Photo: Antokolskio street, 1940/Mečys Brazaitis
The spacious square by Žydų (Jewish) Street in central Vilnius now contains little else than a children’s playground, parking lots and a derelict kindergarten, but it was densely packed with houses before World War Two. Most of the houses were occupied by Jews and the area was the center of the city’s Jewish quarter.
Lithuania has dedicated the year 2020 to the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania. LRT English together with Vilnius University and Jewish Heritage Lithuania bring you a series of stories exploring Litvak history.
The official beginnings of the Jewish quarter of Vilnius date back to the 17th century when king of Poland and grand duke of Lithuania Wladyslaw Vasa granted a privilege [charter] to the Jews to reside in this quarter. Jewish Street had this name even before that, so it is likely Jewish residents already lived there.
Full story here.