Books

Yiddish Author Aaron Garon’s New Book to Feature at 20 Feb. Yiddish Reading Circle



BOOKS  |  EVENTS  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY

by Dovid Katz

The Vilna Yiddish Reading Circle, now in its twentieth year and open to all, announced today that its weekly session on Wednesday evening 20 February (as usual, from 6 PM sharp at the Vilnius Jewish Community at Mesiniu 3 in Vilnius Old Town) would be dedicated to the just-published handsome book of essays, articles and memoirs by the beloved Yiddish (and Lithuanian language) journalist Aaron Garon (1919−2009). The book, Di yídishe velt fun Vílne (The Jewish World of Vilna) is a collection of some of his Yiddish prose (essays and memoirs) with full Lithuanian translation, published in avant-garde vertical format, designed by the prominent young book-design maestro Greg Zundelovitch. It was brought out by the author’s children, longtime Israeli residents Tamara and Evgeni Garon, thanks to support from the Lithuanian government’s Good Will Foundation.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yiddish Author Aaron Garon’s New Book to Feature at 20 Feb. Yiddish Reading Circle

Did Latvia’s Foreign Minister Just Honor an Author for a Book that Spews Antisemitism and “Explains” the Holocaust?



OPINION  |  LATVIA   |   FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND HOLOCAUST POLITICS  |   GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  BOOKS  | ANTISEMITISM

by Alexander Gilman (Riga)

Latvia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs seems to have found a brand new idol and role model — Ludwig Seya, who had been a diplomat in the prewar Latvian Republic for 22 years. For a short time he was a minister, but mostly he held ambassadorships to various countries. After Latvia was annexed to the Soviet Union he taught at the main Latvian university in Riga. In 1944 he was arrested by the Nazis for underground activities in the Latvian Central Council, a union of pre-war politicians and intellectuals who tried to persuade the West to insist on the independence of Latvia after World War II. After being liberated from the concentration camp on the territory of Poland, Seya was arrested by the Soviet military authorities and sent to a Stalinist gulag.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Books, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Did Latvia’s Foreign Minister Just Honor an Author for a Book that Spews Antisemitism and “Explains” the Holocaust?

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.

Continue reading

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”

Books in the Debate to Late 2017


[updated] 


In the Debate to Late 2017

YEAR OF PUBLICATION VARIES.  

See DH’s BOOKS SECTION

Andriukaitis (reviewed by Vasil)

Bankier [Kuniuchowsky Collection] (reviewed by Zuroff)

Berlin (notice of appearance in Defending History)

Bubnys (reviewed by Katz; by Vasil)

Cassedy (reviewed by Katz;  by Nadler;  by Zabludoff;  by Zuroff)

Continue reading

Posted in Books, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Books in the Debate to Late 2017

Academic Studies Press Launches ‘Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism’ (JCA) Edited by Clemens Heni



EVENTS  |  BOOKS  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  CLEMENS HENI

BERLIN—As the first issue of Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism (JCA) rolled off the presses this week, there was widespread hope that the field of Antisemitism Studies, particularly in Europe, had achieved a notable and reinvigorating breakthrough. What with the entanglements of “larger politics,” both anti-Israel politics in Western Europe, and Holocaust-revisionist politics in Eastern Europe, and right in the midst of populist movement ascendancy and the new east-west Cold War with Putin’s dictatorial and dangerous Russia, the field has long been stymied in Europe. One major factor has been the unhelpful attitude of some of the major European institutions (and at times, even Western embassies in Eastern Europe and major Western organizations) that have covered for antisemitism by arranging “staged” events that cover up for the current issues rather than address them. Finally there is a journal whose inaugural issue’s message from the editor makes clear that it will break the lame taboos of recent years in the field.

Capture

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Books, Clemens Heni, Double Genocide, Events, Human Rights, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Academic Studies Press Launches ‘Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism’ (JCA) Edited by Clemens Heni

Harvard Publishes “Catalog of the Leyzer Ran Collection in Harvard College Library”



BOOKS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

Image (279)VILNIUS—As the first small shipment of Harvard Library’s new book, Catalog of the Leyzer Ran Collection in the Harvard College Library arrived this week in the Lithuanian capital, there was widespread satisfaction that at least a tabulation of the contents of Leyzer Ran’s extensive archive of Jewish Vilna is finally available. The collection was bequeathed to Harvard University where the Library maintains it as a distinct entity with its own name, space, and now, a handsome catalogue brought out by Harvard University. Leyzer Ran (1912-1995) is widely considered to be the primary postwar chronicler of the centuries-old unique Jewish civilization of the city known in Yiddish as Vílne, Yerusholáyim d’Líte — Vilna, Jerusalem of Lithuania. The newly appeared catalogue was compiled and edited by Dr. Charles Berlin, who is Head of Judaica at Harvard Library and Harvard University’s Lee M. Friedman Bibliographer in Judaica.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Harvard Publishes “Catalog of the Leyzer Ran Collection in Harvard College Library”

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.

READ MOREAS PDF.

 

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

Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder


[last updated]


 ◊

THE LATEST

Reviews of Bloodlands

Reviews of Black Earth

Instrumentalization?

2012   2013   2014   2015   2016

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

Continue reading

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

Simon Malkes Perpetuates Memory of Vilna Rescuer Karl Plagge



MEMOIRS  |  BOOKS  |  HISTORY

by Simon Malkes (Paris)

Simon Malkes

SIMON MALKES

I was born in 1927 in the city whose official name was then Wilno, Poland (historically Vilna, today’s Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania). When I was fourteen, the Nazis took over the city, began murdering its Jewish population and set up the Vilna Ghetto. My own survival is due to my having been taken as a teenage repairman of German military vehicles at the plant known as HKP (Heereskraftfahrpark or Army Motor Vehicle Repair Park) on Subotsh Street (today’s Subačiaus). That one enterprise was under the directorship of Major Karl Plagge (1897–1957), a righteous gentile who did everything he could to protect as many Jewish workers as possible from the huge murder machine. Famously, shortly before the Nazi flight from the Soviet army in the summer of 1944, he gave a coded warning to his workers about a need for imminent escape.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, France, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Simon Malkes Perpetuates Memory of Vilna Rescuer Karl Plagge

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.

Continue reading

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”

We Shall Never Forget Kazimierz Sakowicz’s “Ponary Diary”



BOOKS  |  OPINION  |  LITHUANIA  |  HISTORY

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

Ponary Diary, 1941 — 1943. A Bystander’s Account of a Mass Murder. by Kazimierz Sakowicz. Edited by Yitzhak Arad. Foreword by Rachel Margolis. Yale University Press: New Haven and London 2005.

It goes without saying that a book of eyewitness Holocaust testimony penned at Lithuania’s largest mass grave site in the years 1941 to 1943, and first published in English in 2005, does not lose its importance for those who have not read it even a decade later; even if many other, much less important books, sport a more recent date of publication. Moreover, given the Lithuanian government’s campaign against the scholar who rediscovered and first published the manuscript in the 1990s, and against the scholar who edited the English edition cited above (both as part of its campaign against Jewish partisan survivors), the poignancy and human interest are even greater. It is indeed  a most appropriate time to pay tribute to that rediscoverer, Dr. Rachel Margolis (1921—2015), who passed away in Rehovot, Israel last summer, without realizing, in her nineties, her dying wish of visiting her native Vilna one last time, because of her fear of prosecutors’ threats and intimidation.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Books, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Roland Binet | Comments Off on We Shall Never Forget Kazimierz Sakowicz’s “Ponary Diary”

Breaking the Silence



B O O K S

by Merilyn Moos

1783482966-230x345While there has been some research on and recognition of the exiles from Nazism who settled in the UK, little is known about their children: the British second generation, and what the long term effects of their parents’ exile have been on them. Indeed, this has been a largely invisible group. My book Breaking the Silence. Voices of the British Children of Refugees from Nazism  (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) set out to cast light on this second generation group.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Memoirs, News & Views, United Kingdom | Comments Off on Breaking the Silence

Rewriting History in Latvia



B O O K S    /    L A T V I A

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

Since I became interested in the fate of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Latvia, rather late (2009), I never failed to buy books when I visited that country, first and foremost written by Jewish survivors of these terrible times, but, also, some books written by non-Jewish Latvians in order to see how they perceived these tragic events, how they related to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and how they presented the history of the German occupation and the mass slaughter of more than 95% of the Jewish population of their country (using the figures of Jews on site at the time of the Nazi invasion as the basis for historians’ estimates).

Continue reading

Posted in Books, History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Rewriting History in Latvia

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.

Continue reading

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

In English Translation: V. Brandišauskas’s Classic Review of A. Liekis



D O C U M E N T S   /   B O O K S   /   H I S T O R Y

The following is an English translation of a book review by Valentinas Brandišauskas of Algimantas Liekis’s Lietuvos laikinoji vyriausybė (1941 06 22–08 05) that appeared in the Lithuanian publication Genocidas ir Rezistencija No. 8, 2000, and is posted online


Review: A Doubtful Selection of “Frontists,” or, about One More in a Series of A. Liekis’s “Monographs”: Lietuvos laikinoji vyriausybë (1941 06 22–08 05) [Provisional Government of Lithuania, June 22—August 5, 1941], Vilnius, 2000, 428 pp.

 ◊

The negative predictions have been fulfilled, unfortunately, even beyond expectations. That’s what can be said about a news item that appeared in the Lithuanian exile community’s monthly Akiračiai regarding preparations by Lithuanian historian Algimatas Liekis, who did some work at the Lithuanian Studies Research and Studies Center in Chicago, to write a book about the June Uprising of 1941 and the Provisional Government (PG). Recalling the historian’s past (“during the Soviet era […] he was the komsorg [Communist Youth Party minder] in the Soviet navy, Party secretary of the History Institute of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic…”) and doubting his reputation as an academic, it was said that “Frontist successors” to the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) had invited Liekis

“to write a book that would help the Lithuanian parliament push through the legislation needed to ‘legalize’ the Provisional Government and to proclaim the day of the uprising a national holiday.”

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Valentinas Brandišauskas, Views of Prof. Sarunas Liekis, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on In English Translation: V. Brandišauskas’s Classic Review of A. Liekis

The Bubnys Event at the 2015 Jewish Community Auschwitz Commemoration



E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T   /   O P I N I O N

by Julius Norwilla

This year much of the world commemorates the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. The day of its liberation, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. To mark the day this year, on the 26th of January, the Jewish Community of Lithuania organized three events, as reported in Defending History.

The final event of the day was the book launch for The Šiauliai Ghetto featuring as sole announced speaker its author, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Department of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania; for a critical view of the Genocide Center, as it is known for short, see Defending History’s page and news section on the institution.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Books, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Bubnys Event at the 2015 Jewish Community Auschwitz Commemoration

The Holocaust Memoir That Doesn’t Fade Out at the Moment of Liberation



B O O K S

by Ira Gold

Waltzing with the Enemy: A Mother and Daughter Confront the Aftermath of the Holocaust by Rasia Kilot and Helen Mitsios. Urim Publications: Jerusalem 2011, 288 pp. Amazon.com. Kindle.

downloadIn Waltzing with the Enemy: A Mother and Daughter Confront the Aftermath of the Holocaust by Rasia Kliot and Helen Mitsios, the authors write a dual memoir of survival and healing. The mother, Rasia, was born into upper class comfort in Vilna (today Vilnius, Lithuania). Her daughter, Helen Mitsios, was born in Montreal, Canada. The dual structure – the first half is titled “Rasia’s Story” and the second half is labeled “Helen’s Story” – works very well.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Ira Gold, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Holocaust Memoir That Doesn’t Fade Out at the Moment of Liberation

Max Kaufmann’s Book on the Latvian Holocaust Now Available in English



B O O K S

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

 

“For us, all of Latvia is a huge cemetery – a cemetery without graves or gravestones.”

— Max Kaufmann

The English edition of Max Kaufman’s largely forgotten book, Churbn Lettland: The Destruction of the Jews of Latvia, now available online, is a most welcome, and important, addition to the library of serious works on the Latvian Holocaust.[1]

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Latvia, Memoirs, News & Views, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Max Kaufmann’s Book on the Latvian Holocaust Now Available in English

Vilnius Daily’s Report on the Dyukov Affair



The following is a translation, by Geoff Vasil, of a news article in today’s Lietuvos rytas, available online in the original Lithuanian on lrytas.lt.

 

Aleksandr Dyukov: “Lithuanians are Nazi Collaborators Who Made Up the Occupation”

August 14, 2014

The Kremlin’s propagandist arrested at the Vilnius Airport, Aleksandr Dyukov, found out: he’s isn’t wanted in countries in the Shengen zone. After checking his documents and information in the database, border police working at Vilnius Airport told the arrival he may not enter Lithuania because he is included on a list of personae non gratae. After spending the night in special airport facilities, Dyukov boarded the first plane for Moscow in the morning.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Documents, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Media Watch, News & Views | Comments Off on Vilnius Daily’s Report on the Dyukov Affair

Revisionism and Resurrection



B O O K S

by Peter Jukes

The following review of Laima Vince’s Journeys through the Backwaters of the Heart originally appeared in Aspen Review (Dec. 2013). The review is now republished here by permission of Peter Jukes, whose latest book is The Fall of the House of Murdoch.

Ms. Vince’s Journeys was also reviewed in Defending History by Geoff Vasil.

While filming a re-enactment of a battle between Lithuanian nationalists and their Soviet- backed NKVD persecutors, Jonas Kadzionis (a survivor of the “Forest Brothers” partisans) warned the author Laima Vince: “Don’t get lost in the forest, and don’t lose your conscience.”

Unfortunately, in her book Journeys through the Backwaters of the Heart Vince has managed to do both.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Peter Jukes, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Revisionism and Resurrection