Sergejus Kanovičius: Let’s Put Our Whole Heart in It, There Won’t Be a Second Chance

by Donatas Puslys

A unique project should open its doors in 2019: the Lost Shtetl Šeduva Litvak history, culture and commemoration museum. We spoke with the project director and founder of the Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund Sergejus Kanovičius about his work, commemorating the memory of Litvaks and the challenges he faces.

Let’s begin our conversation with the context surrounding the entire Šeduva project. How are doing here in Lithuania in integrating Lithuanian Jewish history into the general historical narrative? Is it an integral part of the story now, or still just an interesting footnote adding color to the main story?

It’s hard to assess this because you can never have all the information. You can only try to take it all in. What’s important is that all of these kinds of projects, including Šeduva, serve a very noble goal, to preserve or create cultural treasures. I think all the efforts connect up and achieve their goal sooner or later, each project is doing something worthwhile, contributing to educating the public. It might be somewhat boring to keep repeating it, but I will say it again, that everything will change, and I believe it will change for the better, when the educational system gets serious about these matters and the content of textbooks will be much different so that the story of the Jews–of Vilnius, Šeduva, Jonava and Lithuania–doesn’t begin and end in the Holocaust mass graves. There is a normal cycle to life. A person’s life begins with being born, and the history of the Jews of Lithuania begins here with the movement and settlement of people. The history of this settlement is extremely varied and rich and needs to be told. I think this is a question of educational reform.

Full interview in Lithuanian here.