Skuodas | Klaipėda

Jewish family in Skuodas, in 1922 © www.fisherfamily.za.net Members of the “Ha - Shomer Ha - Tsa’ir” youth movement from the local chapter in Skuodas © www.fisherfamily.za.net Building that housed a Jewish elementary school and the Jewish community committee in Skuodas © Yad Vashem Photo Archive / Ambiance in the outskirts of the town today © Katherine Kornberg – Yahad - In Unum The old Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Skuodas © Katherine Kornberg – Yahad - In Unum Valerijonas V. saw the Jews being lined up on the edge of the pit and two German officers photographing them © Katherine Kornberg – Yahad - In Unum Witness Petronėlė L., born in 1925, saw a truck with Jewish children arriving at the shooting site in Kulai © Katherine Kornberg – Yahad - In Unum The shootings in Skuodas took place next to the Hall of the Riflemen’s Union © Katherine Kornberg – Yahad - In Unum Witness Valerijonas V. (born in 1924) shows the Yahad - In Unum team the mass execution place he was chased away from just seconds before the shooting started © Katherine Kornberg – Yahad - In Unum Hundreds of Jews were shot outside Skuodas, in the gravel pits near the village of Kulai © Katherine Kornberg – Yahad - In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Skuodas

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Town
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944

Witness interview

Witness Valerijonas V., born in 1924, recollects: “When the column turned towards the execution site, we took another path leading to it. When the Jews were brought to the site, we stayed about 100 meters away from the pit. We could see people well and distinguish men from women. But I didn’t see any people who I knew. I knew many Jews from Skuodas, but I didn’t see any of them at the pit.” (Witness N°99, interviewed in Aleksandrija, on October 10, 2014)

Soviet archives

"...From the first day of the treacherous invasion of the German Fascist army to Kretinga Uyezd on June 22, 1941, mass arrests and extermination of Soviet civilians began in the city of Kretinga, the towns of Salantai, Palanga, Gargždai, Skuodas, Mosėdis and other inhabited localities of Kretinga Uyezd. […] In the town of and volost of Skuodas, 1206 men, women and children were shot and tortured to death." [Report of the commission to investigate crimes committed by German invaders in Kretinga Uyezd, compiled on April 11, 1945, RG-22.002M.7021-94]

Historical note

Jews settled in Skuodas in the 17th century, some of them arrived there as refugees of the massacres carried out by Ukrainian Cossacks in 1648-1649. Apart from commerce and craftsmanship, the Jews of Skuodas also engaged in farming and industry, and developed trade links with Riga and Liepaja. During the inter-war, local factories produced about 400 pairs of shoes daily and sold them throughout Lithuania. The town had several synagogues, Beit Midrash, Hebrew and Yiddish schools. Cultural life flourished around the Jewish library, choir and dramatic club. In 1939, about 2500 Jews lived in Skuodas, making up about half of the total population.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The arrests and mass executions of Jews in Skuodas started at the end of June 1941, days after the occupation of the town by German forces. Witnesses interviewed by Yahad - In Unum testified that Jews from Mosėdis and other surrounding villages were brought to Skuodas as well. Jewish men, imprisoned in the Hall of Riflemen’s Union, were shot in groups of several dozen people in several locations in the town (near the Hall and at the Jewish cemetery), as well as in gravel pits close to the village of Kulai, 2 km west of Skuodas. By the middle of July, only 20 Jewish men were left in the Hall of Riflemen’s Union. About 500 Jewish women and children were kept in the Skuodas synagogue until the end of July, and then they were escorted on foot to the Dimitravas camp, 41 km from Skuodas. The walk took two days, and guards shot those who could not proceed on the road itself, forcing locals to bury the victims. After the arrival at the camp, women and children were accommodated in two wooden barracks and shot at the foot of Alka Hill several weeks later, on August 15. 20 Jewish men who were left in Skuodas were shot on the same day.

Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania

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