Jewish cemetery location in Vilnius put under state protection
Lithuanian Culture Minister Šarūnas Birutis has declared the location in the Šnipiškės area of Vilnius, where a Jewish cemetery used to be, a place protected by the state "for public knowledge and use as well as public respect."
According to the Culture Department, the move is not merely a symbolic act underlining the importance of the location but it will also ensure additional protection and provide opportunities to commemorate the place.
"As a location of public respect, a cemetery can be designated with memorial erections and the demolition of or damage to such erections is prohibited even if they are not object of heritage," the department said in a statement sent to BNS. It also said special permits by institutions in charge of the protection of cultural heritage would be needed for any division of land in the area or changing its boundaries.
In 2008, the Lithuanian government invited Jewish representatives to carry out research in Lithuania. Following international research and cartographic disputes, the boundaries of the former cemeteries were confirmed by the government in 2009. Jewish representatives accepted the boundaries and did not object to the decision not to move an apartment building and the Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports, an arena, standing on a disputed piece of land.