In the very center of Kretinga town, a monument to Berek Yoselevitz stands, which is a unique example in Lithuania how to commemorate the specific historical figure and his symbolic moral values. At the same time, this monument connects Jewish, Lithuanian, Polish, and French cultures and historical narratives.
This 2-and-a-half-meter tall monument is dedicated to Berek Yoselevitz (1764-1809). Berek was born in Kretinga, he worked as a tradesman, yet he is best known for his contributions in the Polish-Lithuanian uprisings against the Russian Empire. In 1794, during the T. Kościuszko uprising, the T. He formed and commanded the first Jewish military unit in modern history. At his request, this military unit followed the traditional Jewish religious customs. After the unsuccessful battles, B. Yoselevitz moved to France and as an officer, he joined the ranks of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, where he continued his fight for the values of freedom. For his courage, he received the highest military awards: Polish Virtuti Militari and French Legion of Honor Orders. He died in the battle in 1809.
Monument to Berek Yoselevitz is also called a column of freedom. It was unveiled in 2015. Monument author Gintautas Jonkus chose different symbols from Jewish, Lithuanian, Polish, and French culture commemorating the memory of the famous warrior, connecting not only different cultures, but to common universal values of freedom, courage, and self-sacrifice.
Litvak Memorial Garden
Historical Jewish Quarter of Plungė
Kretinga Jewish Quarter, called “Jewish New town”
Historical Jewish Quarter of Palanga