On 20 June, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library was visited by a delegation from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Every year, the delegation takes part in an international tour programme, officially known as the Lithuania & Poland Study Tour: exclusively for YIVO. Heading this initiative is Trinity College (USA) professor and good friend of the Judaica Research Centre, Samuel Kassow, who read a presentation on TheUniqueness of Jewish Vilnius during the opening of the centre in 2017.
Sandra Leknickienė, Deputy to the General Director of the National Library for the Development of Information Resources and Services, showed the guests around the library and introduced them to its mission and innovative spaces.
Director of YIVO, Jonathan Brent, told members of the delegation the story of how Jewish documents were saved through the war and the post-war period, mentioning the director of the Chamber of Books, Antanas Ulpis, who disobeyed the Soviet regime and hid the Judaica collection in the Church of St. George. The National Library’s guest also introduced members of the meeting to the Edward Blank YIVO Vilnius Collection. The project will see the digitisation of various Jewish documents and books. In the future, this database of digitised documents will be used to create one of the largest global resources that will be freely accessible online.
The project manager of YIVO Vilna and Head of the National Library’s Department of Information Science, Nijolė Bliūdžiuvienė, gave a presentation of the digitisation process, during which books published in Yiddish and the collection of the famous bibliophile Matas Strašunas are transferred to a digital medium.
Project Coordinator of the Judaica Research Centre, Kristina Dūdaitė, introduced the assembled guests to the centre’s activity, mission and research. Guests were also given the opportunity to visit the newly opened YIVO space of the National Library.