Heritage & Heritage Sites


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GENERAL

 

International Jewish Cemetery Project page on Lithuania

Various information on hundreds of cemeteries and mass grave sites.

Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery project 

Ongoing project by a non-profit Lithuanian organization called Maceva to digitally document all Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania, posting photographs, epitaphs and other information on the web site. There is an interactive map of cemeteries, as well as other resources and links. You can download a PDF file of the Maceva brochure.

Lo-Tishkach Preliminary Report on Lithuanian Jewish Cemeteries

Download from here the PDF copy of Lo-Tishkach Foundation’s Preliminary Report on Legislation & Practice Relating to the Protection and Preservation of Jewish Burial Grounds in Lithuania. The report includes historical background as well as practical information and legislation.

Photo exhibition of Lithuanian Judaica and Synagogues

Material from the archives of the Lithuanian photo journalist and ethnographer, Balys Buracas (1897-1972).

Preserved Wooden Synagogues in Lithuania

Photos of wooden synagogues documented by the Center for Jewish Art.

Postcards and Other Pictures of Synagogues in Lithuania, Past and Present

An online exhibit from the Museum of Family History

Lithuanian Holocaust Atlas

A web site, including an interactive map, dedicated to the documentation of 227 sites of mass execution and mass burials of Jews killed in the Holocaust. The project was launched in 2010 by Vilna Gaon National Jewish Museum in Vilnius and the Austrian Verein Gedenkdienst organization. (A book of the Atlas was published in 2012).

 

Jewish East Prussia

Web site about Jewish history, life & heritage in East Prussia (now divided among Lithuania, Russia & Poland)

 

INDIVIDUAL SITES

 

VILNIUS 

Once the Jerusalem of the North, a center for Yiddish culture and later the site of a notorious World War II ghetto, Vilnius — pre-war Yiddish Vilna — today has few surviving sites of its long and important Jewish history. Its Moorish-style Choral Synagogue (designed by architect Dovydas Rozenhauzas and inaugurated in September 1903),  is one of only two synagogues still serving a religious purpose in Lithuania (the other is in Kaunas). There are remnants of Jewish cemeteries, but plaques and information panels mark most other historic Jewish sites, including the place where the Great Synagogue was located, in the heart of the old Jewish district, which has largely been destroyed. The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum is active, with exhibits in several locations, including the “Green House” Holocaust exhibition. A vast memorial in the Paneriai forest outside the city, where tens of thousands of Jews and others were murdered under the German occupation in World War II, is also administered by the museum.

The Jewish Community web site provides a list of 19 sites of Jewish interest in Vilnius and environs.

 Virtual Jewish History Tour of Vilnius

Jono David has extensive photo documentation of Jewish sites in Vilnius: Choral Synagogue, Jewish Cemetery at Seskine, the former synagogue at Geliu st. 6, the Green House Holocaust exhibit annex of the State Jewish Museum, and various other monuments and buildings,

 Gallery of photographs of Vilnius Jewish quarter before World War II

 

KALTINIENAI

Digital Presentation of the Wooden synagogue and rabbi’s house, built ca. 1938 

A project of the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

 

KALVARIJA

Today, on the border with Poland. There is a former Jewish communal complex on Sodų Street. It  includes the ruined Great Synagogue, built in 1795-1803 to replace an 18th century wooden synagogue;  it was used as a warehouse after World War II, and its roof collapsed in the mid-1990s. In addition, there is a Beit Midrash, built in 1865, also used as a warehouse in the Soviet period, which has been partially restored. Between these two buildings is a red brick school, marked with a star of David, that dates from the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. Nearby the remains of a mikveh also still exist, near the river. A remnant of the Jewish cemetery also remains.

Kalvarija Jewish Cemetery Project

Website created by Ralph Salinger that includes a map of the surviving part of the cemetery; photographs of all the gravestones showing their epitaphs; a list of people buried there, with position of grave and dates. There is also a section on the synagogues, with pictures.

KAUNAS

 

Virtual Jewish History Tour of Kaunas (Kovno)

Ninth Fort: memorial and museum at site where tens of thousands of Jews and others were killed in World War II

Ninth Fort, summary

 

PAKRUOJIS

Digital Presentation of the Wooden Synagogue

A project of the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


VILKAVISKIS

The small town in southern Lithuania was severely damaged during World War II and almost totally rebuilt. Most Jewish sites were destroyed; the new Jewish cemetery (used from 1875-1942)  is just about the only physical trace that remains. There is also a mass grave site where local Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

Jewish Vilkaviskis web site

Links and resources on the Jewish history of the town, with an ample section on the New Jewish Cemetery, including a map of the cemetery and photographs of the approximately 180 surviving gravestones (out of an estimate 5,000 burials). There is also a map of the town, showing where the elaborate wooden Great Synagogue, the Old Jewish Cemetery, Jewish old age home and other sites once stood. Other pages have photos and other material about the Great Synagogue and other sites that were destroyed.

 

ŽEMAIČIŲ NAUMIESTIS (Neishtot-Tavrig in Yiddish

Disused synagogue dating from the early 19th-century.  The building was damaged in World War I, when much of the town was burned, and rebuilt in 1919 (including a new roof). During World War II local Jews were gathered there in 1941 ahead of deportation to their execution and labor camps. The synagogue is not owned by a Jewish community and is in poor condition in danger of collapse.

Read the JHE post about the possible demolition of the synagogue