Vilnius University to issue ‘memory diplomas’ to those expelled by totalitarian regimes

The University of Vilnius
DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

“To pay respect to and commemorate those who were deprived of the possibility of being members of the Vilnius University community, a symbolic Memory Diploma of Vilnius University has been established,” Jurgita Verbickienė, assistant professor at VU’s Faculty of History and one of the authors of the idea, said.

“The diploma award ceremony is expected to become a traditional event of the Vilnius University community,” she added.

Preliminary research shows that such diplomas could be issued to around 1,000 people. About 650 Jews, 80 Poles and a German professor whose wife was Jewish were expelled from VU at the start of the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. Several hundred Lithuanians were also denied the opportunity to work or study at the university during the Soviet occupation.

VU will create an online platform in the English and Lithuanian languages, called Grįžtanti Atmintis – Recovering Memory, where private individuals and organizations will be able to nominate people for Memory Diplomas or find information about nominated people.

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