Jews first began to settle in the outskirts of Vilnius under the Grand Duke Vytautas’ reign during the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
In 1551, two Jewish merchants from Krakow, Szymon Doktorowicz and Israel Józefowicz, were granted a privilege by King Sigismund Augustus to settle and do business in Vilnius [1.1]. Subsequently, Jews were permitted to settle on Vilnius magnates’ estates. It was the Reformation in Vilnius. In 1563, religious freedom was legislated. [1.2]. Religious tolerance served the Jewish community well and in 1573, the first synagogue was built in the city. The street leading to the synagogue was named Żydowska (Jewish) [1.3]. In 1593, the privilege by King Sigismund III legalized Jewish settlement in Vilnius and allowed Jews to establish a cemetery, a mikveh and a kosher slaughterhouse. Moreover, Jews became subject to the Province Governor’s jurisdiction [1.4].
In the early seventeenth century, Vilnius suffered from natural disasters – specifically, a fire and epidemics[1.5]. In 1633, in order to improve the economic situation of the city, King Władysław IV granted Jews additional privileges. They were allowed to trade gold, silver, rugs, cotton and spices and engage in craft. Moreover, Jews acquired the King’s consent to build a brick synagogue (Great Synagogue). The only restriction was that it had to be constructed in a marked-off part of the city[1.6]. The quarter was established in the area bounded by Dominikańska, Wielka and Niemiecka Streets and named “the Black City” by Christians. Tax reductions provided to Jews led to resentful feelings among the burghers and in 1634 and 1635 the Jewish community fell victim to attacks. To compensate losses incurred by Jews, the king gave them a license to sell alcohol[1.7].
In 1655, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was invaded by Swedes and Moscovites. When they learned about the Cossacks and Russian attacks on Jews in Belarus and Ukraine, Jews in Vilnius left the city. About 3,000 people fled to Prussia[1.8]. After the Moscow troops had invaded Vilnius, Jews were banned from settling within the confines of the city walls. The Jewish quarter was destroyed.
In 1661, the Polish troops recaptured Vilnius. The returning Jews were provided unexpected support by the Jesuits who leased their properties to them[1.9]. However, among the pauperized population economic conflicts broke out between Jews and burghers. In the 1660s, Jews were excluded from the guilds of glaziers, fishermen and goldsmiths[1.10].
In 1676, representatives of the city complained in the Sejm that the number of Jews taking jobs away from Christians was growing because of their engagement in trade and craft[1.11]. Jews were also accused of ritual murders of Chrsitians. In 1678, at the St. Francis and St. Bernardine churches, a plaque commemorating Szymon Kierelis was affixed who was said to have fallen a victim of a ritual murder in 1597[1.12]. In 1687, students and craftsmen committed a pogrom against Jews. The damages were amounted to 120,000 zlotys.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Swedish and Russian troops once again plundered Vlinius while participating in the war fought mostly on the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Vilnius was occupied by foreign troops who imposed high contributions on inhabitants several times. Additionally, tensions between Christians and Jews in the field of economy had escalated. In 1712, Jews were banned from certain professions[1.13]. Nonetheless, the church had a positive attitude towards Jews. For example, in 1725 Bishop Karol Piotr Pancerzyński allowed Jews to open shops on Sundays[1.14].
Despite economic difficulties, the Jewish community in Vilnius was developing its culture. In the eighteenth century, the city became one of the major centers of Talmudic teaching. One of the most outstanding scholars was Rabbi Elijahu ben Shlomo dubbed the Gaon of Vilnius. He was a Talmud scholar, an advocate for religious rationalism, and scholar of secular sciences, and ardent opponent of Hassidism. Also the ideas of haskallah reached Vilnius. One of the Gaon’s disciples, Moses Meisel, was interested in the figure of Moses Menedelshon and the German literature[1.15].
During the Kosciuszko Insurrection, the Jews of Vilnius were loyal to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The kahal donated 25,000 guldens to the Uprising and Jewish tailors sewed almost 200 uniforms free of charge [1.16]. Moreover, Jews and Vilnius inhabitants defended the city against the Russian in the Ostra Brama (Sharp Gate) area [1.17]. Despite Polish and Jewish efforts, however, the Russians invaded Vilnius.
Initially, it seemed that the conditions of Jewish life under the Tsarist rule would improve. The kahal retained its status and Tsar Paul allowed Hebrew books to be printed and permitted Jews to participate in self-government elections. However, Jewish books, like Polish publications, became subject to censorship and the burghers began to question the electoral rights for Jews[1.18]. Under the reign of Tsar Alexander I, the attitude of the state towards the Jewish minority worsened. In 1823, the Russian authorities of Vilnius forbade Jews to live and engage in economic activities on the following streets: Wielka, Zamkowa, Ostrobramska, Świętojańska, Dominikańska and Trocka. Additionally, the Christians living at those streets were ordered not to rent rooms to Jews or even let Jewish traders into their homes[1.19].
Following the November Uprising, the Jewish community and their Polish and Lithuanian gentile counterparts were subjected to Russification. In 1844, the autonomy of the Kahal was limited and in 1847 a rabbinical seminar was organized and financed by the Russian government. Jewish intellectuals tried to counteract these pro-Russian tendencies. Methods of resistance included taking interest in the Polish literature and cherishing the Hebrew language. In the 1840s, Julian Klaczko translated several ballads by poet Adam Mickiewicz into Hebrew and published them in the Vilnius periodical Pirkhe zafon[1.20]. His mentor, Samuel Finn published the first book on the history of Jews in Vilnius and a weekly Hebrew language periodical, HaKarmel in 1860-1880[1.21].
After the January Uprising, Russification intensified. Additionally, Tsarist authorities were implementing the politics of divide et impera, and propagated anti-Semitism. The second half of the nineteenth century was a time of the demographic explosion; however, Tsar Alexander II’s decree forbade Jews from settling in villages, causing shtetl inhabitants to migrate to urban settings. Thus, the number of Jews in Vilnius had multiplied several times. Because they could not speak Polish, migrants were met with xenophobia. Moreover, the authorities incited anti-Jewish events. Alexander III ruled that Jews were required to assimilate into Russian society, emigrate, or die. Organized persecutions began in the Empire[1.22]. In 1881, bloody pogroms took place in Kiev and Odessa; in Vilnius the pogrom was perpetrated by the recruits[1.23].
In spite of difficulties, Jews in Vilnius continued their efforts to develop culturally and create systems of education. In 1885, Mattijahu Straszun donated his collection of approximately 6,000 to the Jewish community. The donation become a foundation of the Straszun Library, which opened in 1892; before the outbreak of World War II, the Straszun Library contained 35,000 books and 150 manuscripts[1.24].
During this period, Jewish political parties were developing in Vilnius. In 1897, the Bund was established as was Mizrahi in 1902. In 1903, the founder of the World Zionist Organisation, Teodor Herzl, visited Vilnius and igniting the Zionist Movement in Vilnius. In 1905-1911, the Central Office of the Zionist Organisation in Russia was operating in Vilnius [1.25].
After the outbreak of the war with Japan in 1904, the Russian authorities decided to appease the Western provinces and abandoned the politics of Russification. After the ban on printing in languages other than Russian was lifted, Lithuanian, Polish and Jewish daily newspapers began were published. The daily HaZman (eng.: Time) was published in Hebrew and Der Veker (eng.: Proponent) was published in Yiddish[1.26]. Academic institutions began to be established; in 1913, Szymon An-ski opened the Historical and Ethnographic Museum at the Gieorgievski Square (currently Kudirkos aikštė).
In 1915, German troops invaded Vilnius. Although German authorities declared German the official language, they allowed the use of Polish, Belorussian, Lithuanian and Yiddish in public domain. With the consent of Germans, Lithuanians established the Tariba (the National Council), which announced the Act of Independence of Lithuania on 16 February 1918. Antanas Smetona became the prime minister of Lithuania. However, in the middle of December 1918, a competitive, communist Lithuanian government was established. Under these conditions, the Jews of Vilnius were forced to make a political choice. In 1918, a local physician and Zionist activist, Jakub Wygodzki, became a minister of Jewish affairs in Smetona’s government. However, some Jewish laborers supported the communists. In January 1919, fighting broke out on Wronia Street between the communists and the Polish self-defense troops. The Poles took 70 hostages. Five communists were killed, including two Jews (J. Szimielewicz, J. As-Szapiro)[1.27]. In April 1919, the Polish troops under the command of Edward Rydz-Śmigły entered Vilnius. The soldiers accused Jews of supporting enemies of Poland and perpetrated a pogrom in the Jewish district, killing 80 people [1.28].
The pogrom had a negative impact on the Polish-Jewish relations in Vilnius. Hence, Jews along with Lithuanians and Byelorussians boycotted the 1922 election for the Vilnius Sejm. However, after Vilnius had been incorporated into Poland, the Jewish community actively engaged in the local politics and regularly introduced its representatives into the City Council.
Nearly 50,000 Jews inhabited interwar Vilnius, constituting almost one third of all residents. Over one hundred synagogues and houses of prayers were running in the city[1.29]. There was a network of primary and secondary schools with Yiddish as a teaching language. Also Hebrew was being taught. In 1925, the Jewish Scientific Institute (YIVO) was established (18 Wiwulski Street)[1.30]. Jews had their own sports clubs and a stadium on Krupnicza Street[1.31]. At 18 Pohulanka Street, there was a Jewish cultural center as well as the Union of Jewish Men of Letters and Journalists.|J. Lisek, Jung Wilne. Żydowska grupa artystyczna, Wrocław 2005, pp. 49–50.]].
The majority of Vilnius Jews were engaged in craft and petty commerce. They lived in a small community between Zawalna, Wielka and Trocka Streets. In 1923, Juliusz Kłos described the Jewish district in the following way:
Finally, a special place to visit is the Jewish district, the so-called Ghetto located between Wielka, Niemiecka and Dominikańska Streets. There are old, narrow and dark houses there dating back to the past centuries, linked with numerous passages into one, enormously complicated labyrinth. It is a maze of irregular narrow streets intersected in many places with arcades running over them. (...) Among numerous corners of the Jewish district, the most interesting is a small square at the intersection of Szklana, Jatkowa and Żydowska Streets as well as the Dominikański Corner; the square opens up a panorama of several small streets with arcades, and in its corner between Jatkowa and Żydowska Street, there is a house with incredibly bent surfaces of walls forming a kind of a ship’s bow sharply cutting into the square. Generally speaking, the houses in the Jewish district do not have any architectural values and do not represent any style; they mostly date back to the 18th century; they were rebuilt after the fires with utilitarian determination but it is that total simplicity and the design of the streets going back in time to the past ages which provides the entire district with a charm of antiquity and originality. Unfortunately, this impression is weakened by a typically eastern sloppiness of the inhabitants of this anti-hygienic district and its unbearable odor which makes it impossible to tour these corners by a cultural European, particularly on hot summer days[1.32].
There were frequently tensions in the Polish-Jewish relations. Entrance to the university was not limited for Jews but Polish right wing students demanded separation of Jews at the university, reducing their numbers and even their total exclusion. On 10 November 1931, a scuffle between Polish and Jewish students resulted in one fatality: Stanisław Wacławski died after being hit with a stone. In April 1932, Samuel Wolfin was accused of the involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison. Nevertheless, the university professors condemned these outbursts and discrimination against Jewish students. For instance, Dr. Henryk Dembiński denounced in the press the idea of creating the Bench Ghetto[1.33].
Despite the tensions, Poles and Jews often cooperated with one another. For example, in the 1930s, Jewish writers from the Jung Wilne Group were invited for the meetings of the Union of Polish Writers. Years later, Czesław Miłosz recalled meeting Chaim Grade at one such meeting[1.34].
When in April 1931, a young craftsman, Mieczysław Dordzik had drowned in the Wilejka River rescuing a Jewish boy, Chakiel Charmac, both the Bishop of Vilnius and the members of the City Board and the representatives of the Jewish Religious Community were present at his funeral[1.35]. Three years later, the ceremonial unveiling of the monument commemorating Dordzik’s act was attended by a Jewish delegation headed by Dr Jakub Wygodzki, a city counselor. The Jewish press, on the other hand, expressed hope that Dordzik would become a symbol of heroism and dedication and will contribute to the Polish-Jewish reconciliation in Vilnius[1.36].
When Józef Piłsudski died in May 1935, the Board of the Jewish Community sent condolences to Warsaw and gave a mourning service was held in the Great Synagogue. In July, the Polish and Jewish members of the City Council made a unanimous decision to build Piłsudski’s monument in Vilnius and in May 1936, also unanimously, they decided to rename the Łukiski Square into Józef Piłsudski Square. Moreover, a Jewish delegation and students of Jewish schools took part in the funeral of the Marshal’s heart at the Rossa Cemetery[1.37].
The Jewish community also commemorated its own heroes publically in the city. A special plaque was placed on the house in which the Gaon lived. In 1920, the street where the Mattijahu Straszun Library was located was named after Straszun.
In October 1939, Vilnius was annexed by Lithuania. In order to win Jewish population, the new city authorities named three streets after Jewish writers. Those thus honored were the fathers of the Yiddish literature: Mendele Mojcher Sforim, Icchak Perec and Icchak Meyer (Dick)[1.38]. One of the Vilnius streets was also named after Dr Cemech Szabad, a well-known social activist[1.39].
In July 1940, Lithuania was incorporated into the Soviet Union as one of its “republics.” Communist tried to win over Vilnius Jews. They intended to name one of the streets after Abraham Goldfaden, a director and a playwright who wrote in Yiddish and Hebrew. In September 1940, at the former Stefan Batory University, a faculty of Yiddish was established and led by Noach Pryłucki, a philologist and editor of the daily “Der Moment”[1.40].
On 22 June 1941, the German Army invaded Lithuania and began to persecute Jews immediately. When in July 1941 the body of a German soldier was found at the intersection of Wielka and Szklana Streets, Jews were accused of his murder and 123 people were executed on the same day. On the following day, the ghetto was created between Szklana, Żydowska, Niemiecka and Antokolski Streets and about 12,000 people were detained. It functioned until October 1941. All residents of the Ghetto were murdered in Ponary, a village near Vilnius[1.41].
At the beginning of September 1941, “the big ghetto” was established. It was located between Karmelitańska, Niemiecka, Lidzka and Zawalna Streets. About 29,000 Jews were detained in the ghetto. There were two schools, a library, a hospital and a theatre in the big ghetto[1.42]. Life continued in the shadow of regular deportations to Ponary. It has been estimated that the Nazis murdered over 70,000 Jews from Vilnius and nearby villages in the Ponary forests. It was also a place of slaying of 20,000 Poles.
In the occupied territories, Germans carried out organized looting of cultural artifacts. Collections of Vilnius libraries, museums and archives were carried away to the Reich. In 1941, Jewish academics were ordered to make a catalogue of the most precious books from the Straszun’s library. After the catalogue was completed, the collections were dispatched to Frankfurt. Herman Kruk, Abraham Sutzkever and Shmerke Kaczerginski were appointed to put the YIVO collections in order. In the process, they managed to save a part of the collection carrying out books and documents in their pockets. Thus, thousands of materials were transported to the ghetto where they were hidden in a bunker[1.43].
During the occupation, Polish, Lithuanian and Jewish underground movements were established in Vilnius. The United Partisan Organisation (Faraynigte Partizaner Organizatsye, FPO) was operating in the ghetto. It was established in January 1942, and Izaak Wittenberg was appointed its commander. Initially, the organization was primarily engaged with propaganda, publishing bulletins, forging documents, sabotage and acquiring weapons which had been stolen or obtained by Jews from Lithuanians and members of the Polish underground movement. Subsequently, the conspirators tried to establish contact with the Warsaw and Białystok Ghettos in order to initiate the joint uprising. However, in spring 1943, Germans learned about the existence of a partisan organization in the ghetto and demanded that partisans denounce their leader under the threat of repressions against all Jews. Wittenberg voluntarily reported himself to the Gestapo. Abba Kowner became the next leader of the FPO.
On 1 September 1943, the Nazis began liquidation of the big ghetto. Jewish insurgents assembled a barricade on Straszun Street. After a short skirmish, the Germans retreated. Jews were promised if they left the ghetto voluntarily, they would not be exterminated but rather deported to labor centers. The ghetto was liquidated on 23 September 1943, and its residents were deported to labor camps in Latvia and Estonia as well as to the Majdanek death camp[1.44]. Herman Kruk described his transport to a camp in Estonia and his stay there in his diary The Last Days of Jerusalem of Lithuania: Chronicles from the Vilna Ghetto and Camps, 1939–1944, Yale 2002.]]. In this way, one of the oldest parts of the city was depopulated and devastated. The act of destruction was completed during military operations in summer 1944. Then, the Great Synagogue was burnt down[1.45].
After Vilnius was conquered by the Red Army, the NKVD arrested members and leaders of the Polish underground independence movement. The city became the capital of the Lithuanian Socialist Soviet Republic. In 1940-1946, its national structure was entirely changed. Due to the extermination of the Jewish population by Germans, military activities and subsequent displacements (almost 90,000 Poles were deported between September 1944 and February 1946) the city lost 90 percent of its population[1.46].
After the war, the Jewish community consisted of nearly 6,000 people. These people survived the German occupation by hiding in the city or were partisans returning from Puszcza Rudnicka. The Jewish religious community revived, and a school and an orphanage were established. Sutzkever and Kaczerginski discovered a part of document collections hidden in the basements of the ghetto and in a private apartment at 15 Gedomino (formerly, Mickiewicz Street) and established the Museum of Jewish Art and Culture. The communist authorities, however, did not support the initiative. In summer 1946, Sutzkever and Kaczerginski left Vilnius taking away many materials with them[1.47]. The Museum was closed.
In 1948-1950, the Jewish cemetery in the Śnipiszki District was devastated and significant tombstones were transferred to a new cemetery in the Szeszkinia District[1.48]. Additionally, in the 1950s, the remnants of the Great Synagogue were demolished and a school was erected in its place[1.49].
Memories of the Holocaust were removed from the social awareness. For many years, there had was not a single monument devoted to the Holocaust in Vilnius. Although in 1948, an obelisk was put up in Ponary, the management of the Lithuanian communist party ordered it to be demolished probably because of the inscription in Yiddish four years later, [1.50]. An inscription on a new monument read that the Nazis had murdered 100,000 Soviet citizens in Ponary.
At the beginning of the 1960s, the Vilnius press launched the anti-Semitic campaign. It was connected with combating economic crimes initiated by the authorities of the Lithuanian Socialist Soviet Republic at that time. In a show trial, several Jews accused of speculations were sentenced to death. The authorities hampered a development of Jewish culture and art. Teaching Yiddish and Hebrew was banned. The Soviet authorities allowed only an amateur theatre to be established only under the auspices of trade unions. The repertoire of the theatre included works by the classics of the Yiddish literature.
After Lithuania regained independence, Jewish religious and cultural life began to revive. The Szolem Alejchem School was founded and lessons were given on the history of Jews and the Hebrew language. The Jerusalem of Lithuania, a periodical, was published [1.51]. In 2002, the Yiddish Institute was established at the Vilnius University. Also activities were undertaken to commemorate the extermination of the Vilnius Jews. The Holocaust Museum was established at 12 Pamenkalnio Street. In March 1999, the Lithuanian Government adopted a resolution on the preservation of Jewish heritage in Lithuania, which initiated the renovation of tenement houses on Gaona, Stiklių and Antokolskio Streets.
- Agranovski, I. Guzenberg, Vilnius: 100 Memorable Sites of Jewish History and Culture, Vilnius 2008.
- E. Fishman, Embers Plucked From The Fire: The Rescue of Jewish Cultural Treasures in Vilna, New York 1996.
- Jakubčionis, Knezys Stasys, Sreikus Arūnas, Okupacija ir aneksija: pirmoji sovietinė okupacija (1940–1941). Occupation and annexation: the first soviet occupation (1940–1941), Vilnius 2006.
- A.Jankevičienė, Vilniaus Didžioji Sinagoga; The Great Synagogue of Vilnius, Vilnius 2008.
- Jerusalem of Lithuania, ed. L. Ran, New York 1974.
- Kłos, Wilno. PrzewodnikKrajoznawczy, Wilno1923.
- Kruk, The Last Days of Jerusalem of Lithuania: Chronicles from the VilnaGhetto and Camps, 1939–1944, Yale 2002.
- Lempertas, Mūsų Vilne. Our Vilne, Vilnius 2003.
- Lisek, Jung Wilne. Żydowskagrupaartystyczna, Wrocław 2005.
- Minczeles, Vilna, Wilno, Vilnius: la Jerusalem de Lithuanie, Paris 1993.
- Srebrakowski, Polacy w Litewskiej SRR, Toruń 2000.
- Twardowski, Byłonieminęło. Wspomnienia kompozytora, Warszawa 2000.
- Venclova, OpisaćWilno, Warszawa2005.
- Venclova, Vilnius. A Guide to Its Names and People, Vilnius 2009.
- Venclova, Wilno. Przewodnik, Vilnius2006.
- Vilna in: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007
- Wereszycki, Klaczko Julian, in: Polski Słownik Biograficzny, v. 12, Wrocław 1966–1967, pp. 531–536.
- Wilno in: Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich (The Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries) vol. XIII, ed., B. Chlebowski, Warszawa 1893, pp. 492–522.
- Wołkonowski, Stosunkipolsko-żydowskiew Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004.
- [1.1] Jerusalem of Lithuania, ed. L. Ran, New York 1974, p. 8.
- [1.2] Venclova T., Vilnius. Guidebook (translated by B. Piasecka, Vilnius 2006.
- [1.3] Vilna [w:], Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 528.
- [1.4] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, pp. 25–26.
- [1.5] Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, ed. B. Chlebowski, Warszawa, 1893, vol. XIII, pp. 512–513.
- [1.6] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 29.
- [1.7] Vilna [w:], Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, pp. 528-529.
- [1.8] Jerusalem of Lithuania, ed. L. Ran, New York 1974, p. 11.
- [1.9] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 44.
- [1.10] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 47.
- [1.11] Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, ed. B. Chlebowski, Warszawa, 1893, vol. XIII, p. 516.
- [1.12] The plaque contained inscription reading: “D.T.O.M.D. MEMORIA In genii pueri Simonis Kierelis natione Vilnen: Septimo aetatis Anno crudelissime a Judeis Vulneribus centum septuaginta accisi, In angulo huius Ecclesiae tumulati Anno a Christo nati 1597 ERECTA Ex Elcemosinis Benefactorum Ano Dmi. 1678”; see: E. Tyszkiewicz, O klasztorach Zgromadzeń istniejących w Diecezji Wileńskiej, Teka Wileńska, 1858, No 4, p. 131. Quote: J. Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, p. 20, ref. 8.
- [1.13] Vilna in: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 529.
- [1.14] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 63.
- [1.15] Vilna in: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 530.
- [1.16] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 87.
- [1.17] Vilna in: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 529.
- [1.18] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 258.
- [1.19] Jerusalem of Lithuania, ed. L. Ran, New York 1974, p. 15.
- [1.20] Julian Klaczko (Jehuda Lejb, 1825–1906), a poet, essayist, literary critic. He was born in a traders’ family. He was a student of Samuel Finn. He translated Mickiewicz’s ballads when he was 17. During the Spring of Peoples, he was in Poznań where he met Juliusz Słowacki. In 1849, he left for Paris. In 1856, he converted to Catholicism. By 1857, he had edited “Wiadomości Polskie” (Polish News), a magazine of the Hotel Lambert. In 1858, he delivered a series of lectures on Mickiewicz. In the 1860s, he became a famous political commentator. In 1888, he settled in Krakow. See: H. Wereszycki, Klaczko Julian in: Polski Słownik Biograficzny, v. 12, Wrocław 1966–1967, pp. 531–536.
- [1.21] Samuel Finn (1818–1890), a scholar and a writer; he was a lecturer at the Rabbinical School and in 1860 published the history of Jews in Vilnius titled Kiryah Neemanah. See: T. Venclova, Vilnius. A Guide to Its Names and People, Vilnius 2009, p. 157.
- [1.22] I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 293.
- [1.23] Vilna [w:], Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 531.
- [1.24] Mattijahu Straszun (1817–1885), a member of the Vilnius City Council, polyglot and bibliophile. See: T. Venclova, Vilnius. A Guide to Its Names and People, Vilnius 2009, pp. 181-182.
- [1.25] Vilna in: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 531.
- [1.26] Wołkonowski J., Wołkonowski J., Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, p. 29.
- [1.27] J. Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, p. 44; The photographs of the five killed men and the photograph of the funeral of the Jewish workers were published in the album: Jerusalem of Lithuania, ed. L. Ran, New York 1974, p. 26.
- [1.28] Vilna in: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 531; J. Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, passim.
- [1.29] I. Lempertas, Mūsų Vilne. Our Vilne, Vilnius 2003, p. 13.
- [1.30] More on Jewish culture in Vilnius: I. Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, pp. 412–413; H. Minczeles, Vilna, Wilno, Vilnius: la Jerusalem de Lithuanie, Paris 1993, pp. 323–325; J. Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, pp. 182–183.
- [1.31] Jerusalem of Lithuania, red. L. Ran, New York 1974, passim.
- [1.32] J. Kłos, Wilno. Przewodnik Krajoznawczy, Wilno 1923, pp. 217–218.
- [1.33] Jerusalem of Lithuania, ed. L. Ran, New York 1974, p. 43.
- [1.34] J. Lisek, Jung Wilne. Żydowska grupa artystyczna, Wrocław 2005.
- [1.35] The event was reported by “Słowo” and “Kurier Wileński” newspapers. There were several versions of the event. For instance, “Słowo” reported that Dordzik rushed in to help a small Jewish girl and they both had drowned. See: J. Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, p. 198, ref. 78.
- [1.36] J. Wygodzki, Pamięci Mieczysława Dordzika, „Di Tsayt” z 25.04.1934; J. Wołkonowski J., Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, p. 200, ref. 83.
- [1.37] J. Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, Białystok 2004, pp. 257, 263, 271–272.
- [1.38] I Cohen, Vilna, Philadelphia 1992, p. 474; H. Minczeles, Vilna, Wilno, Vilnius: la Jerusalem de Lithuanie, Paris 1993, p. 377.
- [1.39] Cemach Szabad (1864–1935), a physician and a social and political activist. He founded a health society Oze, was an activist of the central organization of Jewish schools and together with Szymon Dubnow initiated the foundation of YIVO. In the years 1919-1927, he was a member of the Vilnius City Council and since 1928, a senator of the Republic of Poland. See: T. Venclova, Vilnius. A Guide to Its Names and People, Vilnius 2009, p. 270.
- [1.40] W. Zajewski, W kręgu dziejów i zagłady Żydów wileńskich, „Zapiski Historyczne” 1995, v. 4, p. 119. However, the Soviets began the struggle against religion. The NKVD arrested not only Catholic priests but also rabbis[[refr:|More on this topic: A. Jakubčionis, Knezys Stasys, Sreikus Arūnas, Okupacija ir aneksija: pirmoji sovietinė okupacija (1940–1941). Occupation and annexation: the first soviet occupation (1940–1941), Vilnius 2006, pp. 554–562.
- [1.41] The consequences of killing a German soldier were described in a diary by Herman Kruk. He writes that the pogrom included Jews from Jatkowa and Szklana Streets. See: H. Kruk, The Last Days of Jerusalem of Lithuania: Chronicles from the Vilna Ghetto and Camps, 1939–1944, Yale 2002, pp. 81–83.
- [1.42] G. Agranovski, I. Guzenberg, Vilnius: 100 Memorable Sites of Jewish History and Culture, Vilnius 2008, pp. 40–42.
- [1.43] Kruk and Sutzkever’s activities were made possible by the fact that Germans surrounded the YIVO building with Polish guards who turned a blind eye to smuggling. In return for this, Jewish scholars secretly provided the Polish underground movement with the most important documents from the collections of the Polish libraries and the Society of the Friends of Science (since the collections of these institutions were placed by Germans in the YIVO building). See: D. E. Fishman, Embers Plucked From The Fire: The Rescue of Jewish Cultural Treasures in Vilna, New York 1996.
- [1.44] T. Venclova, Wilno. Przewodnik Krajoznawczy, Wilno 2006, pp. 154–156.
- [1.45] This event was described by Romuald Twardowski in his memoirs: Było nie minęło. Studium statystyczne, Warszawa 2000, page 25.
- [1.46] A. Srebrakowski A., Polacy w Litewskiej SRR, Toruń 2000, p. 98.
- [1.47] Vilna in: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, red. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 533; D. E. Fishman, Embers Plucked From The Fire: The Rescue of Jewish Cultural Treasures in Vilna, New York 1996.
- [1.48] G. Agranovski, I. Guzenberg, Vilnius: 100 Memorable Sites of Jewish History and Culture, Vilnius 2008, p. 48.
- [1.49] A. Jankevičienė, Vilniaus Didžioji Sinagoga; The Great Synagogue of Vilnius, Vilnius 2008, pp. 26–28.
- [1.50] T. Venclova, Wilno. Przewodnik, Vilnius 2006, s. 199; T. Venclova, Opisać Wilno, Warszawa 2005, p. 170. The photograph of that monument is published in the album: Jerusalem of Lithuania, ed. L. Ran, New York 1974, p. 533.
- [1.51] Vilna [w:], Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 20, ed. F. Skolnik, Detroit – New York – San Francisco – New Haven – Waterville – London 2007, p. 533.