The old Jewish cemetery at Zarzecze gained the state protection. The minister of culture Šarūnas Birutis signed a regulation concerning granting the cemetery a rank of a monument of a cultural heritage. The Department of Cultural Heritage applied for it. Inclusion of an object into the state protection means practically more strict rules of supervision, care and funding.
‘’There are some tombs there and the state protection is necessary. The cemetery is already in a record as a cultural heritage object. Rules of the record are that, according to the object’s meaning, either state or local authorities have to grant their protection to it. In 2014, a parcel of 7, 7 hectare (Olandų Street in Vilnius) was registered as a „Jewish Cemetery at Zarzecze”
Except the cemetery at Zarzecze, a status of an object protected by state was granted to, among others, a complex of Dominican monastery buildings at Lukiškės in Vilnius, the Divine Mother church in Kołtynie, wooden residence at Žvėrynas in Vilnius (33 Pušų Street).
Jewish cemetery at Zarzecze was set up in 1831 after closing the old Jewish cemetery at Pioromont by tsar authorities. The cemetery was created at hills between Zarzecze, Antaklanis and Równe Pole districts. There was a way to the necropolis by Kirkutowa Street (now – Krivių Street) starting from the Krzywe Koło Street ( now Olandų Street). At the east side of the cemetery, there was Złoty Róg Street (now – part of Krivių Street). Originally, it had a square shape, and then it started to expand without any particular plan. Through its center, a wide alley run and a funeral home was built here. During the interwar period, the cemetery was unwooded.
From the beggining of 30s (19th century) to 1948, over 70 thousand of persons was buried at the cemetery at Zarzecze. In years 1905-1906, Jewish workers who died during the anti-tsar demonstrations and founders of the Bund were buried there. In 1958, soviet authorities had ordered removal of gravestones from the cemetery that were later used in construction works in the city, including building of bridgeheads at Wilia and stair steps leading to Bouffał Mountain. Part of graves, including the tomb of “Geon from Wilnius’’, Talmudist and a scholar, Eliasz Zalman, was moved to Sołtaniszki Jewisz Cemetery. In 1973, a funeral hall and a parking were built at Zarzecze.
Tłumaczenie by Aleksandra Nowakowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Aleksandra Nowakowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.