PASVALYS: Pasvalys district , Panevėžys Print

Alternate names: Pasvalys [Lith], Posvol [Rus, Yid], Poswol [Pol, Ger], Pasvale [Latv], Pasvul, Posvul, Pasvalīs, Pasvalio, פּאָסװאָל- Yiddish. Russian: Посволь. 56°04' N, 24°24' E, 23 miles N of Panevėžys (Ponevezh), 16 miles SW of Biržai (Birzh). 1900 Jewish population: 1,590. Yizkor: Lite (vol. 1) (New York, 1951). Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), VIII, pp. 854-855: "Poswol". Pasvalys was named after the Pasvolka River. Prior to WWI, there was a settlement of Jews in the village of Krincinas, 9 km away. Pasvalys had 400 Jewish families before WWI. Among the Jewish population was a small number of Karaites. The town had ancient ruins of an old Karaite settlement. A narrow gauge railway line connected Pasvalys to Siauliai and Birzai. On April 28, 1915, the Jews were given eight hours to prepare to get out. For ten days, they were enclosed in barred railway carriages and then sent into Russia. In 1920, half the town burnt down. By 1921, the Jewish population rose to 525, and by 1939 to 700 (180 families). The majority engaged in commerce; a small number were craftsmen and farmers. Market days were Mondays and Fridays. The Jewish National Bank had 150 depositors. Many emigrated to South Africa and the USA. There was one Beit HaMidrash and one Cultural School with 150 pupils.At the beginning of WWII, 700 Jews lived in Pasvalys. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: The cemetery has many tombstones scattered over hilly terrain located behind a lumber company. A local footpath cuts through the length of the cemetery; and additional collateral paths are toward the back. Most of the stones are partially buried so that only the upper parts show. Approximately 20 stones are readily apparent; but poking around exposed "rocks" reveals additional ones. Many of the markers are over 100 years old (1847-1890). We recorded seven inscriptions. Source: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 35 Gammons Road, Newton MA 02168. Tel: 617-965-6839;[date?]

MASS GRAVES: The Germans entered the town on June 26. The next day a few men were arrested. On July 4, they began rounding up others, some of whom were imprisoned in the local jail and others in Joel Farber's granary. During the night, two Germans and two Lithuanian policemen arrived and demanded the young girls. Only a bribe got them to leave. After several days, they were transferred to Siauliai (Shavli). Some women were freed and returned to Pasvalys, where later they perished with the remaining Jews . In mid-July, Jews remaining in Pasvalys were placed in a ghetto bordered by Biraz Street and Polivan Street. The mayor of Pasvalys stated that everyone handing in their money and gold would be sent to a labor camp on the banks of the Musa River. Those who did so were immediately returned to the ghetto that did not last long. Cut off from the rest of the country, the inhabitants of the ghetto knew nothing about the general wild rampages of the Lithuanian Nazis. A few weeks before the end of the Pasvalys Ghetto, Jews from the surrounding villages of Joneskelis, Pumpenai, Jashukai, Salociai and Vabalninkas arrived in the Pasvalys Ghetto and all perished with the Pasvalys Jews. On August 26, an order was issued that all Jews from the ghetto with all their belongings were to assemble at the town's Court of Justice to be sent to labor camps. At the synagogue, the men were separated from the women and children and marched past the Lithuanian Elementary School on Vilnius Street and to the Zadeikiai Woods about four km from the town where they all were murdered. The first signs of the mass grave were found by the few survivors of Pasvalys in September 1944, who wrote on a wooden board in Hebrew: "Here are buried the Jews of Pasvalys." Later, the citizens of Pasvalys erected two memorial stones stating in Russian and Lithuanian: "Here are buried 5,000 Soviet citizens from the towns and villages of Pasvalys, Vabalninkas, Joniskelis, Krincinas and Dainjenai". On August 25, 1963, two memorial stones were placed there commemorating the day when the Jews were led along the paths from the town to the woods. Sounds of shooting and screams of terror could be heard. The Jews being led there realized what was happening and started to throw anything heavy of their belongings at their captors and then attacked them with their hands, legs and teeth." At this point the murderers went wild. They tore babies from their mothers and bashed their heads against trees along the road. Jews were beaten and slain with belts, rifle butts, and knives. The rest were shoved with brute force to the waiting pits and shot. Many were thrown into the pits alive, having been shot in the legs and arms to immobilize them. Later in the darkness, the wounded crawled out of the graves and tried to escape, but the murderers organized and chased after them and virtually all perished. Only one woman succeeded in escaping, a Mrs. Moroz. She hid herself. With the help of Lithuanian acquaintances, she succeeded in getting to the Siauliai Ghetto and from there to the Kaunas Ghetto. Also on August 26 , forty persons succeeded in jumping the Ghetto fence and escaped, but all except three were recaptured and murdered. The list of mass graves in The Popular Massacres of Lithuania includes the following:Place - Zadeikiai Forest. Date - 26 August, 1941. Number who perished - 1,349 men, women and children. [March 2009]

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 August 2009 18:12