A small town in Southern Lithuania
Where the Jewish Community is no more

Shtetl Life

With the help of material from the magnificent article by Josef Rosin I am attempting in the following pages to give some small picture of Jewish communal life in Vilkaviskis before it was all tragically destroyed in the summer of 1941.
Instead of the traditional educational system of "Chadarim" and "Talmud Torah" a modern Hebrew educational chain was established. It included a kindergarten, an elementary school of the "Tarbuth" network, a religious school of the "Yavneh" organisation and a high school.

The high school was established in 1919 at the initiative of a founders committee whose members were intelligent Jewish merchants, advocates of the Hebrew language who cared for the education of their children. They were Ya'akov Chmilevsky, A.Zeiberg, A.Volberg, Ya'akov Solomin, Peretz Silver, Yosef Sperling, Shimshon Volovitzky, Neta Teitelbaum and Neta Matz.
In August 1919 hundreds of children started their studies in this high school, where all subjects were taught in Hebrew with Sephardi pronunciation. The first director was Dr. M.Cohen and after him came Dr.Tsemach Feldstein, Dr.Yehoshua Fridman, Dr.Moshe Yardeni, Shlomo Trachtenberg, the last director being Shraga Halperin.
Among the teachers were M.J.Mendelson-Mishkutz, Dr.A.Rozenberg, B.Meshorer, Dr.Yehudah Holtzman-Haetzyoni, J.Strelitzky, D.Zilberstein, A.M.Tshertok and others.
The first graduation class completed its studies in 1921 and the Lithuanian government representative at the matriculation examinations was Dr.Yosef Berger (Harari), the director of the Education Department of the Jewish ministry.

This was the only occasion during the Jewish autonomy in Lithuania when the government authorized a Jew to participate in the matriculation examinations and to sign matriculation certificates on its
School Graduation picture of the mother of Burt Goldfarb
Jewish Primary School 1930
The family of the school principal, Moshe Kleinstein lived on the first floor - see the windows on the right.
Remembering the Jewish High School
As part of Yossi Ankorion's Plaque Project Yossi produced a plaque commemerating the Jewish High School that is today the Vilkaviskis Municipality building
The Plaque
The former Mayor Mr. Algirdas S Bagušinskas and Mr. Antanas Zilinskas,
Director of the Vilkaviskis Regional Museum at the unveiling of the Plaque
The Plague situated on the wall of the Municipal building