JURBARKAS (Ger. Jurburg), town in S.W. Lithuania; until the incorporation of Lithuania within Russia in 1795, the town belonged to the principality of Zamut (Zhmud; Samogitia); subsequently, until the 1917 Revolution, it was in the province of Kovno. Jews who visited Jurbarkas at the end of the 16th century are mentioned in the responsa of Meir b. Gedaliah of Lublin (Metz, 1769, 4a no. 7). Within the framework of the Lithuanian Council (see *Councils of the Lands) the community of Jurbarkas belonged to the province (galil) of Kaidany (Kedainiai). In 1766, 2,333 Jews were registered with the community. A wooden synagogue built in Jurbarkas during the second half of the 17th century was preserved until the Holocaust. There were 2,527 Jews registered with the community in 1847. The Jews numbered 2,350 (31% of the total population) in 1897, and 1,887 in 1923. In June–September 1941, after the occupation of the town by the Germans, some 1,000 Jews were murdered at the cemetery and outside the town.
Lite (1951), 1595–97, 1849–54, index 2; M. and K. Piechotka, Wooden Synagogues (1959), 200; Yahadut Lita, 1 (1960), index.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.