Jewish cemeteries of Pakruojis

The first and oldest cemetery was in old Pakruojis, on the town-side bank of the river Kruoja. Apparently, it was used till the early 1800ís. Before  the cemetery was laid, the working  people had to flatten the earth and during the digging they  discovered all kinds of objects dating from the 10th century. The hill seemed to be used then as a burial mound.

This cemetery doesnít exist anymore. The Germans had destroyed the cemetery by taking the gravestones to the local mill where they were pulverised. After the war the cemetery was used by the Soviets to bury their fallen soldiers, perished in the battle against the Germans in 1944.  

The area of this cemetery is about 20 meters square. A plaque in Yiddish next to the cemetery indicates that this was the site of a Jewish cemetery.

monument for the Soviet soldiers at the entrance of the former Jewish cemetery


The second and newer Jewish cemetery is located about  one and a half kilometres  Northwest of old Pakruojis, across the river from the old town. The overall size of the cemetery is more than 100 meters long and about 40 metres wide. The natural boundaries are open fields on three sides and the road from Pakruojis on the fourth. The whole area is covered with trees and it is nowadays enclosed of by a blue fence.
In 1941, though, after the German invasion and occupation, Dojokas, one of the main members of the group of Pozela, gave the order to cut all the trees adjacent to the new Jewish cemetery. He wanted to use them for constructing a new house for himself. The trees were cut but he, himself, got never the opportunity to have built the house.


new Jewish cemetery
view from cemetery

On the whole about fifty stones can be seen, about thirty are in the fenced-off area and twenty outside the fence.  Rivka Shapiroís father Moishe Shapiro was buried in  this cemetery, in the mid-twenties. We tried to locate his tombstone , but till now without any success.  

During the German occupation animals were pastured on the Jewish cemetery. The wall around the cemetery was then destroyed.

 Read here how Jews bury their beloved ones



memorial stone.

About 1994 a memorial stone was erected  on the new Jewish cemetery, its foundation was made of fragments of tombstones found on the cemetery.

This stone commemorates the atrocious killings of the Jewish men, women and children of Pakruojis in July-August 1944, a total of 500 people. The Germans and the squad of Linkuva and the group of Petras Pozela did the shootings, the killings.

The  memorial stone was paid by the citizens of Pakruojis and as people told me one of the killers at that time had a great share in the payment of the memorial stone. He stood aside when the memorial stone was unveiled and people say he suffered from what he had done, he had a great remorse for it. The local priest was present at the unveiling and people prayed. Some young women wore traditional clothes.

back to chapter 1

Copyright © 2005 Dora Boom

Back to Pakruojis Main Page