The Lithuanian Jewish Community values the upcoming visit to Lithuania by His Holiness Pope Francis as an important gesture of recognition and an historic event as our country celebrates 100 years of independence this year.
The Pope’s visit coincides with the National Day of Remembrance of the Genocide of the Jews of Lithuania, September 23. Seventy-five years ago on this day the final liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto was carried out: men, women, children and the elderly were deported to concentration camps in Poland, Germany, Estonia and Latvia and sent to the Ponar Forest to be shot. The destruction of the Vilnius ghetto is a symbol of the Holocaust in Lithuania. This tragedy not only cost thousands of Lithuanian residents their lives, but also ruined the great intellectual potential of society and deprived us of an important part of the identity of our state.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community calls upon the Lithuanian public and the leaders of global Jewish and Catholic communities and organizations to join us in asking Pope Francis to pray for the lives lost in the Holocaust and for the Righteous Gentiles of Lithuania, and to remember the innocents unfairly condemned and murdered at the Ponar Memorial Complex Jewish mass murder site on September 23, 2018.
Association of Italian Jewish Communities president Noemi Di Segni has called upon Pope Francis to commemorate victims of the Holocaust during his visit to Lithuania on September 23.
by Vaidotas Žukas, Bernardinai.lt
Jews constituted the majority of the population of the towns of the Molėtai region before World War II. In 1941, however, the Nazi regime issued a verdict against the Jews, the descendants of David were to be abused, tortured and shot… And only God knows how many people from this beautiful lake country contributed to the rescue of their neighbors and vice versa, informing upon them, betraying and shooting them. The Nazis only sent a few Germans to Molėtai. Lithuanian lowlifes performed all of the arrests and shootings of Jews.
There is a bright side, though, to this tragedy: there were also several hundred rescuers of Jews in the Molėtai area, since it took the conviction, daily work and risk-taking in the face of death of several dozen people to hide and protect one Jew. Respect to them!
The Alanta synagogue is one of only several surviving wooden synagogues in Lithuania; it hasn’t been destroyed and wasn’t burned down, but it’s still not in good order and unrestored. During the Soviet era grain and fertilizer were stored there. The cut-up wooden walls of the synagogue and the tin roof still with bullet holes from the war witness to both the Holocaust and the continuing reluctant position taken towards Jewish religious and historical heritage in Lithuania.
The Kaunas Jewish Community and artists from the Kiemas Gallery in Kaunas invite you to the opening ceremony of the Burning Stones project to commemorate the Slobodka Jewish ghetto in Kaunas (1941-1944) at 1:00 P.M. on July 15, 2018, at A. Kriščiukaičio street no. 21 in Kaunas.
“You stand before the gates of the Vilijampolė [Slobodka] Jewish ghetto which operated from 1941 to 1944. Beyond them stretched the territory of death. The stylized stones in the mosaic commemorate the Jewish historical and cultural heritage; while the sun rises and sets, the memory of those who lost their lives in the ghetto, the thousands of Lithuanian citizens of Jewish origin will remain in our minds and those of future generations. The portrait of boys embracing called Neighbors symbolizes the importance of friendly relations between Lithuanians and Jews in the context of those days, closeness, common ground, the ability to forgive. The color clouds floating by remind us of the course of time and, despite the scope of the tragedy which occurred, of hope, and reminds each of us of our responsibility to insure it never happens again.”
–Vytenis Jakas, creator of the Burning Stones project
The project was financed by the city of Kaunas. The opening ceremony will be financed by the Goodwill Foundation.
Come see the Lithuanian premiere film “The Good Nazi” about Righteous Gentile Karl Plagge at the Tolerance Center, Naugarduko street no. 10/2, Vilnius at 5:30 P.M. on July 12, 2018. Major Karl Plagge was in command of the HKP slave labor camp on Subačiaus street in Vilnius. The camp repaired and maintained German military vehicles. Plagge saved a number of Jews there. The event includes a discussion with the filmmakers and visiting archaeologists. Sponsored in partnership with the US embassy in Vilnius. Film and event in English, all are welcome, entrance is free.
Dr. Jon Seligman of the Israeli Antiquities Authority has announced excavation of the Great Synagogue and the former complex of surrounding buildings known as the Shulhoyf in Vilnius will resume this summer July 9 and will continue till July 27. Those interested in volunteering should contact Dr. Seligman, address below.
The Great Synagogue and Shulhoyf of Vilna (Vilnius): The 2018 Season
A Research, Excavation, Preservation and Memorial Project
A Quick Summary of the Work until Now
The successful outcome of the preliminary excavation of 2011, the 2015 ground-penetrating radar survey and the 2016 excavation showed us the potential of continued excavation at the site to uncover further sections of the Great Synagogue and the surrounding buildings. Given the resources available to the team, we decided to initially concentrate on issues relating to the water system of the shulhoyf that developed in and around the Great Synagogue in the 18thcentury. Written sources inform us that a pipeline was established in 1759 to bring water from the Vingrių springs, that belonged to the Dominican friars, to the synagogue complex. It supplied water to the communal “well,” and apparently to the bathhouse constructed between 1823 and 1828 that included a miqve and a public lavatory.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community has never said or claimed and never will that all Lithuanians are murderers of Jews. Although approximately 95 percent of Jews in Lithuanian were murdered in the Holocaust with the help of local collaborators, it’s not fair to label the entire Lithuanian people with the offensive and shameful accusation of murderers.
This is especially not fair to those who remained steadfast and passed the most difficult trial of being human. Those brave Lithuanians who seemed to find themselves in a hopeless situation and nonetheless found within themselves the power to fight antihuman ideas and Nazi doctrine. We can speak the names today of more than 800 of these quiet heroes although certainly the names of more have been lost to time.
Marking on June 25 the massacre of Jews at Lietūkis garage in Kaunas, honoring the memory of our ancestors and their rescuers, the LJC cannot remain indifferent when several days ago in the heart of the capital a celebration was held, while flags of mourning should have flown in the country to remember the first victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania.
On June 21, 2018, the municipality of the city of Vilnius published on their internet page an invitation to mark the anniversary of the June 23 uprising in which, among other things, that in June of 1941 revenge was exacted for the deportation of family members to Siberia and other northern regions of the Soviet Union, and that the sons and daughters of our nation, relying only upon their own bravery and themselves, were able to drive out the hated occupier and at least briefly (from June 22 to 28, 1941) restore Lithuanian statehood and the independence lost due to the culpability of their politicians and military leaders.
Should we really be encouraging the celebration of revenge, should we really utilize hate in the alleged goal of uniting the nation? Even after 70 years have passed since the end of the war, these sorts of phrases, recalling those during the Holocaust, remain painfully familiar.
July 31-August 4, 2018
The Savickas Art School of the Lithuanian Jewish Community is holding their 4th plein air outdoor drawing and painting workshop. Spend 5 days and four nights in the company of famous artists surrounded by nature. Raimondas Savickas, Ramunė Savickaitė-Meškelienė and specials guests from Israel and Lithuania will be on hand to give advice. The setting this year is the Karvys manor estate on Lake Karvys in Paežeriai village near Vilnius.
Registration is open till noon on July 16. To register or for further information, contact Žana Skudovičienė by email at email@example.com or call +370 678 81514.
The Kaunas Jewish Community invites you to come and honor the victims of the Lietūkis garage massacre at the monument commemorating these horrific events (Miško street no. 3, Kaunas) at 5:30 P.M. on June 25. Excursions to other Holocaust sites, the Slobodka ghetto, the old Jewish cemetery in the Žaliakalnis neighborhood and the Seventh Fort will follow the commemoration.
Happy birthday to Grigory Kanovich who celebrates his 89th this week.
This year the re-established Lithuanian Jewish Community celebrates its 30th anniversary. Looking back on the time of national revival, back to 1989 when the founding meeting of the Lithuanian Jewish Cultural Association took place, we remember Grigory Kanovich was elected the organization’s first chairman. Kanovich is an internationally acclaimed writer, winner of Lithuania National prize in Art and Culture for 2014, an honorable citizen of Jonava, chairman emeritus of the LJC and the recipient of the Order of Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, third degree. He currently lives in Israel.
We appreciate our first chairman (1989-1993) and writer, author of the novel “A Kid for Two Pennies” which was adapted and performed by the Little Theater in Vilnius as “Smile Upon Us, Lord,” and which won first prize at the Baltic and Northern European Theater Festival. It was truly an unforgettable play and several generations of people find much meaning in it.
Living in Israel, Grigory Kanovich wrote the novel “Jewish Park,” recognized best Israeli novel in Russian in 1997.
The entire Lithuanian Jewish Community is so proud of you, beloved Grigory, and we all wish you the happiest birthday from the bottom of our hearts, and wish you great health, happiness and love.
Every associated member will have one vote in future annual conferences of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. This was the verdict issued this week by the Vilnius District Court in a suit on future representation within the LJC.
The LJC followed this order of voting in elections last year and this year according to the Lithuanian law on associations, ballots which chose the leadership of the organization and confirmed annual financial and activities reports.
LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said: “The Lithuanian Jewish Community in its activities is based on law and the clear verdict by the court allows us to finally solve the issue regarding decision-making by the board and member representation at the conference. I hope this will facilitate cooperation in our common work because hindering governance organs from carrying out their work and the campaign of libel are not the proper measures which should be undertaken in the stated interest of concern for Jews. Now, having a decision from appellate court, I invite all organizations constituting the Community to consider how to heal discord among Jews and how to look for ways towards consensus.”
Kaunas mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis has issued public invitations to attend a ceremony to unveil a monument to WWII-era Dutch diplomat Jan Zwartendijk across from the Knygų Ministerija bookshop at Laisvės Alley no. 29 in Kaunas at 3:30 P.M., Friday, June 15. Zwartendijk issued the so-called Curaçao final-destination visas to Jews fleeing the Holocaust in Lithuania.
Israeli artist Asher Elharar’s exhibition “Emotions” will open at 4:00 P.M., June 13, at the Lithuanian Theater, Music and Film Museum located at Vilniaus street no. 41 in Vilnius. Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon is scheduled to attend the opening. The exhibit will run till August 25.
Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky congratulates Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė’s decision to present the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, to the Lithuanian parliament for ratification. This is an important step forward for human rights in Lithuania. The Istanbul Convention is a crucial legal instrument to strengthen state resolve in the fight against violence against women. It is binding and based on experience from around the world of the best measures for decreasing gender-based violence.
Thirty of the 47 members of the Council of Europe have already ratified the convention.
More information in Lithuanian here.
The Vocal Varshe group from Poland will perform a concert of Jewish songs in Yiddish and Hebrew including songs from the Warsaw and Vilnius ghettos at the synagogue located at Sodų street no. 18 in Kalvarija, Lithuania, at 7:00 P.M. on June 7. Entry is free. Limited transportation from Vilnius will be provided with a small bus leaving the Lithuanian Jewish Community at 4:00 P.M. on June 7 and returning sometime between 10:00 P.M. and 11:30 P.M. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to make use of this limited transportation.
St. Catherine’s Church at Vilniaus street no. 30 in Vilnius will host a concert by pianist Golda Vainberg-Tatz from the USA/Israel at 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, June 7.
Vilnius Municipal ST. CHRISTOPHER CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Artistic Director: MODESTAS BARKAUSKAS
Conductor: DONATAS KATKUS
The Ukmergė Regional History Museum has opened an exhibition of photography by Maushe Levi and Shimon Bayer called “The Fate of Interwar Lithuania’s Photographers.” More information is available here.
More about the photographers Maushe Levi and Shimon Bayer:
A chess tournament to mark Child Protect Day (June 1) will be held at the Lithuanian Jewish Community on Sunday, June 3, at 11:00 A.M. FIDE master Boris Rositsan will lead the tournament. For more information or to register, contact email@example.com or call 8 655 43 556.
Dear Makabi members,
Makabi will hold a mini-Maccabiah Games to celebrate the centenary of Lithuanian independence at the Lithuanian Educology University in Vilnius from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, June 17. Your hometown teams are invited to compete in the following events:
Indoor soccer (7 players and a trainer)
Three-on-three basketball (5 players and a trainer)
Volleyball (8 players and a trainer)
Table tennis (men and women)
Chess (men and women)
Badminton (men and women)
The schedule of matches will be determined when the exact number of teams and individual sports players is known.
Please send you application by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 15.
For more information, call 8 698 19999
Michailas Duškesas, executive director