Lithuania: Cemetery dispute settled

JTA reported that the Vilnius Jewish cemetery dispute has been settled.

Read the article here.

A long-running dispute over construction on the site of a historic Jewish cemetery in Lithuania was settled on August 26. It will provide protection to the Snipiskes cemetery in the center of Vilnius. The cemetery was in active use from the 16th-19th centuries.

Most of the site was destroyed during the Nazi occupation, and a sports center was built over part of it during the Soviet era.

In 2005, an apartment and office complex construction on the site set off worldwide Jewish protests. The Lithuanian government permission for the construction was condemned in a motion by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Buildings on the site will however not be demolished. The agreement set official boundaries for the cemetery site.

Signing off on the plan were The Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Vilnius Cultural Heritage Protection Department, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

The Jewish community rejected a compensation plan offered by Lithuania for Nazi-seized Jewish communal buildings which were held by the Soviets and never returned. Lithuania offered $53 million over 10 years beginning in 2012, but the community said the amount is only one-third of the buildings’ value.

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