• October 16, 2014
  • 14

Autumn actions for the Rasos cemetery have begun

The Polish Medical Association in Lithuania came up with a proposal of money collection on the Vilnius Region’s cemeteries for renovation of the Rasos’ old graves.  So far such collections only took place on the Rasos and on some cemeteries in Poland. On 1st and 2nd November at the initiative of Polish medics the cash collection dedicated to the renovation of old graves will be held on different parts of the Vilnius Region.

For almost 20 years the Social Committee for Care over the Old Rasos has been taking care of this old necropolis in Vilnius. Founds for the restoration of the old monuments are collected on the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw, in Poznań, and also in other Polish cities. Donors are individuals, organizations and institutions. Thanks to the help of people engaged in the Committee over 50 monuments were renovated. However, the needs are much greater than possibilities.

The Polish Medical Association for years has been taking care of graves of doctors buried in the Rasos. At the initiative of the Polish medical community one monument has already been renovated. This year a new idea has arisen. ‘ On 1st and 2nd November everyone visits their family graves spread all over the Vilnius Region, and only those who treat it as their patriotic duty come to the Rasos. Indeed, there is an account on which money can be transferred for the renovation, but it is easier to  put some cash into the can, and this is why I believe we have to try to collect money in the Vilnius Region. I assume if there is such a possibility, everyone might donate this one symbolic litas’ said Dariusz Żybort, Vice- Chairman of  the Polish Medical Association in Lithuania.

Members of the Polish Medical Association in Lithuania do not count on any enormous amount to be collected this year. Nevertheless, Dariusz Żybort believes it is worth trying. ‘There are always people who do nothing but criticize, but there are also those who willingly participate in various charity events. It takes time to come around for those who do not believe in the success of such an action. One might not give a litas one year, but next year they see their colleague, neighbor donating some cash and that monuments were actually renovated – and then they may see it is worth it’- said D. Żybort in his statement for Wilnoteka.

Doctors are calling for the local communities of Vilnius Region to join the action. ‘ I hope that scouts, schools and active people will organize collections on cemeteries in their places where they live’- stated Dariusz Żybort.

Every year before the All Souls’ Day on the Rasos cemetery the action of cleaning the abandoned graves takes place. Schools, social organizations and institutions participate in it. Also the collection of grave candles has begun, which is promoted as  “Light for Rasos ”. ’Grave candles can be brought to the House of Polish Culture and to the “Elephas” bookstore. The collection takes place also in Polish schools. I have turned to the Trade and Investment Promotion Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius with the request of spreading information to Polish companies with representatives in Lithuania. We have to collect at least 5 000 grave candles. If it works, on 1st November the Rasos won’t seem to be abandoned’ said to Wilnoteka Alicja Klimaszewska, the Chairwoman of  the Social Committee for Care over the Old Rasos.

The Social Committee for Care over the Old Rasos proposed organizing a history lesson on the Rasos cemetery. Alicja Klimaszewska has informed that on 23rd October at 4 p.m pupils of the Junior High School of John Paul II will give the lesson themselves near the graves of the honored, but yet forgotten Dalewski family. ‘ We’ll see how it goes, but I think that it is another way of getting through to the young with our history and making them aware why we have to take care of the Rasos’ said Alicja Klimaszewska.

Article based on: own information

Translated by Alicja Kępińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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