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Photo of the Synagogue in Neishtot-Tavrig
(Zemaiciu Naumiestis), Lithuania
April 1996 Photo supplied by Gerrard
Photo of the Plaque on the Synagogue in
Neishtot-Tavrig (Zemaiciu Naumiestis), Lithuania
Plaque located on the right front corner
of the building in the top photo
The translation of the plaque is:
" HERE UNTIL JUNE 22, 1941 WAS
WHICH WAS LED BY THE WORLD FAMOUS RABBI
J. M. LESINAS (Rabbi Lesin in Yiddish)"
April 1996 Photo and Translation supplied
by Gerrard Rudmin
According to Dr. Ben Lesin, grandson of Rabbi
Lesin, Israel Kaganovitz (who came from Neishtot-Tavrig and lived in
Kaunas until 1991 when he made aliyah to Israel and died in 1993 or
1994) arranged for this plaque as well as other plaques and tombstones
at the entrance to what was the Jewish cemetery, across the street from
the synagogue, as well as at the entrance to the "newer" cemetery on
the outskirts of town on Klaipeda street (Klaipedos Gatve) near
Plaque for Neishtot-Tavrig in the
Holocaust Cellar at Mount Zion in Jerusalem
The translation of the plaque is:
In eternal memory of the Neishtot-Tavrig
Martyrs who were murdered by the Germans and the Lithuanians in
Memorial day is on the 24th of Tamuz.
We will remember them forever.
Former citizens of the Neishtot Community in
Israel and in the Diaspora.
Photo of the mass graves near the village
Siaudvyciai, 3 kilometers east of Neishtot-Tavrig where the Jews of
this town, the town of Vainutas and the vicinity were murdered and
buried. The picture appears in "The Book of Sorrow," a new book
published in Vilnius in 1997 in which photograhps of 239 mass graves
throughout Lithuania appears and are described.
From the book Where
Once We Walked by Gary Mokotoff And Sallyann
Amdur Sack, Published by Avotaynu, Teaneck NJ, 1991 - A Guide to the
Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust:
Zemaiciu Naumiestis, Lithuania (Ir Chadasha
Sugint [Hebrew: New City Sugind], Neishtat Sugind, Neustadt Sugind,
Nishtot Tavrig); 120 km SW of Siauliai, 55 deg, 22' North Latitude, 21
deg, 42' East Longitude.
JewishGen Family Finder
Do you have roots in Neishtot-Tavrig (Zemaiciu
Naumiestis)? Would you like to connect with others researching the same
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Please enter your family names and your name on the JewishGen Family Finder
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- 2. Click TOWN-EXACT SPELLING
- See report
by Marjorie Rosenblum Kantor at Rosenblum-White Family Reunion Dinner
on July 31, 1983.
Article on Neishtot-Tavrig (Zemaiciu
Naumiestis), Lithuania by Joseph
Neishtot-Tavrig is situated in the Zemaitija
region of Western Lithuania, near the Sustis River, about 2 kilometers
from the border with East Prussia and 35 kilometers north-west of the
county city of Tavrig (Taurage), which for many years was a district
town in this county.
Until the First World War it was called
Neistot Sugint in Yiddish. Neishtot is mentioned in the official land
registry in the year 1650, in 1750 the town being granted commercial
privileges and in 1792 the right to self-government. After the third
division of Poland in 1795, Neishtot became part of Russia, as did most
of Lithuania, its name being changed to Aleksandrovsk having been
annexed to the Vilna Gubernia (Region), and as from 1843 to the Kovno
Gubernia. During the second half of the nineteenth century the town
developed considerably, to the extent that there were 165 houses in
1860 with 1,600 people living there, the majority being Jews.
Its proximity to the German border and the
existence of a customs office boosted its commerce. There were
warehouses for merchandise, 30 shops and taverns, 3 flour-mills, 3
workshops for leather processing, a hospital, an elementary school,
with two yearly fairs and two weekly markets being held in the town. By
1897 the population had increased to 2,445, including 1,438 Jews (59%).
When the World War I broke out in 1914, most
of Neishtot's houses were burned down, and being too near the front,
its inhabitants evacuated to safer places. During the years 1914-1918
Neishtot was ruled by the German Army, and after the war, when
independent Lithuania was established, the Germans returned the town to
the new state. From the middle of the 1930s it was called Zemaiciu
Naumiestis, the "new town of the Zemaitija people."
The Jewish Community until the end of World
Jews settled in Neishtot at the beginning of
the seventeenth century and made their living by trading, mainly grain
and flax, with Memel, Koenigsberg and Hamburg. They also owned shops
and a few families grew vegetables.
In due course the Jews built two synagogues -
a Beth-Knesseth and a Beth-Midrash. Among the Rabbis who served in
Neishtot were Avraham ben Shlomo-Zalman, (a brother of the Gaon of
Vilna), the author of the book "Ma'aloth Hatorah" ("Steps of the
Torah") published in Koenigsberg, 1851 (5611); his son Eliyahu ben
Avraham; his son Shlomo-Zalman ben Eliyahu; Ya'akov Bendetman who died
in 1861 and whose book "Zichron Ya'akov" was published by his grandson
in Vilna in 1875 (5635); Eliezer Yehoshua Shapira (from 1898).
Zionist ideas began to find roots in Neishtot
in the 1880s. On the occasion of Moshe Montifiori's 100th birthday in
1884, a special prayer "Mi Shebeirah" was offered in his honor by Torah
readers, and contributions were given for the settlement of
Eretz-Israel. The money raised was sent to the editorial board of the
Hebrew newspaper "Hameilitz" in St.Peterburg in order to be transferred
to Eretz-Israel. There were, however, also many opponents to Zionism in
During those years, hundreds of Neishtots Jews
emigrated to South Africa, England and America. Some Jews returned to
Neishtot after having lived in South Africa for a few years, bringing a
lot of money with them. In 1884 about 200 young men emigrated to
South-Africa, of whom 10 returned home to Neishtot, after becoming
wealthy. In those years there were families in Neishtot whose only
income was the money sent to them by their relatives from South-Africa.
In Neishtot, like in most of the Jewish
communities, mutual aid funds existed. When a pogrom took place in the
city of Nizhni-Novgorod in Russia in July 1884 and Jews were murdered,
money was raised for the kinsmen of the victims. The emigrants from
Neishtot in South Africa also raised a considerable sum of money, which
was sent to its destination via the Rabbi of Kovno, Yitzhak Elhanan
During this period a Jewish physician (Dr.
Paul Valk) and a Jewish pharmacist (Julian Veinstein) were active in
Neishtot and both were very devoted to helping the sick and poor of the
The German Army occupied Neishtot at the
beginning of the First World War, as mentioned before. They transferred
Jewish youth from Poland to Neishtot, placing them in the synagogues
which had been turned into labor camps, surrounded by a wire fence, its
inhabitants occupied in various tasks of forced labor and as conditions
were very bad, hunger and sickness prevailed. Neishtots Jews helped the
imprisoned far beyond their ability, in spite of the fact that it was
strictly forbidden to maintain any contact with the prisoners.
During the Period of Independent Lithuania.
At the beginning of the 1920s Neishtot elected
a community committee of nine members, in accordance with the Autonomy
Law for Jews. This committee acted via sub-committees in most spheres
of Jewish life and existed until the end of 1925. The committee owned
some agricultural land of a few hundred hectars outside the town, a
part of which was sold to local Jews and another part was leased, this
area being owned by the community until Lithuania became a Soviet
Republic in 1940.
According to the first survey of the
Lithuanian Government in 1923, there were then 1,771 people, of them
664 Jews (37%), in the town.
The Jews made their living mainly from
commerce, some of them were craftsmen. The German border being near,
the export of horses, geese, flax, eggs and other agricultural produce
went by way of Neishtot, many Jewish families earning their livelihood
from this trade, although the main exporters were local Germans.
According to the government survey of 1931,
Neishtot had 33 shops, 22 (63%) of them owned by Jews according to the
The type of the business Total In Jewish
________________________ ____ ________________
Groceries 2 0
Butcher shops and meat trade 7 4
Restaurants and taverns 8 4
Textile products and furs 3 2
Leather and shoes 2 1
Haberdashery and cooking utensils 1 1
Drugs and cosmetics 1 1
Watches and jewelry 2 2
Others 9 7
According to the same survey the Jews in
Neishtot owned a power station (S.Rabin), a wool combing workshop and a
bakery. In 1937 there were 25 Jewish craftsmen: 6 tailors, 4
shoemakers, 4 butchers, 2 tinkers, 1 baker, 1 hatter, 1 carpenter, 1
barber, 1 watchmaker and 4 other tradesmen in the town.
The Volksbank, established in 1925 and
claiming 102 members was accepted as a member of the Association of the
Volksbanks in Lithuania in 1930 and contributed very much to the
economic life of the town. In 1939 there were 40 telephones, of which
10 belonged to Jews.
Jewish children were educated in the local
Hebrew school established in 1920 and many of them continued their
studies in the Hebrew High Schools and "Yeshivoth" of the state
(Tavrig, Telsh, Kelm, Slobodka). There was also a "Heder" in Neishtot
with very few pupils as well as a Jewish library with several hundred
books in Hebrew and in Yiddish.
From time to time there were theatrical
performances by local amateurs. The synagogue (shul) which was burned
down in 1914, was rebuilt as a magnificent brick building thanks to the
donation of 1,000 pounds from the former citizens of Neishtot, Sami
Marx and the brothers Luis and Max Rotshild from South Africa. The
initiative for this enterprise came from Rabbi Ya'akov Moshe Lesin ,
who was also the last Rabbi of Neishtot (see plaque on the synagogue
This buiding still stands as can be seen in
the photo above that was taken in 1996. In the "shul" prayers took
place only during the summer, because it was too cold there in the
winter. In the other synagogue, the "Beth-Midrash", where most middle
class people prayed, all of whom were acquainted with the "Torah", they
would study a page of the "Talmud" in the evenings. There was an
additional house of prayer (Klois) for the craftsmen of Neishtot, which
also served as their meeting place. In this "Klois", in addition to
praying, they would learn a chapter of "Ein Ya'akov" (a collection of
tales in the "Talmud"). Some boys of Neishtot were organized in
"Tifereth-Bahurim", an organization whose task it was to learn "Torah"
and to be engaged in public and social activity.
Neishtot's welfare institutions consisted of
"Linath Hatzedek" and "Gmiluth Hasadim", helping those in need, as well
as the "Ezra" and "Adath-Israel" societies, who competed with each
other with regard to managing the community's affairs.
Many of Neishtot's Jews supported the Zionist
idea and there were supporters of all the Zionist parties. In the
elections to the first Lithuanian "Seim" (Parliament), which took place
in October 1922, 161 Jews voted for the Zionist list, 105 - for
"Ahduth" (Religious) and 3 for the Democrats.
Below are the results of the elections to the
Zionist congresses in Neishtot: