Linkmenai Jewish Cemetery
Linkmenys (Lingmyan in Yiddish) is a village in northeastern Lithuania, 20 miles east of the district capital Svencionys. The first Jews settled in Linkmenys in the 19th century. In 1909, there were 200 Jewish residents out of the 379 who lived in the town, which was 50%. Many of them made their livelihood by fishing and by trading timber. The timber business brought livelihood to dozens of Jewish wagoners who were nicknamed “Di Wozhakes”. Linkmenys had Jewish blacksmiths, shoemakers, and a large number of grocers and peddlers. Many of them also maintained auxiliary farms.
Linkmenys was occupied by the German army in June 1941. The Jews of Linkmenys, like the rest of the Jews in the other towns and cities in Lithuania, were murdered by the Germans and their Lithuanian collaborators during the autumn of 1941.
Among the famous natives of Linkmenys were: the Great Rabbi Efraim Zer, who settled in Vilnius, and Dr. Shemuel-Leib Zer, one of the leading teachers and scholars of literature and the Hebrew Bible at the “Yeshiva” University in New York.
The Jewish cemetery was established in the 19th century. There are a few dozens of gravestones and their fragments most of which are in a poor condition. After WWI the village was divided between Poland and Lithuania. The cease-fire line passed through the Jewish cemetery, leading to most of the Jews of Linkmenys being unable to visit the graves of their forefathers. After much lobbying by the local Jewish community, the Polish and Lithuanian authorities acceded and permitted the Jews of Linkmenys to visit the cemetery twice a year: during the Fast of Gedalia and “Tisha B’Av”. The cemetery was in use until the destruction of the Jewish community during the Holocaust. In 1993, the cemetery was registered into the Cultural Property Register of the Republic of Lithuania. The cemetery is surrounded by a stone fence. A memorial monument was erected next to the entrance to the cemetery with an inscription in Yiddish and Lithuanian: “The old Jewish cemetery. May their memory be eternal”.