Memorialization for the Holocaust Victims from the Town of Birzh (Birzai), Lithuania

On August 8, 1941, 2400 Jews living in the town of Birzh were force-marched to the Astrava forest, 3 Km outside of Birzh, and brutally murdered.  The victims lie buried in the forest in two large mass graves.  A fuller description of this horrific event is found at: 

A major undertaking to build, at the gravesite, a memorial to the victims  is now in process, with the goal of dedicating the memorial in October  2018.

Carol, Wendy, and I plan to visit this site when we are in Birzai, August 15-17, prior to the formal dedication.

A list of victims has been constructed using data from the Yad Vashem  Database of Shoah Victims Names.  However, this list falls well short of  identifying a majority of those who died on that fateful day.  

The organizers of the memorial project urgently seek people who can  contribute names of Jews who were resident in Birzh during WWII or Jews  who are known to have perished in the Astrava forest.  

My grandfather, Charles Highstein (Izrail Tzodik Khait) was born in Birzai in 1899. So I knew he left many family members behind who perished in Birzai. I compared my list to those already identified in the Database of Shoah Victims, and was able to contribute an additional 6 names.

Here is a complete list of the family members in my Genealogical record who perished on August 8, 1941:

Bas, Aaron
26 FEB 1914 - Birzai, Panevezys, Kaunas, Lithuania (Russia)
Bas, Gita
26 FEB 1914 - Birzai, Panevezys, Kaunas Province, Lithuania
Bas, Yehudah
ABT 1916 - Birz, Lithuania (Russia)
Chait, Mere Tsipe
1889 - Birzai, Lithuania
Chait, Meyer
1866 - Birzai, Lithuania
Katz, Leizer
21 APR 1928 - Birzai, Lithuania
Katz, Minna
15 AUG 1929 - Birzai, Lithuania
Katz, Sholom Vulf
29 SEP 1924 - Birzai, Lithuania
Katz, Yerachmiel Israel
07 NOV 1922 - Birzai, Lithuania
Katz, Zelick
Khait, Feige Freide
ABT 1875 - Birzai (Birzhi), Lithuania (Russia)
Khait, Khaie Rivke
19 APR 1880 - Birzai (Birzhi),  Lithuania (Russia)
Khait, Libe Pese
ABT 1877 - Birzai (Birzhi), Lithuania (Russia)
Khait, Nayer Bek
ABT 1870 - Birzai (Birzhi), Lithuania (Russia)
Khait, Sheina Rivka
abt 1882 - Panevezys, Lithuania
Khait, Sheine Kreinde
1885 - Birzai, Lithuania
Khait, Shore
1865 - Birzai (Birzhi), Lithuania (Russia)
Khait, Sore
ABT 1885 - Birzai (Birzhi),Lithuania (Russia)
Khait, Taube Reiza
Abt 1875 - Birzai (Birzhi), Lithuania (Russia)
Magid, Moishe Abel Aba
1888 - Vabalninkas, Birzai, Lithuania
Magid, Perl/Pnina
1917 - Kazan', Tatarstan, Russia
Magid, Zelda
1920 - Kazan', Tatarstan, Russia
Sandler, Dobke
1904 - Birzai, Lithuania
Sandler, Frieda
1902 - Birzai, Lithuania
Tabakin, Iosel
30 Sep 1886 - Birzai, Lithuania
Tabakin, Shimen Aria
1912- Birzai, Lithuania

May 20, 2018

The memorial will be quite elaborate, with a series of panels containing the names of the victims.  Attached is the architects conception.   The current monument is shown on the top left of the drawing.

Too bad we’ll be a few months late to see the new Monument ... maybe someone can plan a trip to the dedication or afterwards. Sounds like an excuse to go back.


  1. Note: I published an update with images of the old monument and the plans for the new memorial.


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