Tukums

Tukums

Tukum

 

Distance from Riga 63 km (P98 and A10)

 

Jews were allowed to settle in Tukums only when Kurland became a part of the Russian Empire. The Jewish settlers came to Tukums from the neighbouring estates of the local aristocrats and from East Prussia. By 1850, the 2,887 Jews, who lived in Tukums and its suburbs, made up 47% of its total population. More Jews came to Tukums from Lithuania in late 19th century.

There were 3 synagogues in the town during that time. During the period of the independent Latvia a public Yiddish primary school, a Jewish kindergarten, a library, a theatrical group, a chorus and several Jewish charity organizations functioned in Tukums.

In 1928 three Jewish members were elected to the Town Council. By 1935, the Jewish population of Tukums consisted of 953 people. Making up only 12% of the whole population of the town, the Jews owned 48% of the local businesses.

When Latvia fell into the hands of the Soviet Union in 1940, all the Jewish organization stopped functioning. Several wealthy Jewish business families were deported to Siberia in 1941.

Tukums was occupied by the Nazi troops on the 1st of July 1941. During the mid-July 1941, the local Jewish men were transported to the area near Valgums Lake. The men were forced to dig the mass graves, after that they were killed. On the following day, the remaining Jews of Tukums were executed on the same site. Only one woman managed to escape.

During the 1950s, the local Jewish community had some 250–300 members. Not more than 10 Jews reside in Tukums at present.

 

Synagogue, Brīvības, 8. It was built in the early 19th century. The synagogue was damaged by fire in 1865, but was restored in 1869, and fully reconstructed in 1910. The building was in use as a car repair workshop during the WWII. After the war, it was converted into a granary and later ventured a local children's sport school. It currently ventures a gym.

Small Synagogue, Elizabetes, 8. It was built in 1866. During the 1920s the religious school classes were held in this building. The town Jews were kept prisoner here in 1941. The building was fully reconstructed in 2003. It currently is being used as a pharmacy.

Rabbi's House, Brīvības, 9. It was built in the late 19th century. The house functioned as a synagogue from 1945 to 1960. During the 1960s, it was converted into a factory. The decrepit building was demolished and replaced by the new one in 2003.

Jewish Secular School, Uguns, 8. The school, sponsored by the local Jewish community functioned from 1835 until the WWI. The lessons were conducted in Yiddish and German. During the 1920s the premises were at the disposal of a Jewish kindergarten. The headquarters of “Ezra” charity foundation were in operation here for several years from 1935.

School, Lielā, 28. A primary school worked in this building during the 1920s.

School, Lielā, 31. A Yiddish school was opened in this building in the 1930s. The building currently ventures one of the town schools.

Cemetery, end of Klusā St. The first Jewish burial in Tukums took place in 1799. The last one was carried out in 1973. The old part of the cemetery is well preserved and the tomb of the Lichtensteins rabbinical dynasty can still be seen.

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