BABTAI: Kaunas county, Kaunas district Print

File:Babtai COA.gifAlternate names: Babtai [Lith], Bobti [Rus], Bobt [Yid], Bobty [Pol], Babet, Babty, Babtų, Babtay, Russian: Бобты. באָבט0 Yiddish. 55°06' N, 23°48' E, 14 miles NNW of Kaunas (Kovno). 1900 Jewish population: fewer than 800.

About 1200 people lived in Babtai before WWI; 80% were Jews. Jewish population decreases at the times of Independent Lithuania resulted from emigrated or moving to other towns of Lithuania. In 1923, 153 Jews ( 20%) remained. Babtai is a small town in Kaunas County in central Lithuania with a 2001 population of 1,715. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: information [September 2010]

MASS GRAVE: Babtai forest, 2 km from from Babtai village on the bank of Nevėžis river.

The German troops occupied Babtai on 24 June 1941. Local authorities were restored. A "partisan" (white-bands) squad was organised of former riflemen to carry out orders of the chiefs of the Rural District and the Police. In the first days of occupation, eight communists and six Jews were shot on July 17, 1941. Mass persecution of Jews started in August. At first, the Jews were registered. In mid-August, 34 adult Jews were arrested and locked in the town synagogues. 30 Jews from Vandžiogala (55°07' N 23°49' E ) also were brought. The Jews were ordered to pay 9,000 rubles and then were shot between August 28 and September 2 . On the morning of the execution, several dozen men were brought to Babtai forest near the Nevežis River and ordered to dig a ditch 50 m x 1 m x 2 m that was completed about 2 p.m. Two buses with 50 soldiers arrived. The Jews were driven by local "partisans" and police to the massacre site. Some, who had problems moving (elderly, small children), were brought in wagons. Undressed to underwear, herded to the ditches, and lined up facing the trench edge, the soldiers and local "partisans" shot them in the back--first, the men, then women, children, and the elderly. The execution lasted several hours as 83 Jews from Babtai and 252 Jews from Vandžiogala (335 people) were murdered. Afterward, local shooters and others shared clothes and other valuables of the victims among themselves. A German with a camera observed the massacre. photo: Mass grave site is in the woods of Babtai (Bobt), about two km from the town on the right side of the road in the direction of Memel (Klaipeda) on the bank of the river Neviaza. [March 2009] Pine forest of Babtai, about 2 km from the town at the river Nevezis; 99; pic. # 105-106 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 September 2010 19:54