On Tuesday, 20th of March, SICSA held a research seminar titled: Expulsion of Jews from the Towns of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: Strategies of Burghers and Jews.
The event was chaird by the center's Posen Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Anat Vaturi, and featured a lecture by Vilnius University's Prof. Jurgita Verbickiene.
Cases of expulsion of Jews from towns of Grand Duchy of Lithuania are known facts in historiography. However, the strategies of burghers and Jews in those cases have not yet been analyzed. The lecture discusses the evolution of behavior of Jewish community in the situation of expulsion from town as well as the steps undertaken by burghers in the process of establishment of a town without Jews. A thorough analysis of three cases of private town organized by the Magdeburg law -Trakai (Troki), Merkinė (Merecz) and Kaunas (Kowno) –uses the dynamics of group behavior to present a shift from expulsion of Jews in 16-17th centuries to their legally based and gradually accomplished eviction in the end of 18th century.
Jurgita Verbickene is an associated professor of Vilnius University Faculty of History, and director of Centre for Studies of Culture and History of East European Jews. She is the Head of Lithuanian Board of Jewish Cultural Route Association. Her scholarly interests include socio-cultural history and demography of the Jews in Grand Duchy of Lithuania as well as contemporary forms of presentation of heritage and history of Jews and other non-Christian communities in Lithuania. She coordinated several international research projects, among them "Synagogues in Lithuania. A Catalogue, “which was published with the cooperation of Hebrew University Center for Jewish Art. Recently her team of PhD students created a mobile app “Discover Jewish Lithuania” which uses augmented reality to present over 70 stories of Jewish heritage in small towns of contemporary Lithuania. Her English publications include as article:
"Blood Liber in a Multi-Confessional Society: The Case of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania" East European Jewish Affairs (2008);
and a coedited volume Jewish Space in Central and Eastern Europe: Day-to-Day History (Cambridge, 2007).
Currently she is working on a monograph on the differences and similarities of Jewish legal and social status in Poland Crown and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.