Leiba Lipschitz is a walking encyclopedia of Lithuanian Jewish history as well as a participant in some of its more recent sanguine episodes. On the site of the old Jewish cemetery of Siaulai, Leiba pointed out a marker whose inscription read:
"Founded 1701, 1965 officially closed."

Only one or two stones remain; the rest were recycled by the local authorities and used for buildings and the making of steps in public parks.

Siaulai before the war had a Jewish population of 8,500. The Germans sent an additional 5,500 from the Memel region and Poland to the ghetto there. Of the 14,000 total, 8,500 were immediately murdered and put in mass graves. The remaining 5,500 were deemed useful to the Nazi war effort and put to work.

On July first 1943, the SS took over the running of the Siaulai ghetto from the local Lithuanian civil authorities and an additional group was shot. As they Soviet army approached in 1944, those still remaining alive were deported in 4 groups to Stutthof. Another group, which included Leiba then 20, and his father were sent to Dachau. At the Americans approached, they were driven into the Bavarian Alps where their SS guards planned to murder them. Fortunately, they were freed by the American Army's 10th Division. Asked about the future of the Jewish Community, Leiba replied, "There is no future. Cannot be again, and what was, is no longer to be shown."

(Es gibt kein Zukunft. Nicht weider aber dass was war ist auch nicht zu zeigen).

Photos © 1998 Laurence Salzmann

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