Lithuanian Government Announces Construction of a $25,000,000 Convention Center in the Center of Vilna’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery
Vilnius (Lithuania) – Non-Jewish Lithuanian citizens are starting to take the lead in the campaign to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from plans to plonk a convention center in its center, where people would revel, cheer, drink at bars and flush toilets surrounded by thousands of Vilna Jews buried there from the 15th to the 19th centuries, a fate that would never befall a Christian cemetery in today’s EU.
This poster, produced in July 2017 by Julius Norwilla, includes a quote from philosopher Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, and the visualization created by a young Vilnius artist. Please to print out copies of the poster to help in the campaign (as PDF; as image).
Views of a major scholar on the cemetery’s history
According to Russian statistics, Vilna had close to 200,000 inhabitants just prior to World War I, roughly forty percent of whom were Jewish.
More than thirty percent were Polish, and about twenty percent were Russian and the rest consisted of small Lithuanian, Byelorussian, German and Tatar minorities.
In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference was convened by the winning parties of World War I. Its purpose was to map the future of postwar Europe.
When the status of Vilna came up for discussion, the Lithuanians claimed Vilnius as the rightful historical capital of independent Lithuania; the Poles rejected such claims on the basis of the cultural and linguistic affinities of Wilno to Poland.
The Soviet regime, in diplomatic isolation, voiced its opinion that although Vilna had been part of Russia, the Bolsheviks were ready to share it with the oppressed peoples (mostly peasants) of Lithuanian and Byelorussian origins.
Nobody asked or wanted to hear what Vilna meant to the Jews.
VIDEO: The Old Jewish Cemetery of Vilna
Jewish historical sites in modern day Vilnius (Hebrew: Vilna), the capital of Lithuania, are an endangered species.
This video examines the history – and the plight – of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery, affectionately called “Piramont” and “Der Alter Beys Eylem” by Vilna’s pre-World War II Jewish community.
The video features an appeal to the Lithuanian government by Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. (Produced by KOLROM)