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Kavarsko herbas.jpg Alternate names: Kavarskas [Lith], Kowarsk [Pol], Kovarsk [Rus-Коварск, Yid], Kavarsk, Kovarsko, Kovarskas, 55°26' N, 24°55' E, 12 miles NE of Ukmergė (Vilkomir), 10 miles SW of Anykščiai (Anykst) in central Lithuania about 80 kilometers NW of Vilna, not far from Kovno. Jewish populaton: 979 (in 1897)

History. The first Jewish settlers came to Kavarsk near the end of the 18th century. By the second half of the 19th century, an established community with a rabbi and a shochet existed with Jews engaged in trade of linen, produce, grain, and lumber. Craftsmen, peddlers, and woodcutters also lived there. 1897 Jewish census: 979 (about 66%). In July 1915, half the town burned down. Further, the Russians evacuated the Jews into Russia during WWI. At the conclusion of war, about 100 families -- roughly half of Kavarsk's Jews -- returned to their homes. In 1919, Lithuanian army recruits ransacked and looted Jewish shops, but were stopped by their officers. In the 1920's, Jews engaged in trade, crafts, and peddling, earning most of their income on market day (Mondays) and the four annual fairs. The worsening economic situation in the late 20's encouraged many emigrated to South Africa and a few to Palestine. By the late 1930's, Jews owned eleven of the fifteen shops in towns. Seven Jewish-owned factories, several small businesses, craftsmen, a physician, a Jewish bank, a beit midrash, a library, and a Yavneh school completed the community. In 1940, the Soviet Union annexed Lithuania.  Factories and stores were nationalized and all Jewish educational institutions were closed. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: Ancient Jewish Cemetery - Beit HaOlim Hayashan- Alte Yiddische Beit Ohalim. There are eight horizontal tombstones or medieval Jewish tombs. No legible inscriptions exist. Another (?more recent) cemetery has been destroyed. Part of the cemetery collapsed into a quarry. The synagogue is now a factory warehouse. Source: Dr. Saul Issroff, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]

UPDATE: The stones were like none that I have seen before. The inscriptions were all in Hebrew. The place was in general disrepair. This cemetery is adjacent to a stone quarry. When there was talk of enlarging the quarry, thereby destroying what is left of this cemetery, the locals objected and prevented this from happening. Kavarsk had a Jewish population of 500 in 1940 and five at the end of the war. Source: Philip Bennet This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]

MASS GRAVES: On June 22, 1941, the German invasion encouraged Lithuanian nationalists to take control of Kavarsk. They vandalized and robbed Jewish homes and arrested thirty Jewish men and women as communists. Four days later, German troops arrived and shot the prisoners on the riverbank south of town. All summer, the locals continued to abuse the remaining Jews. In late August, the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators herded them to the nearby city of Ukmerge. On September 5, all Jews of Kavarsk and Ukmerge were shot to death in the Fivonia forest.

Near the village of Pumpuciai.

On the bank of the Sventoji river.

Pine forest of Pivonija: about 4 km from Ukmerge. Farms of Kavarskas. The very beautiful area is one hundred yards up the road from the cemetery in the woods to the site of a massacre. Source: Dr. Saul Issroff, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 12:28
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