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  • Around the Jewish World Lone Jew in Lithuanian Town Spends Life Preserving the Past

    Jacob Bunka is stumped: The 79-year-old cannot recall how many Jews from his hometown survived the war and returned home. So the feisty man begins rummaging through his desk drawers, frantically searching for a document. Papers, once meticulously organized in bulky folders, now form a chaotic clutter on his desk. The mess mounts. Bunka is… More ▸

  • Taunts at Vilnius Basketball Game Prompt Apology to Jewish Leaders

    A Lithuanian sports association has apologized to the country’s Jewish community for anti-Semitic slogans chanted by fans during a late March basketball game against an Israeli team. Some at a match in Vilnius between Lithuania’s Lietuvos Rytas and Hapoel Jerusalem dressed up as Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and waved Palestinian national flags. In addition,… More ▸

  • Jewish Property May Become Issue in Lithuania’s Presidential Campaign

    The issue of Jewish property restitution may influence the upcoming presidential election here. In a March 29 meeting with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas proposed the president form a special committee to solve the nation’s “very urgent and very sensitive” issue of Jewish communal property restitution. Both politicians are the assumed… More ▸

  • Around the Jewish World Book on Lithuanian Rescuers Prompts Debate with Nationalists

    A recently published book listing the names of Lithuanians who rescued Jews from the Holocaust has sparked a debate between the State Jewish Museum and Lithuanian nationalists. After 13 years of extensive research, the State Jewish Museum last week released “Saving the Jews in Lithuania from 1941-1944.” The book by Viktorija Sakaite lists the names… More ▸

  • 80 Years Later, Lithuania Honors Jews Who Fought for Independence

    Some 4,000 Jewish soldiers who helped defend Lithuania during its bid for independence from 1918 to 1923 have been honored by the government and the State Jewish Museum. The ceremony took place last Friday to mark the eve of Lithuanian Independence Day. Lithuania’s national army was left weak and poorly armed after World War I…. More ▸

  • In Moving Ceremony, Lithuania Gives Torah Scrolls to World Jewry

    In one of the most important forms of Holocaust restitution, the Lithuanian government has turned over more than 300 Torah scrolls to world Jewry at a ceremony in Vilnius. The sacred texts, from prewar Lithuanian synagogues, were accepted Wednesday by an Israeli delegation headed by Israel’s deputy foreign minster, Rabbi Michael Melchior, and one of… More ▸

  • After Years of Bickering, Lithuania Releases Hundreds of Historic Torahs

    Lithuania has ended six years of controversy by deciding to turn over more than 350 Torah scrolls and thousands of holy books to world Jewry, JTA has learned. The Lithuanian Cabinet was to approve the agreement on Jan. 25, according to an adviser to the Culture Ministry, Rolandas Kvietkauskas, and the Israeli ambassador to the… More ▸

  • Around the Jewish World One of Lithuania’s Few Jews Fights to Rebuild Vilna Ghetto

    It’s a shivery winter Shabbat evening and Emanuelis Zingeris is immersed in a spiritual moment at Europe’s largest synagogue. That would be normal enough, except that the Great Synagogue was destroyed decades ago and Zingeris, totally unfazed by the Baltic chill, stands outside facing the once-holy site, which now houses a Soviet-style kindergarten and a… More ▸

  • U.S. Seeks to Evict Alleged Nazi Ally Who Helped to Kill Jews in Lithuania

    The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to deport an Illinois man for allegedly participating in the persecution and murder of Jews during World War II. According to a complaint filed Monday, Peter John Bernes, alias Petras Bernotavicius, was a deputy to Werner Loew, a Nazi-appointed mayor and police commander assigned to Kupiskis, Lithuania. Bernes, 79,… More ▸

  • Arts & Culture Painter Who Survived Holocaust Has Homecoming Exhibit in Vilnius

    Lithuania is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust by helping to fund an exhibit of paintings by Samuel Bak, a Lithuanian-born Holocaust survivor. The show, housed in both the State Art Museum and the Gaon Jewish State Museum, features more than 100 of Bak’s works from 1942-2001. Bak, 68, now lives in Boston. Boston’s… More ▸