Prime Minister: we must restore befitting dignity to the site of the old Jewish cemetery of Šnipiškės


2023 06 01


On 1 June, the working group has convened for its inaugural meeting to develop proposals and a concept for commemorating the old Jewish cemetery of Šnipiškės and establishing a memorial site within the current Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace. Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė has acknowledged the longstanding contributions of Lithuanian Jews to the formation and preservation of our shared state, as well as their struggle for independence. Bearing this in mind, it is imperative that we restore the befitting dignity to the site of the old Jewish cemetery of Šnipiškės, emphasized the Prime Minister.

‘As Vilnius celebrates its 700th anniversary this year, it presents, symbolically, an opportunity for us to honour the extensive history of Lithuanian Jews, which runs parallel to our own. This shared history encompasses periods of remarkable prosperity, collaboration, and devastating tragedies.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the attendees, including our esteemed guests from the USA, Israel, the United Kingdom, representatives of Lithuanian academia, culture, and society, and the chairman of the working group, Arūnas Gelūnas. Your participation in this historic project, which holds great significance for Vilnius and Lithuania as a whole, and the time you have dedicated to it, are highly appreciated,’ said Prime Minister Šimonytė in her opening remarks.

Comprising a diverse panel of Lithuanian and international historians, heritage experts, rabbis, and public figures, the working group has come together to draft and present proposals to the Government. These proposals will outline a comprehensive concept for the preservation of the old Jewish cemetery of Šnipiškės and the development of a memorial site within the existing Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace. The objectives include optimizing the functional use of the building, ensuring appropriate protection of the cemetery’s territory, and achieving a cohesive integration of both the exterior and interior elements.

The working group is expected to present its proposals for the future of the building by the end of this year.