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Wooden sculpture of a grieving woman made by a Lithuanian Jewish artist

Object | Accession Number: 2016.111.1

Wooden sculpture depicting a woman grieving over a loved one’s body carved by Jakovas Bunka to commemorate the Jews who were massacred in Plungė, Lithuania in 1941. In August 1940, Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union. On June 22, 1941, German forces invaded Soviet-occupied Lithuania, and Jakovas’ family fled east into the Soviet Union. Many Jews from Plungė were unable to flee, and within days local collaborators locked them all in the Great Synagogue with no food, water or fresh air. On Sunday, July 15, the Jews were marched to a forest where the adults were shot by drunken guards and the smallest children were beaten to death to conserve bullets. Roughly 1,800 victims were thrown into mass graves, dead or wounded, and covered with dirt. Similar actions were carried out across the area, leaving more than 2,200 Jews dead by the end of July. The Bunka family boarded a refugee train to Novosibirsk, Siberia, and settled on a collective farm nearby. Jakovas, his brother, Avrom, and their father, Leib, joined the Red Army. Leib and Avrom were killed in 1943 and1945 respectively, while Jakovas was among the soldiers that rode into Berlin in April 1945. Jakovas remained in Plungė to commemorate the Jewish culture that once thrived there and maintain the Koshanner Memorial honoring the Jews who were massacred by Lithuanian fascists and Nazi collaborators.

Artwork Title
Day of Pain
creation:  after 1983-before 2014
creation: Plungė (Lithuania)
Object Type
Wood sculpture (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Esther and Howard Margol
Record last modified: 2022-04-04 07:45:19
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