Fragments of Jewish headstones, removed from a transformer substation and other locations in Vilnius where they were used as construction material by the Soviets, have been returned to a Jewish cemetery in the Lithuanian capital. The city municipality this week ordered all fragments, both with legible fragments of inscriptions and without, to be removed to a clearing at the former Jewish cemetery on Olandų street. The move begun today was supervised by architects and representatives of the municipality, the Cultural Heritage Department, the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Verkiai and Pavilniai Regional Park administration.
“It’s clear that it was time long ago to make sure Jewish gravestones be returned with dignity to the old Jewish cemetery and that such examples of the barbarism of the Soviet regime no longer remain in the city. Today I am glad that these thoughts have turned into concrete deeds: the city has renovated a vast territory of the old cemetery, and slowly alleys and paths have emerged there, and now the commemorative stones are being returned with dignity to the renovated territory. There has been exemplary and very constructive cooperation with the Jewish community and different institutions, and even though we haven’t had great resources, we’ve managed to find solutions which allow us to show due respect to the memory of the dead and testify to our values and culture,” Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius said.
Full story in Lithuanian here.