51.000 sign petition against centre being built on 500-year-old Vilnius cemetery

More than 51,000 people have signed a petition opposing plans to build a convention centre on top of a 500-year-old Jewish cemetery in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

Begun by Ruta Bloshtein, an Orthodox Jewish woman who lives in the city, it urges authorities instead to restore the Old Šnipiškės Jewish Cemetery, where thousands of Jewish people are buried, and return it to the Jewish community.

The city, once called Vilna, was a centre of Jewish life in Europe, winning the nickname “Jerusalem of the North”, and dozens of reputed scholars are buried there.

“It is sacred ground and should be restored as a cemetery and memorial park to which pilfered gravestones that turn up all over the city can be returned,” the petition reads.

“Instead, some greedy business interests, co-operating politicians, antisemitic nationalists and ‘pliant Jewish figures’ have joined forces for a new National Convention Center to rise on the site, where thousands would revel, cheer, sing, drink at bars and use toilets surrounded by Jewish graves.”

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

European Jewish Congress President slams decision by Austrian Freedom Party to appoint antisemite to upper house of parliament

Dr. Moshe Kantor has expressed outrage after the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) appointed former foreign-affairs spokesman Johannes Hübner to the Bundesrat, which is the equivalent of Austria’s Senate.

European Jewish Congress remembers Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks as a towering figure of Judaism

The European Jewish Congress expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, זצ״ל on the passing of the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

European Jewish Congress congratulates President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory

The European Jewish Congress sends its congratulations to U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr on his victory in the American presidential elections.

European Jewish Congress shocked and appalled at Vienna terror shootings

“The shooting reminds us that vigilance, commitment to fighting terror and assertion of our values is a constant necessity to rid Europe of this deadly scourge and it reminds us that terror targets us all,” said EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor in the aftermath of the terror shootings that took place outside the Stadttempel synagogue in Vienna.