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



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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.

The timing of the five architects’ letter is pivotal, coming just before the anticipated announced conclusions of the current Working Group (also known as the “latest commission on the old Vilna cemetery”) set up to recommend solutions after its final meeting in late November (see DH’s comments on the published minutes of its previous meeting). Moreover, the letter inadvertently lets the proverbial cat out of the bag. The current Working Group was set up not to restore the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, but to destroy it, via refurbishment of a hated Soviet dump as a “multi-purpose arena” that will have various and sundry “Jewish toys” for tourists to “honor” the “former” Jewish cemetery. Anyone with a modicum of respect for the Jewish heritage knows that in that heritage there are no “former” Jewish cemeteries, a position in harmony with universal human rights ensuring the right of the deceased to rest in peace, and with principles of honoring plot purchases by the families of the deceased made freehold and in perpetuity (except for Jews?).

The paragraph in the architects’ letter described by an elderly Jewish resident in Vilnius today as “particularly sickening” reads as follows:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, 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?