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‘SOUNDS OF SILENCE’ LAUNCHED AT VILNIUS TOWN HALL
Professor Dovid Katz, the VYI’s director of research, delivered the keynote address at Vilnius Old Town Hall (the Rotuse) at the May 12th book launch for Sounds of Silence: Traces of Jewish Life in Lithuania. The brief lecture focused on the novel purposes of the project and the legacy of the destroyed civilization of Jewish Lithuania. To illustrate the mohicanesque status of the last prewar Litvaks, Professor Katz introduced to the audience his friend Berl Glazer, an 84 year old survivor from Namoksht (Nemaksciai) who has remained traditionally observant all his life.
Other speakers included British ambassador H.E. Simon Butt, Professor Irena Veisaite, Pranas Morkus, and the book’s publisher, Raimondas Paknys, who had also produced nearly all the art photographs in the illustrated folio volume. Closing thoughts were delivered by Isaac Zibuts who conceived the project and designed the volume, and who flew in from New York for the event. The book is published in parallel English and Lithuanian editions. The Lithuanian version is Tylos gausmas. Zydu gyvenimo pedsakai Lietuvoje.
The folio volumes feature artistic images of forsaken graveyards, abandoned synagogue structures, uncovered Yiddish signs and other scant remnants. Professor Katz contributed the preface, entitled “The Sounds of Silence of Jewish Lithuania” as well as the title of the book and the Yiddish place names (in Yiddish and in Latin-letter transcription) for the hundreds of Lithuanian shtetlakh (shtetls) cited in the text or depicted in photographs. Professor Katz’s preface was translated into Lithuanian by acclaimed Lithuanian author Prof. Tomas Venclova of Yale University for the Lithuanian edition.
The evening at Vilnius Old Town Hall was graced by a musical performance by an ensemble including Stein Skjervold of Norway, and Mindaugas Backus and Rokas Zubovas of Vilnius. They performed works composed by Lori Laitman inspired by the poetry of Vilna Yiddish poet Abraham Sutzkever.The full text of the introduction is available online on Dovid Katz’s website, in English, and in Tomas Venclova’s Lithuanian translation. The volume will soon be on view at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.
|2005 VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE. Solution: Neosymmetria|