Holocaust

Markas Petuchauskas’s Book Price of Concord Presented in Berlin

Markas Petuchauskas’s Book Price of Concord Presented in Berlin

The Lithuanian embassy in Germany on May 15 hosted a presentation of Markas Petuchauskas’s memoires The Price of Concord now translated into German as Der Preis der Eintracht, published by the LIT Verlag publishing house in Germany. Mark Roduner translated the book which was originally published in English. The director Grigory von Leit, with Litvak roots, read excerpts from the book. A discussion with the author followed. The vent was organized by the embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to Germany in cooperation with the Lietis Academy and Archive and the Lithuanian Culture Institute.

This isn’t the first time the German translation of Litvak drama critic Markas Petuchauskas was presented in Germany. Back in March there were two presentations of the book at the Leipzig International Book Fair.

The Price of Concord is a compendium of more than five decades of conversation with a number of theater figures, artists and musicians in which keen observations and sudden realizations and correspondence with different well-known personalities turn into a seamless book, one of whose sections contains complex moments of a fairly diverse life. Petuchauskas goes beyond discussion of episodes remembered from childhood and loss of family members leading to the pain experienced during occupation, and recalls the goodness, understanding and help of so many people encountered in the course of life.

Musical Evening “The Sounds of Music and Janusz Korczak”

Musical Evening “The Sounds of Music and Janusz Korczak”

Time: 5:30 P.M., May 15, 2019
Place: Central Library of the City of Vilnius

The Dr. Janusz Korczak Center and the Central Library of the City of Vilnius are pleased to invite you to an evening of music entitled Sounds of Music and Janusz Korczak.

Markas Volynskij and Marija Duškina will perform Yiddish songs.

Dr. Janusz Korczak Center director I. Belienė will be master of ceremonies.

Janusz Korczak’s real name was Henrik Goldshmit and was also known as Stary Doktor (Old Doctor) and Pan Doktor (Mr. Doctor). He was born in Warsaw on July 22, 1878, and died in August of 1942 at Treblinka. He was a doctor, teacher, writer, publicist and Jewish public figure. He was the originator of children’s rights and the idea that children should enjoy equal rights.

The Central Library of the City of Vilnius is located at Žirmūnų street no. 6 in Vilnius.

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Commemorates Fallen Soldiers

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Commemorates Fallen Soldiers

The Šiauliai Reigional Jewish Community this year as in years past commemorated the soldiers who fell in World War II, laying bouquets of flowers and observing a moment of silence with bowed head at the military cemetery in Šiauliai in memory of all who died.

Community members came together to socialize and share memories and experiences of those dark times after the ceremony.

Small gifts were presented to survivors of the war and the Holocaust.

Rescuers Celebrated in Kaunas

Rescuers Celebrated in Kaunas

The Kaunas Jewish Community continued this year its spring tradition of commemorating those who rescued Jews from the Holocaust.

Rescuers and the rescued came together again in a warm celebration of friendship and humanity. Professor Saulius Kaušinis who spoke at this year’s event said it and the stories behind could serve as an example of peace and peaceful coexistence in today’s world troubled by conflict, hate and terrorism.

This year the commemoration coincided with Holocaust Day and six candles were lit in memory of the six million Jews murdered in Europe.

Tenth-grade Art Gymnasium student Patricija Pugžlytė performed a piece from Schindler’s List on cello. Actress Kristina Kazakevičiūtė, herself the daughter of a rescuer, helped create an atmosphere of reflection and at the same time joy, and after all the point of the ceremony was to celebrate life. The saxophonist Michail Javič also performed.

It was sad to note the dwindling ranks of both the rescuers and the rescued, but at the same time it was a great joy to see their children and grandchildren there who were eager to share their family stories.

Panevėžys Jewish Community Marks Victory Day

Panevėžys Jewish Community Marks Victory Day

The Panevėžys Jewish Community kicked off commemoration of Victory Day, the day Nazi Germany capitulated to the Allies, at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier at the Ramygala cemetery, then moved on to the monument on Krekanavos street in Panevėžys where veterans and the public gathered. Among the fallen soldiers there are thousands of Jewish surnames of infantry, sergeants and officers who sacrificed their lives during World War II in Lithuania.

Panevėžys Jewish Community members attended all of the events and laid wreaths. They held an additional ceremony at the monument marking the former gate of the ghetto in the city where they remembered Holocaust victims.

A group of religious Jews from South Africa (mainly Cape Town and Johannesburg) led by Rabbi Moshe Saltzman attended the latter. Many had relatives who died in the Holocaust in Lithuania. In the first year of WWII about 13,000 Jews were killed in Panevėžys. The South Africans are visiting cities and towns around Lithuania to commemorate victims of the Holocaust. Kaddish was performed and extracts from the local yizkor were read during the ceremony.

Why Does the Founder of an International Corporation Talk about a Small Lithuanian Town?

Why Does the Founder of an International Corporation Talk about a Small Lithuanian Town?

by Romas Sadauskas-Kvietkevičius, DELFI.lt

According to Felix Zandman, the founder of the famous semiconductors producer Vishay International, whenever a new company client asked what the name of the corporation means, he told them about his grandmother and the mass murder of the Jews of Veisiejai.

Vishay is the Jewish name of Veisiejai used from the 18th century to the Holocaust. Survivors scattered around the world carried with them memories of their town and local placenames. The large Jewish population of the small town migrated before the war as well, and by the end of the 19th century of the 1,540 local inhabitants, 974 were Jewish. The Jewish population was rounded up and shot with other Jews from the Lazdijai district at Katkiškė village. The town of Veisiejai was probably best known for Ludovik Zamenhof, or Dr. Esperanto, who lived there in 1886 and 1887.

Felix Zandman passed away in 2011. His company had turnover in earlier years of $2.6 billion and employed over 20,000 people, or about 10 times the population of Veisiejai today.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Irena Vesaitė Awarded Polish Prize

Irena Vesaitė Awarded Polish Prize

Kauno diena

The Borders ethnic, cultural and art foundation in Sejny, Poland, awarded its “Person on the Edge” prize to Lithuanian professor Irena Vesaitė Thursday.

“Her intellectual courage and active community work has made Vesaitė a true moral authority in Lithuania and Europe. The path upon which she found meaning and her goal is the path of the teacher who understands life itself as art,” foundation director Krzysztof Czyżewski said in a press release from the Ministry of Culture.

The press release said the professor was awarded the prize for her practice of the ethos of the marginalized, her art and her philosophy of life which were an inspiration to all recipients of the prize and a pillar of support in moments of doubt.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Victory Day at the LJC

Victory Day at the LJC

The world marks Victory Day, the end of World War II, on May 8 and 9, and every year the Lithuanian Jewish Community has honored the veterans and the fallen. This year Victory Day coincided with Israel’s national holidays to honor fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorism as well as the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This year Israeli veterans also attended the LJC ceremony.

As in prior years, veterans were singled out and congratulated and thanked, including this year Fania Brancovskaja, Riva Špiz, Tatjana Archipova Efros, Borisas Berinas and Aleksandras Asovsky.

LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky greeted veterans as did executive director Renaldas Vaisbrodas and Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon, himself a military veteran. Žana Skudovičienė moderated the ceremony.

Heritas: Special Focus on Litvak Heritage

Heritas: Special Focus on Litvak Heritage

The second Heritas International Exhibit on Heritage Recognition, Maintenance and Technologies held May 3 and 4 focused on Lithuanian Jewish or Litvak heritage.

In cooperation with the Lithuanian Jewish Community attendees had the unique opportunity to visit the Zavl synagogue currently undergoing restoration at Gėlių street no. 6 in Vilnius.

The seminar portion of the exhibit discussed a topic proposed by LJC heritage protection specialist Martynas Užpelkis, “Litvak Heritage: A Matter for the Jewish Community and/or Local Communities?”

Ceremony to Commemorate Ghetto Fighters and Murdered Ghetto Children

Ceremony to Commemorate Ghetto Fighters and Murdered Ghetto Children

Lithuanian Jewish Community members gathered at the Jewish cemetery on Sudervės road in Vilnius May 8 to commemorate those who fell fighting the Nazis and the victims of fascism.

They assembled at a monument to Vilnius ghetto FPO (Fareinikte partizaner organizatsye) leader Yitzhak Vitenberg and partisan Sheyna Madeisker.

LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky recalled the number of Jews living in Lithuania before the Nazi occupation and the horror and tragedy of the majority who were murdered. Jewish partisan Fania Brancovskaja spoke in Yiddish about the painful experience of the war and the loss of family. “Do not forget those who were murdered, they fought for your freedom,” she said.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Lays Wreath for Veterans on May 9

Lithuanian Jewish Community Lays Wreath for Veterans on May 9

The Lithuanian Jewish Community laid a wreath at the base of a memorial to the soldiers who died during World War II at the cemetery in the Vilnius neighborhood of Antakalnis on May 9, Victory Day in Russia, correspond to May 8, Victory Day in Europe, in Western Europe, the United States and Canada. It was just after midnight Moscow time on May 9,1945, that Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies. In Western Europe it was still May 8. About 500 people including veterans and their family members assembled at the cemetery this year to mark the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Artist Adasa Skliutauskaitė Records the Sincerity of Being

Artist Adasa Skliutauskaitė Records the Sincerity of Being

Photo: Lilija Valatkienė: Skliutauskaitė’s canvasses enchant with their freedom of improvisation and virtuosity

Today we visit painter, graphic designer and puppeteer Adasa Skliutauskaitė. Life hasn’t spared her pain, loss and disappointment. As if in response to that, as if to ransom that guilt, destiny has given her talent, optimism, a great sense of humor and longevity. On May 5 Adasa turned 88.

“To a genial artist, a good friend and an incomparable utterer of profanity, with the the most profound appreciation and gratitude,” the dedication of Grigoriy Kanovich’s book Candles in the Wind reads in praise of that book’s illustrator, Adasa Skliutauskaitė.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

LJC Statement on Adolfas Ramanauskas

LJC Statement on Adolfas Ramanauskas

The Lithuanian Jewish Community in response to a difference of opinion regarding a monument commemorating Adolfas “Vanagas” Ramanauskas unveiled in Chicago underlines our support for the struggle by the Lithuanian nation for an independent Lithuanian state. The LJC does not question making monuments to honor those who fought for Lithuanian freedom so long as the facts don’t testify to more controversial facts implicating such fighters as Holocaust perpetrators. In the cases of Jonas Noreika, Krištaponis and Kazys Škirpa such facts are known. At the present time the LJC has no reliable information implicating Lithuanian partisan leader Adolfas Ramanauskas in Holocaust crimes.

Lithuania Monument for “Nazi Collaborator” Prompts Diplomatic Row

Lithuania Monument for “Nazi Collaborator” Prompts Diplomatic Row

by Paul Kirby, BBC

A monument to a Lithuanian hero in the US city of Chicago has prompted a row over World War Two after criticism from Russia and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas commanded Lithuania’s resistance to Soviet occupation after World War II.

But the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which researches the Holocaust, says he also led a vigilante gang which persecuted Jews after the 1941 Nazi invasion.

Lithuania has accused Russia of making false statements.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it had summoned the Russian embassy representative in Vilnius in protest and called on Moscow to stop spreading disinformation about Ramanauskas’s “impeccable reputation.”

It has also accused the Simon Wiesenthal Center of making false accusations.

But Efraim Zuroff, the Center’s head in Jerusalem, said that Lithuania had to confront its history. “They’re not telling the people the truth and they’re not facing the truth,” he told the BBC.

Full story here.

A Stranger in Her Own Land: Kaunas Resident Karolina on Her Lost Lithuanian Citizenship

A Stranger in Her Own Land: Kaunas Resident Karolina on Her Lost Lithuanian Citizenship

In a referendum in just a few days Lithuanian voters will decide whether people who have taken citizenship of another country meeting certain criteria may remain Lithuanian citizens. If the measure is adopted then the institution of dual-citizenship would include more people and provide migrants the opportunity to preserve their legal and political ties with their country of origin, Lithuania. The situation remains unclear for those who have lost Lithuanian citizenship already. Kaunas resident Karolina shared her thoughts with us regarding the issue.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your family history and when you left Lithuania. What were the circumstances surrounding your leaving?

My name is Karolina. I’m 27. I was born and raised in Kaunas until I was four-and-a-half-years old. My parents decided to leave Lithuania for Israel in 1997, to make use of the right of return to Israel by people of Jewish origin (aliyah). My grandfather and uncle were already living in Israel then.

How did it go, moving to Israel? What were your first impressions?

Holocaust Victims Commemorated at Ponar

Holocaust Victims Commemorated at Ponar

Victims of the Holocaust were commemorated at Ponar outside Vilnius April 2 on Yom haSHoah or Holocaust Day.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon, members of the community and Holocaust survivors placed wreaths at the central monument there, offered up prayers and placed small stones at the edge of the killing pits.

Kukliansky said this year’s commemoration didn’t include a March of the Living from the Ponar railroad to the mass murder site and that Lithuanian politicians weren’t invited. She said there will be larger commemorations in Kaunas and Šiauliai in July.

“The anniversary of the liquidation of the Kaunas ghetto will be held on July 14 and that of Šiauliai July 15, and there is the 23rd [of August?], observed nationally. We decided to do without speeches, we will just attend,” she said.

Yom haShoah May 2

Yom haShoah May 2

For members who want to attend the Yom haShoah Holocaust commemoration on Thursday, May 2, in Ponar, a bus will leave the Lithuanian Jewish Community at 11:00 A.M. Registration is not required but there are only 45 seats.

Everyone is invited to attend a memorial concert at 6:00 P.M. at the LJC. Julija Sadaunykaitė on paino and Paulius Gefenas on flute will perform works by Ravel, Šenderovas, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Ibert.

Righteous Gentile Vladas Drupas Has Died

Righteous Gentile Vladas Drupas Has Died

Photo: Drupas in his Zlin 326A airplane, 2015.

With deep sadness we report the death of Righteous Gentile Vladas Drupas who rescued Jews as a young man. He was a rescuer and a pilot who flew up until his last breath. Let him go to his reward together with the other Righteous Gentiles who have passed on.

Drupas never considered himself a hero for rescuing Jews during the Holocaust. It was like pulling teeth to get him to even talk about the events of 1943 and 1944 in Šiauliai and environs where a silent battled against the Nazis took place in hiding individual Jews and Jewish families.

Virginija Skučaitė wrote about Drupas in the Kauno Diena newspaper in 2016. It was one of the last publications about the courageous man:

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Winged Senior Saved Jewish Lives in Youth
by Virginija Skučaitė
October 3, 2016

It’s Easier to Rig a Memorial Plaque Than to Fix Lithuania’s Broken Reputation

It’s Easier to Rig a Memorial Plaque Than to Fix Lithuania’s Broken Reputation

by Markas Zingeris

In the last few days the restored memorial plaque was quietly replaced on the outer wall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences dedicated to Jonas Noreika. The mayor of Vilnius kept his promise. It’s not so simple, however, to piece back together the shards of memory about our complex past. I will admit that Noreika both repulses me and attracts me. Like a riddle which will never be solved. Such a mess has arisen over him between historians and journalists that it’s spilled over into the largest newspapers in the world (and also, by the way, as grist in the mill of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine; in March the Eurasia Daily reported on Stanislovas Tomas’s attach with a sledgehammer, claiming the alleged “law professor” lost his patience because a war criminal was being worshiped and grabbed a hammer). And I’m also left with a conflicted impression from that discussion between the blind and the deaf which in Lithuania is called a discussion by historians of our most painful issues of the past.

Full story in Lithuanian here.