“Inturkė” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Lithuania

55° 10' / 25° 33'

Translation of the “Inturke” chapter
from Pinkas Hakehillot Lita

Written by Dov Levin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1996




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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Lita: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Lithuania,
Editor: Prof. Dov Levin, Assistant Editor: Josef Rosin, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.


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(Pages 134 - 135)

Inturke

Written by Dov Levin

Translated by Shaul Yannai

(Yiddish, Inturik; also, Anturke)

A town in the sub district of Moletai, in the Utena district.

Year General
Population
Jews
1866 414 ..
1913 .. *250
1923 183 ..
1939 .. **80

* 62 families
** 26 families

Inturke is located in northeastern Lithuania, on the banks of the Galuonai Lake, 14 km south of Moletai. The first time the town is mentioned in historical sources is in the 14th century, when it belonged to the kings of Lithuania and Poland. During the period of Russian Rule (1915-1918), Inturke was administratively part of the Vilnius region. After WWI, when Inturke was included within the borders of Independent Lithuania, it was disconnected from Vilnius while Vilnius remained under Polish rule. In 1919, a big fire broke out in the town. Those two events aggravated the conditions in the town.

Apparently, the Jewish community was established in Inturke at the beginning of the 18th century. Most of the Jews made their living from inns, fishing, and petty trade and also from the three yearly fairs which were held in the town. Some of the town's Jews lived on the other side of the lake, in a place called Raiderade, which was actually a suburb of Inturke. In 1884, the leaders of the community wanted to restore the old Bet Midrash, but they lacked the means to fund the project. When the nobleman Tishkevitz, who had an estate near Inturke, passed with his entourage through the town, they sought his assistance. The walls of the Bet Midrash were restored thanks to the nobleman's good will who gave them building materials free of charge. But they still lacked funding to restore the roof. The local Rabbi, Rabbi Mordekhai Sachs, who was famous for his oratory skills, travelled to other Jewish communities to raise funds and that is how the new Bet Midrash was completely rebuilt.

For a number of years, Inturke had a small Yeshiva. Since the town did not have its own Jewish cemetery, the town's Jews were buried in Moletai. The other Rabbis who served in the town during that period were: Rabbi Yitzkhak, son of Rabbi David-Tuvia (“the Great Rabbi from Minsk”); Rabbi Shlomo Feinzilber; Rabbi Josef Trop, and Rabbi David Gordon.

During WWI, many of the town's Jews suffered from hunger and other hardships. Some of them left the town. Those who remained in the town and those who returned to it towards the end of the war received a good deal of help from various Jewish institutions and especially from “YeKoPo”: from September 1919 until 1920 “YeKoPo” gave the community of Inturke at least 100,000 German marks for social needs (such as, feeding children, wood for heating, medical aid), to lend money for rehabilitation needs and for cultural activities.

During the period of Independent Lithuania, many of the town's Jews emigrated to America and South Africa. A few emigrated to Eretz-Yisrael. In 1937, the community had 4 artisans: 2 oven builders, a tailor and a glazier. During the period under discussion, the town did not have a Jewish school or a “Heder”. The children studied in Moletai, Vilkomir and Kaunas. The Jews of Inturke had a library.

In 1925, the town's Rabbi, Rabbi Zalman-Tuvia Markovitz, moved to serve in the town of Antaliepte, and for a number of years Inturke Jews did not have their own Rabbi but depended on the Rabbi of Moletai. Prior to WWII, Rabbi Neta Tankel served as the town's Rabbi. The Zionist camp and its various parties were active in Inturke. Below are the results of the elections to the Zionist Congresses during the 1930's:

Congress
Nr.
Year Total
Shekalim
Total
Voters
Labor
Part
Revisi-
onists
General
Zionists
Grosm-
anists
Mizrachi
Z”S Z”Z A B
18 1933 - 12 9 - 3 - - -
19 1935 - 12 10 - 2 - - -
21 1939 - 22 9 - 2 - - 11

In the autumn of 1940, when Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union, all Zionist activities were forbidden in the town as in the rest of Lithuania. Some of the large shops in Inturke were nationalized. After the outbreak of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, in June 1941, and especially after Germany conquered Lithuania, the Jews of Inturke were at the mercy of Lithuanian nationalists who practically controlled the town. Apparently, during the month of August 1941, all of Inturke's Jews, children, women, men and the elderly, were transferred to the city of Utena, and were murdered there.

Bibliography

Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem, files 55/1701, 55/1788, 13/15/131, Z-4/2548.
YIVO - Lithuanian Communities' Collection: file 1508.
On the Ruins of War and Turmoil, edited by Moshe Shalit, Vilnius, 1930.

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