VILNIUS—“There is nothing new under the sun,” as the Good Book says (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Sure, on occasion, Irish communities will feud in Boston, Italians in New York, Chinese in LA and Lithuanians in Chicago. It is part of the professional training, posture, and policy of diplomats to negotiate such inevitabilities by way of common sense, wisdom, and fairness. For years now, the widely admired German ambassador to Lithuania, HE Jutta Schmitz has kept her embassy’s diplomatic table open to people and organizations, governmental and non-governmental, from across the colorfully diverse spectrum of opinion in Lithuania. It is not known whether the recent completion of her Vilnius ambassadorship and departure from Lithuania, and the temporary vacancy, had anything to do with the embassy’s recent, and quite innocent, faux-pas.
Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016)
Tagged Ambassador Jutta Schmitz (Vilnius), Faina Kukliansky, German Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC), Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevicius), Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC)
The following is an English translation of Monica Lowenberg’s speech that was read out at the protest at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on 15 March 2017 also addressed by German member of parliament Volker Beck. Ms. Lowenberg could not be in attendance and her speech, published here in the author’s English translation, was read to the assembled by historian Dr. Hans Coppi, chairman of the VVN (Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime in Berlin).
Historian Dr. Hans Coppi (with microphone, center rear) addressing protesters at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on the eve of the 2017 annual Waffen SS march in central Riga. PHOTO: LOTHAR EBERHARDT.
Last Wednesday, on 15 March 2017, eve of the annual events glorifying Latvia’s Waffen SS in the very heart of the capital city, Riga, one German member of parliament (the Bundestag), Volker Beck, came to the Latvian Embassy in the heart of Germany’s capital, Berlin, to give a speech of support to the protesters. Beck, a member of the Greens, is president of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group. The following is the text of his speech, which I have translated into English.
Volker Beck gives a speech of support to protesters at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on the eve of the 2017 annual Waffen SS march in central Riga. PHOTO: LOTHAR EBERHARDT.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Events, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches
Tagged Latvia, Latvian Waffen SS, March 16th in Riga, Monica Lowenberg, Volker Beck, Waffen SS
by Florian Gutsche
RIGA—While Veterans of the Latvian legion of the Waffen-SS are allowed to march on tomorrow’s March 16th “Day of Legionnaires,” a group of antifascists from Germany was arrested while trying to enter Latvia to protest peacefully against the public glorification of the Waffen SS.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches
Tagged Antisemitism in Latvia, Florian Gutsche, Free speech in Latvia, Holocaust in Latvia, Legionnaires Day Latvia, Riga + neo-Nazis, Waffen SS (Latvia)
by Ronald C. Kent
In January 2012 I became aware of a then-upcoming performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Since I knew that Carl Orff was a Nazi-approved composer, who created this work in 1936, I wrote a letter to Maestro Andreas Delfs and Music Director Edo de Waart, requesting that they place the biography of Orff during the Nazi period in the program, in the interest of enlightenment, transparency, and full disclosure, thereby situating “Carmina Burana” in its historical context for listeners.
Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Germany, Media Watch, Music, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Andreas Delfs, Carl Orff, Carmina Burana, Edo de Waart, ILHA, International Labor History Association, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Ronald C. Kent
On Sunday 29 June 2014, I had the privilege of participating in the Berlin screening of Juergen Holbrecht’s new documentary film Wir haben es doch erlebt — das Ghetto von Riga. I had translated the English version and done its narration. I was invited to the event by Professor Peter Alexis Albrecht (Frankfurt University) who is also director of the Cajewitz Stiftung and the association for a former Jewish orphanage, today a school, where my father Ernest Lowenberg and his brother, my uncle Paul Lowenberg were given shelter when it was no longer possible for their parents as Jews to work in Nazi Germany.
Posted in Arts, Events, Film, Germany, History, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views
Tagged Holocaust in Latvia, Juergen Holbrecht, Paul Levenbergs, Riga Ghetto, Wir haben es doch erlebt
On 14 February 2014, Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, boldly turned down a demand from a group of right-wing East European “Double Genocide” MEPs for the EU to in effect equally ban Nazi and Soviet symbols. Nobody is calling for display of Soviet symbols and the move was seen as another in the long series designed to enshrine Double Genocide — the belief that Nazi and Soviet crimes must be declared equal on all counts — in the European Union.
BERLIN—It was reported today that German president, Joachim Gauck, was cited at a 9 December 2013 news conference here about his signature on the controversial 2008 Prague Declaration, that is widely considered to be the foundation document of the “Double Genocide” movement in Europe that seeks to legislate complete equivalence between Nazi and Soviet crimes, thereby downgrading the Holocaust.
At the request of Defending History, Dr. Clemens Heni’s office in Berlin has kindly made available for our readers’ convenience a PDF comprising his writings and presentations between 2009 and 2013 that deal with the 2008 Prague Declaration and its subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) links with contemporary antisemitism. Dr. Heni is author, among other works, of Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon (Berlin 2013).
The PDF is available here. Dr. Heni’s website: www.ClemensHeni.net.
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.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Documents, Double Games, Dovid Katz, EU, Events, Free Speech & Democracy, Germany, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs
Tagged Belarusian Humanities University (Vilnius), Colloquium vilnense, Colloquium vilnense + Jewish issues, Colloquium vilnense + Yiddish, EHU (European Humanities University), EHU Center for German Studies (Vilnius), European Humanities University + Yiddish, Holocaust Denial and Obfuscation, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust Obfuscation, Vilnius Yiddish Institute
by Leena Hietanen (Tallinn)
Germany’s president, Joachim Gauck, welcomed intensified cooperation between Estonian and German historians in the cause of continuing the search for Communist crimes in both Soviet Estonia and East Germany. He posed for photographs alongside Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves with a backdrop of the iconic red-equals-brown Hollywoodesque “set” welcoming visitors to the nation’s Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn.
Photo of the two presidents with red-brown-equals-sign backdrop at the Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn: Postimees (Erik Peinar). More red-brown iconography here.
Posted in Double Genocide, Estonia, EU, Germany, Leena Hietanen, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform"
Tagged Double Genocide in Estonia and Germany, German-Estonian relations, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust in Estonia, Joachim Gauck on Jewish and Holocaust issues, Leena Hietanen, Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Jewish and Holocaust issues
The following letter was released today by Professor Weisskirchen’s office. It is followed by an English translation by Irene Fick.
Dezember 17, 2012
H.E. Ambassador Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene
The Embassy of Lithuania
Exzellenz, sehr geehrte Frau Botschafterin,
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience is the name of one of the main European engines of Double Genocide and Holocaust Obfuscation. Apparently funded by the European Union in part (or more), its name is inspired by the full name of the 2008 “Prague Declaration” (on European Conscience and Communism), which is prominently advertised on its home page. Informally it is referred to as the “Prague Process Platform” (PPP) and is based in the Czech Republic.
THE REPORT FROM THE “PLATFORM”
Kristallnacht, 74 years ago tonight, was the Night of Broken Glass, in which widespread coordinated violence against Jewish citizens of Germany, supported by the Nazi regime, resulted in at least 91 deaths, 30,000 arrests and transfers to concentration camps, and over a thousand synagogues burned down. The event was a major harbinger of the imminent genocide of European Jewry.
O P I N I O N
by Clemens Heni
This edited and condensed extract is from the author’s forthcoming book (in press) and appears here with Dr. Heni’s permission. Clemens Heni is founding director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA).
In June of 1986 the German historian Ernst Nolte (born 1923) started the so-called Historians’ Dispute (Historikerstreit) by publishing an article in the leading conservative daily of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.[i]
Nolte has to be seen as just one of the voices, though a leading one in point of fact, in the nationalist wing in the Federal Republic under Helmut Kohl, who had become chancellor in 1982, with “national identity” as a core element of his politics. The national wave had already begun in the 1970s with the infamous “Hitler wave” films, and with the emergence of the New Right and its German agitator Henning Eichberg and authors such as Martin Walser in 1979.
O P I N I O N
by Per Anders Rudling
Despised and ostracized, the Swedish community of Waffen-SS volunteers long gathered in secret on April 14, “The Day of the Fallen,” for obscure ritualistic annual gatherings at a cemetery in a Stockholm suburb.
Since the 1990s, the rituals have not needed to be clandestine: the few, now very elderly survivors now head to Sinimäe, Estonia, where they feel they are now getting the honor to which they are entitled. Here, Swedish, Norwegian, Austrian, German and other Waffen-SS veterans from Western Europe meet up with their Estonian comrades. The annual gatherings include those who volunteered for ideological reasons, and who are today actively passing on the experiences to a new generation of neo-Nazis.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Canada, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Estonia, Germany, History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Per Anders Rudling, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Sweden
Tagged Per Anders Rudling
German Social Democratic parliamentarian Gert Weisskirchen was awarded a certificate of honor at the Israeli Knesset on 16 December for a lifetime of fighting antisemitism, racism, and Holocaust distortion. The Knesset session was integrated into the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism.
During an informal celebration at Jerusalem’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mr Weisskirchen penned, in his famed telegraphic style, on Global Forum letterpaper, his opposition to the ‘Prague Declaration’ in the spirit of three new ‘DEs’: ‘De-valuation of the victims, De-stortion of history, De-legimitization of the Holocaust. These are the reasons why I oppose the Prague Declaration’ — Gert Weisskirchen
Images courtesy of Dr Clemens Heni of WPK.
At an informal meeting of participants in the Global Forum on Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem this evening, veteran German Social Democratic parliamentarian and human rights champion Professor Gert Weisskirchen put on paper his informal views of the 2008 Prague Declaration:
At the initiative of Norway’s ambassador to Lithuania HE Steinar Gil, a group of ambassadors and chiefs of mission defied persistent rain to go on a historical walking tour of the Vilna Ghetto, where Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 87, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, recounted the history of the city’s anti-Nazi resistance. They represented the embassies of Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Russia. Britain, Canada and the United States had participated on a previous date.
The walk was preceded by a meeting at the Jewish Community of Lithuania addressed by Norwegian ambassador HE Steinar Gil, JCL chairman Dr Shimon Alperovich, executive director Mr Simon Gurevich, and Professor Dovid Katz of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. The event is perceived as a meaningful response to the campaign of defamation targeting Jewish veterans of the anti-Nazi resistance (see below at 28 October 2009). Report at: Responses (→ 26 Nov 2009).
Minutes after the German Embassy in Vilnius issued a press release announcing that it had awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit to Holocaust survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (born 1922), Lithuania’s main news portal, Delfi.lt, published a bileful attack replete with libelous and ridiculous accusations about her ‘war crimes’ (in effect trying to blame the Holocaust’s victims, a frequent ploy of the Baltic region’s Double Genocide Industry that is pushing the Prague Declaration in the European Parliament). The campaign against Holocaust survivors was launched by the antisemitic press and picked up by state prosecutors, starting in 2006 (see Blaming the Victims and the 28 Oct 2009 entry on the home page). English translation. The Lithuanian original appeared with this caricature of anti-Nazi resistance veteran Brantsovsky, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, whose entire family perished in the Holocaust. It is not known why the Yiddish institute’s website contains no mention of the award, or of the unseemly attack against its own beloved librarian, who has been with the VYI since its inception in 2001. Speculation has centered on pressure ‘from above’ and fear of falling into disfavor with powers that be. On a related note, there is growing international interest in preservation of the underground partisan fort where Fania lived from September 1943 until the region’s liberation in July 1944. Authorities in the country seem to wish the fort to disappear. Fania is the country’s last Holocaust survivor who actually lived there. She continues to accompany visitors and students there. The international effort to save this remarkable Holocaust site is spearheaded by Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art & Monuments site.
…Antisemitic Tirade Follows in Vilnius
Antisemitic reaction on Lithuania’s main news portal came within minutes of the German embassy’s press release announcing its award to anti-Nazi Jewish partisan veteran Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. The award is the president’s Federal Cross of Merit. It was presented to her by Germany’s ambassador to Lithuania Hans-Peter Annen in a ceremony at his embassy in Vilnius. Details at Responses (→ 28 Oct 2009). [May 2010: Disturbingly, neither Fania’s award nor the antisemitic barrage against her has been mentioned to this day on the VYI website.]
English translation of the report on the Baltic internet portal Delfi, including the remarks of a ruling-party member of parliament. It appeared with this caricature of the 87 year old Holocaust survivor who had just been honored by Germany’s president. Posted comments that threatened her with violence have now been removed. More details at Blaming the Victims (→ 28 Oct 2009). Daiva Repečkaitė and Milan Chersonski reply.