Žagarė ( pronunciation (help·info), 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's name is probably derived from the Lithuanian word žagaras, meaning "twig". Other renderings of the name include: Latvian: Žagare, Polish: Żagory, Yiddish: Zhagar זשאַגאַר.
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 who 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. During World War II and the German occupation, the Germans set up a Jewish ghetto in Žagarė, to hold Jews from Šiauliai Ghetto. In a massacre of the Einsatzgruppe A at the Yom Kippur the 2nd. October 1941 all Jews where cruely 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.
Today Žagarė is the administrative centre of the Žagarė Regional Park, known for its valuable urban and natural heritage.
- 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.
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