Arts

Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation



BOOKS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Linas Vildžiūnas

The following English translation, by Laurynas Vaičiūnas, of Linas Vildžiūnas’s review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai appeared today in New Eastern Europe (as PDF). 

A book review of Mūsiškiai (Ours). By: Rūta Vanagaitė. Publisher: Alma littera, Vilnius, 2016.

What makes Rūta Vanagaitė’s Ours (Mūsiškiai) very different from all other Lithuanian books on the Holocaust is that it was from the start written as a bestseller. Written by an experienced public relations professional as an appeal to the Lithuanian public, the book raises the painful issue of historical responsibility. The author does not refrain from giving a personal twist to the story (it would be impossible otherwise, as the Holocaust is an issue of individual position and individual responsibility). The author is piercingly direct and uses black comedy. She approaches the topic with composure and a sense of supremacy. These two features may irritate the reader. However, she is entitled to it as she aims to confront the reader, which she so eloquently achieves.

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Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation

A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  MUSEUMS

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

VILNIUS—The Litvak world, internationally fragmented and weak, yet so vibrant and creative, has been cheered by news reports of the new shtetl museum to rise in the near future in Shádev, a Lithuanian town of many centuries of Jewish heritage where a great rabbinic personality, Reb Móyshe Ha-Góyle (“Moses the Exile”, Méyshe Ha-Géyle in deep Litvish pronunciation, Moshé Ha-Golé in Israeli Hebrew) thrived in the fifteenth century.

A good shtetl museum here will be a blessing to the Litvak, European Jewish, Yiddish and shtetl heritage internationally. It will be a blessing to modern, democratic Lithuania. To this day, the basket of idols of the contemporary Jewish market downplays the magnitude of Yiddish language, literature, and culture, shtetl culture and heritage, and the magnificent East European Jewish legacy more generally. News media have gone with reports by AFP and by JTA, and there is more on the project’s website.

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Posted in Arts, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)

Danny Ben-Moshe’s “Rewriting History” Back in Melbourne



Melbourne: Tíshebov Showing of the Documentary Film Rewriting History

Topics Include: Double Genocide, Holocaust Revisionism, the Lithuanian Holocaust, the Prague Declaration, the Seventy Years Declaration and the Campaign against Jewish Partisan Veterans

Reviews of the Film

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Posted in 70 Years Declaration, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Arts, Australia, Danny Ben-Moshe, Film, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Danny Ben-Moshe’s “Rewriting History” Back in Melbourne

Graffiti Debate on Hitler in a Vilnius Housing Complex



P H O T O G R A P H Y

by Julius Norwilla

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Posted in Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Graffiti Debate on Hitler in a Vilnius Housing Complex

Последняя книга поэта А.Босаса



МНЕНИЕ

Милан Херсонский

 ◊

Вянваре прошлого, 2014-го года из печати вышла новая книга стихов литовского поэта, публициста, члена Международной  ассоциации «Литва без  нацизма»  Александраса Босаса под названием «IŠ  TEN SUGRĮŽTANTIEMS. Apie ŠOA RIMTAI IR SU IRONIJA» («ТЕМ, КТО ВОЗВРАЩАЕТСЯ ОТТУДА. О ШОА СЕРЬЁЗНО И С ИРОНИЕЙ». yyyyyyyДалее «Тем, кто возвращается оттуда» – М.Х.).  А.Босас  стал первым в истории литовской литературы поэтом, который не только обратился к самой болезненной и негласно табуированной теме в истории Литвы – к теме Шоа, – но и посвятил ей не одно и не несколько стихотворений, а всю третью, к сожалению, последнюю книгу. В ней поэт не шопотом и не намёками, а «во весь голос» открыто и откровенно заявил о своём отношении к трагедии Шоа и так называемого «окончательного решения еврейского вопроса».

В годы нацистской оккупации германские нацисты при активной добровольной помощи весьма значительного количества организованных и вооружённых местных гражданских лиц, вступивших в военизированные подразделения полиции, уничтожили почти всю еврейскую общину, которая до Второй мировой войны была самой знаменитой и высокоразвитой общиной всемирной еврейской диаспоры в первой половине ХХ века. Евреи представляли в Литве  самое многочисленное национальное меньшинство населения. Еврейская община жила в мире и согласии с местным литовским, польским, русским населением, с другими национальными группами.

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Posted in Aleksandras Bosas, Arts, In Russian, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Milan Chersonski | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Последняя книга поэта А.Босаса

Poetry Section Launched


VILNIUS—Defending History today announced its launch of a modest poetry section which will aim to harness the inspire the work of East European poets whose work includes verse in defense of history and human rights and exposing racism and antisemitism.

The section starts with the work of two poets in Lithuania: Ken Slade’s My Dream of When the Witch is Found; and Nine Poems by the late Aleksandras Bosas (1951-2014), a posthumous awardee of Defending History’s inaugural series of Prophet Amos Awards for Human Rights for 2014-2015.

Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Lithuania, News & Views, Poetry | Comments Off on Poetry Section Launched

Peter Jukes Tweets on Documentary that Glorifies Alleged Nazi Collaborator



O P I N I O N

LONDON—British author Peter Jukes, best known for his screenplays, literary criticism and political journalism, tweeted last week on the release in the United States of a new documentary film that heroizes certain postwar anti-Soviet “forest brothers” in Lithuania. The film, “The Invisible Front,” that premiered in Greenwich Village’s prestigious Cinema Village theater on 7 November, fails to even mention the view that various of the specific figures it glorifies for their post 1944 activities were in fact alleged recycled Nazi collaborators of 1941. That was the year when, in the days following the Nazi invasion launched on 22 June, the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) started butchering local civilian Jews, often elderly rabbis or young women, before the first German forces had arrived. Premeditation becomes evident from perusal of the LAF’s prewar leaflets.

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Latvian Musical that Sanitizes Holocaust Perpetrator Starts its Grand Tour



New Musical, “Sugar Herbert Sugar” Glorifies Herberts Cukurs

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REACTIONS & REPORTS:

From Jerusalem: EFRAIM ZUROFF IN I24; IN THE JERUSALEM POST; IN THE LONDON JEWISH CHRONICLE

From Riga: ALEKSANDRS FEIGMANIS IN DEFENDING HISTORY

From Liepaja: MIKE COLLIER REVIEWS PREMIERE IN LSM.LV

ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTS

Tickets sold online for performances around the country. About the show. Signature tune released on YouTube (Would they have done better with the old Archies version of “Sugar Sugar” or Just “Springtime for Hitler”?)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Latvian Musical that Sanitizes Holocaust Perpetrator Starts its Grand Tour

Wiesenthal Center Condemns “Miss Hitler” Contest on Russia’s Largest Social Network



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed outrage at the announcement of an online beauty pageant for “Miss Hitler 2014” as publicized by a neo-Nazi group on VKontakte, Russia’s largest social networking service. Contestants who are supporters of Nazism and sufficiently antisemitic may submit a Nazi-themed selfie to compete for this dubious prize.

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The Holocaust: A Photographic and Musical Tribute



O P I N I O N   /   M U S I C

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

 

MUSICAL AND PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION HERE

 

I know persons within my circle of acquaintances who refuse to look at the terrible pictures that this video exhibits. Photographs of Jewish victims of beatings, slayings.  Pictures of dead Jewish victims.  Pictures of local collaborators in the process of helping the Nazis in killing Jews.

These persons find those historical pictures too offensive, too terrible, too awful, for their taste.  They are not able too look at them, they are far too sensitive to put up with such awful scenes.

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Massacres of the Jews in Liepāja (Šķēde) in Fall 1941



M U S I C

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

The Nazis tried to hide their crimes against humankind during World War II. They had tried to hide the fact that in the former territories of the USSR they were killing Jews on a colossal scale starting in July 1941. And not only Jews, also anyone suspected of being a communist.

Although many soldiers in the Wehrmacht or the Waffen SS took pictures of Aktionen against the Jews, even kept pictures of massacres or dead Jewish bodies in their wallets, most of these photographic proofs of the Nazi crimes against humanity were destroyed, stolen from their corpses after their deaths, kept at home in Germany by descendants of these heinous and barbarous extermination soldiers, or, sometimes, recuperated by allied nations which kept them and not solely kept them, but displayed them as a testimony to these barbaric events.

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Rumbula and Ponár



M U S I C

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

This composition, Rumbula and Ponár, memorializes the victims of the two most infamous mass murder sites of Latvia and Lithuania, Rumbula outside Riga, and Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai) outside Vilnius. More than 130,000 people were killed in total at these two sites. The majority were Jews but there were many others of diverse ethnic and social background at Ponár.

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Posted in Arts, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Music, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Roland Binet | Comments Off on Rumbula and Ponár

What Riga Ghetto Survivors Recall about Herberts Cukurs, Now “Hero” of New Show in Latvia



O P I N I O N / H I S T O R Y

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Herberts Cukurs (1900-1965) had been an officer and a famous aviator during the years of the interwar Latvian Republic (1918-1940). After Nazi Germany’s 1941 occupation of Latvia, he became a significant figure in the infamous Arājs Kommando (or Sonderkommando Arajs), a notorious killing unit during the Latvian Holocaust. The Arājs group consisted of about 1,200 people, mostly local Latvians. It was established at the beginning of July 1941 within the German security services.

The Arājs Kommando carried out the killing of at least 30,000 Jews in numerous cities and towns in Latvia. The toll included the family of my grandfather in Vilani (in Yiddish Vilon), which occurred at dawn on August 4, 1941. The victims were his parents, and his sisters and their husbands and young children.

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Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on What Riga Ghetto Survivors Recall about Herberts Cukurs, Now “Hero” of New Show in Latvia

Yankl-Yosl Bunk – Jakovas Bunka (1923 – 2014)



Yankl-Yosl Bunk (Jakovas Bunka), Famed Wood Sculptor, Last Jew of Plungyán (Plungė, Lithuania), Dies at 91

His Art Commemorates the Holocaust in Western Lithuania

Was World War II Red Army Veteran of the War Against Hitler

Yankev Bunk

Yankl-Yosl Bunk (13 July 1923 – 30 July 2014)  Photo: Adam Ellick

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Posted in Arts, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries | Comments Off on Yankl-Yosl Bunk – Jakovas Bunka (1923 – 2014)

Is “Sugar Herbert Sugar” the Latvian Version of “Springtime for Hitler”?



New Latvian Musical, “Sugar Herbert Sugar” Glorifies Holocaust Mass Murderer Herberts Cukurs

Tickets now available online for performances around the country. About the show. Signature tune released on YouTube (Would they have done better with the old Archies version of “Sugar Sugar“?)

Are we back to Springtime for Hitler, just focused on celebrating a local mass murderer of Latvian Jewry? Will the hosting venues, including the City Cultural Centers in Jelgava and Valmiera, and prestigious halls in RigaLiepājaRēzekne and Ventspils also be holding memorials for their citizens murdered in the Latvian Holocaust in which Herberts Cukurs, known as the “Hangman of Riga,” took such a personal and violent part?

Produxers, The - Springtime for Hitler Magazine (PSoL 060612) combined (1)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Is “Sugar Herbert Sugar” the Latvian Version of “Springtime for Hitler”?

Latvian Court Downgrades Holocaust While High Society Readies for New “Springtime for Cukurs” Musical



Latvian Constitutional Court Upholds “Double Genocide” Restriction on Free Speech

Opinion that there was one genocide in the country (the Holocaust) remains criminalized by 2014 law, in the spirit of the laws passed in Hungary and Lithuania in 2010

Comment on Eastern EU speech laws by: Milan ChersonskiLeonidas DonskisDovid KatzEfraim Zuroff; See also: FREE SPEECH Section

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At the Same Time: New Latvian Musical (“Sugar, Herbert, Sugar”) Glorifying Holocaust Mass Murderer Herberts Cukurs Rehearsing for October 11th Premiere.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Latvian Court Downgrades Holocaust While High Society Readies for New “Springtime for Cukurs” Musical

Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at Berlin Screening of Juergen Hobrecht’s New Riga Ghetto Film



by Monica Lowenberg

On Sunday 29 June 2014, I had the privilege of participating in the Berlin screening of Juergen Holbrecht’s new documentary film Wir haben es doch erlebt — das Ghetto von Riga. I had translated the English version and done its narration. I was invited to the event by Professor Peter Alexis Albrecht (Frankfurt University) who is also director of the Cajewitz Stiftung and the association for a former Jewish orphanage, today a school, where my father Ernest Lowenberg and his brother, my uncle Paul Lowenberg were given shelter when it was no longer possible for their parents  as Jews to work in Nazi Germany.

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A Jewish Tragedy (Flute and Composition)


 


M U S I C

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

 

Starting in 2009, after my first visit in Riga, I became interested in the fate of the Jews in the Baltic States during the war. I returned several times to Latvia and also visited Estonia and Lithuania. In 2013 while in Riga, I went to see the Rumbula Memorial to see for myself what that well-known and fateful place looked like. That year in Vilnius, I visited the Ponár (Paneriai) memorial site, another of those well-known fateful places.

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Exhibit Honoring Jewish World War II Veterans Disappears Into Vilnius Thin Air



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—Three Vilnius-based members of the Defending History team visited the Pylimo Street section of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania this week, and asked to be shown the famous and widely admired exhibit honoring the Jewish veterans of the war against Hitler in Lithuania. The exhibit, titled Lithuania’s Jews in the Struggle Against Nazism, was opened in a spirit of unity, reconciliation and mutual respect, some fourteen years ago (PDF of the report in the Spring 2000 English edition of the Jewish community’s then quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania, which was edited by Milan Chersonski from 1999 until 2011; JPEG; reduced image below). Its primary author was Joseph Levinson.

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Posted in Arts, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, History, Human Rights, Joseph Levinson, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Exhibit Honoring Jewish World War II Veterans Disappears Into Vilnius Thin Air

Swedish Film Director Speaks Out on the Lithuanian Holocaust, Sort of, a Little Bit



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Jonas Öhman is a Swede who has been coming to Lithuania and living here on and off from almost the beginning of modern independence in the 1990-1991 period. During that time he has produced a number of films, only one of which appears to his credit on the internet film database imdb.com, but all of which deal more or less with a mythologized version of the history of Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans.

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The Jewish Tragedy in the Baltic States



M U S I C

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

 

THE AUTHOR’S MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS:

I   War

II   Ghetto

III   The Killing Pits

IV   Liberation

V   Remembrance

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Artists Knew, Allied Leaders Kept Silent



O P I N I O N

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

 

When I was in New York last year, I saw an extraordinary exhibition of paintings by Marc Chagall, “War, Exile and Love” at the Jewish Museum. The focus was on the works he produced during his years of exile in the United States. This exhibition, well attended, shed an interesting light on what the artist knew about the horrific events unfolding in Europe at the time of his sojourn in the United States.

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Posted in Arts, History, Human Rights, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet, United Kingdom, United States | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Artists Knew, Allied Leaders Kept Silent

Raising Cain on the Resurrection of Abel



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. Genesis 3:13

And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. Genesis 4:10

Driving east out of Rokiškis, fields give way to forest, and the lake country leads on to strange and wild hills in an abandoned quarter of the country bordering Latvia. The lake country is beautiful, almost alpine in its effect, and spotted with small settlements and villages of varying sizes, some even boasting gas stations and schools.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Arts, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Raising Cain on the Resurrection of Abel

Latvian State Dance Troupe Displays Nazi Swastika



R E P O R T / O P I N I O N

by Graeme Atkinson (Hope Not Hate) and Monica Lowenberg (DefendingHistory.com)

Source: HOPE not hate/DefendingHistory.com Sunday, 24 November 2013.


 

Riga dance ensemble swastika Nov 2013

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Celebrations of Fascism, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Racism | Comments Off on Latvian State Dance Troupe Displays Nazi Swastika

A Musical Tribute to the Rumbula Victims



M U S I C   /   O P I N I O N

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

 

SOUND TRACKS OF THE AUTHOR’S COMPOSITIONS:

Rumbula

Threnody

 

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Keep the Local History Out of Mind?



REVIEW OF KEEP ME IN MIND

by Geoff Vasil

 

The Contemporary Art Center’s reading room in Vilnius is hosting an unusual-for-Lithuania Holocaust event called Keep Me in Mind. Briefly, visitors are invited to wander among different tables where good-looking and polite people await them with small boxes and sheaves of papers. When you sit down the narrator at the table tells the story of an individual Holocaust survivor, from childhood to the present. Almost all of the survivors seem to now live in Haifa, Israel. One survivor, Benjamin Ginzburg, came from Vilnius.

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Reviews and Coverage of the Australian Documentary Film “Rewriting History”


[date of last update]


 

www.Rewriting-History.org

FACEBOOK PAGE

US SCREENING TOUR 2013

The film features exclusive commentary by historians Efraim Zuroff and Konrad Kwiet; Survivors Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky and Dobke Yonis; Vilnius activists: former Green House Holocaust museum director Rachel Kostanian and former Vilnius University Yiddish professor Dovid Katz; European parliamentarians Denis MacShaneJohn MannMartin SchulzGert Weisskirchen; Sensational responses from Lithuanian government officials including red-brown commission boss Ronaldas Račinskas and the prosecutor,  Rimvydas Valentukevičius, who “investigates” Holocaust survivors (none of whom were ever charged with anything or received a public apology)MEP Vytautas Landsbergis later withheld permission for inclusion of his own taped interview…

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“Rewriting History” on the Road in the USA



Rewriting History sign in Richmond Virginia

Rewriting History: New Documentary Film on the Shocking New Holocaust Revisionism in Eastern Europe

REVIEWS OF REWRITING HISTORY

Film’s website  ◊  Sign the Seventy Years Declaration  ◊  Donate HERE

April 28th 2013 in LA

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US Documentary Film Maker Releases Correspondence with Yad Vashem on Alliance with Lithuanian “Red-Brown Commission”


The American documentary film maker Richard Bloom, who has produced a number of documentaries on the Holocaust, today released for publication his recent correspondence with Yad Vashem. He said his decision was taken after he failed to receive substantive replies to his recent queries about Yad Vashem rejoining the Lithuanian government’s “red-brown commission.”

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Deception Exposed: The New Documentary Film “Rewriting History”



F I L M

by Graeme Blundell

NOTE: This review appeared in today’s Australian. The original publication is available here and here.


This is one of those documentaries that is so compelling and so confronting it leaves you stunned, a little breathless.

It’s both a kind of contemporary international political thriller and a rigorously researched investigation into a piece of the past and the way it is remembered in the present. Or not remembered, when the truth of that past becomes politically problematic.

The film follows two slightly eccentric professors, the Australian Danny Ben-Moshe from the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University and Dovid Katz who taught Yiddish at Vilnius University, the oldest in Lithuania, as they confront the Lithuanian government.

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It’s Not Just About the New Tuskulėnai “Peace Park” in Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which in Soviet times was the USSR’s only Yiddish amateur theater company. The views he expresses in DefendingHistory are his own. This is an authorized translation from the Russian original.

Photo: Milan Chersonski at this desk at the Jewish Community of Lithuania (image © 2012 Jurgita Kunigiškytė). Milan Chersonski section.


Can you imagine a European Union / NATO government investing millions in setting up a “Peace Park” in its beautiful capital city, in memory of people buried at the site of the park, when hundreds of them were Nazi collaborators who eagerly supported the annihilation of the Jewish population of their country?

Earlier this month, VilNews.com prominently published an article by Vincas Karnila, presented as the Introduction to a series called “The Mass Graves in Tuskulėnai.” It is a panegyric to the employees of the Museum of Genocide in Vilnius and the Center for the Study of Genocide and Resistance for their tireless efforts to establish the Tuskulėnai Peace Park. Readers are informed that six articles will follow. [Update: Subsequent articles in Karnila’s series can be found in www.VilNews.com.]

Tuskulenai Peace Park

We know from official sources that Soviet KGB victims were buried at Tuskulėnai from 1944 to 1947.

Karnila tells us:

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Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Milan Chersonski, Museums, Opinion, Politics of Memory, VilNews.com | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on It’s Not Just About the New Tuskulėnai “Peace Park” in Vilnius

Executive Director of “Red-Brown Commission” Doubts Lithuanian Jews were Killed “on a Racial Basis” Before Arrival of German Forces in 1941



O P I N I O N

A number of viewers of the new Australian documentary film Rewriting History have submitted to DefendingHistory near-identical transcripts of a statement on camera, made to the film’s producers, by the executive director of the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania.”

Known for short as the “red-brown commission,” the state-sponsored body has long been opposed by Holocaust survivors and educators. The commission is responsible for Holocaust education in Lithuania, but has also taken an active political role in promoting the 2008 Prague Declaration and various details of alleged “equality” of Nazi and Soviet crimes. The commission’s website features the Prague Declaration in both English and Lithuanian.

The commission’s executive director, Ronaldas Račinskas, is quoted as saying on camera that his commission does not support “Double Genocide” but that he does support the 2008 Prague Declaration (though he concedes there are passages to be “discussed”). The problem is that the Prague Declaration is the primary document of the Double Genocide movement in Europe.

See also: Mr. Račinskas’s 2011 speech in the Lithuanian parliament; Critiques of his commission; 2015 Update: His call for investigations of Holocaust survivors who joined up with the anti-Nazi partisans.

Mr. Račinskas goes on to say, according to the transcripts provided of his Rewriting History interview:

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Explosive Reactions to Saulius Berzhinis’s New Film on the Holocaust in Jurbarkas (Yúrberik)



O P I N I O N  /  F I L M   R E V I E W

by Milan Chersonski

 

Vilnius film director Saulius Berzhinis

There has recently been extensive Lithuanian media coverage of a conflict between the authorities of the city Jurbarkas, Lithuania, and the film company Filmų Kopa, founded by film director Saulius Berzhinis (Beržinis) and managed by Ona Biveinienė.

To mark the seventieth anniversary of the beginning of World War II in Lithuania and the beginning of the total annihilation of its Jews, the Jurbarkas regional museum commissioned a documentary about Jews who lived in the town before World War II, paid for by the Ministry of Culture and the budget of the municipality. Filmų Kopa was awarded the commission and made a documentary called “When Yiddish was Heard in Jurbarkas.” The town’s name in Yiddish is Yúrberik or Yúrburg.

As the film has become a matter of sharp conflict, it is worthwhile in the first instance to take a good look at the actual product that Filmų Kopa delivered to the residents of Jurbarkas.

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Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Film, Lithuania, Media Watch, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis | Comments Off on Explosive Reactions to Saulius Berzhinis’s New Film on the Holocaust in Jurbarkas (Yúrberik)

Light and Darkness Do Not Mix



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Saulius Beržinis is an astounding filmmaker. Somehow the Lithuanian director of documentaries has a knack for drawing out frank admissions on camera, even from collaborators who recount how they murdered Jews.

Beržinis has a great reputation in Holocaust studies around the world, but, as the saying goes, a prophet is often unrecognized in his native land, and the cloak of invisibility around the Lithuanian Holocaust cast by the activists in the Double Genocide industry has marginalized the documentary maker at home, where his “The Happy Faces of the Murderers” is basically unknown.

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A Hidden Monument in Vilnius — Hopelessly Invisible?


In response to several requests from the United States, DefendingHistory.com this week asked three colleagues who found themselves in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, to try to see the “Flame of Hope” monument, by sculptor Leonardo Nierman, in memory of the victims of the Lithuanian Holocaust, located in the heart of the Old Town, in a yard that was in the Vilna Ghetto between September 1941 and the ghetto’s liquidation three years later.

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‘Day and Night’ is an Epoch-Making Play for Modern Lithuania



O P I N I O N / R E V I E W

by Birutė Ušinskaitė

Cover of playbill

It was just another rainy and not overly cold evening in early December of the year 2011, but the play I was privileged to see at the Kaunas Chamber Theatre, Day and Night, proved to me, a proud Vilnius native and resident, that not all that is bold and brilliant originates in our capital.

For the first time in modern Lithuanian history, in my experience at any rate, a Lithuanian play on the Holocaust did not try to deflect attention ― or responsibility ― to the Germans or to some pseudo-objective forces of society, or to stick to some “kosher” theme like the dilemmas of Gens and the Judenrat in the Vilna Ghetto in order to avoid talking about what is frankly the main point for our country: the voluntary participation of many of our countrymen in the mass murder of the Jewish citizens of our own country, in some cases before the Nazis even arrived.

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Posted in Arts, Birutė Ušinskaitė, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Events, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, VilNews.com | Comments Off on ‘Day and Night’ is an Epoch-Making Play for Modern Lithuania

A ‘Documentary Film’ Tries to Establish the Legend of the ‘Uprising of the Enslaved’



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski at the Lithuanian Parliament. From 1979 to 1999 Chersonski directed the Yiddish Amateur Theater in Vilnius, Lithuania. He worked in various capacities at the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper Jerusalem of Lithuania, publication of The Jewish Community of Lithuania, from its founding in 1989 until the paper was closed in 2011. He was its editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2011. He is now a senior analyst at DefendingHistory.com and contributes to various publications.

On September 28th 2010, the Parliament of Lithuania announced that 2011 would be the Year of Commemoration of Battles for Freedom and Great Losses. This mysterious name of some sort of anniversary appeared exactly a week after the  same year, 2011, was declared the Year of Commemorating the Genocide of Lithuanian Jews. The Jewish Community of Lithuania reacted without delay to the ‘dual track’, apartheidized commemorations.

Now which “battles for freedom” are they talking about in the resolution? What sort of great losses? The resolution does not say specifically. Yes, Lithuanians valiantly rebelled for freedom in 1794, and in 1831, as well as in 1863, and then there were serious demonstrations on behalf of freedom in 1904-1905, and then there were the battles from 1918 to 1920 for the independence and borders of the newly founded state.

But it is impossible to understand exactly which events and which dates they now had in mind from the text of Lithuanian parliamentary resolution no. XI-1038 of September 28th 2010. And this is probably no accident, as shown by the subsequent actions of the Lithuanian government and leading organizations here.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Film, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A ‘Documentary Film’ Tries to Establish the Legend of the ‘Uprising of the Enslaved’

Has LRG Media (UK) been Compromised?


The prestigious British-based LRG Media, a multimedia company with an impressive record of achievements and awards, has apparently been targeted by certain elements in Lithuanian government circles as the latest ‘Naive Useful Foreign Entity’ to help make respectable internationally the state-sponsored campaigns for Double Genocide, Holocaust Obfuscation, and selective toleration of current antisemitism.

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Lithuanian Parliament and Genocide Research Center planning 2011 Film to Sanitize (and Glorify?) the ‘Rebels’ of 1941


Some highly respected international scholars have been persuaded to participate in a film which some leaders of Holocaust Survivor organizations around the world fear will be a cover-up for the main ‘accomplishment’ of the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) and related fascist groups, and their local supporters. These groups, often identified by white armbands and known as white armbanders, had started to carry out murder, molestation and pillage of Jewish neighbors in dozens of locations even before the arrival of German Nazi forces in late June 1941. Many of the same killers went on to serve voluntarily as shooters in the annihilation of most of Lithuanian Jewry in the second half of 1941.

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The Green House


 


 

Pamėnkalnio 12, Vilnius

Note: See also our report on the October 2010 re-opening of the Green House following extensive renovations. Black and white photos below are©Richard Schofield.

Rachel Kostanian, the courageous director, valiantly keeps alive one of the rare local bastions of public integrity on the Holocaust in Lithuania, having constantly to fend off obstacles. Read Esther Goldberg’s portrait in the special Jewish New Year’s supplement on great Jewish women of the ages in the Canadian Jewish News (8 Sept 2010).  A follow-up article on Rachel Kostanian’s epic struggle for truth in Holocaust history appeared a month later (7 Oct 2010).

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Posted in Arts, EU, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Green House