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Žiežmariai

Žiežmariai, Troki County, Lithuania

To enlarge the map click here The synagogue in Žiežmariai The synagogue in Žiežmariai YVA, Photo Collection 211AO3

Žiežmariai was one of the oldest Jewish communities in Lithuania, dating back to the sixteenth century. In 1940, on the eve of Lithuania’s annexation to the Soviet Union, the 200 Jewish families of the town made up nearly 50 percent of the total population. Most of the town’s Jews earned their living from trade, crafts, small factories and agriculture.
Following Lithuania’s annexation to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940, all (largely Jewish-owned) private businesses in Žiežmariai were nationalized. The local Hebrew school was closed and Zionist activities were strictly forbidden.
The German army occupied Žiežmariai on June 24, 1941. Local nationalists took over the town and launched an assault on the Jewish inhabitants, accusing them of shooting Lithuanians. They looted the Jews’ possessions and murdered several Jewish men. On August 27-28, 1941, Einsatzkommando 3a, commanded by Karl Jaeger, and the Lithuanian auxiliary police murdered the Jewish population of Žiežmariai along with Jews from Kaisiadorys and Žasliai. The town’s remaining Jewish women and children were murdered on August 29, 1941.
The Red Army liberated Žiežmariai in the summer of 1944.