Pumpenai, Lithuania


Jewish Population:
1900: 1,017 (69% of 1,471 population) 1766: 583

Family Members:
Jacob Musicant, 3x GGFather (father of Yetta Bass; GFather of Lena Bass Snyder)
B ~1820 Pumpenai; M Dora Musicant

Bentsel Khait, 3x GGFather (father of Itsyk David Khait; GFather of Charles Highstein)
 B 1801 Pumpenai; M Rivka Paliukar

Rivka Paliukar, 3x GGFather (mother of Itsyk David Khait; GMother of Charles Highstein)
B 1806 Pumpenai; M Bentsel Khait

Shmuel Khait (Khaet), 4x GGFather (father of Bentsel Khait) 
B ~1760 Pumpenai; M  Tankel Zaidel; D ~1820 Leckava

Tankel Zaidel, 4x GGMother (mother of Bentsel Khait) 
B 1778 Pumpenai; M Shmuel Khaet; D 1834 Pumpenai

Movsha Khait, 5x GGFather (father of Shmuel Khait) 
B ~ 1740 Pumpenai

Iankel Khaet, 6x GGFather (father of Movsha Khait) 
abt 1720 - Pumpenai

Itsek Paliukar, 4x GGFather (father of Rivka Paliukar) 
B 1788 Pumpenai; M Feiga Paliukar

Feiga Paliukar, 4x GGMother (mother of Rivka Paliukar) 
B ~1790 Pumpenai; M Itsek Paliukar

Shmulo Paliukar, 5x GGFather (father of Itsek Paliukar) 
B ~1760 - Pumpenai

Berel Paliukar, 6x GGFather (father of Shmulo Paliukar) 
B ~1740 Pumpenai; D ~1808 Pumpenai

Uria Zaidel, 5x GGFather (father of Tankel Zaidel)
B ~1750 - Pumpenai

The village of Pumpenai is in northern Lithuania on the road from Panevezys to Pasvalys. Jewish population: 1766: 583; 1847: 694; and 1897: 1007. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Jewish Community of "Pumpenai" was falsely accused of blood libel. The rabbi was burnt to death near the Church and saved the entire community. In the yard of the Synagogue, a stone memorial was erected in his memory. The "Pumpenai" Jews were engaged in trade, crafts, agriculture, and dairy production of yellow cheese. At the end of the 19th centur,y many Jews emigrated to Palestine, the Americas, and South Africa. During WWI, many Jews evacuated to the interior of Russia returned after the war to find their houses looted and burnt. Only a few settled again in Pumpenai. In 1921, 75 Jewish families lived there and in 1923, 372. The synagogue was still in use during the Republic of Lithuania when a Hebrew school and Zionist movements were prevalent. Prior to WWII about 60 Jewish families lived there. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: The cemetery is located in a large field between the main road and behind what locals say was the synagogue. There is no gate but a memorial plaque is affixed to a stone on the side of the cemetery facing the main road. Very few tombstones remain; those that do are close to or within a little birch grove towards the road. We recorded inscriptions from seven of the approximately 10-20 stones here, with dates from 1882-1908. Source: Dan Kirschner, 35 Gammons Road, Newton MA 02168. tel: 617-965-6839, kirschnd@bc.edu

UPDATE: On the opposite side of the former cemetery, away from the main road, is a very old house. It was originally used by the Jews to prepare the bodies for burial in the cemetery. Presently, a local Lithuanian family is living there. Source: Howard Margol, June 30, 2002. homargol@aol.com [July 2002]

  • Jewish Cemetery