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Obj. ID: 9295
Jewish Architecture
  Great Beit Midrash in Žasliai, Lithuania

© “Synagogues in Lithuania: A Catalogue” Archives, Photographer: Galkus, Mindaugas, 2007

The Great Beit Midrash was built in 1909 in the so-called “brick style” after a design by Antoni Filipowicz-Dubowik from 1906. Along with the Beit Midrash, the drawings include a design for a lavatory to be constructed separately on the same plot. The design for the Great Beit Midrash shows a brick building of rectangular plan, consisting of two-storey western part and a prayer hall, and covered by a tin hipped roof. The main northern façade has a socle; it bears pilasters dividing the façade into three eastern bays matching the prayer hall, and one western bay matching the vestibule. The prayer hall has tall round-headed windows with molded sills supported by consoles and with depressed panels below them. The two-storey western bay has a central portal framed with pilasters bearing a pediment which is topped with a Star of David. A stringcourse divides this bay into two tiers. An oculus is located above the portal, and round-headed windows pierce the façade on either side of the portal and oculus. A dentiled frieze crowns the façade. The portal on the northern façade leads to a vestibule, from which an additional room, a staircase and the prayer hall are accessed. The almost square prayer hall has fourteen windows, one of which serves as an emergency exit on the southern side. Two stoves are indicated at the western wall of the prayer hall. The hall is shown furnished with rows of pews facing east; a square bimah stands in the middle, with flights of seven steps on either side. The Torah ark leans on the eastern wall. The cross-section gives a detailed picture of the eastern wall, which has a socle and molded cornice and is divided by pilasters into three bays, corresponding to the exterior ones. The central bay, which is also the widest, contains the Torah ark; two tall windows pierce the wall on either side; its platform is accessible via two symmetrical flights of seven steps fenced with balustrades. Pilasters bearing an architrave frame the ark. The architect placed the Tablets of the Law immediately above the Torah niche. The eastern wall above the ark is shown pierced with an oculus; its glazing includes a Star of David. The staircase to the upper floor women’s section is accessed via a doorway in the northern corner of the western façade as well as from the main vestibule. Two stoves are shown installed in the corners by the eastern wall of the women’s section, and five openings connect it with the prayer hall. A photograph from 1915 of Jewish refugees inside the Great Beit Midrash, shows that its architectural features differ from those designed by Filipowicz-Dubowik. The Torah ark in the center of the eastern wall is a Neo-Baroque structure based on a stepped plan, with fluted colonnettes. The square bimah with metal parapet in the center of the hall is surrounded by four slender columns.

An interwar photograph featuring the entrance into the Great Beit Midrash shows that the original design was simplified. The elaborate portal was abandoned; the entrance door was decorated with only an architrave, while the round-headed windows received hood-molds of the same form. Another photograph shows the building in 1964. At that time, its original high round-headed windows were bricked up. This photograph also captures the western façade and shows that all its openings were rectangular, and that it was crowned with a molded cornice void of modillions. In 1967, the former Great Beit Midrash was reconstructed into a palace of culture; the reconstruction changed the original building beyond recognition.

In 2007 only fragments of brickwork could be associated with the former Great Beit Midrash, and its plan can be traced inside the palace of culture.

Summary and Remarks

31 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Great Beit Midrash in Žasliai | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
1909
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Lithuania | Kaunas County | Žasliai
| 38 Vytauto St.
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
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Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
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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
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Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
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Group
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Group
Group
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Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

CJA & Lita documentation;

Marija Rupeikienė, Nykstantis kultūros paveldas: Lietuvos sinagogų architektūra (Vilnius, 2003), p. 129 ill. 109a;

Pinkas hakehilot: Lita, ed. Dov Levin (Jerusalem, 1996), p. 283, ill. on p. 284;

Rossiiskaia evreiskaia entsiklopediia (Moscow), vol. 4 - 2000, p. 438;

Yad Va-Shem Archives - archives of images, №65112;

Heavar, vol. 13 (1966), ill. on p. 33 (int)


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)

Valentinas Brandišauskas, "Fate of Jewish Property in Lithuania during World War II," in Alfredas Jomantas (ed.), Jewish Cultural Heritage in Lithuania (Vilnius: Versus aureus, 2006), 20-70, here p. 59..
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
House of Culture
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
1 (Local)
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.