Commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day at an artistic conference in Ariogala

On 27 January the Culture center of Ariogala, Raseiniai dstr.,  hosted a national artistic conference “The silence, wandering on the street …”. The traditional event, held for the tenth time, was dedicated to commemoration of the  International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Participants of the conference – representatives of Lithuanian school communities and Tolerance education centers. The pupils introduced by means of artistic expression the stories of Lithuanian Jews, who had resided in towns and cities, and the mass killings of the Jews – the Holocaust, which began in 1941. Teachers and pupils of Ariogala gymnasium, who started the event, introduced the history of the township of Ariogala: until the beginning of the Nazi occupation, the Jews of Ariogala lived on Vytautas street, which is in the center of the town. The principal of the school, Arvydas Stankus, together with the comunity of the gymnasium, said at the opening ceremony of the event that until the summer of 1941, Vytautas street was full of clattering, vitality and life. But when the Nazi occupation started, the Jews of Ariogala were eased out into the Dubysa valley and shot. Thus, the heart of the town, Vytauto street, was embraced in silence … According to Ronaldas Račinskas, head of the International Commission Secretariat, there were many emptied streets in Lithuanian settlements and towns in 1941, and encouraged pupils to remember this day, to mark the 23rd of September – a memorial day for the victims of the Jewish genocide and to talk over the topic and its meaning at home, in the classroom, with friends and relatives: to know what had happened in Lithuania and Europe.

During the conference thoughts were voiced many times that there were people in that town or the other, who were killed and the silence enveloped the streets. The event was attended by teachers and pupils from 20 Lithuanian schools: Alytus, Ariogala, Balbieriškis, Daugai, Gargždai, Kalvarija, Kaunas, Klaipėda dstr., Kupiškis, Marijampolė, Panevėžys and Vilnius. The conference was attended by a large number of guests: members of Kaunas Jewish community, a representative from Kaunas dstr.municipality, Mayor and administrative staff of Raseiniai dstr., museum staff from Kaunas 9th Fort museum as well as guests from various institutions. Participants and guests of the conference joined the “We Remember” campaign, initiated by the World Jewish Congress. The event was attended by 200 participants and guests.

The national artistic conference was organized by the Secretariat of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania together with Ariogala gymnasium.

The moments from this conference: