Marijampole Old Jewish Cemetery
The cemetery was demolished in the interwar period.
It is likely that Jews began to settle in Marijampolė (Pl. Mariampol, Yid. מאַריאַמפּאָל) in the early 18th century. At first the Jews only lived on the left bank of the Šešupė , but began to move to the right bank towards the end of the 18th century. Zionist ideas spread as early as in the 1880s. Activists of the Bund openly opposed Zionism and disrupted Zionist events. In 1897, the Jewish population was 3,268, or 48% of the total. In 1915, the local Jews were accused of sympathising with the Germans and were forced to repair roads in the area as a punishment. According to the first census of the Independent Lithuanian state, there were 2,545 Jews in Marijampolė, or 27% of the total population, in 1923. In the interwar period, the community maintained two Hebrew primary schools, several libraries. The Hebrew high school, opened in 1919, was the first in the Diaspora, its former students went on to play important roles in the educational system of Israel. To name one, Baruch Ben Yehuda (1894–1990) served as the first director general of the Ministry of Education in Israel. The Jewish People’s Bank (Folksbank) had a branch in the town. At the time of the Soviet occupation in 1940, there were about 2,800 Jews in Marijampolė. After the German invasion in 1941, the Jews were confined in the synagogue precinct, where they were abused and taken to forced labour. On September 1, they were shot together with thousands of Jews from neighbouring towns.