OPINION | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS
by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)
VILNIUS—Last month, the major Baltic news service BNS reported that a dynamic new outdoor exhibition, called “Pavilion: Vilnius 200 Years Ago” would open at the National Museum of Lithuania. Indeed, a handsome new webpage on the museum’s website gives more detail.
A model (“maquette”) of the city two hundred years ago is now to be enjoyed at the foot of Gediminas’s Hill, in the square right in front of the museum. The scale model is based on Imperial Russia’s 1830s plans for the development of the city after the suppression of the 1830 uprising, known as the November Uprising.
But instead of the half-millennium old Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (at Piramónt, in the district right across the river called Šnipiškės, Yiddish Shnípeshok), on the right bank of the Neris River (the Viliya), in front of Gediminas’s castle mount, there is a disproportionately large citadel. The huge cemetery and its numerous mini-housletsare not marked at all. The citadel of the imperial Russian army is the largest and perhaps the most prominent object in the entire layout.