The Lithuanian Jewish Community has delivered 1,000 copies of Yitzhak Rudashevski’s “Vilnius Ghetto Diary” in Lithuanian translation to the Lithuanian National Education Agency for distribution to almost all primary school libraries across the country.
At the hand-over ceremony several days ago, LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said the gift will contribute to Holocaust education in Lithuania and that Rudashevski’s diary provides a personal perspective which children are able to grasp more easily. Rudashevski wrote the diary as a teenager from Vilnius. She presented one copy of the book personally as a symbolic gift to Lithuania’s education and athletics minister Jurgita Šiugždinienė on the occasion.
“While we provide the book to the schools, it’s important to remember there were thousands of Rudashevskis,” chairwoman Kukliansky said.
Minister Šiugždinienė said she had read the book and was surprised by the intelligent and sensitive vocabulary and by the complex thinking uncharacteristic of most fifteen-year-olds.
“Culture and learning were incredibly important for the young man in the midst of that suffering and senselessness. He associated learning with the opportunity for a meaningful existence. The children in the classroom were cold, but Yitzhak said it was fun to learn and that he didn’t feel the cold while learning. This book without a doubt enriches the Lithuanian literature curriculum. Of course much depends on teachers, on how they are able to present it to children. I hope all children read not just this book, but that they would read as much as possible in general,” the minister said.
Mindaugas Kvietkauskas who translated the book from Yiddish was present at the ceremony, as was the book’s designer Sigutė Chlebinskaitė.