Rozalimas Jewish Cemetery
Rozalimas (Rozalin in Yiddish) is a village in northern-central Lithuania. The first Jewish settlers are likely to have arrived in Rozalimas at the beginning of the 19th century. By the end of the century, the Jewish population was at its height and was well settled economically. According to statistics of 1897, of the 549 citizens of Rozalimas, 265 of them were Jews that comprised 48% of the town. Due to the rapid growth of the community they built a common prayer house. A wooden synagogue was built in 1880-1881 and is extant to this day: the shabby building stands not far away from the centre of the town and it has maintained its primary original exterior. In front of the synagogue, on the other side of the road, there is also the extant building of the Rabbi`s house.
During the First World War, Rozalimas’ Jews, some 50 families, were expelled to the Russian interior. After the war, only about half the number of expelled Jews returned to the town. Except for a few families who were farmers, Rozalimas’ Jews made their living by shopkeeping and trade. A great deal of the economic activity took place on the Mondays, the weekly market day, and on the two annual fair days which took place in the town. The other days of the year, the Jews attended the markets and fairs in the neighbouring towns. According to a survey conducted by the independent Lithuanian government in 1931, Rozalimas had, under Jewish ownership, 2 textile shops, 2 plants for combing wool, and a butchery.
During the interwar period, a public Jewish school was set up in Rozalimas with some 30 pupils studying there. After the great fire which enveloped the town in 1931, many Jewish families remained homeless and because of the difficult economic situation, they turned to emigration to countries across the world, particularly to South Africa.
After the German occupation of Lithuania in June 1941, Lithuanian nationalists took over the local rule. They murdered some of their Jewish neighbors. The remaining Jews were transferred to neighbouring Pakruojus, and there they were murdered together with the local Jews on August 4, 1941.
The exact date of the establishment of the Jewish cemetery is unknown, however it is likely that it was around the 19th century after the community was established. The cemetery was in use until the Nazi occupation. The cemetery was not destroyed, but it was completely neglected. Only 14 gravestones from concrete and stone with inscriptions in Hebrew remain. There are some remnants of the stone fence that surrounded the cemetery when it was active. A memorial stone on the edge of the cemetery erected in the 1980s read: “This is the old Jewish cemetery of Rozalimas. Let them rest in peace”, but the plaque was stolen.