Kraziai Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Siauliai
District
Kelme
Settlement
Kraziai
Site address
Kraziai Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
55.608033, 22.675698
Perimeter length
630 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 somewhat overgrown with grass.
Number of existing gravestones
80
Date of oldest tombstone
1924
Date of newest tombstone
1925
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
There are the remnants of a small building, perhaps an ohel or a family crypt.
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

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.

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