The old Jewish cemetery in Zapyškis


When Nazis occupied Lithuania in the summer of 1941, all Jews of Zapyškis had been murdered. But the long history of local Jews could be torn out of this land – even after 80 years from this tragedy there are traces of Jewish life in this region. One of such historical places – the old Jewish cemetery in Zapyškis.

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There are not many tombstones left in the old Jewish cemetery in Zapyškis, so it is difficult to identify when exactly this cemetery had been used. It might have been the only Jewish cemetery in this town, so its history could have started with the settlement of the small Jewish community in this area in the middle of the 16th century. A town on the banks of Nemunas river was attractive to Jewish merchants and craftsmen, eventually, Jews constituted about half of the town`s population. In 1923 there were 589 inhabitants in Zapyškis, and 293 of them were Jewish. During the interwar period, Jews in Zapyškis had a synagogue, primary school, and Bal-Machshoves cultural association-library.  During the Nazi occupation in 1941 Jews from Zapyškis were either killed in town or transferred to Kovno ghetto, where the same fate awaited them later. Mass murders in Zapyškis were executed next to Jewish cemetery.


The old Jewish cemetery in remote Zapyškis is not blooming with visitors and there are no accidental passers-by. It might be the reason, why there still are about 60 original tombstones with engravings in Hebrew. Although the territory of this cemetery is relatively abandoned, Zapyškis Jewish cemetery is officially registered in Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Registry. However, we suggest registering this cemetery to Your travel plans while visiting Jewish heritage sites in Lithuania!  Do not forget to visit Zapyškis town, which was once a town with a striving Litvak community, on the way as well.


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Historical Jewish quarter in Vilkija

Wooden synagogue in Žiežmariai

Historical Jewish quarter in Kaišiadorys

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