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7th Litvak days delved into the Litvak impact on the Arts
November 30, 2017. The 7th Litvak days in London invited to delve into the remarkable contribution made by the Lithuanian Jewry to the world of arts. A two-day annual event dedicated to celebrate the legacy and culture of Litvak Jews promised and delivered a rich programme for those eager to learn about talented Litvaks and their lasting influence on diverse fields of creative endeavour.
The 7th Litvak days’ events kicked off on November 29 with a concert by the renowned Yidish singer of Litvak origin Michael Alpert at University College London. Michael Alpert performed Klezmer music pieces, easily identifiable by their expressive and catchy melodies.
The Litvak days continued into the following day with an academic conference exploring the Litvak contribution made to diverse fields of the arts, including painting and sculpture, as well as music, theatre, photography, prose and poetry. Its distinguished panel of academics from the UK, the US and Lithuania presented the visitors with an opportunity to get the full grasp of the impact the Litvak Jewry have made on the arts throughout the world.
“Lithuania and Litvaks are united by a shared history. Some pages of this history – the Shoah – are extremely painful. Today we must revive what is still capable of revival and we must remember what is not. I believe that the traditional Litvak days in London can play a role of the bridge from the past to the future”, the Vice-Minister of Lithuania Darius Skusevicius said.
“There is a sizable number of people of Lithuanian Jewish descent in the UK. The Litvak days in London aim to bring these people and the UK’s Lithuanian community together to celebrate the rich and diverse Litvak heritage. It also creates a space for cultural dialogue between these two communities”, the Lithuanian Ambassador Renatas Norkus noted in his address.
The Chair of the Lithuanian Jewish Community Faina Kukliansky extended her congratulations on behalf of her organization.
The second day conference included further keynote speakers from Lithuania. Arūnas Gelūnas, member of the Lithuanian Parliament, delivered a presentation on the architectural legacy of Litvaks in Kaunas, Vilma Gradinskaitė, Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, presented on the contribution of Litvak artists to interwar Lithuanian art modernity.
The conference panel also included a number of leading researchers in Jewish studies. Antony Polonsky, professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University, and Michael Berkowitz, professor of Modern Jewish History at UCL chaired the morning and afternoon sessions. The conference panellists included professor Gail Levin, the City University of New York, Dr Vivi Lachs, University of London and professor Claire Le Foll, Parkes Institute, the University of Southampton.
The Litvak days’ in London events have been held since 2011. They serve as a platform to link the UK’s British, Jewish and Lithuanian communities.
The 7th Litvak days were organized in close partnership with the University of Southampton and the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies