Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda visited the Litvak Memorial Garden in the Žemaitija National Park last Thursday and said we can only wonder how many generations the country lost because of the Holocaust.
“Today there might not be many people still alive who experienced the Holocaust and we can only wonder how much we have lost, how many generations we have lost who didn’t live after that, because all of them could have contributed to Lithuanian and world development,” he said at the park, adding the Litvak garden is a unique idea brilliantly executed and commemorates the Jewish communities who lived in Lithuania. “It is a unique idea, brilliantly implemented, commemorating the Jewish communities who lived in Lithuania, and it also demonstrates how much they gave us. Of those people who came from Lithuanian, I look to the left now, I see David Wolfson, who gave the name to Israel’s currency, because, as the caretaker of the garden explained to me, the membership dues of the Zionist organization was called the shekel, and when the state of Israel was founded it took over this name,” the Lithuanian president said.
“Hermann Kallenbach was Gandhi’s friend from Rusnė. Again, a person who had great influence over Gandhi,” president Nausėda said, continuing: “Truly an extraordinary community to whom I bow my head, and with whom I feel sorry, although there is probably no right word, I just feel saddened and suffer this tragedy with happened many years ago, but which perhaps today is also still like an open, bleeding wound.”
He also said Litvaks should be given greater opportunity to engage in Lithuanian life.
Full text in Lithuanian here.