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Lithuanian Jewish Community

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Lithuanian Jewish Community

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Basic Information

Location Pylimo St. 4 LT - 2001 Vilnius Lithuania
Phone number +370 2 613 003
Country Lithuania
City Vilnius

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Website http://www.bh.org.il/database-article.aspx?48723
Geographical Coordinates 54.68373,25.27732


Summary

Lithuanian Jews or Litvaks are Jews with roots in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: (present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and the northeastern Suwałki region of Poland). The term is sometimes used, especially in Israel, to cover all Orthodox Jews who follow a "Lithuanian" (Ashkenazic and non-Hasidic) style of life and learning, whatever their ethnic background.

Lithuania was historically home to a large and influential Jewish community that was almost entirely eliminated during the Holocaust. Before World War II there were over 110 synagogues and 10 yeshivas in Vilnius alone. Before World War II, the Lithuanian Jewish population was some 160,000, about 7% of the total population. Vilnius (then Wilno in the Second Polish Republic) had a Jewish community of nearly 100,000, about 45% of the city's total. About 4,000 Jews were counted in Lithuania during the 2005 census. There are still strong communities of Jews of Lithuanian descent around the world, especially in Israel, the United States, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Australia. Quoting the research done by H.G. Adler into Poland during World War II called Theresienstadt 1941-1945, there were '80,000 Jews conscripted into Poland's independent army prior to the German invasion who identified themselves as Lithuanian Jews'. Using different sources Holocaust researchers claim there were between 60,000 - 65,000 Jewish soldiers in Poland's independent army that identified themselves as Lithuanian Jews.


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