United States

Yivo’s Newest One-Sided “Lithuanian-Jewish Event” on Thursday 5 Sept.



OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  | YIDDISH AFFAIRS

NEW YORK—The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, founded in Vilna (then Wilno, Poland) in 1925 as the world’s premier Yiddish-in-Yiddish academic institute, has, to the consternation of many of its life-long supporters and participating scholars, in recent years been (temporarily, its long-time supporters hope) “hijacked” by a few elite circles in the Lithuanian government who are determined to exploit Judaic, and especially the now-weak branch of Yiddish studies as a tool to cover for policies of rewriting the history of the Holocaust in a far-right East European nationalist spirit, as well as state programs of glorification of alleged Holocaust collaborators. The best known cry of protest came  several years ago from Vilna-born Holocaust survivor and lifelong resident, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

וואָס וואָלטן טאַקע טראַכטן מאַקס ווײַנרײַך, זלמן רייזען און דינה אַבראַמאָוויטש וועגן די נײַע צילן פון ניו⸗יאָרקער ייוואָ?

Even as ever more circles in today’s free, democratic, and delightful Lithuania have come to understand the Jewish, Litvak and Holocaust issues in a spirit of friendship and partnership, New York’s Yivo continues to function as a political arm of the Holocaust revisionists’ “International Commission on the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” (Yivo’s director even joined the commission), and a small “Jewish manipulation unit” in the Foreign Ministry, neither of which reflect so much of what is really going on. For a month now, the headline of Defending History has honored Vilnius’s mayor for boldly taking down two long-standing, and contemptible, public space memorials for Holocaust collaborators.

Still, yet again, Yivo has opted to exclude all other voices, while enabling the ongoing shenanigans of nationalist manipulation which recently resulted in the NY Yivo director’s being awarded the Cross for the Knight of the Order  for Merits to Lithuaniafrom the Lithuanian government, even as Holocaust survivors and their families continue to be betrayed in a way that would make Yivo’s founders twist in their graves.

As for teaching of the living Yiddish language, literature and culture, not a penny of the millions raised by Yivo has gone into the smallest class. Conversely, Yiddish teaching and study continue in the city despite the campaigns of personal  exclusion and defamation by those enabled and directed by Yivo.

Defending History has been following events since 2011, when a gala event on the Vilna Ghetto invited as guest of honor a foreign minister called out for his overt antisemitism by the Jewish community, through recent weeks, when the director of Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, was duly awarded his knighthood. Never once has Yivo invited to New York the Vilna Ghetto Holocaust survivors Rachel Margolis and Fania Brantsovsky, whose families have still not  received apologies for the state-run campaigns to characterize them as war criminals in the history books and on the web, in virtue of their having survived the Holocaust by joining with the anti-Nazi partisans who were the only force in Lithuania seriously fighting the Nazis during the genocide.

This Thursday’s event, cosponsored by the Lithuanian consulate in New York, follows the usual pattern (scroll through the history for examples) of having one genuine Lithuanian hero who has stood up for the truth and has little idea that (or how) he is being manipulated. This time it is the great Lithuanian-American  humanist, writer and professor Tomas Venclova. The Yivo program lists the title of his September 5th talk as virtually identical with his 2015 publication in Defending History: “Lithuanians and Jews: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t over the last Forty Years?” It was based on a Vilnius conference paper he read, on a podium he shared with Defending History staff, whom he entrusted with the translation to English (see also his DH section, also the DH editor’s lecture at the same conference).

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Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATES; FIRST PUBLICATION: 13 MAY]

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  LITHUANIA’S JEWISH COMMUNITY  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  US STATE DEPT. MANIPULATED?  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

You just could not make this stuff up. A powerful government unit of an East European democracy that is a member of the EU and NATO wants nothing more than to plonk a monument in America for someone who was not only an alleged Holocaust collaborator (see Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles of 2014, 2017 and 2019), but who is today a prime icon of the country’s neo-Nazis. Indeed, his visage is first on their banner of “national heroes” used to front torch-lit neo-Nazi parades in the nation’s capital. The monument is unveiled in Chicago on May 4, 2019.

Ramanauskas is first (at left) on neo-Nazis’ front banner at torchlit parade in Vilnius

 

High government officials from the Seimas and the Lithuanian consulate in New York jad fronted  an effort to put the monument in New Britain, Connecticut, and charm that city’s mayor (2017) into going along with the plan, without mentioning the honoree’s having boasted in his own memoirs of leading a pro-Hitler militia in the days when the Lithuanian Holocaust was launched in late June of 1941. After many months of discussion (2018), the city council of New Britain overwhelmingly turns down the idea.

Update of 1 June 2019: Jerusalem Post reports that head of Jewish Agency demands the monument in Chicago “be removed as soon as possible”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator

Sad Day for Chicago (& Lithuania): Monument for Alleged Nazi Collaborator, an Icon of Lithuania’s Far Right, Unveiled on May 4 in Chicago by Visiting Foreign Minister


[LATEST UPDATE]

A Tale of Three Cities

New Britain.  Chicago.  Vilnius.

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument in Chicago to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

It was turned down by the New Britain, Connecticut City Council one year ago

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA

Other reports in: Algemeiner; BBCIndependent; Simon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

On Ramanauskas’s Holocaust-era role see courageous, pioneering articles of Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas in 20142017 and his latest that has just appeared.

 For years after starting his series of articles “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” Balčiūnas was hounded by prosecutors and police (scroll to May 2014).

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA. BEYOND THE HISTORY: WHY A MONUMENT TO A PRIME ICON OF TODAY’S NEO-NAZIS IN EASTERN EUROPE?

a major icon for neo-Nazi parades…

From left to right on the neo-Nazis’ “We know our national heroes” banner (torchlit neo-Nazi parade of Feb. 2018): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis

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Hundreds of Rambam Mesivta High School Protest Peacefully at New York’s Lithuanian Consulate



NEW YORK CITY—Hundreds of Jewish high school students from the New York area, pupils at Rambam Mesivta High School, demonstrated peacefully and with dignity outside the Lithuanian Consulate in New York City yesterday, led by their renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. The day was Yom Hashoah, a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, and the occasion was the Lithuanian government’s continued glorification of Jonas Noreika, a major Holocaust collaborator who participated in the destruction of thousands of the country’s citizens in 1941. The Noreika debate is now seven years old, and can be followed chronologically in Defending History (see most recent update).

Students chanted, “Your hero is a Nazi!”

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A Tale of Two Cities? New Britain (Connecticut) and Chicago (Illinois)



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  USA

VILNIUS—Will Chicago, Illinois, allow a planned May 4th unveiling of a sculpture glorifying alleged Holocaust collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) to proceed in its world-famous Freedom Park without due process for Holocaust victims, survivors, and their spokespeople? Without a public discussion including the many in Lithuania who oppose glorifying Hitlerist collaborators? The English news release for the project casually omits the reference to the Holocaust present in the original BNS Lithuanian report. That reference is of course the controversy that led New Britain, Connecticut to veto a Ramanauskas monument last year. Do the people of Chicago know they would be getting a New Britain reject, and most importantly, why it was rejected by the New England town after many months of deliberation?

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Incredibly, US Taxpayer-Funded Commission is HURTING instead of HELPING the Cause!



CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

by Ruta Bloshtein

The following is the text of the petition update posted by Ms. Bloshtein on 4 January 2019 at the Change.org site of her petition to save the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, which has exceeded the 45,000 signature mark.

My Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who signed our petition, there have been various delays in the onset of works to erect a national convention center and large new annex on the site of a Soviet ruin that is right in the middle of our sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, where the B’er Hagola Reb Moshe Rivkes; the Chayei Adam Reb Avrom Dantsig; Reb Menachem-Manes Chayes; Reb Boruch Romm, Reb Avrom the son of the Gaon of Vilna; Reb Yitzchok the father of Chaim of Volozhin lie buried, alongside many other thousands of Jewish citizens of Vilna (today’s Vilnius, capital of Lithuania) whose families duly paid for their plots in perpetuity. This would never happen if it were a Christian or Lithuanian national cemetery where nationally beloved figures found what was meant to be their place of rest.

Now, unfortunately, imminent danger lurks again, as the government’s own bank has just announced that building is again soon scheduled to start.

We must therefore redouble our polite and civil protests to ensure that this does not happen, that the government finds ANOTHER place for its new national convention center (that will be a pride, not a “shande” for our country), and that the cemetery can be lovingly restored as has been done in other European cities. I am sorry to report that in recent times one of the main obstacles has been the (US taxpayer funded!) “United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (known as “USCPAHA” for short) that exists to preserve endangered cemeteries, not to collude with foreign governments and their agents to help with excuses and cover-ups to destroy them!

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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), Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Incredibly, US Taxpayer-Funded Commission is HURTING instead of HELPING the Cause!

Another One-Sided Yivo Program on the Lithuanian Holocaust — in New York City?


[Last updated 21 Dec. 2018]

OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  WHAT IS THE RED-BROWN COMMISSION?  | A VILNIUS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR’S PLEA TO YIVO  |  FROM THE EDITOR OF LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY’S NEWSPAPER

NEW YORK—Yet again, the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, once the international bastion of living Yiddish high culture and genuine loyalty to East European Jewry, is putting on, in New York City, an event about the Holocaust in Lithuania that reflects only the Lithuanian government’s views on the subject. More precisely, a small number of well-funded government agencies in the business of “fixing the history of the Holocaust”: a “red-brown commission,” a Genocide Center, and Genocide Museum. The first of these, in a macabre tribute to George Orwell, is actually called “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania”. And indeed, it is one of its veteran members that is the instructor of the New York seminar, “The Shoah in Lithuania” to be held in five sessions from 3 to 17 January 2019. The fee is  $350, reduced to $275 for Yivo members.  For background see Dr. Yitzhak Arad’s paper on the red-brown commission’s actual purposes, DH’s page and section, a recent historic overview by DH’s editor in a Holocaust studies journal, and the resignation letters of  Prof. Konrad Kwiet and the late Sir Martin Gilbert.

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Three U.S. Senators Appeal to Pres. Grybauskaitė to Spare Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

WASHINGTON DC—Three United States senators, Benjamin L. Cardin (Maryland, D.), Pat Roberts (Kansas, R.), and  James E. Risch (Idaho, R.) today wrote to Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, appealing to her to move the planned national convention center away from the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to another venue. It follows a similar appeal by twelve members of the American Congress last summer, a wide range of religious, community and religious figures and institutions internationally, and a recent statement to The New York Times by the elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community, representing the vast majority of Lithuania’s surviving Jewish citizens. Vilnius native and resident Ruta Bloshtein, a prominent figure in Lithuania’s small Orthodox Jewish community, initiated a petition signed by close to 44,000 people internationally.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Three U.S. Senators Appeal to Pres. Grybauskaitė to Spare Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Timeline: Can a Foreign Gov. Plonk Monument to Alleged Nazi Collaborator in the Heart of New Britain, Connecticut?


[UPDATED]


 NEW BRITAIN’S PROPOSED MONUMENT FOR LEADER OF A 1941 HITLERIST MILITIA |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  USA  |  LITHUANIA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | ANTISEMITISM & BIAS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

SEE DEFENDING HISTORY’S NEW SECTION ON NEW BRITAIN, CONN. ISSUES

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Timeline: Can a Foreign Gov. Plonk Monument to Alleged Nazi Collaborator in the Heart of New Britain, Connecticut?

City Council of New Britain, Connecticut Confirms Cancellation of Monument that would Honor Alleged Collaborator in the Lithuanian Holocaust



 NEW BRITAIN TIMELINE  |  NEW BRITAIN’S PROPOSED MONUMENT (SECTION) |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  USA  |  LITHUANIA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | ANTISEMITISM & BIAS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  DOCUMENTS

NEW BRITAIN—The City Council, known here as the Common Council, of this central Connecticut city, to the south of Hartford, today passed the following resolution, introduced by Alderman Professor Aram Ayalon, by a vote of 9 to 5. The vote split along party lines, with the Republicans in the minority. A spokesperson was quick to point out, however that “None of them supported this awful monument idea either. They were, however, supporting the mayor’s position that the monument was in fact never agreed to by the mayor’s office or town council, obviating the need for any resolution.” Mayor Erin E. Stewart is currently one of the candidates for the Republican nomination for governor, with the decision due at the party’s convention this weekend.

The text of the resolution follows:

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Ukraine Report Claims America’s USAID Program is Financing Glorification of Fascist Groups that Took Part in the Holocaust



It sounds like something straight out of the wackiest conspiracy sites on the internet — but it may be true. The US Government — through its main foreign aid agency the US Agency for International Development  (USAID) — may indeed be inadvertently funding the Ukrainian Government’s far-reaching project to whitewash and glorify the Hitlerist World War II era nationalist OUN and UPA organizations, whose hordes were responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish and Polish civilians.

Updates on Twitter: @DefendingHistor

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New Britain, Connecticut Says No to Monument Honoring Alleged Holocaust Collaborator



Monument to Adolfas Ramanauskas is Rejected for Public Space of New Britain

“MAJOR SUCCESS” IN EFFORTS TO HALT THE EXPORT OF “DOUBLE GENOCIDE” HISTORY REVISIONISM TO THE WEST

Hero of the saga is City Council alderman Professor Aram Ayalon. His petition and active contacts with colleagues internationally brought rapid results

Professor Aram Ayalon, alderman on the city council of New Britain, Connecticut

New Britain Progressive report cites DH role.

Defending History broke the news first, on 14 January 2018.

Chronicle of a saga: DH’s section on New Britain.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States | Comments Off on New Britain, Connecticut Says No to Monument Honoring Alleged Holocaust Collaborator

Defending History in New Britain, Connecticut Against Plans to Glorify Alleged Holocaust Collaborator on Public Grounds



 OPINION  |  NEW BRITAIN’S PROPOSED MONUMENT FOR LEADER OF A 1941 HITLERIST MILITIAGLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  USA  |  LITHUANIA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | ANTISEMITISM & BIAS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

The New Britain Progressive, a newspaper in New Britain, Connecticut today carried a report entitled “Council Petition Would Halt Ramanauskas Monument, Pending Investigation”. It begins with the news that

“Alderman Aram Ayalon has introduced a City Council petition requesting, ‘a temporary halt of the building of a monument to commemorate Lithuanian militant, Adolfas Ramanauskas, until further research has been conducted to help confirm the history behind the man being memorialized.’ Ayalon cites concerns regarding accusations about Ramanauskas and the parts of the Holocaust that occurred in Lithuania in 1941.”

The paper’s report cites the Simon Wiesenthal’s October 2017 protest concerning the Lithuanian parliament’s decision to name the year 2018 for the alleged Nazi collaborator, as well as Defending History’s January 2018 plea to New Britain Mayor Erin E. Stewart to halt the project to glorify in the United States a leader of one of the marauding Hitlerist militias of June and July 1941 whose main “accomplishment” was unleashing the Holocaust starting even before the Germans arrived or before they managed to set up their functioning occupational administration. As it happens, the wider complex of these issues in Lithuania today was the subject of a New York Times report last Friday, 30 March.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Defending History in New Britain, Connecticut Against Plans to Glorify Alleged Holocaust Collaborator on Public Grounds

Targum Shlishi Presents DefendingHistory.com’s Work on Holocaust Remembrance Day



AVENTURA, FLORIDATargum Shlishi, one of the world’s leading voices in creative thinking and innovative problem solving when it comes to Jewish survival — and the survival of Jewish memory — featured various aspects of Defending History’s Vilnius-based work today, in its blogpost on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day. A PDF facsimile of the post follows (please use handles at upper left to turn pages).

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Does the City of New Britain, Connecticut Really Want to Honor Someone who Led a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?



 NEW BRITAIN’S PROPOSED MONUMENT FOR LEADER OF A 1941 HITLERIST MILITIAGLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  USA  |  LITHUANIA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | ANTISEMITISM & BIAS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—At the suggestion of a number of our readers in Connecticut and neighboring states, Defending History has contacted the office of the Hon. Erin E. Stewart, mayor of New Britain, Connecticut, to ask if her team was aware of the alleged pro-Nazi and Holocaust collaborator background of a Lithuanian militant, Adolfas Ramanauskas (“Vanagas”) who became a major leader of the anti-Soviet resistance in the years after the war. We urge the mayor to reconsider plans for him to be glorified in New Britain, Connecticut this year. It would make much more sense to honor Lithuania’s 100th anniversary of its inspirational 1918 independence in a way that is dignified and can be celebrated by all the peoples of Lithuania, at home and in its far-flung diaspora.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Does the City of New Britain, Connecticut Really Want to Honor Someone who Led a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?

New Britain’s Mayor’s Office Promises to Reply “Quickly and Efficiently” on Reported Plans to Honor Head of 1941 Nazi Militia Active in Lithuanian Holocaust



 NEW BRITAIN’S PROPOSED MONUMENT FOR LEADER OF A 1941 HITLERIST MILITIAGLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  USA  |  LITHUANIA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | ANTISEMITISM & BIAS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  DOCUMENTS

VILNIUS—The following is the automated reply received this morning (last night US EST) from the office of Mayor Erin E. Stewart concerning reports that her city had agreed for a monument to an alleged Nazi collaborator to be erected on public lands in the heart of her city, New Britain, Connecticut. The alleged collaborator, Adolfas Ramanauskas led a Hitlerist militia in the early days of the Lithuanian Holocaust in June and July of 1941, when such militias were busy murdering, plundering and humiliating Jewish neighbors even before the Germans managed to set up their administration in the territories they were conquering in Operation Barbarossa, that launched the genocidal phase of the Holocaust.  Hopefully Mayor Stewart will rapidly inform her council of the issue concerning which Defending History provided her with ample documentation as a point of departure for free and open debate (see the message reproduced in the automated acknowledgment).

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Lithuania’s Ambassador in Washington Tells Audience of Ruta Vanagaite’s “Russian Connection”



EVENTS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  BOOKS    | PIRAMÓNT CEMETERY  |  LITHUANIA

by Josh Cohen (Washington DC)

As anyone who has been following events in Lithuania for the last several years surely knows by now, the country sports street names and monuments honoring locals who collaborated with the Nazis during World War Two. It was in this context that I attended an event in Washington, DC yesterday at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute discussing Ruta Vanagaite’s controversial book “Our People” (it appeared in Lithuanian in 2016) that blows open the door describing the true extent of Lithuanian collaboration in the Holocaust. Vanagaite and her co-author Efraim Zuroff , director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office, spoke at the event.

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Posted in Books, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Josh Cohen, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Ambassador in Washington Tells Audience of Ruta Vanagaite’s “Russian Connection”

PEN America Protests Ban and Proposed Pulping of Ruta Vanagaite’s Books in Lithuania, Including Book on the Holocaust



FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

PEN America released this statement on its website today:

NEW YORK—The decision by the Alma Littera publishing house to cut all ties with their author Ruta Vanagaite, and to remove remaining copies of all of her five books from circulation and pulp them, is a troubling overreaction and should be reconsidered, said PEN America today.

The publisher’s decision to remove and destroy all of Vanagaite’s books was a response to her recent criticism of Adolfas Ramanauskas, a Lithuanian nationalist widely perceived as a hero. Vanagaite previously touched on sensitive historical issues in her most recent book, Mūsiškiai (Our People), published in Lithuania in 2016, which discusses the role of Lithuanian nationalists and freedom fighters in the persecution of Jewish Lithuanians and the Holocaust during World War II. Lithuania still denies their role in WWII and the Lithuanian authorities claimed that the book jeopardized national security. The destruction and removal of Vanagaite’s books demonstrates the tight borders of what is acceptable criticism of a national hero in Lithuania. Since the publication of the book, Vanagaite has received threats, which have escalated in recent weeks; a suit against her for slander and denigration of a deceased person has also been filed with the prosecutor by a patriotic group (the prosecutor has declined to take up the case, finding no evidence of malicious intent).

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Double Genocide: New and Official Form of Holocaust Denial



OPINION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

America was jolted this past summer not only by a neo-Nazi event in Charlottesville, Virginia that left an anti-Nazi protester dead by vehicular homicide, but by President Trump’s “blame on both sides” line, which created in America a microcosm of a debate that has been raging for some years in Eastern Europe among historians of World War II and the Holocaust and several Eastern European governments.

The entire Charlottesville debate was over a bogus moral equivalence that Trump drew between American neo-Nazi demonstrators and those who turned out to oppose them. The larger context was about whether those who who fought for slavery and secession in the Civil War are “the same” as those who fought against slavery and for the Union. Magnify that all a hundred-fold to begin to comprehend what is a major intellectual and political push to contextualize the actual Nazi genocide, the Holocaust, within the Hitlerist “freedom fight” against Soviet Communist domination in Eastern Europe.

Such are our times, in which well-presented postmodernist slop can stultify elementary clarity of thought. In the various cases at hand, different versions of the same bogus moral equivalence strategy of argumentation are used, at a minimum, to make prosaic and palatable that which is inherently beyond the pale, such as state-sponsored public-square adulation for those who collaborated in genocide in Eastern Europe (or, indeed, in slavery).

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Posted in Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, United States | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Double Genocide: New and Official Form of Holocaust Denial

12 US Congressmen Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

Congress Letter on Piramont

WASHINGTON—A resolute letter (facsimile below; as PDF) signed by twelve United States congressmen to the president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, was released here today. Dated 28 July 2017, the letter expresses American “opposition to the conversion of the old Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports into a convention center on the site of the old Jewish cemetery.” It asserts that “the very presence of the existing structure in the middle of the old Jewish cemetery desecrates it and conflicts with the respect for human dignity that forms the basis of Western Civilization. By contrast, moving the convention center project to another site, and permitting the dismantling of the abandoned Sports Palace it was to replace, would affirm the Lithuanian government’s commitment to basic human rights.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 12 US Congressmen Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery