Josef Levinson (born in Charkov, in 1917) retired as the former head of the Department of Industry and Transport and began a new career at 75. His new career was to insure that the sites where Jews were murdered in Lithuania were marked with monuments honoring the memory of all who perished in the Shoah.

Mr. Levinson said that scant attention had been paid during the past 50 years to erecting and maintaining these monuments. Now there are close to 192 places that have been documented as places of mass murder in Lithuania. The costs of this work is supported by both national and local governments.

After the war, the Soviets erected some monuments, but there was no mention of the people murdered being Jews - only that they were Soviet citizens. The monuments erected today identify those who were murdered as Jews, but do not mention that many of their murderers were Lithuanians.

In 1989, Lithuania's President Gediminas Vagnorius said that Lithuania would feel the guilt of this tragedy for a long time. Levinson himself does not fully agree with critics who feel that Lithuania has yet to acknowledge the active role that Lithuanians took in the mass murders of the people he now spends his time memorializing.

"Every person has a hope, and without hope, we cannot live," Levinson said.

(Jede mensch lebt mit hoffnung; ohne hoffnung konnen wir nicht leben).

Photos © 1998 Laurence Salzmann

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