THE  CENTER OF JEWISHNESS

Vilnius was renowned not only for religious wisdom. When in the middle of 19th century the Haskalah (Enlightenment) movement began establishing itself in Vilnius and the city became one of the most important Hashalah centers in the Russian Empire, the secular Jewish culture flourished here. Vilnius wasn't among the cities most densely inhabited by Jews. There were cities in the Russian empire where the number of Jews was substantially larger, but Vilnius was the most "Jewish town", Jewishness flourished here. The most famous publishing houses, libraries were situated in Vilnius. The number of children in Vilnius attending Jewish schools was the highest etc. Thus according to 1931 census the percentage of population who considered Yiddish and Hebrew as their mother - tongue was:

Town The percentage of Jews, who indicated Hebrew of Yiddish as their mother-tongue The number of Jews in the town
Warsaw  94,4 353.000
Lodz  94,6 202.500
Lvov  75,6 100.000
Krakow  81,0 56.000
Vilnius  99,2 55.000

In the most competent text-books on Jewish history Vilnius is mentioned more often than the majority of other substantially larger Jewish centers

Town  In a two-volume history of Jewish people edited by Sh. Etinger (Israel) mentioned (number of pages)

 In the book "A history of the Jewish people", edited by H.H. Ben-Sassono (Harvard University (USA) mentioned (number of pages)

Vilnius  9 22
Warsaw  9 15
Lodz  2 6
Lvov  4 8
Odesa  10 18
Minsk  10 12
 
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Jews in Lithuania, Vilnius, 1999-2000