Tryskiai Jewish Cemetery
Tryskiai (Trishik in Yiddish) is a small town in north-western Lithuania, about 54 km from the Siauliai district administrative centre. The Jewish community of Tryskiai was formed in the middle of the 19th century, when the town was considered a county administrative centre, with public markets and fairs. According to the all-Russian census of 1897, 1971 people lived in Tryskiai, of whom 681 (34%) were identified as Jews. Later, after the economic situation deteriorated many of Tryskiai’s Jews emigrated. The weekly markets and the monthly fairs were their main source of income for Tryskiai’s Jews. They also made their living through manual labour, particularly in the tanning trade, while some families worked in agriculture. According to the government survey of 1931, there were 13 shops, all owned by Jewish families. The Jewish Popular Bank (Folksbank) played an important role in the economic life of Tryskiai’s Jews. Jewish children studied at the Hebrew elementary Tarbut School, which had an average of 30 students. A number of its graduates continued their studies at the Telz Yeshiva or the local Hebrew gymnasium or in Siauliai. A library with about 400 books in Yiddish and Hebrew was open for the public. Social life was busy in the branches of Mizrahi, Beitar, and Maccabi. Many of Tryskiai’s Jews supported the Zionist camp. All Zionist parties were represented in the town’s political structure.The centre of religious life were the synagogues. However, as they all burned during numerous fires, it is unknown how many had existed in the town.
During the Nazi Occupation in Tryskiai, the persecution of Jews started in the middle of July 1941. All the Jews of Tryskiai, 70 – 80 families, were imprisoned in a barn at a Tryskiai farmstead. Later the Jewish men were separated from their families and onJuly 20th, were marched to the forest half a kilometre from the town and murdered in the pits there. Two weeks later Jewish women and children were taken to the Zhager ghetto in the middle of August and on October 2nd 1941, they were shot in the city park.
The date of establishment of the Jewish Cemetery of Tryskiai is unclear. A few Jewish families had settled in Tryskiai by the end of the 17th century, however a larger community was not formed until at least a century later. The cemetery operated until June 1941. It has partly survived until today, around 40 remaining gravestones are surrounded by the fragments of the ancient cemetery‘s fence. A huge, massive gate with the Star of David on the top is still visible. In 1993, the cemetery was included into the Cultural Property Register of the Republic of Lithuania.together with 3000 Jews from Zhager and the surrounding towns.