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“Names Emerge from the Past” Conference Remembers Jewish Community of Telsiai


The conference "Names Emerge from the Past" was held on 12 October 2011 at the Zemaite Theatre in Telsiai, Lithuania.

The conference was attended by more than 300 Telsiai students and 30 teachers and was organized by Telsiai V. Borisevicius Gymnasium Tolerance Educational Centre, Zemaite Theatre in Telsiai, and the Secretariat of the International Commission.  The main aim of the conference was to remember the residents of the Telsiai ghetto, which was liquidated 70 years ago.

The information about Telsiai's Jewish community and its tragic fate in 1941 was given by Telsiai teachers, two students, a specialist from the museum, and the local priest.  A report about Jewish community life in ghetto was presented by Ingrida Vilkiene, the coordinator of educational programs at the International Commission and an ITF delegate. Nijole Bernotaviciene, TEC coordinator at Vilnius Virsuliskes secondary school, also introduced the project "The Ghetto is in my Town," which was implemented by her students.

Lecturers led a frank discussion about the facts and history of the Telsiai ghetto, and some participants were able to give personal accounts of their family history.  Jadvyga Stulpinaite-Blaziene told the story of her father, Boleslovas Stulpinas, who hid 26 Jews underground in a bunker he dug in his courtyard for three and a half years.  As the final capstone of the conference, Telsiai Drama Theatre performed "The Interview," which touches on the theme of the Holocaust.

According to the priest Andriejus Sabaliauskas, who participated in the conference, "We must analyze the events which happened in 1941 in Lithuania, discuss about them and talk about them continually.  Our talking is not sufficient enough."