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File:LIT Skaudwile COA.jpg Alternate names: Skaudvilė [Lith], Skadvile [Rus], Shkodvil [Yid], Skaudwile [Pol], Shkudvil, Skodvil, Būgai, שקודוויל-Yiddish. 55°25' N, 22°37' E, 17 miles NE of Tauragė (Tavrig), 20 miles W of Raseiniai (Rossieny), in western Lithuania near the Russian border at Kaliningrad. Shtetlink. Jewish presence dates from at least 1816. By 1820, a Jewish community existed and built  small yeshiva. Jewish population: 1847-204; 1897-1,012 (72%); and 1939: 1,017 (60%). The town burned down in 1922, 1931, and 1937 and was rebuilt in 1938-39. This township seat has three houses of worship: Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Evangelical Lutheran, a hospital, and secondary school. In 1857, Czar Nicholas I ordered all Jews who resided less than 33 miles from the Prussian border to go further inside Russia. Nineteen small communities refused including Skaudvile. The poor village with some shops and artisans was known for its Torah scholars of the Musar movement. The Russian Government rescinded the order. A few Jewish farmers raised cows, horses, and chickens and grew corn, rice, grains to sell at the Tuesday market. The small  Samogitian horse was breed for work in the coal mines. In 1940, Russian soldiers took over the area. Shkudvil Jews felt safer since the Republic of Lithuania was overtly anti-Semitic. Lithuanian nationalists resented the Russians and the nationalizing of everything of worth.  [March 2009]

CEMETERY: The cemetery is inactive. The Jewish community was Orthodox-Hassidic. The cemetery location is rural (agricultural) and isolated. A sign in Hebrew, for which I have a picture of a stone at entrance, marks the cemetery. Also a Star of David is on the fence gate. The cemetery is reached by turning directly off a public road. A broken fence and a gate that does not lock surround the site. The current cemetery size is 3 acres. I have photos of the four remaining granite and sandstone gravestones. Most likely the stones removed from the cemetery were reused in the Lithuanian Cemetery. The remaining gravestones are flat stones with carved relief decoration with Hebrew or Yiddish inscriptions. The present owner of the cemetery property is unknown. The cemetery property is now used for Jewish cemetery purposes only. Properties adjacent to the cemetery are residential. The cemetery is visited rarely. Current Care: occasional clearing or cleaning by individuals. Currently, the cemetery is maintained at a very basic level by, I believe, the town. However, the land is at outskirts of the town's residential area and could become a building site. The vegetation overgrowth in the cemetery is a constant problem. Additional notes that may help clarify confusion. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 105 Cedar Lane, Jamesville, NY 13078, (315) 446-5023 completed the survey forms for these sites. [date? before 1997]

Cemetery photos, map, and burial list. [September 2011]

MASS GRAVES: 590 Jews on June 22, 1941. Only 11 escaped in the Puzai forest, 4 km from Skaudvile; 170; pic. # 292-293. Forest of Gryblaukis, 22 km NE of Taurage; 170; pic. # 294 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad [October 2000]

  1. City of Upyna: 1.5 km SE of Upyna: One hundred victims buried including the village leaders of Shkudvil and Jews of Upyna murdered in June and July of 1941.
  2. Puzai Forest: four kilometers from Shkudvil where 300 were murdered in July 21. Puzai Forest is just outside the city limits of Shkudvil with another town or village near it.
  3. Batakiai in the Gryblaukis Forest: 22 km NE of Tavrig off the Tavrig-Shkudvil road where 1,800 elderly, women, and children were murdered September 15. Since the number of Jews killed in Batakiai exceeds the Shkudvil Jewish population, Jews from other areas were murdered there.

The Germans arrived in Shkudvil on the afternoon of June 22 or 24, 1941. The Russians either surrendered or quickly retreated. Everything was quiet for the next two or three weeks, but on July 16, Lithuanian auxiliary police and Einsatzkommandos gathered all people of Shkudvil together at the town center. They separated Jews and non-Jews. The non-Jews were all told to go home. The Jews were harassed and tortured. Some were killed there. The Jewish men were forceably separated from the women and children. Many were kicked and beaten. The men were walked a few kilometers south into the Puzai Forest and shot. Only a very few were able to escape. On July 21, some of the communal leaders were taken to the cemetery of Upyna and brutally murdered with Upyner Jews.A few days after the men were murdered, a long row of empty wagons entered Shkudvil and stopped at every Jewish home for older people, women, and children to take them to the train station in Batakiai (Batok). Germans and Lithuanians still hunted the few Jewish escapees. Most were caught and taken to the village of Upyna and killed. The elderly, women, and children were kept at Batok where the stronger ones worked for Lithuanian farmers. Guarded by Lithuanian auxiliary police and constantly being harassed by Lithuanian gangs, in the middle part of September, some Lithuanian guards told the prisoners that they were to be killed soon. Many woman tried to escape, but only a few succeeded. Most were either captured or shot. On September 15, the remaining 800 Jews were taken to the Gryblaukis forest, 22 km NE of Taurig and murdered in the darkness of a cold night in the forest. Fewer than ten survivors are known. [March 2009

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:32
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