A brief description of the shtetl

Kvedarna is near the western boundary of Lithuania, on the coastal plain about 35 miles from the Baltic port of Klapeida (previously known as Memel), and close also to the port of Liepaja (Libau), which is further to the north in what was previously known as Courland. 

An attractive village surrounded by forests, it is situated a mile away from the River Jura, and with two lovely hills between it and the river.

Click here for Locality  maps

Physical Description:

There is a  plan of the village ,as it was in 1910,  in the Lithuanian Archive in Kaunas.  This shows a village made up of about 250 lots of various sizes.  The two main streets met at a T-junction.  The left arm of the top of the T was the road leading to Rietavas, and the right arm led to Laukuva.  The vertical stroke of the T was the market street, with the Catholic church and the town square about half way down.  In another square off Laukava Street, just off the T-junction, were the synagogue, the Rabbi's house and the communal bath house.  Some distance behind these, on the outskirts of the village, was the Jewish cemetery. 

The 1910 map is however  not necessarily a reliable indication of what the town was like in later years.  Shortly before World War I there was fighting in the area between the Russians and the Germans, and part of the town was again destroyed.  After the war there were again more fires.   The town was burnt down again during World War II and has since been rebuilt.

The Jewish cemetery, on the outskirts of the town, is still there today, and a number of headstones are still standing.  However many of these bear inscriptions which are partly in English, and were obviously erected by relatives of the deceased who had already emigrated. 

 Some recent views of Kvedarna:

Slide show 1:     Photographs by Selma Jackson 1996

Slide show 2:        Photographs by Ellie Kellman 2002


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Copyright 2016 – Alan Nathan  

Webpage compiled by  Sam Aaron   February 1999    Last  Revision: Jan 2006

Co-ordinator Alan Nathan