6/26/2004:  The Ghetto of Vilnius


The Jewish Ghetto of Vilnius

We  spent a cold and wet day with Rachel, touring around the Jewish Ghetto of Vilnius.   Jews have lived in Vilnius from its earliest times, as merchants and artisans.  Initially they set up shops and houses along the main streets of Vilnius, later they were restricted to the confines of what was to become the Jewish Ghetto.

Town Hall, 18th Century

Town Hall, 2004

Buildings in the Ghetto:

The Nazis actually created two Ghettos:  a larger one that held the Jewish men, who acted as workers, and a smaller one that held their families, the women, and the older people.

The Great Synagogue of the Vilnius Ghetto is gone now, a Soviet era building occupies the site.


The height of the buildings in the Ghetto was restricted, so the inhabitants sometimes expanded the buildings down instead of up, forming a city below the ground.


First the Nazis, then Soviets, eradicated Jewish life from the Ghetto, but there are still some traces left.