KRUSTPILS (Ger. Kreuzburg ), town in Latgale district, Latvia; until World War i in the Vitebsk province. The community, which was first in Latgale district, was organized in the late 17th century. There were 2,156 poll-tax payers living in Krustpils and the communities under its jurisdiction in 1765. The Jewish population numbered 1,090 in 1847, 3,164 (76.31% of the total) in 1897. During World War i the town was almost destroyed, and the Jewish population dropped to 1,149 (35.76%) in 1930, and 1,043 (28.52%) in 1935. Most were occupied in commerce and crafts. The "old synagogue" was noted for its mural decoration. In 1925 Jews ceased to be a majority on the city council, and in 1930 lost the position of town mayor. There was a Jewish school, attended by 206 children in 1928. During World War ii, shortly after the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, a few hundred Jews succeeded in escaping to the interior of the Soviet Union. The Germans, with the collaboration of Latvian auxiliary police, murdered the Jews in Krustpils and the vicinity during the fall of 1941. In 1966 a monument was erected to the memory of the Jewish martyrs in the Holocaust. The Jewish population was estimated at approximately 100 in 1970.
Congress Weekly (Dec. 4, 1942), 9–13; Gar, in: Algemeine Entsiklopedie, 6 (1963), 375–94. add. bibliography: Dov Levin (ed.), Pinkas Hakehillot, Latvia, Estonia (1988).
[Joseph Gar /
Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]