Beit Midrash of Veisiejai

Veisiejai, situated in a very picturesque oasis in southern Lithuania, on two peninsulas of Lake Ančia, has been home to one of Lithuania’s Jewish communities since early 18th century. An important trade route to Seinai passed through Veisieiai, making it an attractive location for Jewish settlers. At the end of the 18th century, with the permission of the Bishop of Vilnius, Jews built a synagogue in Veisiejai, and an independent Jewish community was formed, which contributed significantly to the growth of the town. The number of Jews in Veisiejai grew steadily, and by the end of the 19th century, Jews constituted a significant majority of the total population of the area and the economic core of the town: there were many Jewish shops, a power station, a bank, a sawmill, a bakery, a butcher’s shop, a chemist’s shop, and a brickworks. Interestingly, it was the Jewish youth who founded the first football club in Veisiejai, and the football tradition in the town is continued by the football club “Dainava”.

The history of local synagogues began with the first synagogue in Veisiejai in 1748 – fire after fire, and one synagogue was replaced by another in the same place. The present wooden synagogue, built in 1927 on the shore of Lake Ančia, has almost kept its original form until this day. The green-painted two-storey building with a porch-like entrance and 12 large windows lining part of the former prayer hall is a unique reminder of the once multicultural town of Veisiejai. The building itself has retained its function as a house of worship to a certain extent, as the Baptist Church has been meeting here since 2004.

Information from the Jewish Heritage Lithuania website: