Obj. ID: 9285
Jewish Architecture Beit Midrash at 31 Trumpoji St. in Old Žagarė, Lithuania
The former shulhoyf of Old Žagarė, with the partially preserved building of the beit midrash, is situated some 300 m northwest of the Švėtė River and around 200 m from the Church of St. Peter and Paul. Local people recall that before WW II there were two synagogues in the shulhoyf, one of them demolished in the Soviet times, and a house built on its site. The beit midrash stands at the end of Trumpoji Street, on a plot slightly sloping eastwards, at the edge of the town, where the fields begin. The lack of sources does not allow speculating about the historical environment of the shulhoyf; however, the enclave of agricultural fields northeast of the former synagogue suggests that this was once a built-up territory, transformed after WW II when its Jewish inhabitants were murdered. Judging from the boulder masonry, the beit midrash was built in the late 19th century, as it was then that such structures became popular. As far as can be judged from the surviving parts of the original walls, it was a building of rectangular plan, consisting of a two-storey part in the west and a prayer hall on the east. The openings were segment-headed, framed with red brickwork, perhaps plastered over.
In 2007 the former beit midrash was a single-storey structure with a rectangular ground plan covered with a gable roof of asbestos sheets. The building has undergone significant transformations: only the stone walls are preserved from the original structure, while the upper part and the gable were made of silicate bricks in Soviet times. The southern façade has a protruding socle, higher on the eastern end as the site slopes eastwards. On the left, western side of the façade, an authentic segment-headed doorway with redbrick framing can be seen, while to its right, high in the middle part of the façade, are three segment-headed windows (today blocked with white silicate bricks). A wide rectangular gate has been cut into the eastern side of the façade. The eastern façade facing the street was symmetrical, featuring a high socle and two segment-headed windows. Today the windows are bricked up, and a low metal garage is attached to the left side of the façade. The northern façade had a doorway on the right and five segment-headed windows. Today all the openings are blocked, but it is clear that the northern and southern façades were symmetrical, and that the prayer hall was lit by twelve windows. The western façade is closest to its original condition – four oculi are arranged there in two tiers (today they are bricked up), and encircled with redbrick surrounds. The former beit midrash serves as a garage for agricultural machinery.
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).
| Old Žagarė
| 31 Trumpoji St.(Gedimino g. 13a)
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;
Marija Rupeikienė, Nykstantis kultūros paveldas: Lietuvos sinagogų architektūra (Vilnius, 2003), p. 98;
Pinkas hakehilot: Lita, ed. Dov Levin (Jerusalem, 1996), p. 278;
Rossiiskaia evreiskaia entsiklopediia (Moscow), vol. 4 - 2000, p. 436;
Aleksandr Belozorchik, “Mestechko Zhagory” [Townlet Zhagory], in Pamiatnaia knizhka Kovenskoi gubernii na 1899 god [Kovno province reference book for 1899] (Kovna, 1898), p. 35;
Y.D.Kamzon, Yahadut lita: tmunot vetziyunim (Jerusalem, 1959), ill. on p. 175 (int);