Author Archives: Defending History

Books in the Current Debate


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Silvia Foti: Tears of Discovery. How I Learned My Grandfather was a Nazi War Criminal (in press)

Background on author’s website

Alexander Gendler: Khurbm: 1914-1922

Leyb Koniuchowsky & Jonathan Boyarin: The Lithuanian Slaughter of its Jews: Testimonies of 121 Survivors of the Holocaust in Lithuania. Also posted free online (temporarily?)

Dan Rabinowitz: The Lost Library

Allan Nadler’s review in JRB

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Posted in Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Books in the Current Debate

Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s Glorification of Nazi Collaborator K. Škirpa Still on Website


[UPDATED / ORIGINAL REPORT 3 MARCH 2020]

COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   KAUNAS MARCHES EU  |  OPINION 

Believe it or not, the Defense Ministry still flaunts its magazine cover glorifying Lithuania’s major  1941 “Holocaust advocate” on its website with no editorial comment or disclaimer from the defense minister (as PDF). Who was K. Škirpa?

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Virus-Shmirus: Vilnius Yiddish Class Celebrates 20th Session (Safely via Skype)



YIDDISH STUDIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  JULIUS NORWILLA

Julius Norwilla (standing end of table) with his class of Elementary/Intermediate Yiddish at Vilnius’s Jewish Cultural and Information Center (JCIC) in the Old Town, under auspices of the Vilnius Jewish Community in March 2020. On 24 March, with a pandemic upending life in the Lithuanian capital (as everywhere), the students and teacher decided to continue online via skype and have not missed a week. Standing at left is Rima Kazlauskaite, administrator at JCIC.

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Posted in Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Virus-Shmirus: Vilnius Yiddish Class Celebrates 20th Session (Safely via Skype)

UCL’s ‘Hebrew Studies’: Again Betraying Jewish (and Allied World War II) History?



UCL  |  UK  |  UK SECTION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  EVENTS  | HISTORY IN HANDS OF FOREIGN MINISTRIES  | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY

27-29 May:

“Litvak Days in London”: Another Deeply One-Sided PR Stunt Masquerading as a Fair & Balanced Dialogue? 

UCL revives offensive-to-survivors role of serving as embassy’s PR unit (“no second opinions allowed at this conference”). In 2011 it provided the “academic cover” for insinuating Baltic Holocaust revisionism into UK mainstream. In 2012, it would not grant a Holocaust survivor five minutes to express another view. Now he’s gone.

See the history in chronological order.

The problem is not that bad people have been booked to participate. They are all excellent people! The problem is that yet again this London event, with apparently unprincipled academic cover from UCL, is meticulously presenting one side of the argument, with an absolute ban on any who would bring a  second opinion to the table.

Most disappointing: Not one representative from the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community. What are they afraid of?

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Posted in Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on UCL’s ‘Hebrew Studies’: Again Betraying Jewish (and Allied World War II) History?

Do the Bones of Old Vilna Jewry Still Lie at Piramónt Cemetery?



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  DOCUMENTS

VILNIUS—A recent social media campaign has been spreading the message that there are no longer human remains at the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius, the capital of democratic EU and NATO member Lithuania. Of course within the Jewish faith the sanctity of Jewish cemeteries remains in situ despite earth disruptions. “There is no such thing as a former Jewish cemetery,” Lithuania’s last chief rabbi, Chaim Burshtein, pointed out, before being fired in 2015 for expressing his opposition to “the convention center in the cemetery.”

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Do the Bones of Old Vilna Jewry Still Lie at Piramónt Cemetery?

A “Lurid Display” (& Video) of Mock Euro Notes at Vilnius’s Old Jewish Cemetery


UPDATES TO 4 MAY ENCLOSED IN [ ]

OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—According to a report [full translation here] and photo spread in today’s Lrytas.lt (rapidly picked up on other major portals), a multitude of chairs, each with a mock 1000 euro banknote taped on, were on display today on the still unbuilt part of the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, directly on top of thousands of extant graves covered by concrete slabs from the Soviet era. This is reported as a demonstration coordinated by the National Tourism Business Association (NTVA), the Lithuanian Tourism Association (LTA), and the Lithuanian Hotel and Restaurant Association (LVRA). The NTVA also published a “video of the demo” on Facebook. The video carries one line of text which reads, in translation: “By this action of empty chairs, the tourism industry reminds the state about the unemployed Palace of Sports.”

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A “Lurid Display” (& Video) of Mock Euro Notes at Vilnius’s Old Jewish Cemetery

Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery


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JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION

MAY 2020: 1000-EURO NOTE DEMO ON JEWISH GRAVES BY THREE TOP TOURIST AGENCIES. JTA  & AJ  REPORT

APRIL 2020:  NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG REPORTS, QUOTING ELECTED HEAD OF VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY

MARCH 2020: GROUP OF MAJOR LITVAK RABBIS, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EVANGELICALS IN DC, LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE

FEB 2020: MEMBER OF LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKS OUT; MEDIA COVERS COURT CASE (CITING PROF. J. PARASONIS); DOYEN OF LITVAK RABBIS SPEAKS OUT

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery

Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder


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THE LATEST

Reviews of Bloodlands

Reviews of Black Earth

Instrumentalization?

2012   2013   2014   2015   2016

This journal holds leading historian Professor Timothy Snyder (Yale University) in the highest esteem, and trusts that this select list of reviews taking issue with aspects of Bloodlands of direct concern to DefendingHistory.com will not be taken amiss. It does not include reviews which have engaged in personal attack or pursued grudges, or which focus on other issues.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Australia, Books, Double Genocide, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder

Former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Calls on Present FM to Renounce View & Support State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS  |  JONAS NOREIKA  | DOUBLE GENOCIDE   |  FOREIGN MINISTRIES MANIPULATING HISTORY?  | ANTISEMITISM  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—A former foreign minister and current MP, Audronius Ažubalis, today published, in partnership with a younger right-wing MP, a public appeal (on the main news portal Delfi.lt), to the current foreign minister to revoke his 2019 agreement with the Western consensus that Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika should not be the object of state-sponsored glorification in a NATO or EU member state.

Mr. Ažubalis, a stalwart of the right-wing Homeland Union and Christian Democratic party, has a long history “with the Jews and the Holocaust.” In 2010, all 21 members of the board of the Jewish Community of Lithuania signed an official protest at the then foreign minister’s antisemitic remarks. Then, in 2012, when eight bold Lithuanian parliamentarians (six MPs and two MEPs) signed the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD), in opposition to the 2008 Prague Declaration that is the “constitution” of the Double Genocide movement, the then foreign minister issued his infamous remark about the only difference between Hitler and Stalin being the length of their moustaches. He rapidly accused the eight Lithuanian parliamentarians (all Social Democrats) of being Putinist lackeys.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Calls on Present FM to Renounce View & Support State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Simon Gurevich, Elected Head of Vilnius Jewish Community, Reaffirms Jewish Stance on Old Vilna Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Today’s edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung carries Judith Leister’s article (in German) on issues arising during the current official Lithuanian government celebrations of the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Gaon of Vilna, Elijah ben Solomon Zalman (Eylyóhu ben Shlóyme-Zálmen, 1720–1797).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Simon Gurevich, Elected Head of Vilnius Jewish Community, Reaffirms Jewish Stance on Old Vilna Cemetery

Is Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery Really Best Way to Jumpstart Post Covid-19 Economy?



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The major news portal Delfi.lt reported this morning on the economic recovery plan for jumpstarting the Lithuanian economy in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. After reporting on the doldrums of the construction industry, the article cites at length Mantas Miseliūnas, a top specialist on the role of commercial property in the economy. No opposing views are cited. The article, which does not mention the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, the current litigation, the international petition, and the massive international protest, informs readers of an idyllic panacea to the economic downturn wrought by Covid-19:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Is Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery Really Best Way to Jumpstart Post Covid-19 Economy?

A Vilnius Building for Danse Macabre?



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Julius Norwilla

The author is chairperson of the Vilnius Committee for Preservation of Piramont (Šnipiškės) Cemetery. A selection of his English articles is available here.

We return to the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramont (Šnipiškės). Back on December 19, 2019, the Lithuanian State Property Bank (Turto Bankas) announced an agreement with a tiny number of non-representative self-interested Jewish organizations for the development of the Vilnius Congress Center in the old Palace of Sports building surrounded by thousands of still extant Jewish graves going back to the 15th century (remember, graves and tombstones are two different things; the Soviets stole all the stones, and they keep turning up all around town). See Defending History’s report on the Dec. 2019 events here in Vilnius.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Vilnius Building for Danse Macabre?

‘Weekly of Vilnius’ Is Again Only Vilnius Publication to Give Both Sides of Story



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  NOREIKA  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Once again, The Weekly of Vilnius, considered by some to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news-and-analysis publication, was the only major media outlet here to “give both sides of the story” on the recent court judgment of Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court’s 1 April decision in effect proclaiming that Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika is a national hero, unblemished by his involvement in the ghettoization, pillaging and destruction of thousands of his fellow citizens who were Jewish. Various state institutions, most notoriously the far-right Genocide Research Center, continue to spend lavishly on the glorification of Holocaust collaborators. See Defending History’s report, which includes links to other media coverage in Lithuanian and English.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on ‘Weekly of Vilnius’ Is Again Only Vilnius Publication to Give Both Sides of Story

Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court Reconfirms ‘National Hero’ Status of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



THE NOREIKA DEBATE FROM 2012 ONWARD  |  COLLABORATGORS GLORIFIED   |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—Coronavirus or not, Vilnius’s Supreme Administrative Court yesterday issued its dismissal of the appeal against an earlier court ruling that effectively codified in Lithuanian law the conclusion that Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika is indeed a national hero. The Noreika saga reached the English speaking world in 2012, when Evaldas Balčiūnas’s article appeared in Defending History. Mr. Balčiūnas followed up with articles on other perpetrators glorified by the state, and was harassed by years of kangaroo prosecutions (scroll down to May 2014, further articles following). Thereafter, challenges were mounted both here and abroad  to state-sponsored glorification, in a NATO/EU state, of a proven Holocaust collaborator. These  have included Californian-resident wealth adviser Grant Gochin, Vilnius-resident Lithuanian-American scholar Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, who curates a website on the subject, and, most sensationally, Noreika’s own American-born grandsaughter, the Chicago-based author and educator Silvia Foti, whose 2018 article in Salon led to international media coverage and work on a feature film project.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court Reconfirms ‘National Hero’ Status of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

The West Once Again Silent as Latvia Glorifies its Waffen SS


[UPDATED. FIRST PUBLICATION 14 FEB. 2020 UNDER TITLE ‘WILL THE WEST REMAIN SILENT AS LATVIA PREPAREDS TO GLORIFY ITS WARTIME WAFFEN SS?’]


OPINION  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg

Since 1998, former Latvian SS have each and every year on the 16th of March been marching in the capital city of Riga to commemorate their fallen colleagues whom they perceive as war heroes. The marches have over the years increased in alarming numbers and have even been publicly condoned by Latvian officials. In the heart of NATO in Riga, more than 2,500 people, amongst them Latvian politicians, have been known to annually pay tribute to Latvians who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in Waffen SS detachments during World War II.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on The West Once Again Silent as Latvia Glorifies its Waffen SS

Eyewitness Report: March 11th Far Right March & Rally in Central Vilnius



MARCHES SECTION  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Julius Norwilla

The Totenkopf flag, with the “Lithuanian swastika” upper right, has featured each year. Swastikas were legalized by Lithuanian courts in 2010. Photo: Julius Norwilla.

VILNIUS—It was Wednesday March 11th at around 4 PM. The procession of the “nationalists” began, as usual,  in the heart of the Lithuanian capital, with authorities’ permission, at the city’s medieval Cathedral Square. It made its way up the central boulevard, Gedimino, up to Lukiškės Square, a stone’s throw from the nation’s Seimas, or parliament.

Only Defending History came out to monitor the march. . .

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Racism | Comments Off on Eyewitness Report: March 11th Far Right March & Rally in Central Vilnius

Revealed: The “Secret Vilna Cemetery Agreement” of Dec. 2019



DOCUMENTS  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION

VILNIUS—On 19 December 2019, Defending History reported on the “Day of Shame” in this city, when representatives of the discredited “CPJCE” rabbis in London, a Haifa geotechnical  specialist in tow, and the head of the state-sponsored “official” Jewish community together allegedly “morally sold out” the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Turto Bankas, a Lithuanian government state agency for development as a convention center where people would cheer, clap, sing, dance, drink at bars and flush toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves on all four sides, including some of the greatest Jewish scholars of the last five hundred years. The international opposition to the “convention center in the cemetery” has been massive. It is a human rights issue in so far as such fates do not await cemeteries of the religious or ethnic majority.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Revealed: The “Secret Vilna Cemetery Agreement” of Dec. 2019

On Representation and Morality: Thoughts on Recent TV Interview with Nominal “Chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community”



OPINION   |  MEDIA WATCH  | JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Josif Parasonis (Vilnius)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a working translation, approved by Prof. Parasonis, of his  27 Feb. 2020 article in Lithuanian that appeared on the website of LRT (Lithuanian Radio and Television network), in response to LRT’s 24 January television interview with the chairperson of the (state-sponsored) Lithuanian Jewish Community (translation of the interview; reference in the article to an earlier program is to a 2018 broadcast, online here, at 22 min. mark). Shortly after the appearance of Prof. Parasonis’s article, the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community  (VJC) confirmed on its Facebook page that he represents the position of the VJC. A Russian version also appears on the VJC’s page.  In the event of any matter arising in the text, Prof. Parasonis’s Lithuanian original alone is authoritative. 

The trailer for the 24 January 2020 show on the “Lietuvos Rytas” TV channel was quite intriguing: “Faina Kukliansky on the still resilient discrimination against Jews.” In the course of the program, speaking to its mass audience, the official chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Faina Kukliansky, made a series of dubious statements, some of which are incompatible with moral norms, and some of which may be incompatible with the laws of our country. In my opinion, the public space continues to pretend that the program “never took place.” I have therefore found it necessary to share my thoughts with the public.

The discussion on the program was about Lithuanian Jews, their relations to Lithuanians, the guest’s career and her personal life. When it came to Lithuanian Jews, Ms. Kukliansky talked about them in the past tense, as if she were not one of them, in a dismissive manner: “They are no longer here, they were murdered, it’s not worth harassing the remaining ones. […] Perhaps we could say that there would have been many Einsteins among those who were killed.”

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Posted in Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on On Representation and Morality: Thoughts on Recent TV Interview with Nominal “Chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community”

‘United Lithuania’ Invites Public to Lithuanian Independence Day Event at Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



EVENTS  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION

VILNIUS—Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, the editor of the Vieninga Lietuva (United Lithuania) website, and a contributor to Defending History for some years, has announced an event scheduled for 13:30—15:00 this Wednesday, March 11, on the 30th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence from the Soviet Union, at the site of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish Cemetery, on the grass between Rinktinės street and the Soviet-built Sports Palace, which desecrated the cemetery. This is part of a series of monthly gatherings at the site to grow a network of activists who foster Lithuanian and Litvak friendship.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on ‘United Lithuania’ Invites Public to Lithuanian Independence Day Event at Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

Antisemitism at the Aalst Carnival Parade in Belgium



ANTISEMITISM  |  BELGIUM  |  EU  | OPINION

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

Last month, on February 23, 2020, hundreds of individuals, associations and decorated wagons marched or rolled through the streets of the center of Aalst in what is known as their unique form of celebrating “Carnival,” mainly as a moment of self and free expression where and when king, royalties, clergy, politicians, film stars, VIPs, world events, are objects of satire, fun, criticism, be it with effigies, people dressed up or with placards of panels written in their nearly cryptic local dialect.

Aalst is a small, drab city in the Province of Eastern Flanders. The first time Aalst made world news was on the evening of November 9, 1985 when a mass killing by unknown semi-military killers ( “the Brabant Killers” in French and “de Bende van Nijvel” in Dutch) left eight people dead in the supermarket Delhaize, at the periphery of the city. It is a mass killing still under investigation nowadays by the Belgian Police authorities.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Belgium, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, News & Views, Opinion, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Antisemitism at the Aalst Carnival Parade in Belgium