Virbalis

Virbalis (pronunciation , Polish: Wierzbołów, Yiddish: ווירבאלן Virbalen) is a city in the Vilkaviškis district municipality, Lithuania. It is located 12 km (7.5 mi) west of Vilkaviškis.

Virbalis
City

Coat of arms
Virbalis
Location of Virbalis
Coordinates: 54°38′0″N 22°49′0″E
Country Lithuania
Ethnographic regionSuvalkija
County Marijampolė County
MunicipalityVilkaviškis district municipality
EldershipVirbalis eldership
Capital ofVirbalis eldership
First mentioned1529
Granted city rights1593
Population
 (2005)
  Total1,314
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)

History

It is frequently mentioned in historical as well in modern literature. It was the site of the formation of the Wierzbołów Confederation by Paweł Jan Sapieha in 1655 during the Deluge (part of the Second Northern War). Later it was the first station for stagecoaches and later the first railway station in the Russian Empire when leaving Germany.

When in 1861 a branch of the Saint Petersburg – Warsaw Railway was built from Vilnius to the Prussian border, where it was linked to the Prussian Eastern Railway, the Russian border station near the village of Kybartai was named after the neighbouring town of Verzhbolovo. Meanwhile, Kybartai has become a town bigger than Virbalis, and the Lithuanian border station is now called Kybartai, too. The German station of the Prussian Eastern Railway on the western side of the frontier was Eydtkuhnen; today, as consequence of the annexation of the northern part of East Prussia by the Soviet Union in 1945, it is a Russian border station and called Chernyshevskoye (Russian: Черныше́вское).

Between mid-July and autumn 1941, an Einsatzgruppe of German SS troops aided by local Lithuanian auxiliary police from Virbalis and Vilkaviškis slaughtered 670–700 Jews from Virbalis and the nearby town of Kybartai in several mass executions. A memorial was built on the site of the massacre.[1]

References

  1. "Mass Murder of the Jews in Virbalis". Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania. Retrieved 1 April 2016.


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