Monument to Zwartendijk to restore historic memory, organizers say
A monument to a Dutch Jew savor in Lithuania's second-largest city of Kaunas, to be built after four years of preparations, will restore the historic memory in Kaunas, the Lithuanian and Dutch partners behind the project say.
"This day is really special. Kaunas is a museum under the open sky with many historic layers and signs, reflecting one or another period. I think Kaunas has showed may times that it's a strong city with a strong contents and that it's capable of showing that contents to others", Kaunas Vice Mayor Simonas Kairys said during a presentation of the planned monument.
The monument to interwar Dutch Honorary Consul in Kaunas Jan Zwartendijk has been initiated by the Dutch Embassy. The monument will be erected in central Kaunas near a building where Dutch company Philips Electric was based during the interwar and where Zwartendijk worked.
The project will cost 150,000 euros, with the lion's share coming from the Dutch government. The project will be also co-funded by the Lithuanian Good Will Foundation, Philips and the Kazickas family's foundation.
The installation by Dutch light artist Giny Vos in a shape of a spiraled wheel of light will represent the "Curacao visas" Zwartendijk issued. They allowed the Japanese consul in Kaunas, Chiune Sugihara, to issue Japan's transit visas that saved the lives of several thousand Jews.
Dutch Ambassador to Lithuania Bert van der Lingen hopes the monument, to be unveiled in June, will also attract more Dutch tourists to Lithuania.