The Kaunas Jewish Community accepted an invitation from Viktoras Klepikovas, monument specialist for the Jurbarkas (Yurburg, Georgenburg) regional administration’s infrastructure and property department, to attend the seminar Klepikovas organized called “Life and Diaspora in the Shtetl of the Jews of Jurbarkas” held at the regional public library. A large, overflow audience listened to deputy director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute Rūta Puišytė who spoke about the Jewish history of Jurbarkas, daily life for Jews there and good neighborly relations between Jews and Lithuanians. She said Jews constituted 42 percent of the population before the Holocaust.
Viktoras Klepikovas presented the second speaker, Rita Vaiva Begenat, who finally grew weary of the apathy of local officials and all the bureaucratic obstacles, and so in 2003 began cleaning up the old Jewish cemetery in Jurbarkas herself. She cleaned up the grounds, cleaned headstones and renewed inscriptions. She said she needs help reading the inscriptions now.
KJC chairman Gercas Žakas spoke at the seminar and thanked the organizers for the meaningful event. Also attending were KJC members Judita Mackevičienė and Dobrė Rozenbergienė, both originally from Jurbarkas. KJC members toured the old Jewish cemetery and a mass murder site. The KJC delegation stopped at nearby Panemunė castle on the way home and were intrigued by the yellow star on the coat of arms of its former rulers, the Gelgaudas (Giełgud) family.