Mosedis Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Lithuania
Region
Klaipeda County
District
Skuodas
Settlement
Mosėdis
Site address
The cemetery is located on an island, in the middle of the Mosėdis pond (reachable by boat only).
GPS coordinates
56.15337,21.58695
Perimeter length
427 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
There is no fence, but there are stones that have been placed in a straight line which may be the remains of an old fence.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is located on an island, in woodland. It is overgrown by high grass and there are many fallen leaves.
Number of existing gravestones
21 (+15 fragments). There may be more gravestones under the tall grass, but they were obscured.
Date of oldest tombstone
1874
Date of newest tombstone
1939
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Other
Preserved construction on site
There is a memorial dedicated to the cemetery.
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

Workers mentioned, that until the dam was built, the was pond was a small stream. At that time the cemetery was not surrounded by water. Mosedis (Meisyad in Yiddish) is a small town in the north-west of Lithuania. Jewish settlement in Mosedis dates back to the second half of the 17th century. However, in that period it had three Jews only. It was only after receiving rights in 1742 that Jews began to settle in the Zemaitija region as well as in Mosedis. The peak of Jewish population occurred at the end of the 19th century when 363 Jews lived in Mosedis , which was 40% of the total population. The Jews maintained their livelihoods through trade and many families had auxiliary farms near their houses. During the period of Lithuanian Independence (1918-1940) the number of Jews was consistently fell: on the eve of World War II, only 44 Jewish families lived in the town. They continued to be busy mainly in trade. According to a survey conducted by the Lithuanian government in 1931, the town had 9 businesses, all belonging to Jews.
The religious activity centered around the synagogue, built near the market square of Mosedis, but the building did not survive.
Many of the towns Jews belonged to the Zionist camp and most parties were represented. Many young Jews joined the training farms and later immigrated to Israel.
When the war broke out between the Soviet Union and Germany on June 22, 1941, the German army entered Mosedis the next day. The Jewish residents of the town were imprisoned in the synagogue. In July, Jewish men were sent to Skuodas and killed there. Women with children were taken to Kretinga Jewish cemetery and shot there. However, some Jewish youths succeeded in escaping to Russia and managed to survive the war. The descendants of these survivors initiated the installation of a memorial stone in Mosedis, to commemorate the Jewish community that lived in the town and was brutally killed during the Nazi occupation. The idea materialized after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Among the people born in Mosedis was Professor Moshe-Zvi Segal (1878-1970), a biblical scholar, who emigrated to Israel in 1926 and was later appointed professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Segal published many books on biblical subjects, including the Bible with new interpretations, and a Hebrew-English dictionary.
The Jewish cemetery of Mosedis was established in the second part of the 18th century, when the Jews received the right to settle in the town. The territory for the cemetery was chosen on a hill, near the confluence of two local rivers. Under Soviet Rule, many gravestones were overthrown, broken, or stolen, which is why today only about 20 tombstones can be found in the cemetery. In 1972 after a dam was built on the river Bartuva, the cemetery was surrounded by an artificial pond and came to be on an island. In 1991 in memory of the Mosedis Jewish community, a monumental stone was erected in the cemetery on the initiative of Jakovas Bunkas from Plunge. In 2005 the cemetery was recognized as a state-protected cultural heritage site with a regional level of significance.