The valuable document of the Jewish culture and history will be exhibited in Lithuania next year


2019 09 17


The Executive Director of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, Mr. Jonathan Brent, who met the Minister of Culture today, Mr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, informed the Minister that the absolute majority of the Institute’s Council approved Lithuanian application to exhibit the valuable document – so-called ‘Pinkas’, or register, of the Vilna Gaon synagogue.

It is a chronicle of local community and one of the most important documents that tells about history and life of Vilnius Jewish community. YIVO is going to lend this unique exhibit to our country in 2020 when Lithuania is going to commemorate the year of Vilna Gaon and history of Lithuanian Jews. It is planned to present the document in Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, where it will be accessible to anyone wishing to see it.

Elijah ben Solomon Zalman – the great Lithuanian rabbi, the Litvak misnagd religious leader, known by the name of Vilna Gaon, who lived in the 18th century, is considered to be one of the most famous commentators of Talmud – a set of Hebrew religious writings. His 300th birth anniversary is going to be commemorated next year.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research was established in Vilnius in 1925 as the first academy of secular science of Jews in Eastern Europe. Its purpose was to document and to research the Jewish civilization of more than 1000 years in that region and to train Jewish scientists. YIVO collected the biggest library in the world and archive on the life of Jews in Easter Europe in 1925-1939 in Vilnius. YIVO activities in Vilnius were cancelled in 1941. The institute was moved to New York. This June the memorial board was uncovered on the Vivulskio street in Vilnius, where the YIVO building was standing in 1933-1944.

The part of collection of pre-war YIVO preserved in Lithuania is stored in the Lithuanian Central State Archives and Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.

In the photo (from the left): Minister of Culture, Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, Acting Director of the YIVO Archives, Stefanie Halpern, and YIVO Executive Director Jonathan Brent in New York