My name is Aušra Mikulskienė. I am a guide in Lithuania.

I have a hobby to research and document disappearing Litvak (Lithuanian Jewish) heritage in my country. There are more than 100 buildings of former Jewish prayer houses still surviving in Lithuania (Lita, as Jews used to call), more than 200 cemeteries, around 250 towns which used to be shtetls before the 2WW. Every year I visit 60-100 shtetls, returning there again and again, each time finding new places of my interest.

Recently I have launched a Litvak Shtetls project dedicated to share the information I own. It consists of 3 major parts:

  • Guided tours I offer in Vilnius. They are in Lithuanian, but I am willing to guide in English also. There are 3 standard topics in 2 levels (beginners and movers):
    • Following the traces of Jews in Vilna (until the 2WW):
      • Beginners: discussing the very basic issues on Jewish culture in general and in Vilna; covering the period of Jerusalem of Lithuania, the Gaon of Vilna, the Great Synagogue, the Jewish quarter, etc.
      • Movers: Jews in the New Town, synagogues on Pylimo street and around, visiting Choral Synagogue (when it is open), etc.
    • Litvaks of Vilna:
      • Beginners: the meaning of the term “Litvak”, the differences between Litvaks and other Jewish subcultures, the most famous Litvaks who were born, lived or visited Vilna.
      • Movers: the stories of the less known Vilna Litvaks.
    • Opening the gates of Vilna Ghettos:
      1. Beginners: the history of Holocaust in Europe and Vilna, formation of Vilna ghettos, the structure of the ghettos, the memorial to the victims of the ghettos.
      2. Movers: the storries of 10 Vilna ghettos prisoners.
  • Jewish routes in Lithvak shtetls (towns): if you travel around Lithuania and are interested on the Jewish sightseeing, you can use the the routes I describe as well as the additional information I link on the site. You can find the routes in Lithuanian here. If you wanted to have it in English, please, contact me and I will think how I can help you.
  • The map on the Jewish heritage in Lithuania. It is mainly in Lithuanian, but I am translating at least the names of the object, so you can point on the site and have an idea what the place is about.

If you look through the site you can notice 3 main colors on it: green, yellow and red.

  • Green is for beginners. It means that the object, the route, and the tour should be visited by everyone who is interested in Litvak heritage.
  • Yellow is for movers. After one visits the greens, maybe it is time to learn something more?
  • Red is for experienced researchers. I am on this way, still 🙂

You can also see some other colors on the map, as grey (I do not have enough information on the object), black (it shows mass murder sites) and purple (to be continued).

“Litvak Shtetls” is a private project, run by my personal initiative, time, funds and great wish. If you are willing to support, you can donate via Paypal. I will continue working on the project whether I get support or not.

My contacts:

GSM: +370 610 46155
E-mail: info@litvakshtetls.com

You can read more about me here.

Posts in English:

Rozalimas (Rozalye)
Hermanas Perelsteinas. A Story of Proud Survival
Samuel Bak’s Vilnius
Fania Lewando – The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook author
Ona Šimaitė. A Silent Heroine from Savičius Street
Klikol: A Small Town Next to the Border with Latvia

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