Chronicles of the VILNA GHETTO
Chronicles of the Vilna Ghetto is dedicated to the memory of our grandfather, Joseph Snipelisky and our grandmother, Rywa Rutsztejn (or Rutshtein) as well as to the millions of other Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

What's in a Name?

The city referred to as VILNIUS today has not always been called so. To this day, one can find references to WILNO and VILNIAVILNO and WILNA, VILNA and WILNIA, amongst others.

Our fathers were born in the Russian Empire; the city was called Vilna at that time. They came of age when the city was under Polish rule and during those 20 years it was called Wilno. It is important to mention that the three major demographic groups that lived in the city have always been trying to name it as if it belonged to them: Poles called it Wilno; Lithuanians-Vilnius; Jews-Vilna or Vilne. Different people, different languages, same city.

Different powers tried to enforce different names but people still had their own names for it. The differences and sensitivities exist to this day. The troubled history of the city does not allow it one name and it is only natural that people use the name they like.

1795-1914 ---------------Vilna or Vilno------------------Russian Empire

1915-1918 --------------------Wilna----------- WWI German occupation

1918 - Vilna was declared the capital of the Lithuanian state (Vilnius) but was soon captured by Russian (Vilno) and then Polish Armies (Wilno).

April 1919-August 1920 --------------Wilno------------------ Polish rule

August 27-Sept 29 1920 -------------Vilnius------------ Lithuanian rule

Feb 1922-Sept 1939 ------------------Wilno----------------- Polish rule

1939 - The city was captured by the USSR and transferred to Lithuanian rule. Vilnius.

1940 -------------------------Vilno--------------- USSR annexed the city

1941-1944 -------------------Wilna--------------- Occupied by Germany

1945-Current -----------------Vilnius-------------------- Lithuanian rule