Vilnius Ozo Gymnasium is implementing a project (project leader Danguolė Mačiulienė) supported by the Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI) from New York.
On 4 May, the participants of the project visited the Paneriai Memorial. During the visit, the students learnt about the history of the Paneriai tragedy and the origins of the Memorial, and visited the monuments commemorating the Jews, Poles, Lithuanians, Soviet prisoners of war, and the Roma who were murdered at the site. They also visited the Paneriai Memorial Information Centre.
As part of the project “Stories of the Jewish Vilnius in Pictures”, on 18 May the participants got acquainted with the history of Jews in the Old Town of Vilnius: they started to explore the earliest origins of this community and its highlight – the sculpture of Moses on the exterior of the Cathedral; they visited the former territories of the Little and Big Ghettos; they learnt that the names of the current streets of Mėsinių, Raugyklos and other streets used to refer to the crafts that were practiced by the Jewish people before the World War II. The participants of the project visited the monument of the Gaon, the sage of the Jews; the site of the largest synagogue before the Second World War; and the building of the former library, which during the war was important for the spiritual well-being of the Jews living in the ghetto. An important point to mention here is Ona Šimaitė, who saved not only some of the books but many Jewish children as well. At the end of the tour, everyone walked together past the former shops, whose authentic inscriptions still adorn the arches and the only synagogue in Vilnius. The tour ended with an introduction to Dr. Tzemach Shabad.
For the second time, Vilnius Ozo Gymnasium is grateful for the support of TOLI (The Olga Lengyel Institute) in the implementation of its project.
Once the quarantine is over, there is an opportunity to get closer to the history of the Jewish people by visiting, listening to, and learning about both the painful and beautiful facts of the life of this community in Lithuania. The students and teachers of the Vilnius Ozo Gymnasium are continuing to learn about the painful history of Vilnius through the project ” Stories of the Jewish Vilnius in Pictures. ”
Project leader, teacher Danguolė Mačiulienė