views updated


TUKUMS (Ger. Tuckum ), city in Zemgale province, Latvia. In 1800 Tukums had a Jewish population of 272, of whom 17 were merchants. Records from the following year show that the Jewish community had a rabbi, a ḥevra kaddisha, a community council, and a minute-book (*pinkas). In the late 1897 census Tukums showed a Jewish population of 2,561 (34% of the total population). After World War i there were 597 Jews in Tukums (13.4%) in 1920; 968 (12.6%) in 1930; and 953 (11.7%) in 1935. Most of the Jews were shopkeepers and artisans. Members of the Lichtenstein family served for several generations as rabbis in Tukums. In the summer of 1941 Tukums was occupied by the Germans. The Jews of the town, with those of surrounding smaller communities, were then all driven into the local synagogue and burned. Early in 1961 the synagogue of Tukums was closed by the authorities after pressure to resign had been brought to bear on its board. The Torah scrolls, religious articles, and hundreds of books were removed to the Riga synagogue.

In the late 1960s the Jewish population of Tukums was estimated at about 750, but it dwindled as a result of emigration and Soviet repression.

[Joseph Gar]