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Alternate names: Užpaliai [Lith], Ushpol [Yid], Uszpole [Pol], Užpalių, Uzhpalyay, Ušpaliai, Oshpol, Uschpol, Uzpalis, Uzhpol, Ushpal, אוושפּאָל - Yiddish. 55°39' N, 25°35' E, 43 miles NE of Ukmergė (Vilkomir), 10 miles N of Utena (Utiyan). 1897 Jewish population: 691 out of 740 total. ShtetLink. . A Jewish community resided in Užpaliai as early as in the mid-18th century. In 1923, 551 Jews resided in Užpaliai District. 1941 Jewish population was 345, most Jews engaged in trade and crafts. During Lithuanian independence, the wealthier Jews of Meiričkis , Žiūsmanas, and Dovatskis had rather large manufacturing workshops. Most Jewish homes were in the center of the town on Basanavičiaus and Laisves (now Astiko) Streets and in Užtilte. Two synagogues, a cheder, and a mikvah were built on the left bank of the Šventoji River. Relations between Lithuanians and Jews were neighborly in independent Lithuania. Jewish tradesmen often extended credit to them. Tension only appeared in 1940 after the Soviets occupied Lithuania when some of the Jews openly welcomed and supported the Soviets. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: By estimate, 150 graves are in the cemetery off the main road. There is a directional sign, but no fence. Source: Linda Cantor; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Cemetery is in good condition. Myrna Siegel, Wilmette, IL  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it has a list in Hebrew of some names from the men's section.

photos. Most of the stones are early 20th century and do not include family names. Click here for a partial burial list. [March 2009]

MASS GRAVES: On the second day of WWII, a squad of about sixty Lithuanian collaborators ("partisans" or white-bands) formed. They took the militia headquarters and post office and executed the Rural District secretary in the Jewish cemetery. On June 23, NKVD workers and militiamen came to Užpaliai from Utena and liberated 39 communists. A gunfight ensued. The NKVD arrested a few partisans and took them to Utena. When the Soviets retreated the next day, the prisoners were released. Jews were ordered to wear yellow Mogen Davids in their chest and back and were prohibited from walking on pavements or communicating with Lithuanians. Shortly thereafter, all Jews of the town were enclosed in a barbed wire ghetto. Twelve to fifteen local Jews were gunned down in Užpaliai in July at night by local "partisans" (white-bands) in the pine forest owned by Kazys Garunkštis near the Catholic cemetery. Small groups of Jews were shot by local white-bands in the Kaimynai forest and in Dvarašilis. Wealthy Jewish families were shot at night near the Orthodox cemetery and their corpses thrown into potato holes. In Užpaliai, the white-bands killed about 40-50 Jews in total (almost all men). About three hundred other Jews of the town were taken by the white-bands to Utena and executed with Jews of the town and district of Utena in Raše forest on August 29. Jewish property was looted by local white-bands, while less valuable items were later auctioned to the townsmen. In 1939,  approximately 100 Jewish families with about 800 members lived in Uzpaliai. Ten to fifteen people survived. [March 2009]

Forest of Rase, 2 km from Utena; 179-181; pic. # 320-326 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 April 2009 04:21
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