Lithuanian power grid has dark secret buried in Soviet past

Shmuel Levin, the Chairperson of the Jewish religious Community of Vilnius and Lithuania, leans against a wall of the power substation built of tombstones from a Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 13, 2015 (AP/Mindaugas Kulbis)

Giedrius Sakalauskas always thought there was something strange about the graffiti-sprayed, bunker-like structure in a leafy area outside the center of Vilnius.

Why build an electrical substation with granite blocks instead of regular bricks?

When he examined the building more carefully this month, he made a chilling discovery: Dozens of stones had inscriptions in Hebrew or Yiddish.

“I touched the stones and I realized that they’re really gravestones,” Sakalauskas told The Associated Press.

And he had a strong hunch about from where they came: Across the street used to be a Jewish cemetery that was demolished in the 1960s, when Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union. Sakalauskas posted pictures of his discovery on social media, setting off an emotional discussion about a dark chapter in Lithuania’s history that did not end when a Nazi occupation was replaced by a Soviet one in 1944…