Petition update

Urgent: Major, Imminent New Danger to the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Ruta Bloshtein
Vilnius, Lithuania

May 7, 2020 — 

My dear friends,

As ever, thanks so much for your signature on the petition to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. Thanks to ALL of you, and a select number of dedicated, energetic colleagues worldwide, we have for years now, working together, prevented any building works. But now, once again, this has turned urgent and imminent, as the establishment here, right in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic (and economic crisis), begins to publicize the view in our mass media that the economy can be restarted ONLY through a convention center in the old Jewish cemetery!

The planned convention center would result in thousands of people clapping and cheering every night, using bars and washrooms, surrounded by the Jewish graves of Vilna including the Chayei Odom (Hayai Adam), the Be’er Ha-Goylo (Be’er Ha-Golah), the parents and children of the Gaon of Vilna, and innumerable others.

Over these past few months there have been dramatic developments. Just this past week, some have been reported by JTA and by the Algemeiner Journal.

Please try to browse through our web journal articles on the cemetery from the past couple of months, at:

Please please HELP by contributing as generously as you can to our existence (being sure to list “CEMETERY CAMPAIGN” on the paypal donation form):

We have been making sure, here at ground zero, every day, to monitor and report, without fear, so that that the outside world knows EXACTLY what is going on here in the city that was once Yerusholayim d’Lita.

Last Friday, the three major tourist organizations in Lithuania put out a press release and video (!) flaunting many hundreds of chairs laid out on the cemetery with mock 1000 euro notes (the stated point being that only the convention center HERE, in the Jewish cemetery, can restart the economy following the coronavirus!). See photo which is a screen shot from the video. Several weeks ago, a major economist expressed that nonsense explicitly. Last December, a meeting of the state’s property bank (joined by several Jewish “enablers”, may G-d help us!) came up with yet another secret agreement. Our team here in Vilnius found, translated and published the entire document, the articles, the video — everything.

The renewed campaign by the government for “the convention center in the Jewish cemetery” has had its obvious antisemitic overtones, such as the display of hundreds of chairs with money tagged on, right on top of extant Jewish graves; like the insinuation that only situation of a convention center in the old Jewish cemetery can save the nation's economy in a time of pandemic.

It has also been a misinformation (“fake news”) campaign. For example putting out all over social media (Facebook etc.) that “there are no graves there anymore.” In response has uncovered and published the original press release of the geophysical ground radar team back in Sept. 2008 that documented graves in all parts of the cemetery where it was allowed to do the ground radar.

Last January, the state-sponsored “official” Jewish community published a vicious attack against me personally (accusing me of doing this for money from outside forces, here in Lithuania a not-so-gentle accusation of “working for the Russians”). You can read that, too, and our responses, in the above-cited section of

For those who would like more background in a number of brilliant essays, I can refer you to Professor Shnayer Leiman’s articles

In recent months, there have also been some wonderful, inspiring new contributions. These include the rabbinical judgment of the great Litvak rabbinical authority Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in Israel, a powerful and inspiring performance by rosh-yeshiva Rabbi Elchonon Baron on video (addressing, with other leading rabbis, and a Protestant Evangelical author from Washington DC) the Lithuanian ambassador in Israel), and, essays by two proud Lithuanian citizens who understand what is right and best for our country: Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas and Julius Norwilla.

In addition to donations, please spread the word to help us reach 50,000 signatures as soon as possible. Let’s aim for much more than 50,000!

With every good wish from Vilna,

Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein

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