Kretinga Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Klaipeda
District
Kretinga
Settlement
Kretinga
Site address
Kretinga Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
55.883439, 21.237468
Perimeter length
700 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 well-maintained. The site is used for cattle grazing.
Number of existing gravestones
around 300
Date of oldest tombstone
1835
Date of newest tombstone
1935
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. Given the oldest preserved tombstone dates to the mid 19th century, it can be inferred the cemetery was founded around that era.

Kretinga (Pl. Kretynga, Yid. קרעטינגע) already had a small Jewish population in the early 17th century, but it saw a large influx of Jews in the middle of the 18th century, when the towns in the area received royal privileges. Cross-border trade with German Memel (Klaipėda) was a major source of income for the community. The town had three synagogues. The Hebrew school taught secular subjects as early as in 1860. There was Jewish emigration to England in the late 19th century. In 1897, the Jewish population was 1,202, or 35% of the total. After WWI, the figure went down to 904, or 36% of the total, according to the first Lithuanian census of 1923. The town had a branch of the Jewish People’s Bank (Folksbank), a community centre and a Hebrew school. Zionist organisations were active until the Soviet occupation in 1940. On the eve of the German invasion in 1941, there were about 1,000 Jews in Kretinga. Shooting started on June 26, by September 1941 all of the Jews were killed. In 1959, there were 15 Jews in Kretinga, only 3 remained in 1989.

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