Photo-atelier of Moisiejus Botvinikas


The first professional photo-atelier in Zarasai was opened during the interwar period by charismatic newcomer Moisiejus Botvinikas. Looking from today’s perspective it is interesting, that this photo-atelier also provided services to the local police department by making copies of legal documents and taking mug shots of various local criminals.

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Moisiejus Botvinikas (1901-1984) was the first photographer in Zarasai, who captured thousands of images of the Zarasai region and its people. Originally, Moisiejus Botvinikas was born in Kaunas, and in his early twenties, he moved with his beloved wife to Zarasai.

He opened the first photo-atelier in Zarasai at his spouse’s brother`s house on Sėlių str., and later he relocated his photo studio to his own house (currently – Bajorų street). He can be named as a herald of modern technology in Zarasai, as in 1928, M. Botvinikas also opened the first electrical goods store, where local people could buy radios, which were a luxurious object to own at these times. Botvinikas was also a patriot of Lithuania as he served as a volunteer in the Lithuanian army and fought in the Lithuanian independence war (1919-1920), and while living in Zarasai, he founded the Union of Jewish veterans, who fought for Lithuania in 1919-1920. In early 1941 he was deported by the Soviets to Siberia, and in 1955, after 14 years, his family returned to Zarasai and Moisiejus continued to work as a photographer. However, in 1972 he took a chance and emigrated to Israel.


The building of the first photo-atelier stood on Sėlių str. 23 in Zarasai. Later photo-atelier was moved to a new place in the current day Bajorų street, however, both buildings had not survived till our days. Only the places, where they stood, symbolically remind us of the amazing story of the first photographer of Zarasai – Moisiejus Botvinikas.


The small beit midrash (Bajorų str. 14), 55.731922, 26.242103

The great beit midrash (Sinagogos str. 3), 55.734225, 26.243228

Monument commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, 55.706000, 25.983000

Printing house established by Kovneris, and later administered by D. Šteiman and E. Rozman  (Šiaulių str. 28), 55.736211, 26.244233

The old Jewish cemetery (Šaltupė alley), 55.738353, 26.235517

Jewish cemetery at Kauno street, 55.717250, 26.231653

Photo-atelier of Moisiejus Botvinikas (Sėlių str. 23-24), 55.732106, 26.247086

Carbonated water workshop  owned by Abelis Pitelis  (Sėlių sq. 2), 55.730917, 26.244598

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