Kraziai Jewish Cemetery
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. Given the oldest tombstone dates to the first half of the 20th century, it can be inferred it was already in use by that time.
It is likely that Jews began to settle in Kražiai (Pl. Kroże, Yid. קראָזש) in the 17th century. The town had about 40 Jewish houses in 1675-1686. In 1766, there were 1,048 Jewish taxpayers in Kražiai. The economic decline in the late 19th century caused a Jewish emigration to the US, South Africa and Australia. Zionists became active in the 1880s. In 1897, the Jewish population was 906, or 51% of the total. The community had a synagogue, a beit-midrash and a cemetery. During WWI, the Jewish community shrank to half its former size. According to the first census of the Independent Lithuanian state, there were 470 Jews in Kražiai in 1923. The community maintained a cheder, a Hebrew primary school and a library. There was a branch of the Jewish People’s Bank. In 1940, Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union. On the eve of the German invasion in 1941, there were 525 Jews in Kražiai. They were killed by the Germans and Lithuanian nationalists during the summer of 1941. Only a handful of children, two girls and three boys, managed to survive until the end of the war.