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Olkieniki

Olkieniki, Vilna-Troki County, Vilna District, Poland (today Valkininkai) , Lithuania )

To enlarge the map click here A Synagogue in Olkieniki A Synagogue in Olkieniki YVA, Photo Collection 204BO5

The Jewish settlement in Olkieniki began in the second half of the 17th century. At the end of the 19th century the number of Jews reached 1,100, almost half of the total population. Following World War I the town was included within the borders of Poland. By 1925 number of Jews decreased to about 800. At that time a Hebrew school and a small yeshivah were operating.
The Jews in Olkieniki made their living from commerce, small business, and crafts. Factories that had been destroyed during World War I were rebuilt and employed 200 workers.
With the German-Soviet pact and the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Vilna District became part of the independent Lithuanian state. At the end of June 1940 Lithuania was annexed to the Soviet Union and all shops and private businesses, most of them owned by Jews, were nationalized. During this period a large number of Jewish refugees from Poland found refuge in Olkieniki.
On June 23, 1941 the German army entered Olkieniki. Two days later, while flying toward the eastern front, a German airplane bombed the town, starting a fire that destroyed a large part of the Jewish neighborhood. This led some local Jews to seek shelter in the surrounding villages.
Shortly after the Germans occupied the town, its Jews were ordered to wear the Jewish badge, forbidden to use the sidewalks, and ordered to elect a Jewish council. In addition, many of them were taken for forced labor.
At the end of September 1941, by Rosh Hashanah, the town’s Jews had been sent to the nearby town of Ejszyszki, where they were shot, along with the Jews of other localities in the area.
The Red Army entered to Olkieniki in July 1944.