Remembering the Holocaust Victims of Panevėžys


The Panevėžys (Ponevezh) Jewish Community has compiled a small book called “Nežudysi” [“You Will Not Kill Us”]. It contains information gathered from issues of the newspaper “Išlaisvintas Panevėžietis” [“Liberated Ponevezher”] published in the early years of World War II. The surviving articles allow us to reconstruct images from the tragic moments the Ponevezh Jewish community experienced at that time. A new city administration was formed in June, 1941, which was led by a commandant and the Nazis. Very quickly a so-called Jewish Quarter was established through which passed more than 13,000 Jews. The ghetto lasted 40 days. All of its inmates were murdered so quickly and efficiently that even now it is impossible to make complete lists of the victims. The book also discusses the small portion of the Jewish population which managed to escape during the first days of war. It also details Jewish property in Panevėžys and its seizure, mass murder sites and Jewish cemeteries. The chapter called “Gatvės vaiduokliai” [“Ghosts of the Street”] tells the story of Joint Street, which the new city administration renamed June 22nd Street in the desire of pleasing the Nazi occupiers. There is also much space devoted to the Righteous Gentiles of Panevėžys who risked their lives to save entire families of Jews. The last part of the book provides a list of documents and articles at Lithuanian archives and libraries awaiting scholarly attention. The text is printed on a red background symbolizing the spilling of the blood of innocents to focus the reader’s attention on the meaning of the text. A ceremony to present the new book is scheduled for January 29, 2016 in Panevėžys.

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