Kanovich, who founded of the Šeduva “Lost Shtetl” Jewish Memorial Fund and the Maceva catalogue of Lithuanian Jewish cemeteries, received the medal of the order “For Merit to Lithuania.”
He was one of 100 people honored with state awards at a ceremony February 15 kicking off celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the modern Lithuanian state.
In an article expressing thanks for the recognition, Kanovich said he shared the honor with many others, from his family members to colleagues, volunteers, and supporters.
What would I have been able to do for Lithuania alone? How would I have received this sort of award if not for the wonderful people who work with me? How would we be able to work without our hard-working patrons, without whose help we wouldn’t be able to make my vision and our mission happen?
I won’t lie, it’s very nice to be awarded. But it’s even nice to know this award doesn’t belong to me alone. It belongs to all of us. As it does to Lithuania, for whom we all must try to make a contribution, through work seen and unseen. Love and respect for our fellow man, respect for historical truth and justice, for commemorating the past. For commemorating that which has come down to us and must remain after us.
The Lost Shtetl project comprises an extensive Jewish heritage and memorial complex in and around the town of Šeduva, in north-central Lithuania. It includes the restored Jewish cemetery, mass grave memorials, and a sculptural monument, and will eventually include a Jewish museum. The museum is due to open in 2020, with a ground-breaking ceremony this April.
Founded in 2011, Maceva, the Litvak Cemetery Catalogue, is a non-profit that organizes volunteers to document and maintain Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania. Kanovich wrote an op-ed about it for our JHE Have Your Say series in 2016.