Shimon Alperovich (1928 – 2014)

Alperovich Memorial on Monday 12 October 2015



Lithuanian Jewish Community remembrance event for its legendary leader for 25 years, the late Dr. Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius, 1928-2014), at 11 AM sharp at  Vilnius Jewish cemetery (Sudervės 28). Tributes upon his death.  Alperovich section in DH.

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Respublika “Slightly” Edits Efraim Zuroff’s Obituary for Shimon Alperovich



M E D I A   W A T C H

Vitas Tomkus’s daily tabloid, Respublika has, alongside its sister title, Vakaro Žinios (Evening News, also owned by Tomkus) in many views inflicted tangible damage upon Lithuania and its image. The papers leave a long trail of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic invective, not seldom in sensationalistic formats that mirror the 1930s.

The most notorious instance was perhaps the 2004 front page featuring the unseemly cartoon of the The Jew and The Gay holding up a globe under the headline “Who runs the world?” recycled (and again, on page 1), in 2009. Vakaro Žinios (Evening News) even featured a sickening photo montage of the then head of the Jewish community Dr. Shimon Alperovich, and a Soviet-era abacus, with text suggesting the Jews were conspiring to defraud the Lithuanian people. More recently, a front page was devoted to a local rabbi with a headline about Jews not having to pay taxes. The word Žydai (Jews) alone was in massive size type, as on numerous occasions, e.g. when the paper accused “The Jews” of plotting to steal the building housing the Culture Ministry. It is almost all out of a dark satire.

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Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Statement on the Death of Lithuanian Jewish Community Leader Dr. Shimon Alperovich


 JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office issued this statement today in the wake of the passing of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the former Chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish community (PDF here):

Wiesenthal Center Mourns the Passing Today of Courageous Leader of Lithuanian Jewish Community

“It is with great sorrow that we learned of the passing last night of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the venerable leader for many years of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Dr. Alperovich displayed great courage and fortitude in leading the renewed Lithuanian Jewish community and fought bravely against the ongoing efforts to minimize local participation in Nazi crimes and the promotion of the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist atrocities.

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Beloved Leader of Lithuanian Jewry, Simon Alperovich, Dies at 85



Dr. Shimon Alperovich

(Simonas Alperavičius)

11 Oct. 1928 — 27 March 2014

Dr. Simon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavicius) by DefendingHistory.com

דר שמעון אַלפּעראָוויטש זל


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Dr. Shimon Alperovich, Former Chairman of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Motivates his Doubts on Plans to Rebuild the Great Synagogue


Dr. Shimon Alperovich, who was chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania from 1992 to earlier this year when he retired, gave an interview today on the contentious subject of the project to rebuild the Great Synagogue in Vilnius’s old town. It was lovingly known in Vilna Yiddish as di gréyse shúl or di shtót-shul.

Dr. Alperovich stressed that he was speaking in a personal capacity.

The interview is available, in Yiddish, on YouTubeContinue reading

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Professor Fridberg’s Question about Mr. Zingeris to Dr. Alperovich, and Dr. Alperovich’s Reply…


Vilnius native and life-long resident Professor Pinchos Fridberg sent the following question to the leadership of the Jewish Community of Lithuania (JCL), and received the following answer. These official English translations, accepted by JCL, are reprinted verbatim, with permission from the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, where the question appears here and the reply here.

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On the Recent Amateur Treatments of the Role of the Provisional Government of 1941 in the Mass Media



O P I N I O N

by Shimon Alperovich

Authorized translation from Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil of the 26 June 2012 statement issued by Dr. Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. Posted on the community’s website at: http://www.lzb.lt/en/home/691-recent.html. According to sources in the community, Dr. Alperovich wrote this in response to an article on Delfi.lt by Vidmantas Valiušaitis called “Why are Historians Afraid of the Facts?” (Lithuanian text here), and when Delfi allegedly declined to publish Dr. Alperovich’s response,  the community placed it on its own webpage and elsewhere.


Recently there has been an increasing number of internet articles by amateur, non-professional authors without training in history expressing approval for the actions of the 1941 Provisional Government of Lithuania toward the Jews of Lithuania, without regard for the antisemitic actions of that government in the context of the mass murder of the Jews of Lithuania already underway at that time.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community earlier provided an assessment of the Lithuanian Activist Front and the Provisional Government.

It is saddening that the authors of these texts choose to ignore the conclusions of professional historians as well as the findings of the special commission established by decree of former president Valdas Adamkus and operating under the Lithuanian government, which clearly and categorically judges the actions of the LAF and PG thus:

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Joint Statement by the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum on the Ceremonies for the Reburial of Juozas Brazaitis (Ambrazevičius)



The following statement, drafted by the head of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, appeared today on the community’s website, and is republished here with permission. Presumably it will appear also on the website of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum. [Update of 15 September 2012: it has not thus far appeared on the museum’s website.]


 

On May 19 and 20 of this year rites to re-inter Juozas Brazaitis (Ambarazevčius), the head of the Provisional Government of Lithuania, and commemorations and events in connection with this will take place in Kaunas.

Every person has the right to leave this world maintaining their inherited traditions and religious convictions. The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum do not protest and are not expressing dissatisfaction over the return of the mortal remains of Juozas Brazaitis (Ambarazevčius) to Lithuania.

Nonetheless, we are deeply hurt because of the ceremonies and events surrounding the reburial ceremony of this controversial political figure. This figure is connected with the actions of the puppet Provisional Government of Lithuania and with the calls by the Lithuanian Activist Front for inciting the mass murder of Jews which led to the execution of barbaric “justice” by the mob.

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Dr. Shimon Alperovich, Chairman of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Blasts “Double Genocide” on Holocaust Remembrance Day


Dr. Shimon Alperovich spoke out on the fashionable — and deeply disturbing — “Double Genocide” theory of World War II at the annual 27 January Holocaust Remembrance Day program held at the Jewish Community of Lithuania’s Vilnius headquarters at Pylimo Street 4.

Video, by Defending History, of Dr. Alperovich’s remarks, delivered in Lithuanian, is available on YouTube.

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Nationalists’ Roundtable Discussion Invites Jewish Community Chairman to ‘Speak about Lithuania’



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

Medieval Lithuania was a colonial power in Europe stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. After the sixteenth-century union with Poland and the eighteenth-century partitions by other European powers that reduced Poland to nothing, Lithuania reemerged as a modern state in the aftermath of World War I based largely on the ethnic boundaries of the Lithuanian population. Then there was the contested region around the capital, Vilnius, the majority of whose population identified themselves as Poles (or Jews, or Belarusians, and others).

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Dr. Shimon Alperovich, chairman of Lithuania’s Jewish Community, Interviewed on Balsas.lt



O P I N I O N

Translation from Balsas.lt, Interview of the Week, 26 September — 2 October 2011. PDF of the original available here.


Antisemitism Still Felt in Lithuania

September 23rd is the Day of Remembrance of the Genocide of Lithuanian Jews.
The victims of the Vilna Ghetto liquidated in 1943 are honored on this day.

[Interview by] Julija Kiško

During the war the Nazis essentially exterminated the Jewish community of Lithuania and the unique culture they created. Chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community Simon Alperovich shares his thoughts on the past and present.

Assessing the Holocaust

What hasn’t the Lithuanian Government, in your opinion, yet done in assessing the Holocaust and its aftermath? Balsas.lt Week asked S. Alperovich.

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“This Campaign Makes Me Really Angry”



O P I N I O N

by Shimon Alperovich

The following is Rachel Croucher’s authorized translation of the interview with Lithuanian Jewish Community chairperson Dr. Shimon Alperovich published in German by Frank Brendle in Taz.de.


YEAR OF REMEMBRANCE: In the Lithuanian year of remembrance the Holocaust is under threat of being forgotten while surviving Jewish partisans have been the subject of a campaign for some years. Conversation with Simonas Alperavičius, President of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. INTERVIEW BY FRANK BRENDLE, 04.02.2011

Mr Alperavičius, the 70th anniversary of the Nazi occupation of Lithuania falls this year, as well as twenty years of independence from the Soviet Union. What will take priority?

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Jewish Community of Lithuania Writes to Lithuania’s President After Foreign Minister’s Antisemitic Tirade



[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION OF THE LITHUANIAN ORIGINAL]

This letter was approved unanimously at a meeting of the board  of directors of the Lithuanian Jewish Community on October 14, 2010, in which 21 board members participated.

To the President of the Republic of Lithuania
Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė
15 October 2010

Your Excellency,

The Lithuanian Jewish Community wishes to express its great concern concerning the thoughts expressed by the foreign minister of the Republic of Lithuania, A. Ažubalis, which sow discord between Lithuanians and Jews.

Reports have appeared in the mass media that A. Ažubalis said that “Everyone knows very well” by whom this law (Lithuanian dual citizenship) is most needed, and explained that Jews of Lithuanian origin are the main force pushing this law to the forefront. Moreover, the politician hinted that they probably expect to regain property here more
easily in this manner.

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Dr Shimon Alperovich turns 82


Dr Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, turned 82. Notwithstanding his age and various health issues, he continues to provide proud, courageous, vigorous and independent leadership for the Jewish community at a time when various government agencies continue to pursue painfully disingenuous policies on a range of Jewish issues, including Holocaust history, antisemitism and restitution. His series of public statements (some produced in translation on the Bold Citizens page) have made the Lithuanian Jewish community a de facto champion of the battle for tolerance, multiculturalism and historic forthrightness throughout the region.  Happy Birthday!  Photo: Sebastian Pammer.

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Jewish Community’s Alperovich Writes to Parliament, as Government’s ‘History Apartheid’ Becomes Official Policy


Dr Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, has written to the chairperson of the Lithuanian parliament, MP Irena Degutienė, concerning the most recent travesty of the government’s ‘Jewish merry-go-round’, as one Western ambassador put it, off the record, during yesterday’s German National day event at Vilnius’s Old Town Hall.

At the September 21st commemorative ceremony at Ponar (Paneriai), the mass murder site of 100,000 civilians  (70,000 of them Jewish), mostly at the hands of the Nazis’ fascist collaborators here, the government’s MP Emanuelis Zingeris (now head of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee), boasted of a parliamentary resolution to declare 2011 the year of Holocaust Remembrance in Lithuania.Continue reading

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Jewish Community Protests Plans to Glorify the Collaborationist 1941 ‘Provisional Government’


The Jewish Community of Lithuania issued an eloquent public statement on  7 Sept 2010 (English translation here), following the proliferation of comments from high society circles of politics, academia and the media which sanitize and in some instances glorify the Nazi-collaborationist Provisional Government (see for example here and here).

Often lurking just under the surface is the closely  related question of the 1941 ‘L.A.F.’ (Lithuanian Activists’ Front), whose campaign of murder of Jewish civilians in effect launched the Lithuanian Holocaust.  They too are glorified by various antisemitic historians and by the state sponsored Genocide Museum in the capital’s center.

The barbaric rampage of murder was underway before the arrival at these sites of Nazi German forces in late June of 1941 (background here; information on specific towns here). The far-right establishment has been looking for a quick sanitization of  fascist heroes (recast as ‘brave anti-Soviet partisans’) in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the events in 2011.

The state-sponsored Genocide Museum in the center of Vilnius fails to even mention the L.A.F.’s murderous role in initiating the Holocaust locally, referring to its members exclusively as anti-Soviet rebels (failing to mention only the ‘detail’ that the Soviets were fleeing the German Nazi invasion, not them). Continue reading

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Front Page Image of the Head of the Jewish Community with a Soviet-era Abacus


Image from the front page of the daily Vakaro zinios: a photomontage of the elected 80 year old chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania and a Soviet-era abacus.

The headline and accompanying article on p. 4 suggest that ‘the Jews’ are plotting to expropriate money from the country.

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Jewish Community and Union of Ghetto Survivors Speak Out Again on Harassment of Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Resistance



O P I N I O N

by Shimon Alperovich and Tuvia Jafet


VILNIUS, 1 SEPTEMBER 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY VALDAS ADAMKUS, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

ČESLOVAS JURŠĖNAS, SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

GEDIMINAS KIRKILAS, PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

ALGIMANTAS VALANTINAS, PROSECUTOR GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

The Lithuanian Jewish Community did not fail to notice the quite rapid reaction of the country’s President and Prime Minister, who urged law enforcement authorities and special services to find as quickly as possible the criminals (and their masterminds) who organized the attack on the LJC building in Vilnius on August 9-10.

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Jewish Community and Union of Ghetto Survivors Speak Out on Harassment of Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Resistance



O P I N I O N

by Shimon Alperovich and Tuvia Jafet

The following Open Letter was published today by the Jewish Community of Lithuania in partnership with the Union of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners.


VILNIUS, 19 JUNE 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY VALDAS ADAMKUS, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

ČESLOVAS JURŠĖNAS, SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

GEDIMINAS KIRKILAS, PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

ALGIMANTAS VALANTINAS,
PROSECUTOR GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

The prosecutors of Lithuania do not cease to persecute anti-Nazi Jewish partisans. The Prosecution Service’s claims that “hundreds of witnesses are being questioned” are belied by the fact that only Jewish names are being heard in the media: Yitzhak Arad, Fania Brantsovsky, Rachel Margolis, and others.

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