Laukuva First Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Taurage County
District
Taurage
Settlement
Laukava
Site address
Laukuva First Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
55.621700, 22.236570
Perimeter length
224 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. There is some seasonal vegetation on the site.
Number of existing gravestones
16
Date of oldest tombstone
1874 (the oldest found by ESJF).
Date of newest tombstone
1914 (the latest 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 tombstone is dated 1874, it can be inferred the cemetery was already in use by the latter half of the 19th century.

Jews began to settle in Laukuva (Pl. Ławkowo, Yid. לויקעווע) in the 18th century. In 1897, the Jewish population was 418, or 55% of the total. After WWI, according to the first census of the Independent Lithuanian state in 1923, there were 305 Jews in Laukuva, or 42% of the total population. In the interwar period, there was a large Jewish emigration to the US, South Africa and Palestine. The community maintained a beit-midrash, a talmud-torah, a Hebrew school and a library. Zionist organisations were active until the Soviet occupation in 1940. On the eve of the German invasion in 1941, there were about 300 Jews in Laukuva. After the arrival of the Nazis, Jewish males over the age of 15 were taken to the Heydekrug (Šilutė) work camp. Those who remained alive were sent to Auschwitz in 1943. The women and children were murdered in July and December 1941. Seven women and one child were hidden by Lithuanian peasants and survived.

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