Annotation of historical monograph

Dr. Eglė Bendikaitė

Assoc. Dr. Saulius Kaubrys

 

According to the data of the 1897 census, 61 per cent of the town’s population of Šeduva was Jewish. Today, the only traces of the once organic part of the society are the faded gravestones of the old Jewish cemetery and three-digit numbers of the murdered men, women, and children on the memorial monuments in the Liaudiškiai forest. The tangible heritage of Šeduva’s Jews is no longer reflected in the town’s architectural face, and the spiritual legacy of the community has vanished along with the shtetl.

 

The historical study is the socio-cultural portrait of the Lithuanian Jewish shtetl. The case of Šeduva is an attempt to return life to the world that’s been lost. Comprehensive historical research, based on eyewitness descriptions, personal experiences of the families of the descendants of Šeduva Jews, and documents from Lithuanian and foreign archives, allows us to restore the infrastructure, social space, community institutions, traditions, individual and community interactions, and relations with neighbors and their transformations through the ages. Characteristic features and development trends typical of the Lithuanian shtetl are analyzed through the prism of the Šeduva shtetl history case study. The thematic and chronological presentation of historical material, using analysis and illustrative examples of the town’s history, will not only help reconstruct shtetl life realities, everyday problems, and the Jewish community’s contribution to the development of the town, it will also allow a better understanding of the shtetl’s residents’ world outlook, motivation and choices, and reconsider the often sentimental and romanticized image of the shtetl so commonly presented in historiography.