Minister M. Kvietkauskas: Lithuania and Hesse have cultural links and common historical memory


2019 07 05


The Minister of Culture, Mr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas continued his work visit in Germany and met Mrs. Ayser Asar, State Secretary of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, in Frankfurt. They discussed Lithuanian and Hessian cultural links and possibility to strengthen them.

According to the Minister of Culture, the Lithuanian writers, translators and publishers feel in Frankfurt as in their second home when they come to annual book fair that is one of the oldest and largest in the world. Moreover, excellent conditions are created for the Lithuanian writers in Hesse to live and create according to the programme of creative residencies, whereas the German authors may come to the residency to Nida in turn. The residents of Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and Kassel and other guests coming from other German or European places were able to get more familiar with the Lithuanian cinema, theatrics and fine arts during the events held in Hesse land in the recent years. It was agreed in the meeting to continue cooperation by promotion of cultural exchanges and interrelations between the Lithuanian and Hessian cultural institutions.

Mr. M. Kvietkauskas and Mrs. A. Asar discussed the possibility to organize an exhibition in Frankfurt that would be dedicated to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research that was operating in Vilnius before World War II. This topic was also discussed in the meetings of Minister M. Kvietkauskas with Mr. Uwe Becker, mayor of Frankfurt City, Deputy Director of Jewish museum, Mr. Werner Hanak, ad representatives of the Jewish community. According to the minister, the year of Vilna Gaon and history of the Lithuanian Jews is going to be commemorated next year in Lithuania, and the international programme is also under preparation for this occasion. The exhibition for YIVO beginning in Vilnius would be used to present testimonies of history and activities of the institute remaining in the Lithuanian national collections. The majority of them have not been publicly available previously. According to the Minister, the institute promoted prosperity of intellectual life of Jews not only in Vilnius, but also in the entire Central and Eastern Europe. The exhibition would show the most important aspects of Vilnius stage of the institute – incorporation incentives, operation bars and forms, and its tragical end in Vilnius. Part of YIVO archives were removed to Frankfurt in 1941 and when the USA soldiers took over the city in 1946, the archives were sent to New York, where YIVO institute transferred from Vilnius was operating. It was discussed in the meetings that such an exhibition should be held in 2020 or 2021 in Frankfurt Jewish museum or in Frankfurt National Library.

The meeting of Minister M. Kvietkauskas and mayor U. Becker was used to discuss International Frankfurt Book Fair, to remember success of the Lithuanian writers, translators and publishers in 2002 when Lithuania participated in the fair as an honorary guest. According to Mr. M. Kvietkauskas, if our country gets an opportunity to become a focus of the fair in the nearest future again, Lithuania would be ready to meet such a challenge as the number of good translations of our authors into German is growing all the time.

In the end of meetings in Frankfurt the minister expressed his gratitude to the Lithuanian honorary consulate in Hesse that helped to organize the visit’s programme.

In the photo – Minister of Culture, Mr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, and mayor of Frankfurt City, Mr. Uwe Becker.