Memorial Website to the Destroyed Shtetl (town in Yiddish) of:
above: official stamp used by the Jewish Authorities (Committee of the Kehila) in Mazheik
website is dedicated to the Blessed Memory of the Shtetl Mazheik (Mozheik)
inhabitants, who were murdered in August 1941.
is located on the Venta River, in the north-western part of Lithuania,
approx. 10 Km from the Latvian border.
Mazeikiai is situated at the junction of the Libau (Liepaja) - Romny and Riga-Oriol train lines.
The map to the right is from : Multimap
The town of Mazeikiai was founded by the Duke of Zemaiciai Mazeika.
the 2nd half of the 19th century, Mazeikiai was a
small village or hamlet, with a population of some tens of inhabitants,
settlement grew with the laying of the Libau (Liepaja) -Romny
rail line in 1868 and the Mazeikiai – Riga line in 1872/4.
of the railway stops was located at the crossing of three roads from
Vieksniai, Leckava and Tirksliai, and it was named after a small farm
whose master was Mazeika. This was the way how Mazeikiai was named.
of Jews in Mazeikiai began during the 1870’s, simultaneously with the
flourishing development of transportation
During World War I (1915), Mazeikiai Jews, together with most of the Jews of Lithuania and Courland, were exiled to inner Russia and the Ukraine. Most of the town was set on fire and destroyed.
Following to the end of World War I, Jewish community life began to
return and develop, resulting in the establishment
of various community organizations.
During the era of Independent Lithuania, the Jewish
community of Mazeikiai enjoyed relative autonomy, under the
supervision of the Office for Jewish Affairs of the Lithuanian
Rare old wooden structure, the former Jewish School building (picture : courtesy Benzi Kahana)
the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, the Soviets invaded Lithuania in
Germans entered the town on Wednesday, June 25, 1941…
life in Mazeikiai came to an end with the mass killings of the men on
Sunday, August 3rd 1941 - 10th of Av 5701 (actual day of 9th Av fast,
delayed from Shabbat to Sunday) and the women on Saturday, August 9th 1941
- 16th of Av 5701.
Rock with memorial plaque in front of the Old
(picture: courtesy Gilda and Bob Kurtzman)
The Holocaust Memorial
and mass grave, next to the Old Mazeikiai Cemetery (courtesy
: Gilda and Bob Kurtzman)
The site of the mass
killing at Mazeikiai (picture:
courtesy Benzi Kahana)
rock with memorial plaque ~ Old Mazeikiai
Cemetery visible behind the fence
(picture: courtesy Stan Ravinsky)
This site ~still under construction
~ is dedicated to the Jewish Life that Mazeikiai was once home to.
From eye-witness reports, we know that ~save a handful of old wooden
houses~ nothing is left of what once was a vibrant hub of Jewish life in
the Shtetl. There are reported to have been 1000 Jewish souls in Mazeikiai
prior to those fateful days in July and August 1941. Today, on the
outskirts of the town, there is a road-sign on the edge of thick woods. It
GENOCIDO AUKU VIETA. Though in the Lithuanian language, this hardly requires translation.
It is universally clear that this site bears witness to the unbearable
fate of our beloved families.
A footpath takes
you deeper inside the woods to where the old Jewish cemetery lies. A large
rock with a memorial plaque (picture above) lies in front of two grassy
areas, surrounded by low iron fences. Considering the size of the grassy
areas, the remains of certainly hundreds of Mazheik residents lie
here. But almost all of the head-stones have been destroyed. Perhaps we
never will know just how old this cemetery actually is … some centuries?
In August 2000 one of the webmasters of this site went on a roots trip to Mazheik.
At that time there were three
head-stones upon which the names were legible. All the rest had been destroyed.
Subsequently one of the other webmasters went on a roots trip and reported
having found no legible head-stones at all. It is possible that these last
three remaining stones have been destroyed too.
Next to the old Jewish burial ground, narrow pillars of black granite (see above) have been erected, a few feet apart ... with a third one lying across, on top of them... Inscribed on that cross-piece are words in Yiddish commemorating the slaughter and mass burial at that place of 4000 Jewish men, women and children (see Ra'hmel ~Rachmel) ... together with the Jews of Mazeikiai perished at this spot the Jews of Sede (Siad in Yiddish), Viekshniai (Veckshna in Yiddish), Tirksliai (Tirkshla in Yiddish), Zidikai (Shidik in Yiddish), Pikeliai (Pikeln in Yiddish), Klykoliai (Klilul in Yiddish) and other towns (see The Holocaust ) ~ a little further away lie several graves of non-Jews ~ we would like to believe that here lie the remains of the righteous, those who did not side with the depraved and were therefore made victims to the bloody terror. However, co-webmaster Benzi Kahana reports "these are the graves of [communist] party functionaries" (see his Report, June 20-21, 2003).
A couple of feet
behind these granite columns there is another pair, lower in height,
with an inscription in Lithuanian on the top cross-column ....
This website is
dedicated to presenting to the world all that we have come to know about
Jewish Life in Mazheik before it was utterly destroyed, and also the
destruction itself. It is dedicated to revealing the whole truth of the
murderous happenings of that war-time era. It is dedicated to finding out
more, by exploring hidden and forgotten records, and by encouraging people
with links to Old Mazheik to come forward.
We invite all those
who have information or comments relating to this website and/or to Možek
to get in touch with us. Be it in the form of a picture which relates to Mazheik, or an anecdote ... please write to us. We would be honoured
to upload your information and/or pictures onto this site.
Though not a
primary goal, this website also provides information about non-Jewish
Mazeikiai, past and present. In what environment did the Shtetl find
itself? What were relations between the Shtetl and the non-Jewish town
like? We would also like to acknowledge any Righteous Souls for their
human kindness - we know that throughout the Holocaust and throughout
history, the Fair and the Sane and the Wise have numbered among us, too,
though scantly. This is in honour of them, too.
Link to the main ShtetLinks Page : http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/
This page is hosted
at no cost to the public by JewishGen, Inc., a non-profit corporation. If you
feel there is a benefit to you in accessing this site, your JewishGen-erosity
is appreciated. Kindly link to : http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/
|Compiled by Raymond Ravinsky
Updated: March, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Raymond Ravinsky
|Jewish Gen Home Page