This is an archive website for Židikai – what was a predominantly Jewish Shtetl.
It has been developed following the discovery by my father, Louis Lentin that my
great great grandfather, Zalman Lentin, his father Abram and family lived in
Židikai during the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. Židikai plays a
central role in the film my father made about our family history and identity
called ‘Grandpa Speak to me in Russian’, which focuses on the journey my great
grandfather Kalman made from Lithuania to Ireland in the late 1890s. Kalman was
born in Židikai on 1st September 1876.
This website is for enthusiasts who like me, Miki Lentin, would like to discover more about
their family history and who would like to read the tale of our discovery. It is,
by its nature, a transient space that is there to be used, resourced and added to.
If you have any information you would like to add, please contact me using the link
below. I hope you enjoy it!
"Throughout our journey I felt that Lithuania, its villages, forests,
trees, houses and people were all steeped in history. This was a place that had not yet
found a way to come out or exit from the trap of the past. It seemed unable to get
excited about the present and was wary and tentative about the future.
"At first the village of Židikai didn’t look like much – it didn’t have any particular
resemblance, just a few old looking houses and a huge church, one of two in the town.
The main road had two shops at one end; it is a wide road where the odd car or van went
down every now and again.
"As would be our luck that an old woman came our way and started to tell us through Saulius
(interpreter) that she knew where things were located from a Jewish perspective. She led
us to a lane where the Shul, or one of the Shuls was and where the various shops were, such
as the Butcher, Bakery, Blacksmiths etc… and where the Jewish school was. Her mother had
in fact, had been a Shabbos Goy and she helped her mother clean the Jewish School. Also,
she knew many of the Jews by their first name, not their surname (didn’t want to get too
"What was incredible was that she just talked and talked and talked as if she
really wanted to tell us what was there. She recalled, she was present
in the village when the Jews were rounded up by the Nazis and their collaborators in 1941
and taken to Mažeikiai where they were murdered in mass graves. I wonder, as she was
recounting these stories how she felt about saying what she was saying? What did she think
when she saw this happen, what did she feel?" (Thoughts on Židikai, Miki Lentin, November 2005)