December will bring the conclusion to the contest concerning site of memorial in Ponary

Presentation of Ponary renovation projects, photo. wilnoteka.lt

The first stage of the contest, which concerned the project of renovation of memorial site in Ponary has come to the end. Among 16 projects qualified to the contest, announced by the Ministry of Culture LR and Vilnius Jews Museum of Gaon, the best four have been chosen.

The director of Gaon Museum, Markas Zingeris, states in the interview for Wilnoteka that there is no official winner of the contest yet. “We do not talk about the official results yet. We have chosen the best 4 proposals. We will have to wait a little bit longer to know the official winner of the contest – probably till December 10th”.

Notwithstanding which project will win we need to remember that it will only be a general architectural project and it will definitely be modified. Markas Zingeris emphasises that the general idea is crucial but the way in which it will be realised will be decided on in the further stages of the works”. It is also possible that in the future realisation elements of more than one project will be used.

Markas Zingeris stated that in the project which will be finally realised, we will take into consideration the monuments presently existing. The first one appeared already in 1948 and in 1960 the museum commemorating the victims of fascisms in Ponary was opened. The monument in the memory of Holocaust victims appeared in 1989 and Polish victims were commemorated only in 1991. The director of the Museum of Gaon also ensures that Poles who were the victims of Ponary crime will be commemorated in educational centre which is being created.

International contest for the reorganisation of the site of memory in Ponary was announced by the Ministry of Culture LR and Vilnius Jews Museum of Gaon on June 13th, 2014. The works could be sent till August 20th. Afterwards, the projects were presented in Tolerance Centre in Vilnius and on October 19th there was a public discussion on them, about which Wilnoteka kept informing us.

Fresh veneer for Ponary

The projects were subjected to the evaluation of the jury which was made up of (among others) architects: chairperson of Lithuanian Architects Union and chief of Vilnius architecture cathedral of Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, prof. Marius Pranas Šaliamoras, lecturer form Vilnius university of Giedymin, dr Tomas Grunskis, land architect and the author of the project of revitalisation of Bernadine Garden, Jurga Silvija Večerskytė-Šimeliūnė and foreign experts: curator of Holocaust Museum in the USA, Jacek Nowakowski and director of Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, dr Piotr Cywiński.

From 1941 to 1944, the forest of Ponary was being a place of mass murders in which around 100 000 people died. Ponary is the biggest place of Holocaust in Lithuania and one of the biggest ones in Europe. Not only Jews but also thousands of people Poles and people of other nationalities were killed there.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/w-grudniu-rozstrzygniecie-konkursu-dotyczacego-miejsca-pamieci-w-ponarach

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

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