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Obj. ID: 8951
Jewish Architecture
  Frenkel's Factory synagogue in Šiauliai, Lithuania

© Richard Schofield, Photographer: Schofield, Richard, 2017

The former synagogue is located on the northern side of Vilniaus Street, the main access to the city from east and south. The synagogue stands about 100 m east of the Frenkel Villa (74 Vilniaus St.), today housing the Šiauliai Museum “Aušra.” The abandoned Frenkel industrial site lies to the north, between the synagogue and Talša Lake.

In 1907 Ḥaim Frenkel established a wooden synagogue for his workers, which was later rebuilt in brick according to Yakov Ushakov’s design from 1914. The design shows a rather small structure of rectangular ground plan, built on a high basement, accessed through a bridge from Vilniaus Street. The almost square prayer hall is located in its eastern part. In the western part there are a vestibule, a staircase, and two rooms separated with a wooden partition (the first room has an entrance in the western façade) on the ground floor and a women’s section on the first floor. The latter is accessed either by an inner or an outer wooden staircase, which leads to the entrance in the northern façade. In the design southern street façade is rather modest and has two entrances: one to the vestibule under the women’s section and another directly into the prayer hall. The actual building preserves the principle structure of the design, but is more elaborate and ornate.

The synagogue is built of yellow bricks with redbrick decorative elements and covered with a gable roof of asbestos sheets. It has a rectangular plan with an almost square prayer hall with ten segment-headed windows in the eastern part. The twostorey western part contained a wooden staircase in the southwest corner, an auxiliary room on the ground floor, and a women’s section on the first floor. The southern street façade and the eastern one are more representative, with redbrick elements in their décor. The western and northern façades are built of yellow brick only. The southern entrance façade is the most elaborate. It is divided into four bays by pilasters with recesses, the western bay being broader and divided into two stories by a horizontal stringcourse. Three tall round-headed windows of the prayer hall stand on a common stringcourse and are decorated with redbrick surrounds with keystones. The register under the windows sills, which looks like a high socle, is decorated with horizontal rusticated stripes. Two segment-headed windows of the women’s section are placed above the doorway in the western part of the façade. The northern façade is similar to the southern one, though less ornate. The eastern façade is framed by corner pilasters. Four tall round-headed windows of the prayer hall are decorated like those on the southern façade. They are arranged in two pairs, thus producing a wider central pier, corresponding to the interior location of the Torah ark. The gable is pierced by two segmentheaded windows. Numerals 1 and 9 made of iron wire and embedded at the top of the eastern gable indicated most likely the year of its completion. The western façade is asymmetrical, featured with corner pilasters and segment-headed windows in two tiers and rectangular windows in the basement. The façade is topped with a gable. The windows of the first floor stand on a horizontal stringcourse; another narrow stringcourse separates the ground floor from the basement. The western doorway captured in Bagdonavičius drawing and later bricked-up has been recently turned into a segment-headed window.

In 1941 the building was nationalized. In the Soviet period, the former synagogue was turned into a gym of the “Elnias” shoefactory: the inner structure was transformed and the interior destroyed. Since 1994 the Sodality of St. Pius’ priests has been using the building as a chapel. The facades were repaired, the interior sided with wooden planks and the former prayer hall split with a wooden deck into two floors. A new wooden staircase was built at the northern wall. In 2010 the decision was passed to transfer the building to the Šiauliai Museum “Aušra,” which plans to install there an exhibition on Jewish heritage.

Text from Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, Sergey Kravtsov, Vladimir Levin, Giedrė Mickūnaitė and Jurgita Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė (eds.), Synagogues in Lithuania: A Catalogue. vol. 2 (Vilnius: Vilnius Academy of Art Press, 2012).

Summary and Remarks

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Name/Title
Frenkel's Factory synagogue in Šiauliai | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
1914
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Lithuania | Šiauliai County | Šiauliai
| 68 Vilniaus St.
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
Material/Technique
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Brick
Measurements
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Church
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
B (Fair)
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
2 (Regional)
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
2010
Sources

Cohen-Mushlin, Aliza, Sergey Kravtsov, Vladimir Levin, Giedrė Mickūnaitė, Jurgita Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė (eds.), Synagogues in Lithuania. A Catalogue, 2 vols. (Vilnius: VIlnius Academy of Art Press, 2010-12)
Marija Rupeikienė, "Synagogues of Lithuania," in Lithuanian Synagogues (Exhibition Catalogue) (Vilnius: The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, 1997) p. 31, ill on p. 18; Marija Rupeikienė, Nykstantis kultūros paveldas: Lietuvos sinagogų architektūra (Vilnius, 2003), p. 141, ill. 125 on p. 142; www.zydai.lt/lt/content/viewitem/717/;
Type
Documenter
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Author of description
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Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |