Here, at the seventh kilometer from Yurburg to Smaleninken, was the site of the mass grave of the murdered Yurburg women and children, killed by Lithuanian Hitlerist Nationalists only because they were Jewish.
The mass grave in the forest was hidden from the surrounding world for seventeen years, with not one single sign or monument to commemorate the victims. Only eye witnesses, who hid in the villages, knew about this sad place, and the memories were engraved deep in their minds.
This is how it was all these years from 1941 until 1958.
In 1958, after significant efforts and demands were exerted, the government finally gave its consent to transfer the bones of murdered Yurburg Jews to the Jewish cemetery of Yurburg.
It was Mikhalovsky and his wife, Meigel and his wife, Zelde Frank, Shalom Rizman, Yehudah Fleisher, Yankl Levin, Leibl Elyashev and other Yurberikers who took part in the sacred work of commemorating the dead, after the bones were exhumed and transferred to the Jewish Cemetery.
During the painful process of exhumation everybody could see the scene how "in life and in death we did not part". In the upper rows of heaps of dead bodies only bones were left. In the lower rows entangled human arms were lying covered with lime. Trying to exhume them hands and feet disintegrated .....
This terrible sight remains before my eyes as I am writing these lines and they will never be erased from my mind.
Miriam Mikhalovsky standing by the bones of the martyrs that was exhumed from the mass
grave near Smaleninken before they were brought for burying at the cemetry in Yurburg.
The bones of the murdered at the seventh kilometer between Yurburg and Smaleninken, were exhumed
by the survivors from the death pits and brought to a mass grave at the Jewish cemetry in Yurburg
1960, Yurburg survivors, living in Lithuania, came to associate with the memorial of the martyrs,
who were murdered by the Nazis. The monument was established by Yurburg municipality.
I dreamt a dream,
I have no people, my people
Are no longer.
I woke up with a cry-
Has come true!
"God in heaven!"
I tremble and implore:
Why and what for
Did my people die?
Why and what for
Died in vain?
Not in war,
Not in battle . . .
Young boys, old men,
Women and children too -
They are no longer, no longer
I am shrouded by sorrow
Day and night
Why, my Master?
Why, oh Lord?
Yitzhak Katzenelson (1886 -1943), born in Lithuania (see the song "My Lithuania" in the Book of Remembrance page 91). He went from Lithuania to Poland when he was young. He was a well- known educator, author and poet. Many of his poems became folk songs. He took part in the uprising against the Nazis at the Warsaw ghetto. At the Vitel concentration camp in France he wrote the terrible song of lamentation - "The song about the Jewish people that was murdered", one of the most important creations about the Holocaust. He died in Auschwitz.
Holocaust survivors in Lithuania invited her to visit them in Israel and she accepted. She came to Israel to see her friends in Israel and express the ongoing spiritual relationship that had been created with them.
It was an emotional visit for her and for those she saved.
Before she returned to Lithuania I asked her to take along some soil that I had collected near my home in Givataim and flower seeds and give these to the few Jews, Holocaust survivors, in Yurburg.
Mrs. Binkiana graciously accepted my request, and when she returned the people in Yurburg received the bag of soil and flower seeds of the fatherland. On memorial day they scattered the soil over the mass graves of the victims of destruction. They also scattered the flower seeds there so that flowers from the Hebrew fatherland would grow on their graves in the foreign country.
From now on the flowers of the fatherland will grow on the graves of the martyrs who were killed by evil men and the flowers will glorify the names of our loved ones like memorial candles - they did not have the good fortune to come to the land of the Jews and realize their life's dream - to live there and rebuild the country.
Oh, that my head were waters
and mine eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people
Jeremiah 8: 23
The bitter fate was a terrible disappointment for the Yurburg Jewish community, indeed for all the communities of Israel in Lithuania and Europe.
When the enemy soldiers raised the hatches of destruction, they did not distinguish between man and woman, young and old. All, yes all of them were sent like sheep to slaughter to the pits of death in the Shwentshani forest, the cemetery, on the road to Raseinai and other places.
Ho, headsman, bared the neck - come cleave it Through!
Nape me this cur's nape! Yours is the axe unbaffled!
The whole wide world - my scaffold!
And rest you easy; we are weak and few.
My blood is outlaw. Strike, then; the skull dissever!
Let blood of babe and graybeard stain your garb -
Stain to endure forever!
H. N. Bialik (In the City of Slaughter)
After World War II the few Yurburg survivors in Kovna, Vilna and other places, organized an annual trip to the mass graves of the Yurburg martyrs in the Shwentshani forest. Thanks to the efforts of the Yurburg survivors it was finally possible to transfer the bones of the dead from the mass graves in Shwentshani to the old cemetery in town.
We remember the innocent beings of our loved ones
who were murdered in cold blood
we will remember them always, for
the pain is great and there is no solace.
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