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Žagarė Manor
Flag of Žagarė
Coat of arms of Žagarė
Coat of arms
Žagarė is located in Lithuania
Location of Žagarė
Coordinates: 56°22′0″N 23°15′0″E / 56.36667°N 23.25000°E / 56.36667; 23.25000Coordinates: 56°22′0″N 23°15′0″E / 56.36667°N 23.25000°E / 56.36667; 23.25000
Country Lithuania
Ethnographic regionSamogitia
CountyŠiauliai County
MunicipalityJoniškis district municipality
EldershipŽagarė eldership
Capital ofŽagarė eldership
First mentioned1633
Granted city rights1924
 • Total2,028
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)

Žagarė (About this soundpronunciation , see also other names) is a city located in the Joniškis district, northern Lithuania, close to the border with Latvia. It has a population of about 2,000. Žagarė is famous for Žagarvyšnė - a cherry species originated in Žagarė.


Žagarė's name is probably derived from the Lithuanian word žagaras, meaning "twig". Other renderings of the name include: Latvian: Žagare, Polish: Żagory, Yiddish: זשאַגאַר‎, romanizedZhagar.[1]


The foundation of Žagarė dates back to the 12th century. It was an important centre of Semigallian warriors, who fought against the Livonian Brothers of the Sword and the Livonian Order. The cult of Barbora Žagarietė, servant of God, originated in the town in mid-1600s.

It long had a Jewish population that contributed to its culture. Yisroel Salanter (1810–1883), the father of the 19th-century Mussar movement in Orthodox Judaism, was born there. Isaak Kikoin (1908–1984), a renowned Soviet physicist, was also born there.

On August 22, 1941 Jonas Noreika informed local authorities and mayors that on the orders of the Šiauliai Gebietskommissar, all half-Jews and Jews in the district were to be moved to Žagarė ghetto,[2] the Jews were allowed only to take clothing and at most 200 Reichsmark.[3] Many Jews were shot on the spot instead of being sent to the ghetto.[4]. In a massacre of the Einsatzgruppe A at the Yom Kippur on 2 October 1941 all Jews were cruelly killed by the Lithuanian population at the marketplace and buried in Naryshkin Park. The blood was flowing to the Svete River and the Fire brigade had to wash it away.[5]

Today Žagarė is the administrative centre of the Žagarė Regional Park, known for its valuable urban and natural heritage.

Notable residents[edit]

Nadine Gordimer's father Isidore Gordimer was a Jewish watchmaker from Žagarė.


  1. ^ JewishGen Locality Page - Žagare, Lithuania
  2. ^ Bubnys, Arunas. "Žagarė". In Dean, Martin (ed.). Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. II, part B. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. p. 1154,1108. ISBN 978-0-253-35599-7.
  3. ^ Arbeit als Hoffnung: Jüdische Ghettos in Litauen 1941-1944, De Gruyter, 2015, Joachim Tauber, page 65, quote: Schreiben des vorsitzenden der stadr und des landreises Siaulai J. Noreika an alle Verwaltungschefs der Bzirke und die Burgenmister der Landstadte vom 22. August 1941. Den Juden war nur die Mitnahme von Kleidung und hochstens 200 Reichsmark erlaubt.
  4. ^ Shafir, Michael. "Ideology, memory and religion in post-communist East Central Europe: a comparative study focused on post-Holocaust." Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 15.44 (2016): 52-110
  5. ^ Lipshitz, Leiba (2002). "The Šiauliai Ghetto, July 18, 1941–July 24, 1944". Šiaulių getas: kalinių sąrašai 1942. Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. ISBN 9955-9556-00.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rose Zwi: "Last Walk in Naryshkin Park" 1997 ISBN 978-1875559725 A Familie chronicle of her two families of origin Yoffe and Reisen. This account tells the story of Lithuanian Jews caught in the sweeping history of the first half of the century in Europe.

External links[edit]