The long-awaited event of the opening of the Public Jewish Library in Vilnius, Lithuania brought a lot of warmth amidst the winter cold weather to the many people gathered in the capital of Lithuania to celebrate the opening of this institution, the first of the kind after the Second World War.

The project materialised thanks to the attentive stand and policy of the Lithuanian government on the initiative and with the vast support of Lithuanian parliament members led in this initiative by Petras Austrevicius. It has been a unique story in which the private initiative of the American cultural personality Wyman Brent, who had been working hard and enthusiastically to make his dream true, was met with such understanding and support by the state of Lithuania.

The opening of the Library has become a very memorable event for the many people gathered there, and the music played an unparalleled role in that event. Famous Lithuanian composer Anatolis Senderovas created for the extraordinary event a similarly extraordinary piece of music based on an old Yiddish-song’s score which had been found in the archives while the work for the library opening was in progress. As far as it is known, this is the only existing copy of the score which has survived by a miracle – given the tragic destiny of the 160,000 Jews of Vilnius, 95% of whom were exterminated by the Nazis and their collaborators in the first phase of the Holocaust.

Prominent Lithuanin musicians performing the beautiful and dramatic music by maestro Senderovas at the opening of the Library. Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation
Anatolis Senderovas and Michael Rogatchi at the opening ceremony. Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Michael and Inna Rogatchi participating in the opening ceremony and donating their works to the Library:

In their joint opening remarks, co-founders of The Rogatchi Foundation said the following:

The inaugural ceremony of the opening of the Public Jewish Vilnius Library has become one of the most remarkable cultural and public events of the year for many of its attendees from all around the globe.

The Rogatchi Foundation will continue its support of this valuable initiative and will happily work in close cooperation with the Library in order to make it an internationally appreciated and significant institution.

The quote from VILNIUS NEWS information resource: 

This couple has played a major role in supporting and contributing to the library from their Helsinki location, Inna Rogatchi and Michael Rogatchi from The Rogatchi Foundation