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The Small and the Large ghettos of Vilnius

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The persecutions and killings of Jews started the as soon as the Germans invaded Lithuania. Vilnius ghetto was established on 6th of September in 1941. After war, only 2 thousand from 57 thousand Vilnius Jews stayed alive.

Those who could not find a hideout until the Nazis came were locked in ghettos. There were two ghetto locations in Vilnius: the Small and the Large ghetto.

The Small ghetto was between Stiklių, Gaono, Antokolskio and Žydų streets. There were more than 12 thousand Jews jailed there. Many of them were classed as intelligentsia, hard workers and unemployable persons.

There were some old architectural relics restored in this ghetto, including several houses in Stiklių and Gaono streets. In Žydų street there were objects like a large synagogue, Gaono house of pray, the famous Strašunas library and some other buildings for religious purposes.

All these buildings were destroyed by the government of the Soviet Union. The only thing left to remind the old synagogue is a memorial for Gaonas built there. The Small ghetto was closed in 21st of October, 1941.

The Large ghetto was located between Rūdninkų, Mėsinių, Ašmenos, Žemaitijos, Dysnos, Šiaulių and Ligoninės streets. There were about 29 thousand people locked in this gehetto. The council (judenrat) of the Large ghetto was established in the palace of Oginski in Rūdninkų street. Furthermore, this ghetto held few Jewish partisan centres, also a theatre was opened, in 1942. This ghetto was finally closed in 23rd of September, 1943. After the ghetto was closed Jews, still capable of working, were sent to work camps, all others – to Maidanek death camp.

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