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
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.
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 Genrich Agranovski, Jewish cemeteries in Vilnius, matseyves (matsevot) in Lithuania
В начале 1990-х годов при еврейской Общине Литвы была создана комиссия, условно называвшаяся «Мемориал», в задачи которой входил сбор информации о местах массовых убийств,захоронений евреев в годы 2-й Мировой войны, еврейских кладбищах и другие проблемы, связанные с памятью о погибших и умерших евреях. Комиссию возглавил Иосиф Левеинсон. Я, как член комиссии, отвечал за сбор информации о еврейских кладбищах Вильнюса. До войны в Вильнюсе было два еврейских кладбища-Старое,основанное по преданию в конце 15-го столетия и действовававшее до 1830 года, и Зареченское (Антокольское), действовавшее с 1828г. вплоть до июня 1941 года. Последнее было самым большим в городе-на нем ,по данным еврейского краеведа Соломона Шика, до 1937 г. было похоронено 70 000 человек. В советские времена оба кладбища были разрушены ,и могильные камни были использованы для строительных целей.