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Commemoration of Jewish Victims

Wood sculpture by Yaakov Bunka Wood sculpture by Yaakov Bunka YVA, Photo Collection, 2718 Wood sculpture by Yaakov Bunka Wood sculpture by Yaakov Bunka Courtesy The Center for Jewish Art, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Yaakov Bunka near one of his wood sculptures Yaakov Bunka near one of his wood sculptures Courtesy The Center for Jewish Art, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Wood sculptor Yaakov Bunka near the memorial at the Kausenai murder site Wood sculptor Yaakov Bunka near the memorial at the Kausenai murder site Courtesy The Center for Jewish Art, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

After the war, a tombstone was erected at the mass graves in Kausenai. In 1976, the mayor of Plunge asked Yaakov Bunka, a folk artist born in Plunge, to honor the town’s murdered Jews. Bunka fashioned a 4.2-meter-high cedar sculpture of a man with bound hands and torn clothing. It was erected quietly at night.
In 1986, with the Soviet grip on the area loosening, Bunka created a four-meter monument of a family surrounded by branches and roots representing growth. The sculpture is made from oak, symbolizing strength. Sixty Soviet soldiers installed the massive memorial. Over the next three years, Bunka created eight more Holocaust-themed oak statues. Each year, on the last week of July, Jews from all over Lithuania gather to remember the victims.