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Museums | In Lithuania | Search by Region | Vilnius | The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum

Holocaust ExhibitThe Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum

Address: Naugarduko g. 10/2, LT-01141, Vilnius.
Tel. (+370 ~ 5) 231 23 57.
Fax (+370 ~ 5) 231 23 58.
E-mail: muziejus[at] 
Director – Markas Zingeris.

Information for Visitor

Opening hours:
Tolerance Centre:
Monday – Thursday 10–18; Friday, Sunday 10–16.
Holocaust Exhibit:
Monday – Thursday 9–17; Friday 9–16; Sunday 10–16.
Paneriai Memorial Museum:
Monday – Thursday 9–17; Sunday 9–17.

Holocaust ExhibitTolerance Centre, Holocaust Exhibit:
Monday free of charge.
adults – 5 Lt;
pupils, students, pensioners – 2 Lt;
child under 7, disabled – free.
Paneriai Memorial Museum:
free of charge.
History Exhibit / Gallery of the Righteous:
free of charge.

Guided tour:
lithuanian language – 20–50 Lt;
foreign language – 30–80 Lt.

Additional services:
ordering excursions to the Museum;
ordering excursions to Vilnius Old Town (throughout former Jewish Vilnius).

The three main parts of the collection include items from the pre-war Vilnius museum, items from the pre-war historic ethnographic Kaunas museum (both preserved by various Lithuanian museums), and items acquired by the contemporary museum since its inception.
The collection includes: ritual objects, and everyday items used or produced by Lithuanian Jews; Jewish documentation - books, letters, posters, cigarette packet pieces with hand written notes, some copies of Ghetto diaries, seals of various organizations, translations, periodicals, proclamations, archival material from the former the USSR; art works by prewar artists B. Michtom, S. Efron, M. Katz, L. Mergashilski, E. Lurje. Also contemporary pieces by A. Jacovskis, B. Bindler, M. Percov, H. Skliutauskaitė, M. Levitan-Babianskienė, and others.

Inventory and Conservation of Holdings Department
Holocaust Department
Public Relation, History and Publishing Department
Exhibitions Department
Righteous Gentiles Department

Branch Museums

Tolerance Centre
Address: Naugarduko g. 10/2, LT-01141, Vilnius.
Tel.: (+370 ~ 5) 262 96 66, (+370 ~ 5) 231 23 57.
Fax (+370 ~ 5) 231 23 58.
Tolerance CentreOpening hours: Monday – Thursday 10–18; Friday, Sunday 10–16.
Ticket prices: adults – 5 Lt; students, pensioners – 2 Lt; children under 7 and handicapped – enter free; holders of the Vilnius City card – enter free.
Cost of guided group tours:
Students in Lithuanian – 20 Lt;
Students in a foreign language – 30 Lt;
A group of up to 15 in Lithuanian – 40 Lt;
A group of up to 15 in a foreign language – 50 Lt;
A group of 16 to 30 in Lithuanian – 50 Lt;
A group of 16 to 30 in a foreign language – 80 Lt.
Access: the Museum is fitted for visitors with mobility impairments.
A permanent exhibit operates at the Tolerance Centre features the historical cultural and artistic heritage of the Litvaks. The displays include unique relics of the Great Synagogue of Vilnius and Jewish folk and professional art. The non-permanent exhibits, thematic events and projects are oriented toward themes including the cultural education of society, social dissemination of culture, unique cultural heritage and fundamental human rights.
Permanent exhibits at Tolerance Centre:
Signs of Ruined Litvaks World;
The Great Sinagogue of Vilnius;
The Throne of King Solomon;
The Lost World;
Return of Samuel Back;
Jewish Life in Lithuania.

Holocaust Exhibit
Address: Pamėnkalnio g. 12, LT-01114, Vilnius.
Tel. (+370 ~ 5) 262 07 30.
Fax (+370 ~ 5) 212 70 83.
E-mail: jewishmuseum[at]
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 9–17; Sunday 10–16.
Ticket prices: adults – 5 Lt; students, pensioners – 2 Lt; children under 7 and handicapped – enter free; holders of the Vilnius City card – enter free.
Cost of guided group tours: Students in Lithuanian – 20 Lt; Students in a foreign language – 30 Lt; A group of up to 15 in Lithuanian – 40 Lt; A group of up to 15 in a foreign language – 50 Lt; A group of 16 to 30 in Lithuanian – 50 Lt; A group of 16 to 30 in a foreign language – 80 Lt.
The wooden Green House houses an exhibition dedicated to the Holocaust in Lithuania. The exhibit features the genocide of Lithuanian Jews from 1941 to 1945. Items include authentic period documents, photographs letters and diaries. The word Holocaust is used interchangeably with Shoa and Catastrophe.

Litvak Culture and Art Centre (works in progress) 
Address: Pylimo g. 4, LT-01117, Vilnius.
Tel. (+370 ~ 5) 261 79 17.

Paneriai Memorial Museum
Address: Agrastų g. 15, Vilnius.
Tel. (+370 ~ 680) 81 278, +370 662 89 575.
E-mail: jewishmuseum[at], zigmas.knope[at]
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9–17.
Ticket prices: there is no cost to visit the Paneriai Memorial.
Paneriai Memorial MuseumThe Paneriai Memorial is a small house on the outskirts of Vilnius, 16 km from the city center. When they occuped Vilnius in June of 1941, the Nazis used this site for mass executions. Thousands of citizens, POWs, members of the resistance and innocents people dies in the pits of Paneriai. The majority of those murdered were Jews: Vilnius ghetto prisoners and residents of surrounding villages, men, women and children. Different studies and calculations have placed the number murdered at Paneriai between 1941 and 1944 at around 100,000 people, of whom 70,000 were Jews.

Museum of Jacques Lipchitz in Druskininkai
! The museum is temporarily closed !
Address: Šv. Jokubo g. 17, LT-66118, Druskininkai.
Tel.: (+370 ~ 5) 231 23 54, (+370 ~ 687) 98 212, (+370 ~ 313) 56 077.
Museum of Jacques Lipchitz (1897–1973) in Druskininkai was opened in 1996 and is devoted to the memory of the world-famous sculptor. Sections of the exposition: Phases of life and work of Jacques Lipchitz; Exhibition of copies of Jacques Lipchitz’ lithographs; Estera Lourier. Exhibitions of drawings.

History of the Museum
A Jewish museum has been established in Vilnius three times.
The first one opened in 1913. The greater part of its collection of Jewish folklore, art, music, published and unpublished materials, perished during the World War I.
On the eve of the World War II, the museum had accumulated more than 6 000 books, thousands of historical and ethnographic works and documents, publications, periodicals in 11 languages, and a rich folklore collection. There were ancient coins, including Jewish ones. There were 3 000 art works. The unique contents of this first Jewish museum were nearly all destroyed during the World War II.
The second museum was organized in 1944, after the Soviet liberation, by survivors of the Nazi occupation. This second museum had a very short life. The Soviet authorities, in their campaign against Cosmopolitanism and Zionism, closed the museum on 10 June 1949. Its collection was scattered amongst other Lithuanian museums and archives.
Forty years after the second one was closed down, the Soviet Lithuanian authorities permitted the opening of the third museum in Vilnius, from 1 October 1989 under the Ministry of Culture and Education.

The Great Gaon of Vilnius
The Great Vilna Gaon – Elijahu ben Solomon Zalman (1720–1797).
Monument to Gaon of VilniusThe Gaon was the greatest luminary not only among the many Talmudical scholars of the 17th and 18th centuries (and five centuries before that), but also for many generations to come.
His unsurpassed intellectuality and spirituality gave him an unchallenged supremacy as an exponent of the Torah and the Talmud, to the study of which he devoted his life. This made him spiritual head of the whole of the Lithuanian and Russian Jewry and later that of all the Jewish communities in Eastern and Central Europe. He introduced innovative methods of Talmud study and attempted to restore Jewish law to its original rational meaning with the help of critical commentaries. He applied these critical methods to research and improve the texts of both Talmuds - the Babylonian and the Jerusalem, and to all rabbinistic literature.
Much of his time he dedicated to the study of the Jewish law – the halakhah.
The Gaon was also a diligent student of history and geography, and particularly of mathematics, astronomy and anatomy. He insisted that it was necessary to study secular sciences, because the Torah and science were linked together.
The Gaon fought Hasidism as dangerous to traditional Judaism and also issued an excommunication to several Hasids. He fostered the creation of schools and yeshivot for the acquisition of Talmudic knowledge and was the forefather of the dissemination of secular knowledge among the Jews.
The Gaon embodied the results of his study, research and reflection in a great number of works (approximately 70) embracing a big variety of topics. They were published after his death.
He has been described as a "genius of the first order" and as "the last great theologian of classical Rabbinism". He became symbol of about 700 years Jewish presence in Lithuania.

Other news
The Museum participates in many unique aspects of Jewish life, and performs work not normally connected with museum activities.
The Museum staff have provided consultations, interviews, and information to local and foreign researches, and media journalists. Several films about the Museum have been produced by Lithuanian, English, German and Russian television. Staff research has resulted in numerous articles, reports, documentary collections and books.
The Museum is publishing books.
The Museum collaborates with many local institutions.
Righteous persons are honored in conjunction with the President's office.

© Lithuanian Art Museum, © Association of Lithuanian Museums. ISSN 1648-8857 Page updated 27.11.2015
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