Exotic Jewish Tourism


See also:
LITVAK TOURISM at: http://defendinghistory.com/litvak-tourism
DARK TOURISM at: http://defendinghistory.com/memorials-to-holocaust-collaborators-in-public-spaces-and-state-sponsored-institutions-in-lithuania
LITVAK STUDIES at: http://defendinghistory.com/litvak-studies
JEWISH LITHUANIA PAGE at: http://defendinghistory.com/jewish-lithuania

Vilnius Jewish Visitor Resources (Selection)


[UPDATED]

SEE ALSO: YOUR JOURNEY

lamed

ADDRESSES:

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Posted in Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Visitor Resources (Selection)

Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl



 

OPINION  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  COMMEMORATIONS FOR DESTROYED COMMUNITIES

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in ISGAP Flashpoint:

The words “antisemitism in the shtetl” might evoke recollections of Fiddler on the Roof, a touch of family lore “from the old country” way back when, or for those familiar with modern Yiddish literature, a scene from this or that writer. Baffling as it may sound, however, it a substantial contemporary topic in the study of antisemitism, and, perhaps even more surprisingly, part of a phenomenon with implications for the future, given the vast number of cities, towns and villages in the world with a rich Jewish history but no living Jews, where potent anti-Jewish feeling (as well as pro-Jewish feeling) can be observed. As noted back in Flashpoint 21, antisemitism in Eastern Europe is very different from its much better known Western and Middle East incarnations.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Norway, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl

New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues



E V E N T S   /   O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

For many years, international visitors to Rokiškis (in Yiddish: Rákishok, or less formally: Rákeshik), in northeastern Lithuania, have remarked that the town’s central area seemed to preserve little (or no) trace or commemoration of its erstwhile Jewish population, though a large monument now graces the entrance to the old Jewish cemetery outside town. Before the Holocaust, this town was home to around 3,500 Jews (some 40% of the total population, and the overwhelming majority in its central area). Luckily, a short film of pre-Holocaust Jewish Rákishok survives (from 1937), and is available on Youtube. Thanks to Polish film maker Tomek Wisniewski for circulating the link in recent days. 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Rákishok (Rokiškis), Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues

Grant Arthur Gochin in the Jerusalem Post on Memorials for Holocaust Perpetrator J. Noreika in Central Vilnius



Gochin’s Jerusalem Post Article   Who was Noreika?   Street Names for Nazis?   Reburials?   More Honors?

2023748827

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Grant Arthur Gochin in the Jerusalem Post on Memorials for Holocaust Perpetrator J. Noreika in Central Vilnius

Yankl-Yosl Bunk – Jakovas Bunka (1923 – 2014)



Yankl-Yosl Bunk (Jakovas Bunka), Famed Wood Sculptor, Last Jew of Plungyán (Plungė, Lithuania), Dies at 91

His Art Commemorates the Holocaust in Western Lithuania

Was World War II Red Army Veteran of the War Against Hitler

Yankev Bunk

Yankl-Yosl Bunk (13 July 1923 – 30 July 2014)  Photo: Adam Ellick

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Posted in Arts, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries, Plungyán (Plungė) | Comments Off on Yankl-Yosl Bunk – Jakovas Bunka (1923 – 2014)

Exhibit Honoring Jewish World War II Veterans Disappears Into Vilnius Thin Air



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—Three Vilnius-based members of the Defending History team visited the Pylimo Street section of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania this week, and asked to be shown the famous and widely admired exhibit honoring the Jewish veterans of the war against Hitler in Lithuania. The exhibit, titled Lithuania’s Jews in the Struggle Against Nazism, was opened in a spirit of unity, reconciliation and mutual respect, some fourteen years ago (PDF of the report in the Spring 2000 English edition of the Jewish community’s then quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania, which was edited by Milan Chersonski from 1999 until 2011; JPEG; reduced image below). Its primary author was Joseph Levinson.

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Posted in Arts, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, History, Human Rights, Joseph Levinson, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Exhibit Honoring Jewish World War II Veterans Disappears Into Vilnius Thin Air

Fate of the Old Jewish Synagogue in Náyshtot-Távrik (Žemaičių Naumiestis); Updates to 6 February 2014



ניישטאָט⸗טאַווריק / Náyshtot-Távrik (Žemaičių Naumiestis):

A Municipality in Western Lithuania May Soon Demolish 1816 Synagogue Building

Samuel Gruber’s Report and Proposals

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Posted in Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Fate of the Old Jewish Synagogue in Náyshtot-Távrik (Žemaičių Naumiestis); Updates to 6 February 2014

New Joseph Levinson Website Has Page on Old Jewish Cemeteries in Lithuania


The recently launched website JosephLevinson.com provides renewed opportunities for acquiring his two major books that are available in English. One, The Shoah in Lithuania, includes documents of the Lithuanian Activist Front detailing their intentions for Jewish citizens, issued before the outbreak of war on 22 June 1941. It is also rich in resources on understanding how, where and why the far right’s “Double Genocide” revisionism arose in the first place. These are just two of the many areas covered by the book.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Joseph Levinson, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on New Joseph Levinson Website Has Page on Old Jewish Cemeteries in Lithuania

Old Blood Libel Plaque Still Displayed, Without Comment, at Bernardinai Church in Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

WHERE THE BLOOD LIBEL STILL STANDS: Seventeenth century plaque commemorating a seven year old allegedly killed by 170 Jewish-inflicted wounds, on display at Bernardinai Church, Maironio Street 10 in Vilnius

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Old Blood Libel Plaque Still Displayed, Without Comment, at Bernardinai Church in Vilnius

Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church



C E M E T E R I E S    /    C H R I S T I A N – J E W I S H   R E L A T I O N S

by Dovid Katz

The following are translated (and edited) excerpts from a longer letter in Yiddish received from a survivor who has asked to remain anonymous, about the Jewish gravestones that form the steps going up to the Reformed Evangelical Church at Pylimo 18 in Vilnius.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church

Never Have So Many Owed So Much to So Few: Reflections on an August 2013 Visit to Some Museums in Vilnius



O P I N I O N

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

 

I recently returned home to Belgium from a visit to Vilnius, Lithuania. As is my custom, I visited different museums where the memory of the victims of the Holocaust is kept alive. I went first to the Green House on Pamenkalnio St 12. Not easy to find for foreigners as there are few indications on the streets. I also went to the Center for Tolerance. Apart from my wife and me there was no one else in either museum at the time of our visits there (in the high tourist season in August).

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Posted in Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Comments Off on Never Have So Many Owed So Much to So Few: Reflections on an August 2013 Visit to Some Museums in Vilnius

Mystery of the Eight-Pointed Western Litvak (Zámeter) Symbol on Jewish Gravestones



by Dovid Katz

 

On expeditions and on culture and history tours, we have on a number of occasions come across unusual Jewish gravestones (in Yiddish — matséyves), so far invariably on the territory of western Lithuania (and on occasion, in bordering Latvia) that is the land known in Litvak culture as Zámet (a Jewish person therefrom is a Zámeter, f. Zámeterin or deep Litvak Zámeterke).

In broad terms, it corresponds to historic Samogitia (Lithuanian Žemaitija). However, the specific cultural and linguistic borders relevant to Litvak culture and Yiddish dialectology often make for a unique Litvak geocultural configuration. For a general Yiddish orientation on the (pre-Holocaust) linguistic situation, see e.g. the maps for ‘ear’ and ‘dove’ vs ‘deaf’ in the in-progress Language Atlas of Lithuanian Yiddish.

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Tourists Shocked at Monuments and Street Names for Holocaust Collaborators


Increasing numbers of summer tourists, in the spirit of “dark tourism” (and, in an EU/NATO country, a spirit of incredulity) are seeking out street names, public plaques, university lecture halls and other monuments to both collaborators and actual perpetrators of the Lithuanian Holocaust.

Some find the following sections helpful to locating specific sites:

(1) Anthology of street names and honors for killers and collaborators in Lithuania.

(2) Section on events and memorials for collaborators and perpetrators in various parts of Eastern Europe.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Tourists Shocked at Monuments and Street Names for Holocaust Collaborators

Would a Jewish Museum in Vilnius Graywash the Lithuanian Holocaust?



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz


A recent visit to Vilnius’s “Jewish Museum — Tolerance Center” has revealed a shocking panel purporting to convey the “facts” of June 23rd 1941, the darkest date in Lithuanian Jewish history. It is the date on which the Holocaust in Lithuania began. No need, incidentally, to take our word for it. Ask any Lithuanian Jew, of any generation, current abode or political persuasion: When did the Holocaust in your country start?

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Would a Jewish Museum in Vilnius Graywash the Lithuanian Holocaust?

Lithuanian Government’s 2013 Vilna Ghetto PR Jamboree



Vilna Ghetto is Back in Focus

 

But Will “Vilna Ghetto Fest” Include Public Apologies to Defamed Vilna (and Kovno) Ghetto Anti-Nazi Jewish Partisan Heroes? Invitations to Come Join the Party?

UPDATES:

1. The Secret “Big-Bucks Vilna Ghetto Disneyland Theme Park” Project (minus the Jewish community, minus apologies to the Partisans of Vilna, minus removals of memorials to local Holocaust perpetrators).

2. Renewed International Petition.

3. Ghetto survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance have been criminalized.

4. Government delegation in South Africa trying to pry Disneyland “investment” from unsuspecting South African Jews.

 

SEVEN SIMPLE SOLUTIONS

Rachel Margolis and Chen Ivri Apter

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, South Africa | Comments Off on Lithuanian Government’s 2013 Vilna Ghetto PR Jamboree

Strength Through Joy “Hitler Youth” Events Sponsored by the City of Vilnius on March 11, 2013



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

by Geoff Vasil

 

This March 11, the day in 1990 when the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic declared Lithuania sovereign and separate from the Soviet Union, was celebrated in Vilnius in the usual manner: neo-Nazis, skinheads, their young and naive followers and a gaggle of elderly politicians—both serving MPs and has-beens—assembled and marched up the main boulevard chanting nationalist and anti-minority slogans, scaring children and generally making the streets unsafe for normal activities.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Strength Through Joy “Hitler Youth” Events Sponsored by the City of Vilnius on March 11, 2013

Shock of 2012: 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister Reburied with Full Honors



Compiled by Dovid Katz

EU/NATO Ally Honors Holocaust Collaborator; Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Protest; 3 US Congressmen Write to Prime Minister

Remains of 1941 fascist leader  Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) met by honor guard at Vilnius Airport on 17 May 2012 and reburied in Kaunas’s Church of the Resurrection on the 20th, as city’s mayor dismisses criticism.

Office of the prime minister, who signed off on government funding (€8,700 / US $11,000)defends reburial & honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet “prime minister” who personally signed the protocols confirming Nazi orders for (1) “all means” against Jews (but avoiding executions in public); (2)  setting up a concentration camp for Lithuanian Jews [euphemism for the carnage underway at the Seventh Fort]; (3) all Kaunas Jews to be herded into a ghetto within 4 weeks (English here).

SEE ALSO:

Collaborators Glorified section

Previous sanitization program

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, EU, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States, US State Dept Manipulated?, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Shock of 2012: 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister Reburied with Full Honors

Dark Tourism: Memorials to Holocaust Perpetrators


The page has moved here.

The new URL is:

http://defendinghistory.com/memorials-to-holocaust-collaborators-in-public-spaces-and-state-sponsored-institutions-in-lithuania

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Dark Tourism: Memorials to Holocaust Perpetrators

The Genocide Center


This page has moved here.

The new URL is:

http://defendinghistory.com/the-genocide-center

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Posted in Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, News & Views | Comments Off on The Genocide Center

Lithuania’s Last Jewish Fort


This page has moved here.

The new URL is:

http://defendinghistory.com/the-last-jewish-fort

Apologies for any inconvenience.


 

Posted in Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Last Jewish Fort

Vylius-Vėlavičius: Patriot or Another “Tuskulėnai Peace Park” Holocaust Perpetrator?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

In my recent article about the war criminals buried at Tuskulėnai Memoral Park in Vilnius I provided a list of Nazi collaborators convicted by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on April 19, 1943, and May 24, 1944 of murdering civilians during the Holocaust. This does not mean, however, that those convicted under other laws are guiltless.

SEE ALSO:

Milan Chersonski on Tuskulėnai Park in Vilnius

According to criminal case materials and archival material examined by Lithuanian historians, there are rabid Nazi collaborators buried at Tuskulėnai Memoral Park. Despite the facts, today falsified, but very “patriotic,” biographies for these people are being crafted and disseminated, according to which they are portrayed as fearless warriors who battled for a free Lithuania.

I have written about one of them, Jonas Noreika, nicknamed General Vėtra, convicted under sections 1a and 2 of article 58 of the criminal code of the RSFSR, but who was recently decorated posthumously by Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus, so I won’t repeat that here.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Museums, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Vylius-Vėlavičius: Patriot or Another “Tuskulėnai Peace Park” Holocaust Perpetrator?

It’s Not Just About the New Tuskulėnai “Peace Park” in Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which in Soviet times was the USSR’s only Yiddish amateur theater company. The views he expresses in DefendingHistory are his own. This is an authorized translation from the Russian original.

Photo: Milan Chersonski at this desk at the Jewish Community of Lithuania (image © 2012 Jurgita Kunigiškytė). Milan Chersonski section.


Can you imagine a European Union / NATO government investing millions in setting up a “Peace Park” in its beautiful capital city, in memory of people buried at the site of the park, when hundreds of them were Nazi collaborators who eagerly supported the annihilation of the Jewish population of their country?

Earlier this month, VilNews.com prominently published an article by Vincas Karnila, presented as the Introduction to a series called “The Mass Graves in Tuskulėnai.” It is a panegyric to the employees of the Museum of Genocide in Vilnius and the Center for the Study of Genocide and Resistance for their tireless efforts to establish the Tuskulėnai Peace Park. Readers are informed that six articles will follow. [Update: Subsequent articles in Karnila’s series can be found in www.VilNews.com.]

Tuskulenai Peace Park

We know from official sources that Soviet KGB victims were buried at Tuskulėnai from 1944 to 1947.

Karnila tells us:

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Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Milan Chersonski, Museums, Opinion, Politics of Memory, VilNews.com | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on It’s Not Just About the New Tuskulėnai “Peace Park” in Vilnius

Trilingual Memorial Plaque Unveiled on Zhager Town Square



O N – S I T E  R E P O R T / O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

ZHAGER, northern Lithuania. Over a hundred people gathered here today on the historic town square to unveil a trilingual plaque memorializing the erstwhile Jewish population of thousands in the town, today Žagarė. The event was incorporated into the annual Cherry Festival and suitably entitled “You can’t fudge the history.”

SEE ALSO THE REPORTS BY ROD FREEDMAN AND SARA MANOBLA

THE QUESTION: IS IT THE ONLY TOWN-CENTER IN ALL THE LAND WITH CLEAR AND TRUE WORDS ON THE TRUE FATE OF THE JEWISH POPULATION?

The text — in English, Lithuanian and Yiddish — summarizes the unvarnished history, with prominent reference to local Lithuanian collaboration (though historians will quibble with the use of “some” in place of “many” among other points). It is placed right in the center of town, rather than at a mass grave site deep in the forest; that might well be a first in modern Lithuanian history.

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Posted in "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, South Africa, The Great SLS About-Face, Zháger (Žagarė) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Trilingual Memorial Plaque Unveiled on Zhager Town Square

The Posthumous Remaking of a Holocaust Perpetrator in Lithuania: Why is Jonas Noreika a National Hero?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Who was Jonas Noreika?

Jonas Noreika (1910-1947), also known by his nom de guerre, General Vėtra, has been named by the current Lithuanian government as “an important member of the resistance” and an object of every sort of heroic commemoration.

In 1997 he was posthumously awarded the Order of the Cross of Vytis, First Degree. The same year a memorial plaque was placed on the facade of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences Library in Vilnius.

Library of the Academy of Sciences in Vilnius. The red arrow marks the Noreika plaque.

The Noreika plaque

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Plungyán (Plungė), Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Posthumous Remaking of a Holocaust Perpetrator in Lithuania: Why is Jonas Noreika a National Hero?

A Hidden Monument in Vilnius — Hopelessly Invisible?


In response to several requests from the United States, DefendingHistory.com this week asked three colleagues who found themselves in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, to try to see the “Flame of Hope” monument, by sculptor Leonardo Nierman, in memory of the victims of the Lithuanian Holocaust, located in the heart of the Old Town, in a yard that was in the Vilna Ghetto between September 1941 and the ghetto’s liquidation three years later.

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A Reconstructed Shtetl — Minus its Jewish Component



by Dovid Katz

Rúmshishok (informally: Rúmseshik), some twelve miles from Kaunas (Kovno), was a beloved Lithuanian shtetl where Lithuanians, Jews and others lived together for many centuries in peace (the town goes back to the fourteenth century). The massacre of the town’s Jews during the Holocaust was close to complete (outlines of the history here and here). According to the new Lithuanian Holocaust Atlas, the perpetrators were comprised of “white armbanders” from the town plus “Lithuanian self-defense unit troops” from Kaunas.

Now Rumšiškės in modern Lithuania, the town is internationally known for its neighboring extensive open air museum of the Lithuanian provinces, including town, hamlet and rural settings, all meticulously reconstructed.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chaim Bargman, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, History, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Reconstructed Shtetl — Minus its Jewish Component

Old Stones Speak to Young Pupils: Jewish Gravestones in the Walls of a Vilnius School Yard



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield)

 

The Lazdynai Middle School in Vilnius, built in the early 1970s, has an admirable reputation, inter alia for an excellent trilingual policy enabling Polish and Russian to flourish alongside the national language, Lithuanian, in a spirit of multicultural respect and harmony so fitting for the city’s history.

Updates to May 2013:

Return visit to the Stones of Lazdynai

Updates to 15 December 2011

Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art and Monuments

Facebook discussion thread

Work in Progress: A Cultural Dictionary of Lithuanian Jewish Gravestones

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The Brand New HOLOCAUST Room in the BASEMENT of the City Center GENOCIDE Museum in Vilnius


Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield).  Text by Dovid Katz. From a visit on 18 November 2011.


Which is worse?

Genocide Museum on ground zero of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe that does not mention the Holocaust,

Or

One that, more than a year after being exposed in this journal in the summer of 2010, and a confluence of international pressures, has added, in October 2011, a single solitary cell in the basement, unannounced on the main floor, that distorts the Lithuanian Holocaust and actually glorifies (as ‘rebels’) the local killers who unleashed the Holocaust in the country, while failing to mention their Holocaust role in an exhibit on the Holocaust?

You decide. . .   

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Symbology | Comments Off on The Brand New HOLOCAUST Room in the BASEMENT of the City Center GENOCIDE Museum in Vilnius

A Speech Never Spoken at Plungyán (Plungė)



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

An imaginary speech, not delivered by any of the high government officials who addressed the commemoration at the mass murder site of the Jews of Plungyán (Plungė) on 17 July 2011.


My dear friends, it is precisely because I am a proud official of the government of independent, democratic, Lithuania, and I love my country, that I am able to speak here today openly, on the seventieth anniversary of the murder of the Jews of Plungė  — Plungyán, as they proudly called it in the Yiddish that rang through its streets for so many centuries.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Plungyán (Plungė), Politics of Memory, South Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Speech Never Spoken at Plungyán (Plungė)

Revolving Posters at Ponar?


Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai) is the mass murder site outside Vilnius where around a hundred thousand civilians were murdered by the Nazi regime. Some 70,000 of them were the Jews of Vilna and its region.

Before the war the site was known as a bucolic holiday and picnic spot set in the forest. During the year-long Soviet rule in 1940-1941, large pits were dug for an oil storage facility. After the Nazi invasion the site was converted to a mass murder operation with the ready-dug pits serving as mass graves.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Revolving Posters at Ponar?

On the “Occupation Museum” in Riga


This page is contributed by Roland Binet (Belgium). © Roland Binet

See also his 10 November 2010 article in Le Monde.  English translation here.


Open Letter to the President of the European Commission

Mr JOSÉ MANUEL BARROSO, ON THE “OCCUPATION MUSEUM” OF RIGA IN LATVIA

Mr President,

Dear Mr Barroso,

I recently visited the “Occupation Museum in Riga/Latvia where I had the opportunity to see your picture — taken during your visit of that museum in 2008 — displayed on one wall of the entrance hall.

That museum prides itself on having thus welcomed a number of well-known symbolic personalities. Your persona grata is all the more important now that the EU has become an unavoidable partner in the world and, furthermore, now that Latvia has become a full member state of the European Union.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Latvia, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Comments Off on On the “Occupation Museum” in Riga

Opening of the Museum of the Riga Ghetto


Elie Valk, chairman of the Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews in Israel, released a statement with links to news reports of the opening of the first part of the Museum of Riga Ghetto today.  The statement reports that ‘The idea of creating such a museum was circulating in the Jewish Community for three to four years. Finally Menachem Barkahan, head of the local religious congregation Shamir, picked it up and was successful in raising funds for it. He is the son of the late Rabbi Note Barkan, who served as the Chief Rabbi of Latvia’. The links provided to news of the event are:Continue reading

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Gruto Parkas, the Fun Park near Druskininkai



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield)

A ‘Lenin Statue Theme Park’ near the resort town of Druskininkai featuring: ‘Soviet Sculpture Exposition, Museum, Picture Gallery, Events, Cafes, Souvenirs, Lunapark, Zoo’ etc. Their website hereA summer 2010 visit.

 

Gruto Parkas (situated at Grutas, near Druskininkai and often popularly called ‘the Lenin Park’) is a private enterprise, but a large sign near the entrance boasts that the historical inscriptions were donated by the state-sponsored ‘Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania’.


THE QUESTION: Can you imagine a major theme park dedicated to the history of the Soviet period, in a member state of the European Union and NATO, that tries its best to present Soviet Communism as a largely Jewish enterprise? With a presentation in the spirit of a most infamous brand of 20th century antisemitism? That singles out by nationality only Jews among the many rogues’ featured in its exhibits? That defames the memory of Holocaust Survivors who escaped Nazi ghettos to join the anti-Nazi partisans in the forests of Lithuania? And all this, without once mentioning the Holocaust . . .

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The Green House



Pamėnkalnio 12, Vilnius

Note: See also our report on the October 2010 re-opening of the Green House following extensive renovations. Black and white photos below are ©Richard Schofield.

Rachel Kostanian, the courageous director, valiantly keeps alive one of the rare local bastions of public integrity on the Holocaust in Lithuania, having constantly to fend off obstacles. Read Esther Goldberg Gilbert’s portrait in the special Jewish New Year’s supplement on great Jewish women of the ages in the Canadian Jewish News (8 Sept 2010).  A follow-up article on Rachel Kostanian’s epic struggle for truth in Holocaust history appeared a month later (7 Oct 2010).

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The Genocide Museum



‘The Museum of Genocide Victims’

Gedimino Boulevard 42, Vilnius

A summer 2010 visit to a major Baltic tourist attraction. 

by Dovid Katz

Images by Richard Schofield  (© R. Schofield)


 


THE QUESTION: Can you imagine a Museum of Genocide Victims — in the capital of a country with the highest proportion in Europe of Holocaust genocide of its Jewish population — that does not mention the word Holocaust or the name of the nearby infamous mass-killing site, where 100,000 civilians were murdered? That avoids any reference to the actual genocide that occurred in the country? That includes antisemitic exhibits with no commentary? That is state-sponsored in the capital of a European Union member state?

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Genocide Museum in the Center of Vilnius Features Antisemitic Exhibits; Plus: Temporary Exhibit Trivializes Auschwitz


Exhibition panel at the state sponsored Genocide Museum, exemplifying the nexus of Holocaust trivialization and antisemitism: ‘In Auschwitz we were given some spinach and a little bread’. Zoom-in of the text (2008 exhibit).

The permanent exhibit includes a post-Holocaust caricature of a Soviet jeep being driven by Lenin, Stalin and ‘the Jew Yankel’  (with no comment on the antisemitic portrayal). Sample of another antisemitic exhibit; & another. Such is sometimes the local face of the ‘Soviet-Nazi equivalence’ that is disseminated at the European Parliament via the Prague Declaration and other resolutions.

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Genocide Museum in the Center of Vilnius Features Antisemitic Exhibits; Plus: Temporary Exhibit Trivializes Auschwitz