ZELVA (PAZELVA)
LITHUANIA

Image from Yad Vashem's Valley of the Communities, Jerusalem, Israel

 

ZELVA, Lithuania is 13 miles East of the district town of Vilkomir in what was Kovno Guberniya. The Jews knew the shtetl as Pazelva (Podzelva), which means "by the Zelva (River)".  Up to the 18th century, Pazelva was subordinate to the Vilkomir Kehilla community and its institutions, including the cemetery, until a rebellion occurred and Pazelva Jews established their own cemetery. Note 1

The Jewish population in 1939 was about 400. On August 22nd, 1941 the local police chief transferred 125 Jews to the Vilkomir jail. They never returned to Pazelva and were presumably murdered with the Jews of Vilkomir. On September 5th, 1941 the Germans instructed all Jews to assemble at dawn at Motel Heller's barn. From there they were transported by carriages collected from the farmers of the area, to the Pivonija forest, a distance of about 4 km south-east of Vilkomir, and they were murdered (13 Elul 1941) and buried in a mass grave with thousands of other Jews from the area. Several families managed to hide away in the vicinity, but were rounded up a short while afterwards and were murdered too. After the war a mass grave was found in the Jewish cemetery in Pazelva, not far from the high school, and 60 bodies were found. Note 2

References:
1. Lithuanian Jewish Communities. Nancy&Stuart Schoenburg, Garland Publishing, NewYork&
    London, 1991.
2. Pinkas Hakehillot Lita (Hebrew Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities), Yad Vashem,
    Jerusalem, 1996. See below.

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Many Jewish families from Pazelva settled in Cleveland, Ohio. A Pazelver Landsmanshaft (association of families) and synagogue was formed in Cleveland.  The synagogue was known as the "Pazelver Shul" (officially known as Agudas Achim). It existed from 1891-1953.  The Landsmanshaft also consisted of a burial society for the families from Pazelva.  The Pazelver Cemetery section is part of the Lansing Cemetery of Cleveland.  A name index for the Pazelver Cemetery of Cleveland can be found here.

Noted persons from Pazelva: Moshe of Pazelva, born circa 1725, brother of the "Vilna Gaon" and Tzvi Nissan Golomb (1853-1934), Hebrew and music teacher, who wrote many books among them a collection of folk melodies and prayers.

Sir Aaron Klug's Autobiography. Aaron Klug, born in Zelva in 1926, won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1982 and is president of the Royal Society of Great Britain.

Biography of Abraham Kollin (Kolinsky). Abraham Kollin, born in Zelva in 1879, became a prominent Zionist leader in Cleveland, Ohio.

Article on the Klabin and Lafer families of Brazil

Photographs of Zelva Youths in the 1930's, courtesy of Yehuda Wolfson, Kibbutz Yotvata, Israel.

Photographs of Zelva from 1995, courtesy of Fernando Klabin, Brazil.

Aviva M Neeman’s Gypsy story from Podzelva and Jerusalem.
 

 A list of families that were living in Pazelva when the Nazis invaded has been compiled by Menachem Charit of Israel. Pazelva Residents List-1941

Translation of “Podzelva” chapter from Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Records from Zelva

The 1858 Revision List  (A census of Jews) for Vilkomir District contains 437 names from the town of Zelva.  These names can be searched online through  the All Lithuania Database.

The following records for Zelva exist in the Kaunas Archives Catalogue (listed under "Paýelviai (Pozelvy), Ukmergý district"):

Zelva 1846 candle tax
Zelva 1877 box tax
Zelva 1888 real estate owners
Zelva 1890 rabbi electors
Zelva 1907 rabbi electors
Zelva 1910 rabbi electors

The 1877 box tax records and the 1846 candle tax records have been purchased by the Ukmerge (Vilkomir) District Research Group and will be entered into the ALD.  Contact me for look-ups in these documents.

 

I have found 22 passengers on the Ellis Island Passenger Database that listed their town of origin as Pazelva. Contact me for further information.

 

 

A few years ago a translation of the 1897 Russian census of Litvak Jews became available for a donation. Pazelva was NOT included in the census (not found). However I have discovered that several dozen people listed their town of birth as Pazelva or were registered in Pazelva while being found by the census in another town. This happened a lot obviously to avoid taxes or for work reasons. Anyway the 1897 census in question is now a free database on JewishGen. Following are the family names associated with being born or registered in Pazelva:

 

SHTEIN

KATS

KHARIT

TREIVIS

SHLIAKHTER

BARON

GUKER

IOFERE (3 families)

GEKTOR/NATES

JOFFE

GRIMBLAT/PLATOVLEINER

DAVIN

KUNIGISKER

GOLDINPEIN/LAZAREV

KHAIET

BERMAN

GLIKMAN

 

A lot of information accompanies each record. Search by entering PAZELVE-exact town spelling or enter one of the surnames above-exact spelling. Database at: http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Lithuania/LithCensus1897.htm

 

Vital records (MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, DEATH, BIRTH) exist for Pazelva Jews  for the years 1918-1940.  The vital records exist in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives (address below).  Use ZELVA only in ordering records, not Pazelva. 

 

Lithuanian State Historical Archives

Gerosios Vilties 10

Vilnius 2009, Lithuania

Tel: 370/5/213-74-82; Fax: 370/5/213-76-12

e-mail: istorijos.archyvas@centras.lt

 

Note: The above archive requests that inquiries be sent by mail because the fax machine is not always in operation. Research fees: $100.00 per surname per town, $5.00 for a copy of each record, $13.00 for a translation of each record, $18.00 for a copy and translation. You can write in English. Their response will be in English. 

 

Read about this Archive at ( PDF software): http://www.rtrfoundation.org/webart/B&L-Acknowl-LAIMA.pdf

 

The Kaunas Archives still contains the following records.  To request that these records be ordered and translated you need to join the Ukmerge District research group (part of JewishGen) at $100.  Info at Carol baker  

 

1911-1915 (POSTAL BANK RECORDS)

 

1889-1890 (RABBI ELECTOR LISTS); 1907 (RABBI ELECTOR LISTS); 1910 (RABBI ELECTOR LISTS)

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If you want to contribute towards the translation, please fill out one of the forms on the website. The minimum donation is $100, although this is a small village. We would also use the funds toward the translation of at least the names on the Vilkomir Estate records and provide you with a copy of the translation. When the entire Vilkomir Kahal is translated we would give you a copy of that data. Eventually this will go into a database on our website, and then be shared with JewishGen. For information email Sonia Hoff

 

"Podzelwy" is in with the Vilkomir kahal records as a village. It has 11 families listed in it. However most do not have patronymics. Instead they have occupations. The families (as listed are small - only a few people in them).  In many villages, or taverns, there were as few as two Jewish families.  

 

There is an Izak son of Moyze; a tailor named Pieysach; etc.

 

As you know,  there are no surnames, and only some have patronymics. If you know the head of household and perhaps a son or two, you will be able to identify them.

 

This looks like the one you are interested in. It is owned by the Tyzenhausza family.

 

We also have the Vilkomir Estate records, for 1773 but we have not translated it. It goes into a great deal of detail and we will have to raise funds to pay a professional to translate it.  We are not sure that it includes Podzelwy. It probably is too far away to be part of the Estate (which is owned by a different person).

 

If you want to contribute towards the translation, please fill out one of the forms on the website. The minimum donation is $100, although this is a small village. We would also use the funds toward the translation of at least the names on the Vilkomir Estate records and provide you with a copy of the translation. When the entire Vilkomir Kahal is translated we would give you a copy of that data. Eventually this will go into a database on our website, and then be shared with JewishGen.

 

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Find other Zelva, Lithuania researchers by registering with the JewishGen Family Finder.  Be sure to enter “Zelva” for town name and choose “Lithuania” for country name.  Those who feel that their ancestral shtetl is Zelwa, Belaruse can find their brethren by entering “Zelwa” for town name and choosing “Belaruse” for country name.

 

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Zelva Secondary School:  http://www.zelva.lm.lt/

 

Zelva School Museum: http://www.zelva.lm.lt/

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I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Paul Klein of the Cleveland JGS for providing the Pazelver Cemetery index.  I want to thank all those in Cleveland that helped me in my research of the Pazelva Community of Cleveland.  Thank you also to Aviva Neeman for translations from the Hebrew.

These pages were compiled by Steven Weiss.  For further infomation about Pazelva contact me.

 

This page is hosted at no cost to the public by JewishGen, Inc., a non-profit corporation. If you feel there is a benefit to you in accessing this site, your JewishGen-erosity is appreciated.

 

 

Last Updated 23 January, 2006


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