Headstones removed from a Vilnius Church were returned to Jewish Cemetery

A restoration took place on the Evangelical Reformist Church [used as the Chronika cinema in Soviet times] on Pylimo street in Vilnius. It was discovered that Jewish cemetery headstones had been used for the front stairs leading to the main entrance.

The headstones have been returned to a Jewish cemetery according to the Lithuanian Cultural Infrastructure Center.

When restoration work began, local residents noticed some kind of inscriptions on the stones. Experts from the Lithuanian Jewish Community were able to determine the origins of the stones from the shallow inscriptions, in some places barely visible.

They approached Lithuania’s Cultural Heritage Department and commission was formed which determined the stones were actually Jewish grave markers. The stairs were removed and the monuments were sent to the old Jewish cemetery.

At the request of the Jewish community, stones used as stairs on the sides of the church were also examined and turned out to be Jewish gravestones as well.

A transfer agreement was signed and the stones were removed and protected by the Vilnius municipality and the Verkiai-Pavilniai Regional Park which has jurisdiction over a square next to the old Jewish cemetery on Kirkuto alley in Vilnius

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