Yivo’s director, one of the current Lithuanian government’s staunchest PR providers in the west (see here, here, here, here), recently told the English Forward that ‘he would continue to work with the Lithuanian government to reach a permanent settlement over the archive’, implying that the Yivo Board would be making its decision in due course.
Head of History Institute, Speaking at ‘Bloodlands’ Event at the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, Excoriates Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Anti-Nazi Partisans
Delfi.lt journalist Eglė Samoškaitė reported today on this week’s book event for the Lithuanian language edition of Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, held at the Foreign Ministry and with the participation of some leading historians and heads of institutions in the country. A full English translation of Ms. Samoškaitė’s article is available here.
At 10:27 AM Vilnius time today, BNS (Baltic News Service) released the triumphant news from the country’s foreign ministry that ‘A Yivo room is planned at the National Library of Martynas Mažvydas in Vilnius shortly’. As one foreign diplomat put it, off the record, several hours later at today’s commemoration event for the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto, ‘The operative word there is shortly’ — signifying a done deal.
There was symbolic significance to the announcement’s timing, coming on the 23 September anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto.
by Lolita Židonytė
Which of two Brents will have for his institution the 200,000 euros from the Lithuanian government for a cherished Jewish project in Vilnius?
by Roland Binet (Belgium)
David Silberman was born in Latvia in 1934. As a Jew of young age when the war came upon his country of birth, he was fated to die.1 Because, when the Germans conquered Latvia in June and July 1941, spontaneous as well as induced pogroms developed in different parts of the country with thousands of Jewish victims. Then, as early as July and August 1941 ― in bloody actions by Einsatzgruppe A as well as by autonomous Latvian self-proclaimed guardians ― the Jews began systematically to be killed, even long before the decision of the “Endlösung” (Final Solution) of the “Jewish problem” had finally been taken in Berlin.2
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)
Not for the first time, two fine historians have published in the same year their very different syntheses for the wider public, on the same topic, and based largely on known published sources, both having long proven their mettle as master researchers in previous publications rooted in archives and primary documents.
On this occasion the resulting contrast is unusually startling. One of these books, Alexander Prusin’s The Lands Between, is a meticulously balanced and historically authoritative, but conventional and somewhat lacklustre history that will appeal to lecturers looking for a solid textbook on twentieth-century East European history and, of course, history buffs ever fascinated by the Second World War.
Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, by contrast, is the work of a literary master who has what it takes to write a thriller. Deservedly, his book has captured the imagination of vast numbers of readers and pundits alike. It is also the work of a humanistic thinker who does not beat around the bush and has – very justifiably – made wilful state mass murder his topic, leading him to grapple with murder en masse, a forever captivating topic, all the more so within the Hitler–Stalin complex of issues that continue to fascinate, daunt and rebound potently in today’s geopolitics.
Yet Snyder’s Bloodlands suffers from some cardinal biases that are all the more regrettable in such a masterly and popular work. First, though, it is prudent to briefly cover the book’s scope and at least a few of its highly consequential virtues.
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by Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe (Berlin)
Review of Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands. Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Basic Books: New York 2010. This review first appeared in German in H-Soz-u-Kult (online version here; PDF here). This English version and publication in DefendingHistory.com are by authorization of the author and H-Soz-u-Kult, which has kindly supplied the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2011 by H-Net, Clio-online, and the author, all rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial, educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact H-SOZ-U-KULT@H-NET.MSU.EDU.
Wyman Brent Voices Fear his Vilnius Library Could Become Vehicle to “Whitewash and Obfuscate History and Cover for Rampant Antisemitism”
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by Wyman Brent
I have a concern which I am sure that the readers of DefendingHistory.com share. I am talking about the possibility of the Vilnius Jewish Library becoming a vehicle for certain elements of the Lithuanian government to continue to whitewash and obfuscate history and to cover up for the antisemitism currently rampant here.
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by Rachel Croucher
I have read and re-read the chapter entitled “Final Solution” in Timothy Snyder’s major new book, Bloodlands (Basic Books 2010), in an attempt to garner further insight into events surrounding the genocide of the Jews in Eastern Europe for a dissertation on contemporary Holocaust remembrance precisely in the countries of these so-called Bloodlands, and with emphasis upon Lithuania. I had hoped that the chapter would expand my knowledge on the specifics of and motivations for the disturbingly high levels of local participation in the actual mass-murdering (far beyond just collaboration) in these countries.
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by Per Rudling
The great strength of Professor Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands (Basic Books, 2010) is that it contextualizes the violent 1930s and 1940s in Eastern Europe.