The Kaunas Jewish Community and the Sugihara Foundation “Visas for Life” invited friends who knew Vladas Varčikas and all who wanted to pay their respects to this gigantic figure, a rescuer of Jews, humanitarian, teacher and violinist, to celebrate hsi 100th birthday with a concert in the Grand Hall at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. The hall was filled to capacity and overflowing despite the frozen weather.
Kaunas Jewish Community member Stasys Makštutis began to tell the story of Varčikas and the story was continued by his grandmother, Elena Andriuškevičienė, who was rescued from the Kaunas ghetto by Varčikas and survived to later become his colleague. Varčikas’s students, students of his students and their children performed music and shared their memories of the man. Actress Kristina Kazakevičiūtė, whose daughter was a student of Varčikas, read out director Kama Ginkas’s recollections of Varčikas, the man who saved him. She also read passages from Reinhard Kaiser’s book about Edwin Geist, whose compositions were rescued for posterity by Varčikas.
The concert lasted for over two hours. Many referred to Varčikas in the present tense, as if he were alive and among the audience. Varčikas’s daughters Sofija Ligija Makutėnienė and Ramunė Jarocka and Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas thanked the performers and audience for turning out and honoring the memory of the man.