Run-Up to Lithuania’s Sept. 23rd 2016 Holocaust Commemoration Day

Events in the Week of Lithuania’s Official September 23rd Holocaust Commemoration Day

Vilnius mayor  — and nation’s president and prime minister — face a stark choice on whether to speak out with moral clarity on painful issues of city-center street names and plaques honoring Holocaust collaborators, and the desecration of the country’s oldest Jewish cemetery by a new congress center, prior to this year’s series of official gala Vilna Ghetto commemoration events, 20-28 September 2016


Program of the government’s & official Jewish community’s events including customary 2 PM September 23rd ceremony at Ponár (Ponary, now the Paneriai Memorial). Suspense in the air: Will the Israeli ambassador in his speech gently ask for written apologies to three Israeli citizens (all Holocaust survivors who gallantly fought the Nazis) who have been defamed for posterity by local prosecutors (either for resisting the Nazis or for telling the truth about the Holocaust)? They are Yitzhak AradRachel Margolis (1921-2015), and Joseph Melamed. The Jewish Community spoke up, former UK prime minister Gordon Brown spoke up, the British Parliament spoke up. In the absence of apologies, the defamation, and resulting distortion of wider history, becomes more entrenched by the year in history books and the web. Two of the three are alive. Two of the three were in the Vilna Ghetto, whose liquidation is marked by this week’s event on Sept. 23rd. The ambassador may have missed a chance to mention his own citizens during a 20 Sept. unveiling of a new plaque in the very heart of the (first) Vilna Ghetto. All eyes are on the 23rd.

Details of Rūta Vanagaitė’s non-governmental “Čia guli mūsiškiai” project to visit and care for other mass grave sites; September 22nd eventSeptember 23rd event

Julius Norwilla’s summary of the 12 mass graves in the Vilnius area with emphasis on two of them

Calls for dismissal (on various grounds) of British-origin Vilnius City Council member who urged renaming of street honoring Holocaust collaborator

Note: Lithuanian Holocaust survivors did not in general accept September 23rd as a primary day of remembrance

ALSO: Memorial events in Shavl (Šiauliai)
All welcome at weekly sessions of the Vilna Yiddish Literary Circle, every Wednesday at 6 PM (18:00) at the Jewish Cultural Center on Mėsinių Street in the Old Town. Project celebrating its 18th year in Vilnius. Next session this Wednesday 21 Sept.

This entry was posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, September 23rd Commemorations. Bookmark the permalink.
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