Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Pakruojis regional administration mayor Saulius Margis, administration director Ilona Gelažnikienė, deputy mayor Virginijus Kacilevičius and others attended a lecture by Dr. Ernestas Vasiliauskas presenting new archaeological discoveries at the Pakruojis synagogue complex.
The Pakruojis regional administration reports:
Dr. Ernestas Vasiliauskas gave a presentation October 14 detailing the newest archaeological discoveries in the winter synagogue and shtibl at the Pakruojis synagogue complex. The project “Maintenance of the City Park and the Banks of the Kruoja River in the City of Pakruojis” decided to perform the archaeology in concert with the Cultural Heritage Department of the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.
There is a lot of surviving information about the summer synagogue in Pakruojis, but very little about the winter synagogue and the shtibl. Senior archaeologist Dr. Vasiliauskas said the wooden synagogue complex built in the 19th century in Pakruojis is unique in Lithuania and blends different architectural styles, including late baroque (summer synagogue), classicism (winter synagogue) and traditional architecture (the shtibl), and was an important part of the cityscape, one of the dominant buildings on the Pakruojis skyline.
The archaeological work established the location of the winter synagogue, the foundation was unearthed and Pakruojis Old Town cultural strata from the 17th and 18th century were identified and dated, but they failed to locate the shtibl. It is believed the winter synagogue was destroyed between 1945 and 1950 and the shtibl between 1970 and 1980.
Pakruojis regional administration mayor Saulius Margis, deputy mayor Vrginijus Kacilevičius, administration director Ilona Gelažnikienė, official experts and the archaeologist met with Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky after the presentation and they discussed the significance of this and similar discoveries, the commemoration of the finds, proper public identification of the historical site and how best to preserve the memory of the former synagogue for the future. They also spoke about issues regarding the implementation of the “Maintenance of the City Park and the Banks of the Kruoja River in the City of Pakruojis” project.
The event was organized by the public organization Archeologijos centras, the Aušra Museum of Šiauliai and the Pakruojis regional administration.
The Šiauliai TV channel reported on the event, with coverage available here.