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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus


In memoriam. Markas Zingeris (1947–2023)

Published: 2023-04-25
On 20 April we sadly lost Markas Zingeris, a Lithuanian writer and long-time director of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History (20052019). We bid our final farewell to Markas on 21 April at our museum, and before the beginning of the Sabbath, escorted him to the place of eternal rest at the Sudervė Jewish cemetery.
We mourn together with Markas Zingeris' family and relatives, the Lithuanian writers' community, and all his readers. We are also taking this time to reflect on the person that we have lost and consider the way in which we might continue his initiatives, following such a sudden loss.
Markas Zingeris' personality combined all cultures of the world, primary among them, Jewish and Lithuanian. Having established himself as a writer of poetry, prose, theatre and essays, and also the head of the Jewish museum, this man of culture, took it upon himself to nurture his role as a global human beingsomeone who took a broad and open look, often with humour, at the pain, developments, and conflicts of the global community.
In a number of interviews, Markas Zingeris emphasized that life is really just a dream, somewhere between fiction and fact, and the writer's task, is to find the balance between these fundamental opposites so that the text touches the reader and evokes the reactions that the author sought to achieve. According to Markas Zingeris, literature is, after all, one of the instruments that allows us to experience this world.
In his second book of poetry, An Evening in Childhood (1989), Markas Zingeris speaks to us through the medium of the lyrical subject in the poem, ‘The Wind When I Wasn't Yet Alive’:
                                                It is only from the dreams that all things arise,
                                                all that's tormenting and glittering inside—
                                                and even when I was not yet alive,
                                                fences glowed and branches shimmered,
                                                the bike was creaking, and the wheel was squeaking,
                                                until I—out of the wind—became a poet (p. 23).
He was not only a poet, completing three books in all, but also a prose writer of six novels, and a translator...
Bliss and consolation lie in Markas Zingeris' books, which from here on, we will read in a completely different waytalking or consulting with the author in the face of a personal challenge, or when we are simply missing him.
Certainlyeach in our own waywill feel his presence in the coming months as we prepare to invite visitors to the opening of the expanded museum of Samuel Bak, a Litvak painter, who survived the Holocaust and is currently residing and creating in the United States. The Samuel Bak Museum, the first of its kind in the entire world, was established in our museum on the initiative of Markas Zingeris.
May the soul of Markas Zingeris, our Fellow, Friend, and a Master to many, be blessed and rest in peace.
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