Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys: Historical Memory – A Cultural Component Important to Lithuania and Israel


2021 02 09


Today the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys met with H.E. Mr. Yossef Levy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel. During the meeting, bilateral cultural cooperation projects were discussed, as well as matters related to the Jewish cultural heritage in Lithuania and historical memory.

First, the Israeli Ambassador thanked the Ministry of Culture for its support in carrying out joint cultural projects and expressed the expectation that the cultural ties connecting the two countries will continue to be reinforced through joint initiatives. Ambassador Levy also emphasised the importance of translations of works of literature for better mutual understanding, and was pleased to note that next year Kaunas will become a European Capital of Culture and the Embassy enthusiastically participates in Memory Office, a programme of Kaunas 2022. The programme seeks to awaken the multicultural memory of the city, and a large part of the programme is composed of projects bringing the Jewish and Litvak history and legacy to life.

According to the Minister of Culture, historical memory is important to Kaunas as well as to Lithuania, and the example set by Kaunas in this case can help to understand the past and to use the opportunities it offers for better mutual understanding today. As the Minister of Culture says, although a great deal has been accomplished to promote Lithuanian and Israeli cultural collaboration, additional efforts must be made to continue joint initiatives and to ensure that historical memory is appreciated and brought to life, seeking better mutual understanding, respect and cooperation in the future.

During the discussion, attention was also paid to issues regarding protection of the sites of mass killings of Holocaust victims, Jewish cultural heritage projects, and the intergovernmental Lithuanian and Israeli agreement on joint cinema production. It is expected to sign the document this year. This agreement should improve Lithuanian and Israeli cooperation in the area of cinema and strengthen the competitiveness of the Lithuanian film industry and its potential to attract additional funding for film production.