Famous Israeli-based writer Grigorijus Kanovičius read out the beginning of a list of names of the Jews murdered in Jonava, Lithuania on Lithuanian State Radio’s most popular program Ryto garsai [Morning Sounds].
The Names project is being held in Vilnius for the fifth time in as many years and will be read out this year at two locations in the Lithuanian capital: in the courtyard of Herman Kruk’s ghetto library and at the Skalvija movie theater. Residents of Jonava, Molėtai, Švėkšna and Jurbarkas will also read the names of Jews killed in their towns.
More than 95 percent of approximately 220,000 Jews living in Lithuania were killed during the Holcoaust, but the organizers of the Names project are asking the public not to think of them as a statistic. “This is our history, our memory, which they tried to destroy along with people. When you say the names and professions of these people who lived here out loud, you can longer pretend they didn’t exist,” organizers of the civic initiative said in a press release before the events.
Grigorijus Kanovičius, an author whose works have helped many readers understand Jewish daily life in Lithuania and the Holocaust, and the winner of the Lithuanian National Prize, responded to the news that the names would be read out for the first time in his hometown of Jonava: “I hope these readings will bring us even closer to that historical truth which is impossible to hide or distort.”