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The Memorial Website to the Destroyed Shtetl (town in Yiddish) of:

above: official stamp used by the Jewish Authorities (Committee of the Kehila)  in Mazheik

Mazheik

Or Mozheik

(in Yiddish)

 =======

Mazeikiai

                       (in Lithuanian)

 

             מז'ייק 

            מאזייק 

                                        North-Western Lithuania

                                                     56.20N 22.20E

This website is dedicated to the Blessed Memory of the Shtetl Mazheik (Mozheik) and its inhabitants, who were murdered in August 1941.  

Geography:

Mazeikiai 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

More:  

Town History:

The town of Mazeikiai was founded by the Duke of Zemaiciai Mazeika.

Until the 2nd half of the 19th century, Mazeikiai was a small village or hamlet, with a population of some tens of inhabitants, mostly farmers.

The settlement grew with the laying of the Libau (Liepaja)  -Romny rail line in 1868 and the Mazeikiai – Riga line in 1872/4.

One 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.

More:

image001.jpg (28079 bytes)

Morawjewo (Mazeikiai) Railway Station before 1918

Jewish Community History:

Settlement of Jews in Mazeikiai began during the 1870’s, simultaneously with the flourishing development of transportation and commerce… 

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 Government…

.More:

Rare old wooden structure, the former Jewish School building (picture : courtesy Benzi Kahana)

The Holocaust:

Following the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, the Soviets invaded Lithuania in 1940…

The Germans entered the town on Wednesday, June 25, 1941…

Jewish 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.

(See The Holocaust and The Martyrs of Mazeikiai)

Sign at M. cemetery.JPG (607225 bytes)

Rock with memorial plaque in front of the Old Mazeikiai Cemetery

(picture: courtesy Gilda and Bob Kurtzman)

Maz. Mass grave.JPG (627785 bytes)

The Holocaust Memorial and mass grave, next to the Old Mazeikiai Cemetery (courtesy : Gilda and Bob Kurtzman)

AA_366511_035

The site of the mass killing at Mazeikiai (picture: courtesy Benzi Kahana)

F002 - Lithuania - Mazeikiai -  Memorial for Jewish Vict~332.jpg (954780 bytes)

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 states: ZYDU 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. 

 

Webmaster and contactperson:
Raymond Ravinsky :
rainbows@netvision.net.il

co-Webmasters:
Ilan Ganot          
Benzi Kahana   

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

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