Vilnius University Commemorates the Victims of Totalitarian Regimes

VU atminties diplomai nNumerous honoured guests were welcomed for the official Remembrance ceremony in the Aula Parva of Vilnius University (VU). The ceremony is a part of VU project “Recovering Memory”, which aims to commemorate and pay respect to members of Vilnius University community, both staff and students, who were expelled from the university, losing ability to continue their academic careers or studies, because of the actions of the totalitarian regimes and their local collaborators.

This year, 15 former Vilnius University students and employees were awarded with a Remembrance Diploma: Valentinas Ardžiūnas, Janina Baranowska / Baranauskaitė, Janina Borkowska / Borkovskaitė, Marija Biekšaitė, Vulfas Čarnockis, Algirdas Endriukaitis, Leonardas Gogelis, Samuelis Levinsonas, Dovydas Svirskis, prof. Antanas Žvironas, Jokūbas Žirnauskas, Ester Klabinaitė, Judita Ščerbakovaitė, Ošeras Valdšteinas, and Izaokas Sadovas.

Children, spouses, brothers and sisters, and other relatives of the former VU students and academics were present at the ceremony and received the diplomas on their behalf. One of the former students, Signatory of Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania Algirdas Enriukaitis, was the only one to accept his diploma personally

Ambassadors of Poland and Israel to Lithuania also participated in the ceremony and expressed their gratitude to Vilnius University for this initiative, which brings not only Lithuanian, but also Polish and Jewish students of VU back to the community.

“In 2018, the year of the centenary of Independent Lithuania, we can only hypothesize as to how many of these young people, who were expelled from Vilnius University, could have matured into new talent, engineers of innovations, or society leaders. To what extent and in what way would the professors dismissed from work at Vilnius University have contributed to the progress of the state, society, and research?”, VU rector prof. Artūras Žukauskas said.

Chairwoman of the Remembrance Diploma Commission, historian Dr Jurgita Verbickienė called the project “Recovering Memory” a responsible aspiration to know and recognise one’s unpolished history as well as a firm foundation for building an open community.

“It is a powerful impetus to learn more about and assess the history of the best-known university in Lithuania, to fill in or even re-write some of its pages. It is also an opportunity for the current community of Vilnius University to look back at the past that upset numerous destinies”, Dr J. Verbickienė said.

At the beginning of May, VU rector will be visiting Israel. While there, the Remembrance Diplomas of Judita Ščerbakovaitė, Ošeras Valdšteinas, and Izaokas Sadovas will be presented to their children. Ester Klabinaitė, a former VU student, will be one of the few people to accept her Remembrance Diploma personally. The ceremony will take place in Tel Aviv, in the Lithuanian embassy in Israel.

If you know someone, either a student or a staff member of Vilnius University, who was expelled from VU because of the actions of the totalitarian regimes and their local collaborators, please fill in the questionnaire, which can be found on Vilnius University webpage and send it to

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