LONDON—Reliable sources in London reported this morning that solicitors are being instructed by a group of international clients whose ancestors lie buried in the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Snipiskes district of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. For years, the Lithuanian government’s justification for planning to situate in the cemetery its new national convention project, confirmed on numerous occasions in writing, is the “permission of the CPJCE in London,” a group of renegade rabbis who have ignored the pleas of all other rabbinical groups, and all major Litvak (Lithuanian origin) rabbis internationally, to give “permission” for the convention center in the heart of the cemetery. When Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, the then chief rabbi of Lithuania dared speak up in opposition, in 2015, he was rapidly dismissed. In late 2016, Rabbis Kalev Krelin and Sholom-Ber Krinsky were among the first to sign the international petition (see also Rabbi Krinsky’s blog and DH section). Rabbi S. J. Feffer, author of dozens of learned books on the Gaon of Vilna, based in the city for a quarter century and head of its Litvak rabbinic authority, published a powerful ruling in 2017.
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United Kingdom
Tagged CPJCE, CPJCE (Committee for Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe), Jewish cemetery in Snipiskes, Piramont Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, Rabbi Kalev Krelin, Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky
Last week, there was a flurry of reports in the Lithuanian media about human skeletons and personal effects turning up during routine roadworks at Pročiūnai in the region of Šiauliai (in Jewish history: Shavl). Reports and gory pictures appeared among other places in 15min.lt; Etaplius.lt; Skrastas.lt and Snaujienos.lt. I myself, a concerned resident of Šiauliai, commented on the subject on my own blog (here and here). Various articles published contained theorizations about the buried here being victims of Soviet crimes or even equally of Nazi and Soviet crimes.
Monday 13 July. It is probably correct to say that the international scandal was set alight when the “routine” BNS (Baltic News Service) report appeared in English in the Lithuania Tribune (amalgamated with English Delfi). The archaeologist placed in charge by the local government of the investigation of the human remains, Audronė Šapaitė, is quoted in the article as presenting the following certain conclusions. Excerpts follow:
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion
Tagged Chief Rabbi Chaim Burshtein (Lithuania), CPJCE (Committee for Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe), Evaldas Balciunas, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust mass grave Siauliai (Shavl), Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania