Vilnius was the capital of Yiddish culture. Vilna (name of the city in Jewish tradition) had more than a hundred synagogues and prayer houses. Many famous Judaism scholars and rabbis, activists, writers, journalists and businessmens lived and worked there over the years. Between the wars, city truly became known as the Jerusalem of the North.
The outbreak of World War II ended the expansion of Yiddish culture prosperities. Most Vilnius Jews were found dead in ten pits and two trenches in Paneriai woods. Cultural heritage in the form of synagoges and cementeries were completely destroyed. During the Holocaust around 200,000 of Lithuania’s Jews were murdered (95%). Over the WWII and the Soviet period, 700 years of Jewish existence in Lithuania was irrevocably damaged.
Today, Lithuania’s small Jewish community makes efforts to maintain its extraordinary heritage connected to the Jewish history.