Accessibility  Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum
Register of Legal Entities Code 190757374
Address:Naugarduko st 10/2, LT 01309 Vilnius, Lithuania
Tel: (00370) 5 231 2357
Faks: (00370)5 231 2358

Museums' News

Current events at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum:


Changes await Paneriai Memorial, the site commemorating the most egregious Nazi crime in Lithuania. The Ministry of Culture of Lithuania and the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum announced a tender in June 2014 for the idea of a comprehensive rearrangement of Paneriai Memorial to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and all victims of Nazism. Sixteen projects from both Lithuania and abroad were submitted. Public evaluation of the projects took place on 9 October. 

We seek to make Paneriai an important centre of Holocaust commemoration and education by rearranging the memorial. A contemporary visitor, whether a Japanese tourist or a Lithuanian school student, must walk out of Paneriai a changed person. His spiritual world must acquire a clear moral and humanistic focus,” Markas Zingeris, director of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, said when greeting the participants of the event.



The following experts expressed their opinions: Prof Marius Pranas Šaliamoras, chairman of the Lithuanian Union of Architects and head of the Department of Architecture at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Dr Tomas Grunskis, professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, and Jurga Silvija Večerskytė-Šimeliūnė, landscape architect and designer of the Bernardinų Garden reconstruction project. They evaluated how impressive and impactful each of the sixteen projects were from an artistic and architectural point of view, as well as how to preserve authentic elements and how to accommodate them with the natural and historical environment. 



The projects were also discussed by foreign historians: Dr Jacek Nowakowski, senior curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Dr Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (Poland). 


According to Mr Cywinski, the greatest asset of the Paneriai memorial is its serenity and emptiness. It would be a mistake to fill it with objects: “Artistic solutions in places like Paneriai must be moderate in terms of their expression, restrained and subtle, and at the same time they must reflect the authenticity of the memorial. It is important that the voice of the architect does not break the silence of the victims,” Dr Piotr Cywinski said.

According to Dr Jacek Nowakowski, a great Holocaust memorial is both informative and respectful to the victims. It must not contain architectural elements that dominate the environment. He also said he agreed with the idea of using modern technologies at the memorial: “If used wisely, they would allow educational facilities to penetrate the environment without compromising the authenticity of the site”.

The three best ideas for the comprehensive rearrangement of the Paneriai Memorial will be announced in the near future, and reconstruction should be completed in several years with financing from the Republic of Lithuania and support funds of the European Union.





Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania together with the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum announced an international competition for comprehensive rearrangement of Paneriai Memorial to victims of Holocaust and all victims of Nazism. The deadline for the submission of bids was 20 August 2014, 1:00 pm.

On 20 August 2014, at 1:00 pm, the Commission opened the external envelopes of the bids that were submitted for the competition. As many as 16 projects have been received as a result of the call for bids and they will be displayed at the Tolerance Centre of VGSJM starting with 25 August 2014.

All projects that were submitted anonymously will be evaluated by the Commission for Evaluation.  Public discussion of the evaluation outcomes will be held after 23 September 2014. A separate notice on the exact date and time of the public discussion will be given later.

Paneriai Memorial is the biggest Holocaust site in Lithuania in terms of the number of victims who perished there, and is widely known on the international scale. Alongside with the Jews, solders of the Lithuanian Territorial Defence Force, Armia Krajowa, prisoners of war of the Red Army, including those who fought against Nazism, and other victims of the Nazi regime were killed in the forest of Paneriai.

The purpose of the concept for comprehensive rearrangement of Paneriai Memorial to victims of Holocaust and all victims of Nazism is to establish the principles for the rearrangement of Paneriai Memorial and its adaptation for visitors with the aim to best preserve the remaining authentic elements, to keep the recreation of the elements that were destroyed on this killing site to the minimum, and to commemorate all the victims who perished there, including the introduction of measures that would allow preserve the historic memory of the Holocaust in Paneriai for future generations.






The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum hereby presents to the society sixteen architectural ideas developed by Lithuanian and foreign authors in response to the announced international competition for comprehensive rearrangement of Paneriai Memorial.

Paneriai memorial has been erected to mark the place of the biggest “death plant” founded by the Nazis. During the post-war period, thousands of half-burned and mutilated bodies were unearthed there. It was there that the Nazis were killing mothers and children, old people and random civilians (dolls, combs, and other artefacts were excavated there). The new rearrangement projects, covering also the current buildings of Paneriai Memorial, are meant to mark the biggest site of the Nazi occupation regime in Lithuania and to commemorate thousands of civilians who weren’t subjected to forced labour, but fell victims to barbaric killings. It was impossible to escape from Paneriai and only one heroic attempt of the corps burners’ brigade to escape was a success (their story is told at the current Paneriai Memorial).

Paneriai Memorial is of great relevance for both Lithuania and the rest of the civilised world. First of all, it marks the historic end of a cultural phenomenon known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania. According to the existing data, as many as a hundred thousand people were killed there.The majority of them were of Jewish origin, including those who fought against Nazism, hostages, prisoners of war and other victims of the Nazi regime.

Second, it is one of the biggest sites of the Nazi crimes known as Holocaust by bullets located to the East from the River Nemunas and the River Bug, and not far from yet another similar site in Ukraine called Babij Yar.

Bearing in mind the importance of instigating humanistic values in modern Europe and the rest of the world, it is absolutely important to make sure that Paneriai Memorial leaves an indelible impression on its visitors, irrespective of where they come from. Thus, with the aim to educate the current and future young generations and to turn Paneriai into a centre of educational tourism of European importance, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and the VGSJM announced an international competition for a design concept to comprehensively rearrange the current memorial, which is morally outdated, by placing emphasis on the authentic details found on the site.

We hereby present the submitted projects to the public at large for their review.

Markas Zingeris
Director of VGSJM

Chairman of the Commission for Evaluation of open design concepts for a comprehensive rearrangement of
Paneriai Memorial to victims of the Holocaust and all victims of Nazism


The Righteous Among the World Awarding Ceremony took place on 28 April 2014 in the Government Office.
During the ceremony, 11 families of savers of Jews, 21 persons in all, were honoured for risking their lives to save Jews from Nazi-led genocide during WWII.

More information



The public procurements Commission on the Ideas of the Comprehensive Re-arrangement of Paneriai Holocaust
and Nazi Victims Memorial
gathered on its first session on the 25th of February, 2014.



Upcoming events at the Tolerance Center:


Modified: 9/29/2014


Open design concept contest for a complex arrangement
of Paneriai memorial to victims of Holocaust and all victims of Nazism


If you wish to order the guided tour, while visiting the VGSJM please call
by phone
(+370) 262 9666 (Tolerance center), (+370) 212 7083 (Holocaust exposition)
or write




If you wish to order the educational programme, please call
mob.+370 616 55 123;

or write




 Tolerance Center
(Naugarduko St. 10/2) working hours:
Monday-Thursday: 10:00-18:00,
Friday: 10:00-16:00,
Sunday: 10:00-16:00




Holocaust Exposition
(Pamėnkalnio St. 12) working hours:
Monday-Thursday: 9:00-17:00,
Friday: 9:00-16:00,
Sunday: 10:00-16:00





Memorial Museum of Paneriai
(Agrastu St. 17)

From October till April the museum is opend by appointment
working hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 9:00-17:00



If you wish to order the guided tour, while visiting the Paneriai Memorial Site
call +370 662 89 575 or contact us by email



© Penki Kontinentai 2006. All rights received.