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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus


If I Forget Thee...

Please contact us for more information:
Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum
Naugarduko str. 10, LT 01309 Vilnius, Lithuania

Tel: (+370 5) 262 0681, 262 9666
Fax: (+370 5) 231 2358
E-mail: aleksandra.jacovskyte@jmuseum.lt, muziejus@jmuseum.lt



Description of the exhibition

An exhibition of the Jews of Butrimonys and their tragic fate in WWII, based on photographs collected by Riva Lozanski-Bogomolnaja (1920-2002). She was one of only 15 people from Butrimonys, Lithuania who escaped death during the mass murder of Jews. According to data from 1930, Butrimonys was home to 887 Jews. On September 9, 1941, 740 Jews were shot in Butrimonys. On that day the communities of Butrimonys, Stakliskes and Punia were destroyed. Riva Lozanski-Bogomolnaja dedicated her life to commemorating the victims.

After the war ended, she walked around the town and went to the home of every Jew murdered. She collected personal photographs and abandoned item, things no one was concerned with. Some people who had inhabited the empty houses simply gave them to her, others asked for money or alcohol. She collected more than 500 photographs and over many years identified and indexed them in order to tell the world what happened to the Jews of Butrimonys.

Each photo represents a life story, described and preserved in her notebook. The photographs, like broken glass, come together to from a mosaic of the life of Jewish Butrimonys, asdescribed in Riva Lozanski-Bogomolnaja’s books published in Russian and English in the U.K. and Israel. The exhibit is composed of 12 stands that tell the story, from what people did and how they lived before the war, through the bestiality of the war, and the war period also contains examples of mercy by some people. The stands contain many photographs of Jews from Butrimonys. Authentic items from the inter-war period, some of which belonged to Riva Lozanski-Bogomolnaja and Jews from Butrimonys, complement the stand exhibits.
A catalog in English and Lithuanian accompanies the exhibit, called “If I Forger Thee” providing additional historical material.


Technical data of the exhibition




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