Darbėnai Jewish Cemetery and story of David Wolffsohn


Darbėnai spiritual and historical legacy had not completely vanished with the destruction of the
shtetl during the Second World War. Its legacy survived in the current day Israeli flag, which was
created by David Wolffsohn – one of the founders of the Zionism movement, who was born in this
small Jewish shtetl.

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The majority of Darbėnai Jews lived around the town’s central markets square during the 18th and the beginning of the 20th century. The town’s market square was the place where families ran their businesses: from small groceries to crafts workshops.
We could name Darbėnai Jewish community as a typical one, however, Darbenai is the place where one prominent Israeli figure was born.

David Wolffsohn (1856-1914) – was a Zionist movement activist, a friend of Theodor Herzl, author of the Israeli flag, and due to his contributions, the current-day Israeli currency was named shekel after the currency which was used in ancient Israel. David Wolffsohn died in 1914 and nearly after three decades his ideas and dreams of founding the Israeli state were realized. He is buried at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the place where other prominent Israeli figures rest.


The old Jewish cemetery is the only physical sign of the Darbėnai Jewish community, which settled
here in the 18th century. The writing on the tombstones reminds us how vibrant Jewish community
lived here until the Second World War.


1. Kretinga Jewish settlement, called Jewish Newtown (Birutės str./Pievų str., Malūno takas, Žilvičių
str.) 55.886643, 21.236545)
2. Kretinga old Jewish old cemetery, Massacre sites and Graves (Kretinga, Žemaičių str./ Meguvos str.)
55.883438, 21.237486)
3. “Taicas ir Šeras“ Company‘s Factory Buildings (Birutės str. 16, 16A) 55.888602, 21.237413
4. Monument to Berek Yoselevitz (J. Pabrėžos str. 8) 55.891183, 21.245217

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