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 Sauliai Jewish heritage
The Jewish community has left a rich cultural heritage in Šiauliai, Lithuania. The task of historians and museums specialists today is to mesure this heritage, to rediscover ist meaning and to popularize it for the public.

european institute of cultural routes
Povilas Batavicius
30 August 2010
Chaimas Frenkelis

One of the most significant personalities among Šiauliai Jewish community is the manufacturer Chaimas Frenkelis.

Among the materiel cultural heritage of the family that survived until our days: Chaimas Frenkelis mansion devenu monument culturel; Chaimas Frenkelis leather tannery; buildings erected by Chaimas Frenkelis: a synagogue for workers of tannery; religious Talmud-Torah school and others buildings, which were partly funded by Chaimas Frenkelis and the Jewish community.

Chaimas Frenkelis mansion

Chaimas Frenkelis Mansion, cultural monument, was built in 1908. It is believed that Jacob, the son of Chaimas Frenkelis, supervised the construction project. It is an example of characteristic architecture of the times, and has been declared an architectural monument of local importance. Chaimas Frenkelis with his family lived in this mansion and later his sun Jacob lived there. In addition, from 1920 to 1940, a private Jewish gymnasium was located in the building. During World War II, the mansion was converted into a German military hospital. For many years later, it continued to function as a Soviet military hospital. In 1994, this mansion was given to Šiauliai Aušros Museum. Today the building is undergoing renovations. Paintings and graphic artwork from the collections of the museum's Art Division have been moved to two rooms that have already been renovated. Once renovations are completed, Šiauliai Aušros Museum plans to organize its entire collection of artwork in one exposition there.

Leather tannery and Synagogue

Chaimas Frenkelis leather tannery was established in 1879. It expanded rapidly and the buildings erected in 1889 survived until nowadays. Before the World War I 48 red brick 1-4 storey buildings were erected as well as electricity and steams stations; the factory famous producing moisture-resistant "red soles". Factory was awarded with Gold medal in the Paris Exhibition, 1905, for the highest quality leather.

Chaimas Frenkelis was constantly searching for every possible means to increase the efficiency and the quality of production, to instill new technologies.

Since the early 20th c. to the WW II, Chaimas Frenkelis leather tannery was the largest one in the whole Russian Empire. Between the two world wars the leather was dressed here, shoe factory "Batas" (Shoe) was operating.

Building of the leather tannery


In 1907, Chaimas Frenkelis reconstructed the wooden synagogue close to the factory into two-storey brick synagogue for workers. This is the only synagogue which survived until now in Šiauliai, it has characteristic to synagogues forms of architecture of the period. Beside and around Chaimas Frenkelis Mansion and factory, during the Nazi accupation there were 2 ghettos. For celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ghetto liquidation, a monument in stone was erected in the place of the formerly ghetto gate (in 1994, July 24).

Talmud – Torah School

Talmud – Torah School.

The school building was constructed in 1899. Chaimas Frenkelis funded its building and further maintenance. After the WW II Jewish elementary school was operating in the buildings.

Talmud – Torah School

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 more infos ...
 Bata Factories
  Translation into english of the Lituanian Film: "Jews of Šiauliai".
 media library
  Jews in Šiauliai : Tracks of a disapeared world. Film.
 Šiauliai Aušros Museum


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