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We cordially invite everyone to participate in the events taking place from 17th to 25th of September, dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the founding of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and commemoration of the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Lithuania. Please find a detailed program below.

More information can be found at the website of the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community:


September 17-25

Vilnius, Lithuania



 4:00 P.M. Presentation of the scarf donated by Kaunas ghetto and Stutthoff concentration camp survivor Dita Šperlingienė-Zupavičienė (Pamėnkalnio street No. 12, Vilnius).

The Holocaust exposition of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum has a new exhibit: a dark blue scarf with white dots donated by Kaunas ghetto and Stutthoff concentration camp survivor Dita Šperlingienė-Zupavičienė. The scarf became a symbol of perseverance for Dita and helped her survive the hardships of the concentration camp.  This unique item will be presented at the Holocaust exposition along with the moving testimony of Dita Šperlingienė-Zupavičienė herself in video format.

*Free entry



5:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. Reading of Yitzhok Rudashevski’s Diary (Piano.Lt concert hall, Trakų street No. 9/1). 

Participating: YIVO director Jonathan Brent, ghetto prisoner and partisan Fania Brancovkskaja, Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky.

Yitzhok Rudashevski was born in Vilnius in 1927 – his father, Eliyahu, worked in a publishing house, and his mother, Rosa, was a seamstress. In September 1941, when Yitzchak was not yet 14 years old, the Nazis forced the boy and his family into the Vilnius ghetto. At some point during the Nazi occupation, Yitzhok started writing a diary in Yiddish where he described the day to day horrors the Jewish population had to endure. In the main part of the diary, which encompasses the period from September 1942 to April 1943, the young man chronicled all aspects of the ghetto, using his literary talents to not only describe, but also to reflect with great clarity and insight for a 15 year-old upon what was happening within the walls of the houses and streets he had been confined to. As the author himself put it, “I consider that everything must be recorded and noted down, even the most gory, because everything will be taken into account”. In the fall of 1943, as the Vilnius ghetto was being liquidated, the Rudashevskis managed to hide away in a secret shelter, but after only two weeks the Nazis discovered their hiding place and executed everyone. Only Sarah Voloshin, Yitzhok’s cousin, managed to escape and flee to the forests surrounding Vilnius. After the Soviets re-occupied the town in the summer of 1944, she returned to the shelter and found a small notebook, its more than 200 pages filled with handwriting, some in pen, and some in pencil. It was the diary of  Yitzhok Rudashevski.

*Free entry.

7:29 P.M. Beginning of Sabbath prayer (Vilnius Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street No. 39, Vilnius).

8:00 P.M. Concert “Jazz, the Poet and Casanova” by Vyacheslav Ganelin and Arkadijus Gotesmanas

(Piano.Lt concert hall, Trakų street No. 9/1).

*Tickets required.. For more information about the event please see:



11:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M Tour of Jewish Vilna (Tour begins next to the clock tower on Cathedral Square, Šventaragio street, Vilnius).

*Participation free, requires prior registration.

2.00 PM Presentation of Fania Lewando’s The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street No. 4, Vilnius)

In 1938, Fania Lewando, the proprietor of a popular vegetarian restaurant in Vilnius where all the hip Yiddish speaking intellectuals ate and conversed, published a Yiddish vegetarian cookbook unlike any that had come before.

Presented by: Jonathan Brent, Director, YIVO

10:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M. Mincha/Ma’ariv Sabbath  (Vilnius Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street No. 39, Vilnius).

 8:30 P.M.-10:00 P.M. Klezmatics concert (Vilnius Old Town Hall, Didžioji street No. 1, Vilnius).

Presented by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and the Jewish Community of Lithuania: The Klezmatics, the gold standard of the klezmer revival, are celebrating their 30th anniversary! Rather than rest on their laurels ground-breaking recordings, a Grammy award, collaborations with the likes of Chava Alberstein, Itzhak Perlman, Allen Ginsberg, Tony Kushner and Woody Guthrie the band continues to push boundaries. Letters To Afar is an ongoing artistic collaboration between the Klezmatics and the award-winning video artist Péter Forgács that brings to life the rich and vibrant life of Jews in inter-war Poland using historical film footage from the YIVO Institute. The original ground-breaking video art installation was commissioned by POLIN and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in 2013 and has been seen by over 100,000 people on two continents.

*Tickets required. Tickets available on the internet, at Bilietų pasaulis counters located at Hyper Rimi and Maxima supermarkets and at the ticket counter at the Vilnius Old Town Hall before the concert begins.

Sunday, September 20

8:45 A.M. Placing of flowers at the memorial plaque commemoration YIVO founder and director Max Weinreich (1894-1969) (J. Basanavičiaus street No. 16, Vilnius).

9:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. Conference dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the founding of the YIVO institute for Jewish research

(Building III, Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, Gedimino prospect No. 53, Vilnius).

9:00 A.M.–9:30 A.M. Registration of participants (Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, Gedimino prospect No. 53, Vilnius).

9:30 A.M. -5:00 P.M. Conference dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the founding of the institute for Jewish research.

In 1925, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research was founded in Vilnius by key European intellectuals, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, to record the history and pioneer in the critical study of the language, literature and culture of the Jews of Eastern Europe. In 1940, YIVO moved its permanent headquarters to New York City, becoming the only pre-Holocaust institution to transfer its mission to the United States from Europe. In 1941, the Nazis destroyed YIVO in Vilnius and ransacked the archives and library. A portion of YIVO’s archives was sent to Frankfurt to become the basis of the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question; another part was hidden in Vilnius; another part was destroyed. In 1946, the U.S. Army discovered the seized YIVO materials in the train depot in Offenbach, Germany and returned them to YIVO. The part that remained in Vilnius was saved from the Soviets by a Lithuanian librarian, and remained hidden in the basement of a church until 1989. In 2014, YIVO along with its partners the Central State Archives of Lithuania and the National Library of Lithuania, launched the YIVO Vilnius Collections, a seven-year project to preserve, digitize and virtually reunite YIVO’s prewar archives located in New York City and Vilnius, Lithuania. The project encompasses some 10,000 rare or unique publications and approximately 1.5 million documents to add to the existing 24 million documents and 385,000 books and periodicals the YIVO Archives and the YIVO Library currently hold. The conference in Vilnius will feature top YIVO officials, researchers and prominent members of Lithuanian, US and Israeli academia delivering presentations on a wide ranging variety of topics regarding the political, social and cultural context of the founding of YIVO, its current activities and future prospects.

*Entry to the conference is free but requires prior registration.

MONDAY, September 21

12:00 noon Event to commemorate Lithuanian Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum

(Žemaičių plentas No. 73, Kaunas).

*Transportation from Vilnius to be provided, prior registration required. Departure from base of Kalinausko street in Vilnius at 10:30 A.M.

17.00 val. Presentation and Screening of The Touch of an Angel, a documentary film by Marek Tomasz Pawłowski (2015) (Jascha Heifetz Hall, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street No. 4, Vilnius).

The Touch of an Angel is an unusually sensitive and intriguing story of one person’s survival during the Holocaust. Polish Jew Henryk Schoenker visits sites in Poland still haunted by the specter of the war and retells in great detail the story of his family, their hiding from the Nazis and their Herculean efforts to escape extermination. Henryk’s moving testimony serves to bring his story to life. The film makes use of archival footage and unusual cinematography.

*Entry free. Film in Polish with Lithuanian subtitles.


 TUESDAY, September 22

10:00 A.M.-11:00 A.M. Awards ceremony for rescuers of Jews (President’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania, S. Daukanto square No. 3, Vilnius)

*Entrance by invitation only.

  2:00 P.M. Commemoration of Holocaust victims at Ponar (Agrastų street No. 15, Vilnius)

*Transport from Vilnius to be provided. Prior registration required. Departure from the base of Kalinausko street in Vilnius at 12:30 P.M.

7:00 P.M. Concert “Scream of Silence: Music for the Destroyed Synagogues of Vilnius”(Church of St. Catherine, Vilniaus street No. 30, Vilnius).

“Scream of Silence” is large musical work written in the form of resisim (Hebrew for shards). It is mainly a requiem for the destroyed synagogues of Vilnius but also urges us to celebrate values we sometimes lose sight of during times of trouble and hardship. Performers: the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra of the City of Vilnius Municipality, artistic director and conductor Donatas Katkus; the Brevis chamber choir,   led by Gintautas Venislovas; the actor Michailas Jevdokimovas; and conductor Giedrė Šlekytė. Composer and musician Vyacheslav Ganelin also participating.

*Tickets required. For more information and tickets, please see:



7:00 P.M. International concert “Breaking the Silence” (Vilnius Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Church of the Bernardines), Maironio street No. 10-22, Vilnius).

Program: Three premieres in Lithuania: Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963), Concerto funebre altui and string orchestra; Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942), five works for strings; and Arvo Pärt (born 1935), Stabat Mater for choir and stringed instruments. Performers: Vilnius City Municipality Choir Jauna muzika, artistic director and conductor Vaclovas Augustinas, Austrian-Bulgarian string orchestra , Camerata Orphica Les Orphéïstes, Razvan Hamza (alto), conductor Amaury du Closel.

*Entry free.


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24                                                                                                                       

 7:.00 P.M. Music and poetry installation “Subačiaus Street: the Ghetto” (based on poetry by V. Jasiukaitytė) (Subačiaus street Nos. 47 and 49, Vilnius).

Performers: Rimvydas Vilkaitis and Dalia Michelevičiūtė. Algimantas Pociūnas, director.

There are many places in Vilnius which bring the Holocaust to mind. One of them is Subačiaus street. This presentation combines the spoken word, music and images. Actors will read works by the poet Vidmantė Jasiukaitytė and testimonies by Jews who hid from death. Passages of the musical work “Balsai iš po žemių” [“Voices from under the Ground”] by Žeraldas Povilaitis will play and building walls will become screens for archival images and videos. The intention is to surround visitors with an atmosphere of the life-and-death struggle to survive.

*Entrance free.





 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24                  

11:00 A.M.-11:30 A.M. Wreath-laying ceremony at the gate of the Šiauliai ghetto. Kaddish. (Corner of Ežero/Trakų streets, Šiauliai).

Participating: Šiauliai Jewish Community chairman Josifas Buršteinas, representatives of the City of Šiauliai.

12:00 noon-1:30 P.M. Event to commemorate Holocaust victims in the Luponiai Forest (Kužiai aldermanship, Šiauliai).

Participating: Šiauliai Jewish Community chairman Josifas Buršteinas, public figures.

2:00 P.M.–2:30 P.M. Unveiling of memorial sign to commemorate Jews who lived in the town of Gruzdžiai (Nepriklausomybės aikštė [Independence Square], Gruzdžiai, Šiauliai region.)

*For further information on the events in Šiauliai, please contact:

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25                                                                                                                          

10:00 A.M. Commemoration of the Holocaust victims of Žagarė (Žagarė, Lithuania)

*For further information on the events in Šiauliai, please contact:




2:00 P.M.  Exhibit “Anne Frank: The Story Today” (Saulėtekis Pre-Gymnasium, Statybininkų street No. 24, Panevėžys)

The story of the life of Anne Frank is the basis of the exhibit. It uses pre-war, Nazi dictatorship and post-war events to show the plight of the family. Includes photos from the Frank family photo album and other materials.

* For further information about events in the city of Panevėžys, please call 845435295 or 861120882



12:00 noon Event to mark Lithuanian Holocaust Remembrance Day (next to the Sad Jewish Mother statue on Atminties square, Vasario 16-s street, Panevėžys).

Participating: Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman, public figures, city representatives.

12:30 P.M. Holocaust victim commemoration at Jewish mass murder site in Kurganava Forest. 

1:00 P.M.  Holocaust victim commemoration at Holocaust memorial site in Žalioji Forest.

2:00 P.M. Exhibit of photographs to mark Lithuanian Holocaust Remembrance Day (The Margarita Rimkevičaitė Technical School, Panevėžys).

3:30 P.M. Screening of Holocaust film (the first in a series of films about the Holocaust received from Yad Vashem) (Ramygalos street No. 18, Panevėžys).

* For further information about events in the city of Panevėžys, please call 845435295 or 861120882



2:00 P.M. Educational lecture for students from Panevėžys primary and secondary schools: “To Mark the Jewish Tragedy of the Holocaust in the Panevėžys District.”Presenter: Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman. Participating: Panevėžys city school students and teachers.

* For further information about events in the city of Panevėžys, please call 845435295 or 861120882



9:30 A.M.-3:30 P.M. Seminar/event “Save the Švėkšna Synagogue” (Liepų a. No. 24, Švėkšna).

Presentations: “Special Features of Jewish Life: Holidays and Kosher Food” by Elijas Danas Pyragas (Klaipėda, Lithuania); “Teaching Jewish Youth: History of a Fragment of the Panevėžys Yeshiva,” delivered via skype, Gennady Kofman (Panevėžys); “The Effect of the Soviet Regime on the Development of Lithuanian-Jewish Relations after Lithuanian Independence,” Justas Stončius (Palanga, Lithuania); “Talking of the Land by the Sea: What Does the Lithuanian Context Provide?,” Vytautas Toleikis (Vilnius); “Traditional Judaism and Customs,” Gercas Žakas (Kaunas); “The Kaunas Jewish Community, “Ieva Černevičiūtė (Kaunas);  “The Architecture of the Brick Synagogues of Lithuania,” Marija Rupeikienė (Kaunas).

3:30 P.M.-4:45 P.M. Tour of the town of  Švėkšna. Visiting the Synagogue. Monika Žąsytienė (Švėkšna).

* For more information about the seminar, please contact Monika Žąsytienė, 865757152,

* For further information about events in the city of Panevėžys, please call 845435295 or 861120882



Lithuanian Jewish Community
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research


World Jewish Congress International Yiddish Center Vilnius
Council of Senior Lithuanian Archivists
Lithuanian Central State Archives
Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library

Panevėžys Jewish Community

Šiauliai Jewish Community

Kaunas Jewish Community

Municipality of the City of Vilnius

Municipality of the City of Šiauliai

Municipality of the City of Panevėžys


Good Will Foundation
World Jewish Congress

Embassy of the Republic of Poland to Lithuania

Embassy of the United States to Lithuania

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania

Lithuanian National Defense Ministry

Lithuanian Foreign Ministry

International Commission for Assessing the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania

St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra

Pax et Bonum

Forum Voix Etouffées

PRO S studio