Dusetos Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Utena
District
Settlement
Dusetos
Site address
Dusetos Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
55.7557 25.84537
Perimeter length
332 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 situated on a slope in the woods. There is some seasonal vegetation on the site .
Number of existing gravestones
290
Date of oldest tombstone
1910 (the earliest tombstone found by ESJF).
Date of newest tombstone
1934 (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 preserved tombstone is dated 1910, it can be inferred the cemetery was already in use by the early 20th century.

It is likely that the first Jewish people began to settle in Dusetos (Pl. Dusiaty, Yid. דוסיאַט) as early as in the 16th century. In 1847, there were 486 Jews in the town. By 1897, the Jewish population had risen to 1,158, or 91% of the total. The community had a beit-midrash and a Hasidic prayer house. In 1905, the Jews were accused of starting a destructive fire, which resulted in a pogrom. One Jew, Isaac Baron, was killed. His son Israel later found and killed the murderer. The town had several cheders, and a modern cheder was opened in the early 20th century. There was Jewish emigration to the US and South Africa and during WWI, many of the Jews moved to larger towns. According to the first census of independent Lithuania, there were 704 Jews in Dusetos, or 60% of the total population, in 1923. A Hebrew school was opened in 1921, and a branch of the Jewish People’s Bank (Folksbank) in 1924. Zionists were active in Dusetos, and 35 Jews made aliyah before WWII. In 1940, Lithuania was annexed to the Soviet Union. After the German invasion in 1941, the Jews of Dusetos were confined in a sort of ghetto and taken for forced labour. Most were murdered on 26 August 1941. Some were able to escape and join the partisans. Among them was Elka Baron, a partisan fighter, known for his strength and courage. He drowned with his rifle on him a short while before the arrival of the Soviet troops. There were 23 Jewish survivors after the war, of which 15 of them emigrated to Israel.

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