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ZARASAI: Zarasai district, Utena PDF Print E-mail

Alternate names: Zarasai [Lith], Ezsherene [Yid], Novo-Aleksandrovsk [Rus, 1836-1918], Jeziorosy [Pol], Sarasen [Ger], Ežerėnai [Lith, 1919-29], Ezhereni [Yid], Ezherena, Ezherene, Ezreni, Novo Alexandrovsk, Russian: Ново-Александровск. עזערעני, Yiddish. In Yiddish, the town called Ezhereni was taken from the Lithuanian word for lakes. During the 19th century, in the Russian Empire, the town was named NovoAlexandrovsk in honor of Tsar Alexander. 55°44' N, 26°15' E. in NE Lithuania, 74 miles E of Panevėžys (Ponevezh), 15 miles SW of Daugavpils (Dvinsk), Latvia in the most northern corner of Lithuania on the Latvian border. 1900 Jewish population: 3,562.  A flourishing commercial town dwindled due to WWI border changes that shrunk it. Novo Aleksandrovsk (Russian) before WWI when the largest part (under Polish rule) was cut off from the countryside's dense network of lakes and nearby town Dinaburg (Dvinsk, Daugavpils). Pre-WWI population of 9,000 Jews, Lithuanians, Pole and Russians was 4,200 after. The majority of Jewish children attended the Lithuanian commercial high school. [March 2009]

New Cemetery: Still in use. Maintained by the town in very good condition. Source [Nov 2000]

Old Cemetery: Zarasai has a huge lake in the center of town. The old cemetery is on a very beautiful peninsula with stones in relatively good condition. On one of the peninsulas going into the lake are around 400 tombstones, a dozen ohels (mausoleums for no better word) with stones from 1870-1920. They are in good condition with little vandalism but briars surround. We could see about 80 stones, but more were completely overgrown in the woods. The other, newer and still-active cemetery is maintained in excellent condition by the town. Tombstones number around 130 graves. Source for both cemeteries: Henry & Marion Bernstein; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

"The old one is on a very beautiful peninsula. The stones were in relatively good condition. We could see about 80 stones, but more were in the woods and were completely overgrown. Source [Nov 2000]

MASS GRAVE: Forest of Krakyne, Deguciai county; 190-191; pic. # 348-350 US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. Possibly three Jewish cemeteries exist/ed as shown on a map in Zarasai Museum in the town center. 767 Jewish men, 1,113 women, 687 children.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 August 2009 18:04
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