You are here: Home Eastern Europe Lithuania TAURAGE: Tauragė district , Tauragė county
TAURAGE: Tauragė district , Tauragė county PDF Print E-mail

Alternate names: Tauragė [Lith], Tovrik [Yid], Tauroggen [Ger], Taurogi [Pol], Tauraģe [Latv], Taurogen, Tarogen, Tauragės, Taurik, Tavrogi, Tevrig, Tavrig, Tavrik, Russian: Таураге. טאַווריק -Yiddish. 55°15' N, 22°17' E, 34 miles WSW of Raseiniai (Rasayn), 50 miles S of Telšiai (Telz).1900 Jewish population: 3,634. Lite (vol. 1) (New York, 1951).ShtetLink.

Tauragė is situated on the Jūra River, close to the Russian border of the Kaliningrad Oblast and near the Baltic Sea coast. Town History. The first Jew to settle was a leaseholder on a farm in 1589. Before WWI, Taurage was on the Russian-German border,  Close to Germany (seven km) meant the Jews controlled all trade with Prussia. The town, like a permanent market fair for the entire area, saw hundreds of wagons with grain, fowl, and produce transported to Tilsit and Koenigsberg. The timber trade was in Jewish hands. Jews furnished goods to military regiments. The merchants supported kahal institutions. Jewish students studied at the private high school. Jewish artisans, laborers, blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, tailors, brickmasons, and ovenmakers as well as smugglers lived there. 1897 census: 3,634 were Jews (55%) of 6,655 total. Tavrik was tied economically to Koenigsberg and Tilsit and the world until WWI. During WW I (May 1915), retreating Russian soldiers exiled Tavrig Jews to Poltava and Jekaterinoslav gubernias, many of whom did not return to Tavrig. Only four homes were unharmed. Everything changed. 1923 census: 1,777 Jews-32% of 5,470 residents. Tavrik Jewish merchants again ran the lumber market, but the thousands working as flax exporters, in granaries, as the largest providers of geese in Lithuania ended with WWII.

ONLINE VIDEO: Kaunas 9th forth-Saulenai-Sauliai-Joniskis-Taurage-Vainutas-Silute-Telsiai-Mazheiki-Leckava-Bauska (195KB) - Visit the archives in Kaunas, then terrible Nazi prison 9th fort. See the cemetery in Shavlyan, old synagogues in Shavel, Joniskis, Taurage. Jewish cemetery and famous Yeshiva in Telsiai, listen the interview with the leader of community in Yiddish. Leckava- the cemetery and the town. Bauska- views of the old town and the exhibition "Jews in Bauska" in local Museum. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: I was there in June 2007, took photographs, and saw a marker on the site, but houses had been built on the cemetery. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [July 2007]

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

MASS GRAVES: Near the village of Vizbutai, 1 km NW from Taurage; 169; pic. # 290-291 and near the village of Antgunijai, 6 km NW of Taurage; 168-169; pic. # 286-289 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad

Memorial. The German army occupied Tavrig on June 22, 1941, after bombing the town and destroying most of the houses. About 20 Jews were injured. Inhabitants escaped to nearby villages, Shavl and other regional towns in this region. Only a few esaped to Russia. Returning Jews found their homes looted by  Lithuanian neighbors. Lithuanian nationalists and Gestapo detained 300 Jewish men and 25 non-Jewish Communists. The Jewish men were kept in the detention barracks of the 7th Infantry regiment of the former Lithuanian army. On July 2, created an aktion to teach how it was to be done elsewhere. The Jews were brought to the nearby  village of Vizbutai (Vizhbutai) where anti-tank ditches were deepened. Stripped of clothing and valuables, they were forced to kneel at the edge of the ditch. Then the Gestapo men and their Lithuanian collaborators shot them in the back of their necks and pushed them into the ditch. The next group, 122 Jewish men, was murdered on the road to Shilel (Silale) between July 3 and 10. Arrests of Jewish men and abuse of young Jewish women continued no limits to Lithuanian Nazi atrocities. Forced labor and random murders were daily events. A ghetto was set up in incomplete huts in Vytautas Street started by the Soviet army as sheds for trucks. Surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by Lithuanian auxiliary police, food was scarce and hygiene impossible. On September 13, they were told they would move to a place where their conditions would "improve". On September 16 (24 of Elul 5701), trucks transporedt all of them to the Tavrig grove, about 6 km NW of the town, 100-150 meters from the road to Shilel where they were shot by drunken Lithuanian auxiliary policemen. Babies were cut in two or their sculls bashed on trees or rocks and thrown into the pits. They raped girls. 513 old women and children, stripped and robbed, were murdered. Several Jews hid with peasants but were caught. Only a few were left in Tavrig to work at the military command, but several weeks they were murdered. One family was left alive for several more months. About 3,000 men, women and children are buried in the mass graves in the Tavrig grove near the village of Antosunija. Another 900 men and one woman are buried near the village of Vizbutai. [March 2009]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:36
 
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