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File:LIT Johaniszkiele COA.jpg Alternate names: Joniškėlis [Lith], Yonishkel [Yid], Ioganishkeli [Rus], Johaniszkiele [Pol], Yonishkelis, Joniškiai, Joniškelio, Juonėškielis, Ionishkelis, Ioganishkely, Yohonishkel, Yaneskel, Yonushkel, Russian: Иоганишкели. יאַנישקעל-Yiddish. 56°02' N, 24°10' E, 9 miles WSW of Pasvalys, 22 miles NNW of Panevežys, 25 miles WSW of Biržai on the Latvian border. 1900 Jewish population: 136. 1939 Jewish population: 70 families (162 people). Yizkor: Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Lithuania (Jerusalem, 1996). ShtetLink.In 1915 (WWI), local Jews were deported into Russia. In 1918, when Lithuania became independent , most returned to Joniskelis, but not all until 1920-22. Most Jews were educated because the girls went to the Lithuanian high schools and the boys to the chede and then yeshivot in Panevezys, Telsiai, and Vilijampole.[March 2009]

CEMETERY: The Soviets destroyed the Joniskelis cemetery.  A memorial stone was erected after the Lithuanian government enacted a law saying that wherever there was a cemetery of any religion, the city had to put up a memorial stone and maintain it. [March 2009]

MASS GRAVE: In 1941, some 70 Jewish families lived in Joniskelis, a small village in the Birzai region. When the Germans arrived, Lithuanian white-bands organized to harrass the Jews and settle personal scores. Two men were shot in the middle of the street, the first victims. Then over a period of weeks came abuse and maltreatment including hard labor, tormenting, and beatings and their property stolen. The Jews were taken to Pasvalys* where they were killed with the Pasvalys Jews on August 26/27, 1941 by Lithuanian white-bands supervised by Germans and buried in a mass grave in Pasvalys. Five women from Joniskelis survived the war. A Lithuanian named Baniolis hid three Jewish girls alive in a barn for three years until liberation. At the beginning of July, all Zagare Jews were relocated to one neighbor­hood in Zagare*, which was declared a ghetto and cordoned off by an unguarded barbed wire fence. Surviving Jews were brought to Zagare from Kursenai, Papile, Tryskiai, Joniskis, Zeimelis, Kriukai, Radviliskis, Saukenai, Kelme, Tirksliai, Krakes, Joniskelis, Linkuva, Pakruojis, Laukuvas, Lygumai and other places. A total of seven thousand Jews were gathered in the ghetto during this period. [March 2009]


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 18:28
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