On the eve of the Shoah the Jewish community of Vilna was the spiritual centre of Eastern European Jewry, the centre of enlightenment and Jewish political life, of Jewish creativity and the experience of daily Jewish life, a community bursting with cultural and religious life, movements and parties, educational institutions, libraries and theatres; a community of rabbis and gifted Talmudic scholars, intellectuals, poets, authors, artists, craftspeople and educators. In the Jewish world it was known as "The Jerusalem of Lithuania" – a spiritual centre of the first order.
On the 22nd of June 1941 the Germans invaded Soviet territory and entered Vilna on the 24th of June. Around 60,000 Jews lived in Vilna where they constituted 30% of the total population.
The community of Vilna which had flourished for hundreds of years was decimated during the Second World War.
This exhibition presents episodes from Vilna's history.
We would like to thank Dr. Yitzhak Arad for his assistance with this exhibition.