|DIEVENISKES: Vilnius County, Salcininkai district|
Alternate names: Dieveniškės [Lith], Devenishki [Rus], Dziewieniszki [Pol], Divenishok [Yid], Dzievianiški, Дзевянішкі [Bel], Dewenishki, Belarusian: Дзевянішкі. Russian: Девянишки. Yiddish: דיװענישאק. Hebrew: דז'ייוויינישקי. 54°12' N, 25°37' E, 35.5 miles SSE of Vilnius (Vilna), 20 miles SW of Ashmyany (Oshmyany) in Oshmiany district. This town in Vilnius County is located about 3 km (1.9 mi) from the Belarusian border in the Dieveniškės Regional Park. 1900 Jewish population: 1,225.
Jews settled in Dieveniškes in the Middle Ages. In 1776, 94 Jews lived there. At the end of the 18th century when around 400 people lived in Dieveniškes, a third of them were Jews engaged in commerce and crafts. 1897 census: 1,710 with 1,225 Jews. At the end of the 19th century, three fairs per year were held in this town with several dozens of shops, a pharmacy, eight inns, a Jewish school and two synagogues. In the inter-war period, the town population was around 2,000, of whom two-thirds were Jews. Many Jews lived in brick houses in the town center. One synagogue decorated with frescoes was erected in the early 1900s. Both of Dieveniškes synagogues were destroyed during the years of WWII. Also see: Belarus, Voronovo.
US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. In Lida District, Vilna guberniya, then Grodno guberniya. [updated March 2009]
MASS GRAVE When the Nazis occupied Lithuania, Dieveniškes Rural District merged with the Belarus general region. Spring 1942 saw Eišiškes District established with Dieveniškes Rural District within the boundaries of this district. In September Nazi authorities ordered that a ghetto be established in Dieveniškes near the synagogues. Jews were ordered to wear a Mogen David and to display the sign "Jude" (Jew). Daily, they were driven to perform hard physical labor (usually cleaning the town's streets). Germans who guarded the Jews constantly humiliated them, making them perform meaningless jobs, run around, jump, undress, "weed" the grass, sometimes firing over their heads. Local rabbis quieted the Jews by saying that they were atoning to G-d for sins committed. When a German asked a Jewish woman to surrender her sewing-machine and she protested, the German shot her and appropriated the machine. A five-member Jewish Council (Judenrat) was created in the ghetto. Germans ordered the Jewish Council to collect a certain amount of gold. Such requirements were issued repeatedly, until they had surrendered all their expensive jewelry and other valuables. Around the end of September, a group of armed men dressed in civilian clothes came from the Vilnius side to Dieveniškes. These drunken newcomers, shouting loudly, drove the Jews into synagogues. Some hid in neighboring villages and the forests. Local inhabitants were ordered to deliver horse-drawn wagons to transport about 1,000 Jews toward Varanavas (Belarus) where they were executed. [March 2009]
|Last Updated on Thursday, 02 August 2012 15:39|