JONAVA (Rus. Janovo ), town in Lithuania, northeast of Kovno. Jews were invited to settle there when the town was founded in 1775. They numbered 813 in 1847. Jonava developed through its position at the junction of the routes to the Baltic Sea (Viliya River, the Romny–Libava railroad) and on the St Petersburg–Warsaw road. The surrounding forests supplied timber for the local industry (carpentry, furniture, matches) and for export. There were 3,975 Jews living in Jonava (80% of the total population) in 1897. The town was destroyed by fire in 1905 but was quickly rebuilt. In the spring of 1915 the Jews in Jonava were expelled to the Russian interior, and only part of them returned. The community numbered 1,800 in 1921 and 3,000 (60% of the total population) on the eve of the Holocaust. The Germans occupied the town on June 22, 1941. On June 29, 2,108 Jews were executed in the woods outside the town.
Jonava was the birthplace of the poet Morris *Vinchevski and the scholar Israel *Davidson.
Yahadut Lita, 3 (1967), 319–20; Z.A. Brown and D. Levin, Toledoteha shel Maḥteret (1962), index.