The Synagogues of Europe

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Below you will find a series of postcards that depict various synagogues that currently or once stood in Europe. Most of these photographs have been purchased, taken, or otherwise obtained by those visiting these towns and cities, and they have been subsequently submitted to the Museum to be placed online.  Some of these synagogues might still be extant, i.e. still being used as synagogues, but others lay abandoned and perhaps in a state of disrepair, or are currently being used for other purposes. Some have been restored.

Current town names are used to indicate the location of each synagogue.

The Museum welcomes further submissions, as this exhibition is forever ongoing and evolving. Please include the name of the country, town/city, synagogue (if known), and the month and year the photo was taken.

Please click on the thumbnail photos to see the enlarged versions.
Alsedžiai, Lithuania (2005)

"We recognized that it was once a shul by the structure.  The small windows at the top for the women's section.  Our guide was very excited when we found this because he only knew of five wooden synagogues in Lithuania, and this was the sixth. Alsedžiai is a very small shtetl, like Pusalotas, and he had never had a client who wanted to go there before us.  Today it looks like a storehouse or garage."

The Alytus (Olite) shul is more than one hundred years old and sits along the Nieman River. Its interior is empty, the floor only dirt, and the only signs that this empty shell was once a synagogue are the women's section, the Oren Kodesh, and the Reader's desk. The plaque (right) states "Here was the Bet Hamidrash."


merchant's synagogue, now a private house

oldest synagogue being converted into an apartment
Gruzdžiai, Lithuania (cir 1920s)

The synagogue was burned down during World War II, in 1941. Today, only part of the boundary of the old synagogue remains.

See to see a photo of a gathering of Jewish men from the town outside the synagogue.

Joniškis, Lithuania (2004)

"There were winter and summer synagogues here."

JURBARKAs (Jurburg), Lithuania (1926) TW

This wooden synagogue was built in 1790 and was destroyed in 1941.




Top left photo courtesy of Joel Alpert.
Remaining three photos taken by Benjamin H. Craine in 1927. Courtesy of Ben Craine (son).

also once as Kovno
Kaunas Synagogue (Orthodox)
Ozeskienes, 13

There once were forty synagogues in Kaunas (Kovno.)
Synagogue website:


main synagogue that became a cinema
suspected synagogue in the town square

"One of the wooden synagogues in Pakouojis."
Recently (May 2009) damaged by a suspected arosnist.

Pilviškiai, Lithuania (1941?) TW



On the building is a memorial plaque (see right.)
Today the synagogue is either a flour mill or apple packing plant.

Rumšiškes (RUMSHISHOK), Lithuania (cir  1922)  
Šaukėnai, Lithuania (1925) TW

Wooden synagogue.


Šeta, Lithuania (2002)

Shatt (or Shat)  is the Jewish name for Seta in the former Kovno Gubernia, today in Lithuania.
Šiauliai, Lithuania (2004)
Chaim Frankel Shul

He build the shul for the workers in his leather factory.

Švėkšna, Lithuania

Photo, left: Before the fire of 1925.
Photo, right: Neglected synagogue, 2002.

ViDULKLE, Lithuania
Was Viduklė, Lithuania before WWII.
Vilkaviškis, Lithuania

Wooden synagogue.

Top left photo dated 1917; courtesy of Tomek Wisniewski.

The Great Synagogue
The Great Synagogue in Vilna, Lithuania, was built in 1572. Photograph taken by the German army during WWI.

From Wikipedia.

Photo right cir. 1920.

Choral Synagogue (Chor Shul)

The Choral Synagogue was the only synagogue in Vilnius to survive the Holocaust.

Photo bottom left dated 1915

Vyžuonos, Lithuania (1916) TW

Wooden synagogue; no longer in existence.


Žiežmariai , LITHUANIA

"Synagogue of Žiežmariai: This synagogue has been selected as a part of the European Route of Jewish Heritage. This Route, officially recognized by the Council of Europe as a European Cultural Route, encompasses Jewish sites of outstanding European value."

TW - from Tomek Wisniewski,








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