Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok)

International Opposition to 2024 Proposals for a Memorial Complex (/Museum), with Seating Capacity for 5000 People, in the Middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery


[last update]


See Note below


Videos Online

Written statements:

Rabbi Elchonon Baron

Ruta Bloshtein

Rabbi S. J. Feffer

Bernard Fryshman

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on International Opposition to 2024 Proposals for a Memorial Complex (/Museum), with Seating Capacity for 5000 People, in the Middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Opinion: American Jewish Committee (AJC) Needs to Look Again at its Involvement in Lithuania



OPINION | LITHUANIAN MISADVENTURES OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE (AJC) | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | LIST OF MEMBERS | MOUNTING OPPOSITION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | EARLIER OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS (CER) | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES


VILNIUS—The American Jewish Committee (AJC), founded in 1906, is one of the world’s accomplished advocacy groups for Jewish, and more broadly, minority and human rights causes, in addition to other lofty missions. Those who revere and support it now need to ask frank questions about, one is sorry to say, a disturbingly consistent infidelity to Jewish causes in one country, Lithuania. The lamentable record speaks for itself. It has for decades been represented by its  director of international Jewish affairs, Rabbi Andrew Baker. In the AJC’s name and with its wherewithal, he has consistently let down, first, the living small-c Jewish community of Lithuania; second, the true narrative of the Holocaust when it is under attack by the forces of Holocaust obfuscation, distortion and revisionism; and, finally, the preservation of Jewish cemeteries. We do not ascribe to him any nefarious motives or conscious malice on any of these counts. He is not the first, nor the last American Jewish organization bigwig to be mobilized (and a little intoxicated by a slew of high Lithuanian government medals) as a kind of “useful Jewish functionary” to provide Jewish cover and cred for government policies in countries where, in post-Holocaust Eastern Europe, local Jewish communities can be small, weak, and demographically challenged.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Opinion: American Jewish Committee (AJC) Needs to Look Again at its Involvement in Lithuania

Exactly How Many Thousands of People Will Fit into Events at Planned ‘Museum in the Middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’?



OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | LIST OF MEMBERS | MOUNTING OPPOSITION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | EARLIER OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | INVOLVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE (AJC)CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS (CER) | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES


VILNIUS—The tragi-comic charade of the “museum & memorial complex” in the middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Shnípishok, today’s Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, capital of modern democratic Lithuania) took another bizarre turn today. A triumphant BNS press release, speaking for the government, gives the misimpression of universal agreement to setting up a museum in the huge Soviet ruin plonked in the cemetery’s heart. This would be the only museum on the planet in a Jewish cemetery. It would be surrounded by thousands of extant Jewish graves (not stones or memorial houselets; those were all pilfered by the Soviets; a vast number can be reconstructed thanks to photos and transcriptions from the most important Jewish cemetery in the Lithuanian lands).

The media coverage did not so much as mention the renewed and mounting international opposition, or the public protest and dissent issued by a single courageous member of the state commission (“Working Group”) appointed to come up with solutions. Why not? Does not a free media opt to inform readers of an extant second opinion?

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Dovid Katz on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Exactly How Many Thousands of People Will Fit into Events at Planned ‘Museum in the Middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’?

The Intensified Threat to Jewish Cemeteries



OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | LIST OF MEMBERS | MOUNTING OPPOSITIONOLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | EARLIER OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS (CER) | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES

by Bernard Fryshman

Prof. Bernard Fryshman

Dr. Bernard Fryshman, Professor of Physics at the New York Institute of Technology, is Executive Vice President Emeritus of the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS), a US Department of Education recognized accreditation commission which enabled accreditation of major Lithuanian-origin yeshivas in the United States as institutions of higher academic learning. His writings were instrumental in enabling the  Protect Cemeteries Act passed by the United States Congress and signed into law in 2014.

I. A Brief Introduction

For several decades, an issue of deep concern for the Jewish People has been the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe. The situation has recently worsened. In Ukraine sections of the Lemberg (today, Lviv) cemetery plots were reportedly sold for development and in Lithuania, a recent action took place with respect to the Shnípishok cemetery in Vilnius which, by extension, puts every Jewish cemetery at risk.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Professor Bernard Fryshman, Vilnius | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Intensified Threat to Jewish Cemeteries

Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Asserting that Bnei Brak Rabbi was Misrepresented, Makes Clear: ‘There Will NOT be a Museum on Shnípishok Cemetery’



DOCUMENTS | OPINION2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | LIST OF MEMBERSOLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS (CER)THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRSHUMAN RIGHTS

Excerpts from Rabbi Elchonon Baron’s video:

“The use of any Jewish cemetery, for anything except the cemetery, is strictly forbidden in Jewish law and tradition. Most senior rabbis are very perplexed at the recent indication here in Vilna that perhaps there is an attempt to make a museum on the Shnípishok Cemetery, where our giants are buried. And they are claiming that this is in the name of senior rabbis. I mentioned to Rabbi Sariel Rosenberg [head of the Bnei Brak Beth Din] a few weeks ago that people are saying in his name that we can make a museum on the cemetery. We asked him exactly what it is possible to do. And he said: Nothing else — except matséyves [gravestones].

“There will not be a museum on Shnípishok Cemetery! There will not be a convention center! Woe is to anyone who tries. Because the Jewish souls want to rest in peace. Nothing will succeed there. There’s nothing to talk about. We won’t let it, it won’t happen!

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Asserting that Bnei Brak Rabbi was Misrepresented, Makes Clear: ‘There Will NOT be a Museum on Shnípishok Cemetery’

Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Scholar (and Descendant) of Gaon of Vilna, Condemns Project to Defile Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery — Cites Ensnaring of Conference of European Rabbis (CER) & Bnei Brak’s Beth Din



 OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE CPJCE | THE USCPAHA | THE CER (CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS) | THE GWF (GOOD WILL FOUNDATION)CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

Rabbi S. J. Feffer

VILNIUSRabbi S. J. Feffer, a part-of-the-year resident in Vilnius for some three decades, is best known locally for his free-of-charge (and no-tickets-needed) Passover seders and other holidays, always open to Vilneans of all backgrounds. His events are considered to be forums of intercommunity friendship and harmony, characterized by authentic Litvak Jewish Orthodox practice with equally warm welcome to folks of any and all persuasions. He is also known as an independent voice for Jewish heritage preservation, and against corruption in high places. Internationally, the rabbi, a descendant of close family of the Gaon of Vilna, is best known as part of the editing team for dozens of published volumes containing the works of the Gaon (Elijah of Vilna, 1720-1797).

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Rabbi S. J. Feffer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Scholar (and Descendant) of Gaon of Vilna, Condemns Project to Defile Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery — Cites Ensnaring of Conference of European Rabbis (CER) & Bnei Brak’s Beth Din

Major Jewish Religious Publication, ‘Yated Ne’eman’, Calls for Campaign Against Latest Government Plan for Multipurpose Museum in the Middle of Sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



 OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The major Jewish Orthodox publication Yated Ne’eman featured a full page eve-of-Passover protest today against the most recent Lithuanian government plans to desecrate the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok/Šnipiškės district) by retaining, remodeling and converting a huge and widely hated Soviet dump plonked in the middle of the cemetery into a modern de facto museum commemorating an array of Jewish, Lithuanian and general historical issues. Religious Jews, secular humanists, and human rights activists for whom the rights of the deceased to lie in peace are indeed human rights, all continue to argue that the cemetery belongs to those buried in it. Thousands are still buried in this cemetery in plots purchased in perpetuity by their families over around half a millennium.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on Major Jewish Religious Publication, ‘Yated Ne’eman’, Calls for Campaign Against Latest Government Plan for Multipurpose Museum in the Middle of Sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Updates from Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



 OPINION2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS?OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

Letter of Moral Capitulation” from Three Rabbinic Organizations?

Tale of Two Visions — for Lithuania’s most sacred Jewish site, the Old Vilna Cemetery, where many thousands still lie buried

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Updates from Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

Historic Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman Clarify Need to Dismantle Soviet Eyesore & Restore Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRSHUMAN RIGHTS

The office of Professor Sid Leiman, a member of the Commission (or “Working Group”) established in 2023 to advise Lithuania’s prime minister on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, today followed up on yesterday’s release of his Nov. 2023 letters (to fellow Commission members and to the prime minister of Lithuania) with a further release, below, of (1) an excerpt from his Oct. 2023 paper presented to the Commission, and (2) his statement issued today confirming his view that the Commission’s final report of Feb. 2024 fails to rise to the occasion.  Defending History’s take.


(1) Excerpt from Prof. Leiman’s 22 Oct. 2023 paper circulated to members of the commission:

 

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Sid (Shnayer) Leiman | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Historic Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman Clarify Need to Dismantle Soviet Eyesore & Restore Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Two Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman, To Date Only Member of Commission on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Resist ‘Directed Foregone Conclusion’



DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

The office of Professor Sid Leiman, a member of the Commission (or “Working Group”) established in 2023 to advise Lithuania’s prime minister on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, today released for the public record two statements, both of 28 November 2023. One is his letter to Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, which itself forwarded to the PM his earlier letter of the same date to fellow Commission members. The two attachments, one in Hebrew and one in English, were both published at the time by Defending History. They are the Hebrew and the English version of the call by four leading heads of Lithuanian heritage yeshivas around the world. In short order, a fifth head of a Lithuanian yeshiva wrote separately for the record.


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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman | Comments Off on Two Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman, To Date Only Member of Commission on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Resist ‘Directed Foregone Conclusion’

Lithuanian Gov. Sponsored ‘Working Group’ (Commission) on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Issues ‘Final Report’



 DOCUMENTS | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Sources in the Lithuanian prime minister’s office today released to Defending History and other publications the text of the final report of the new “Working Group” established to advise on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in the Shnípishok district of Vilna, today’s Šnipiškės district in modern Vilnius. The text is available as PDF, and follows here. Please use the handles in the upper left hand corner to turn pages.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Lithuanian Gov. Sponsored ‘Working Group’ (Commission) on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Issues ‘Final Report’

A ‘Shameful’ Public Letter by Five Vilnius Architects: Would They Be Saying This About a Christian Lithuanian Cemetery of 500 Years’ Vintage?



DOCUMENTS | OPINION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Five eminent Vilnius architects have released to the public domain a letter to the mayor of Vilnius expressing their passionate views on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok section, today’s Šnipiškės in beautiful, modern Vilnius). Many thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens still lie buried in the cemetery, though the Soviets pilfered all the gravestones and constructed the hated “Sports Palace” (long a derelict, dangerous ruin) in its center, followed by construction of “the two green buildings” under Lithuanian sovereignty early in the twenty-first century.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A ‘Shameful’ Public Letter by Five Vilnius Architects: Would They Be Saying This About a Christian Lithuanian Cemetery of 500 Years’ Vintage?

Rabbi Elchonon Baron Adds Powerful Voice to International Appeals to ‘Working Group’ to Abandon Refurbishment of Hated Soviet Ruin and Restore the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS | OPINION2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRSHUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Shortly before yesterday’s meeting in Vilnius of the Lithuanian prime minister’s Working Group (commission) on the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramont in the Shnípishok district (today’s Snipiskes section of modern Vilnius), the commission’s members received the text of the rabbinic edict signed by four of the world’s greatest Lithuanian-tradition (Litvak, Litvish) heads of yeshivas around the world, making clear that no museum, memorial center or other functional building may ever be set up or operate on hallowed Jewish cemetery grounds.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rabbi Elchonon Baron | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi Elchonon Baron Adds Powerful Voice to International Appeals to ‘Working Group’ to Abandon Refurbishment of Hated Soviet Ruin and Restore the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Four Leading Lithuanian-tradition (Litvak, Litvish) Heads of Yeshivas in U.S. and Israel Issue Edict on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—On the eve of today’s scheduled meeting here of the international “Working Group” or commission assembled by the prime minister of Lithuania’s office, comprising distinguished international figures, to determine the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in Shnípishok (in the Šnipiškės district of this thriving EU capital), four of the world’s leading Heads of Lithuanian Yeshivas together issued an edict making clear the status of the cemetery in Jewish law. For reference and background, see annotated minutes of the last Working Group meeting, and, in reverse chronological order, other very recent developments.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Four Leading Lithuanian-tradition (Litvak, Litvish) Heads of Yeshivas in U.S. and Israel Issue Edict on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Julius Norwilla’s Final Appeal to the Members of the ‘Working Group’ asked to Help Determine Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

D

ear eminent members of the Prime Minister’s Working Group assembling this week in Vilnius to carry forth your deliberations on the future of the sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, Yiddish Šnipiškės):

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A Masterclass in Orwellian Discourse: The Vilnius Cemetery Commission Minutes of 26 October 2023



OPINION | DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERSCEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

by Dovid Katz

This week’s release of the official minutes, in Lithuanian and in English, of the 26 October 2023 meeting of the current international “Working Group” (list of members) established to advise on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok district, today’s Šnipiškės) contain some passages, in the view of this journal, worthy of George Orwell. Here are some samples from the official English language text (the entirety of which appears below, and is available in PDF format). Each quote in bold text is followed by some commentary.

“The objective is to honour and commemorate the centuries-long history of Lithuanian Jews and the Šnipiškės cemetery.”

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Dovid Katz, Dovid Katz on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on A Masterclass in Orwellian Discourse: The Vilnius Cemetery Commission Minutes of 26 October 2023

Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Citing ‘Morally Despicable Plan to turn the Shnipishok Cemetery into a Museum’ Tells the World: ‘I will Not Remain Silent’



OPINION | DOCUMENTS2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERYOLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTERCEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHABAD IN VILNIUS

VILNIUS—In a 1 Nov. 2023 statement circulating widely among Lithuanian officials as well as local and international Jewish leaders, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, head of the Lithuanian-tradition Yeshiva Ahavas Torah Baranovich, based in Jerusalem, writing in the capacity of rabbinical emissary to Lithuania representing the Council of Torah Sages of the US and Canada, challenges the extended closure of Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue at 69 Pylimo Street as point of departure for his critique of some of the government’s Jewish policies (including its supply of tens of millions of euros in “restitution” to the alleged control of a tiny number of government-indebted individuals, one of them representing the American Jewish Committee or AJC). The new statement is a follow-up to his publicly released letter to the prime minister and speaker of the Seimas (parliament) of 24 Sept. 2023. Rabbi Baron’s late father was the legendary Litvak head-of-yeshiva Rabbi Aryeh Leib Baron.

The issue of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is the focus of one passage in the just-released statement.

“[…] (like the morally despicable plan to turn the Shnipishok cemetery into a museum)? I will not remain silent, no matter how many groups and people the Lithuanian government manages to pay off and silence through their well-paid proxies.”

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chabad in Vilnius, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Citing ‘Morally Despicable Plan to turn the Shnipishok Cemetery into a Museum’ Tells the World: ‘I will Not Remain Silent’

Ruta Bloshtein, Author of Successful Petition, Calls on Jewish Orthodox Members of ‘Cemetery Commission’ to Stand Up for Preservation and Restoration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | VILNIUS | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS

Ruta Bloshtein

VILNIUSRuta Bloshtein, author of the Change.org petition that garnered over 50,000 signatures and played a major role in the internationally praised 2021 cancellation by Lithuania’s prime minister of the project to turn the Soviet-era “Sports Palace” (Sporto rumai) ruin into a national congress center, today released for publication her 25 October letter to the Jewish Orthodox members appointed — in an apparent effort to confer legitimacy — to the current “working group” (commission) established, many believe, to rubber stamp a  state (and Turto Bankas) project to renovate (rather than demolish) the Soviet eyesore that sits in the middle of the cemetery. Without even mentioning the view that hated Soviet ruin should be removed, official commission minutes include an array of future conference-center, museum, memorial and other public space aspirations, including business (and builders’) interests’ visuals, but not including a hint of the extant visuals in support of cemetery preservation and restoration.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Vilnius | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein, Author of Successful Petition, Calls on Jewish Orthodox Members of ‘Cemetery Commission’ to Stand Up for Preservation and Restoration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)



DOCUMENTS | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—In view of diverse characterizations circulating regarding the content of the judgment on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Snípishok/Šnipiškės district), handed down by Litvak Jewry’s highest international rabbinic authority, on 9 February 2020 (14 Shvat 5780), signed also by the late and revered Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (1928-2022) of blessed memory, Defending History is providing the original documents of the certified English translation released by the court, as well as the Hebrew original. This was followed below by the Conference of European Rabbis’ solemn repudiation of any role for the London-based CPJCE, issued on 29 Sept. 2020, after years of documentation of allegedly corrupt activities in the alleged de facto sale of East European cemeteries with which they have no historic ties of any kind.

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius | Comments Off on Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)

Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?



OPINION | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

Like my fellow campaigners, over the years, in opposition to the project to plonk a national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (via refurbishment of a hated Soviet “Sports Palace” dump that should have long ago been demolished), I felt nothing but relief and the need to express congratulations back in the summer of 2021 when our prime minister wisely cancelled the project. Over two years later, there is again fear, among Jews, Lithuanians, and many around the world who respect the right of the dead to lie in peace (verily a part of Human Rights), even when they are members of a minority. When the buried belong to a nation’s ethnic majority, there are usual no serious efforts to situate conference centers surrounded by subterranean graves (even when the above-ground gravestones have long disappeared).

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Other Soviet structures in Vilnius: “landmark status” withdrawn & rapidly knocked down

Members of the latest (& current) international commission

Saga of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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Posted in 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?