Info from kauno.diena.lt
The Lithuanian writer Vanda Juknaitė has been named the Person of Tolerance of the Year in the annual Lithuanian award for spreading tolerance in Lithuanian society.
The board of directors of the Sugihara Foundation had narrowed the field down to three candidates: the writer Marius Ivaškevičius, Vanda Juknaitė and the journalist Domas Burkauskas. Ivaškevičius wrote a moving piece about the Jews of Molėtai and organized a Holocaust commemoration there. Burauskas was nominated for reporting on the plight of refugees.
Juknaitė received the tolerance award for calling for reconciliation between Lithuanians and Jews over the Holocaust.
“It may sound strange to some, but I suggest giving a bit of land to those who now live in the Holy Land amid war and conflict. The bones of thousands of Jewish children and martyrs lie in the Lithuanian earth, so this land belongs to them as much as it does to us. It’s not enough to learn tolerance, you must feel it,” Juknaitė said when asked what the award meant to her. She added it was enough to catch a glimpse of the face of Chiune Sugihara to understand what a great man he was, and that it was an honor receive a prize from the foundation named after him.
Past recipients include the film director Saulius Beržinis, the poet Tomas Venclova, professor Irena Veisaitė, philosopher Andrius Navickas and others.
Last year the Sugihara Foundation’s Diplomats for Life organization lost three important members, including philosopher Leonidas Donskis, who died unexpectedly in September. Surviving members considered awarding this year’s prize to Donskis, but the foundation’s regulations don’t allow granting the prize to a board member. Instead, they decided to create a new prize named after Donskis.
The new prize is to be awarded to a person who has fought their entire life for justice, freedom and equality without fear of people of other ethnicity and religions. The first Donskis prize is to be awarded next year. There is no word yet how much money will come with the new prize.