During World War II more than 90 percent of the 220,000 Jews living in Lithuania were exterminated, but the organizers of The Names is inviting the public not just to remember this statistic. “This is our history, our memory which they sought to destroy along with people. When you yourself say the names, surnames and professions of the people who lived here, you can no longer pretend they weren’t here,” organizers of the Names civic initiative said.
Anyone who wants to participates in the Names events, from school children to people old enough to remember this painful period in Lithuania’s history. Last year, former Vilnius ghetto prisoner Fania Jocheles-Brancovski, for example, read the names of her family members. “After she read, this list of names was no longer just paper with black letters and numbers as it had been before,” one reader said later.
“I hope these readings will bring more people closer to the historical truth which is impossible to hide or distort,” writer and National Prize winner Grigorijus Kanovičius said when he learned the names of murdered Jews are to be read out in his hometown Jonava for the first time. Kanovičius’s works have helped many readers to understand Jewish life in Lithuania and the complex Holocaust period.
Program for the events on September 22 (Tuesday)
Vilnius: 5:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. Reading the names and International Litvak Photography Center photo installation with video projections in the courtyard of the Vilnius ghetto library, Žemaitijos street No. 4, Vilnius.
5:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. Reading the names and special Shoah program of films at the Vilnius Documentary Film Festival at the Skalvija movie theater, A. Goštauto street No. 2, Vilnius.
Jonava: 1:00 P.M-3:00 P.M. Reading the names in the courtyard of the Jonava Regional History Museum.
Švėkšna: From 3:00 P.M. The Švėkšna Museum and the Švėkšna Scouts invite the public to assemble outside the synagogue (Liepų square) for the reading of the names. Afterwards, everyone is invited to volunteer for a group clean-up of the old Jewish cemetery.
Molėtai: From 12 noon, reading the names on the square of Molėtai City Hall.
Jurbarkas: 2:00 P.M. visiting the mass murder site in Naujasodžiai village: lighting candles, laying wreaths and flowers, reading the names of the murdered, sharing memories of the town’s Jewish community. 3:00 P.M. Screening of director Saulius Beržinis’s documentary film “When Yiddish was Heard in Jurbarkas” at the Jurbarkas Public Library.