This Newsletter contains an overview of activities of Litvak Cemetery Catalogue MACEVA in 2014.        
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Macevas's activity report 2014


(Any assitance with translations are appreciated)

Tauragnai (Torigin)
A nice metal gate leads to the burial site where more than 200 tombstones were documented in cooperation of the local school community of Utena Dauniškis Gymnasium.
We appreciate their help and continuous involvement in activities of  Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Project.

Žemaičių Naumiestis (Neishtat Sugind/Tavrig)
There used to be two Jewish cemeteries in Žemaičių Naumiestis. The old cemetery is located in Žemaitės Street, a couple of hundred meters from a manor synagogue. Unfortunately, all tombstones of the old cemetery were razed to the ground and only a memorial plaque marks the place of a former Jewish cemetery. Since the old cemetery was destroyed after the WWII, the new Jewish cemetery was documented in 2013-2014.This documentation was sponsored by Dr. Benjamin Lesin, a grandson of a rabbi of Žemaičių Naumiestis.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Dr. B. Lesin, without whose full support it would have been difficult to implement this huge work documenting every tombstone. Even more than 350 tombstones were photographed. Transription and translation is proceeding.
We appreciate the support shown by a local community of Žemaičių Naumiestis. Many thanks also goes to volunteers Karolina Stankevič, Vidmantė Jakubauskaitė, Marius Lukoševičius.

Kretinga (Kretinge)
More than 250  inscriptions were documented and photographed. The territory of cemetery is also a burial site of Mosėdis Jewish community killed during the Holocaust. Some fragments of old cement fence are broken and the cemetery field is an open space for gatherings of local youth as well as goats.
This documentation would have not happened without financial support of Mr. Eric Feinstein.
Special thanks to Andrey Pshenitskiy, who transcribed and translated a full list of epitaphs from the Old Kretinga Jewish cemetery.
Special thanks to Jorūnė Martinavičiūtė and Marius Lukoševičius for taking photographs; Teodora Anulytė, Kęstutis Petniūnas and Inesa Anulytė for helping documenting the burial site.

Nemakščiai (Nemoksht)
Almost 150 tombstones have been digitized. The cemetery is fenced and quite well preserved, albeit some of gravestones are sunken to the ground.
Many thanks to volunteers Karolina Stankevič, Vidmantė Jakubauskaitė.

Viduklė (Vidukle)
A very few tombstones remained in the area of former cemetery in Viduklė. The Hebrew inscriptions of these remaining headstones dates back to the early 20th century. Close to the cemetery is the mass murder site of townsmen of Viduklė.
Many thanks to Steve Goldberg for his assistance in transcription and translation of remaining epitaphs.

Grinkiškis (Grinkishok)
Nearly 200 tombstones remained in the cemetery. The territory is fenced by an old wire fence, the gates is broken though. The cemetery is quite well preserved, tombstones are rather in a good condition.
We would welcome any help with translation of inscriptions.

Rokiškis (Rakishok)
The cemetery was partially documented in cooperation with Rokiškis the 9th Riflemen's Union and their leader Algis Veikšys. We are truly grateful for their help and involvement in documentation of Rokiškis cemetery.
A big thanks goes to the local museum of Rokiškis and the chairman of Jewish community of Panevėžys for supporting our work. The documentation was fully sponsored by Mr. Philip S. Shapiro.

Užpaliai (Ushpol)
The cemetery was fully documented in 2013-2014. A video of this burial site has been uploaded online and is available on our website. Old fragments of a former stone fence can be found within bonds of the site; a nice wooden gate leads to the grave site. A couple hundred of gravestones are remained.

Vyžuonos (Vizhun)
The area of cemetery was destroyed during the Soviet period, some tombstones are placed back in the territory of former cemetery. The area is well preserved by a local Elder. Several dozen of tombstones were digitized.

We are looking for volunteers who would be able to help us in translating inscriptions of a tombstones from Hebrew to English (or Lithuanian/Russ

The 9th Riflemen's Union, Rokiškis
Contribute Now
We sincerely thank all those, who contributed to the activity of MACEVA in 2014!
Kretinga Jewish cemetery
Work in a cemetery
Grinkiškis Jewish cemetery
Žemaičių Naumiestis Jewish cemetery
Darbėnai Jewish cemetery
Tauragnai Jewish cemetery
Informational tablet in Krekenava Jewish cemetery
Vainutas Jewish cemetery
Grinkiškis Jewish Cemetery
Jewish cemetery in Užpaliai, Lithuania
Užpaliai Jewish cemetery, 2013
Students and teachers from Utena Dauniškis gymnasium in the Tauragnai Jewish cemetery

Many thanks to all members of our Advisory Board for their support
  • We are grateful to Jewish Community of Lithuania and Faina Kukliansky, the chairwoman of Jewish Community, for supporting this project.
  • Thanks to the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture for their help and all information they provide.
  • Thanks to LitvakSIG  and Eden Joachim, the president of LitvakSIG, for administrating donations in USA. 
  • Sincere thanks to dr. Lara Lempert for her permanent assistance with editing inscriptions and translation of epitaphs. We strongly appreciate her valuable advises and ideas suggested.
  • Sincere appreciation to Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund for primary funding.
  • Thanks to The Gochin-Lyon Family for a manifold support.
  • We appreciate Ralph Salinger's assistance with translation of epitaphs.
  • Thanks to Alexander Karnovsky for showing independent efforts and huge work in documenting Zarasai Jewish cemetery.
  • We are grateful to Josef Ash, who willingly translate inscriptions that were documented by A. Karnovsky.
  • Many thanks to Jean-François Malthete for providing translations of Vainutas Jewish cemetery epitaphs.
  • Thanks to Steve Golberg for his assistance with translation of incriptions from Viduklė Jewish cemetery.
  • A lot of thanks to Carol Hoffman, Efrat Yakobi-Hafni, Diana Shapiro for helping to translate Gagrzdai Jewish cemetery inscriptions. 
Rokiškis 9th Riflemen's Union volunteers in Rokiškis Jewish cemetery
  1. Vievis (Vevie)

    The commemorating stone on the Vilnius-Kaunas motorway was erected in 1993 by initiative of Ms. Odile Suganas and Ms. Miriam Bar Shalom.
    The cemetery is on the hill, and reached through the wire fence. Some tombstones of former Jewish cemetery still exist, even though a part of cemetery was demolished after the WWII and later during the road Vilnius-Kaunas construction.


  2. Smalininkai (Smalinink)

    The cemetery was destroyed during the Soviet period, the cemetery was razed to the ground  and all tombstones were used as a building material constructing the stadium next to cemetery. A memorial stone marks the place of a former resting place of Jewish townsmen of Smalininkai.


  3. Eržvilkas (Erzhvilik)

    There is no sign of the past Jewish community in Eržvilkas anymore; only a memorial monument marks a place of former Jewish cemetery. The cemetery is across from Catholic cemetery. No tombstones remained. The territory is well kept.


  4. Baisogala(Baisegale)

    It is known, that a big part of cemetery has been flooded, even though some tombstones still can be seen among bushes and trees. Each tombstone was marked by a bunch of flowers and candles in the early autumn; probably they were left by local schoolchildren during commemoration ceremony marking the Holocaust Victims’ Day on the 23rd of September. The general condition of the grave site is very poor.


  5. Švenčionys (Sventzion)

    The gravesite is very huge, many remaining tombstones are seen. Several hundred gravestones are witnesses of a significant Jewish community of Švenčionys. It is known that a part of this burial site was destroyed during the Nazi occupation, many marble tombstones were stolen. Some headstones were placed back to the cemetery in 1993.


  6. Kavarskas (Kovarsk)

    The New Jewish cemetery is on a bank, for this reason many burials were destroyed due to erosion of the slope. A nice old cement fence and an arch with Hebrew inscription frames the site. Only a few visible inscriptions can be found on some broken tombstone fragments. The site is rather in a poor condition and totally disrepair; not a single headstone is seen in the site.


  7. Ukmergė (Vilkomir)

    The cemetery was destroyed in 1951 by the Soviet authorities. Only a memorial stone and a single tombstone marks a former place of Jewish cemetery in Ukmerge.


  8. Darbėnai (Dorbian)

    During the summer of 2014 a group of volunteers from Germany cleaned the area of cemetery. The site is surrounded by a well remained cement fence. Fragments of a former ritual cemetery house still exist, these remains are a rare Jewish cemetery architectural object in nowadays Lithuania.


  9. Skaudvilė(Shkodvil)
    The last year a new fence in Skaudvilė Jewish cemetery was installed by initiative of the local elder. It would be wonderful if there were more examples like this in Lithuania.
    The cemetery was already
    digitized a few years ago.


  10. Krekenava (Krakinove)

    The cemetery is quite well preserved by a local municipality. A new informational tablet was installed the last year. A new sign in the cemetery marks the burial place of Jewish residents of Krekenava. This sign was installed by the initiative of The Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture.
    A memorial stone built in 1991 is in a decent condition.

  1. Skapiskis - 204 photos and epitaphs uploaded.
  2. Zarasai - 63 translations of epitaphs and photos uploaded.
  3. Vainutas - several translations of inscriptions uploaded.
  4. Gargzdai - uploaded 20 translations of epitaphs and photos.
  5. Vidukle - 6 epithaphs and photos were uploaded.
  6. Moletai - 10 more translations of inscriptions were uploaded in 2014.

Skapiškis (Skopishok) - all photographs, transcriptions and translations sent by Mr. Saul Adelman.
Dusetos (Dusiat) - pictures sent by Ms. Sara Weiss-Slep, Ms. Olga Zabludoff and Mr. Saul Adelman.
Klaipėda (Memel) - Mr. B. Ellert's family pictures.
Kupiškis (Kupishok) – a photograph shared by Mr. Aaron Hoffman.
Pašvitinys (Pashvitin) – all photos shared by Mr. Ishai Klawansky.
Kavarskas (Kovarsk) – a few photographs of the oldest Jewish cemetery were sent by Mr. Tautvydas Kontrimavičius, Mr. Rimantas Vanagas and Mr. Rimantas Varanavičius.
Kaunas, Aukštoji Panemunė (Kovno) - pictures sent by Ms. Algė Varnaitė.
Vabalninkas (Vabolnik) - photos shared by Ms. Ernesta Grubinskaitė.
Valkininkai (Olkenik)- two pre-war photographs of cemetery were sent by Mr. Jacob Isaacson. Those photographs belong to Mr. J. Isaacson's family, which used to live in Valkininkai (Olkeniki) till the Shoah.
Many thanks to Mr. J. Isaacson for sharing his personal family photos and giving the permission to publish them.
Vilnius (Užupis) - thanks to Dov Pikulin for sharing pre-War family photograph.
Vievis (Vevie) - the first 5 old pictures were sent and shared by Ms. Odile Suganas.
Balbieriškis (Balbirishok), Prienai (Pren) – photos shared by Ms. Giedrė Olsevičiūtė.
Druskininkai (Druskieniki) - photos sent by Ms. Hatte Blejer.

The 1st photograph is a gravestone of Yosef ben Moshe Prenski, next to it stands his grand-daughters - Rochel Leah and Sora.
The 2nd photograph is a grevostone of Yaakov Ziskind Kot, next to it stand his daughters - Rochel Leah and Sora.

The woman in the picture - Sora, and all her family were killed by Nazis and their local helpers during the Holocaust and are burried in a mass grave outside their hometown...

Mr. J. Isaacson's family photos.

MACEVA participated in the cemetery workshop in Klaipėda (Memel) District. All participants of this workshop photo-documented different cemeteries, including destroyed Jewish cemeteries in Smalininkai and Eržvilkas.
A workshop was held together with other Lithuanian cemetery enthusiasts, organized by Evangelical Lutheran NGO "Augustana" and Algis Šveikauskas, a project manager.

In cooperation with The Centre for Studies of the Culture and History of East European Jews, the Cultural Heritage Department under the Ministry of Culture and Vilnius Jewish Public library MACEVA  participated in events devoted to Jewish Culture Day in Lithuania.  It was a nice opportunity to prepare and present a workshop on Jewish women tombstone records and general burial tradition together with our dear consultant - Dr. Lara Lempert.



Author and poet born in Rouen. Her works including books, collections of poems, and magazine articles, have been translated from French into Lithuanian and English. Niece of Dovid Umru, writer a director of the Vilna Jewish Theater. Travelled to Lithuania many times since 1992. Has a strong and affective feeling for the country where her parents were born.


Editor-writer with strong interest in Lithuanian-Jewish relations. Restored the Jewish cemetery and two mass graves in Butrimonys in 2003 with the cooperation of the mayor and local residents.



Every year my family and friends vacation in Zarasai District, and for the last three years each time I spend a couple of days digitizing the Old Zarasai Jewish cemetery. The cemetery's location is beautiful, on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Zarasas.

Alexander Karnovsky dechipers inscriptions of tombstones, 2014

In 2012, at my first visit to the cemetery it looked like a field with about a hundred tombstones, mostly of 1910's through early 1930's. Behind the cemetery was a forest with a thick undergrowth.


During 2012 and 2013 I digitized all tombstones I could find, but then I noticed a few more stones hiding in the forest. However, the undergrowth was so thick that there was no way to approach those tombstones. Therefore before our 2014 visit I wrote Ruta Anulyte of Maceva to ask the Zarasai municipality whether they could clear the undergrowth, but she informed us that municipality did this in early spring.

Bushes cover tombs again, 2014

As we came again this August, we found that the municipality had indeed cut the bushes, and what a surprise: what we had thought was the whole cemetery turned out to be less than a half of it. I digitized some of the newly discovered tombstones and saw that their dates went back deep into the 19th century.

Thus there is still a lot of work to be done at the Old Zarasai Jewish cemetery. I hope that next year the municipality will cut the undergrowth again. It would be nice if they could do it in July rather than in early spring, because by August the vegetation has grown up so much that some tombstone became inaccessible again.

I want to thank our friend Olga Sinitsky who had drawn a plan of the cemetery back in 2012 and this year did so again, of the newly discovered part of the cemetery.

Another new thing: A memorial stone is erected at the entrance to the cemetery with an inscriptions both in Hebrew and Lithuanian. Who had put it?*

* We are grateful to the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture and Zarasai District Municipality for marking and taking proper care of Zarasai Jewish Cemetery.

Our member of Advisory Board Ralph Salinger is sharing his experience on tracing his family roots in Lithuania. Please, visit his amazing webpages about Jewish Vilkaviskis -

(For Lithuanian readers)

An interview with Dr. Lara Lempert in Lithuanian press, where she describes some aspects of Jewish perception of death, burial rituals, and explains some cultural differences concerning Jewish and Christian cemeteries.
(For Lithuanian readers)
An educator, publicist, the member of MACEVA'S advisory board Vytautas Toleikis is talking about the word tolerance that is often distorted and understood narrowly. V. Toleikis states that tolerance can be developed, especially by active communication and work with young people. In order to achieve this goal various projects are truly needed.



On the eve of 70th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz one of the founders of Maceva Sergey Kanovich is offering his opinion over the status of memory in Lithuania.
An interview with Sergey Kanovich (for Lithuanian readers) about poetry, Jewish cemeteries and memory problems encountered in trying to give significance to Lithuanian Jewish history.

  1. Vilijampolė (Slobodka) Jewish Cemetery, Kaunas
  2. Žagarė Old Cemetery (Zhager)
  3. Žagarė New Cemetery (Zhager)
  4. Vištytis new Jewish Cemetery (Vishtinetz)
  5. Valkininkai Jewish Cemetery (Olkenik)
  6. Naujamiestis Jewish Cemetery (Nayshtot-Ponivezh)

Implementation of our plans and the scale of our work largely depends on donations, since we are organized and registered as a not for profit NGO in Lithuania. We have one paid employee in Lithuania doing all "on the ground" coordination and education. Our expenses are for materials used in cemetery work, transportation and professional assistance where needed.  If you see a value in what we do, please contribute.
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Litvak Cemetery Catalogue MACEVA
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