Kalveliai | Vilnius

/ General view of the town © Katherine Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum Before the war, Kalveliai was populated mostly by Jews who ran various businesses and traded cattle with local farmers © Katherine Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum Zygmunt, born in 1931, shows the Yahad team the site of former barracks where the Jews lived while working in the labor camp © Katherine Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum Helena, born in 1926, remembers Jews from the labor camp coming to the village to ask for food © Katherine Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum Helena still keeps a handbag she received as a present from a Jewish woman from the labor camp © Katherine Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum The Yahad-In Unum team investigating in Kalveliai © Katherine Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum The pit was dug by the Jews themselves, just beside the barracks © Katherine Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jewish inmates in Kalveliai labour camp

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:

Witness interview

Helena, (born in 1926) shared her memories during the interview:
"Y.U.: What kind of place was the site of the barracks before the Jews were gathered there?
Witness: A merchant, named Pisyuk, used to live in Kalveliai, not far from the current customs office. He was also Jewish. He owned those barracks. It was known as the Shnury settlement.
Y.U.: Did you ever pass by the camp or the barracks when the Jews were imprisoned there?
Witness: We used to go to Kalveliai and Lavoriškės. We lived on a farmstead back then and we passed that place quite often. But I didn‘t think much about what was happening there.
Y.U.: Were the barracks fenced in?
Witness: No, they were not fenced in before the Jews were taken there.
Y.U.: And were they fenced in when the Jews were imprisoned there?
Witness: Yes, they were fenced in with barbed wire."
(Witness N°55, interviewed in Kalveliai, on April 3rd 2014)

Historical note

The history of Kalveliai dates back to the end of the 19th century, when a railway was constructed through the territory and peat extraction began nearby. Before WWII, Jews made up more than half of the town’s population. They ran shops, a bathhouse, a bakery, an inn and other businesses. There was also a synagogue in Kalveliai. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

According to witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Jews of Kalveliai were brought away from the town on foot and shot elsewhere in the Vilnius region, most likely in Paneriai or Vėliučionys. In 1942, a provincial labour camp, as part of the Vilnius ghetto, was established in the Margiai peat bog, several kilometers northwest of Kalveliai, near the Nemėžėlė village. 320 Jews worked there in May 1943. The camp was liquidated on July 8th, 1943, under the direction of Oberscharführer Bruno Kittel, the head of the Gestapo in Vilnius. He arrived at the camp and gave a speach encouraging the Jews to work and to avoid contact with Soviet partisans active in the region. But once Kittel left the barracks, they were attacked with grenades. A mass execution by machine-gun was later carried out nearby. 240 Jews were killed that day, including men, women and children.

Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania

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