Linkevičius: Without forgetting our painful past, we take pride in the achievements of Jews of Lithuanian descent
On 4 May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended a ceremony marking the start of the construction works of the Šeduva Jewish museum – The Lost Shtetl. A time capsule was buried during the ceremony.
“The beginning of the construction of the museum is an emotional and significant moment. This unique museum will perpetuate the memory not only of the Jews of Šeduva, but of the Lithuanian Jewish Community as a whole. By telling the story of small Jewish towns, it will also tell the history of Lithuania,” the Minister Linkevičius stressed.
The museum will recreate small town life of one of Europe’s biggest Jewish communities in the Diaspora. Real life stories of the Jews of Šeduva will be told to teach about life and traditions of a typical Jewish family in Lithuania, as well as the significance of Litvak scholars, cultural, social and political movements, the growth of business and various activities. A special section of the exposition will be devoted also to the tragedy of the Jews of Šeduva and Lithuania during the Holocaust, when nearly the entire local Jewish community was annihilated.
“It is namely in small towns of Lithuania that stories of the world’s influential people often begin – ancestors of the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu come from Šeduva. His great grandmother Sara Mileikowsky was born in 1885 in Šeduva. During the visit to Israel, I gave him a miniature copy of the monument to all the Jews of Šeduva, which stands downtown, as a present,” the Minister Linkevičius said. He was also pleased that the Šeduva Jewish cemetery had been restored. It is now among the best managed cemeteries in Europe.
The Minister also thanked the author of the idea of the Museum of the Lost Shtetl, the founder of the Šeduva Jewish Memorial Foundation, the project manager of the Lost Shtetl Sergey Kanovich. Together with his father, the famous Lithuanian-Israeli writer Grigory Kanovich, who resides in Israel, they are Litvaks and sincere patriots of Lithuania.