SEIRIJAI: Alytus County, Lazdijai raj Print

Alternate names: Seirijai [Lith], Sereje [Pol], Serei [Yid], Seyriyay, Serze, Seirijų, Saray, Serai, Seree, Serey, Serehai, Serhai, Serheya, Sarheya, Russian: Серее / Сейрияй. סעריי- Yiddish.  54°14' N, 23°49' E, 12 miles E of Lazdijai, 15 miles SW of Alytus (Olita), 21 miles ENE of Sejny, 67.7 miles WSW of Vilnius. Formerly in Sejny uezd, Suwalki gubernia.1900 Jewish population: 1,614.

Founded in the sixteenth century near a farm in SE Lithuania and surrounded by many lakes owned by the Polish noble family Radzivil, Serey became the center of Calvinism in Lithuania. At the end of the seventeenth century, Serey received Magdeburg Rights as a town and later attracted many German artisans. On the left side of the Neiman river (Nemunas), Serey was part of Prussia from 1795-1807 and declined because of its commercial and economic separation from other towns in Lithuania. In 1797, 1,094 people lived in 215 houses in Serey. After Napoleon defeated Prussia, as of July 1807, Polish territories occupied by Prussia became known as the "The Great Dukedom of Warsaw" in the Bialystok region. In 1815, Lithuania went to Russian rule with Serey included in Augustowa guberniya and in 1866 in Suwalki guberniya. In 1827, about 2,000 inhabitants had market days and annual fairs and lucrative commerce. The Napoleonic code became the constitution of the dukedom granting everyone equality before the law, except for Jews had no civil rights. About 400 Jewish families lived in Seirijai before WWI with 1050 Jews in 1921. In 1930, over 200 Jewish families had two synagogues, one wooden structure over 100 years old and the other, also wooden, built in 1927. The Jewish Volksbank set up on January 9, 1921 had 212 depositors. The Jews owned the majority of the shops and two owned big estates. Others had breweries and a liqueur distillery. The local Jewish community had a Hebrew school with 120 pupils, a large library, charities, sports clubs, and Jewish firemen. Some Seirijai Jews, including the rabbi, left for the USA, Mexico, South Africa, and Palestine during the inter-war period. [March 2009]

54º14' 23º49'. ShtetLink [October 2000]

CEMETERY: Description of the cemetery and the restoration by a former resident, Chana Slavaticki Rosen This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , of over 500 graves still extant [October 2001]

article [November 2002]

photo and photo. [March 2009]

cemetery information. [September 2010]

MASS GRAVES: German troops occupied Seirijai on June 23, 1941. Shelled by German planes, most houses burnt. When the Germans occupied the town, locals told them that the Jewish communist, Joselis Garbarskis, shot at the Germans. They took him away and shot him, his son who tried to defend him, and several other Jews. During the first days of Nazi occupation, an armed "partisan" squad was organized  to coordinate with the German Secret Police. During the first weeks, twenty communists were killed, most Lithuanian. Jews of working age were forced into hard labour. The Jews remained in their homes until August, but had to wear the yellow Mogen David. Before the mass killing on September 11, 1941, part of the Jewish men were taken to Alytus. Told that they were being taken away for labor, the men delivered to Alytus prison by Seirijai white-bands later were gunned down with the Jews from surrounding Alytus communities. Also, prior to the mass killing, the Jews were held in a vocational school. On September 11, the death squad came from Alytus by bus. The men were brought to the execution site in Barauciškes forest about 3 km SE of Seirijai. photo. They were forced to lie down in the ditch and were shot by the battalion from above. Women and children were taken to the same place, but were shot in another ditch. Local "partisans", who, drove the Jews to their execution, guarded them during the shooting after which they drank beer in the Seirijai pub. That night 953 Jews -- 229 men, 384 women and 340 children-- were murdered. Holocaust memorial and plaque. [March 2009]  Mazeikiai Jewish cemetery; 123; pic. # 165-166 and  the woods of Barauiciskes near Lake Sagava, 3 km from Seirijai; 119; pic.# 157-158 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad

Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2010 17:37