Synagogue of Ludza. Photo by Joostik – Wikipedia

Ludza is famous for its ancient castle.

The Jewish presence in Ludza probably dates back to the 16th century, but continued from the 18th century onwards. At the turn of the 19th century, there were 582 Jews in Ludza. By the end of the century, there were 2803. Their main activities at the time were as tailors and craftsmen. But they were also involved in the grain trade, timber and other agricultural products.

Ludza was famous for its eminent rabbis and scholars, mainly from the Zioni family. Most children studied in local Jewish schools. There were eight wooden synagogues in the town in 1937. Among them was probably the oldest in Latvia, built around 1800 and surviving the huge fire of 1938. This synagogue was used after the war by the few Jews who returned and restored in 2016.

During the German occupation in 1941, the Jews were forced to live in a ghetto. The vast majority were massacred during the Holocaust.

Sources : Encyclopaedia Judaica