The Lithuanian Jewish Community sincerely congratulates Dr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas on his selection as Lithuania’s new minister of culture.
Dr. Kvietkauskas will be the first member of the Lithuanian Government to speak Yiddish in many years. Likely the last was Jewish affairs minister Jokūbas Vygodskis who left the post when the interwar Republic of Lithuania annulled official Jewish autonomy in the country.
Kvietkauskas has translated a number of Yiddish works into Lithuanian. After completing Lithuanian literature and language studies at Vilnius University, he studied at Oxford’s Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He also acquired skills in Yiddish from Fania Brancovskaja, the Jewish partisan and Vilnius ghetto inmate.
The Community knows Mindaugas Kvietkauskas well as a polyglot and erudite scholar, but also as a person who is able to turn ideas into reality. We are grateful that together we were able to
bring a goal long in the making to fruition: to commemorate 15-year-old Vilnius ghetto prisoner Yitzhak Rudashevski and to present him to the Lithuanian audience.
Dr. Kvietkauskas has also translated poetry by famous Vilnius Yiddish poets Moshe Kulbak and Abraham Sutzkever. A few years ago Kvietkauskas’s Lithuanian translation of Sutzkever’s Green Aquarium collection was published by the Lithuanian Literature and Folklore Institute.
We wish Mindaugas Kvietkauskas endless energy in his new work and the resolution to turn old stereotypes and challenges into new opportunities.