The Sabbath begins at 4:30 P.M. on Friday, January 28, and concludes at 5:50 P.M. on Saturday in the Vilnius region.
LRT.lt: This interview is taking place on January 27, which is International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. This topic is important to you, you took part in the Road of Memory procession several times if I recall correctly. The topic of the Holocaust is sparking a great many discussions in Lithuania and it’s clear we haven’t answered many questions. Have we, Lithuania, as a state, bearing in mind the entire history, have we commemorated sufficiently the victims and rescuers?
Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė: I think we haven’t fully realized over all what Jews mean in Lithuanian history. … The very scope, the understanding that 200,000 people, that the residents of the towns were in the majority the large Jewish communities which simply disappeared, someone took and wiped 200,000 people out of the picture. I came to that realization rather late.
Regarding the Palace of Sports, it has its own specific features because it is a building which is [protected] cultural heritage, nothing new may be built there, it can only be commemorated and put to public use. I won’t hide that there are people who say we should let this building fall into ruin because there are so many off-limit areas, so let the building fall down of its own accord. This is a difficult decision, to wait for the building to fall down in the middle of the city. I don’t think we should do this, but I also don’t think some other kind of application would meet with great support.
Wednesday, January 26, 2022–European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor called on leaders, decision-makers and opinion-shapers around the world to rethink the way antisemitism is fought, and to reorientate policy towards younger generations.
Kantor delivered a keynote speech at an official International Holocaust Remembrance Day event alongside French president Emmanuel Macron, president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Council Charles Michel, newly elected president of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, vice president of the European Commission and European commissioner for promoting the European way of life Margaritis Schinas, former French prime minister Manuel Valls and president of the Representative Council of French Jewish institutions (CRIF) Francis Kalifat.
The event, organized by the European Jewish Congress, was held in cooperation with the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and CRIF.
“Today’s youth are not aware or concerned about the lessons of World War II or the Shoah,” Kantor said, noting 2022 has been designated as the European Year of Youth. “We have to understand better their concerns and aspirations and speak to them in their language.”
Full speech here.
Eastern Europe’s post-Soviet “new democracies” have taken to falsely equating Communist and Nazi regimes and denying the role they played in the genocide
Last week a minor miracle occurred, at of all places the United Nations. For only the second time since the establishment of Israel, the General Assembly adopted a resolution sponsored by the Jewish state. In fact, the support for the resolution was so overwhelming that it was approved by consensus, meaning that it passed without a country by country vote, with the only objection registered in the 193 country body by (surprise, surprise) the Iranians.
The resolution itself deserves scrutiny. It expresses concern over “the growing prevalence of Holocaust denial or distortion through the use of information and communications technologies,” and urges all UN members to “reject, without any reservation, any denial or distortion of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, or any activities to this end.” It also called upon all UN members “to develop educational programs that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.”
Symbolically, the resolution was passed on the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942, at which 15 leading Nazi officials and SS operatives were informed of the decision to launch the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question,” and the details of its implementation.
Full article here.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry and the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium invited resident diplomats and representatives of Lithuanian institutions to a walking tour of the ghetto territory in Vilnius on January 27, International Holocaust Day. The LJC would like to thank the foreign minister, members of parliament and ambassadors and embassy staff for joining us in remembering the victims of the Holocaust.
Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė issued a statement on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, January 27, saying: “There is no statute of limitation on crimes against humanity, and as the years pass the scope of the tragedy becomes ever clearer. We lost a large community who built Lithuania to the Holocaust and the loss of that community made us impoverished. This painful testament compels the generations to carry shared responsibility for what happened, the burden of that, and to exert all efforts to insure it is never repeated. I invite everyone not just to remember the tragedy of the Holocaust today by paying tribute to the calendar, but to remember every day to practice tolerance and human respect.”
Speaker of the Lithuanian parliament Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen issued a statement on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
“The Jewish Italian writer Primo Levi who was a Holocaust survivor wrote about a female friend of his who survived the Birkenau concentration camp. Giuliana Tedeschi saw the crematorium chimney from the window in her cell and asked an older female prisoner what was burning there. ‘We are burning there,’ she answered. This isn’t just the tragedy of six million Jews of the world, but our own–every country’s–painful history which deeply cut into Lithuania as well.
“But lately it seems the lessons of this history have been forgotten, with the inability to do without anger and ultimata, when the firing of weapons is heard along national borders and human dignity is crowded out. The world cannot allow for death to become more dear than life again. I believe we have the will to remain people,” she said.
A Kabbalat Shabat ceremony will be held to usher in the Sabbath under the tenets of progressive Judaism at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius at 6:00 P.M. on January 28, followed by a glass of wine and challa bread. To register, write Viljamas at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 8 672 50699.
We would like to remind you about EJC’s online International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration, which will be held tomorrow at 4PM CET.
No registration is required. The event will appear live on all the above-mentioned channels shortly before the scheduled time.
Thank you in advance.
Raya and the EJC team
January 27 is International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, recalling the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust. The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites Lithuania’s educational and scientific community to join us in the campaign #WeRemember/#MesPrisimename and to remember the victims, eye-witnesses and heroes of the Holocaust who lived in the cities and towns of Lithuania.
We invite you to engage actively in International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust and to spread the news about the importance of this day among the various educational communities and institutions of general, higher and professional learning. Assign the activities of this day to teaching young people about the memory of Holocaust victims and organize encounters with the older members of the Jewish communities who remember and won’t let these horrific periods of history slip into oblivion. We invite you to pay special attention to remembering those who rescued Jews. Their courage set an example of humanity for future generations.
You can find educational materials, testimonies and stories told by survivors and other useful information which will help present the story of the Holocaust in an interactive and understandable way to young people on the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s webpages lzb.lt, lzb.lt/en and lzb.lt/ru, and at our virtual initiative @AtmintiesKalendorius on our facebook page.
You can also take part in the campaign by visiting the mass murder sites in your local area and by taking photos there and posting them to your social media with the hashtags #WeRemember and/or #MesPrisimename. Take a photo of yourself holding a piece of paper or a sign with the inscription #WeRemember and/or #MesPrisimename. Also, on the eve of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, join the global campaign by adding a #WeRemember frame to your social media profile. Frames can be found at #WeRemember and/or #MesPrisimename.
#WeRemember #MesPrisimename #Neveragain #NiekadaDaugiau #HolocaustMemorialDay
Faina Kukliansky, chairwoman
Lithuanian Jewish Community
The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is on January 27. It commemorates the date the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated and the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust in Europe. In Lithuanian entire Jewish communities in cities and towns were exterminated.
The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community invites residents to come to monument marking the site of the Šiauliai ghetto at the corner of Vytauto and Žalgirio streets at 12 noon on January 27 to light candles and remember the victims of the Holocaust.
At 12:30 we’ll move to the Square of Righteous Gentiles to honor the heroes of the Lithuanian nation who rescued their Jewish fellow citizens during World War II. At 1:00 P.M. we will light candles at the site of the former second ghetto at the corner of Trakų and Ežero streets.
Lithuania’s Odilė publishing house has translated and printed a Lithuanian translation of Yiddish writer Moshe Kulbak’s book Mesiekh ben Efrayim under the title Mesijas, Efraimo sūnus. The description by internet vendor knygynas.biz says:
Classic of Lithuanian and world Jewish literature Moishe Kulbak (1896-1937) is known to Lithuanian readers as the author of the wonderful poem Vilne. Finally for the first his prose has appeared in Lithuanian, the novel Messiah ben Efraim. This is one of the most famous and most original of Kulbak’s Yiddish works. It was written in Berlin in 1922 and is suffused with magical realism, something which hadn’t been seen before. The author’s vital and innovative imagination connects surrealistic and expressionistic images here with the oral tradition and strong mystical spirit of Lithuanian Jews. This ensemble recalls the impressive paintings of Marc Chagall.
The novel Messiah ben Efraim is based on a Jewish legend which comes from the Talmud that there are always 36 hidden just men living in the world without whose unseen actions the world would pass away [lamed-vavnik tzadikim or lamed-vavniki]. Kulbak creates a story about these holy people living in historical Lithuanian [Grand Duchy] lands–in Belarus and Žemaitija. Elderly miller Benya, Simkha the rabbi who ran away from his community, the philosopher-bum Gimpel, Christian sauna operator Kiril–these souls trapped in the world seeking the light, guided a strange unease embark on a journey without any explicable destination. During this fantastic trip filled with humor and mystical experiences the cause of this unease driving on the travellers gradually comes into focus: it’s the impending advent of the Messiah to the land of Lithuania.
LRT.lt, August 30, 2021
Jurgis Matulevičius film debut “Izaokas” has been playing for three weeks now at Lithuanian movie theaters and has received much praise from average moviegoers and film-industry colleagues as well, according to a press release by the makers of the film.
“Although the category of art film is not my favorite, the film Izaokas is in my opinion the best work in this category over the last 30 years of Lithuanian cinema. Bearing in mind that this is the first full-length feature by the director, he should be given another medal as well for talent,” film director Emilis Vėlyvis said.
Full article in Lithuanian here.
The film tells the story of an LAF volunteer who murders a Jew named Izaokas, or Isaac, during the Lietūkis garage massacre in Kaunas in 1941 and who is haunted by the memory for years. The IMDB entry for the film says:
Sylvie Simmons’s biography of Litvak musician Leonard Cohen “I’m Your Man” has been translated and published by Lithuanian publisher Kitos Knygos under the title “Tavo žmogus.”
The publisher’s website says:
Author and performer Leonard Cohen, who came from a family of Litvak religious authorities, holds a special place on the world’s musical stage. This book tells emotionally and with great insight the story of the person who created such unforgettable songs as “I’m Your Man,” “Hallelujah” and “Dance Me to the End of Time” along with so many other ballads which stick in one’s head. Chronicler of the world of music Sylvie Simmons examines Cohen’s remarkable life and tries to get to the bottom of the secret of his genius. This portrait of a musical icon will inspire readers of Frida Kahlo’s biography and Patti Smith’s memoirs.
Some excerpts from the book:
Ambassadors of Israel and Germany say denying the Holocaust threatens peaceful coexistence worldwide. Their appeal comes 80 years after the Wannsee Conference where Nazis discussed the extermination of Europe’s Jews.
The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution proposed by Israeli and German ambassadors rejecting and condemning any denial of the Holocaust.
The 193-member assembly agreed on the proposal without a vote with only Iran distancing itself from the text. The assembly also urged social media companies to “take active measures” to fight anti-Semitism online.
“The General Assembly is sending a strong and unambiguous message against the denial or the distortion of these historical facts,” German UN ambassador Antje Leendertse said. “Ignoring historical facts increases the risk that they will be repeated.”
Full story here.