Our guide reported that there are a number of Lutheran cemeteries in the area. “Last year I was in the cemetery of Garswinie/Garsviniai but there are also cemeteries in Opsrutai, Pilviskiai, Virbalis, etc.“ He also commented that in “searching for gravestones in old cemeteries, most of them might be in poor shape.”
We viewed this cemetery after driving through Obszurty/Opsrutai and not finding anything to photograph. How amazing it was to visit this abandoned place only to discover that someone still cared. A recent monument in the Lithuanian language commemorated the Germans who were buried here. This was the first of three similar monuments we were to discover. I originally thought that a heritage association or perhaps the descendants from one of the families buried here might have been responsible for placing the large monument. Later Vilius said that the Lithuanian government had most likely placed the stone.
The second surprise was that there were five remnants of a thriving German community, two stone markers (Jan Kubat and Marianna Kubat geb. Stanat) and the other (Johan Vellert geb. 1887 illegible 17 gest. 1937 illegible 14 ). I also viewed three iron crosses, one very lacy but with no identification marks, Johann Lingertat, and the final one (Joseph Freidnamer 54J gest. 27 Dec 1905 Henriette Freidnamer geb. Borhert 1861 gest. d. Apr 1898). I was simply overwhelmed to have seen them.
Prior to the tour I had loaded all the pertinent information from The Three Spurgat Families from Wylkowiszki into my tablet for easy access during the tour. But with so much information to absorb in four days, I did not have an opportunity until I returned home and examined my pictures to make any connections. Oszurty/Opsrutai was the home of two generations of women who married into the Spurgat family: Karolina Raudonat born in 1847, 2nd wife of Johann Spurgat in 1847 and Wilhelmina Kaptain, born in 1877, wife of William Spurgat. An examination of the birth record of Karolina Raudonatrevealed that a Jan Kubat had been a witness, but his age of 50 in 1847 meant it was not the same Johann Kubat on the stone marker. It is easy to believe that the Jan Kubat on the marker may have been a son or a nephew of Jan Kubat, the witness. The official language of civil registration during this time, is of course, Polish (i.e. Jan), but in the German cemetery he is remembered as Johan.
The Jan Lingertat, age 50, a farmer in Obszruty, and a witness for the birth of Wilhelmina Kaptain in 1877 on the civil registration record in Russian provided an even stronger connection. With an 1877 birth date of Wilhelmine Kaptain and the age of the witness Jan Lingertat as 50 and an iron cross stating his birth date as 1827, there appears to be sufficient evidence that the witness Jan Lingertat is the same Johan Lingertat on the iron cross.
With only five remnants of a thriving German community, one of two stone markers which reads, “Johan Kubat 1856 (?) gest. 1927 und Mariana Kubat geb. Stanat geb. 1857 gest. 1896” and one iron cross which still reads, “Johann Lingertat geb. 1827 gest. d. 16 Marz 1880”, it seems amazing that I should be able to connect these remembrances to two different Spurgat families. However, this is the kind of amazement I had waited 20 years to discover and the realization that these connections could still be made was profound.