In September, Lithuania commemorates the loss of the Jewish community in the Holocaust during the World War Two.

Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Even before that, in 1990, the country declared the 23rd of September as the National Holocaust Commemoration Day. The 23rd of September was chosen because this date marks the beginning of the Vilna ghetto liquidation in 1943.

Today Lithuania dedicates much effort to invite its citizens, young and old, into dialogue with the past.

The Vilnius Yiddish Institute is an active member of this dialogue, its initiator, moderator and leader. In September 2016, the VYI‘s staff travelled through Lithuania to meet with the wider audience of the country, to continue the dialogue and discussion on most painful questions of Lithuania‘s past.

The VYI‘s Assistant Director Ruta Puisyte was invited to speak about the Jewish history in Lithuania by Franciscan monks of Pakutuvenai Monastery. The lecture and discussion took place in the church. This event was made possible due to many years of work and dedication of Franciscan monk Gediminas Numgaudis. A group of curious and interested people gathered in the church to learn about the Jewish history in Lithuania, raise questions and find answers about the most painful events in the history of their country.

The VYI is successfully continuing its mission to teach and explain the history of Lithuania, expand the dialogue with the people from the past and present.