Jews on the Map of Lithuania: the Case of Biržai. Preserving Jewish Heritage and Historical Memory.

/ Editor-in-chief Irina Kopchenova. Moscow, 2015. 366 p.

Jews on the Map of Lithuania : Biržai. Problems of Preserving Jewish Heritage and Historical Memory is a collection of materials on Jewish history, ethnography, sociolinguistics, and epigraphics, gleaned during three Sefer Center expeditions in 2013 and 2014 in the currently Northern-Lithuanian town of Biržai and its environs.

The book is not limited merely to presenting the results of this large international two-year project for ethnographic, epigraphic, and archival research on the Jewish community of Biržai, where Rabbinical Jews and Karaites lived as neighbors. The study also represents an attempt at preserving Jewish heritage and memory of Jews in the former Great Duchy of Lithuania region.

Modern history saw repeated changes in the paradigm of historical memory on the territory of the former GDL. How did this reflect on the material and immaterial monuments of Jewish heritage, on the perception of Jewish history and culture, and ultimately, on the memory of Jewish neighbors? As the expedition set out for Biržai, we hoped to learn how the Jews were preserved in their neighborsmemories, what recollections the locals had of them and what had already escaped or had been suppressed from memory, and how different ethnic and religious groups had coexisted in the particularly poly-ethnic and multi-confessional region of Biržai. We were also concerned with the broader (both in the geographic and cultural-historical sense) issue of the impression left by the extinct Jewish civilization on Lithuanias mental map.

Editorial Board:

Svetlana Amosova (Sefer Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow)

Leonid Dreyer (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow)

Irina Kopchenova (Ed.-in-chief, Sefer Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow)

Victoria Mochalova (Sefer Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow)

Lara Lempertene (Judaica Research Center, Vilnius)

Mikhail Nosonovsky (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)


Peer reviewed by Tatiana Tsivyan (Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow), Alexander Lokshin (Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow), Hektoras Vitkus (Klaipeda University, Klaipeda)


ISBN 978-5-7576-0337-7

Contents

Introduction

Gratitudes

Preservation of Jewish Heritage Throughout the Lithuanian-Polish Region

Ruta Anulyte. The Jewish Cultural and Historical Heritage in Lithuania

Krzysztof Bielawski. The State of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland. The Problems of the Jewish (Rabbinical) and Karaite Communities in Lithuania

Vladimir Petrukhin. Rabbinical and Karaite Communities in Medieval Lithuania: Problems of original history

Jurgita Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė. Essays on the history of Birzhai Jewish community Perception of the Jew in His Neighbors Memory (Materials from the Fields of Ethnography, Oral History and Sociolinguistics)

Ilya Magin. Biržai and its Eastern Neighbourhoods: Linguistic Analysis

Julijana Leganovič. A Portrait of A Jewish Shtetl in Oral Stories

Rimantas Sliužinskas. Memories of Lithuanian Informants about the Jews in Biržai surrounding

areas (1920-th–1940-th): Modern view

Natalia Petrova. “Old” and New Ethnic Neighbors (from Stories of Pre-war Biržai Told

by Locals and the Lithuanians Memories of Deportation)

Rimantas Sliužinskas, Sada Sliužinskienė. Biržai Area Locals Remember Jewish Education

Svetlana Amosova. ...Then should Know that Taking Blood and Rides: Stories about the Blood Libel in Biržai

Ilya Magin. Old Believers as Jews: Particular Food Prohibitions among Northern-Lithuanian

Old Believers

Memory about the Holocaust

Maria Vyatchina. The Holocaust in the Memories of Biržai Locals

Boris Rashkovsky. List of Victims of the Holocaust in Biržai Testimonies of Mass Executions of Jews (from the collection of the Biržai Local History Museum) (published by Svetlana Amosova)

Jewish Cemetery of Biržai

Mikhail Vasilyev. ld Jewish Cemetery of Biržai

Methodical Explication to the Table and the Cemetery Map

Map of Cemetery

Table of Key Data

Typology of Gravestone shapes

Index of Dates

Index of Names and Toponyms

Legend

Selected Sources and Bibliography

About the Authors

English Summary

Lithuanian Summary