Last Monday Vytautas Toleikis presented his book “Žydai lietuvių literatūroje. Nuo priešo iki sąjungininko” [Jews in Lithuanian Literature: From Enemy to Ally”] at the Kudirka Public Library in Kaunas. The event was organized by the Kaunas Jewish Community and the art and music section of the library.
Examining portrayals of Jews in texts by different authors in the period from the early 19th century to ca. 1918, Toleikis said he found more positive than negative images. He reported there was a noticeable transformation among some others and public figures from anti-Semitism to a more tolerant view during the period investigated.
The presentation concluded with Purim pastries and Jewish songs performed by Joris Rubinovas.
Last Tuesday Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas spoke to 7th graders at the Suzuki pre-gymnasium in Kaunas about the city’s Jewish history.
“We spoke warmly about the history of the Jews of Kaunas and Slobodka, Lithuanian-Jewish relations, the heroic deeds of those who rescued Jews, Makabi athletics club activities and the famous Makabi stadium which existed in the period between the two world wars. And about soccer, of course. It was nice to get all sorts of questions from the students and to feel that connection. It is so important to educate the younger generations. Only by understanding one another can we build a friendly future for both peoples,” chairman Žakas remarked.