Once Vilnus was even called Lithuanian Jerusalem.
The central event of these days is international festival of Jewish music and art, which will be carried out in Russian Drama Theatre. In a movie theatre, film in Yiddish will be shown shot in 1930s. Earlier, Lithuanian capital was one of the main European centres of Jewish culture. Vilnus was even called Lithuanian Jerusalem.
In 1938, in Vilnus 6 daily newspapers in Hebrew were issued. Young people from whole Europe wanted to come to Vulnus to study at Vulnus Jewish seminaries. Though, this was not only a religious centre. Here, culture of European Jews was formed.
Vulnus was the centre of Haskala. Local seminaries prepared teachers of Hebrew and Yiddish for religious and secular schools. Numerous press-houses yearly issued hundreds of books. The well known Bund (Jewish Working Union) was organized in Vilnus in 1897. In 1916, in Vilnus, the first theatre was founded, where actors plied in Yiddish, Vilner Trupe, later a Jewish drama school was founded.
In 1928, in Vilnus, Yiddischer Wiss’nschaftlicher Institut (Yiddish Science Institute) was founded. In the early 1930s, in Vilnus, a group of young writers and poets writing in Yiddish appeared – Jung Vilne.
The Holokaust tragedy took 95 percent of the Lithuanian Jews lives. 200,000 Jews were annihilated. By 1944, in Vilnus, only 600 Jews remained.
Today, Jewish community (about 5,000 people) tries to preserve what has remained from that Jewish culture.
Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/culture/2002/08/14/45636.html