Update on the Lithuanian Jewish Community
WASHINGTON, D.C. August 8, 2019
TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Aleksander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

We are pleased to inform you that the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) and synagogue have re-opened their doors today following a brief closure. On Tuesday, LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky decided to halt all operations after the synagogue and community center began receiving threatening anti-Semitic phone calls and letters.

The threats were in response to a decision last week by Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius to order the removal of a plaque honoring Jonas Noreika from an external wall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. Noreika was a high-ranking police officer who is believed to have personally overseen the murder of Jews. He has been honored in Lithuania as a hero for fighting against the Soviet Union, alongside Nazi forces.

Upon learning of the closure, NCSEJ immediately contacted Ms. Kukliansky, the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, and the U.S. State Department to urge a resolution of the situation.  

On Wednesday, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis issued a statement clearly condemning ethnic hatred and calling on law enforcement to take action, saying that “it is the duty of the state to guarantee the right to security for every citizen and every community living there.” 

NCSEJ welcomes the Lithuanian Government’s statement of support and will continue monitoring the situation for any future developments regarding the Lithuanian Jewish Community.

1120 20th Street NW, Ste. 300N Washington, DC 20036-3413
Telephone: +1 202 898 2500  |  ncsejinfo@ncsej.org
 Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.