Daily Israel Report

Vilna Synagogue Vandalized After Nazi Puppet Honored

The only still operating pre-Holocaust synagogue in Vilna was vandalized shortly after a former Nazi puppet was laid to rest in Lithuania.
By Gabe Kahn & Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/22/2012, 9:43 PM

Swastika
Swastika
Flash 90

Vandals on Sunday spray-painted the front of a synagogue in Vilna, Lithuania.

The incident came shortly after a ceremony in Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania, to bury the bones of Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis.

Brazaitis served as the head of Lithuania's Nazi-puppet "Provisional Government" of 1941. His bones were flown to Vilnius last Thursday, and were received with an official ceremony at the airport.

From there, they were transferred to Kaunas and on Sunday they were buried at a respectful ceremony attended by politicians, to the sound of the national anthem.

A member of the Jewish community connected the events saying, “Every time that the government and the big professors honor the memory of a local ‘hero’ who worked with the Nazis during the Holocaust, there’s a palpable rise in anti-Semitism.”

The synagogue, Taharat Hakodesh, was established in 1903 and is the only pre-Holocaust synagogue that remains in use. Before the Holocaust the city was home to more than 100 synagogues.