Museum building – Lost Shtetl
UAB Baltijos plienas is currently the Construction Manager of one of the most complex projects in Lithuania – the museum “The Lost Shtetl”. “Shtetl” in Yiddish means small town and the museum is a memorial to the Lithuanian Jews who lived in such towns and perished in the Holocaust.
The architect of the building’s design is Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects from Finland, who designed the Warsaw Holocaust Museum in Poland.
The location is Šeduva, as the sponsors have family heritage in the region, where there were many shtetls. Two foundations are involved – the Lithuanian Foundation (SZMF) and a Swiss organisation that works extensively with Eastern European Jewish communities.
Although Šeduva is certainly not a place that appears on the tourist map, there are two areas that are expected to attract visitors: one is the Jewish diaspora, for whom it will be a special and unique place. Šeduva is also on the tourist route from Vilnius to Riga, Latvia, so it can be a stop for tourists of all nationalities.
The architectural concept of the museum is a collection of different buildings representing a cluster that would make up a Jewish shtetl. Once you enter the administrator’s building, you will descend to the first gallery. The largest gallery is in the middle, with a shop as you pass by. Then along the way there will be various galleries, a multi-purpose gallery, a synagogue. The last gallery will be the Holocaust Gallery, which will eventually take you up to the top floor, called the Canyon of Hope. And at the last point, it will be possible to see the renovated Jewish cemetery.
The first galleries are designed to convey what Jewish life and culture was like at the beginning of the 20th century. Then the Holocaust Gallery will show the impact that the Holocaust had on many Jews in that area of Lithuania, partly due to the collaboration of non-Jewish Lithuanians with the occupying forces.