Krekenava, Lithuania (KRIGER)

Krekenava, Lithuania



Jewish Population:

1897:  1,505

Family Members:

Zusman Kreiger, GG GFather (Father of Celia Kreiger; Grandfather of Charles Highstein)

B ~1850 Krekenava; M Gitel Shenker; D 1905  Vashki

Family home of Kriger’s 1820-1880’s


Krekenava is situated about 30 km south-west of Panevezys. Prior to World War I about 300 jewish families lived there. In 1915, during the war, the jews were banished into the interior of russia and the town burnt down. Not all the jews returned to Krekenava during the period of Lithuania's independence after the war; in 1921 there were 150 families in the town and this number gradually decreased.

Krekenava had a synagogue, a study hall, a "Kloiz" and a large yeshiva founded at the beginning of the 20th century by Rabbi Moshe Chaskin. The community had the usual charitable institutions and was known as a place of learning; at the study hall torah studies did not cease day and night. The last officiating rabbi was Rabbi Benjamin Muvshe.

The Krekenava Jews made a living, mostly from the trade in flax on the two weekly market days. A number of Jews were artisans; there were two flour mills in jewish hands.


When the germans attacked soviet russia, the Krekenava jews organized for escape into russia. They were stopped in Panevezys by nationalsitic lithuanians who in the meantime had taken over the region under german aegis; the jews were forced to return to their town. Krekenava was already in german hands and bands of lithuanians were on rampage in the region. Young jews were arrested immediately on their return and held in the police lock-up. Jews who bought them food were shot on the spot. The young men in the lock-up were tortured for several days then taken out of town forced to dig their own graves and shot into them. Young jewish women were imprisoned in a cellar, tortured and murdered by the lithuanians.

Jewish men were locked up in the study house, tortured during a number of days and left without food or water. Most of them were taken later to break stone for roads. After a short time they were shot and buried at their place of work.

The women, children and a number of men left in the town on july 27, 1941 were brought to a field next to the airfield of fajuoste, where the jews of the whole region were gathered. They were kept there for a number of days, hungry, thirsty and tortured. The lithuanians were busy digging pits. At the beginning of august 1941, the krekenava jews, together with the jews of Panevezys and its environs were murdered and buried in the four pits dug there.

One jew from Krekenava, Shalom Grak succeeded in hiding; after the war he joined the soviet police; his goal was to take revenge on the murderers of the jews. He was trapped and murdered by lithuanians who were opposed to the soviet regime.

8 Kriger’s from Krekenava were known to have died in the Shoah.


  • Synagogue?
  • Cemeteries