Calls to Lithuania to Halt Excavation and Desecration of WWII Mass Kevorim


Snipisek Jewish Cemetery in VilnaVilnius – Jewish groups are appealing to the Lithuanian government to halt the excavation and desecration of WWII era mass kevorim in Šiauliai.

Local authorities were quoted in the press that they decided to excavate the remains – found during road construction – and conduct anthropological testing, which is prohibited by halachah.

“In accordance with halacha — Jewish Law — and indeed, common human values of all humankind, and the ethical standards of the European Union, the people murdered by the Nazis deserve to be left intact where they perished,” Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, chief rabbi of Lithuania, wrote in a statement. “I ask you to immediately halt the works underway to disturb and move the remains of these hundreds of victims of the Lithuanian Holocaust, and to preserve the grave precisely where it stands.”

The plea of Rabbi Burshtein created an outcry worldwide. Rabbinic organizations contacted the Lithuanian authorities to halt the desecration of the kevorim.

Asra Kadisha – the organization that is active to protect Jewish cemeteries worldwide and is currently fighting to stop the renovation of a sports palace in the Snipisek Jewish cemetery – contacted US authorities to intervene to preserve the mass graves.

“Unfortunately, there is a total disconnect between the words and deeds of Lithuanian authorities. At a time when they are forming commissions and organizing conferences to preserve the Jewish heritage, the opposite is happening on the ground. We appeal to the Lithuanian authorities to fulfill their various commitments to honor and fully preserve the little that was left from the once-glorious Vilnius and Lithuanian Jewry, their cemeteries and rest-places,” said Rabbi Lazar Stern, NY Chairman of Asra Kadisha. “We call upon Lithuanian descendants and world-Jewry to contact the Lithuanian Embassies in their respective countries and the Lithuanian government to ask them to fully preserve the Jewish rest-places in their country – including the mass grave in Šiauliai, and cancel plans to renovate and reestablish an entertainment center in the Snipisek Jewish cemetery.”

{Gavriel Newscenter}


  1. Before we shout and scream, and make impossible demands, whatever happened to the first Jewish cemetery in America? What happened to the second and to the third ? Plainly, we are in golus and we must work with local governments – not fight with them. Where there no Jewish residents left, we must preserve as much as we can, not provoke local municipalities to ignore us altogether and go ahead in doing whatever they want in spite of us. What does Chazal teach us about Darkei Sholom ??

  2. Gershon if it were your remains that were there and you knew what’s at stake I highly believe you wouldn’t speak like that. We are not provoking the authorities just trying to do a big mitsva

  3. My grandparents, and my uncle and aunt and their children are “buried” in Shavl. They were murdered by their neighbors. Some of the people that witnessed that event, maybe participants, are still alive. Darkei Sholom? Don’t annoy them??? Are you kidding me? You think they’ll like us if we’re nice to them? They’ll like us burned alive and ripped to pieces with knives and iron bars, just as they always liked us.

  4. How can you expect better, when in Eretz Yisroel they allow Har Haziezim to be vandalized on a daily basis??? If the Yidden themselves wont protect their own cemetery in Yerushalayim, everything else pales in comparison!

  5. Reb Eliezer, if you’re talking to the very people who murdered your parents, you need psychological help. If you’re talking to an entity that would work with you, then alternatives have to be explored and presented. Reburial is not totally foreign to halacha.