<...> our work doesn‘tstay unnoticed:watchful inhabitantsphoned to JonasKatauskis( localprefect) immediatelywith a question: „ whythose kids are there, inJews cemetery?“.
Such alertnessshows a positiveattitude to thegraveyards thatsomething wrongwon’t happen, thatmonuments stayundamaged at rest
Most of monumentswere taken during thefirst days of expeditionbecause we had beenworking after lessons.Even the afternoonsun helped for ourphotographer AurejaNovogreckyte – thesun lighted up themonuments whichwere turned to thewest side.
The other 13gravestones Aurejaphotographed inthe morning
According to theJews traditions areburial is forbidden.A relocation theremains is called likedisturbing his rest inpeace, it also showsour lack of respect tothat person
Jews don’t cutthe grass incemetries, but thecemeteries dontlook untidy, thetrees and grass givea look of wildnessand peacefulmood...
<...> you won’tfind any flowerthere, also Jewsdont plant it incemeteries unlessthey put stone –the symbol oftimeless, emphasis
In the west sidethe mouds are veryclear. In the eastpart the land ismore plain, thetombstones are setthinly
In accordance with Jewish religious tradition, the deceased person had to be buried on the day of death, before dusk. In Akmene synagogue there was a black wooden coffin with handles on the sides. When someone died, the Jewish undertaker, with horse carriage, brought the coffin to the dead man’s house, put the body inside, closed it and carried it to the three bridges, without any flowers or wreaths. Next to the three bridges (there were three bridges over the
Near the gates of the cemetery there was a wooden shelter, where the ceremony was being performed. A very shallow pit would have been dug there. The body was taken from the coffin, placed into the pit and covered with stones. The empty coffin was returned to the synagogue. After some time, that place turned into the knoll of grass and young trees. The richer Jews used to put a stone slab with an inscription and build a small stone obelisk.”(from the memories of the witness Augustina Rusinaite, written in 2001, Akmene)
Now studentswill search whocould read thoseinscriptions oftombstones
In 1941, at the end of July or at the beginning of Augustall Jews were carried to Mazeikiai. They were devided intwo groups. The police guard was the chiefassistant. Healthy jews were taken onfoot, sick, elderly and children transported by carts. Theywere locked into the barn and were shoot the nextday. Executioners took the part of clothing from thevictims,then went back to Akmene. Some valuable items( watches, shoes, etc.) were taken away from the Jews atthe beginning in the camp before transportation toMazeikiai.
From the „work done’’each executorer earned300 roubles (says Pranas Maigys, who participatedin this execution) - (3, 8-9) „Also we were givenmeals and drinks in Mazeikiai town. Then the nextday, early in the morning, all the rebels from theAkmene were driven home. For shooting inAkmene I got a fur coat, a suit. "- fromS. Cichanavicius testimony of August 28,1958 (3.30).
How to live further , what todo with the bloody earning, how to sit with astranger by the table or to wear this furcoat?
… our generation is watching films,reading,writing and organizing MemoryMenorah on 23rd of September from theautumn leaves on our high school hill..
,,<...>stones leave aloneno one share them–like some heavy furniture,someone is sleeping in the same beds as they did before the deathThey are waiting for kids -now in cemetery...“ Vytautas P. Bloze
Some students of Akmene gymnasium arranged anexpedition to the Jewish cemetery in spring of 2011( May-June months) .They cleaned the gravestones, which werecovered with moss and lichens. They also made somepictures of them. Now the students are looking forsomebody who could read and even decipher theinscriptions on the gravestones. The slides are madeaccording to the material of written memories, which werefound in the written facts about the Holocaust of AkmeneJews. The research work is sacred to the memory of OnaSimaite as the Righteous of the World.
Literature1. Akmene Jews. Akmene gymnasium museum material 2001-20112. Akmene Jews Holocaust . Milda Jakulyte –Vasil produced material in the Inernet according to J. Levinson,,The book of the pain“, Vilnius, 19973. Brandisauskas Valentinas. Mazeikiai region Jews destiny in the Word War years.,,Genocide and rezistence, 2006, 2 (20)4. . Death, recitative and blue butterfly. Lithuanian poets about the Holocaust. Antology. Compose Sigitas Geda, ,,Vaga“, 19995. www.issigelbejesvaikas.lt
Slides of the expedition material andAureja Novogreckyte photos, JurateStoniene photos, created by Rita Ringieneand translated by Dalia Kaziuniene Akmene, 2011