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Joniskio centras.JPG
Flag of Joniškis
Coat of arms of Joniškis
Coat of arms
Joniškis is located in Lithuania
Location of Joniškis
Coordinates: 56°14′0″N 23°36′0″E / 56.23333°N 23.60000°E / 56.23333; 23.60000Coordinates: 56°14′0″N 23°36′0″E / 56.23333°N 23.60000°E / 56.23333; 23.60000
Country Lithuania
Ethnographic regionAukštaitija
CountyŠiauliai County
MunicipalityJoniškis District Municipality
EldershipJoniškis eldership
Capital ofJoniškis District Municipality
Joniškis eldership
First mentioned1526
Granted city rights1616
 • MayorVitalijus Gailius
 • Total9,900
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Joniškis church

Joniškis (About this soundpronunciation ) is a town in northern Lithuania with a population of about 9,900. It is located 39 kilometers north of Šiauliai and 14 kilometers south of the Lithuania–Latvia border. Joniškis is the municipal and administrative centre of Joniškis district municipality.

With the Church of the Accession of the Holy Virgin Mary (founded in 1901) and a complex of two Jewish synagogues - The Red Synagogue (built in 1897) and The White Synagogue (built in 1823) at its centre, the town has the status of an urban architectural heritage site.[1]

A railway line connecting Riga and Šiauliai runs along the western boundary of the town. West of the railway are the town's allotment gardens, the Lutheran Cemetery and the Cemetery for the Victims of World War II.

Joniškis has two water reservoirs formed by dams on the River Sidabra.

Joniškis has the Jonas Avyžius Public Library of Joniškis District Municipality, the Basketball Museum and a large animal compound feed manufacturing plant "Joniškio Grūdai".


Joniškis is the Lithuanian name of the town. Historical versions of the name in other languages include Polish: Janiszki, Russian: Янишки Yanishki, Yiddish: יאנישאק Yanishok, Latvian: Jānišķe, and German: Jonischken.


Joniškis was established in the beginning of the 16th century. It was mentioned in written sources on 23 February 1536 when Bishops of Vilnius and Samogitia visited the area and found that people still practiced the old pagan faith. People were worshiping the God of Thunder (Perkūnas), fire, snakes and other pagan deities. The bishop of Vilnius, John of the Lithuanian Dukes baptized the locals and established a new parish on 23 February 1536. A wooden church was built and the town of Joniškis was built around it. Bishop of Vilnius named the town Joniškis after his own name Jonas. Joniškis was on the crossroad of important trade roads.[2]

Famous people from Joniškis: Award winning Jazz pianist and composer, Charles Segal (pianist) was born in Joniškis in 1929. In the early 1930's, to escape the approaching Holocaust, his mother, Riva Segal, bringing her two young sons, Louis Segal and Charles Segal (pianist) left Joniskis. Riva Segal also brought from Joniškis, her half sister and family, including their three sons, the youngest of whom was Hirske Skikne, who later became known as Oscar nominated actor, Lawrence Harvey. The extended family left Joniškis together and travelled to Hamburg, Germany, to board the Adolph Woermann headed for Cape Town, South Africa.

In late 1941, 148 Jewish men were shot near Joniškis in the nearby forest. The remaining Jews (men, women and children) were murdered in the forest in September 1941. 493 people were murdered in total by an Einsatzgruppen of Joniškis policemen and Lithuanian nationalists supervised by the Germans.[3]


Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Joniškis is twinned with seven cities:[7]


  1. ^ "Lithuanian Heritage Registry". Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  2. ^ Joniškis. Mūsų Lietuva, T. 3. Bostonas: Lietuvių enciklopedijos leidykla. 1966. p. 58.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Joniskis Synagogue Complex". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Joniškis White Synagogue Re-Opens". Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  6. ^ Special to The New York Times (1973-11-27). "Laurence Harvey, Screen Actor, Is Dead at 45 - Attained Stardom With Role in 'Room at the Top' The Screen's Perfect Cad Enigmatic Flamboyance Was Also in 'Butterfield 8 and 'Manchurian Candidate' An Arrogant Manner - Article -". Retrieved 2013-01-04.
  7. ^ "International Relations". Retrieved 29 April 2014.

External links[edit]