Bold Citizens Speak Out

See also:
BOLD CITIZENS PAGE at:
http://defendinghistory.com/bold-citizens

Vilnius Workshop, Monday 10 April, on Self-Identity & Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



EVENTS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS | ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS

VILNIUS—An invitation has been extended by the office of Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas to all interested colleagues to attend a seminar in Vilnius Old Town this Monday, 10 April 2017, from 1 to 5 PM (1300 to 1700) at the campus of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University on “Self-Identity and the Old Jewish Cemetery.” People who can only stop in for part of the event may come and go as needed.

MONDAY 10 APRIL

Come and visit between 1 and 5 PM at Workshop on Self-Identity and the Old Jewish Cemetery, at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Traku Street 1, corner of Pylimo, entrance from Pylimo. Defending History’s section, opposition tracker, and paper trail.

EVERYBODY WELCOME

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Vilnius Workshop, Monday 10 April, on Self-Identity & Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Lithuanian Jewish Community Chairperson Faina Kukliansky Issues Powerful Statement on Annual “Holiday” that Humiliates Jews and Roma



ANTISEMITISM  |  UŽGAVĖNĖS / SHROVETIDE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ROMA RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Lithuanian Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky today issued a powerful statement on the community’s website condemning the newest call from some top politicians asking the population to revere a national holiday in Lithuania, Užgavėnės, or Shrovetide, that falls this year tomorrow, 28 February 2017. Defending History has been (intermittently) monitoring the day since 2008, as part of the mission to monitor antisemitism and racism, and to cover those sectors of Human Rights that tend to be wholly ignored by the lavishly funded, official human rights organizations here in the Lithuanian capital.

UPDATES AND INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE:

International Business Times; Lzinios.ltMako.co.il

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Racism, Roma | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jewish Community Chairperson Faina Kukliansky Issues Powerful Statement on Annual “Holiday” that Humiliates Jews and Roma

Defending History’s 2017 People of the Year



three-winners-1

As 2017 gets underway, Defending History is proud to honor three Vilnius personalities, this year all from its Orthodox Jewish community, who have stood up for cherished principles against powerful forces. In all cases, the principles defended pertain also to human rights more generally. Their courage and determination can serve as an example to all who defend human rights and history even when it is inconvenient and draws the ire of power-invested institutions that are often associated with state-supported entities.

The three honorees are, in alphabetical order, Ruta Bloshtein, Rabbi Kalev Krelin, and Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky. On Facebook. See from previous years the Prophet Amos Human Rights Awards and the 2014 Person of the Year.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chabad in Vilnius, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Defending History’s 2017 People of the Year

“Surreal” Nov. 29th Vilnius Public Debate on Street Named for Nazi Collaborator


[LAST UPDATE]

In Vilnius, City Council Holds “Surreal” Public Debate on 29 Nov. 2016 on Street Name Honoring a Nazi Collaborator; But Will the Mayor (Who Did Not Attend) Ever Speak Out with Moral Clarity?

Keynote speaker was Mark Adam Harold, the British born city councillor who “courageously and dramatically” proposed renaming the street that currently honors Nazi collaborator K. Škirpa.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on “Surreal” Nov. 29th Vilnius Public Debate on Street Named for Nazi Collaborator

Surreal Vilnius City Council Public Debate on Street Named for Nazi Collaborator



But Will the Mayor (Who Did Not Attend) Ever Speak Out with Moral Clarity?

Keynote speaker was Mark Adam Harold, the British born city councillor who “courageously and dramatically” proposed renaming the street that currently honors Nazi collaborator K. Škirpa.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Surreal Vilnius City Council Public Debate on Street Named for Nazi Collaborator

Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016)



The Defending History Community Mourns our Colleague

LEONIDAS DONSKIS

13 August 1962 — 21 September 2016


HIS WORK IN DEFENDING HISTORY INCLUDES ESSAYS ON:

Inflation of the word “genocide” and criminalization of debate

The campaign against Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi Soviet partisans and its implications

Response to proposals to “reevaluate” the Hitlerist LAF and Provisional Government collaborators of 1941

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Free Speech & Democracy, Leonidas Donskis, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016)

Vanagaitė and Zuroff’s “Mūsiškiai”


[last update]


For the first time, a Lithuanian author teamed up with an Israeli Holocaust scholar in search for the truth about widespread local enthusiasm, seventy-five years ago, for mass murder of civilian neighbors, and today’s failures in coming to grips with that history, in a land of hundreds of Jedwabnes. A genuine historic advance in Lithuanian-Jewish relations is seen in the startling partnership of Rūta Vanagaitė and Dr. Efraim Zuroff in Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai: Kelionė su priešu (“Our People: Journey with an Enemy”), published in Vilnius in January 2016. See also the media tracking page on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Operation Last Chance website.

English   Lithuanian   German   Polish   Russian

The following listing of coverage by language (English, Lithuanian, Russian, Polish) is far from exhaustive. The humongous reaction needs to be studied in its own right.

Nov. 2017 Update: Renewed media conflagration launched by the author’s 26 October 2017 PR rollout of multiple initiatives, two of which were directly relevant to the legacy of Mūsiškiai.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Documents, Efraim Zuroff, History, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vanagaitė and Zuroff’s “Mūsiškiai”

Some High Latvian Politicians Think the Waffen SS Fought for Freedom



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  LATVIA  |  ANNUAL WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGA

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Aleksandrs Feigmanis

Dr. Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

There are here in Latvia some high-ranking Latvian politicians who actually believe that the country’s Waffen SS fighters fought for freedom of their country. Every year on the 16th of March Latvian nationalists gather at the Freedom Monument in the heart of Riga, the nation’s capital, and in the cemetery at Lestene, a village some seventy-two kilometers from Riga, to remember and honor (honor!) the living and dead veterans of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS.

Established by order of Adolf Hitler on the 10th of February 1943, they fought for Nazi Germany against the Red Army on the Volkhov front near Leningrad, and later in Great River region, Kurzeme (Kurland), in Poland, Germany and elsewhere.

Although the alarming series of annual events commemorating and glorifying the Latvian SS Volunteer Legion events are now officially non-governmental, some MPs and even ministers do not hesitate to not only participate publicly, setting an example for the nation’s youth, but also to publicly refer to Waffen SS legionnaires as heroes and national freedom fighters. Had Hitler won the war, there would have been no Latvia left to become free in 1991. By swearing and oath to Adolf Hitler’s genocidal regime, and then in fact delaying the liberation of the concentration camps by the Allies, they were pawns of the Nazis who do not deserve to be glorified by a modern, democratic member of the European Union and NATO.

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Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Some High Latvian Politicians Think the Waffen SS Fought for Freedom

DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators



FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  BOLD CITIZENS

VILNIUS—The latest in a long line of court appearance demanded by summons of Defending History author Evaldas Balčiūnas, will be held this Monday, 13 June, at 1:30 PM (13:30) at Vilnius County Court at Laisves Prospektas 79A, courtroom 019.   

COME SUPPORT EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS MONDAY 13 JUNE 2016, 1:30 PM (13:30), VILNIUS COUNTY COURT, LAISVĖS PROSPEKTAS 79A, ROOM 019

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators

Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day



PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM   |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė  (with additional input and photos by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, and Julius Norwilla)

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PHOTO: EVALDAS BALCIUNAS FOR DH

Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march. On the contrary there are many signs of both tolerance and support from very high places, including the permits to march granted by the municipality (no comment from the mayor?) and other relevant authorities.

Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day: “Without any obstacles, we received from the municipality an official permit to march [this day] on the main boulevard of Vilnius.” The official march was concluded several hours earlier and the heads of state apparently rested quietly as the neo-Nazis proceeded to take over the city center, from Cathedral to Parliament, a route rich in symbolic power.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day

Evaldas Balčiūnas Back in Vilnius Court on 21 January 2016



COME AND SUPPORT DH STAFF WRITER EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS (WHO ALERTED ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD TO NOREIKA MONUMENTS IN 2012). HE IS REPEATEDLY LUGGED INTO COURT FOR HIS ARTICLES  PROTESTING GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST PERPETRATORS AND NEO-NAZI MARCHES.

EVALDAS

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Evaldas Balčiūnas Back in Vilnius Court on 21 January 2016

When Both Law Enforcement and Politicians Cover Up Racism



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM  |  ROMA  |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

A Nigerian citizen was attacked with a knife and injured in Kaunas, Lithuania, earlier this month. Trying hard to avoid describing the assault as a racially motivated hate crime, law enforcement officials and the mainstream media alike explained that the incident was purely part of a private dispute. Strange to tell, reading through official statistics you would rapidly come to the conclusion that racist and xenopohobic crimes in Lithuania stand at about zero. And, that neo-Nazi minded youth are “just patriotic.” 

It is no great secret in this part of the world that law enforcement officials and some politicians like to beautify the statistics, or to terminate or redefine proceedings brought in respect of racial or xenophobic hatred. One example comes to mind from 2011, when MPs J. Narkevičius and E. Zingeris appealed to the General Prosecutor’s Office to do something about  the neo-Nazi ideology espoused in the song “Diktatūra” by the group “Šalčininkų rajonas” (Šalčininkai District). 

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on When Both Law Enforcement and Politicians Cover Up Racism

Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Andrius Kulikauskas

01-SkirpaRastikisKlimasLozoraitisBurauskaite

As of October 28, 2015, the home page of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania has a link to an authorative statement by General Director Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė about Kazys Škirpa. She responds to a request for information by the City of Kaunas, which has a street in Škirpa’s name. Škirpa was Lithuania’s representative in Berlin, the leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front, organizer of Lithuania’s anti-Soviet rebellion and Prime Minister of Lithuania’s Provisional Government in 1941. In bold letters she emphasizes:

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)

As Rothschild Conference Winds Up in Vilnius, Kaunas Religious Jewish Community Issues Statement of Defiance



VILNIUS—The controversial Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) London conference on Jewish cemeteries wound up here in the Lithuanian capital yesterday afternoon with a triumphant press release that seemed to suggest that there are no serious objections to a $25,000,000 convention center in the middle of the old Jewish cemetery (the release says little about most of the diverse topics and academic contributions that made up the bulk of the actual academically and culturally rich event). A dozen delegates contacted by DefendingHistory.com had no idea from one-sided conference presentations that there was a highly specific, budgeted-for decision taken for the multimillion dollar facility not necessarily appropriate for a historic cemetery where thousands of people’s remains are interred. They were under the impression that there is some consultative, respectful dialogue between the different sides. There was much more they were not told about.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Comments Off on As Rothschild Conference Winds Up in Vilnius, Kaunas Religious Jewish Community Issues Statement of Defiance

Wiesenthal Center Praises Vytautas Bruveris’s Call for Investigating Scope of Local Holocaust Participation



TAURAGĖ  (TÁVRIK), LITHUANIA—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised an op-ed in the popular Lithuanian news portal Lrytas.lt by prominent journalist Vytautas Bruveris calling upon the government to finally undertake a comprehensive investigation of the scope of Lithuanian complicity in Holocaust crimes. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who is currently in Lithuania on a research expedition, the Center expressed its appreciation and support for the content of the article and expressed the hope that the government would indeed implement the ideas raised by Bruveris.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Efraim Zuroff, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Praises Vytautas Bruveris’s Call for Investigating Scope of Local Holocaust Participation

“Absolute Barbarism”: An Orthodox Jewish Resident of Vilnius Speaks Out on Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Cemetery



O P I N I O N     /     T H E   C E M E T E R Y   A T   P I R A M Ó N T

by Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein

Ruta Bloshtein

Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein

This week we Jews observed the saddest day in our people’s tradition — Tisha B’Av (Yiddish: Tíshebov), the annual fast day which commemorates the anniversary of a number of disasters in Jewish history, primarily the destruction of both the first and second temples in Jerusalem. On this day of mourning and lamentation we fast. While sitting on the floor and reading the Book of Lamentations and the Kinoys (sacred poems of mourning), I thought about the Tíshebov tradition of visiting graves of our great sages and of departed family members.

In Vílne (Vilnius), this tradition was observed for ages by visiting the Piramónt cemetery, where throughout a period of more than five hundred years hundreds of thousands have been buried there — the Jews of Vílne, our ancestors among them — and so many illustrious rabbis and sages, who passed on the infinite treasures of their wisdom to us, to help us find the most honest and ethical way of life. It is, in our belief, on account of their merits that the rebuilding of the third temple will come sooner.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein | Tagged , , | Comments Off on “Absolute Barbarism”: An Orthodox Jewish Resident of Vilnius Speaks Out on Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Cemetery

The June 2015 Memorial for the Lietūkis Garage Massacre in Kaunas, Lithuania



O P I N I O N   /   E Y E W I T N E S S   A C C O U N T

by Julius Norwilla

To mark the 74th anniversary of one of the iconic events of the Lithuanian Holocaust, the infamous Lietūkis Garage Massacre of 27 June 1941, the Kaunas Jewish Community organized its annual memorial event at the site, last Friday, 26 June 2015. The massacre, carried out by local Lithuanian “patriots” wearing the white armbands of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), butchered dozens of Jewish passers-by at a garage on Kaunas’s Vytautas Avenue, using a variety of execution methods, including clubbing to death with crowbars, and particularly, forcing water from high-pressure hoses into bodily orifices of the victims until they burst. A growing crowd, including women holding up their young children to get the best views, cheered them on.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The June 2015 Memorial for the Lietūkis Garage Massacre in Kaunas, Lithuania

A New Book on the Kaunas (Kovno) Ghetto by Arūnas Bubnys



O P I N I O N   /   B O O K S

by Geoff Vasil

This small book, brought out in three separate editions (English, Lithuanian, Russian) by the state-supported Genocide Center, looks more like a brochure than anything else. The cover features the author’s name, in small type, above all else, then a larger Kaunas Ghetto, then a line with the years 1941-1944, against a backdrop of a computerized dark blue sky above a “tasteful” black-and-white picture of Jews lined up in columns inside Kaunas ghetto. The computerized dark blue wraps around the spine to the back cover where some vague lines comprise a hand-drawn map of the streets making up Kaunas ghetto, an ISBN number in white above UPC Bookland barcode featuring the same number again, and then a web address, www.genocid.lt.  I found myself staring at the internet address and wondering what language that was supposed to be. Lithuanian is always “genocidas” and “genocid” isn’t possible as any permutation or declension of the noun, and of course English is “genocide.” Perhaps it’s Russian in Latin-letter transcription? But that would contradict the nationalist and ethnic bias of the publisher, the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian Residents where Arūnas Bubnys is a leading figure. Perhaps “genocid” is someone’s notion of a non-English and yet international form of the word, formed by reducing it from the Lithuanian nominative case ending -as? I checked my favorite search engine, and of course the Lithuanian organization’s webpage came up first, but was soon followed by a wikipedia and wiktionary entry for the Croatian word.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Double Games, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A New Book on the Kaunas (Kovno) Ghetto by Arūnas Bubnys

New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

When I wrote several years ago (Lithuanian; English) about the monument erected to Juozas Barzda at Iešnalis Lake, I thought it must have been some sort of misunderstanding.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians

Jewish Community of Lithuania Issues Statement on Neo-Nazis’ March in Central Vilnius



VILNIUS—The Jewish Community of Lithuania today issued a statement concerning yesterday’s far-right march for which state powers again allocated the capital’s most prestigious central boulevard and a march route starting at Gediminas’ Hill and the Cathedral, and passing by the offices of the prime minister and government and concluding at the nation’s parliament.

The text of the statement, which follows earlier statements and discussions, is as follows:

The Lithuanian Jewish Community does not approve of the march by the Union of Lithuanian Nationalist Youth held on March 11, Lithuanian Independence Day, in Vilnius, because we believe the values publicly espoused by the marchers do not correspond to the principles of the modern democratic state which has been the basis for the creation of Lithuania for the last 25 years.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Jewish Community of Lithuania Issues Statement on Neo-Nazis’ March in Central Vilnius