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13 October 2020

Round tables cycle Jews of Lithuania and Russia

In marking the significant role of the Jews of Lithuania and the vast influence of their diverse activities and culture during the entire history of the State of Lithuania from the middle of the 13th Century to the present day, the Seimas of Lithuania has declared 2020 the Year of the Vilna Gaon and of the History of the Jews of Lithuania.

Within the framework of the Year of Vilna Gaon, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in the Russian Federation in partnership with the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the International Historical, Educational, Charitable and Human Rights Society „Memorial“1, Martynas Mazvydas National Library of Lithuania, the Sefer Center for the University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, and with the support of the Russian Jewish Congress, is planning to hold a cycle of round table discussions dedicated to the history of the Litvak Community, its self-determination and diverse heritage, the preservation of memory, the development of Jewish identity and fate of Lithuanian and Russian Jewry in today‘s public and scholarly discourse. This project is the work of a group of Lithuanian and Russian researchers under the initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in the Russian Federation.

During the academic discussion between prominent researchers and scholars of Jewish history and historical memory from Lithuania, Russia and other countries, various topics will be analysed and discussed including: the dynamic formation of the identity of the Jews of Lithuania and Russia from the second half of the eighteenth century, when Lithuanian Jewry became the first in Eastern Europe to perceive the ideas of Haskala,   and to this day, as we face the difficult evaluation of the painful and tragic history of the twentieth.

The project outlined above will include three thematic round tables:

  • The Jews of Lithuania and Russia, and the formation of Jewish Identity from the eighteenth to the twentieth century │ October 16, 2020, 5 p.m.  │ Live broadcast ›
  • How we talk about the Holocaust in Lithuania and in Russia │ Scheduled for the end of November 2020
  • Languages of memory │ Scheduled for late January-early February 2021

The dates of the second and third round tables will be announced later.

These meetings will acquaint the Russian audience with the history and cultural heritage of Lithuanian Jewry, with the problems of Lithuanian-Jewish relations, and will facilitate dialogue between Lithuanian and Russian researchers. Six people will take part in each of the round tables: three researchers each from the Lithuanian and Russian perspectives. In addition, each round table will be accompanied by the viewing and discussion of video materials directly relevant to its theme (animation, recordings of performances, documentaries and films).

The cycle of round tables will conclude with a concert by cellist Alexander Ramm, which will feature compositions by Jewish, Lithuanian and Russian composers.

Authors and main participants of the project:

  • Natalia Arlauskaitė. Institute of Political Science and International Relations, Vilnius University
  • Boris Belenkin. Moscow, „Memorial“
  • Jurgita Verbickienė. Head of the Center for the Study of Culture and History of East European Jewry at the Faculty of History, Vilnius University
  • Lara Lempertienė. Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Department of Cultural Heritage Research at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania
  • Svetlana Panich. Moscow, independent researcher

Academic Consultant of the project: prof. Saulius Sužiedėlis. Millersville University, Pennsylvania

Project coordinator: Svetlana Panich. Moscow, independent researcher

Detailed information on the date, place and format of each round table will be available on the website, of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania, on the Embassy‘s Facebook page, as well as on the web pages of „Memorial“ and the Russian jewish congress.

1 International Memorial is included in the registry as foreseen by Article 13.1.10 of the Federal Law "On NGO“