SVEKSNA: Kovno Print

Alternate names: Švėkšna [Lith], Shvekshna [Yid, Rus], Szweksznie [Pol], Švekšnos, Russian: Швекшна. שוועקשנע-Yiddish.  55°31' N, 21°37' E, in W Lithuania, 24 miles SE of Klaipėda (Memel), 32 miles NW of Tauragė (Tavrig), in Taurage district of western Lithuania near the German border. 1900 Jewish population: 974. See article. One Jew lived on the estate in 1644. A synagogue was built about 1800. The Jews paid taxes to the government. The neighboring village of Kaukiskiai, about 3 km from Sveksna was an estate owned by a Jewish family named Sibutz. [March 2009]

KehilaLink [May 2012]

CEMETERY: The cemetery is located in front of the count's palace. In December 1936, sixty-five tombstones in the Jewish graveyard were desecrated by Lithuanians.

MASS GRAVES: Sveksna Jewish cemetery. Ravines of Siaudvyciai, about 3 km E of Z. Naumiestis; 162-163; pic. # 273. Near the village of lnkakliai, Sveksna county; 163; pic. # 274-275; source: US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.

June 22, 1941, Soviet army officers had moved into the Platter estate, but at 4 AM, a German artillery attack on the estate frightened the Jews, who fled to surrounding villages. The farmers where they hid threw them out. When they returned, the Lithuanians had stolen cows, horses, wagons, and belongings from inside their homes. Germans marched in the town while local sadistic Lithuanians commandos wearing white armbands (Nazi collaborators) tortured and killed Jews and communists almost immediately. On Saturday, June 28, they murdered three Jewish girls in the public park and sent some of the Jewish men to the work camp near Heidekrug. Old people cleaned the streets. Women scrubbed the floors in German and Lithuanian institutions and public out-houses. On Friday, June 27, SS and SD arrived to select Jews for slave labor in Germany and those to murder. Every Jewish male, about 200, above the age of ten with a package of clothing with them and,  a tin spoon and dish was taken to the synagogue yard where they were hit with ropes as the devils decided who was fit for work and took their money, watches, wedding rings, and other valuables. They were all registered amid beating with sticks and ropes. Lithuanian Doctor Bilunas from Sveksna understood that the ones he did not declare fit for work would die so he declared them all healthy and fit. Torahs and holy books were taken to the cemetery and burned. Two transports each with thirty men (total 120 men) went to the work camp Varsmininkin near the town of Heidekrug. The remaining men were taken to others. Jews from Maclitinian and Luicova were brought . On Friday, Shvekshna Jewish women and children were locked in their homes and guarded. Four women and one man were murdered for trying to escape, brought to the cemetery, and buried in a common grave. Some were sent to the concentration camps. Very few survived. Monuments were erected in the two murder sites, the mass graves. One mass grave is near the village of Saudvicai, near Niishtut-Tarvig. The other is near the villages of Inkakliai and Raudishkiai, about six kilometer from Sveksna on the left side of the road. See "Svenksna: Our Town" for a full description of the cruelty and sadism.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 May 2012 00:50