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Alternate names: Laukžemė, Gut Laukozemy, Lauksodis, Laukžemės, Laukžemis, Laukzheme, Laukzhemis. 56°04' N 21°12' E, 187.6 miles WNW of Vilnius. map. [March 2009

Jews lived in Laukzeme as early as 1684, when several appear in an inventory of that year. The town was apparently a way station for those traveling between Lithuania and Kurland and attracted Jewish traders, although the town did not have a trade privilege. There is an old Jewish cemetery in Laukzeme, which probably dates from at least the 18th century. Today only one legible tombstone exists (the grave of "Yenta", who died about 1821 - the writing is not very distinct). There are also some other stones on which the writing is no longer legible. At some point during the 18th century, the Jews of Laukzeme left the town and resettled in the nearby town of Darbenai (Dorbian). One version of the story says that the local baron became angry with them and expelled them. Tax records of the nineteenth century, however, indicate that individual Jewish families continued to periodically settle in Laukzeme (which had diminished in size and importance and had only the status of a village in the 19th century), mostly as leaseholders on taverns, although there was never again a full-fledgedJewish community there. For many years, the Jews of Darbenai continued to bury their dead in the Laukzeme cemetery, until a new cemetery was established in Darbenai toward the end of the 19th century. If one approaches the village of Laukzeme from Darbenai and makes a left turn near the church, the road leads to the Jewish cemetery, which is marked by a road sign that says "Old Jewish Cemetery" in Lithuanian. The cemetery is considered an historical monument by the Kretinga regional government and a photo of the lone legible tombstone is included in a recent book of historical sites in the area. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [August 2009]

Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2009 12:13
 
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