Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius)

Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”



O P I N I O N     /     C E M E T E R I E S    /     P I R A M Ó N T    /    P A P E R   T R A I L

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—This city’s dashing young new mayor, Remigijus Šimašius, elected last spring, has now added Yiddish to the previously bilingual (Lithuanian-English) signs, wrought of expensive metal in rounded-edged casement, in times of austerity for pensioners and others in town. These signs are being placed near Soviet-era edifices made of pilfered Jewish gravestones (matséyves) that are a blot on this charming East European capital. This is the latest model featured on the mayor’s office website:

mayorskhokhme

Photo: Vilnius Municipality / Mayor’s Office.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, CPJCE (London), Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”

A Protestant Pastor in Vilnius Speaks Out About Church Steps Still Made of Pilfered Jewish Gravestones



O P I N I O N

by Julius Norvila

“And Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath—the same is Beth-lehem. And Jacob set up a gravestone upon her grave, it is the Tomb of Rachel unto this very day.”

 (Genesis 35, 19-20)

Back in 1989 I had become a minister in our Reformed Evangelical Church here in Vilnius. The end of the 1980s in Lithuania had been a particularly pivotal period for church-state relations. The government changed its policy radically. There was a liberalization of religious activities and along with religious revivals came the idea of restitution of church properties that had been nationalized under the communist policies of the Soviet state. In order to bring to realization that idea, and to speed the process of restitution, we as reformed protestants organized a number of open air meetings and worship services on the street in front of historical church buildings in Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania’s two major cities.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Protestant Pastor in Vilnius Speaks Out About Church Steps Still Made of Pilfered Jewish Gravestones

Advertisement for Church Service Flaunts Congregation Stepping on Old Jewish Gravestones



CEMETERIES  /  REFORMED EVANGELICAL CHURCH  /  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

VILNIUS—The website of the Reformed Evangelical Church services this weekend advertised today’s Sunday service with a previously-made photo of pastors and worshippers posing for a photograph with their shoes pressing into the pilfered Jewish gravestones, some of which still have visible writing, of which the steps to the church are made. The church has still issued no public statement on its retention of the Soviet-era made-of-pilfered-Jewish-gravestones steps even after its much-celebrated reconstruction and restoration less than a decade ago.

  ◊

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Advertisement for Church Service Flaunts Congregation Stepping on Old Jewish Gravestones

The Stones Tell Me. After All, They Lived Here.



O P I N I O N

by Genrich Agranovski

Genrich Agranovski is co-author (with Irina Guzenberg) of Vilnius: Sites of Jewish Memory as well as other works on Jewish Vilna. This comment was translated from the Russian by Ludmila Makedonskaya. See also DH’s section on old Jewish cemeteries and mass graves.


At the beginning of the 1990s a commission tentatively called “Memorial” was founded at the Jewish Community of Lithuania. Its aims included collecting information about the mass murder and burial sites of the World war II period, Jewish cemeteries, as well as other issues connected with the memory of the perished. The commission was headed by Joseph Levinson. Being a member of the commission, I was in charge of collecting information on Jewish cemeteries in Vilnius. There had been two large Jewish cemeteries in Vilnius before the war: the “old one,” founded, according to Vilna Jewish lore, at the end of the fifteenth century and used till 1830, and Zarechenskoye [“beyond the river”; in Yiddish Zarétshe] (Antokolskoye), which was used from 1828 up to June 1941. The latter was the biggest in the city. According to the Jewish ethnographer Solomon Shik, seventy thousand people had been buried there by 1937. In Soviet times both  cemeteries were destroyed and the gravestones were used for construction purposes.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Genrich Agranovski, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Stones Tell Me. After All, They Lived Here.

Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church



C E M E T E R I E S    /    C H R I S T I A N – J E W I S H   R E L A T I O N S

by Dovid Katz

The following are translated (and edited) excerpts from a longer letter in Yiddish received from a survivor who has asked to remain anonymous, about the Jewish gravestones that form the steps going up to the Reformed Evangelical Church at Pylimo 18 in Vilnius.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church