Babtai Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Kaunas County
District
Settlement
Babtai
Site address
Babtai Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
55.08269, 23.79441
Perimeter length
133 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Jewish section
General site condition
Demolished and has not been built over. The cemetery is well-maintained, although there is some seasonal vegetation growth on the site. The northern section of the cemetery is demolished, and the newer section is situated on the slope. According to Kulturos Vertybai Registras, the site was built over during the construction of water and sewage pipes in 1991, involving 2 metre deep excavations.
Number of existing gravestones
9. The tombstones are congregated in a small area on the southwest side of the cemetery, decoratively surrounded by a 0.5 metre tall hedge.
Date of oldest tombstone
1878 (the earliest tombstone found by ESJF).
Date of newest tombstone
1924 (the latest tombstone found by ESJF).
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

Given the earliest tombstone is dated 1874, it can be inferred the cemetery was founded no later than the latter half of the 19th century. It was most likely demolished during WWII.

Jewish merchants first settled in Babtai (Yid. Babet; Bobt) in the 19th century to develop lumber and agricultural exports to Prussia. The Jewish community numbered 125 in 1897, that was 19,1% of the total, 900 in 1913, or 75%, and had fallen to only 152 in 1923, or 20%. During WWI, most of the Jews fled to other regions. After WWI and with a railway line nearby, Jewish economic prosperity declined and many moved to the USA. In 1931, Jews owned 2 wool workshops, a sewing machine shop, and a sewing workshop (an atelier). By WWII about 40 Jews remained in Babtai. The Germans entered the settlement in June 1941. On August 28, 1941, Lithuanian nationalists staged a pogrom, killing 83 Jews from the region. They were buried in pits outside Babtai. There is no information about Jews here after the war.

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