Vol. 12 – Nos. 1 – 2 (Double Issue) (2002) The 1800 Prussian Inventory for Suwalk-Lomza Towns, with Historical Background, Data Extracts, and Analysis of the Data
The data for this Prussian inventory, constructed by August Carl von Holsche, was published in 1800. Jan Wasicki published a book in 1964, based on Holshe’s work, which only covered the Bialystok Department. Kalwaria (including Wilkowiszki, and Marjampol, [including Pilwiszki]), were two of the counties (powiats) included. During the Prussian era, especially from 1793 to 1797, the Prussian government sought to organize their archives according to Prussian, not Polish rules. They very carefully documented new towns. After that they focused on developing Prussian language and customs. Details relating to the organization of the towns were included. Commerce was a small part of the activity of the towns, but the main occupation of many Jewish residents in these towns was commerce.
Note that this inventory is a different source than the one reported in My Grandfather’s Axe. (See the August 10, 2014 post). That report was by Baron Friedrich Leopold von Schroetter, the Prussian State and Finance Minister responsible for New East Prussia.
The second part of the book presents the data for each county and each town. Topics covered include population, the towns, the types of businesses, town auspices (whether government towns or privately owned by the nobility), and the Prussian military presence.
Wylkowiszki is listed under the county of Kalwaria. Pilwiszki is listed under the county of Mariampol. The editor noted that all the towns listed are in southwestern Lithuania today.
Under types of businesses, the following information is given: Mariampol had 3 hardware (iron sellers), 4 dry goods, 6 general merchandise, and a single cloth seller. Wilkowiszki had 4 silk sellers, 4 linen sellers, and 2 cloth sellers.
Specific data for Wilkowiszki and Mariampol follows:
Town Name County Name # of Farm Peo-ple # of Jews Total Population
Wilkowiszki Kalwarja 2077 1236 3313
Mariampol Mariampol 1178 590 1768
Kalvarja Kalvarja 2886 1782 4668
Pilwiszki Mariampol 399 16 415
Grand Total 80315 27044 107359
% Jews Artisans Merchants Town Owner Military People
37.3 149 10 G 219 Wilkowiszki
33.4 106 14 G 45 Marijampol
38.2 222 15 G 216 Kalvaria
3.9 20 0 G 0 Pilwiszki
25.2 5614 411 — 7604 Grand Total
The last part of the article is an analysis of this data: Jewish residents lived in almost all of the 86 communities in the Bialystok Department with a tendency in the privately owned communities and in those communities with higher numbers of artisans and merchants. There was no increase of Prussian military presence in the communities with a higher proportion of Jews. Of the five towns listed above, only WIlkowiszki appeared in the top 15 towns with the highest number of Jewish residents.
The appendix provides a review of pre 1800 facts previously published in Landsmen relating to certain towns: Additional information was given for Jewish residents of Mariampol, established in 1758; Wilkowiszki also spelled Vilkovisk where the first Jewish cemetery dates to about 1500; and Kalvaria where the synagogue began in 1713, suggests a settlement decades earlier.