During World War II and Afterwards

In June 1940 Lithuania was annexed to the Soviet Union, becoming a Soviet Republic. Following new rules, several shops belonging to the Jews of Salant were nationalized (Davidov, Movshovitz, Florentz), and commissars were appointed to manage them. All Zionist parties and youth organizations were dismissed. Hebrew educational institutions were closed, and the Hebrew school changed into a Yiddish one.

Supply of goods decreased and, as a result, prices soared. The middle class, mostly Jewish, bore most of the brunt, and the standard of living dropped gradually.

The German army entered Salant on the first day of the war with the Soviet Union, on June 22, 1941. That day the Salant Jews who tried to escape to Russia or to hide in Lithuanian villages, were forced to return to their homes, due to a new order forbidding non-Jews to take in Jews. A number of the runaways were killed on the roads. Only a few managed to reach Russia.

The new rulers, helped by the auxiliary Lithuanian police enacted immediately following the events, ordered all Jewish men to exit their houses and sit on the sidewalks with their feet towards the road. The Lithuanian policeman circled around the sitting men and robbed their money and valuables. Then the men were made run through the streets of the town, and up having fallen down while being whipped they were forced to stand and continue running. The Lithuanian public watching along the streets cheered the policemen on their actions. A few days later, at the end of the month, the Lithuanians burnt the books they confiscated from Jewish homes and prayer houses.

On the first of July 1941 all the Jews were ordered to leave their homes and gather in the synagogue with their money and valuables.

The Lithuanian public watching the Jews leave their homes applauded and immediately burst into the abandoned houses looting all that was left .

The Germans placed big baskets at the synagogue and forced the Jews to throw in their money and valuables. Heavy guard of Lithuanian auxiliary police surrounded the building. Every night ten men would be called out and shot following horrible abusive treatment.

At the beginning of July 150 young women were forced out of the synagogue and sent to Shalin (Salynas) farm to work in agriculture. A number of them were sent to work in the fields of Lithuanian peasants. After four weeks of work at the peasants’ farms an order was issued to bring the Jews back to the synagogue. On the 12th of September these young women were taken to a field where pits were dug out beforehand. They were all shot and buried. Only one (Bathyah AbelmanYankelevitz) managed to escape and hide at the peasant’s she worked before. He hid her till the liberation.

On the 10th of July all the men who were at the synagogue were taken to the river where they were shot and buried in mass graves on the riverbank. Only two, Dr.Yitskhak Perlis and Ze'ev Shindle couldn't take the abuse and committed suicide.

The Monument on the Mass Grave beside the Jewish Cemetery of Salant.

The inscription on the tablet in Yiddish and Lithuanian says: At this place the Hitlerist murderers and their helpers in 1941 murdered 405 Jews, men. women, children

On the 20th of July (25 th of Tamuz 5701) the remaining women and children were skirted to the remote end of the village Shateik (Sateikiai) where they were shot and buried. According to the name list compiled by Salant survivors, 440 Jewish men, women and children were murdered.

Monument on mass grave near Shalin

Another mass grave was found near the village Shalin, where the 150 young women worked in agriculture.

According to Soviet sources two mass graves were uncovered near Salant: one at the Jewish cemetery where 440 corpses were found, time of murder-July 1941; the second, at the Shateik grove, about 3 km from the village and 8 km from Salant, where 100 corpses of women and children were found, time of murder-July-August 1941.


The Monument on the Mass Grave at Shateik Grove

The inscription on the tablet in Yiddish and Lithuanian says: At this place the Hitlerist murderers and their local helpers in July 1941 murdered 100 Jews. Men, women, children

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