Condolences

With sadness we report the death of Arkadij Buchman on May 7. He was born in 1931. Our deepest condolences to his wife and loved ones.

Goodwill Foundation Acquires Building on Pylimo Street in Vilnius

Goodwill Foundation Acquires Building on Pylimo Street in Vilnius

The Goodwill Foundation which allocates monies compensated by the Lithuanian government for seized Jewish communal property is acquiring the premises which were state property on Pylimo street in Vilnius and is considering the acquisition of more properties in other Lithuanian cities.

This week the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture registered a draft Government resolution under which the building at Pylimo street no. 4, worth almost one million euros, would be transferred to the Goodwill Foundation. This is the headquarters of the Lithuanian Jewish Community as well, which is currently leasing the building.

The transfer will take place by a reduction in the monetary compensation which the state is supposed to pay and which comes to about 3.6 million euros annually. “We want there to be enduring residual value for the Jewish communities after compensation ends. The buildings and real estate are residual durable goods,” Goodwill Foundation director Indrė Rutkauskaitė told BNS.

Donald Trump Supports Israel in Gaza

Donald Trump Supports Israel in Gaza

United States president Donald Trump said the United States supports Israel 100% regarding missile attacks from the Gaza Strip and says Israel is defending its citizens. He warned the leadership in Gaza missile attacks would only cause more misfortune, and called upon Palestinians to make use of the opportunity for peace being presented.

Hebrew and English Summer Day Camp for Children

Hebrew and English Summer Day Camp for Children

The Hebrew and English summer day camp in Vilnius is a summer camp for younger children where they will receive fun lessons and get a chance to use their knowledge of the Hebrew and English languages, to play with people their own age and dive into the wonderful and enthralling world of learning.

It is for children aged 6 to 11. The camp will run from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. from June 10 to 14.

Children will engage in four academic hours of Hebrew and English activities in the morning. According to age and level of proficiency, language group activities will work on all four aspects of language acquisition: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Activities and excursions in the afternoon are oriented towards fostering creativity and learning about the social and cultural environment. Children will be guided by camp leaders at the creative workshops in carrying out creative tasks.

Snacks, lunch and excursions are included in the cost for the camp.

For more information and to register, contact Ruth at +37068689530.

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.

Happy Birthday to Eta Gurvičiūtė

Happy Birthday to Eta Gurvičiūtė

Eta Gurvičiūtė is a long-time member of the Community and worked at the LJC’s Medical Consultation Center for many years.

Dear Eta, the Lithuanian Jewish Community wishes you good health and all the warmth you have given to others. We always remember you and sincerely congratulate you on your birthday. May the coming years bring you happiness, strong health and fun.

Mazl tov! May you live to 120!

The World of Animation at the Ilan Club

The World of Animation at the Ilan Club

Probably all of us wanted to learn how to make animated cartoons in our childhood. This dream came true at the Ilan Club with married couple Jurijus and Milana Rozovskis. On Sunday, April 28, children were invited to make a cartoon with them. Ilan Club was transformed into a real animation studio.

The group decided to animate the classic Russian fairytale Turnip (репа) well known in Lithuanian translation (Ropė). They added to the story with new characters and they themselves became protagonists in the tale.

Milana and Jurijus told and showed the children how make the animation characters move and have facial expressions. The children enthusiastically listened, drew, cut out, painted and posed for the animated film.

Milana answered a few questions for us as well:

Milana, was this activity your idea?

Public Announcement of Convocation of Lithuanian Jewish Community Reporting and Elections Conference

The Lithuanian Jewish Community, corporation code 190722117, will hold a reporting and elections conference at the Lithuanian Jewish Community at Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius, at 12 noon on May 28, 2019.

Agenda:

1. Election of LJC conference chair and secretary;
2. Adoption and confirmation of independent audit of LJC and financial report for 2018;
3. Confirmation of report on LJC activities for 2018;
4. Election of LJC executive board.

Representatives (delegates) of LJC association members are invited to attend the conference. More detailed material on the planned conference is available for viewing at the LJC at Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius.

For more information write info@lzb.lt or call (8 5) 261 3003.

Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Marks Israeli Independence Day

Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Marks Israeli Independence Day

Compared to earlier extravaganzas this year the Sholem Aleichem school in Vilnius held a remarkably low-key celebration of Yom Ha’Atzmaut or Israeli independence day on May 9, commemorating Israel’s 71st birthday.

Two years ago a dance troupe juggled flaming objects in tandem followed by a mass overflight of drones. Last year was also special to mark 70 years of independence. This year teachers and staff held a small commemoration ceremony inside the school during the day with voluntary attendance by students, followed by games and a picnic on the athletics field. A sound system provided the appropriate Israeli songs for the occasion and there was a tripod set up over live coals where a woman in a peasant costume cooked fresh bread. Parents brought picnic foods and set them on benches outside according to the class their child or children were in. A small game took place on the court where children threw balls lined with velcro at a similarly velcroed target. Those who made it within two rings of the bullseye received a candy. Participants appeared to have a great time just because parents and children had a chance to meet and socialize.

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?

Lithuanian Jewish Community Chiarwoman Faina Kukliansky Attends International Leaders Summit in Kiev

Lithuanian Jewish Community Chiarwoman Faina Kukliansky Attends International Leaders Summit in Kiev

The Ukrainian capital Kiev is hosting an international forum for discussing the most urgent Jewish issues in Europe, the USA, Canada and Israel from May 5 to 7. The conference also marks the 20th anniversary of the Confederation of Ukrainian Jewish Communities.

Representatives of global Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Restitution Organization, European Jewish Congress, World Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee and others are attending the international meeting of Jewish leaders.

The forum will focus on the results of the Ukrainian election, fighting anti-Semitism, strengthening peace and security, historical memory and Ukrainian international relations. Forum participants are also discussing the concerning situation in Israel vis-à-vis military hostilities.

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:

§§§

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.

Famous Russian Actress Elina Bystritskaya Has Died

Famous Russian Actress Elina Bystritskaya Has Died

Famous Russian actress Elina Bystritskaya died April 26 at the age of 91. From 1953 to 1958 she was an actress at the Russian Drama Theater in Vilnius. Her father was the military doctor Abraham Bystritsky and her mother was Ester. Both are buried at the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius.

She passed away following prolonged illness.

She was born April 4, 1928, in Kiev. Her father hoped she would become a doctor or teacher and she was graduated with a degree in medicine, later working as a midwife and gynecologist. After delivering 15 babies, she decided to go into drama instead, and matriculated at the Kiev Theater Institute. A great beauty, her friends nicknamed her the Blue Sock. Initially following graduation she wasn’t able to find work, but began working in Vilnius in 1953. Fame shone on her when she acted in the film adaption of And Quietly Flows the Down (released in parts in 1957 and 1958). She was sent to Moscow to act and did so on the stage and film.