BUTRIMONYS JEWISH CEMETERY
By Marcia Pailet-Abrams Jaffe
In 1997, we decided to take a trip to Vilnius to meet Tsila and Riva and to go to Butrimonys and catalogue/videotape and photograph each tombstone in the old Jewish cemetery. Riva came with us to show us where the cemetery and the two massacre sites were. Little did we know that it was a huge undertaking as there are over 550 matzevahs (tombstones) there. A little more than 2/3ís of them are above ground. The rest have sunken into the ground and we had to find them and dig them up. Then we needed to clean and prepare the stones before we could record them. We were only able to document about 365 tombstones in 1997 and returned in 1999 to finish our project. Luckily we were able to have Regina Kopilevich as a translator both times. The photos, names and dates will be found on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) at a later date.
In May 2003, Olga and Sid Zabludoff from Washington, D.C. and Lisabeth Kaplan from Carmel Valley, CA. went to Butrimonys to restore the Butrimonys Jewish cemetery and the two massacre sites. With the help of some local people they scrubbed, primed and painted all the fences, cleaned up the cemetery and even found some more tombstones that had sunken into the ground. The missing back gate was also replaced. Olga was given a copy of a 1937 census of Jewish residents that was compiled by the local Catholic Church. It had been hidden in the church for the past 66 years! No one knew about it. Olgaís article about their laborious work and experiences will be printed in the March 2005 edition of Avotaynu.
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|Butrimonys Cemetery Plaque 1999||
Memorial for 50 Jewish girls killed during W.W.II
|Scene from Cemetery taken 1999
|Another scene taken 1999|