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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus

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Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and Vilna Ghetto

 
At the initiative of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, the Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto will open in the former Vilna Ghetto Library building.
 
Before World War II, the building located on Strašuno St. 6 (currently Žemaitijos St. 4) housed Meficei Haskala (In English: Education Disseminators) society library. In 1940, during the first days of the Soviet occupation, the library was nationalised, and in spring of 1941 it was reorganised into library No. 5. Prior to the establishment of the Vilna ghetto, the first Judenrat operated here. After the establishment of the Vilna Ghetto on 6 September 1941,  the library ended up in the territory of the Large Ghetto and operated there almost until the liquidation of the ghetto in September 1943. The Ghetto Library was run by a refugee from Warsaw, bibliographer Herman Kruk, who wrote a diary known today as ‘The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania’. Due to its active cultural endeavours, the library was often referred to as the Cultural Centre: it housed a bookstore, archive, statistics and address bureaus, and hosted cultural events.
 
The library building became not only a cultural centre, but also a meeting place for the underground armed resistance organisation FPO (In Yiddish: Fareinikte partizaner organizacie (United Partisan Organisation)) that operated in the ghetto. In the library reading room, FPO members hid their weapons and learned how to use them, and secretly discussed plans for further action. There was a ghetto sports ground in the yard of the library, and a ghetto prison in front of it. In 1944, in this same building the Holocaust survivors, led by writers Shmerke Kaczerginski and Avraham Sutzkever, founded the Jewish Museum, which was closed by the Soviet government in 1949. During the Soviet occupation, the former ghetto library building housed the Technical School of Librarians, later the Vilnius Juozas Tallat-Kelpša School of Music (which in 2004 was renamed the Conservatory).
 
On 28 February 2017, the former Vilna Ghetto Library building was granted legal protection and was entered in the Register of Cultural Heritage as one of the buildings hosting a cultural institution of the Jews of Vilnius. In 2018, repair works were performed on the building to liquidate its emergency status. On 21 January 2019, following order No. ĮV-21, of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, the building was declared to be under State protection.
 
In 2019, the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History prepared a revised investment project for the Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto. In 2020, the technical design for the planned overhaul and major repairs was prepared. Archaeological and polychromy research of the building were performed, and this led to the discovery of authentic decorative elements.
 
Once the construction and design works are completed, the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History will invite visitors to the new Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto, which will replace the current Holocaust exposition (Pamėnkalnio St. 12). Visitors to the new exposition will learn in detail about the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto in this historical environment, and see authentic exhibits from the museum’s holdings.
 
You can contribute to the project of the Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto by donating and lending exhibits and providing financial support. 
 
Beneficiary’s information:
Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Legal entity code: 190757374
Address: Naugarduko St. 10/2, Vilnius, LT– 01309
Current account number: LT 417044060001122232, AB SEB bank
When indicating the purpose of payment, please mention that this is support for the Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto.
 
More information:
Dr. Stanislovas Stasiulis
Head of Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and Vilna Ghetto
tel.: (8 5) 262 0730, email: stanislovas.stasiulis@jmuseum.lt
 
 
 
 
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