Monday, May 23, 2016

Not Forgotten

by: Paige Rimer

On the seventh day of our Lithuanian adventure, we began the day with breakfast before attending a Catholic Mass at the local village church.  The priest gave us a warm welcome as he asked Rabbi Abie to speak to the whole congregation and Ruta translated English to Lithuanian.  Afterward, the priest took a moment to speak with us and gave us all divine mercy medals to commemorate our visit.  I was actually stunned at the priest’s reaction to our attendance to our visit to the church.  Even though we did not speak the same language, I could feel his excitement about our trip and what we were doing on this visit to Lithuania.  It really surprised be how the people of the church were interested in our visit to Lithuania.

Later on, we headed out to a small village called Butrimonys.  There we visited a mass grave that was not far off the main road.  This is where the Jews of Butrimonys were murdered.  The trail leading to the grave was paved with uncut grass and mosquitos, but that discomfort pales in comparison to the walk that those took to their death.  As we walked down the trail, I really tried to put myself in their shoes, but in reality I could not imagine how those people really felt.  After we spent some time at the grave, Rabbi Abie pointed out how one of the pine trees had pinecones that were a bright blood red.  I feel that is nature’s way of explaining how that the blood that was shed there is not forgotten.

Our last stop on our day’s trek was to a Jewish cemetery to specifically view a grave to honor fifty Jewish girls that were murdered at that cemetery.  The story of these girls were essentially forced into a brothel for the officers that occupied the town; it made me think about how scary that situation would be.

The next day we finally got to see the Jewish cemetery in Stakliskes and begin our work there.  The cemetery was a lot larger than I expected it to be, but I was very excited to start working.  The day was very productive and I was very proud of how well everyone worked together to get as much accomplished as possible.  I can’t wait to see the progress that we make this week and how we can make an impact on this community.

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