The statue made by Lithuanian sculptor Romualdas Kvintas ensemble featuring Vilna Jewish doctor Tsemakh Shabad–the prototype for the Dr. Aybolit character in children’s poems and stories by the Russian writer Korney Chukovsky–and a child was vandalized with acid or paint.
The attack was the second over the weekend on Jewish monuments in the Vilnius Old Town. On June 26, the day before, the monument to the Vilna Gaon was also vandalized, also using acid or paint.
The Tsemakh Shabad was vandalized before soon after its unveiling in 2007 using acid. Some in the Lithuanian media are speculating the attacks are intended to mirror the wanton destruction of statues in the USA and UK by mobs. Meanwhile Lithuanian Nazi leader and Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika’s shrine at the very center of Vilnius remains unharmed and under 24-hour surveillance by video cameras. Recently news media have reported on a repeat-offender intent on making her mark on statues around Vilnius even before the Black Lives Matter mass hysteria swept the United States. The elderly primary school teacher was arrested last year after police reviewed video surveillance showing her throwing red paint on an installation at Vilnius’s Lūkiškės Square intended to commemorate Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans.
Police are investigating both anti-Semitic attacks in Vilnius and Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevičius has spoken out publicly and forcefully against the acts of vandalism, calling them attacks on the Lithuanian state. The Lithuanian parliament proclaimed 2020 the Year of the Vilna Gaon, marking three hundred years since the birth of the Jewish sage.
“Every time these sorts of acts of vandalism take place in our country, it’s hard to find the words to describe them. Mere condemnation, anger and sorrow aren’t sufficient to express the feelings which come up upon seeing these kinds of things are still happening in Lithuania,” Linkevičius told the BNS news service. “What the aims of the vandals are, only they know. But mainly this is directed against Lithuania, against the country’s reputation in the world,” he added.