KRETINGA (Ger. Krottingen), town in W. Lithuania, 13 mi. (20 km.) N.E. of Memel (Klaipeda). Jews first settled there during the 17th century. The Jewish leader in the Polish uprising of 1794, Berek *Joselewicz, was born and brought up in Kretinga. The community numbered 1,738 in 1847, 1,203 (35% of the total population) in 1897, approximately 1,000 in 1921, and approximately 800 in 1939. The Jews mainly derived their livelihood from commerce with East Prussia, the manufacture of amber jewelry, and the provision of services to vacationers at the nearby Baltic resort of Palanga (Ger. Polangen). During the period under independent Lithuania (1918–40) the community institutions included a *Tarbut school, a Bikkur Ḥolim society, a benevolent society, and a people's bank (with 233 members in 1932). The youth was organized in Zionist societies and the "Tiferet Baḥurim" society. The last rabbi, Benjamin Perski, was murdered along with the rest of the community after the town was occupied by the Germans on June 22, 1941.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.