University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Center for Holocaust Studies

Community Partnerships

The Lost Shul Mural


A project to save, restore, and relocate an historically significant synagogue mural in Burlington, Vermont

In 1910 the interior of Chai Adam synagogue in Burlington, Vermont was painted from ceiling to floor by Ben Zion Black, who was brought from Lithuania by the congregation to paint the synagogue in the prevalent style of the wooden shuls of Eastern European. Decades later the synagogues in Burlington merged and the Chai Adam building was sold several times before ultimately being converted into apartment units. Much of the painting was destroyed during the renovation but the mural over the ark was covered by a wall and forgotten until 2012 when the Lost Shul Mural was uncovered for the first time in nearly thirty years.

The Lost Shul Mural is part of a widespread tradition of Eastern European synagogue wall paintings that was almost entirely obliterated during the Holocaust. Few of these treasures survived in Europe and most of those were located in Jewish communities that simply no longer existed. Time and the elements have nearly wiped out this type of Jewish folk art, but the Lost Shul Mural is a remnant of the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, transplanted to the US by a Jewish immigrant artist. It may be the only surviving example of its type which adorned an American synagogue sanctuary.

A community group in Burlington, Vermont is now planning to restore and relocate the mural. The Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies at UVM is providing financial support for the project. To read more about the project, and about how you can help, please visit the following link:


The Ordinary Soldiers Project

An educational initiative sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the West Point Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, with assistance from UVM Army ROTC and the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies

A multidisciplinary team has created a lesson plan that uses a case study of a particular Wehrmacht battalion in German-occupied Belarus to teach military cadets and civilian students leadership and ethics in the context of orders to commit genocide.

To read more about the project, please link here to our 2013 Bulletin and go to page 9.

Print copies and video resources can be obtained free-of-charge via the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website ( and West Point’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies website (


Little Jerusalem


A video documentary produced by Vermont Public Television with financial support from the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies

In the late 19th century, Jews from neighboring villages in rural Lithuania settled in Burlington, Vermont, a bustling port amid countryside that reminded them of home. Archival images and interviews with descendants of the original settlers capture the history of a community that enriches the culture of Vermont to this day.

Link to Vermont Public Television's Little Jerusalem page:

Last modified December 09 2014 01:38 PM