How Jews Were Exterminated in Molėtai: Locked in the Synagogue, Held without Food or Water

Moletų žydai, nužudyti 1941

Excerpts from the book “Molėtai 625 – žmonės, istorija, gamta: [Molėtai 625: People, History, Nature] by Vaidotas Žukas

According to the Lithuanian census of 1923, Molėtai had a population of 1,772, of whom 1,343 were Jews.

Even after Jewish autonomy was abolished in 1926, a very functional Jewish education system remained in place. The Lithuanian state had an interest in having Jews learn Lithuanian as well as Yiddish and Hebrew in order distance them from the influence of the Russian and German languages. The founding of the Lithuanian state allowed Jewish associations and welfare organizations to flourish.

There was a section of the Union of Jewish Soldiers in Molėtai as well where Jewish soldiers who fought for the reestablishment of Lithuanian independence operated. The union supported Jewish interests and was engaged in spreading Lithuanian patriotism among Jews. Also operating in Molėtai were the Palestine Foundation Fund [Keren ha’Yesod] and a local department of the Jewish National Fund [Keren Kayemet LeYisrael]. When the USSR occupied Lithuania in 1940, most Jewish associations, unions and organizations were shut down.

Full story in Lithuanian here.