          secretary@lvjewish.lv