The local authority of the southern Lithuanian district of Alytus will not hold a public auction to sell the Simnas synagogue, which was added to the country's register of cultural heritage half a year ago, LRT Television has reported.

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Municipality decides against selling synagogue
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

The decision follows calls from heritage preservation officials, the Jewish Community of Lithuania and the government's office to halt the privatization of the synagogue.

The local authority, which owns the building, wanted to sell it for around 20,000 euros as a gym.

Algirdas Vrubliauskas, mayor of the Alytus district, says that the local authority has no money to renovate the synagogue.

The Simnas synagogue was built in 1905 in the place of an old wooden synagogue and was reconstructed during Soviet times. A culture center with a 250-seat hall was opened there in 1952 and later the building was used as a school gym.

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