Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy

Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lithuania -- More News about the Vilna Jewish Library

The Jewish Press has run a long article by Rosally Saltsman updating Wyman Brent's ambitious efforts to create a Jewish library in Vilnius. Brent has also issued an appeal for CDs, LPs, tapes and other material to create a Jewish music section of the library.

He's not Jewish, he's not Lithuanian and he's not a librarian, but Wyman Brent, an American from San Diego, is building a Jewish library in Vilna. The library is the melding of Brent's three loves - books, Lithuania and Jewish culture. It's sort of the culmination of an odyssey, which has taken him to various parts of the world and through many periods in history.

Hopefully, the library will open its doors in a couple of months, but its official opening is scheduled for October 1, 2009, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Vilna Gaon Museum, which is donating the space.

The 46-year-old self-appointed librarian first came to Lithuania in 1994. "I felt at home. It felt like the place where I belonged." He had come to Russia to see the country and had read a book called The Hills of Vilnius (Alfonsas Bieliauskas and M. Ryley). So he came to see the city, which was described so beautifully in the book.

Brent isn't Jewish and to his knowledge, there are no Jews in his centuries-old family tree. What began as a fascination with WWII and the Holocaust led to his traveling to Europe and visiting places of Jewish culture. On a 1993 visit to Prague, he was struck by the contrast between an exhibition of drawings by children from the concentration camps who had been killed, and that of the Jewish cemetery outside where he saw a rabbi walking with his students. And Wyman thought, "It's wonderful that Judaism is still so very much alive."

Read Full Article
Wyman can be reached by email at:, or by phone at 370 5 2625357.

Books can be sent to him at: Wyman Brent, Ausros Vartu 20-15A, Vilnius LT-02100,

The Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum is located at: Pylimo 4 Vilnius (Vilna) Lithuania.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Ruth,

    I can't thank you enough for helping to get the word out about the Vilnius Jewish Library. Things are moving full steam ahead and I look forward to the day when you can visit the library and sign your books.


    Wyman Brent

    shammes Vilnius Jewish Library