Salant (Lithuania)


A small town in the Kretinga district, Salant is located in North-West Lithuania.

The beginning of Jewish settlement lies in the 17th century. In 1766, 276 Jews were registered as paying head tax. In 1897 their number reached 1106. Prior to World War I there were about 1200 in the town, and after the war there were 800. Prior to World War II there were about 150 Jewish families in Salant.

The Germans took Salant on June 22, 1941. On German orders all the Jewish men were assembled; the Lithuanian s beat the Jews and robbed them. On July 1, 1941 a Lithuanian mob looted the Jewish homes. Every night 10 Jewish men were taken out and shot. The men were murdered on July 10th, 1941. The women and children were murdered on July 20th, 1941 near a village 8 km from Salant and buried in a mass grave.

During the period of Lithuania’s independence, more than 100 pupils studied in Talmud Torah; or a Hebrew school of the Tarbut network. Salant was known for its rabbis and scholars, among them rabbi Hellel Milyakowsky. The last officiating rabbi was Rabbi Meir Zvi Kalef. Between the two world wars there were Zionist activities in Salant with branches of Mizrach, Zeire Zion and Agudath Israel. Many Jews emigrated to the Americas and South Africa.