Jewish Heritage tour in Plunge

The town of Plungė belongs to Žemaitija

ethnically the most homogeneous region in the country, with an ethnic Lithuanian population exceeding 99.5%. Having this in mind, it’s even more astonishing fact that in the 19th century 57% of the town population were Jews!

Jerulita Travel welcomes you to our new virtual tour of Jewish Heritage in Lithuania! This time we are visiting Plungė (Plungyan in Yiddish) – once one of the biggest Jewish communities in the country. The town of Plungė belongs to Žemaitija (Samogitia in English), ethnically the most homogeneous region in the country, with an ethnic Lithuanian population exceeding 99.5%. Having this in mind, it’s even more astonishing fact that in the 19th century 57% of the town population were Jews!

Unfortunately, almost all of them were brutally murdered during WWII. Yaacov Bunka, a local artist, the last Jew of Plungė is the main figure in our story of this city. During World War II fought against the Nazis in the Lithuanian Brigade of the Red Army. Upon his return home after the war, he worked as a carpenter and woodcarver. In the mid-1970s he carved his first large wooden sculpture called “Moshe from Plotl” for the Jewish memorial site in village Plateliai.

One can watch it in our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPIQD… Yaacov continued his activities both as an artist and as a researcher and chronicler of the Jewish history of Plungе and the area. He dedicated himself to perpetuating the memory of the local Jews and erected wooden sculptures in forest Kaushenai the massacre place of Plunge. In recent years, Yaacov Bunka has been searching for and collecting the names of all the Jews who were shot here and has built a memorial wall on the spot. The wall is built of 1800 red bricks taken from the remnants of the Great Synagogue of Plunge. This number is equal to the number of victims of the Holocaust here.