Jewish Heritage Europe

Lithuania: Plans for state-of-art Jewish Museum at Šeduva announced


Preliminary design concept for the Lost Shtetl Museum
Preliminary design concept for the Lost Shtetl Museum


Plans have been announced for a state-of-the-art Jewish museum slated to open in 2019 as part of the “Lost Shtetl” memorial complex at Šeduva, Lithuania.

The museum complex will be designed by the Finnish company “Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects,” which also designed the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.  POLIN won the 2016 European Museum of the Year Award. They will be  aided on the ground by a local partner, Studia2A,  established in 1994 and headed by Vilnius Art Academy dean of Architecture Jonas Audejaitis. 

The museum will be sited next to the sprawling Jewish cemetery at Šeduva, which was completely restored and opened in 2015 as part of the memorial complex. The complex also includes memorials at three sites of Holocaust mass executions and burials, and a symbolic sculpture in the middle of the town. A historical study about Šeduva Jews also was carried out as part of the project, as well as a documentary film, “Petrified Time,” directed by Saulius Berzinis.

Memorial statue in the center of Seduva. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber
Memorial statue in the center of Seduva. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

Sergey Kanovich, the founder of the Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund, said the Lost Shtetl Museum — whose eventual construction was always included in plans for the complex — will employ advanced technologies to tell visitors about the history and culture of Šeduva and similar Litvak shtetls. It is expected to serve as an educational as well as cultural center.

“Visiting the ‘Lost Shtetl’ will be a history lesson which will allow national and international visitors to learn about the lost Litvak shtetl history and culture,” he said.

“Lifestyle, customs, religion, social, professional, and family life of Šeduva Jews will serve a centerpoint of the Museum exhibition,” he said.  But visitors to Museum will also be educated about “the tragedy of Šeduva Jewish history which in the early days of World War II ended in three pits near the shtetl.”

Preliminary images show the museum as occupying an irregular, 2,700 square meter space across the road from the cemetery, and to take the form of several connected structures.

Position of planned Lost Shtetl museum
Position of planned Lost Shtetl museum

Rainer Mahlamäki, the architectural firm’s leading architect, said  his work was inspired by ancient Lithuanian architecture as well as by the neighboring old Jewish cemetery and the rural landscape surrounding the site. 

An international team will work on the interior design and the core exhibition, Kanovich said. The curator of the core exhibition will be Millda Jakulyte, with the aid of 12 international consultants from Israel, Germany, the United States, and Poland. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the chief curator of the core exhibition of the POLIN museum, is among the advisors.

The interior design and advisory services will be provided by the New York based Ralph Appelbaum Associates, which has worked on numerous museums and memorials including the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington  DC. Management of the Museum construction will be entrusted to the Swiss-based company ECAS AG.

Sergey Kanovich walks along the wall of the restored Jewish cemetery at Seduva, Lithuania
Sergey Kanovich walks along the wall of the restored Jewish cemetery at Seduva, Lithuania. The new museum will be situated to his right.


For more information contact:

Jonas Dovydaitis, Director of Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund: Tel. +370698 44 091



6 comments on “Lithuania: Plans for state-of-art Jewish Museum at Šeduva announced

  1. The Jewish Genealogical Society of South Africa (JGSSA) was privileged to host Sergey Kanovich and Milda Jakulyte-Vasil on 12 November 2017,when they gave an interesting and well illustrated presentation – “LITHUANIAN JEWISH CULTURE – OUR HERITAGE – THE BROADER LITHUANIAN PERSPECTIVE” – on the history of Seduva/Shadowa,and this Museum and Memorial Center project plans, with Seduva representing some 200 other Lithuanian shtetls with similar experiences.
    Also present was Martynas Taujanskas,Third Secretary of the Embassy of the Lithuanian Republic,and his family, and Arturus Kavaliauskas,videographer,who recorded the event and private interviews.
    After my presentation of certificates of appreciation to the speakers,they responded to many questions and comments from the capacity audience,who expressed praise for the memorable presentations and occasion,and good wishes for the project.
    Dave Sieff,Chairman,JGSSA.

  2. Wonderful project in the making,I have already made a gift of my g.mothers Ketube who was from Shadova.If I can be of any help in the future please call on me.Kol ha Kavod to Milda and team ! Jackie Shmueli-Camberg

  3. This is an incredible project. I react with a mixture of chills and excitement. Are there any volunteer opportunities on this project — what is the expected completion date?

  4. I want to express my admiration and appreciation to Milda Jakulyte and everyone involved with the Lost Shtetl project. I hope to visit the museum and memorial in the future. I have roots in Seduva. My grandfather was born there.

  5. it will be a wonderful modern way of educating the children of tomorrow about the immediate past and for them to hopefully realise that hatred has no place in the modern world!

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