Under Prussian Rule
1793 - 1805
Until 1795 Vilkovishk was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom, when the third division of Poland by the three superpowers of those times - Russia, Prussia and Austria - caused Lithuania to become partly Russian and partly Prussian. The part of the state which lay on the left side of the Neman river (Nemunas), including Vilkovishk, was handed over to Prussia who ruled there during the years 1795-1807.
Under Prussian rule the residents were encouraged to build stone or brick houses, instead of wooden ones, for which they were granted a third of the expenses. In those years the importance of Vilkovishk increased, it being a commercial point on the road from Kovno to Koenigsberg.
NEW EAST PRUSSIA
From this map you can see that Vilkaviskis is situated from 1795 - 1806 in "New East Prussia"
A small town in Southern Lithuania
Where the Jewish Community is no more
AGAD Warschau, Acta den Häuserverkauf der Juden in der Stadt Willkowischken betr. 1801, Gen. Dir. Neuostpreussen, Abt. III, Nr. 462.
"The Jewish married couple Hanschel Aron zu Wilkowischken in the Kallwaryschen county, wanted to sell their house there sub No. 277 occupied, which contains a parlour and to which only a garden, 42 feet long and 40 feet wide, belongs and on which also no civil justice is liable, for 133 Rp 30 gr. to the Jewish merchant Israel Herz zu Wilkowischken and he was wanted by the intended contractors of the Consens to this sale with us.
We dare to support this motion with Your Royal Majesty, since the property to be sold is already in Jewish hands, and no civil justice is liable on it, and we submish the very highest with the same question as to whether the Consensus cannot be granted in these circumstances.”
AGAD Warschau, Acta die Klagen der jüdischen Brauer und Brenner zu Wilkowischken gegen den Fiscus betr. 1799-1805, Gen. Dir. Neuostpreussen, Abt. III, Nr. 458.
The New East Prussian War and Domain Cammer,
Bialystok, admonished the Jewish beer brewers and distillers on February 1, 1800:
"that the complainant is guilty of paying 20 Polish groschen from each Prussian bushel of grain and malt to brandy and 15 Polish groschen from each Prussian bushel of malt to beer to the Domaine Amt zu Wolkowischken."
The whole thing is about the “Kapczyzna” (tax on beverages)
1805: It is about the complainants Hirsch Arno and Baruch Hirschel
AGAD (Warsaw), Acta die verschiedenen Beschwerden der Juden Gemeinde der Stadt Willkowischken betr. 1798, 1799, Gen. Dir. Neuostpreussen, Abt. III, Nr. 461,
(June 8, 1798) Jewish community complains about the transfer of the District Justice Commission to Neustadt
Bialystok 2 January 1799, Thr Prussia administration describes
here p. 12
"...In the course of the investigation, it was determined ad 1 that the Jewish Kahal in Willkowischken borrowed a capital of 1060 Reichsthaler from the monasteries in Wirballen and Neustadt about 100 years ago. At that time the Jewish communities in the cities of Wirballen, Neustadt, Pilwiszken and Kalvary were also supposed to belong to this Kahal, but about 40 years ago other Kahal had formed and since then refused to contribute to the interest of the capital borrowed from the monasteries.
Initially this capital was to bear interest at ro. per cent, but several years ago a decree of the Pohln courts determined that the overpaid [p. 13] interest would be compensated by the capital debt in response to their action. According to a calculation made for this reason the debtors do not only want to pay the capital by the excess of the interest, but also to have to demand 333 Reichsthaler of surplus from the named monasteries. Meanwhile the debtors admit that as a result, as this decree was not observed, they entered into a settlement with the monasteries, according to which they renounced their rights under the decree and undertook to pay interest on the capital at a rate of 5 per cent, in which way the interest must also not now be paid...".
Have sued before...
Letter of complaint of 1 June 1798 from the Jews in Wilkowischken to the Prussian king,
on p. 20 signed by Baruch Chesekel and Joszel Szimszel
Documents kindly discovered by Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz at the AGAD Archives in Warsaw - regarding the Jews of Villkaviskis and their dealings with the new Prussian government.