SAKIAI: Marijampolė County Print

Alternate names: Šakiai [Lith], Szaki [Pol], Shaki [Yid, Rus], Schaken [Ger], Shakyay, Schaki, Šakiu, Suidine, Sakai, Sakee, Shakay, Shakee, Russian: Шаки. שאַקי-Yiddish. 54°57' N, 23°03' E, 34 miles W of Kaunas (Kovno), 21 miles N of Vilkaviškis (Wyłkowyszki).  1900 Jewish cemetery: 1,638.ShtetLink. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: In 1970, the Jewish cemetery was taken over by the Russians who removed all the grave markers. The disposition of these markers is unknown, but it is likely that they were destroyed or are otherwise irretrievable. The cemetery itself was converted to an agricultural inspection station. Under pressure from the remnants of the Lithuanian Jewish community and the Lithuanian government, the Russians abandoned the cemetery some years after their occupation, but no listing of those buried there is known to exist. Physically, the cemetery is simply an open field, fenced, with a small monument to denote its status as a Jewish burial ground. Source: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

MASS GRAVE: Near Skiai, outskirts of Batiskiai forest, 1.5 km N of the town; 152; pic. # 245-246 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad

After the German army occupied Poland in September 1939, the Russians occupied the Suvalk region, then, this region fell into German hands. Retreating Russians allowed anyone to join them to move into their territory so many young Jewish people left with the Russians. The Germans expelled the remaining Jews from their homes, robbed them, and sent them to the Lithuanian border in dire poverty. The Lithuanians did not allow them to enter; and the Germans would not allow them back. They remained in swampy area in cold and rain for several weeks until Jewish youths from border villages in Lithuania smuggled them into Lithuania. Thus, about 2,400 refugees dispersed in Lithuania. In Shaki alone, 100 refugees were warmly welcomed. In June 1940, Lithuania was a Soviet Republic. Some factories and seven Jewish shops were nationalized. With supply of goods limited, prices soared. The mostly Jewish middle class suffered most. The Hebrew school closed; a Yiddish school opened. In mid-June 1941, five Jewish families whose shops had been nationalized were exiled deep into Russia. The German army entered Shaki on June 22, 1941 at 11 o'clock. Many Jews tried to escape, but only fifty made it to Russia. Many were killed on the roads. Most returned home. Lithuanian nationalists took over the town. Daily, the Jews' civil rights were restricted: no contacts with non-Jews, no walking on sidewalks, no buying food from non-Jews, no entry to public institutions. Forced to wear yellow patches, they had to turn in their radios. A 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew was imposed. Jewish men over fifteen were pressed into forced labor ,most in a big barn outside the town near a field where the Jews previously pastured their cows (Zydlaukas). Heavily guarded by armed Lithuanians, groups of men were taken every day to the nearby forest to dig long, wide trenches. On Saturday, July 5 (10 Tamuz), group after group of men was led to the trenches, ordered to strip and jump in. Men who hesitated were pushed. Then, all were shot by the Lithuanians.  After the men were dead, forty wealthy women were thrown out of their homes, brought to the same barn, and robbed of their valuables. Forced to strip naked, they were led to the trenches and murdered. The remaining women were pushed into alleys of Shaki, an open ghetto. Non-Jews were forbidden to bring food so the women had to scavenge. On the first day in the ghetto, young Lithuanian invaded and took six beautiful girls, who never returned. This vile practice continued until Saturday, September 13, (Elul 21), when all the women and children were put on carts and brought to the barn. As before, group after group was led to the trenches, ordered to undress, pushed into the trenches, and shot. Their belongings were loaded on carts, brought into town, and divided among the Lithuanians. Jews from the neighboring towns of Kruki (Kriukai), Lukshi (Luksiai), Sintovta (Sintautai), Grishkabud (Griskabudis), Sudarg (Sudargas) and others, were also murdered with them. After the war, a monument was erected on the mass graves with the following inscription in Yiddish: "In these mass graves four thousand innocent inhabitants of Shaki and its surroundings were buried in 1941-1944 by German fascists and Lithuanian bourgeoisie nationalists. Let the bright memory of the perished live forever in the hearts of all patriots of our homeland". [March 2009]

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 August 2009 17:54