Christian-Jewish Issues

When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

Many in the local Lithuanian Jewish and the international Litvak communities have responded with some shock to the news that the Lithuanian government’s official “Year of the Gaon of Vilna and Jewish Heritage” has been launched by a handsome, shiny 10 Euro Coin that plonks a symbol beloved in recent years of neo-Nazis (and prominently used in their new projects) onto a Jewish Menorah. The symbolism strikes some as evoking the idea that the largely vanished Lithuanian Jews and their language make for one of the “cute  Jewish toys” for the ultranationalist camp to exploit in its PR outreach to unwitting foreigners.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION   | JEWISH COMMUNITY ISSUES    | USCPAHA | CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH

by Andrius Kulikauskas

The original Lithuanian text appeared in Bernardinai.lt.

Preamble

הייליקע ליטווישע רבנים, טײַערע חברים און חברטעס, בני ליטא, מײַנע געטרײַע בני ליטא, מיט אהבת ישראל און אהבת ליטא:

Four years ago Prof. Dovid Katz asked me to find a Catholic priest or nun who would publicly speak out regarding the fate of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish cemetery. I failed to do so, but in empathy for my friend, I published an article in the web portal “Veidas” and gave academic talks at three conferences about conceptions which would help us appreciate why it would be meaningful to grant the demand by Jewish believers that we forego the Sports Palace and respect the Jewish cemetery which was there. Tonight in fifteen minutes I will present five images of how I imagine this cemetery, what it could mean for us.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial

Biržai (Birzh), in Northern Lithuania, Honors Holocaust Victims at Forest Mass Grave Site; But City-Center Museum Honors the Collaborators



OPINION  |  MUSEUMS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

This weekend, the new monument to 2,400 Biržai Jews, massacred on August 8, 1941, will be unveiled in Biržai, a town in northern Lithuania known in Yiddish as Birzh. On that fateful day in Pakamponys forest, German Gestapo officers and their Lithuanian accomplices murdered 900 children, because they were Jewish children, 780 women, because they were Jewish women, and 720 men, because they were Jewish, too. The locals call the site “the Biržai Jews’ grave”.

That day, more than one third of the inhabitants of that old historical city were massacred. A vibrant community was destroyed and trust in Biržai as a safe place to live was wholly undermined. This old wound had not been taken care of properly up until now. There is a memorial stone at the site of the massacre, the site itself is covered with tiles. There is a memorial inscription, too. However, all those people with their lives and their dreams remained but a number in stone. People behind the new memorial decided to fix this, and now we have more than five hundred names carved on a steel wall. This difficult task required a lot of effort. Alongside with the people, the murderers also destroyed the documents attesting to their lives.

What does the Town’s Official Museum Think?

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Biržai (Birzh), in Northern Lithuania, Honors Holocaust Victims at Forest Mass Grave Site; But City-Center Museum Honors the Collaborators

American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE POLICIES  |  THE NOREIKA SAGA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS    |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Author Silvia Foti, the American granddaughter of the notorious Lithuanian Holocaust collaborator, Jonas Noreika, has been described as “exceptionally courageous” for publicly telling the truth about her grandfather, whom far-right elements in the Lithuanian government and its “history fixing agencies” continue to revere with street names, plaques and state-contrived history. That rewriting of history has a “higher purpose” — to downgrade the Holocaust and beyond whitewashing, to recast the local perpetrators as “heroes” (because they were “anti-Soviet,” a description that could match close to 100% of the East European Holocaust murderers). He is only one of a series of collaborators in the destruction of around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry (among the highest proportions in Holocaust-era Europe) who are regarded as “national heroes” in tandem with the vast, and lavishly state-financed, campaign to rewrite World War II as “two equal genocides,” thereby, according to some, seeking to  write the Holocaust out of history as unique event here — without denying a single death.

This week, Ms. Foti launched an international petition boldly entitled  “Remove all honors awarded to my grandfather Jonas Noreika.” In some ways, it is a follow-up to an earlier petition, launched some years ago by London-based Monica Lowenberg.

TO SIGN THE PETITION 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika

After ‘Hearing Both Sides’ at Trial of March  5th, Vilnius Court Sets Verdict for 27th



EVENTS  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

 

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, moments before his historic address before the Vilnius court on state-funded Genocide Center’s policy of glorifying Holocaust collaborators. The center’s “decisions” are cited by high officials as “justification” for street names, university hall plaques and other public-space state-funded glorifications of Holocaust collaborators. Around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry was massacred in the Holocaust.

Defending History was there. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s report here. Editor’s take:

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on After ‘Hearing Both Sides’ at Trial of March  5th, Vilnius Court Sets Verdict for 27th

Lithuania’s Gov. “Property Bank” is Using “Weak and Divided” Jewish Reaction to Proceed with “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery” Project



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

by Julius Norwilla

As “the day of the bulldozers” nears, Lithuania’s state “Property Bank” (Turto Bankas, often translated “Asset Bank”) is coming close to announcing the final contracts for the planned Convention Center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius. The derelict Soviet building slated for conversion (alongside construction of a large annex) is surrounded on all four sides by many thousands of Jewish graves left untouched by the Soviet authorities who pilfered all the stones for building works and ballast. There has been massive international opposition, including Lithuanian-origin rabbinical authorities worldwide, in addition to a petition started by Vilnius resident Ruta Bloshtein that is close to 46,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Julius Norwilla’s impressions after a meeting with the leaders of Lithuania’s state Property Bank now managing the convention center project in the heart of Piramónt cemetery? They are willing to talk, but they are not convinced  that “the Jews themselves” really care so much. In fact, a future “talking point” for a permanently controversial and damaging “convention center” will be that “Well, they found enough Jews they could manipulate to go along with it so what do you want from us?”

The takeaway? The time for major international pressure is now. The petition has attracted more than 45,000 signatures.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Gov. “Property Bank” is Using “Weak and Divided” Jewish Reaction to Proceed with “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery” Project

Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika



OPINION  | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

On February 14, BBC World Service Outlook presented a 23 minute conversation with Silvia Foti and Grant Gochin about Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika. Silvia Foti, born in Chicago, is the granddaughter of Noreika, and Grant Gochin, born in South Africa, and resident in California, is related to a hundred of his victims in the Šiauliai region. The radio show, “The truth about my ‘hero’ grandfather”, reached about 75 million listeners, a well-informed 1% of humanity.

Global interest is growing as Lithuania’s Genocide Center chooses to defend in court its refusal to reconsider its estimation of Jonas Noreika. In a similar spirit, on February 5, the State Security Department together with the Defense Ministry’s Intelligence and Counterintelligence Department warned in their 2019 National Threat Assessment Report to the Seimas: “Russian officials and subordinate propagandists seek to shape the attitude that only Nazi collaborators and Holocaust-complicit criminals supported the resistance against the Soviet occupation. To compromise the Lithuanian resistance the Kremlin cynically manipulates the Holocaust tragedy to achieve the goals of its history policy.”

See also: Defending History’s take. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s series of articles which brought this issue to the English speaking world starting in 2012. Prof. Pinchos Fridberg’s position that the Noreika issue cannot be about one single plaque in the sea of national glorification. DH’s section on Collaborators Glorified. Illustrations of a number of street names and state plaques that glorify alleged Holocaust collaborators. 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Holocaust collaborator prime minister. More. DH Editor’s academic papers on the wider historical and intellectual background.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Calls for Volunteers on Lithuanian-Jewish Issues



OPINION  | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Lithuania’s conscience calls for volunteers. The January 24, 2019 newsletter is now available for the informal network called Lithuania’s Conscience (“Lietuvos sąžinė”). As editor and organizer, I wish to add some words in English for readers of Defending History. Our network is united by our resolve to take responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed in 1941 by various leaders in the name of the Republic of Lithuania and on behalf of the Lithuanian nation.

We will be meeting in Vilnius on Monday, January 28, 16:00-17:00, at the small conference room of the Tolerance Center, Naugarduko g. 10/2. The purpose of the meeting is to achieve preliminary consensus on basic principles, a list of demands, and next steps. The newsletter includes working drafts. Please alert me by email (ms@ms.lt) or phone (+3706 072-7665) if you’d like to attend or if you’d like to give input.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Calls for Volunteers on Lithuanian-Jewish Issues

Some Orders Issued by Jonas Noreika during the Destruction of Lithuania’s Jewish Citizens



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HISTORY  |  DOCUMENTS

VILNIUS—As the date (15 January) nears  of  what some have dubbed the Holocaust trial of the 21st century, an increasing number of observers request more information on the alleged Holocaust collaborator at the center of it all, Jonas Noreika (1910–1947). His case was brought to the English-reading world by Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas in 2012 (as part of a series on Holocaust collaborators who are glorified with state funding). Mr. Balčiūnas was “rewarded” with years of legal harassment from police and prosecutors over his objections to state honors for Holocaust collaborators (see the Balciunas section, scroll down to May 2014 for start of the legal proceedings; while enjoying a modern freewheeling democracy on nearly all issues, Lithuania’s residents have run into troubles when challenging state policy on the Holocaust.).

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Documents, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Some Orders Issued by Jonas Noreika during the Destruction of Lithuania’s Jewish Citizens

Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery: Geotechnical Expert Group’s Press Release of Sept. 2008 is “Back in Circulation”



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

VILNIUS—At the request of Defending History staff, several news outlets here have located and released the original 3 September 2008 press release issued by Arieh Klein, head of the Experts Group appointed to conduct geophysical and other surveys of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės district of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital) to determine the boundaries of the extant cemetery underground. This was always a public document intended for the media, marked as a “press release” in accompanying emails. It is available as PDF.

The document reveals that both “new green buildings” (the King Mindaugas Buildings) that were featured in this century’s first major dispute over this cemetery, are within the boundaries of the cemetery, as are, naturally, the banks, chic cafes and restaurants, apartments and other amenities and offices on the premises.

But to this day, the buildings’ operators dismiss the geotechnical findings as “slander”. Something to remember when you  next visit this part of Vilnius!

It is separately documented that truckloads of earth were clandestinely removed (and their location never disclosed), and that the builders’ and their government associates’ “bags of tricks” back then included setting up international committees with prestigious “Useful Jewish Idiots” — or UJIs — as local Jews refer informally to foreign Jewish dignitaries and professors who become part of the PR machine that is alleged to cover and deflect from various aspects of the Jewish news here. The full text of the press release follows.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery: Geotechnical Expert Group’s Press Release of Sept. 2008 is “Back in Circulation”

Incredibly, US Taxpayer-Funded Commission is HURTING instead of HELPING the Cause!



CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

by Ruta Bloshtein

The following is the text of the petition update posted by Ms. Bloshtein on 4 January 2019 at the Change.org site of her petition to save the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, which has exceeded the 45,000 signature mark.

My Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who signed our petition, there have been various delays in the onset of works to erect a national convention center and large new annex on the site of a Soviet ruin that is right in the middle of our sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, where the B’er Hagola Reb Moshe Rivkes; the Chayei Adam Reb Avrom Dantsig; Reb Menachem-Manes Chayes; Reb Boruch Romm, Reb Avrom the son of the Gaon of Vilna; Reb Yitzchok the father of Chaim of Volozhin lie buried, alongside many other thousands of Jewish citizens of Vilna (today’s Vilnius, capital of Lithuania) whose families duly paid for their plots in perpetuity. This would never happen if it were a Christian or Lithuanian national cemetery where nationally beloved figures found what was meant to be their place of rest.

Now, unfortunately, imminent danger lurks again, as the government’s own bank has just announced that building is again soon scheduled to start.

We must therefore redouble our polite and civil protests to ensure that this does not happen, that the government finds ANOTHER place for its new national convention center (that will be a pride, not a “shande” for our country), and that the cemetery can be lovingly restored as has been done in other European cities. I am sorry to report that in recent times one of the main obstacles has been the (US taxpayer funded!) “United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (known as “USCPAHA” for short) that exists to preserve endangered cemeteries, not to collude with foreign governments and their agents to help with excuses and cover-ups to destroy them!

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Incredibly, US Taxpayer-Funded Commission is HURTING instead of HELPING the Cause!

Israel’s Interior Minister Protests Desecration of Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  ISRAEL CHRONICLE  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

JERUSALEM—In a letter dated today, and released to the media, Israel’s Minister of the Interior Rabbi Aryeh Machluf Deri appealed to the director of the Foreign Ministry to take serious action concerning the threat of desecration to the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius).

The letter calls for the Foreign Ministry’s “immediate intervention” and cites the pain that would be caused to world Jewry by pursuit of the current project planned for the site.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on Israel’s Interior Minister Protests Desecration of Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

New York Daily News Covers Struggle to Preserve the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

NEW YORK CITY—The Sunday edition of New York’s Daily News today published a report by its crime reporter Reuven Blau on efforts to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery by persuading authorities to move their planned new national convention center to another venue so that the cemetery, dating to the 15th century and containing the remains of thousands of Vilna Jews over the centuries, might be lovingly restored. The article appears on the newspaper’s website, but is not accessible in various European and other countries. For readers’ convenience, a PDF follows (and can be accessed here).  The focus of the article is Mr. Dov (Berel) Fried of New York,  a Talmudic scholar in the grand Litvak tradition who is one of the central figures in the international coalition that has emerged to save the cemetery.

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Posted in 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 New York Daily News Covers Struggle to Preserve the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Dr. Kulikauskas Issues Call to Lithuanian Society to Join Together in Dealing with Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

VILNIUSDr. Andrius Kulikauskas today released an appeal, in the Lithuanian language, that calls on fellow Lithuanian citizens to come together in opposing the ongoing national glorification of Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika in a spirit of historic integrity that would also lead to the inevitable conclusion that the controversial historical personage was in effect a Holocaust criminal. For some background on recent developments in the Noreika saga, set to culminate in a historic trial here in the Lithuanian capital on 15 January, see recent articles in DH’s Collaborators Glorified section.

The trial scheduled for 15 Jan. 2019. Sample Noreika document.

The Noreika case was first brought to the attention of the English speaking world by DH’s correspondent Evaldas Balčiūnas in 2012, as part of his series on “national heroes” who were Holocaust collaborators. As a result of those articles, Mr. Balčiūnas was subjected to years of prosecutorial harassment (scroll down to 2014 in his DH section). More recently, the 2018 bold article by Noreika’s granddaughter, American author and educator Silvia Foti in Salon resulted in New York Times coverage last September, that itself followed up on the paper’s March 2018 article on Holocaust related issues in Lithuania.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dr. Kulikauskas Issues Call to Lithuanian Society to Join Together in Dealing with Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Regional Lithuanian Monthly Publishes Noreika Query at Heart of Upcoming 15 Jan. Vilnius Holocaust Trial



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Žemaičių Saulutė (“Samogitians’ Sun”) is an esteemed regional cultural monthly newspaper based in Plungė, Lithuania. It is shattering the silence about Lithuania’s state-sanctioned hero Jonas Noreika’s leadership in the Holocaust in Samogitia. It will print, in eight installments, Grant Gochin’s query to the Genocide Center, which asks, how can the Republic of Lithuania honor Jonas Noreika as an anti-Soviet hero when it acknowledges him as a Holocaust perpetrator?

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Regional Lithuanian Monthly Publishes Noreika Query at Heart of Upcoming 15 Jan. Vilnius Holocaust Trial

US Taxpayer-Funded Commission Taken to Court in DC for Helping Vilnius Builders Desecrate City’s Old Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  USCPAHA  | CPJCE

NEW YORK CITY—A New York Institute of Technology professor of physics, Prof. Bernard Fryshman, who is also one of the world’s major advocates for the preservation of endangered minority cemeteries (he helped the US Congress draft its 2014 resolution on the subject) has teamed up with Boruch Pines, a New York based descendant of many persons buried in the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt in the Šnipiškės (Yiddish: Shnípeshok) district of modern Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. Together, they filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on 8 November 2018. Defending History has obtained a copy of the summons and complaint, available as PDF, and below immediately following this report.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on US Taxpayer-Funded Commission Taken to Court in DC for Helping Vilnius Builders Desecrate City’s Old Jewish Cemetery

Sept. 23rd Ponár Memorial and Pope Francis’s Visit to Vilna Ghetto Memorial



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HOLOCAUST MEMORIALS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

IMAGE OF THE DAY: Elected chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community, Simon Gurevich, was not allowed past the security barrier, barring him from the Pope’s event to commemorate the Vilna Ghetto. At the earlier event at Ponár, he was not allowed to deliver his prepared remarks.

VILNIUS—The two major “September 23rd” events today in Vilnius were the annual commemoration ceremony at the mass murder site Ponár in the forest outside the city, and, later in the afternoon, Pope Francis’s visit to the small monument, its 1990s Yiddish letters faded beyond legibility, commemorating the Vilna Ghetto in an Old Town square opposite the city’s beloved Jewish Cultural and Information Center (JCIC). [See also Andrius Kulikauskas’s appeal to the Pope on the eve of his visit in connection with his visit to Lukiškės Square in central Vilnius.]

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sept. 23rd Ponár Memorial and Pope Francis’s Visit to Vilna Ghetto Memorial

Ten Israeli Knesset Members Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

JERUSALEM—A 12 September 2018 letter from ten members of Israel’s Knesset (parliament) to Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaite, was released to the media today. The letter calls on the Lithuanian president to cancel plans for a national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery and to “find a reasonable alternative” for situating the new convention center.

The Israeli parliamentarians’ letter, at the bottom of this report and available from Defending History as PDF, comes on the heels of the recent appeal by three United States senators, and last year’s call in the same spirit by twelve members of the United States House of Representatives. An international petition initiated by a leading member of Vilnius’s Orthodox Jewish community, Ruta Bloshtein, has to date achieved 44,400 signatures. In addition Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) rabbis and rabbinical organizations internationally, along with many other writers from diverse backgrounds, have put in writing unequivocal opposition to the project. Within Lithuanian society, the two leaders of the movement to save the old Jewish cemetery from the convention center are both non-Jewish citizens whose writings and actions are an international credit to the country and its capacity for robust discourse. See the Andrius Kulikauskas and Julius Norwilla sections in DH.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Ten Israeli Knesset Members Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Summer 2018 Discourse on Proposed Removal of Plaques & Street Names Glorifying Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  BOLD LITHUANIAN CITIZENS SPEAK OUT  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS 

Lithuanian State Glorification of Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika Reaches New York Times

AFTER

Silvia Foti Boldly Confronts Legacy of her Grandfather, Jonas Noreika

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Summer 2018 Discourse on Proposed Removal of Plaques & Street Names Glorifying Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika

Vilnius Jewish Community Calls on Lithuanian Gov. to Preserve Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery & Other Heritage Sites



LITHUANIAN JEWISH LIFE  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  CEMETERIES  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES

VILNIUS—The 21 person democratically elected board of the Vilnius Jewish Community, representing the approximately 2,200 Jews resident in the Lithuanian capital, today released an approved English translation of its 29 August 2018 statement on Jewish heritage in partnership with a number of smaller regional Jewish communities throughout the country. The original Lithuanian text is available here, and appears at the end of this report below.

Those following the saga of attempts to humiliate the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery by situating a national convention center in its heart, will be encouraged by the explicit language concerning the project contained in the statement:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community Calls on Lithuanian Gov. to Preserve Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery & Other Heritage Sites