Open Letter to (1) Archimenai; (2) Institute of Design & Restoration; (3) Sigitas Kuncevičius; (4) Vilnius Architecture Studio


Institute of Design & Restoration

Sigitas Kuncevičius

Vilnius Architecture Studio

Dear Colleagues

Most regrettably, and we hope with no foreknowledge on your part, the state property bank Turto Bankas mentions you all by name in a public post dated 23 September, the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto by the Nazis and their collaborators. According to this shameful report (whichh does not even botgher to mention the Jewish cemetery or the London-based paid vassals), you have personally agreed to participate in works to restore the miserable Soviet ruin that was once the Sports Palace, and that sits in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės) surrounded on all four sides by extant graves. As you know this would not be happening if it were thousands of Christian Lithuanian graves going back a half millennium and including great heroes of the people. The years-long saga has attracted massive international and local protest as well as a petition signed by, as of today, 53,678 people. Turto Bankas’s prominent participation in a day of shame has made it into the annals of Lithuanian Jewish history. By contrast, a talented young Lithuanian artist has shown us all the stark contrast between the two visions for Vilnius. Courageous Lithuanian intellectuals have spoken out with dignity and passion, including Julius Norvila and Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Their successful work has been recognized in international media.

Just over a month ago, the prime minister of Lithuania wisely and boldly suspended the project, and won praise from the top Lithuanian tradition rabbis in the world, reported in diverse Jewish publications. Now, instead of gracefully applying your collective corpus of hard work to a sparkling new national convention center in a different location, one that would bring honor and harmony to the great people of Lithuania, Turto Bankas continues its antisemitically (and profit) driven wish to humiliate thousands of Jewish graves in the country with a record of murder of 96.4% of its Jewish population during the Holocaust, largely at the hands of local nationalists. What can be a greater humiliation than thousands cheering, clapping, singing, cavorting, drinking, and flushing toilets surrounded by thousands of graves of a people whose descendants were massacred in history’s worst genocide and cannot now stand up for the cemetery’s restoration?

Please, please, do yourselves, all of us, and above all the proud state of Lithuania, a huge favor, and let it be known that you will not participate in any ruse, scheme or plot to reverse your own prime minister’s internationally heralded decision.

  • Every good wish
  • Dovid Katz, Editor
  • (Author, Lithuanian Jewish Culture)

This entry was posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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