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KRAZIAI, also known as Krozh


Here is entry from Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, eds: Shmuel Spector, Geoffrey Wigoder. New York University Press, New York. Vol. 2, page 675. The publishers and Yad Vashem have granted permission to reprint this article.

Kraziai (Yiddish Krozh): Raseiniai district, Lithuania. Jews first settled in the 17th century. A large fire in 1848 and the construction of a railway that bypassed Kraziai caused the economic situation in 1880 to deteriorate and many emigrated to South Africa, the U.S. and Australia. Kraziai had an ancient beit midrash, containing two small synagogues. A beautiful domed synagogue was built in the mid-19th century. Zionist activity began in the 1880s and some of Kraziai's rabbis were active Zionists.  Photo of Kraziai synagogue on left taken circa 1935.

The Jewish population in 1897 was 906 (51% of the total), dropping after WWI to half of what it had been before the war. A Hebrew school was established in 1921. A blood libel in 1929, the Lithuanian boycott of Jewish businesses, and other anti-Semitic acts during the 1930s led many Jews to emigrate. The Zionist movement won widespread support, particularly among the young, some of whom joined a kibbutz training camp. The Jewish population in 1941 stood at 525. After the German invasion in June 1941, the Jews were confined to a "Jews' Camp" on the outskirts of Kraziai From there, on 16 July, 1941, most were taken in groups to the Kupris forest, herded into pits, and shot. The remaining Jews, mainly children, were shot in the Medsiokalnis forest on 2 Sept. 1941.

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 Compiled by Rochelle Kaplan
Copyright 2007-2009 Rochelle Kaplan

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