Jews of Lithuania remember the victims of the Holocaust

Pomnik w Ponarach, fot.

Lithuania has designated 23 September as National Memorial Day for the Genocide of the Lithuanian Jews. At the time of II World War over 200 thousand of Jews, that is 90 percent of the Jewish society, were murdered in Lithuania . In 2014 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the  ghettos in Kowno and Szawle will be celebrated. The proceeding to commemorate the victims will begin on 17th September.

“Lithuanian Jews were and will always be a part of the history of Lithuania. It is important to remind about significant moments from the past, painful matters should not be removed from memory, they should be talked about in different languages, actions and forms so that the word became flesh,” emphasized Faina Kukliansky, the chairperson of Jewish Community of Lithuania. The proceedings will take place all over the country: in Vilnius, Kowno, Kłajpeda, Poniewieże and Szawle.

On Friday, 19th September the president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė awarded 51 citizens of Lithuania the Cross of Saving of the Dying. Those were the people who were hiding Jews during WWII risking their own lives. In most of the cases the Cross was awarded posthumously, among them the cases of Izabella and Sylwester Korowaccy from Nowe Święciany who helped the Jewish family of Zaks.

Special guest of this year National Memorial Day for the Genocide of the Lithuanian Jews is Nobuki Sugihara, the son of Chiune Sugihary legendary ambassador of Japan in Lithuania who, at the time of WWII saved over 6 thousand of Polish and Lithuanian Jews. Nobuki Sugihara was present at the ceremony in Presidential Palace. He had a speech during “nowJapan 2014”, the Festival of Japanese Culture which took place in Vilnius, he visited the museum in Kowno which was opened in the building where his father lived IX Fort in Kowno – the place of massive extermination of the Jews during World War II.

Main proceedings of the National Memorial Day for the Genocide of the Lithuanian Jews will be held on Tuesday, 23rd September. Ceremonial session of the The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania will concern 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the  ghettos in Kowno and Szawle. There will be a ceremony in Ponary after that, in the place of the Genoicide of the Jews of Vilnius. “Jauna Muzika” choir will perform in St. Catherine Church.

The programme of the National Memorial Day for the Genocide of the Lithuanian Jews includes events devoted to famous representatives of the community. Jewish community of Vilnius commemorated Cemach Szabad who died before WWII but was an important person for the city and the community.  A memorial has been uncovered on the building of Mykolas Marcinkevičius Hospital at Kauno street.

Another important person for the history of the Jews of Vilnius is Romain Gary, the famous writer, serviceman and diplomat. He spent all his childhood in Vilnius at Wielka Pohulanka 16 street. His name at that time was Roman Kacew. He described his childhood in a moving and beautiful way in his autobiographical book “The promise of the morning”. The exhibition “Romain Gary and his Family in Archival Documents” will be opened in Vilnius, at the gallery of the Lithuanian National UNESCO Commission (Šv. Jono St. 11) on September 22 at 5.30 pm

On the basis of:,,


Tłumaczenie by Gabriela Godek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, Translated by Gabriela Godek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights,

© 2011 All rights reserved.