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Communication from the
U.S. to Lithuania

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[ Map of Lithuania ]

Dear Matt and Kris,

I am Danute Serapiniene, a teacher from Plunge Saules High School, in Lithuania. I am the leader of the students' group studying the Holocaust, and I am greatly interested in this issue. Jakov Bunka is the only Jew left in our town who is greatly concerned about the immortalization of Jewish history. During World War II, the Nazis and their collaborators killed over 2,000 Jews in Plunge.

The aim of our work is to foster tolerance and respect for other nations, in order to avoid such tragedies in the future.

In our classes, we often refer to and watch videos. Soon we will discuss Schindler's List. Pupils must know the tragic history of the Jewish people that is an inseparable part of Lithuania's history as well. For many years, people in our country tried to avoid speaking about the Holocaust. Through this study, I teach children to look upon a human being as a gift from God whom everyone must respect and protect. We have meetings with the Vilnius Jewish school and collect articles and books on the Holocaust.

Could you please describe your project in more detail? I hope for mutually helpful cooperation. Thank you, in advance, for your answer.

- Danute Serapiniene

(Lina Vaitkute and Indre Lukauskaite sent this letter. Their teacher is Irena Latakiene.)

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your letter. It's nice our relations didn't break off and cooperation goes on. In this letter, we would like to tell you about our participation in the Holocaust/Genocide Project.

Our aim is to support democracy; it means "to remember (to recognize) in order that it would not repeat."

The structure of our work group is as follows:

  1. The group of collecting and processing historic material. Leader: Danute Nanartaviciene, teacher of history.
Students (17 Years Old)

  1. The group of communication and translating into English. Leaders: Natalija Kociene, teacher of information; Lina Ivanauskiene, Salomeja Majauskiene, and Gitana Miciuliene, teachers of English.
Students (17 Years Old)

Students (18 Years Old)

We would like you to tell us more about the project (its aims and participants this year) and so on. Also, we would like to know your group more closely. Can we hope to have a photo? We'll send you photos later and the memoirs you requested.

Write us, please, if you need news only about the life of Jewish people of Ziezmariai, or about all Lithuanian Jews. We have some material from the Jewish museum in Vilinius and can share it with you.

We wish you good luck and wait for your letter.

- Danute

Dear Danute,

Hello. I am Matt London of Cold Spring Harbor High School in New York. Thank you for answering my questions.

[ Jakovas Bunka ]
Jakovas Bunka, Lithuanian Sculptor

If you want me to do anything for you, please just ask. I am very interested in the story of Jakovas Bunka. I would like to be able to interview Jakovas, because the stories of Holocaust witnesses are very important. Do you think that you could ask Jakovas to send me a message, if he is able to use a computer with access to the Internet? If not, here are a few questions that I would be very thankful if Jakovas could answer them.

Maybe you, or your students, could interview Jakovas and relay his answers to me.

  1. At what time period did he live?
  2. Was he directly affected by the Holocaust?
  3. Did he ever encounter Nazis or German soldiers?
  4. Was he ever put in a concentration camp? If so, what were his experiences?

[ Sculpture by Jakovas Bunka ]
Sculpture by Jakovas Bunka

If Jakovas would also like to send pictures of his art work or pictures of himself, that would be great.

- Matt London

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