New Judaica Publications in the holdings of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
The exhibition “New Judaica Publications in the holdings of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences” was on display in the Library from July 1 to September 9, 2020. It was mounted to honor the 300-th anniversary of the birth of the Vilna Gaon and to mark the Year of the History of Lithuanian Jews. It is now presented here in the virtual format.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community was of great importance in the development of the country’s economy and culture. The Litvaks and their descendants have left a deep imprint on science and culture and continue to play an important role worldwide. A significant number of prominent scientists, artists and writers, including Nobel Prize winners, are Litvaks. The Holocaust is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of 20th-century Lithuania, marked with unimaginable sufferings. Most of the Lithuanian Jewish Community was murdered, the rest scattered abroad, much of the priceless Litvak heritage was lost.
The holdings of the Wroblewski library contain a considerable number of Judaica materials. Concerning especially valuable documents, the Library keeps 204 units of manuscript documents (the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Collection F424). All of them have been digitized. The exhibition mostly displays publications related to the history of Lithuanian Jews. Special attention is accorded the Vilna Gaon (Elijah ben Solomon Zalman (1720-1797), the world-renowned scholar of Tora and Talmud, whose fame contributed a great deal to Vilnius’ being known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania. The exhibition showcases numerous publications on Vilnius, the city recognized as a great center of Jewish publishing. Vilnius used to be home to the Jewish public library founded by the bibliophile Matisyahu Strashun (1817-1885), the first such library in Lithuania. It was open in 1892-1940 and became one of the most prominent Jewish libraries in the world. One of the exhibits is a book unveiling the history of the Strashun’s library and its fate.
The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences is continually accumulating new relevant Judaica publications, taking special interest in those related to the history of Lithuanian Jews. The majority of publications have been acquired in the frame of the Library’s international book exchange program. Over 150 publications from the Library’s holdings published in Lithuania and other countries, most in 2000-2020, are set out at the exhibition. Some of these books cannot be found in other Lithuanian libraries, such as the four-volume Holocaust in Lithuania, 1941–1945: a book of remembrance, 2002; a two-volume treatise by Maria & Kazimierz Piechotka, Heaven’s gates: wooden synagogues in the territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, vol. 1B, 2015, Heaven’s gates: masonry synagogues in the territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, vol. 2B, 2017.
Publications at the exhibition were displayed by topic. A great variety of topics presented at the exhibition includes the history and culture of Lithuanian Jews, Judaism, the Kabbalah, synagogues, the Holocaust, Lithuanian ghettos, the Vilna Gaon. Other important topic groups concern Yizkor (memory) books, memoirs and diaries, the life of Jewish communities in Lithuanian towns, the history of Jews in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Jewish Vilnius. We hope that the publications displayed at this exhibition will help the readers to immerse themselves in the unique world of the Lithuanian Jews, and to learn more about their complicated and tragic history.
Vilnius the Jerusalem of Lithuania
Jewish life in towns of Lithuania
Jews in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
History of the Lithuanian Jews in the 19th-20th century
Memoirs and diaries
Ghettos in Lithuania
YIZKOR (memory) books