The Shavli Ghetto
The Ghettos in Šiauliai(Shavli);
The Lithuanians succeded in killing over 2000 Šiauliai Jews before the incarceration of the remaining Jews in the two Ghettos, one in the Kafkaz area and the other in the Traku neighborhood, about 500 meters away. The Ghetto gates closed behind about 5500 Jews that were crammed in an area of about 8000 square meters of living space; 1.5 m per person. The guards of the Ghetto perimeter were Lithuanians.
The Initial Killings in the Ghetto
Immediately following the incarceration of the Jews in the Ghetto started a series of new killings: 47 children of the Jewish orphanage including their teacher, 150 old and sick, 50 members of the intelligencia, another 90 people, 750 additional victims and more. Most of them were driven to the prepared pits in the Kužiai forest and killed there.
Work in the Ghetto
The majority of the Jews in the Ghetto were employed, about 750 people, in the Frenkel leather factory. In addition Jews worked at the local airport widening the landing strips,others worked in various workshops founded by the Ghetto administration and the derived income was used for the benefit of the Ghetto residents. Part of this income was used to found the hospital in the Kafkaz Ghetto area.
The "Quiet" Period
In the Šiauliai Ghetto just like in the Ghettos of Kaunas and Vilnius there was a „quiet period” between January 1942 till about September 1943. There were occasional incidents that ended in murder but considering the circumstances it was quiet and was exploited by the residents for cultural and educational purposes.
Cutural and Educational Activity
There were two schools in the Ghetto. Youth organizations sprung up, among them Hechalutz, Beitar, Communists and a non political organization embracing all of them called Hadasa numbering about 120 young people.
The Ghetto Becomes a Concentration Camp
The Šiauliai Ghetto becomes a concentration camp. The Kafkaz Ghetto was liquidated, five external camps were erected and the inmates were dispersed among the various camps. In November 1943 the infamous children’s action took place, 574 children, 191 older people, 26 invalids and 4 women taken away and killed. A similar action took place in the outlying camps with the same results.
Liquidation of the Siauliai (Shavli) Ghetto
At the beginning of July 1944 all the Jews were returned from the outlying camps to the Ghetto and were not allowed to go to work anymore. On the 15th of July the Ghetto inmates were transported through Stutthof to the camps in Poland and Western Germany and their fate was similar to the fate of the Jews of Kaunas.