Thank You for Ten Productive Years Together, Madam President

Thank You for Ten Productive Years Together, Madam President

Photo: Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė, right, at photo exhibit on rescuers of Jews

Your excellency, madam president Dalia Grybauskaitė,

The Lithuanian Jewish Community send you our sincerest thanks for the ten years you have devoted to Lithuania and the people of Lithuania. We are grateful for the firm political position you’ve taken in complicated situations and your resolute decisions.

Israeli president and Litvak Shimon Peres visited Lithuania in 2013 and we witnessed the birth of a new era of close cooperation between Lithuania and Israel. The year 2013 was also the year restitution began, when Lithuania, first among the countries of the region, undertook a firm legal obligation to make compensation for Jewish communal property seized during the Holocaust and to make symbolic restitution to Holocaust victims for the losses they experienced. In 2017 you decorated Fania Brancovskaja, a member of the underground resistance in the Vilnius ghetto and one of the liberators of the ghetto, recognizing her actions as worthy of merit to Lithuania. This was another important sign of respect for the memory of the Holocaust in Lithuania. In 2018 Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Lithuania, demonstrating the highest respect to the country and to the Lithuanian Jewish Community. In September of 2018 we prayed with Pope Francis, Catholics and Jews together, in memory of the victims of the Vilnius ghetto. This year, in the run-up to 2020 as the Year of the Vilna Gaon and Litvak History, we visited the archive of the YIVO institute in New York City, where a portion of the statistics on the Jewish population once kept by the Great Synagogue in Vilnius are conserved, again recalling the memory of the lost Jerusalem of Lithuania.

Thank you for the important step we have taken together on the road to mutual understanding between Jews and Lithuanians.

With respect and gratitude,

Faina Kukliansky, chairwoman
Lithuanian Jewish Community