The International Centre for Litvak Photography (IC4LP) was a non-profit organisation that was active between May 2015 and December 2023. Founded by the English documentary photographer and photo historian Richard Schofield, the organisation was officially relaunched as the Data Brigade on January 1, 2024. The following posts represent just a tiny selection of IC4LP's past projects. A more detailed history of the organisation can be found here.

Lost & Found

Annushka Varšavskienė
Date and location unknown


Lost & Found is a long-term project whose primary focus is a collection of over 100 family photographs that were owned and assembled in the years leading up to the Second World War by Annushka Varšavskienė, a classically trained singer, music teacher and childcare worker who was deported from the Kovno Ghetto in October 1943 and subsequently murdered at the Klooga concentration camp in Estonia 11 months later. 

In an unprecedented act of preservation among the thousands of accounts of survival during the Holocaust, shortly before she was deported, Annushka smuggled 113 of her family photographs out of the ghetto and into the safekeeping of a local Lithuanian woman, whose family kept them safe for almost 70 years, during which time Annushka's identity was lost and forgotten.

The International Centre for Litvak Photography's founder and former director, Richard Schofield, stumbled upon the photographs by accident in September 2013, an event that, with the help of a digital crowdsourcing campaign on social media and the inspired sleuthing of the Vilnius-based historian Saulė Valiūnaitė, not only revealed Annushka’s lost identity, but also made it possible to 'return' the photographs to the children of her surviving sister living in the United States, among them the international acclaimed Jewish scholar, and Annushka's nephew, David G. Roskies

The following links provide some background information relating to the Lost & Found exhibition, that ran at the Yeshiva University Museum in New York between October 2018 and April 2019. A short article providing an overview of the project can be found here

  • Click here to read an article in Moment magazine about the Lost & Found exhibition that ran at the Yeshiva University Museum in New York between October 2018 and April 2019
  • Click here watch two of the three short films that the International Centre for Litvak Photography made for the exhibition
  • Click here to view the photographs from the exhibition opening
  • Click here to view the photographs (with captions) that Richard discovered
  • Click here to listen to four recordings from the 1930s of Annushka and her choir 

Vardai

© 2018 Richard Schofield

Held on or around Lithuanian Holocaust Memorial Day on September 23, the annual Reading of the Names—or Vardai—event is a privately organised initiative during which the names of Lithuanian Holocaust victims are read out in the towns and villages in which they perished. Discovering that the event was of no interest to any of the 300,000 or so residents of Kaunas, in 2016 IC4LP  organised its first Vardai event inside the city’s former Gestapo headquarters, and continued to do so in different locations around Kaunas until 2019. Click here to see a small selection of photographs from the 2018 event, which was held as the site of the 1941 Lietūkis Garage Massacre.

Fifty Schools

In 2016, IC4LP received a number of invitations to visit several high schools in and around Kaunas to talk about its work. During these visits, it quickly became obvious that the vast majority of Lithuanian teenagers (not to mention a woefully large amount of their history teachers) know almost nothing about the life and culture of their grandparents’ former Jewish neighbours. And so, with financial support from the Good Will Foundation, in 2017 IC4LP launched Fifty Schools, an informal education project that, with the help of Mariana Sutkienė in Vilnius, visited dozens of high schools all over Lithuania to share its own experiences, to listen to what young Lithuanians had to say on the subject of Lithuanian Jewish history and to have open and honest discussions about the Holocaust in Lithuania.

L-R
Two students peer through a broken window at the abandoned former synagogue in Čekiškė
Mariana Sutkienė holds up a copy of The Last Bright Days during a visit to the Jewish cemetery in Kavarskas 
Richard Schofield talks to a group of high school students in Naujoji Vilnia

BJHSP

© 2019 Richard Schofield

Together with the University of Latvia's Centre for Judaic Studies, the Jews in Latvia Museum in Riga and Paideia in Stockholm, in July 2019 IC4LP piloted the so-called 'Challenging the Past' travelling summer school. With the help of 16 young participants from Latvia and Lithuania, the five-day trip from Riga to Kaunas included a total of 24 events and activities, including meetings, discussions, walking tours, workshops with a wide variety of locals working in the field of Jewish heritage and memory, visits to sites of cultural and historical importance, learning about (and eating) Jewish food, and, during the Friday evening of the journey, meeting with members of Kaunas' secular Jewish community during their weekly Shabbat celebration. After a three-year break due to the Covid pandemic, in July 2022 the project was expanded, including the addition of an online learning module to prepare the participants before they hit the road. Now called the Baltic Jewish Heritage Study Programme, or BJHSP, the organisers are currently raising the necessary money to do it for a third time. A copy of the original 2019 project report can be downloaded and read here.

Back to Shul

 
© 2017 Richard Schofield

Lithuania’s 100 or so surviving former synagogues are among a tiny handful of reminders of the country’s once large and diverse Jewish population. In August 2017, Richard Schofield spent 12 days hitchhiking and travelling by public transport around the country, photographing the buildings with a cheap Latvian smartphone and writing a short e-book about his experiences. Although the e-book is currently unavailable, a few memories from the project are still available online, including David G. Roskies’ original Foreword, the 100 captioned photographs that were included in the e-book and a constantly updated spreadsheet, complete with information concerning the current condition of each surviving building.

The Kaunas Requiem

© 2016 Mark Adam Harold

In December 2015, IC4LP commissioned the Ukrainian electronic musician and composer Anton Dehtiarov to write a theoretically endless piece of experimental music in memory of Annushka Varšavskienė. Known as The Kaunas Requiem, extracts from the piece were performed live over a week-long period inside an abandoned former synagogue in Kaunas that IC4LP rented in September 2016. Click here to listen to some of the music from the project.