1 Execution site(s)
Antanas P., born in 1935, shares his memories about the German occupation: “About 600 women and children were brought to the camp from Skuodas. They had to walk 60 kilometers to reach the camp. Those who couldn’t continue walking were killed on the way.”
(Witness N°87, interviewed in Tarvydai, on October 13, 2014)
The village known as Tarvydai has existed since the 16th century. In the 19th century, a manor was built in the village and named Dimitravas after its owner, Dmitrij Zubov. There is no information that Jews had ever lived there. In 1937-1940, at the time of Lithuania’s independence, a forced labor camp was built in Dimitravas. Political prisoners, mainly communists, were sent there along with criminal offenders. They were employed in collecting and breaking up the stones that were later transported by railway to different Lithuanian towns and were used for paving roads and streets. The camp had an administration building, three barracks and a number of workshops. It was surrounded by a barbed wire fence with watchtowers. When the Soviets occupied Lithuania in 1940, they released most of the prisoners and closed the camp, but its operation was resumed by the Germans when the war started in June 1941.
Soviet officials and activists became the first inmates of the Dimitravas Camp under the German occupation. Later, at the end of July 1941, about 500 Jewish women and children were brought there from Skuodas, located 40 km away. The inmates arrived, exhausted, after traveling this distance on foot in two days. They were placed in two barracks and stayed there for a couple of weeks. By mid-August, several pits were dug in the nearby forest of Joskaudai, on the Alka Hill. The mass execution of Jews started on August 15 and lasted until the next morning. Victims were brought to the pits in groups, undressed, pushed inside the pits and shot. About 40 young Jewish women were left in the camp to do farm work, but they were also shot a month later near Darbėnai, alongside the local Jews. In late 1944, Soviet government inspected the execution place at Alka Hill and found four pits containing the bodies of 385 women, 94 adolescents and 31 children (510 victims in total). The children’s bodies had no bullet wounds.
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