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The Schmooze

Vilna Dubs Itself ‘G-Spot of Europe’ — Is the G for ‘Genocide?’

Hit a rut in your love life? Partner no longer satisfying your needs? Why not buckle up and head to Vilna, where 90% of Jewish residents were murdered during the Holocaust, to spice things up?

Ah, yes: The folks who came up with a new ad campaign for Vilna, now known as Vilnius, might want to rethink their labeling of the Lithuanian city as “The G-Spot of Europe.”

Or maybe they’re right. What, after all, could be more titillating than a visit to the Vilna Ghetto, whose residents lived in terror of being taken to the nearby Ponary forest, where German forces would massacre them by the thousands?

Nothing says “sensual vacation” like a visit to the spot where those Jews who weren’t executed in Ponary or deported to concentration camps often starved to death. Engage in some role play, just like the Vilna Ghetto theatre company, which worked to maintain the Vilna Jewish community’s vibrant cultural heritage even as they battled malnourishment and disease. Or reenact the daring work of the Paper Brigade, ghetto inhabitants who risked and sometimes sacrificed their lives to save Vilna’s precious trove of Jewish books!

So sexy! As Buzzfeed News reports, the “G-Spot of Europe” campaign, which officially debuts on August 9, has raised some ire among the Catholic authorities in Vilna, as it has come out shortly before a visit by the Pope. Vilna, once close to 25% Jewish, is now overwhelmingly Catholic. The NSFW campaign has not struck members of the church as being particularly appropriate.

“Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it — it’s amazing,” reads the text of one advertisement, blazoned over an image of a lush-haired young woman grasping the European map behind her in pleasure. The 12,000 to 15,000 Jewish refugees from German-occupied Poland who escaped to Vilna in search of safety certainly knew where it was. Did they find it amazing?

We’ll leave it to your imagination. A visit to the new campaign’s website reveals a closer shot of the model in ecstasy, and above her, the words “Coming Soon” followed by a countdown clock. Hot, right? So must the Jews of Vilna have thought, when word came in 1943 that the final liquidation of the ghetto was coming soon. Well, maybe not. We’ll never know. As Andrew Marvell wrote: “The grave’s a fine and private place, but none, I think, do there embrace.”


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