In today’s city, quite a lot of heritage objects reminding of the Jews’ life in Šiauliai, as well as the places related to the Jewish history have remained in Šiauliai. Let’s visit them during this sightseeing!In today’s city, quite a lot of heritage objects reminding of the Jews’ life in Šiauliai, as well as the places related to the Jewish history have remained in Šiauliai. Let’s visit them during this sightseeing!
In the contemporary Lithuanian territory, the Jews settled during the times of Vytautas the Great. After receiving quite a broad autonomy, they started to develop trade and crafts.
The Jews started to settle in Šiauliai at the end of the 17th century, when in 1681 a privilege provided by a ruler John III Sobieski allowed the first Jew to live in Šiauliai. However, the same document indicated, that no more Jews would settle here, as citizens were afraid of competition.
New inhabitants, including the Jews, were invited to settle in Šiauliai after plague, huge fire, and Northern War that occurred at the beginning of the 18th century, as there was an intention to revive the devastated city. Finally, the prohibition for the Jews to freely settle in Šiauliai was finally repealed in 1731.
In the middle of the 18th century, the Jews, who lived in surrounding towns Kelmė, Žagarė, Šiaulėnai, started to move to Šiauliai. They were allowed to organize here self-governance community Qahal, to build a synagogue in the city and to establish the cemetery, develop trade and crafts.
Eventually, the number of Jews so increased that at the beginning of the 20th century, the Jews made even three quarters of all city’s inhabitants, Such large Jewish community undoubtedly made a huge impact on the city’s life and its image.
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