Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto Today

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto

The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum (Valstybinis Vilniaus Gaono zydu muziejus) has curated a virtual exhibit entitled “The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto today” .

The Building of the Former Library of Vilnius Ghetto, Pemaitijos str. 4

The exhibit contains twenty-two color photographs of key streets in what was once the Vilna Ghetto. The photographs depict buildings which have survived the liquidation of the ghetto in 1944.

In addition to this exhibit, there is another online site which has many photographs of Vilna before and after World War II which is entitled “Chronicles of the Vilna Ghetto: Photo Gallery” . This site which calls itself the Kluvik Archives contains sub-albums which have a variety of images.

“Vilna Ghetto” – This sub-album has sections entitled Vilna Ghetto Prisoners; Lithuanian Hiwis; Ghetto Heroes and Criminals; o.-o.v.Tanklager Labor Camp; Klooga and Kivioli Camps in Estonia; HKP 562 Oshmana Molodetschno; Documents and Artifacts; Ponary-Paneriai-Ponar; Vilna After WWII; and Vilna Before WWII. One of the wonderful images is of a Jewish peddler during the pre-World War II period.
Jewish Peddler in Vilna (Pre-War)
(courtesy Kluvik Archives)

“Vilna Postcards” – This section has sub-albums for images of Bridges and Railroads and Stations. The image that follows was taken from a turn of the century post card.

Railroad Station Vilna Turn of the century
(courtesy of Kluvik Archives)

“Vilna Ghetto Streets . . . before and after” - The streets covered include Stikliu, Gaono, Antokolskio, Zydu, Zemaitijos, Siauliu, Asmenos Ligonines, Mesiniu, Dysnos and Rudninku.

(courtesy of Kluvik Archives)

This image is of a turn of the century post card which states in German “Der Krieg im Osten Wilna in der Judengasse”. The people thronging the street and the activity one can see belies what one would have seen after the War when the streets were emptied of a Jewish presence.

This site contains many other photographs of Lithuanian shtetls and places apart from Vilna including Alytus, Joniskis, Kaunas, Kedainiai, Kelme, Kybartai, Lazdijai, Marijampole, Raseiniai, Rietavas, Sakiai, Siauliai, Taurage, Vilkaviskis, Vosiliskis and Litauen Grenze.

The eighteen photographic images of Taurage are particularly memorable as much of what existed pre-War was eradicated during the first few days of the German occupation in 1941. Taurage today is mostly of post-War construction. The images provided are of Taurage burning.


Taurage, June 25, 1941
(courtesy of the Kuvik Archives)

Apart from the Lithuanian photographs, this site also has images from Latvia, Poland and other countries. In addition, there are many other online sites where researchers can find images of Vilna, both before the War and after, as well as other ancestral shtetls. One just has to keep looking online as so many things are made available every day.

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