I am inspired by the deep feelings which have been stirred amongst Litvaks regarding the fate of the Vilnius Sports Palace built on top of the Jewish cemetery. I wish for our state of Lithuania to do its utmost on behalf of Lithuanians to restore the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius as a symbol of our aspiration for the closest friendship between Lithuanians and Jews. I realized that it would be most helpful for me to present my thoughts in Lithuanian.
“From the top of Gediminas Castle, do we want to see and cherish, for hundreds of years to come, what the Communist Party Chief saw (the Sports Palace) or what the Grand Duke of Lithuania saw (the Jewish cemetery)?”
Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Citizenship, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016)
Tagged Andrius Kulikauskas, Birute Burauskaite, Christian-Jewish relations, Jews in Lithuania, Lithuanian-Jewish relations, Litvak Affairs, Piramont (Snipiskes), Piramont Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Snipiskes Jewish cemetery, Sporto rumai
O P I N I O N
“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.
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius)
Tagged Christian-Jewish relations, Dovid Katz, Genrich Agranovski, Irina Guzenberg, Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania, Jewish gravestones in Lithuania, Julius Norvila, Julius Norwilla, Pinchos Fridberg, Reformed Evangelical Church Lithuania
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.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius)
Tagged Chief rabbi of Lithuania, Christian-Jewish relations, Christianity in post-Soviet space, Evangelikų reformatų bažnyčia, Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania, Jewish gravestones in Lithuania, Lithuania, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, Reformed Evangelical Church in Lithuania
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.
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 Antisemitism in Lithuania, Christian-Jewish relations, Jewish gravestones as steps to church, Lithuania, Reformed Evangelical Church in Vilnius, Reformed Evangelical Church Lithuania