Tag Archives: Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  | MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—In comments reported today by the Lithuanian press service ELTA, the nation’s prime minister, Saulius Skvernelis has announced and hailed the decision to proceed with a national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery as one that “will lift the Lithuanian capital to a higher level of competitiveness in tourism.” He also notes that “the lack of a modern congress center in Vilnius is the main obstacle for the development of conference tourism in Lithuania,” not mentioning that there are numerous alternative sites for much more rapid and hassle-free construction of such a center.

It is frequently noted here that far from bringing honor to Vilnius and Lithuania, the conference center on the old Jewish cemetery project will bring generations of protest and ongoing instances of prominent persons of conscience from around the world refusing to appear in the building as a matter of principle. It is not only a matter of sentiment relating to the murder of 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust, because of which there are no local descendants to fight for their ancestors’ graves. It is also a current livewire human rights and racism issue. There is little disagreement that in the event of a medieval Lithuanian or Christian cemetery that still contained remains of many thousands of Citizens of Vilnius, no such project would even be discussed.

LITE-Vulovak-on-national-convention-center-opening

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…

Document Unearthed: 1935 Tel Aviv Protest Against Plans to Defile the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—Professor Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, widely considered to be the world’s leading scholar on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district), today released a remarkable document: a spirited 1935 protest, in Hebrew, from the Vilna Gaon Synagogue in Tel Aviv, against the then Polish municipal authorities’ plans to construct a sports stadium in the heart of the old cemetery.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Document Unearthed: 1935 Tel Aviv Protest Against Plans to Defile the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Dovid Katz

Editor’s note: Reprint from The Times of Israel, where this op-ed appeared on 13 December 2015.


Back in 2009, a rancorous dispute over the old Vilna Jewish cemetery was ostensibly solved. Two new buildings, despite worldwide protests, would be allowed to remain, and in return, no more land would be pilfered from the cemetery at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The burial ground goes back to the late fifteenth century, at least. After the Holocaust, with virtually no descendants left to worry about, Soviet authorities helped themselves to the gravestones for use in building projects, but left many thousands of graves intact. A galaxy of eminent European rabbinic scholars and authors were buried there. But once the 2009 “Peace of Piramónt” was brokered (with help from Western embassies here), emotions cooled as all sides got on with their lives.

skeltas-3 black background lite

Future symbol for a capital city in the European Union? by VULOVAK / DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Citizenship, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

Did Prime Minister Netanyahu Really “Okay” the Vilnius “Conference Center in the Jewish Cemetery”?


[from the day’s front page]


AN ISRAELI-LITHUANIAN MYSTERY

In September, during his trip to Israel, the Lithuanian prime minister reported back home with triumph  that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite happy with plans for a $25,000,000 national conference center in the middle of the old (15th century origin) Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. But did the Israeli PM really reject out-of-hand the growing  international Jewish (and non-Jewish) chorus of condemnation for a plan to have convention revelers clap, cheer, sing, drink in bars and use toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves including some of the foremost Jewish scholars of the last millennium? Where his own ancestors are buried? Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding. Background on the cemetery’s history and implications of the case for all Europe, and on the current project.

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What’s The Story With the Mass Grave Uncovered near Šiauliai (Shavl)?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

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:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on What’s The Story With the Mass Grave Uncovered near Šiauliai (Shavl)?

High Intrigue Over the Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



by Dovid Katz

Updates in [brackets] to 12 July 2015  

VILNIUS—According to Lithuanian media sources, including the highly respected English-language Lithuania Tribune (now merged with Delfi.lt), the government, working in concert with property developers, plans to declare the controversial project of a huge convention and entertainment center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery site as a “project of national importance.” The move enables an application to the European Union for a grant of 13 million euros (14.64 million US dollars at current rates) as part of a grand-total (for now) of 22.8 million euros (25.67 million US dollars) for the new complex. The nation’s prime minister has told Lithuanian media that “after the modern congress center is completed, private investors could build a hotel, parking lots and other infrastructure,” eliciting fears that all of the old Jewish cemetery is becoming a cash cow slated for developers for years to come. The Lithuania Tribune / Delfi.lt report concludes with an estimate of “110 million euros in economic and social benefits over 15 years” in addition to “600,000 foreign tourists and 2.2 million local tourists to Vilnius over that time period, with their spending estimated at 183 million and 60 million euros, respectively,” in other words, with profits from the old Jewish cemetery exceeding the equivalent of 250 million dollars, apart from the millions to be had from the building projects per se. Some estimates are provided in Baltic Course.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Double Games, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, United States, US State Dept Manipulated?, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on High Intrigue Over the Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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.

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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.

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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

Joseph Levinson (1917-2015)



Joseph Levinson, 98,

Dies in Vilnius

JOSEPH LEVINSON (1917-2015)

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Joseph Levinson, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Joseph Levinson (1917-2015)

The Lithuanian Government’s New Commission on Lithuanian Jewish Heritage



D O C U M E N T S

The following English version of the Lithuanian government’s announcement of its new state commission on Jewish heritage was released today. A PDF of the entire document is available here. An excerpt containing the mission statement is available here.

Update of 22 July 2015: Evidence mounts that the “Heritage Commission” was set up by the Lithuanian government, in part, to cover for the decision, at the same time, to proceed with a twenty-five million dollar convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt. One or more members of the commmision are also members of the state’s “red-brown commission” that promotes Double Genocide revisionism of Holocaust history; of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad; of a London rabbinic group that profits from “selling rights” to build on cemeteries under its expensive supervision. See the narrative and the paper trail (where color-coding marks the heritage commission’s adventures in purple).

Update of 22 June 2015: See now our report on the recent history of the Vilnius cemetery dispute. See also the statement from Herbert Block’s office about his own membership in the commission below.

Update of 1 June 2015: See now the 1 May listing of twelve major issues for the commission (with 1 June addendum) and the media chronicle of the renewed dispute over construction of a congress and entertainment complex on the site of Vilna’s Old Jewish cemetery.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Lithuanian Government’s New Commission on Lithuanian Jewish Heritage