Gargzdai (Gorzd), Lithuania

Notes Regarding Old Photograph of Jewish Cemetery

Yehudat Lita (Lithuanian Jewry: Its History in Pictures) (Jerusalem: Moss Harav Kook, 1959), shows a picture of a cemetery in "Gruzd," p. 167. This picture appears in a less clear version in the Gorzd Memorial Book, on page 78 (English section).

The photo appears in the Siauliai section of Yehudat Lita, and is apparently referring to Gruzdziai (which is north of Siauliai) not Gargzdai. This same photo is attributed to Gruzdziai in Josef Rosin, Preserving our Litvak Heritage, Vol. II (2007).

To determine which cemetery is pictured, it would be helpful to identify the names on the headstones. Translator Barry Marks, working from the clearer version of the photo in Yehudat Lita, reports:

"The stone three to the right of the man standing in the photo appears to be the grave of "the worthy and dear woman Rivka the daughter of Dov Krop". It looks like she might have a middle name but I can't make it out. She died in Kislev (or perhaps on Yom Kippur) in what looks like 5682 (1921). Dov might be Leib -hard to tell but her father's name does end in a "v" or "b". Most of the stones have the standard abbreviations - p'n' at the top for "poh nikbar" "here lies" and t'n'tz'v'h' at the bottom "tehi nishmata tzrurah bitzror hachayim" "may her soul be bound up in the bond of life.

"The stone to the right of that one with the star of David has the words "this is the monument of the burial of" forming an arch. It is the grave of "our dear mother Gitl the daughter of Benjamin" and the last name looks to be Aronov.

"The low stone two to the right of that one is for Dvorah the daughter of Aharon Katz."

The Tax and Voters list at the JewishGen Lithuania Database has a number of "Orenov" entries for Gruzdziai, as well as other towns, but no similar name in Gargzdai.

Thus, the names on the tombstones might weigh in favor of Gruzdziai. However, a correspondent who has visited the Gruzdziai cemetery reports that the cemetery lies on flat terrain. Because the photograph appears to show a hill, the correspondent is inclined to think the photo does not show Gruzdziai.

Does any reader have further information to help identify the photo?

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