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Lithuania’s last wooden synagogues in danger

April 9, 2013

The Cotton Boll Conspiracy


A handful of wooden synagogues, among the last vestiges of Lithuania’s thriving pre-World War II Jewish culture, are crumbling because of a lack of money and support.

Lithuania has barely more than a dozen wooden synagogues remaining, dating between the late 19th century and the 1930s.

They are unused today and falling apart, victims in part of abuse and neglect during the Soviet era.

“Their state of disrepair struck me,” said Gilles Vuillard, a Lithuania-based French artist who has depicted them in his work over the past few years. “Most often people didn’t even know where they were located anymore, yet they are witness to a unique cultural heritage.”

Lithuania’s pre-war Jewish population was approximately 210,000. Of that, an estimated 195,000, or more than 90 percent, were murdered by the Nazis following their invasion of the Baltics in June 1941.

Most of the small number who survived the Holocaust moved to…

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