The following is a statement from Congressman Towns in response to the Yom Tefillah at the Lithuanian Consulate today. (The Yom Tefillah was held, due to the Lithuanian Government not doing anything to stop the destruction of the Bais Hakvaros in Vilna.) It is very sad that you must gather today. It is very unfortunate that we have to be here because the Lithuanian government is not living up to its obligations to preserve the old Jewish cemetery in Vilna.
I want the Lithuanian Government to know that the Congress and the international community are watching this matter very closely and are anxiously awaiting for the Lithuanian government to live up to its commitments to preserve the holy sites belonging to the Jewish community.
The preservation of Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania is of the utmost importance not only for the Jewish community, but for all people. Over half a century has passed since the Holocaust and many remnants of Jewish life from before the Holocaust have tragically been lost to development. The Vilna cemetery, not only serves as a testament of the vibrancy of Jewish life from before the Holocaust, but additionally holds enormous religious value to the Jewish people. It is amongst the last links the Jewish community has to famed Jewish scholars and sages who are still resting in the cemetery.
I continue to strongly urge the Lithuanian Government to stop any development on the Vilna site and on any other holy sites in Lithuania and hope they will take immediate action to prevent any desecration from occurring.