|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|