Valentinas Brandišauskas: Confiscation and Destruction of Jewish Property in Lithuania

Valentinas Brandišauskas: Confiscation and Destruction of Jewish Property in Lithuania

This article will first attempt to discuss what attitude towards Jewish property was held by the officials of the two main Lithuanian government institutions–the Lithuanian Provisional Government and the Vilnius City and District Citizens Committee–which existed in the first months of the German-Soviet war and by Catholic Church representatives. Second, using the example of one district, we will examine the fate of Jewish property in the Lithuanian countryside. Whether or not this model can be applied to other Lithuanian regions will be shown by further research.

Full article in Lithuanian here.

See also here.

Faina Kukliansky: Eight Decades Seeking for the Truth

Faina Kukliansky: Eight Decades Seeking for the Truth

On June 15 the Lithuanian parliament adopted a resolution entitled “On Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of Great Losses and Resistance to the Occupations by Totalitarian Regimes” which says that “after Nazi Germany occupied Lithuania, the Nazis began to carry out the genocide of the Jews of Lithuania, opening the way for mass murders and violence, leading to the loss of the larger part of the Jewish Community.”

Full editorial in Lithuanian here.

Condolences

Vladimir Savenkov passed away June 15. He was born in 1937. Our deepest condolences to his widow Olga.

Naftali Bennett Assumes Post of Israeli PM

Naftali Bennett Assumes Post of Israeli PM

Naftali Bennett was proclaimed prime minister of Israel at the Knesset session last Sunday by a one vote majority. He now becomes Israel’s 13th prime minister.

Naftali Bennett is a former software entrepreneur and an Israeli politician. He is the current leader of the Yamina Party.

Bennett was born in Haifa on March 25, 1972, to an American Jewish couple who had immigrated to Israel from San Francisco just after the Six Day War in 1967. He is the youngest of three sons.

Amehaye Summer Camp Coming Soon

Amehaye Summer Camp Coming Soon

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is pleased to announce the our annual Amehaye summer camp for 2021:

June 28-July 2 Children aged 7-10 (day camp), register here;
July 5-July 9 Ages 10 to 13 (including overnight), register here;
August 2-August 6 Ages 14 to 17 (overnight), register here;
July 18-July 23 Jewish scouts (overnight).

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For more information send an email to amehaye2021@lzb.lt or call +370 601 46656.

The life of the Abramovičius family in Lithuania: deportation, hardships, and death in confinement abroad

The life of the Abramovičius family in Lithuania: deportation, hardships, and death in confinement abroad

The deportations of Lithuanian residents touched every ethnic group in the country, the Jews included. On 14 June 1941, some 3 thousand Jews were exiled from Lithuania.

In the fall of 1941, a train carrying a cargo of exiles from Lithuania rolled in to the foreign and cold city of Syktyvkar. Ravaged by famine and disease, they had travelled thousands of kilometres in tightly sealed cattle cars. Entire families would die from starvation. Those deported on orders from Joseph Stalin, the ‘Father of Nations’, included the Abramovičius family of Jews from the town of Tauragė (Taurogi shtetl): mother Taube-Leja and her three kids, the oldest son Leibas aged 12, the middle son Abramas, 8, and the youngest Aronas, just five.

Litvak Nobel Prize Winner Bernard Lown Commemorated in Utena

Litvak Nobel Prize Winner Bernard Lown Commemorated in Utena

The city of Utena in northeast Lithuania has a new piece of public art, a bronze heart, to recall the birth there of Bernard Lown, Nobel prize winner and famous cardiologist who invented the defibrillator.

The statue comes as part of a project by cultural historian Sandra Dastikienė called “Old Neighbors” intended to bring public attention to the Jewish community’s legacy in the Utena region.

“To heal communication between the Lithuanian and Jewish peoples, we have to start at the grassroots level, from the culture of the small towns or shtetls, where both separate communities lived together in peace for centuries. It was that, namely neighborliness, that I want to emphasize with my project in Utena, Anykščiai, Molėtai and Dusetos,” Dastikienė said.

Lown was born in Utena on June 7, 1921, to a family of Jewish merchants. Fearing growing anti-Semitism and seeking a better life for their children, his parents took the family to the USA in 1935. Bernard Lown studied medicine there and was graduated in 1945. He passed away earlier this year in February at the age of 99.

Speech by President von der Leyen at the American Jewish Committee Virtual Global Forum 2021

Speech by President von der Leyen at the American Jewish Committee Virtual Global Forum 2021

June 9, 2021–European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen addressed thousands participating in the 2021 American Jewish Committee (AJC) Virtual Global Forum. She reiterated the Commission’s commitment to fighting antisemitism, fostering Jewish life, Holocaust remembrance and strong EU-Israel partnership.

“After taking office as Commission president in 2019, I stepped up Europe’s fight against anti-Semitism. This is why, later this year, the Commission will adopt its first-ever ‘EU Strategy on Combating Anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life’ … All European students should learn about the Holocaust, no matter their background, family history or country of origin. … We want to foster Jewish life in Europe in all its diversity. We want to make sure that Jews are free to follow their religious and cultural traditions. … The European Commission has significantly increased the budget for preventing and addressing anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life, and we will also take action if European money is used to call into question Israel’s right to exist.”

Full speech here.

Condolences

Aleksandr Šmidt died June 11. He was born in 1954. Our deepest condolences to his widow Vanda and brother Jurijus.

Sabbath Times

Sabbath Times

The Sabbath begins at 9:35 P.M. in Vilnius and the Vilnius district on Friday, June 10, 2021. The Sabbath concludes at 11:27 P.M. on Saturday, June 11, 2021.

European Commission Calls on Greece, Netherlands, Lithuania to Transpose EU Law Criminalizing Hate Speech, Crimes

European Commission Calls on Greece, Netherlands, Lithuania to Transpose EU Law Criminalizing Hate Speech, Crimes

June 9, 2021–The Commission decided to send letters of formal notice to Greece, the Netherlands and Lithuania as their national laws do not fully or accurately transpose EU rules on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA). The purpose of this Framework Decision is to ensure that serious manifestations of racism and xenophobia, such as public incitement to violence or hatred, are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties.

Full story here.

Happy Birthday to Sulamit Lev

Happy Birthday to Sulamit Lev

Union of Former Concentration Camp Prisoners member Sulamita Lev celebrates her birthday June 7. She has been an employee of and volunteer at the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the LJC Social Center for many years.

We wish her a happy birthday, much happiness and good health, strength of spirit and joy. We wish you many meaningful years to come and that you would always remain as you are, young at heart.

Mazl tov!

The newspaper Šiaulių Kraštas published the incredible story of Sulamit’s life and rescue from the Šiauliai ghetto two years ago. The text is available in Lithuanian here.

Times for Sabbath

Times for Sabbath

This Sabbath on June 4, 2012, begins in Vilnius and Vilnius district with the lighting of the candles at 9:27 P.M. and concludes at 11:13 P.M. on June 5.

Congratulations to Rūta Ribinskaitė on Earning Her Bachelor’s Degree

Congratulations to Rūta Ribinskaitė on Earning Her Bachelor’s Degree

The Lithuanian Jewish Community congratulates Rūta Ribinskaitė for successfully defending and taking first place among final works for earning a bachelor’s degree at the International Relations and Political Science Institute of Vilnius University. Her work was titled “(Un)Fading Stereotypical Images of Jews: A Qualitative Analysis of the Internet News Site Delfi.lt.”

She told us: “Thank you for the opportunity to connect with the Jewish community, to acquire a lot of information, to gain experience and get to know members of the community, which led to my successful completion of studies.”

Way to go, Rūta.

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky Part of Žiežmariai Synagogue Supervisory Assessment Commission

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky Part of Žiežmariai Synagogue Supervisory Assessment Commission

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky has participated in the commission for the final supervisory assessment of work done to restore the synagogue in Žiežmariai, Lithuania. Work on the ground floor is now complete.

Work on the building is drawing to an end and the synagogue is set to begin hosting educational, cultural, tourist and other public activities. Following completion, it could become an important community site and tourist attraction.

Currently the synagogue is hosting an exhibit of reproductions of drawings by Dora Pilianskienė. She came from Žiežmariai and as a young Jewish woman left her hometown, but at an advanced age began drawing and painting images she cherished from Žiežmariai. Her relatives have bequeathed her works to the Žiežmariai Culture Center.