The Panevėžys Jewish Community kicked off commemoration of Victory Day, the day Nazi Germany capitulated to the Allies, at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier at the Ramygala cemetery, then moved on to the monument on Krekanavos street in Panevėžys where veterans and the public gathered. Among the fallen soldiers there are thousands of Jewish surnames of infantry, sergeants and officers who sacrificed their lives during World War II in Lithuania.
Panevėžys Jewish Community members attended all of the events and laid wreaths. They held an additional ceremony at the monument marking the former gate of the ghetto in the city where they remembered Holocaust victims.
A group of religious Jews from South Africa (mainly Cape Town and Johannesburg) led by Rabbi Moshe Saltzman attended the latter. Many had relatives who died in the Holocaust in Lithuania. In the first year of WWII about 13,000 Jews were killed in Panevėžys. The South Africans are visiting cities and towns around Lithuania to commemorate victims of the Holocaust. Kaddish was performed and extracts from the local yizkor were read during the ceremony.
The commemoration concluded at the Panevėžys Jewish Community where Nikolai Lyaschenko from the Russian embassy awarded Efim Grafman a medal of honor as a survivor of the Leningrad blockade issued for the 75th anniversary of that event, and greeted all Jews of the city on the occasion of Victory Day.