Prime Minister discusses with the Jewish community conversion of Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace

Date

2015 04 14

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On Tuesday Prime Minister has met with representatives of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe (CPJCE) as well as the Jewish Community of Lithuania and discussed further steps in the project for the conversion of Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace into a Congress Centre. The Prime Minister has noted the necessity to preserve the memory of Šnipiškės Cemetery located within the territory of Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace.

“We deeply appreciate the arrival of rabbis, members of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, in Lithuania to deal with this important matter. We understand that the project is not possible without an appropriate commemoration of Šnipiškės Cemetery located in the historical site of Vilnius, therefore we plan to organize a memorial design competition”, said Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius. According to the Prime Minister, the opinion of the Jewish Community of Lithuania is highly important: the project will be pursued only upon its approval.

Chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania Faina Kukliansky has said that the community understands the importance of the project and is ready to assist in dealing with sensitive matters related to the project coordination. The Committee representatives have thanked the Prime Minister for his personal attention as well as close and constructive cooperation. They have stressed that the Lithuanian Government and the Committee share the same approach to the Sports Palace conversion project.

The Prime Minister has assured the Committee representatives that Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace will be renovated in accordance with the international conference organisation practice as well as the Vilnius city needs, and will be adapted for the functions of a congress and conference centre.

The Government has recognized the Congress Centre project as a cultural project of state importance located in a historical site of Vilnius. On 22-23 October 1988, a founding conference of the Reform Movement of Lithuania Sąjūdis was held in the Palace, and in January 1991, fighters for the freedom of Lithuania, killed at the Vilnius TV tower, were laid out for public farewell there.