Balbieriskis Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Kaunas
District
Prienai 
Settlement
Balbieriskis
Site address
Balbieriskis Jewish cemetery
GPS coordinates
54.523109, 23.900509
Perimeter length
364 metre
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
Type of the fence
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery. he cemetery site is severely overgrown with vegetation; clearance is required.
Number of existing gravestones
about 50.
Date of oldest tombstone
1889
Date of newest tombstone
1934
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. According to epigraphic data, the cemetery has existed since at least the latter half of the 19th century.

Jews settled in Balbieriskis (Yid. Balbirishok) in the 17th century, and it was probably one of the earliest Jewish settlements in Lithuania. Balbirishok was one of the 246 settlements in Poland that had no restrictions on Jewish residents In 1861, there were 1167 Jews living there. There were two synagogues, the old and the new, opened in the early 19th century. In 1881, a pogrom was carried out against the Jews of the town. On a regular market day, on the eve of Yom Kippur, farmers raided the Jewish shops. The community numbered 925, or 45% of the total population, in 1897. In the late 19th century the town became an important commercial center. Trade was concentrated in Jewish hands. The only pharmacy was owned by Tsirkovich. By 1923, the Jewish population had declined to 507 Jews. Economic conditions caused further emigration and by WWII the Jewish community numbered about 350 people. Most of the community members were Zionists. The Germans entered the town in late June 1941, with local Lithuanians beating Jews and putting them to forced labor. Jews were forced to march to Prienai, where they were murdered on August 27, 1941. The women and children were sent to Marijampole to meet their end on September 1.

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