The Lithuanian Jewish Community invite you to a attend an evening of poetry and music with writer Sergei Kanovich and violinist Boris Kizner at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius. Sergei Kanovich will read passages from his poems and prose and Boris Kizner will perform works from his repertoire on violin. It begins at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday, August 11, at the Choral Synagogue located at Pylimo street no. 39 in Vilnius. Entry is free to the public and no RSVP is required. Visitors will be required to wear face masks and the event will be filmed.
The Catholic newspaper and website Bernardinai has published an interview with long-time Lithuanian Jewish Community member and pinaist professor Leonidas Melnikas as part of a series of articles and interview about ethnic minorities in Lithuania partially financed by Lithuania’s Department of Ethnic Minorities.
“In childhood when we used to visit homes as guests and we didn’t find a piano in a home, that was strange to me, how people could live without a musical instrument. In general at the time the profession of musician was highly esteemed, and musicians were a bit freer than people in other professions. If you’re playing Bach, Mozart and Beethoven all the time, no one can complain about your politics, only about your music.
“From the very first grade I attended the Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis School of Art in Vilnius. It was my parents’ joy I did music, and their encouragement helped me overcome the initial barriers, but later some inertia came up, it came up in the 8th grade which was competitive, and they had to chose who stayed and who would pursue something else. I stayed. There weren’t many people in my class, we graduated, it seems, eleven of us, so the relationship between student and teacher was very familiar and friendly, there was a lot of attention. We studied a somewhat different curriculum than they did at other schools, we studied musical things from the first grade and they kept increasing, and in the 10th grade we completed general education disciplines–chemistry, physics, mathematics–and in the 11th grade we only had social and humanitarian topics left, and music of course.”
Full story in Lithuanian here.
An awards ceremony to present the award “For Contributions to Friendship between India and Lithuania” was held in Rusnė, Lithuania, recently. The recipient this year was Vytautas Toleikis who researched and published the story of the friendship between the father of modern India Mohandas Gandhi and Rusnė-resident Litvak Hermann Kallenbach.
Gandhi and Kallenbach’s friendship was commemorated in a sculpture by the late Romas Kvintas which was placed on the bank of the Atmata River in Rusnė in 2015. The Lithuanian embassy to India contributed to erecting the statue.
On July 25 Toleikis was presented a miniature of this statue at the awards ceremony attended by Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Indian ambassador Tsewang Namgyal, Israeli ambassador Yossi Levy, US ambassador Robert Gilchrist, German ambassador Matthias P. Sonn, Lithuanian ambassador to India Julius Pranevičius, Indian honorary consul Rajinder Chaudhary, Šilutė regional mayor Vytautas Laurinaitis and Rusnė alderwoman Dalia Drobnienė. Chairwoman Kukliansky congratulated Toleikis on winning the award.
The Panevėžys Jewish Community continues its educational outreach efforts despite difficult times. This time an elderly group from the Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired visited the Panevėžys Jewish Community. They have been following the weekly installments in the newspaper Panevėžio balsas dedicated to Jewish life, and requested a face-to-face meeting to learn firsthand about Jewish history before the Holocaust. In late July Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman spoke to them about the prewar history, but also what happened during the war and after. The guests said they realized the idea of Jews as money-lenders was a stereotype and that many important and famous Jews had lived in Panevėžys. They expressed surprise when they were told about the Joint Distribution Committee. THey also learned of the famous rabbi Josef Kaufman who restored the Ponevezh yeshiva which still operates today in Israel.
The guests asked different questions and heard about Jewish businesspeople, teachers and doctors, including famous Panevėžys doctor Abraham Mer and others. Plans were made for a next meeting, and guests and hosts exchanged gifts. The guests left entries in the guest book.
We are saddened to report the death of long-time Community member and member of the minyan Chaim Zagin. He passed away August 3. He was born in 1928. Our deepest condolences to his children and loved ones.
Active long-time member of the Community Lev Jagniatinskij passed away August 3. He was born in 1926. Our deepest condolences to his son Aleksandras, his grandchildren and his many friends and family.
Four-and-a-half-days and the results was, according to the local Akmenė newspaper Vienybė, “a great success.”
Participants and guests from Šiauliai and Vilnius said the same thing about the “Šolom, Akmenė” activities and events last week. There was the same positive reaction towards the Friday evening conference dedicated the remembering the shtetl, lessons on Sabbath traditions with treats and the concert.
There was a creative workshop for youth held before, with visiting and cleaning-up Jewish cemeteries in Vegeriai, Klykoliai, Viekšniai and Tryškiai, in a grand plan to digitize the grave epitaphs there.
July 31, 2020
In Memory of the 500,000 Sinti and Roma Killed in the Holocaust, World Jewish Congress Commemorates European Holocaust Remembrance Day
NEW YORK–The world is remembering the 500,000 Sinti and Roma murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe, in advance of August 2, which marks the tragic anniversary of the liquidation of the Zigeunerlager (“Gypsy camp”) at the former concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On that day in 1944, the last 4,300 Sinti and Roma, despite their fierce resistance, were forced into the gas chambers by the SS, where they were murdered.
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) joins the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, the Association of Roma in Poland, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in observing European Holocaust Remembrance Day for Sinti and Roma on August 2. A short WJC video further explains the horrific history of the Romani Holocaust.
by Rūta Androšiūnaitė
The court of the city of Hamburg in northern Germany Thursday found a Nazi concentration camp guard guilty of being an accomplice in the mass murder committed during World War II and sentenced him to a two-year suspended sentence.
This could turn out to be one of the last such trials of surviving Nazi concentration camp guards. Bruno Dey, 93, was convicted for being party to the murder of 5,230 people at the Stutthof concentration camp which operated near Gdansk in Poland. He began working at the concentration camp at the age of 17.
Since he was 17 when he began working at Stutthof and the crimes of which he was accused happened when he was 18, Dey was tried in a juvenile court. Prosecutors asked he receive a sentence of 3 years while the defense called for exoneration. “How did you get used to the horror?” chief judge Anne Meier-Goering asked when she announced the court’s verdict. The trial began last October. Because of Dey’s advanced age, proceedings were limited to twice per week lasting not longer than two hours.
Full Lithuanian text here.
Photo: © 2020 DELFI/Šarūnas Mažeika
After questions by Goodwill Foundation chairpeople Faina Kukliansky and rabbi Andrew Baker on the decision by the Lithuanian parliament to name the year 2021 as the Year of Juozas Lukša-Daumantas, four members of the Vilnius Jewish Community have sent a letter to president Gitanas Nausėda, the parliament, the Government and Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevičius.
Chona Leibovičius, Vitalijus Karakorskis, Dovydas Bluvšteinas and Leo Levas Milneris called on the president to review the composition of Lithuania’s International Commission to Assess the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania.
These members of the Jewish community called on the parliament and Government to find a way to halt temporarily the financing of the Goodwill Foundation until its leadership is replaced.
Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av which begins this evening, July 29, is the Jewish day for mourning the loss of both Temples in Jerusalem, the first in 586 BC and the second in AD 70, and other tragedies which have befallen the Jewish people through history. Jews mourn, fast and read from Eicha (Lamentations) and the Kinnot (dirges from the Bible and later) during Tisha B’Av.
Jews mark Tisha B’Av today as the world is undergoing rapid changes: a global pandemic with no clear end in sight and closed national borders, economic crises and civil unrest. We know the Second Temple fell because of disagreements between Jews. Tisha B’Av today resonates deep sadness for the Temple and for the reality in which find ourselves now. Not just the pandemic, but the deep, incomprehensible division of society.
This new kind of physical and moral division of the people compels us to mourn even more the loss of unity and common goals.
We hope this email finds you and your close ones well and healthy.
Tomorrow, July 29, a grass-roots campaign will be launched by The Claims Conference to urge Facebook to remove Holocaust denial from its platform.
Holocaust survivors are putting much effort in order to make Facebook classify Holocaust denial as hate speech and remove it. Claims Conference has been working with survivors globally who are now recording messages to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. These messages will be posted daily on Claims Conference social media.
Despite the meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and civil rights organizations (including ADL and NAACP), Facebook has refused to classify Holocaust denial as hate speech.
Therefore, we would like to ask you (and your affiliated organizations) to take a moment to promote this campaign on your social platform. It is our duty to help giving Holocaust survivors this missing, while so deeply needed voice.
Each day from July 29th, a recorded message from Holocaust survivors to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be posted on Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook) and other social media platforms such as Twitter.
The first video will be posted at 1PM (CET).
Information can also be found at the Claims Conference website on July 29 at: www.claimscon.org.
EJC is fully supporting this campaign and we encourage you to share these video messages using the hashtag: #NoDenyingIt.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for any further information you may require.
The EJC Team
tel. +32 25408159 fax +32 25408169
The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community invites everyone to participate in “Sholom, Akmenė” events at the Akmenė Cultural Center (Sodo street no. 1, Akmenė, Lithuania) on July 24.
12:00 Conference “Memories of the Shtetl in Our Hearts”
Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community members Frida Šteinienė and Josifas Buršteinas will share their childhood memories, young participants at a creative workshop will speak about digitization efforts to record and preserve the Jewish cemeteries in the Akmenė region and Daumantas Todesas will share the secrets of making Sabbath treats. Also, Rita Ringienė will read excerpts from Indrė Daščioraitė’s work in 2001 recording the memories of Augustina Rušinaitė (1922-2007).
2:00 Jewish market (outside the Cultural Center)
The conference will be followed by a Jewish market set up by the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community showcasing traditional Litvak treats on offer, with haggling required. The organizers are promising a lot of fun at the market.
6:00 Sabbath concert
The Jewish music concert, already a tradition at the Akmenė Days celebrations, will be performed by students from the music schools in the Akmenė region and from the Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium in Vilnius. The concert will teach traditions of the Sabbath evening in artistic form.
All events are free and open to the public. Organizers are asking participants to adhere to the authorities’ current recommendations for preventing corona virus infection. The events will be filmed and photographed.
The WJC and its president Ronald S. Lauder are committed to commemorating the 1995 genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica at the hands of Bosnian Serb paramilitary forces. Over the course of July the WJC launched a widespread initiative to expose and condemn attempts to deny this genocide, calling for its victims to be accorded the respect and remembrance they deserve.
Full story here.