KALVARIJA: Kalvarija district, Marijampolė county Print

File:Kalvarija COA.gif Alternate names: Kalvarija [Lith], Kalvarye [Yid], Kalwaria [Pol], Kalvariya [Rus], Kalvarien [Ger], Calvaria, Kalvaria, Kalwariya, Kalwarya, Yiddish: קאַלװאָריע. Russian: Калвария. 54°24' N, 23°14' E, in SW Lithuania, 24 miles NNE of Suwałki, 12 miles SSW of Marijampolė (Maryampol) in SE Lithuania.

King August II permitted Jews to build a synagogue and Jewish craftsmen to practice their crafts without joining craft guilds in 1713.A synagogue only was built in 1803. Kalvarija developed rapidly when the new St. Petersburg-Warsaw Road was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century. By the outbreak of World War I, Kalvarija had over 10,000 inhabitants; the destruction of two-thirds of the town during the war caused the population to decline.  The community numbered 1,055 poll tax payers in 1766 and 6,508 persons (over 80% of the total) in 1856. During the 1860s, many immigrated to the United States,;and by 1897, the community had decreased to 3,581 (37%). Jewish population moved to towns in Russia and Lithuania because of WWI and a 1915 fire until in 1923, 1,233 (27%) remained. Nationalization of agricultural imports, from which Jews largely derived their livelihood, led to further emigration. During Lithuanian independence (1918-40) the community had five synagogues, three Jewish schools, a loan bank, and communal and cultural institutions. By 1939 only 1,000 Jews remained. At the beginning of World War II, Jewish refugees from Polish towns were warmly received by the community. After the Germans occupied Kalvarija on June 22, 1941, the Jews were brought to the Marijampole barracks on August 30 with thousands of other Jews from the area and murdered.[March 2009] ShtetLink in Mariampole District. [October 2000]

CEMETERY: New Cemetery: Burials from 1920-1940, about 100 stones. Cemetery is not maintained; and stones are mostly in poor condition.

"Clean-up at Jewish Kalvarija Cemetery" [November 2009]

Story about restoration. [November 2009]

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it of Kfar Ruppin, Israel indexed about gravestones. With the help of school children, eighty stones were cleaned, unfortunately with shaving cream that can destroy stones and inscriptions. [May 2011]

CEMETERY: Old Cemetery: about 6 stones that are almost unrecognizable exist in an area used as a latrine.

MASS GRAVES: 9/l/41: 9 Elul and 7/41. 14 Tammuz. On July 1, 1941, all Jews were required to wear a yellow Mogen David, not use the sidewalks, taken into forced labor, and humiliated and abused in front of the local Lithuanians. Ninety men and women, including Lithuanian communists and Jewish intellectuals, were held in Zidruyevetz Hotel, beaten and abused over a period of days. On July 5, they were taken about two km out of town to a bluff on Orios Lake with previously prepared pits where they were shot and buried. On August 30, 1941, all Jews were assembled, supposedly for transfer to the Marijampole ghetto. A large number of wagons from surrounding villages were to transport their belongings, but loaded wagons went to the local synagogue where they were emptied. Some 8,600 Jews were put on those wagons and transported to barracks in Marijampole, joining Jews from the surrounding area and the local Jews. On Monday, September 1, 1941 [9 Elul, 5701], they were all taken to the banks of the Sesupe River where they were shot. Those few, who managed to escape, were caught by the Lithuanians and executed. A mob of Kalvarija's Lithuanians, led by their priest, destroyed all Jewish owned stores near the church. From the bricks, they built a wall around the church. During the war, about half of the houses in town were destroyed by fire. Nothing remained of the Jewish cemetery. The undamaged Beit Midrash became a local grain co-operative warehouse. In 1945, one Jewish family returned and lived in their house for about six months. Between 1970-1989, one Jew lived in Kalvarija. In the early 1990s, one Jewish cemetery was restored. [March 2009]

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 11:59