July 2002  

A Brief Summary of the History of the Holocaust in Lithuania


Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Lithuanian Jewry numbered approximately 160,000 Jews with the largest communities being in Kaunas, Siauliai, and Panevezys. Shortly after the Soviet invasion of Eastern Poland in September 1939, the city and district of Vilna (Vilnius in Lithuanian; Wilno in Polish) were turned over to Lithuania, thereby adding an additional 66,000 Jews to the community which also absorbed approximately 14,000 Polish Jewish refugees during the fall and winter of 1939. In June 1940 the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania and two months later annexed the country, which became a Soviet republic. In June 1941, the Soviet authorities carried out large-scale deportations of elements considered dangerous to the regime, in the course of which approximately 7,000 Jews were sent to the Soviet interior. If we add the approximately 15,000 Jews who escaped into the Soviet Union or were evacuated by the Communist authorities, we can estimate that approximately 220,000 Jews were living in Lithuania during the initial stages of the Nazi invasion. more...

August 28, 2001  

Can Lithuania Face Its Holocaust Past?
Reflections of a Concerned Litvak


Chairman Alperovich, fellow Litvaks, ladies and gentlemen,

As the grandson of Shmuel Leib Zar of Lingmiany and Beila Gifter Zar?"? of Shaduva, I am particularly pleased to be able to participate in this conference of Litvaks, which for me is a family gathering. I am only sorry that more of my fellow Litvaks are not here with us, but to be perfectly honest, I am not surprised. Because one of the reasons that more Litvaks, and particularly many from Israel, did not come is because of the topic that I would like to address. more...