Lithuania's Synagogues Are Falling Into Ruin Due to Lack of Funding
AFP reports that Lithania's wooden synagogues are falling into ruin due to a lack of funding and support. These rundown buildings are the remaining vestiges of the former Jewish presence that was wiped out in the Holocaust. Between 1941- 1944, the Nazis murdered approximately 90 percent of Lithuania's 200,000 Jews.
"Jews owned around 20 shops here. After the war, nothing was left," said Danielius Drazdauskas, a 63-year-old carpenter born down the street from the synagogue whose fate fascinates him.
"Why is a Lithuanian interested in Jewish heritage? It's simple: whatever the faith, it's my cultural heritage and I feel a duty to protect it," he said.
Drazdauskas has used his post as a local position to plead on behalf of the synagogues.
Lithuania has approximately 13 wooden synagogues today.
"The restored synagogues could play an educational role, they are monuments to the memory of our community, once very important," Daumantas-Levas Todesas, head of the charity and member of the community's heritage commission, told AFP.
According to the AFP, a national Jewish charity and the Jewish Community of Lithuania are looking to restore the synagogues.