Two Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman, To Date Only Member of Commission on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Resist ‘Directed Foregone Conclusion’


The office of Professor Sid Leiman, a member of the Commission (or “Working Group”) established in 2023 to advise Lithuania’s prime minister on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, today released for the public record two statements, both of 28 November 2023. One is his letter to Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, which itself forwarded to the PM his earlier letter of the same date to fellow Commission members. The two attachments, one in Hebrew and one in English, were both published at the time by Defending History. They are the Hebrew and the English version of the call by four leading heads of Lithuanian heritage yeshivas around the world. In short order, a fifth head of a Lithuanian yeshiva wrote separately for the record.

From: Sid Leiman
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2023 2:00 AM
To: ‘Office of Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė’
Subject: Statement for Members of the Prime Minister’s Commission

The Honorable Ingrida Šimonytė, Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, I sent the note below, and the above attachment,  to the Members of the Commission tasked to memorialize the old Jewish cemetery of Šnipiškes in Vilnius. I know that it reflects a view quite different from the view of most members of the Commission. Nonetheless, it is a view widely held in Jewish communities throughout the world, and needs to be brought to the attention of the Commission members.

Many thanks for all your efforts to advance discussion of a very difficult issue.

They are much appreciated by all!

With very best wishes,

Sid Leiman

Member of the Commission

Dear Member of the Commission,

I was approached by a committee of distinguished rabbis from Israel and the United States, all of them of Litvak descent and heads of Lithuanian Yeshivas in either Israel or the United States. They presented me with  a statement in Hebrew,  and asked that I forward an English translation of the text to all members of the Commission – for their consideration. The actual signatures appear on the original Hebrew version; the English translation prints their full names and affiliation. See attachment.

I can personally attest that all the signatures on the Hebrew text are genuine. I can also attest that the English translation, while not slavish, captures the essence of the original Hebrew. I’ll be happy to forward a copy of the Hebrew original to anyone who asks.

With best wishes,

Sid Leiman

Member of the Commission


This entry was posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. Bookmark the permalink.
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