On 27 January 2023, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an artistic conference for school communities, “History Lessons in Life Stories,” took place in Ariogala.
For the seventh year, Ariogala hosted an event for the communities of Tolerance Education Centres to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
This year, representatives from 15 educational institutions with existing Tolerance Education Centres participated in the event.
At the conference’s opening, Arvydas Stankus, Principal of Ariogala Gymnasium, appreciated that every year Ariogala becomes more beautiful and changes as it welcomes its guests. In 2022, the Ariogala Memory Park was founded, commemorating historical personalities who have lived and worked in Ariogala. Ronaldas Račinskas, Executive Director of the International Commission, reminded the participants of the date of 27 January, emphasizing that every year this conference is the occasion for remembering the Jewish communities and the history of the local Jews who have lived in Lithuania and that this was the best way to commemorate them.
The event opened with an artistic composition, “From 1847 to 1941…” presented by the Baisiogala Culture Centre. The composition without words, using only the idea of a shadow theatre, told the story of the Jews of Baisiogala, which began in the 19th century and ended in 1941, when all the Jews of Baisiogala were murdered.
Many of the participants of the conference in their presentations narrated the stories of the Jews who had lived in the following areas: in Jonava, Kalvarija, Klaipėda, Kupiškis, Biržai, and in Akademija, a small town of Kėdainiai district. According to Gertz Žakas, Chairman of the Jewish Community of Kaunas, who participated in the event together with members of the community, “the stories told by the students and the situations they enacted are like a monument to the people who once lived and were killed just because they were Jewish.”
Some of the school communities prepared artistic compositions described in the books “Saved in Potato Sacks,” “With a Needle in the Heart,” “Hands Holding Life and Bread,” and “Painted in Words.”
Participants of the artistic conference joined the annual #WeRemember initiative launched by the World Jewish Congress.
Andrius Bautronis, the Mayor of Raseiniai Municipality, welcomed the annual event in Ariogala and thanked all the participants by saying, “Thank you for working, creating, and bringing light to the whole world with your creations.”
Representatives from the following gymnasiums presented their artistic compositions at the National Artistic Conference: Vladas Mironas gymnasium (Alytus dstr.), Jeronimas Ralis gymnasium and Senamiestis gymnasium (Jonava), a gymnasium from Akademija (Kedainiai dstr.), Veršvų gymnasium (Kaunas), a gymnasium from Kalvarija, Klaipėda University “Žemynos” gymnasium, “Saulės” gymnasium (Biržai) Balys Sruoga gymnasium from Vabalninkas (Biržai district), a gymnasium from Ariogala (Raseiniai dstr.) and school communities from the following Tolerance education centres: Balbieriškis Primary School (Balbieriškis dstr.), Vladas Jurgutis progymnasium (Palanga) and Povilas Matulionis progymnasium (Kupiškis), Jonas and Petras Vileišiai School (Kaunas)and Baisogala Culture Centre (Radviliškis dstr.).
The event was organized by the Secretariat of the International Commission together with the Tolerance Education Centre of Ariogala Gymnasium.