Girkalnis Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Kaunas County
District
Raseiniai 
Settlement
Girkalnis
Site address
Girkalnis Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
55.303887, 23.206945
Perimeter length
225 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
Unfenced Jewish cemetery. The cemetery is clear and well-maintained.
Number of existing gravestones
4. There are few preserved gravestones but the inscriptions are barely legible.
Date of oldest tombstone
The only clear date found is 1929.
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
There is a memorial to the old Jewish cemetery and the individuals buried therein. Moreover, there are the remnants of a building, which may have been an ohel or a family crypt.
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment could not be determined. The only legible matzeva found was dated from the first half of the 20th century, meaning it can be inferred the cemetery was already in use by then.

Girkalnis (Pl. Girtakol, Yid. גירטעגאָלע) had a Jewish population of 530, or 82% of the total, in 1897. The community had a beit-midrash. During the period of Lithuanian independence, the number of Jews fell steadily. Zionists were active until the Soviet occupation in 1940. When WWII began, 27 Jewish families remained in the town. After the German invasion in 1941, Lithuanian nationalists desecrated the synagogue and beat the rabbi. In August, the Jews were incarcerated for a week without food and then shot.

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