WLADISLAWOW, now Kudirkos Naumiestis - still a frontier town

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The settlement was first mentioned in 1561 as a village called Duoliebaičiai. 

In 1639 the town was renamed Vladislavovas (Polish: Władysławów) by Cecilia Renata of Austria after her husband Władysław IV Vasa. However, the name wasn’t popular. Oninvasion, the Germans used it, spelt Wladislawow.

In 1934 the town, now Lithuanian, was renamed Kudirkos Naumiestis ("new town”) in honour of the patriot, Vincas Kudirka, who lived there from 1895 to 1899. A well-organised Jewish community also lived there. Its name in Yiddish was ניישטאטשאקי (Nayshtot Shaki). Before World War II the town had about 3,000 Jewish residents. 

This German card shows how it straddled the frontier of German and Russian Empires, just before the First World War. Since then, the Russian side has become independent Lithuania, though not after a stormy century. The German side was invaded by the Soviet forces in 1945. Russia still retains part of what was East Prussia, in order to retain an all season access to the Baltic. Thus we have the strange situation in which Russian sovereignty still ends at the river, but on the opposite bank!