A new look for Paneriai

Fot. wilnoteka.lt

Paneriai, the place of the mass murder of up to 100,000 people during WWII is to get a new look, to commemorate the victims of Holocaust and Hitlerite crimes. A new look fit for XXI century. The history of Paneriai will be retold by architects and the authors of the modern exposition. What kind of a story will it be? Will it tell about the Polish who were murdered there and whose bodies are buried there together with the bodies of the Jews who constitute the majority of the victims of the Paneriai massacre?

Single monuments, raised in Paneriai after WWII are not enough to  move a modern viewer who is to learn about the painful history of his/her own nation as they had been raised in different periods and tell the history from different perspectives. This is the opinion of The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania,  the organizers of the new look for Paneriai and building of a modern educational centre competition.

“The place of the massacre should be memorialized in such a way that it changed the people visiting it, so that they left it aware of what had happened there and conscious that it cannot happen again,” emphasized Markas Zingeris, the director of The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, on a conference in Vilnius.

16 projects take part in the competition and were assessed by Lithunian architects and international jury. An exhibition have been organized in the Tolerance Center. The jury comprised Jacek Nowakowski, the trustee of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington and Piotr Cywiński, the director of  Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

They both think that the most important thing is to preserve and secure the authentic elements and their surroundings. “The massacre happened in the forest, so the forest it should be, not a park,” emphasized Jacek Nowakowski. He also points to new techniques which allow the authentic elements remain barely touched, leaving the message to be passed by the media.

What about the Polish in Paneriai? The authors of the projects either forgot about them or reduced the list of Polisch victims to the murdered Home Army soldiers which is certainly a simplification or a distortion of the history even as there where many intelligentsia and clergy representatives and many young people among the victims – the elite of the Vilnius region.

pictures: Jan Wierbiel, editing: Paweł Dąbrowski

 

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/nowa-szata-dla-ponar

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

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