Dukstas Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Utena
District
Settlement
Dūkštas
Site address
Dukstas Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
55.51858 26.29524
Perimeter length
57 metres
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
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery. The cemetery is located in the woods. The site is well-maintained.
Number of existing gravestones
5
Date of oldest tombstone
1912 (the earliest tombstone found by ESJF).
Date of newest tombstone
1918 (the latest tombstone found by ESJF).
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

Given the oldest tombstone dates to 1912, it can be inferred the cemetery was founded no later than the early 20th century.

Dūkštas (Pl. Dukszty, Yid. דוקשט) began to develop after the construction of the railway in 1863, and the first Jews moved to the emerging town soon afterwards. Although Jewish settlement wasn’t officially allowed in Dūkštas until 1903, there were already about 600 Jews there, or about two-thirds of the total population, in 1867. The Jews established a congregation, built a synagogue and a beit-midrash. In addition to a traditional cheder, a modern cheder was opened before WWI. A lot of the Jewish residents left the town during the war, but the majority of them returned. WWI was followed by a period of political instability, but the area was firmly under Polish control by 1922. In 1925, the Jewish population was 643, or 69% of the total. In the interwar period, the community had a Hebrew school and a Yiddish school. A People’s Bank operated in the town, helping small businesses survive in times of crisis. Zionist organisations were active. In 1939, the area was transferred to Lithuania, followed by the Soviet Union’s annexation of the whole of Lithuania in 1940. After the German invasion in 1941, the Jews were confined in two ghetto areas and taken for forced labour and, on 22 September 1941, all remaining Jews were murdered in a nearby forest.

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