Lithuania -- Jewish cemetery site (with map)

Old Jewish Cemetery, Valbanikas, Lithuania. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

I've just come across this web site about Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania -- which includes a map of all known cemetery locations, photographs from some cemeteries, and reports on efforts to clean some of them up and restore damaged gravestones. The epitaphs on a number of stones are also translated.

I visited a number of Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania in 2006, when I was updating Jewish Heritage Travel -- and most were in rather poor, neglected condition. The tombstones themselves were much less ornately carved than in other countries, such as Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

I have already posted on this blog about my experience visiting the ruined Jewish cemetery in Kalvarija, where my great-grandfather came from -- and about efforts to repair the cemetery and read the gravestones there.

Jewish cemetery in Kalvarija, 2006. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

One of the most interesting (and well maintained) Jewish cemeteries I saw in Lithuania was the old Jewish cemetery in Valbanikas, a village that also has two disused masonry synagogue buildings. Some of the gravestones exhibited carving, and the cemetery was also one of the few that I found actually signposted from the road.

Carved gravestone in Valbanikas. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber
Signpost to Old Jewish Cemetery. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber