Jewish culture is experiencing a comeback in Vilnius, Lithuania

This plate on Jewish Street in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania, is one of many symbols reflecting renewed interest in Jewish culture throughout the city.
By Ann Charles, Baltic Review

With a number of traditional Jewish celebrations becoming part of the city again, Jewish culture is experiencing a rebirth in Vilnius.

According to Go Vilnius, the official development agency for the city, travel to when Vilnius was known as the “Jerusalem of the North” is on a definite upswing.

Vilnius lost most of its Jewish population living in the country during the Second World War, but the old Jewish inscriptions on buildings, including the legendary doctor Zemach Shabad, the only synagogue in Lithuania that managed to survive the Second World War without significant damage, and many more inspirational stories of hope, are alive in Vilnius today.

Vilnius has been home to many famous Litvaks, including writers, painters, and poets. The upcoming year 2020, in fact, will be known as the Vilna Gaen, the Year of Lithuanian Jews, in honor of the great Lithuanian Rabbi and Litvak religious leader.

The great pre-war Jewish culture and the subsequent tragedy that was the Holocaust are intertwined in a new guide which puts forth a tangible tale on the best and the worst of times.

Shown is a Monument to Zemach Shabad. Photos courtesy of Go Vilnius.

This extensive guide is available for download online at and in printed format at the Vilnius Tourist Information Center.

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.

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