First steps have been made in the restoration of the abandoned, 200-year-old brick synagogue in Žemaičių Naumiestis, Lithuania, the Lithuanian Jewish community reports.
The Šilutė regional administration allocated almost 100,000 euros for the renovation work, which began in 2018. A survey was carried out on March 6 of this year.
According to the Lithuanian Jewish community report, the funds have been used to date to carry out the following work:
removing shrubs and vines, saving authentic ceiling fragments; dismantling of annexes added during the Soviet period, cleaning and reinforcing foundations and walls; sealing windows and door openings, working on the roof, cleaning existing steel trusses; priming; foundation insulation, building ventilation openings; installing gutters; installing fencing and gates.
The synagogue was originally built in 1816; It was heavily damaged by fire in 1914 and rebuilt in 1930. After World War II it was restructured again and used as a Soviet-era “palace of culture” with a cinema, but it then remained abandoned and in a state of near collapse for years.
It was under threat of demolition in 2014 — click here to read our post about that.
The Center for Jewish Art has detailed information about its history and architecture — click here to access it.
The Šilutė region web site has a section — in English — on local Jewish heritage, with a link to historic photos and plans of the synagogue.