OBITUARIES | LITVAK NEWS | ROZA BIELIAUSKIENĖ
by Dalia Epstein (Dalija Epšteinaitė)
in memory of
Roza Bieliauskienė (1946-2023)
She died faster than a match burns out. Dumbfounded, we are trying to understand her place in our lives, and in Jewish culture, to which she devoted so much energy. The Jewish Museum in Lithuania has a long-suffering history. It burned, and was plundered, and ceased to exist, opened and closed many times… There were always experienced workers, Torah connoisseurs who knew Hebrew and, of course, Yiddish.
And suddenly, after World War II, only a few of these specialists remained alive. And in 1949 the museum, where writers, journalists and other cultural figures had already settled, the Soviet authorities again closed the museum and dispersed its collections, all that had miraculously survived during the war years, distributing it to various museums in Lithuania. Jewish culture was rapidly destroyed. Yiddish writers either went to camps, like all “rootless cosmopolitans,” or mastered some applied professions, while others began to write in Lithuanian. In a rare Jewish family did they continue to speak máme-loshn (Yiddish). Parents among themselves — yes, but with children in Russian or in Lithuanian.