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Alternate names: Liudvinavas [Lith], Ludvinove [Yid], Ludwinów [Pol], Lyudvinov, Lyudvinavas, Lyudvinav, Ludvinavas, Liudvinav, Ludvinova, Lidvinov, Liodvinova, 54°29' N, 23°21' E, 36 miles SW of Kaunas (Kovno), 31 miles NNE of Suwałki (Suvalk), 6 miles S of Marijampolė (Maryampol), 7 miles NE of Kalvarija (Kalwarja). 1900 Jewish population: 369.  Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), V, pp. 475-476: "Ludwinów" #29. The community was established at the beginning of the 18th century, but was first known as Magdeburgh settled by manufacturers In 1781. A Jewish community was established. "A Journey Back to the Shtetl": "Liudvinavas was founded in 1710 and opened to Jews as a shtetl in 1780, one year before the founding of Los Angeles. Jews thrived because they had civil rights that were uncommon for Jews elsewhere. They could sue, for example, and own property. In 1856, the town had 473 Christian inhabitants and 1,055 Jews. ... By the end of the 1930s, only 19 Jewish families ... remaining...A barn occupies the site of the old synagogue." See the photos of the town and Jewish buildings. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: The former Jewish cemetery, now a city park on a wooded ravine, shows no evidence of having ever been a cemetery except for a very few gravestone fragments with Yiddish inscriptions that are almost entirely concealed in the undergrowth among the trees. The Christian cemeteries are immaculately tended. [March 2009]

HOLOCAUST: Jews from Ludvinova (Liudvinavas) and other surrounding localities were brought to the barracks in Marijampole. On Monday, 9 Elul, 5701 (September 1, 1941), 7,000 to 8,000 Jews and 1,000 other people were murdered in the valley next to Suspe River. They were buried in eight previously dug trenches, each 70 meters long by 3 meters wide. The mass murders by Lithuanians among them many high school and university students continued from 10 o'clock a.m. until 4 p.m. The men, naked, were brought to the trenches in groups of between 100 and 200, forced to lie in rows and shot from above by machine guns. Chaos marked the murder of the women and children as drunken murderers pushed them into the pits and smashed the skulls of the children with clubs and spades. Eyewitnesses, Lithuanian workers brought the following day to cover the trenches, said that the earth continued to move for days. [March 2009

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 03:08
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