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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus



Published: 2023-10-05

The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopts a resolution evaluating the role of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History (VGMJH). The document calls on the Ministry of Culture to collect the Jewish cultural heritage of Lithuania, which is scattered all over the world, and to expand the collections of Judaica of the VGMJH. It also proposes the establishment of an international council to create an exposition of the Paneriai Memorial.

Here is the full text of the resolution:

The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania,
commemorating the 80thanniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto,
appreciating the centuries-long contribution of Lithuanian Jews to the creation of the State of Lithuania, participation in joint uprisings against the tsarist occupation, and the contribution of Lithuanian Jewish volunteer servicemen to the restoration of Lithuania’s statehood in 1918-1920,
stresses that Lithuanian Jews were one of the essential links in the restoration of the State of Israel;
emphasizes the unique determination to resist the Nazis by force of arms demonstrated in the joint underground of the Vilna Ghetto partisan organisation;
urges that schools, streets and squares of cities and towns be named after participants of anti-Nazi resistance (in Lithuania’s ghettos) and the righteous who rescued their Jewish neighbours;
stresses that the efforts of Vilnius inhabitants of various nationalities, even if they were not numerous, to help the ghetto’s inhabitants imprisoned in dreadful conditions is an example of solidarity to be followed for future generations;
emphasises that thousands of Jewish writers, artists, craftsmen, academics, inhabitants of cities and towns worked shoulder to shoulder with Lithuanians and Lithuania’s inhabitants of other nationalities to create the State of Lithuania;
stresses the particularly remarkable legacy of Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, the Vilna Gaon;
stresses that Lithuanian Jews living abroad constitute an integral part not only of Lithuania’s cultural heritage but also of the country’s contemporary political life;

urges, following the example of Plungė, Kėdainiai, Biržai and other municipalities in Lithuania, to start marking the sites of massacres of Jews by indicating the names of the victims and not just the numbers and dates;
requests to update throughout Lithuania the information references of road signs to old Jewish cemeteries and sites of massacres of Jews;
recommends that the President of the Republic of Lithuania confer military ranks and awards to Lithuanian ghettos’ anti-Nazi resistance participants posthumously;
urges the Russian Federation to return the property of Lithuanian citizens of Jewish origin expropriated by the Soviet occupation authorities and the financial assets of the Jewish People’s Bank;
urges the Federal Republic of Germany to start searching for and returning to Lithuania the cultural properties of Jews removed from Lithuania by the Nazi occupation authorities;
calls on the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania to collect the cultural heritage of Lithuanian Jews scattered all over the world and to expand Judaica collections at the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History;
invites Lithuanian and Polish emigrants from Lithuania to hold abroad joint meetings with the Lithuanian Jews living abroad, connecting for the common good of democracy and its preservation, and to support Ukraine in its struggle for freedom;
calls on the country’s municipal councils not to propose street names, not to erect monuments and not to set up other places of remembrance in order to perpetuate the memory of persons who allegedly collaborated with the Nazi totalitarian regime, and not to organise commemoration events dedicated to their remembrance;
invites the Government of the Republic of Lithuania to announce that the events commemorating the anniversary of the liquidation of Lithuania’s ghettos will be held across Lithuania throughout the year, starting from the marking of the 80thanniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto on 23 September 1943 and finishing with the marking of the 80thanniversary of the liquidation of the Kovno Ghetto and the Shavli Ghetto in July 1944, with the participation of the Members of the Seimas, representatives of ministries, municipalities, tolerance education centres, and the heads of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes Committed in Lithuania Under the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes;
condemns statements by politicians containing racist or anti-Semitic elements;
proposes that Lithuania’s law enforcement institutions be guided by the definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA);
recognises and welcomes the activitiesof theInternational Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes Committed in Lithuania Under the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes and the

implementation for two decades, through its efforts, of an educational programme on the Holocaust and Jewish History, which, in cooperation with Yad Vashem and other international institutions, involves the improvement of teachers’ qualifications, a meaningful commemoration of memorial days being inclusive for youth and the activities of the Network of Tolerance Education Centres with a positive impact on society’s maturity, as well as urges national and local authorities to promote and support these activities;

invites the responsible institutions authorised by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania to step up the development of joint educational, cultural, research and defence projects with the State of Israel, with particular focus on conveying the heritage of Lithuanian Jews living abroad in the Lithuanian language;
proposes to set up an international council for the creation of an exhibition at the Paneriai Memorial;
proposes to amend the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Memorial Days and to proclaim23 September the NationalMemorialDay for theHolocaustof Lithuanian Jewsand Their Resistance against the Nazis. 

Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, 26 September 2023, No XIV-2177, Vilnius


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