Heritage

Art Exhibit in Inspired by Abraham Sutzkever

Art Exhibit in Inspired by Abraham Sutzkever

The Shofar Gallery of the Jewish Culture Information Center in Vilnius is hosting an exhibit of works by art and book restorer and artist Modestas Saukaitis inspired by Abraham Sutzkever’s poetry. Saukaitis’s works on exhibit are verre églomisé, an ancient technique which uses white gold painted on glass to produce an extraordinary effect.

The exhibit runs till December 23 and is open to the public during the gallery’s working hours, from noon to 6:00 P.M. on weekdays and from noon till 4:00 P.M. on Saturday. The gallery is located at Mėsinių street no. 3A in the Vilnius Old Town.

For more information, see here.

Anniversary of Escape from Ninth Fort

Anniversary of Escape from Ninth Fort

On December 25, 1943, 64 prisoners at the Ninth Fort in Kaunas pulled off a daring escape. The Jews and Soviet POWs were the crew selected by the Nazis to exhume and burn corpses.

The Ninth Fort Museum in Kaunas has set up a special exhibit to mark the 80th anniversary of the escape featuring the testimonies of survivors.

Ya’arit Glezer’s father Pinia Krakinovski was one of the escapees and she came from Israel to speak at the opening of the new exhibition. Yakov Faitelson also spoke through an audio recording–his father Aleks was one of the escapees–as did Medel Deich’s son Grisha Deich. Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg-Silverstein attended the event and spoke to the audience about the importance of history in the context of current events.

Strashun Street Library Space to House New Museum

Strashun Street Library Space to House New Museum

Lithuanian construction company Infes reported they concluded a contract with the Vilna Gaon Jewish History Museum for help creating a museum inside the Vilnius ghetto library space located on Žemaitijos street, formerly Strashun street, where library director Herman Kruk wrote most of his Vilnius ghetto diary and where the FPO, the Vilnius ghetto partisan fighters force, had a shooting range in the basement.

Infes said they would undertake capital renovation of the building and do other construction there. According to their press release, the museum will teach visitors about the Vilnius ghetto and the Holocaust in Lithuania and will feature unique items from the Vilna Gaon Museum’s collections.

Lost World Photo Exhibit

Lost World Photo Exhibit

December 13 the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture opened an exhibit of 15 specially selected photographs of the former Jewish quarter and Great Synagogue by pre-war photographer Jan Bulhak as part of closing ceremonies in the celebration of Vilnius’s 700th birthday, the newspaper Lietuvos Rytas reports on its website lrytas.lt

Culture minister Simonas Kairys, former culture minister Arūnas Gelūnas who now directs the Lithuanian National Art Museum which selected the photographs for the exhibit, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg-Silverstein, Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and others attended the opening. Boris Kizner provided Jewish airs on violin.

Gelūnas told Lietuvos Rytas television only two of the fifteen photographs contain human beings because the photographer thought empty streets and vacant sidewalks showed off the architecture better and presented a more romantic picture of the city.

“In a way he was prophetic in this: after World War II all these streets were emptied of people,” Gelūnas noted. He added the lessons of history haven’t been learned, anti-Semitism is alive and well in the world and people still cling to authoritarianism.

In Every Generation: Vancouver Remembers 1985 Firebombing of Synagogue

In Every Generation: Vancouver Remembers 1985 Firebombing of Synagogue

Photo: This menorah survived a firebomb attack at Vancouver’s Temple Sholom in 1985. (CBC)

A menorah has become a symbol of hope after surviving a 1985 firebombing at a Vancouver synagogue

The old Temple Sholom was destroyed during an arson attack in 1985, but a menorah withstood the blaze

A menorah is one of the last remaining vestiges of a Vancouver synagogue that was ravaged by a firebomb in 1985.

In the pre-dawn hours of January 25, 1985, a Molotov cocktail was hurled through a first-floor window into Temple Sholom, which at the time was located on West 10th Avenue.

While no one was hurt in the bombing, it destroyed much of the building. The arsonist was never apprehended.

Lecture: The Miracle of Hanukkah

Lecture: The Miracle of Hanukkah

You’re invited to a lecture by Natalja Cheifec called The Miracle of Hanukkah this Wednesday at 5:30 P.M. via the zoom internet platform. You’ll learn:

-about Hanukkah as a holiday preserving tradition
-what the Most High does during Hanukkah
-why Jews gaze at candle flames during Hanukkah
-about Hanukkah doughnuts and Hanukkah gelt

Register and receive log-in credentials here: https://bit.ly/3K73kEE

Concert in Remembrance of Grigoriy Kanovitch

Concert in Remembrance of Grigoriy Kanovitch

The Šalom, Akmenė! project with the Vilna Gaon Jewish History Museum are holding a concert to remember the late novelist Grigoriy Kanovitch. It is to include students from art schools in the Akmenė and Joniškis regions and students from the Song Cathedral of the Music Academy of Vytautas Magnus University. The program includes songs in Yiddish.

Time: 3:00 P.M., Sunday, December 3
Place: Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon Museum, Naugarduko street no. 10, Vilnius

The concert is free and open to the public.

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: International Conference “Ideologies of Hate and Hope in Modern Jewish History”

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: International Conference “Ideologies of Hate and Hope in Modern Jewish History”

You’re invited to the final event in our commemoration of the 80th anniversary of liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto this year, the international conference “Ideologies of Hate and Hope in Modern Jewish History” in Constitution Hall in Building 1 at the Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.

Participants must register by internet before 3:00 P.M. on Monday, November 27, here: https://bit.ly/40NAUZ3

The conference will be conducted in Lithuanian and English with translations. It is being held through the efforts of the Polish Jewish History Institute, YIVO and the Lithuanian Jewish Community. It will be streamed on the LJC’s facebook page.

Program:

Scout Hike

Scout Hike

Scouts and parents are invited to a fall hike Sunday, November 26. The hike is a free event and open to all children and their parents. Please register by internet before midnight, November 24, by clicking here: https://forms.gle/fbDdB1HDhBUQKw976

For more information, contact hike leader Adelina Kofman by telephone at 860581922 or write skautai@lzb.lt.

Standing with Israel in Pakruojis

Standing with Israel in Pakruojis

The Pakruojis wooden synagogue hosted an event yesterday to support Israel, organized by the Šiauliai Jewish Religious Community.

Before the Holocaust the wooden synagogue–one of only a handful still standing in Europe–was the center of Jewish life and religion.

The one-day photography exhibit there was actually two related exhibits: 22 photographs out of the 724 victims to mark the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Aktion or children’s mass murder operation in the Šiauliai ghetto collected and arranged by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Authority in Israel and the Šiauliai Jewish Religious Community, and pictures of the 242 hostages taken by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including babies, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.

Attendees Sing Israeli Anthem at Art Exhibit Opening

Attendees Sing Israeli Anthem at Art Exhibit Opening

Visitors had the chance to delve into the world of renowned Litvak artist Simon Karczmar and his artist son Natan last Tuesday evening in Vilnius where a new exhibit of works opened at the Old Town Hall.

The artwork features a romanticized take on daily life in the Dievenishok (Dieveniškės) shtetl and the Bohemian life in Paris.

Attendees were unable to escape the present, however–the brutal war and hostages taken–and sang the Israeli national anthem, HaTikva, “The Hope,” in solidarity with all our friends and family in the Jewish homeland.

Am Yisrael khai.

Kaunas Jewish Community Holding Concert to Commemorate Herman Perelstein

Kaunas Jewish Community Holding Concert to Commemorate Herman Perelstein

The Kaunas Jewish Community is holding a concert to celebrate the 100th birthday of Herman Perelstein, the renowned choir director and professor. The concert and birthday party is being called Šefas, Lithuanian for boss. It happens at 7:00 P.M. Monday, November 6, at the Kaunas State Philharmonic, Ožeškienės street no. 12, Kaunas. It will include a performance by the Ąžuoliukas boys choir Perelstein founded, other performances and recollections from students about the man. It is free and open to the public. The Kaunas Jewish Community thanks the Kaunas city municipality and Goodwill Foundation for making this event possible.

Simon Karczmar Exhibit Opens

Simon Karczmar Exhibit Opens

Photo: Left: Simon Karczmar and wife

The Old Town Hall in Vilnius will open an exhibit of paintings by Litvak artist Simon Karczmar (1903-1982) at 6:00 P.M. on Monday, November 6. Originally from Dieveniškės, Lithuania, Karczmar moved to Jerusalem later. The exhibit runs till November 30.

Šiauliai Ghetto Doctor’s Testimony Recalls Drowning “Illegal” Newborns

Šiauliai Ghetto Doctor’s Testimony Recalls Drowning “Illegal” Newborns

Photo: Šiauliai ghetto territory in 1988, unknown photographer, courtesy Ninth Fort Museum.

by Kristina Tamelytė, LRT.lt, October 15, 2023

“A young girl had to be killed so we decided to drown her,” doctor Aharon Pitsk wrote in his diary in 1942. He died just before the Šiauliai [Shavl] ghetto was “liquidated” with surviving ghetto prisoners sent on to Dachau and Stutthof. Šiauliai had a Jewish population of over 8,000 people before the Holocaust and only a few hundred survived.

The Nazis issued an order it was illegal for Jews to procreate so a newborn was a danger to the family, the community and everyone. Unborn children also posed a danger so ghetto officials encouraged and demanded women get abortions. This was considered the lesser evil, the death of one person instead of several. The children who were born were subject to poisoning. This often wasn’t lethal so “a more effective method” was found.

Pitsk called Lithuania “my homeland” in his diary.

Guests from Kupiškis Join Sukkot Celebrations in Panevėžys

Guests from Kupiškis Join Sukkot Celebrations in Panevėžys

A delegation from the town of Kupiškis attended the Sukkot celebration by the Panevėžys Jewish Community and presented a new book and student art exhibit about the former Jewish community in the small town.

The local history book “Kupiškio žydų bendruomenės atspindžiai. Kupiškėnų atsiminimai apie žydų bendruomenė” [Reflections of the Kupiškis Jewish Community: Kupiškis Residents Recall the Jewish Community” was compiled by historian Aušra Jonušytė who also delivered an address at the Sukkot celebration about the former Kupiškis Jewish community and their fate. Book illustrators Augustė Žalkauskaitė, Nojus Pajarskas and Vytė Sabaliauskaitė spoke about their work on the book.

Kupiškis regional NGO coalition executive chairwoman Marytė Semaškienė and art school principal Daiva Šakickienė also spoke in Panevėžys. Šakickienė’s students from the Kupiškis Art School also presented an exhibit of their works of art revolving around the former Kupiškis Jewish community.

Intellectual Heritage of Vilner Jews

Intellectual Heritage of Vilner Jews

The Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities invite you to attend an international conference called “The Intellectual Heritage of the Jews of Vilnius” on October 10 and 11 at the Lithuanian Academy located at Gedimino prospect no. 3 in Vilnius.

According to the Lithuanian Academy’s press release:

“Thanks to the support of the Research Council of Lithuania, we were able to invite such world-renowned experts in Jewish history and culture as Israel Bartal, David Fishman, David Roskies, Benjamin Brown, Alex Lubotzky, Marcin Wodzinski, Jon Seligman, Avner Holtzman, Tsvia Walden, Mordechai Zalkin and others.

“The conference will also feature presentations by prominent Lithuanian scholars: Giedrė Jankevičiūtė, Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, Lara Lempertienė, Jurgita Verbickienė and doctoral student Saulė Valiūnaitė.”

A program is available in English here.

For more information, visit the Lithuanian Academy’s website here.

Holocaust Monuments Vandalized in Palanga

Holocaust Monuments Vandalized in Palanga

Palanga Jewish Community chairman Vilius Gutmanas contacted the city mayor and police regarding the desecration of Holocaust monuments in the Lithuanian seaside resort town.

Lithuania marked both the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto and the Lithuanian Day of Remembrance of Jewish Victims of Genocide during the third week in September. On September 22 the Palanga Jewish Community, city representatives, teachers and students lit candles, placed stones inscribed with the names of victims and read passages from the history of the Jews of the city at a Holocaust monument there. The next day all the candles and stones had been removed.

“This came as an unpleasant surprise to me and visitors from Israel who had read about the event which took place the evening before,” chairman Gutmanas said.

He also surveyed markers and monuments in memory of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in the area and discovered much damage, including a stele marking the mass murder and mass grave site of Jewish women and children from Palanga erected by British House of Lords member Greville Janner in the Kunigiškiai Forest, and the complete removal of a monument including its plinth on Vytauto street.

“This isn’t the work of some accidental passer-by. Someone really hates that Lithuania is commemorating Holocaust victims, that we are paying our respects to innocent citizens of our country who were brutally murdered, that we are telling young people the facts about this tragic period of history so they can learn from the mistakes of the past and not repeat them,” the chairman of the Palanga Jewish Community said.

Telzh Yeshiva Reopens to Public

Telzh Yeshiva Reopens to Public

The famous Telzh (Tels, Telšiai, Telz) Yeshiva, a cultural heritage site, has reopened with a new public use. Last week a branch of the Alka Museum opened its doors inside the yeshiva building. The new museum space housed in the Jewish school will feature and protect the Jewish material heritage there.

The Telzh Yeshiva exhibit there was set up based on the yizkor Sefer Ṭelz (Sefer Ṭelz (Liṭa): matsevet zikaron li-ḳehilah ḳedoshah) compiled by Yitzhak Alperowitz and published in Israel in 1984. In 2022 the books was translated into Lithuanian as “Telšiai. Atminties knyga” [Telzh: Book of Memory], opening the door for Lithuanian speakers to discover the traces of Jewish life in the small town and find out more about its history.