Lithuania is often referred to as the cradle of Eastern European Jewish culture where a large vibrant Jewish community once flourished. This community’s rich cultural and religious traditions were eliminated during the Holocaust. According to various estimates, in pre-war Lithuania there were between 200-240 Jewish cemeteries. Today, the majority of them are forgotten and neglected. New buildings were built on top of, or next to, some old cemetery sites, and gravestones have often been used as construction materials. Time ruthlessly ravages old graves. These sites often become the target of attacks by vandals. Because of lack of funds and initiative, old Jewish cemeteries are quickly disappearing and the memories of Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews) who are buried there will disappear as well.
A Jewish cemetery in Lithuania is not simply a burial place. It is part of Lithuanian history and culture.