SEMELISKES: Vilna Print

Alternate names: Sameliškės, Semelishkes, Semelishkis, Semeliškės, Semeliškių, Sumelishki, Sumilishki, Sumiliszki. 54°40' N 24°40' E , 26.0 miles W of Vilnius. Before WWI, Semeliškes had 60 Jewish families, most engaged in trade. The local Jewish community had a synagogue and a religion school (Yavne) in the inter-war period. [March 2009]

MASS GRAVE: In carrying out the order of the German local commander of July 2 1941, the Jewish community in Semeliškes (261 Jews) elected a twelve person Jewish council at the synagogue. Those elected were approved by the German Commander, chief of Semeliškes Rural District and of the Police Station in Semeliškes. In September, the Jews of Semeliškes were moved to a ghetto with the Jews from Vievis and a part of the Jews from Žasliai. They were guarded by local and policemen from Vievis, Žasliai and Žiežmariai. Tax exempt Jews were kept in the synagogue, school, and other large buildings for about two weeks. In early October, about 20 to 30 Security Police and SD special force policemen came from Vilnius with one German who examined the massacre site about 2 km from Semeliškes toward Trakai near the lake where trench was dug, but the German did not like the selected place, so he ordered a trench in another place on the edge of the forest. While the new trench was dug, the killers stayed in Semeliškes. The extermination of Semeliškes Ghetto was carried out on October 6. The policemen took 962 Jews  (213 men, 359 women, and 390 children) to the massacre site in the morning. Other policemen guarded the trench. The special force took small groups of Jews to the trench, told them to lay down in the trench, and shot them. Killings lasted several hours. The shooters were drunk when they returned to Semeliškes. [March 2009]

Near Semeliskes, outskirts of the forest, NE of the township; 176; pic. # 313-314 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2009 12:05