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Vilnius synagogue open again after threats and protest

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Women pass by the Choral Synagogue of Vilnius in Lithuania

Amid a row in Vilnius over the memory Lithuanian freedom fighters, yet Holocaust-time officials deserve, the Jewish community of Lithuania has reopened its synagogue. It was closed earlier this week, after the community reported threats.

Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reports that the Vilnius Choral Synagogue was reopened on Thursday, August 8, after being closed since Tuesday, August 6.

«Today, a decision was made, along with [the chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community] Faina Kukliansky to resume the community’s and the synagogue’s activities,»

according to a statement on Thursday afternoon.

The community’s headquarters and the synagogue were closed on Tuesday. Kukliansky then stated that the Jewish community received threatening phone calls and letters during a heated debate in Lithuania over the removal of commemorative signs to controversial World War Two-era Lithuanians.

On Wednesday, August 7, several hundred people gathered in the capital to protest against Vilnius authorities’ decisions. It had been decided abruptly to take down a memorial plaque to anti-Soviet resistance fighter Jonas Noreika and change the name of Jonas Škirpa Alley, named after another World War Two-era figure.

Both have been blamed of collaboration with the Nazis during the Nazi German occupation of Lithuania, when around 190 thousand of Lithuanian Jews were killed.

The decisions to remove the tributes to Noreika and Škirpa have been welcomed by the Jewish community; however, some Jewish leaders have criticized Kukliansky’s handling of the situation.

The articled originally appeared on LRT English: https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1086532/lithuanian-jewish-community-reopens-synagogue-in-vilnius


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