Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Walk around Keidan Old City

Jews were 7.5% of the total population when my father was growing up in Lithuania. 30-40% in cities including Keidan.
And it was as high as 70- 80% before the great wave of immigration of 120,000 Lithuanian Jews, mostly to the US and South Africa, around the turn of the century.

Art decorates a building awaiting renovation.

Typical, elegant brickwork from the 1920s. Much use of yellow brick here and in Vilnius.

Statue to the Radzivil family who's massive land holdings included Keidan. Lutherans, they infused the city with an air of tolerance. The present day residents are also described as tolerant.
The event of August 28, 1941 should not have happened here. But it did. 

The horse stable of the Radzivil summer estate was used as a holding place for Jews to be killed.

Plaque for the Vilna Gaon on a restored synagogue. Except it is the wrong synagogue. The Gaon worked at my father's synagogue (now the regional museum, but not restored at the time the plaque was put up). The Gaon lived about a century before my father was born, his wife was a local Keidan girl.

Laima, a Lithuanian teacher, confirmed this. She said this yellow synagogue was restored by Mr. Kaplan and will begin use as part of the cultural center. I may be related to Mr. Kaplan, see comment for Finding dad's medical school.

Quite lovely cobblestone streets and stucco brick buildings have been well restored.
This may be my father's street.

when I was growing up, a very elegant couple visited from Israel every few years and I could tell they were very special to my father. The wife, Dr. Ginsburg, was born and lived on my father's street. here is more about them.

My father's street. Maybe.  His house was torn down and a new house on the left sits in its place.

A tribute to the NBA. Basketball is very popular thought the country. We have a youth team staying at our hotel that looks like it could be from Groton-Dunstable.



  1. When I got home, my mother told me that my father lived on Longa Strasse. I don't think this is a current name, but may be the street with the building with art.
    My mother says that my father returned to Keidan in 1944 to find his mother and found the maid living in the house. He got very sick in Keidan and the maid gave him an apple. I said, "I thought they were so poor. There was a maid?" She sId, for some things they had money, Finkelstein had money. history is so complicated.

  2. Finkelstein was called Uncle Papa by my father (my mother tells me). besides being a lawyer and firefighter who is in a picture of firefighters, he was the mayor of Keidan, she says.

  3. If your family lived on Longa Strasse, maybe you know the number of the house.My students would like to make a city map indicating the locations where Jewish people lived.

    1. Wish I knew the number. Know only that it was on a courtyard.
      What a wonderful project! Sending best wishes to you and your students. You represent a Lithuania of hope and truth.

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