Free Speech & Democracy
Legal Ban on Nazi and Soviet Symbols in the Spirit of Red-Brown ‘Equivalence by Law’, a Blow to Freedom of Speech
BBC report, ‘Lithuanian ban on Soviet symbols’. A legally imposed ‘equivalence’ of ‘Nazi and Soviet symbols’ came as a grave moral blow to elderly veterans of the war against Nazism, and their proud families (notwithstanding an addition to the law technically exempting veteran memorials).
The assistant director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Ruta Puisyte, reported today that Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s scheduled seminar at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute was cancelled on the orders of the institute’s director, Professor Sarunas Liekis. No explanation was given.
O P I N I O N
by Leonidas Donskis
This English version of the essay (the original Lithuanian text appeared in Lietuvos aidas, 28 November 2008) first appeared in the English edition of Jerusalem of Lithuania (Oct-Dec 2008, PDF here) and is republished here with the author’s and editor’s permission.
I have already written that we live in a period of not only monetary inflation, but of concept and value inflation as well. In our time oaths have become worthless, while formerly a person who broke one lost not only all of his own power, but the capacity to represent his values and to participate in the public sphere as well. Nothing, other than his own person and his private life, remained. He no longer had the right to speak on behalf of either his group, his nation, or his society.
Dissenting Academic Rapidly Replaced with Foreign Stand-in at the Jerusalem Book Fair; Dr Rachel Margolis Betrayed Again
After authoring the book on Litvak culture for the Lithuanian section at the Jerusalem Book Fair, the editor of this website declined to attend to chair the Yiddish culture session, when he was asked not to bring to the fair Dr Rachel Margolis, resident in Rechovot; she is one of the heroic Jewish partisans defamed by the Double Genocide industry.
The Lithuanian government unit running these affairs rapidly replaced him with the Yiddish professor from the Borns Jewish Studies program at Indiana University (Bloomington).
The ‘Book Fair Affair’ was widely reported. See: Haaretz: ‘When Lithuania was Yiddishland’ by Raphael Ahren; also: comments by Milan Chersonski, editor of the Jewish community’s periodical, Jerusalem of Lithuania: ‘It’s not just about the Jerusalem Book Fair’ (Jan-March 2009); May 2010 update on Dr Margolis’s situation here.
More details here on the ‘Book Fair Affair’ and the further cooperation of the Borns Jewish Studies program with the nationalist establishment in Vilnius.
Parliamentarians Explain that Red-Brown Criminalization Law is Necessary to ‘equate the crimes of Soviet Genocide with the Nazi Genocide’
Delfi.lt reports that ‘in the Lithuanian legal system, acts regarding the the crimes of Soviet genocide, i.e. their denial or justification, are not criminalized, and, experts say, this is an obstacle in attempting to equate the crimes of Soviet genocide with the Nazi genocide’. Full English translation. BNS’s English summary.
After the intrepid journalist and human rights advocate Andrius Navickas (see Bold Citizens) protested to the press commission about the front page cartoon of the Jew and the Gay controlling the world, a caricature of his head and body was inserted in both figures on the front page of a mass circulation newspaper. This had the effect of deterring others in the public arena who might have wished to make their opinions known about the proliferation of 1930s style hate materials appearing on the front page of mass circulation newspapers.
Parliamentary Proposal to Curtail Free Speech that would Disagree with Red-Brown Equivalence; 3 Years Imprisonment Envisaged
Proposal 154(1), registered by the Seimas (parliament) of Lithuania, would impose up to three years of imprisonment for one who ‘denies, severely diminishes or justifies the genocide accomplished by Communism or Fascism’ etc. English translation. 9 June 2009 summary.
Vilna Ghetto Victims Substituted for War Criminals List in the Baltic Times; VYI Chief calls the Association of Lithuanian Jews ‘Extreme Right-Wingers’
Part of a list of Jewish victims of the Vilna Ghetto (including fallen resistance hero Yechiel Sheinboim) appears in the Baltic Times instead of the captioned list of alleged Nazi-allied murderers (zoom-in).
The young foreign reporter was wholly innocent; a still unidentified source provided the wrong list. An obscure and ambiguous correction appeared the following week.
Moreover, director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute Sarunas Liekis is quoted (misquoted?) in the article (column 2), as calling the last active group of Litvak Holocaust survivors in the world (the ALJ in Tel Aviv) ‘extreme right-wingers’, adding that ‘scholars don’t talk to them’. Although now aged, these survivors’ ranks still include prominent Holocaust scholars.
The Baltic trend to delegitimize Holocaust survivors and their supporters is part of the wider series of attempted conceptual realignments deemed ‘necessary’ to propagate the Double Genocide bandwagon, and obfuscation of the Holocaust, within the context of regional unltranationalism.
Seminars on Holocaust Obfuscation had to be held in private apartments during the Summer Program in Yiddish Language and Literature. [UPDATES added in later months as these materials appeared: Memoirs have been published by Julia Blaukopf (Photographic Interiors, Pennsylvania); Jana Hock (Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch); Michael Cohen (more recent article here); Josh Markovitz (both UCLA). There have been comments in the Guardian and the Nation.]
The Vilnius Yiddish Institute staff list distributed to summer course students was purged of staff who spoke out publicly on behalf of the accused survivors and against ‘Double Genocide’. Lectures were convened at private apartments on August 10, 17, 19, 20 (more details at: Events). Image from 17 August; first and last slides; slide on European Parliament issues; more at Jamie Ehrenpreis’s Facebook site. Group of participants after the 19 Aug. presentation; more by J. Ehrenpreis here.
Austrian Holocaust museum volunteer Adalbert Wagner set up power-point facilities, generously lent by the Green House Holocaust Museum. The organization of these lectures was assisted by VYI summer course participants Dr Judy Freier, Dr Ilya Levin, Prof Abraham Lichtenbaum, Daniel Nemenyi, Dr Shimon Samuels, Berti Wagner. Larry Mandel, Daniel Nemenyi and Martina Ravagnan for opened up their homes to one lecture each.
It is thought that the ‘Dirty Tricks Department’ of the Lithuanian government unit aiming to manipulate Jewish issues is planning for the Yiddish institute to become a PR tool of the government, with the Yiddish professor of Bloomington, Indiana brought over summertime and for select events to provide the necessary Yiddish Studies Cover for several weeks a year.
Supposedly impartial Baltic Times coverage of a later version of the proposed law that would max out at just two years of imprisonment for disagreeing with the state’s version of ‘Soviet and Nazi genocide’.
The BT report also gloats that ‘Earlier this year, the members of the European Parliament decided that Stalin’s USSR and Hitler’s Germany were equal’ (cf. materials on the Prague Declaration page). [14 September 2010: On the law eventually passed, in June 2010, see here].
‘Baltic Times’ Condemns Riga City Council for Trying to Nix March 16th Waffen SS March in the Capital’s Center
The Baltic Times, in the spirit of its increasing pattern of delivering up far-right views dressed up as impartial news coverage, did it again today. The front page banner headline reads ‘Riga Council in Civil Rights Attack’ with the caption to the large front page photo that condemns the city council for trying to block ‘war veterans and others’, as the anonymous authors put it (the article is signed by ‘Staff and wire reports, Riga), from being able to ‘exercise their rights in commemorating wartime duties and efforts’.
There was no mention that these are Waffen SS veterans and that the annual ceremony in the capital’s center is an affront to free Europe and Holocaust victims and survivors.
That an allegedly impartial newspaper would regard a noble attempt to legally block a pro-Nazi march, on the part of elected officials in a European Union country, as a ‘civil rights attack’ in a news headline is shocking. PDF of the article here.
The same state prosecution service that works to send Holocaust Survivors to eternity as suspected war criminals (neither charging nor clearing the innocent persons defamed); and, that is pleased to provide protection and the facade of dignity for neo-Nazi marches (see below at 11 March 2008 and 11 March 2010) spared no effort to ban the 8 May 2010 Baltic Pride parade.
In a typically unbelievable statement worthy of central casting, the head of the Prosecutor General’s office told BNS: ‘I appealed to the court after receipt of information about possible disturbances. The information is confidential, and I would like to refrain from further comment, however, the data we have in our possession suggests there is a possibility of certain disturbances, which we would not want’.
Another classic: ‘Participants of the rally could be targets of violence, we can’t have a police officer for each of them. The event would be protected in its specific location, however, nobody can forecast a crowd’s actions’, he added. Asked whether he had information about a planned riot, Petrauskas said he could not ‘state this specifically’ according to the BNS report. BNS report here.
[8 May 2010 update: While in the end forced by courts to allow the Pride parade (which the capital’s police easily managed), police provided protection and status to the neo-Nazi marchers who for hours flaunted fascist flags near the Reval Lietuva Hotel, flanked by flags of the European Union, Lithuania and various other member states. Eyewitness report and photos here.]
While threatening prison sentences for persons holding the belief that the Holocaust is not equal to Soviet crimes, a sudden new trend of ‘liberalism’ appears regarding public displays of swastikas. A court in Klaipeda approved the Nazi symbols on the grounds that they are ‘Lithuania’s historical heritage rather than symbols of Nazi Germany’. The net result it that now the only illegal symbols are the Soviet ones, which are not used by anyone, other than aged anti-Nazi war veterans celebrating the Ninth of May. Hence, it is all part and parcel of the movement legitimizing a pro-fascist view of twentieth century history.
BNS report. Delfi report. Alfa.lt report following the protest of Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office. JTA report on the court’s decision and Dr Zuroff’s response. More details here. See page on Swastikas.
The Lithuanian parliament amended the criminal code ‘to envisage criminal penalties for supporting, denying or downgrading crimes committed by the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany’ recommending ‘up to two years in prison’. The amendment’s initiator explained that the ‘changes were based on the European Union’s obligation to member-nations to take the necessary measures to ensure penalties for public support for genocide crimes’. BNS report.
Tepid Response from the Lithuanian Institute of History on the New Red-Brown Jailtime Law, plus: Will Judaic Studies Specialists Finally Speak up?
The Lithuanian Institute of History’s less than impressive response to the 15 June parliamentary amendment of the criminal code. BNS report.
Hopefully individual historians will respond rather more vigorously, especially those who specialize in Judaic and Holocaust studies, who risk further loss of credibility in the wake of continued silence.
On 29 June 2010, the Lithuanian Parliament criminalized the view that Soviet crimes in Lithuania do not rise to Genocide, in effect making belief in red-brown equivalence a matter of law.
The move followed adoption of a similar statute by Hungary’s new right-wing government.
The Lithuanian law’s framers explained earlier that establishing red-brown equality was the motive. Punishment maxes out at 2 Years in jail (original draft law was for 3 years). There is a new widespread reluctance to speak up freely in eastern EU democracies, even if nobody is charged or punished. Work of serious historians is crippled as dissenters lose their jobs.
There was no comment from the US embassy in Vilnius.
Red-Brown Bill with Two Years of Jailtime for Disagreeing with Government’s Position is Signed into Law
A new law in effect criminalizing anti Double Genocide opinions has been passed by the Lithuanian parliament and signed into law by the president. Full text of the law. In English translation. The move followed adoption of a similar statute by Hungary’s new right-wing government.
UPDATES (TO SEPT. 2011):
The new law criminalizes debate on the Holocaust and World War II, imposing punishments that include prison sentences of up to two years for those who would argue that Soviet crimes in Lithuania did not constitute genocide (hence: upon those who would challenge the notion that ‘Soviet and Nazi crimes are equal’). The opposing view (e.g. of this website) holds that Soviet crimes in Lithuania were horrendous but did not constitute genocide (following Donskis 2009, Katz 2009 etc; see page on Soviet crimes and draft response to the Prague Declaration).
- O P I N I O N
- Questions from Mindaugas Peleckis and answers from Dovid Katz (Text of documents sent by email on 21 August 2010).
- [Update: This interview resulted in the article published in Čikagos aidas on 16 Dec 2010. The unabridged text was posted on this page on 23 Dec 2010, by agreement of the interviewer and the interviewee.]
1. I would like to talk to you about Jewish-Lithuanian relationships. You’ve published the wonderful book ‘Lithuanian Jewish Culture’, which sheds light on many things concerning Jewish life in Lithuania and around it. What do you think about when Lithuanians became, so to say, antisemitic? In the 19th and 20th centuries? Or earlier?
The 2 September 2010 issue of the Baltic Times carried an unsigned editorial on the Opinion page that refers to Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, and the author of Operation Last Chance [excerpt here], as someone who ‘plays Moscow’s political games’, in line with local far-right efforts to tar with a McCarthyist brush of alleged communism those who speak out against racism, antisemitism, and Holocaust revisionism.
Director of Yiddish Institute heading to Kazakhstan to Promote Freedom of Expression for Journalists
YIDDISH BORAT, HAVING SAVED FREEDOM OF THE PRESS IN LITHUANIA, HEADS FOR KAZAKHSTAN TO EDUCATE THE OSCE. HE ‘CLEANSED’ HIS ‘YIDDISH INSTITUTE’ OF YIDDISH FOR 11 MONTHS OF THE YEAR. . .
Sarunas Liekis, director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute has been appointed by Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an elite team of experts who were sent to a Review Conference in Warsaw (30 Sept — 8 Oct), in preparation for a second Review Conference in Vienna (18-26 Oct), and a third in Astana, Kazakhstan (26-28 Nov). These are all in preparation for a much larger OSCE summit scheduled for Kazakhstan that will follow on 1-2 December in Astana, that nation’s capital.
A prime theme of the OSCE summit, which marks Lithuania’s accession to the chairmanship of OSCE, is media freedom and safety of journalists.
This journal sincerely hopes the VYI’s director, Professor Sarunas Liekis, will report to the OSCE on the failure of Lithuanian prosecutors to abandon the lamentable investigation into his own institute’s librarian, 88 year old Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, who has, along with other Holocaust Survivors, been the victim of an ultranationalist state-sponsored campaign of defamation. Details here. These are grave violations of human rights that were duly brought to the attention of the OSCE in December 2009.
The role of the press has been vital in these sad events.
Milan Chersonski, editor of the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) Jerusalem of Lithuania, official publication of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, has published a bold new essay, History: Education or Modern Politics.
The author opposes the Lithuanian government’s attempt to monopolize and dictate the ultranationalist version of history by effectively criminalizing the opinion that the Holocaust was the one genocide that occurred in the country in the twentieth century.
The law passed by the Lithuanian parliament and signed by the president last June, and which came into effect in July 2010, imposes jail sentences of up to two years for those who might dissent.
O P I N I O N
by Algirdas Davidavičius
Algirdas Davidavičius, author of the text formerly published here [an essay and memoir on the December 8th 2010 Holocaust discussion held at the Misterija cafe on Totoriu Street in Vilnius, previously announced on Facebook and elsewhere as a public event] hereby apologizes to Mr Arūnas Brazauskas for inaccurately representing his opinion, and, under legal threat, has [on 16 December 2010] removed the text from DefendingHistory.com.
The author of the removed text also hopes to take and publish in the foreseeable future an interview with Mr Brazauskas on a number of questions mentioned in the formerly published text, and urges Mr Brazauskas to express his opinions more clearly and unequivocally.
- Algirdas Davidavičius
- 16 December 2010
O P I N I O N
by Leonidas Donskis
An unattributed piece that just appeared in the weekly magazine Veidas (it turned out the author does actually exist and even works at the Lithuanian Interior Ministry), intended to discuss the Nuremberg trial, and has become a new delimiter in our political life and public space. For the first time since the restoration of independence in 1990, the Holocaust has been publicly and openly denied in Lithuania (see here).
MP Denis MacShane Calls for Release of 7 Ambassadors’ Letter on Antisemitism and the ‘Double Genocide’ movement in Lithuania
The following exchange between human rights advocate MP Denis MacShane and the government’s Minister for Europe, David Lidington, was reported today in the House of Commons:
Mr MacShane:To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the letter of 25 November 2010 sent by the UK and other ambassadors in Lithuania concerning the growing manifestations of anti-Semitism in Lithuania. 
Mr Lidington:It has not been the practice of successive Governments to publish letters sent by diplomats in a confidential capacity. It is important for the effective conduct of international relations for diplomacy to be able to take place on a confidential basis where necessary.
The letter referred to was reported in this journal on 25 November 2010.
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
“Also, it has been started to require the sentence of the citizens of the Jewish nationality ― Yitzhak Arad, Fania Brantsovsky and Rachel Margolis, as these citizens (former Soviet guerrillas) have organized the massive slaughter of civilians in Kaniūkai Village, Lithuania (killing 38 civilians) on 29 January 1944. Attention should be paid to the fact that the very Y. Arad has departed to Israel.” — from the statement just published by the Lithuanian Human Rights Association (LHRA), signed by ten of its leading experts and approved by its committee.
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
2010 was an astonishing year for human rights in Lithuania. Toward the beginning of 2010 there were public demonstrations in the capital by self-designated patriotic youth, decked out in various paramilitary costumes, in plain clothes bearing variations on swastikas and wearing white arm bands. These Lithuanian neo-Nazis marched across the main streets and squares in Vilnius on independence day (March 11th), made a showing to protest against a silent march of people from the main square to a cemetery to honor the dead on Soviet Victory Day (May 9th), and most spectacularly managed to outnumber 10 to 1 Lithuania’s first gay pride march (May 8th) with a violent mob throwing objects, hurtling insults and proudly waving flags with pseudo-swastikas behind police lines. The gay pride march almost didn’t happen, as it hadn’t many years in a row, because of bureaucratic impedance from the Vilnius municipality over issuing a permit and from law enforcement and the parliament. The neo-Nazi marches, on the other hand, had support from within parliament, MPs who personally asked for, and got, permits from the city for a march. Several MPs also came to the anti-gay pride protest with bullhorns, stormed police barriers and generally foamed at the mouth, caught on camera.
O P I N I O N
by Leonidas Donskis
The European Parliament recently reacted by way of a resolution to a piece of draft legislation by a member of the parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, Petras Gražulis. If enacted, his legislation would have de jure expelled from public life homosexual citizens in the country. Since then, several comments have already rung out in our public space in Lithuania, whose essence, despite differences in levels of nuance, is similar: that the European Parliament is allegedly interfering too minutely and grandly in the affairs of the Republic of Lithuania; that it is allegedly violating the principle of subsidiarity; that it is applying double standards because it was so careful in commenting upon the sins of France in the sphere of human rights but ruthlessly attacks the new member states, first and foremost Lithuania.
MEP Donskis challenges attacks on European Parliament’s queries on Lithuanian Parliament’s homophobic legislation
In a new essay, published in Lithuanian on 2 February , and in English on 7 February 2011, MEP Professor Leonidas Donskis takes to task Lithuanian commentators and politicians who have attacked the European Parliament for daring to criticize proposed new homophobic legislation making its way through the Lithuanian Parliament. He also takes note of the unfortunate role of state security services in realms they should have nothing to do with in an EU democracy, while bemoaning their total lack of concern with politicians and their top advisors who flirt openly with neo-Nazi ideology and policies. He writes: ‘Perhaps it is time to worry about the stench from the rising tide of fascist ideas and interpretations of history in our political life and media instead.’ Full text here.
Neo-Nazi marchers in Kaunas today, Lithuania’s February 16th Indendence Day celebration, carried a banner reading (in translation): ‘Today in the Street, Tomorrow in Parliament’. The reference was both to the general goal of the movement, and in reference to a neo-Nazi employed as an assistant to a prominent member of parliament (the Seimas), herself formerly the head of the antisemitic Genocide Center, who has announced his own candidacy in forthcoming municipal elections.
By apparent agreement with authorities, the marchers brandished swasticals rather than classical swastikas.
Report and images on Lrytas.lt.
Condemnation of Communism Does Not Require Submission to Double Genocide, Holocaust Obfuscation, or the Recent Deterioration in Civil Society and Free Speech in Lithuania
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Rokas Grajauskas cites me in his recent article on these pages as invoking the notion Holocaust Obfuscation (a term I proposed at a London seminar in February 2008, then formally in 2009) to refer to “the efforts of the post-Communist countries to revive the memory of Stalin’s crimes.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The web journal I edit, DefendingHistory.com, although dedicated primarily to the battle against trivialization of the Holocaust and the concomitant racism and antisemitism of the new Far Right in Eastern Europe, contains a page on Soviet crimes, where I wholeheartedly embrace such Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly resolutions as 1096 (1996) and 1481 (2006), which wisely and rightly condemn Soviet crimes. It is vital that the full extent of these crimes be documented, the victims honored, the subject properly taught in international curricula, museums and memorializing institutions established, and justice pursued to the full extent of law. It is every bit as vital that Western commitment to Baltic security and independence remain unwavering, what with a huge unpredictable neighbor “with a certain past” (and unclear future) situated to the immediate east.
Five hundred and ninety-five Lithuanian citizens today published their public letter to the president, the parliament and the government of Lithuania, and to the Vilnius City Council. The letter condemns the ‘march of the extreme right and the spread of hatred in public’. The document appears on the Demos website in English (an earlier Lithuanian version appeared on Peticijos.lt here).
Delfi.lt, Lithuania’s principal internet news portal, publishes on its website pseudonymously signed long comments in the format of proper news and opinion pieces. Such items, sometimes bereft of any actual author’s name (and responsibility), are thereby given the higher status of signed articles that carry the aura of an editor’s hand or editorial approval, in contrast to the free-for-all characteristic of numbered comments or talkbacks added at the end of a proper article. In other words, such items ascend to higher respectability, irrespective of Delfi.lt’s disclaimer confirming that opinion pieces represent only the writer’s views.
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
Ričardas Čekutis, an organizer of the March 11th 2011 neo-Nazi march through central Vilnius and the head of public relations at Lithuania’s Genocide Research Center, an institution nominally tasked with (and paid for by the taxpayers) to promote genocide research and education, recently answered some criticism of himself and his ideas, a neo-fascist political party and neo-Nazi marches, questions that were posed by Darius Kuolys.
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
DefendingHistory.com disagrees with each and every word that Lithuanian politician Algirdas Paleckis has uttered about the events in Vilnius, Lithuania, of January 13th 1991 when courageous unarmed protesters for freedom and independence were mercilessly murdered by armed Soviet forces.
As students of Voltaire (though the famous quote is by his biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall), we disapprove of all that Paleckis has said about January 1991, but we will join the fight to the finish for his right to say it and not be subject to trial in a member-state of the European Union and NATO.
Budapest Judge Throws Out War Criminal’s ‘Libel’ Case against Dr Efraim Zuroff, praises the Holocaust Historian for Pursuing Justice
Budapest judge Viktor Vadasz of the Pest Central District Court ruled today in favor of Dr Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust historian and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, in a case that foreign observers have taken to be emblamatic for the sometimes topsy-turvy world of East European politics: glorification of Nazi war criminals amidst vilification of those who would want them brought to justice and the truth about local Holocaust history told and taught.
On Monday evening 2 May (Yom Hashoah), at about 7 PM, five or six masked perpetrators forced their way into a small theater in Vilnius showing a film about the formation of the anti-fascist movement in France and hurled military-type smoke bombs at the screen. Viewers, including a child, fled in panic and unable to breathe. Some witnesses claimed they saw members of the Lithuanian military participating.
marked three years to the day since police in Vilnius came looking for Holocaust Survivors Dr Rachel Margolis (born 1921, at right of photo) and Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (born 1922) in a ‘war crimes investigation’ that has still not been publicly closed.
Both women were incarcerated in the Vilna Ghetto from 1941 to 1943. Both lost their entire families to the barbarity of the Nazis and their local collaborators. They both escaped, on different days in September 1943, to join up with the anti-Nazi partisans in the forests of Lithuania. The underground forest fort, a half-hour’s drive from Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, where Fania lived with another hundred or so Jewish escapees of the Vilna Ghetto, is being allowed to sink into the ground and disappear from history’s view.
The courtroom was packed as post-Soviet democratic Hungary finally put one of its own citizens on trial for alleged complicity in the genocide of the country’s Jewish population in the Holocaust. The massive local media coverage pointed to what some observers called a mood of national catharsis breaking a taboo against admission of Nazi-era complicity that has swept much of the new-accession state area in the European Union.
‘Prague Process’ Crowd, with Lithuanian Jewish politician for cover (as usual), now proceeding with plans to ‘overhaul European history textbooks’ for Double Genocide and Holocaust Obfuscation
The Prague Declaration proponents in European Parliamentary circles, having renamed their movement the ‘Prague Process’, are triumphantly reporting on their latest initiative to bring to fruition yet another of the movement’s stated objectives: to overhaul all the history textbooks in Europe to reflect the supposed ‘equality’ of Nazi and Soviet crimes, in other words to continue with the far right’s revision-of-history project to downgrade the Holocaust in the course of Double Genocide ideology.
As ever, the group is able at critical moments to wheel out Lithuania’s right-wing Jewish MP, Emanuelis Zingeris, himself a signatory of the Prague Declaration, who publicly resigned from his country’s Jewish community many years ago, but continues to run the ‘Jewish track’ of a complicated double-game policy that has led, in 2011, to the absurdity of a year to remember the Holocaust as well as a year to commemorate some of its local perpetrators who are glorified as ‘anti-Soviet heroes’ (see here, here and here).
In an article published today on Delfi.lt, Eglė Samoškaitė investigates state funding for fascist organizations, including those that lead or participate in neo-Nazi marches. A full English translation is here.
Far Right Organization, Led by Genocide Center’s ‘Specialist’, Publishes a List of Enemies Including Advisor to the Lithuanian Jewish Community
A far right organization in Lithuania today published a list of enemies, comprising liberals, tolerance-advocating authors, gay rights activists and a poet who is an official advisor to the Jewish Community of Lithuania (English translation here).
One of the organization’s leaders is a ‘chief specialist’ at the state-sponsored Genocide Research Center which is one of the engines of Holocaust Obfuscation and the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament. He was one of the leaders of last March’s state-authorized neo-Nazi parade through central Vilnius.
Citing recent events in Hungary, in which authors Ben Cohen and Karl Pfeifer had a role to play, the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal has published an article in today’s Jerusalem Post exposing the sharply increased proclivity toward primitive antisemitism in the mainstream press in Hungary. The tendency has picked up steam since election of the right wing of government Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party. The freedom and responsibility of the media have been main issues for the country’s right wing government.
Lithuania’s main newspaper Lietuvos Rytas reported today on an internal investigation by the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense into participation by Lithuanian soldiers in neo-Nazi marches. The investigation found that the soldiers hadn’t violated the law, but the ministry isn’t making public the contents of the inquiry. The presence of neo-Nazis in the Lithuanian military came to light after the website Antifa.lt published photos of participants in a March 11 neo-Nazi independence day march through central Vilnius, next to pictures of the same people in Lithuanian military uniforms. See Antifa.lt’s posts here and here.
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Last Thursday, 3 November, an article I’d submitted to the Jerusalem Post for consideration appeared on the op-ed page (PDF of the print edition here). In democratic societies, sending an opinion piece to a respectable publication, signing it with one’s real name, and opening it (and oneself) to further open debate and discussion are rather standard. As usual, I linked to the article on my Facebook page, expecting some to agree and some to disagree, moving debate forward.
But a number of Facebook Friends who did not react on my page, or any other open forum, did for some reason find it appropriate to join a kind of witch hunt against the article and its author on a page of a “Secret Group” called Lietuva be neonacizmo (Lithuania Without Neo-Nazism), located at: www.facebook.com/groups/135816956486382.
How the Zingeris-Račinskas Red-Brown Commission “Gently” Pushed Along the Conversion of Holocaust Studies into Double Genocide Studies
O P I N I O N
by Rachel Croucher (Melbourne)
Although not seeking to deny the Holocaust, the ultimate consequence of the movement to redefine genocide is the equalization of National Socialist and Soviet crimes. The characterization of Soviet crimes as genocide is a misrepresentation that hinders authentic remembrance of the Holocaust in Lithuania by helping to obscure the extent and nature of Lithuanian complicity in the killings of the local Jewish population.
The idea that the crimes of Hitler and successive Soviet regimes are in fact equal has been a growing force behind public discourse on the Holocaust since the formulation of the national Holocaust and Genocide Education Program at the sixth meeting of The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania in June 2002.
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Suspense is growing in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, concerning the verdict in the free speech trial of the flamboyant, controversial young left-wing politician, Algirdas Paleckis. The court’s ruling will be read from the bench next Wednesday 14 December 2011 at 2 PM at the First District Court at Laisves 79, Vilnius. The charge carries a possible one-year prison sentence if Mr. Paleckis is found guilty. A press release was received today from the Lithuania Without Nazism organization (not to be confused with the ‘secret’ internet group ‘Lithuania Without Neo-Nazism’, that some believe to be a manipulated group, somewhat sophomoric, or both).
Free Speech on Trial?
DefendingHistory.com was there. . .
Paleckis Verdict, Postponed to 30 Dec, Postponed again to 18 January 2012 (3 PM)
Algirdas Paleckis’s critique of legal neo-Nazi parades, legalized swastikas and military personnel participating in Nazi activities — at the November 2011 conference on tolerance in Vilnius: video; translation; report.
O P I N I O N / E Y E W I T N E S S R E P O R T
by Dovid Katz
Lithuanian Parliamentarian Vytenis Andriukaitis, Signatory of 70 Years Declaration, Replies to Foreign Minister, Cites ‘Moustache’ Remark and the Implications of ‘Double Genocide’
O P I N I O N
by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis
The following is an authorized translation from the Lithuanian text published on Delfi.lt on 9 February 2012. It is a reply to the foreign minister’s article published a week earlier (English translation here).
Honorable A. Ažubalis, Did You Pull Such an Understanding of History out of Thin Air?
by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament
Honorable minister, looking at the headline of your public statement, I hoped at least that you would apologize for the position expressed earlier that “it is impossible to find any difference between Hitler and Stalin except in their moustaches (Hitler’s was smaller).” I agree with the position expressed by Dennis MacShane, member of the British House of Commons, that such jokes by foreign minister Audronius Ažubalis are inappropriate in discussing the mass murder of six million Jews.
In your public statement, you again place two signed declarations in opposition to one another. One of them — the “only true one” — the “Declaration on European Conscience and Communism” signed in Prague in 2008, maintains that the precondition for a unified Europe is a unified view of history and the ability to condemn the last century’s crimes against humanity. The second, the Seventy Years Declaration — the declaration referred to as if it were a crime and condemned by you —was adopted marking the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee conference, a declaration which rejects attempts to trivialize the atrocities of the Jewish genocide.
300 Neo-Nazis March through the Center of Kaunas on Lithuanian Independence Day; They are Addressed by Members of Parliament
E Y E W I T N E S S R E P O R T / O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
With attention focused on the government-permission-granted central Vilnius neo-Nazi march slated for Lithuania’s March 11th independence day — now the subject of an international petition on Change.org — there was minimal foreign interest in today’s independence day neo-Nazi march and demonstration in central Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city. The March 11th independence day marks the date in 1990 when Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union. Today’s holiday is on the date of the 1918 declaration of independence which heralded the rise of the modern Lithuanian state in the twentieth century. Both dates are revered by the country’s diverse minorities and factions. They represent freedom from oppression and foreign domination, and celebrate the building of a free and democratic state.
But in recent years, both dates have been hijacked by neo-Nazi groups in the heart of the country’s major cities, with the support of some members of parliament and leading political figures. There is, moreover, the proverbial blind eye of much or most of the elite classes, which serves as a contributing catalyst.
O P I N I O N
by Olga Zabludoff
When I learned that the municipality of Vilnius had again issued permits for a neo-Nazi march on Lithuania’s March 11th Independence Day, I was disturbed for more than one reason. Why would the government, which has been purporting its wish for reconciliation with its small Lithuanian Jewish community and Jews everywhere, sanction the resurrection of a Holocaust image? Why would the government, which has been purporting its wish to better its tarnished image with worldwide Jewry, accept and endorse the display of the LAF white armbands imprinted with the flaming swastika?
Most survivors of the Lithuanian Holocaust are more traumatized by memories of the white-armbanded Lithuanian Activist Front than by memories of Hitler’s Aryan henchmen. It was the local LAF murderers who began to butcher Jews who had been their neighbors — this even before their German Nazi masters/commanders came upon the scene. It was the LAF who unleashed the Holocaust in Lithuania. It was then that their slogan was born: “Lithuania for Lithuanians!” (Lietuva Lietuviams).
March 11th: A Grand Opportunity for the Lithuanian Human Rights Community — and the People of Vilnius
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
When three of us from the DefendingHistory.com community headed out from Vilnius on February 16th to confront the neo-Nazi march in central Kaunas, we were sure we would be joined by dozens, or more, true lovers of Lithuania — folks who cannot remain silent that perverted political leadership allows today’s neo-Nazis to achieve free reign in the center of a great city in the middle of the nation’s cherished independence day. Folks who cannot let the glorification of stylized swastikas (including the “Lithuanian swastika“), and white armbands (celebrating the LAF Holocaust perpetrators of 1941) go unchallenged in the country with the largest rate of murder of its civilian Jewish population in all Holocaust-era Europe. Folks who want to send at least some modicum of support to today’s minorities. And a message to the world that the neo-Nazis do not represent Lithuanian society.
It was a shock to find in Kaunas on February 16th, that the somewhat quixotic DefendingHistory.com threesome would find itself the only visible anti-Nazi presence during the march and the rally that followed.
D E B A T E
Monica Lowenberg is the creator of the international petition against this year’s Waffen SS march scheduled for 16 March 2012 in the heart of Riga, Latvia’s capital city. The petition has to date attracted some six thousand signatures from every part of the planet.
Its author approached the Latvian ambassador to the UK for support.
Below is his letter of 1 March (as PDF here). It is followed by the text of Monica Lowenberg’s 5 March reply, supplied to DefendingHistory.com for publication.
I: The Latvian Ambassador to Monica Lowenberg (1 March 2012)
C O M M E N T
In contrast to its potent and convincing public response to neo-Nazi events in the center of Vilnius in earlier years, the current leadership of the American embassy in the Lithuanian capital has followed a pattern disturbing to many Americans, of failing to even mention what America’s values are in commenting in official communications on both a neo-Nazi march and a pro-tolerance march, both scheduled for tomorrow, Lithuania’s independence day.
O P I N I O N
by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis
Authorized translation from the Lithuanian original that appeared on Balsas.lt on 5 April 2012.
Yesterday, April 4, my colleague Petras Auštrevičius sent me a fragment of some internet correspondence between you, Ričardas Čekutis, and Morta Vidūnaitė. You, commenting upon the conversation, expressed this thought:
“But a nationalist [or “ethnic”] state, Morta, is one where government, i.e., sovereignty, belongs to the [ethnic] nation, which is what is written in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. Not to some sort of ‘citizens’ but to the [ethnic] Lithuanian people. This is also the principle of the supremacy of national law over all transnational formations, such as the EU, into which we were shoved through deceit and forgeries.
“In a nationalist [ethnic] state, for example, characters such as Auštrevičius, Andriukaitis and Karosas would be shot without hesitation, and that would be right, for treason. Well, you’ll see, very soon…”
I wouldn’t want to argue with your thought that they would shoot us, because an opinion is an opinion. But this sentence that “well, you will see, very soon,” understood rather clearly from the context that we will see some shootings has a very different meaning. But more about that a bit later.
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
Ričardas Čekutis, “chief specialist” at Lithuanian’s state-sponsored Genocide Center in Vilnius old town, a fascist party leader and co-organizer of the annual neo-Nazi marches through Vilnius, has again made controversial comments on Facebook, this time apparently calling upon other Lithuanian neo-Nazis to murder three MPs. Two of the three are signatories to the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD) first published in DefendingHistory.com and presented to the president of the European Parliament in Strasbourg last month.
Confirming suspicions that SYD had angered not just the clique of apparatchiks who earn a good living from the Double Genocide industry in this part of the world, and had made wider waves in the Lithuanian neo-Nazi underground, Čekutis seemed to call for someone to shoot MPs Vytenis Andriukaitis, Justinas Karosas—both of whom signed the SYD—and the MP Petras Austrevičius.
Three Progressive Members of Lithuania’s Parliament Ask Prosecutors to Investigate Threats by Genocide Center’s “Chief Specialist”
On 1 April 2012, three members of the Lithuanian Parliament — Petras Auštrevičius, Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis and Justinas Karosas — submitted a formal letter to prosecutors asking for an investigation into the threats made by a “chief specialist” (PDF here) at the state-sponsored Genocide Research Center, who has also published antisemitic, racist and homophobic statements and participated in the organization of neo-Nazi marches (see e.g. here, here, here, here and here).
[Two of the three targeted parliamentarians are signatories to the Seventy Years Declaration, and were recently attacked by the foreign minister; see here and here; see also MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis’s response here.]
The Lithuanian original of the three parliamentarians’ 1 April letter to prosecutors is here. A full English translation follows below.
To the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania
1 April 2012 No. 04-11/2012
“Moderate Litvak” Status is Conferred by his Highness, the Norwegian Property Magnate cum Editor-in-Chief of Vilnius
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Thought experiment: Imagine an African American in the city of Columbia, South Carolina, being called an extremist or fanatic for peacefully expressing the opinion that it is offensive for the Confederate flag to be hoisted on the grounds of the state capitol building. Imagine him or her being called extremist or fanatic for failing to be grateful that the flag was, after much protest, moved from atop the dome to the mere grounds of the capitol and its design slightly changed to conform to the Confederate Battle Flag (as a “concession”).
Imagine if a snow-white editor of a web journal singled out for David Duke style praise “Moderate African Americans” who just say “Thank you” when a pathetic morsel of PR is offered up by local authorities in the face of mounting international opprobrium.
There would be public outrage at the racism.
O P I N I O N
by Leena Hietanen and Petri Krohn
TALLINN―The rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators here in Estonia reached its climax on 14 February 2012, when the Estonian Parliament adopted a declaration sponsored by Defense Minister Mart Laar, in which all who took up arms against the Soviet Union were recognized as “freedom fighters.” The parliament’s statement included the following language, made to sound rather innocuous:
O P I N I O N
by Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe and Per Anders Rudling
Vadym Kolesnychenko, a member of the parliamentary faction of the Party of Regions, recently published a volume (http://r-u.org.ua/kniga/kniga.pdf) of Russian language translations of articles written by Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, Per Anders Rudling and Timothy Snyder.
The articles appeared originally in journals such as Kritika, New York Times Review of Books, Carl Beck Papers and KakanienRevisited. Mr. Kolesnychenko translated and published the volume without the approval or consent of the authors. We regard this conduct as unethical.
Our objections to the political instrumentalization of our work by the Party of Regions are the same as our reservations to analogous instrumentalization by pro-nationalist groups and organizations.
- Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe
- University of Hamburg
- Per Anders Rudling
- Lund University
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
In May Lithuania celebrated the return of the ashes of the Nazi puppet prime minister of June, 1941, Juozas Ambrazevičius (who changed his surname to Brazaitis as a matter of convenience when he began using papers issued to one Brazaitis). The schizophrenic nature of the events were evident from the start, from the Kubilius government’s resolution allocating 30,000 litas in funding to celebrate the Lithuanian Nazi which, several items down the list, also allocated 3,000 litas for a project to “name the names,” to draw up a list of Lithuanian Holocaust victims, in conjunction with the Yad Vashem institution in Jerusalem.
The dissociative shell game continued when the government and state institutions sought to pawn off the events they financed on other institutions: the Catholic Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Kaunas, and an “academic conference/commemoration” planned at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. After a scandal broke and former professor now MEP Leonidas Donskis published an eloquent protest on DH, the rector of VMU, who didn’t want the heat, told the Nazi celebrators to find another venue, one supplied by the Kaunas municipality, the chambers of the Kaunas city council. Then, in keeping with the theme of schizophrenia, VMU decided to allow another “academic conference” on university premises, initially with the exact same list of speakers as the banned event.
Congratulating Algimantas Kasparavičius who Gets it Right: Trying to Manage History is a Big-Time Loser for Mature Foreign Policy
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
It isn’t every Monday and Thursday (as the old Yiddish saying goes) that this journal publishes an opinion piece congratulating a contemporary historian in Lithuania who is a current mainstream player (rather than a pensioner, conceptual or actual exile, or someone painted up as a narrow ethnic-minority champion, anarchist, Soviet apologist, plain old personal maverick, or what-not). It is even more unusual for DefendingHistory.com to go out on a limb without even knowing said historian’s views on the issues that lie at the core of DH’s modest corner in the contemporary marketplace of ideas.
Let it be said at the outset that we sincerely hope that a vote of confidence and congratulations from DefendingHistory.com will not unduly (let alone fatally) harm the man’s future career prospects in the vaunted circles of Lithuania’s most powerful politicians, state institutions and history professors. But come to think of it, the improper leap-into-bed together of this untenable ménage-à-trois goes to the core of the conundrum.
O P I N I O N
by Milan Chersonski
At Taxpayer Expense
Memorial funeral events, dedicated to the moving of Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis’s ashes, were held in Kaunas for a week and a half from May 17th to 27th. He was the acting prime minister of the summer 1941 Provisional Government of Lithuania (PG); his ashes were moved to the former provisional Lithuanian capital, Kaunas.
His ashes were delivered by airplane from the distant state of Connecticut to the current Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, and then escorted with honors to Kaunas, where the ashes, originally buried in 1974, were re-buried, this time with full state honors.
Apparently, those who initiated the reburial were pursuing three goals of importance to them:
O P I N I O N
by Evaldas Balčiūnas
When I wrote about three glorified Lithuanian Freedom Army colonels who had in fact been implicated in the Holocaust, I did not realize quite how deep-rooted the shameful worship of Nazi-era war criminals has become here in Lithuania. I used to think that a few mistakes had been made due to patriotic excesses. A year has passed since that article, and I no longer feel that this is just some irksome problem “still encountered now and then”…
Efraim Zuroff, the Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter and author, today posted the following message on his Facebook page. It is reproduced here with the permission of Dr. Zuroff, who is director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel office and its Operation Last Chance. For more on the alleged US embassy (Vilnius) blackballing of Dr. Zuroff from an international 2011 summer program in Vilnius see here. Background to the Yivo event: see Milan Chersonski’s article.
This is a call for action to those in the NYC area. This coming Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM, YIVO is hosting an evening at the Center for Jewish History at 15 West 16th St. entitled “Reclaiming The Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today.” The problem is that the featured guests are all supporters of the Lithuanian government’s efforts to promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes and are minimizing the huge role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews. Anyone able to go and confront Markas Zingeris, the Lithuanian PM’s advisor on genocide, and former US ambassador to Lithuania Anne Derse whose embassy blackballed my participation in a seminar on Lithuanian Jewish history at the request of the Lithuanian authorities, will be doing a big mitzva!!!
O P I N I O N
by Per Anders Rudling
Last week, a Canada-wide lecture tour by Ruslan Zabily was announced. He is the former director of the Center for the Study of the Liberation Movement and the current director of the Lonsky Street Prison National Memorial Museum (for short: the Lonsky Museum) in Lviv, Ukraine.
The lecture tour includes some of the most prestigious universities in Canada — the universities of Alberta, Toronto, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ottawa — as well as Harvard University’s Ukrainian Studies Institute in the United States. The lectures in Alberta and Toronto are facilitated by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies; the Peter Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine; the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies; the Harvard Institute of Ukrainian Studies and its Chair of Ukrainian Studies.
Outgoing Lithuanian PM, Red-Brown Commission and Genocide Center Joining Forces for Mid-November Vilnius Conference Promoting “Double Genocide”
With the recent Lithuanian elections barely out of the way, and the ruling right-wing Homeland Union Conservatives the undisputed losers, the ultranationalist right is losing no time in pressing ahead aggressively with the Double Genocide “red-equals-brown” agenda, reverting to one of the movement’s original slogans: “United Europe — United History.” For pro-tolerance and liberal forces, the profoundly undemocratic message implied is that a united Europe has to also be united (i.e. have one opinion) on questions of history, and that Double Genocide and its central document, the 2008 Prague Declaration, are inviolable truths.
O P I N I O N
by Monica Lowenberg
The following letter to the provost of University College London was released for publication today by Ms. Lowenberg’s office.
To the Provost
Dear Professor Grant,
Please find pasted below correspondence between myself and Dr Francois Guenest of UCL and Professor Polonsky who together have organised with the Lithuanian government this year’s Part 2 conference ‘No Simple Stories’ to be held next week 17-19 December at the Lithuanian embassy in London and UCL.
I requested that I read out a petition that hundreds of people across the world, scholars, survivors and others agree with, a petition that disagrees with Polonsky’s and the Lithuanian government’s interpretation of events and action. Polonsky as designated organiser has refused me the opportunity to read out the petition.
Serious questions have to now be raised about the conference, its agenda and UCL.
UCL Hebrew-Jewish Studies Dept Rejects Request for Five Minutes for Holocaust Survivor to Read Petition at Lithuanian Gov. Sponsored Conference
London observers were wondering whether the medal Professor Antony Polonsky received earlier this year from the president of Lithuania for his PR work for the Lithuanian government may have something to do with his denial of Monica Lowenberg’s request, asking for five minutes for her father, a Holocaust survivor, to read out at next week’s conference her petition to the Lithuanian government, proposing constructive solutions to the issues at hand. The petition has to date garnered over 250 signatories from two dozen countries. The following is the correspondence, which started with Ms. Lowenberg’s appeal to Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert and Dr. Francois Guesnet. Dr. Guesnet, the Corob Reader in Jewish History at UCL is one of the conference coordinators on behalf of the Lithuanian government funded institutions financing the conference. Holocaust survivors consulted cannot understand why safe and secure academics who hold high posts at Western institutions should so fear “even to give five minutes for somebody else to come and disagree” with the conference’s pay-masters in the freedom of the British capital.
UCL Professor who Denied Holocaust Survivors Five Minutes to Read Petition to Lithuanian Government, Sings Different Tune Schnoring $$$ for Lithuanian “Study Trips”
Professor Michael Berkowitz of University College London’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, an expert on Lithuanian Jewish studies, was the member of staff who told London petitioner Monica Lowenberg on 14 December 2012 that Brandeis Professor Antony Polonsky’s banning of the reading of a five minute petition would be upheld by the UCL department (correspondence here; background on the UCL saga here—best enjoyed in chronological order from the bottom upwards…).
The text of the petition and list of international signatories to date is available on Change.org.
Professor Polonsky was knighted by the president of Lithuania earlier this year for services to that country’s efforts to improve its Jewish PR profile, a PR profile that has suffered difficulty from repeated state honoring of Nazi collaborators and perpetrators, state defamation of Holocaust survivors who joined the resistance, and state investment in a revised far-right-based historical model for World War II.
2013: Call on US State Dept to Reject Politics of Holocaust Denial and Appeasement of Eastern Europe’s New Far Right
Shock of 2012: When a NATO-EU Ally Reburied and Glorified its 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister who Signed Orders for Kovno Ghetto
Instead of politely protesting, the US Embassy in Vilnius financed a camouflage symposium on Holocaust issues to deflect attention from the week’s event. Framed to honor T. Snyder’s book Bloodlands, it also featured the head of YIVO.
The Lithuanian government sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes of Lithuania,” known for short as the “Red-Brown Commission” has recently added a new layer of obfuscation and opacity to its activities.
Its website has deleted the names of the “Members of the Commission” thereby rendering it a kind of “secret society.”
Lithuania’s Social Democratic Party (LSDP), now in power, issued a statement on 14 March concerning the March 11th neo-Nazi march on the central boulevard of the nation’s capital city, Vilnius. The following is an English translation of the statement, which contrasts somewhat in tone with that of the prime minister who is from the same party.
Nationalists Violating Principles of Democracy Can No Longer Use Democracy as Cover
14 March 2013
The unsanctioned march by nationalists that took place on Gedimino prospektas on the March 11th holiday tore away the veil of democracy from those who call themselves “patriotic youth.” Citizens who support democracy must pay heed to decisions made by democratic institutions, and ignoring such needs to be interpreted as anti-constitutional behavior.
A month has now elapsed since the online Lithuania Tribune took a defamatory press release as God’s-honest-truth news, in absence of the slightest attempt to obtain a quote from the victim, or indeed anyone with a contrasting view. The press release came not from a news agency, but the highly partisan executive director of the “Red-Brown Commission” (the full and rather Orwellian name of which is “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania”). The Commission is highly controversial to say the least, and resignations to date (all on principle) from its associated bodies include Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Sir Martin Gilbert (London), Prof. Gershon Greenberg (Washington, DC), Prof. Konrad Kwiet (Sydney) and Prof. Dov Levin (Jerusalem). Moreover, while putting forward an educational image to donors, it is in fact the ultranationalist political engine of a sizable part of the Double Genocide movement in Eastern Europe today, and this dubious role has been brought to light repeatedly. Major statements on the Commission’s activities came in 2012 from its former member Yitzhak Arad, and from the world’s last active association of Holocaust survivors from Lithuania.
British Foreign Office on Latvia’s National Waffen SS Fest:
Minister for Europe Enters the Fray; Of Churchill’s Party, He Seems to Forget Great Britain’s Heroism in Bringing Down Hitler and — Scourge (and Historic Result) of Nazi-Worship in the Baltics
Baltic Times: Hitting a New Low with “Paid Advertisement” Advocating Migration of Latvia’s Russian Speakers?
The half-page article on the “Business” page of the Baltic Times (dated 4-17 April 2013 but widely available this week here in Vilnius) carries at its end the words “This is a paid advertisement.”
But these words do not succeed in mitigating the moral responsibility of the increasingly ultranationalist, far-right newspaper in disseminating hate material against any minority, least of all of in an EU / NATO member state. The inherent equality of peoples and their races and languages and national and personal identities are an inseparable component of what the European Union and NATO are all about.
Newest Word for Holocaust Revisionism in Eurospeak? “ISTME” (pronounced Is-it-me?) comes under “Science and Technology”
Is the EU Again being manipulated by “Double Genocide”? Are fine scholars again unwittingly instrumentalized for DG?
More red-equals-brown movement dissemination, now via “Science and Technology”? Orwellian concoctions to downgrade the Holocaust and stifle debate have included: “Reconciliation of European Histories”, “Platform of European Memory”, “principle of non-discrimination of victimhood” and now, under “European cooperation in science and technology” a possibly brand new “Euro-classic”: In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe (ISTME)…
June 23rd: Lithuanian Anti-Fascist Group Mounts Protest in Kaunas Against Glorification of 1941 LAF Killers
Courageous Antifa Lietuva banner reads: “Real heroes rescued people instead of killing them. Remember the victims of the Holocaust”
Milan Chersonski was there. His report on the event. His take: “Let the world know that not everyone in Lithuania tolerates the distortion of history.”
EHU Center for German Studies: “Colloquium Vilnense 2013” is Short on “The Second Opinion” when it comes to The Holocaust
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Colleagues at the prestigious European Humanities University in Vilnius (EHU, also known as the Belarusian Humanities University, in exile here in Vilnius) have passed on the public poster for this year’s series of seminars under the title Colloquium vilnense 2013, running from May to November 2013. The A3 size poster is reproduced (much reduced) at the bottom of this page in two halves.