Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & “PR Yiddish” Conference for A-1 Cover
“It Pays to Defend History”
Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Orders Removal of Memorial Plaque for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika
Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius
Vote is 20 to 16
See Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s classic 2015 Defending History paper on Škirpa; Vilnius City Council efforts by Mark Harold
Summer Glut of Lithuanian Gov. Awards for (Alleged) “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Holocaust Revisionism
OPINION | AWARDS FOR WESTERN AND JEWISH ENABLERS | BACKGROUND TO EAST EUROPEAN HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM | WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH HOLOCAUST HISTORY FOR POLITICAL GAIN | DOUBLE GENOCIDE | (AB)USE OF JEWISH, JUDAIC, HEBRAIC & YIDDISH STUDIES | UPS AND DOWNS OF ISRAELI POLICY | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY SAGA | YIVO MANIPULATED
More Lithuanian Government Glories & Medals for Alleged “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Baltic Holocaust Revisionism
♦ To the outgoing Israeli ambassador, HE Amir Maimon, after he posed with a portrait of an alleged Nazi collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) in support of the collaborator’s glorification. Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas has reported for years on the collaborator, who is also featured on the front banner of neo-Nazi torchlit parades. The Wiesenthal Center had spoken out in good time.
♦ To the “fudged election” government-backed head of the state-supported Jewish community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, after she granted “legitimacy” to the erection of a statue in Chicago to the same alleged Nazi collaborator, the first on American soil. The same monument was soundly rejected a year earlier by the democratically elected town council of New Britain, Connecticut. Head of the Jewish Agency now calling for monument’s urgent removal.
♦ To the current head of New York’s Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, after a decade of intimate collusion in Holocaust obfuscation, glib betrayal of Holocaust victims and survivors and defamation of Yiddish scholars who disagree with far-right instrumentalization of this fragile language and literature and are loyal to the survivors and their families. See the plea by Vilnius’s last Vilna-born survivor, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.
Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23 “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941
BACKGROUND ON LEGACY OF 23 JUNE IN LITHUANIA (AND BEYOND). SAMPLES OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY. BACKGROUND.
EVENT DESCRIPTION GLORIFIES HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA (BACKGROUND)
Question: Is this city really ready to be the Capital of European Culture for 2022?
OUR TAKE ON THE LATEST IN THE 7 YEAR OLD NOREIKA SAGA
VILNIUS—LRT state television reported that an American religious Jewish school would held a polite protest outside the Lithuanian consulate in New York on Yom Hashoah, 2 May, to protest the Lithuanian government’s continued state-sponsored glorification of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika and others. The protest was carried out by students of the Rambam Mesivta High School, under the guidance of its renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. See Defending History’s report on the event.
Lithuanian Public Television’s Special Investigation of the controversy over Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika was supposed to air on Thursday May 2 at 7:30 PM (19:30), including an interview with Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. But the program did not air. Instead, the LRT website posted an “Open Letter Regarding the Increase of Tension in Society” signed by four leaders of Lithuanian (ultra)nationalist organizations. The letter specifically attacks Chicago resident Silvia Foti, Noreika’s granddaughter, California resident Grant Gochin, and other critics of the glorification of Holocaust collaborators, while claiming that Noreika, Škirpa, Brazaitis, Krikštaponis and Kraujelis are national heroes. LRT.lt added a remark clarifying that, according to the Genocide Center, Krikštaponis participated in the mass murder of Jews. The article claims that criticism of glorification of Holocaust collaborators is the work of “Moscow.”
THE NOREIKA SAGA | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | GENOCIDE CENTER | DOUBLE GENOCIDE POLICIES | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS
VILNIUS—On Friday, April 26, 18:00-18:20, Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, curator of the Captain Jonas Noreika Museum, Archive and Forum, will give the final talk at the conference “The Territories of Interaction of Aesthetics, Art Philosophy and Art History: Intercultural Fields of the Functions of Representation”, organized by Prof. Antanas Andrijauskas at the Lithuanian Cultural Studies Institute, at Saltoniškių St. 58, Vilnius.
Dr. Kulikauskas will be speaking in Lithuanian on “How to Forego, Through Dialogue, Monumental Images of Those Who Voiced the Will of the Lithuanian Nation in 1941 But Committed Crimes Against Humanity”.
His talk will be followed by an hour of open dialogue on two questions:
VILNIUS—On March 27, Wednesday, at 1 PM here in Vilnius, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court will be reading its verdict on the case filed by California resident Grant Gochin calling on the state-sponsored Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center, widely known as the Genocide Center, to revise its evaluation of Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika as a hero who is worthy of state honors. Hundreds of documents have been produced demonstrating beyond all doubt his participation in the Lithuanian Holocaust (see sample document). One of the case’s sensations was the powerful and historic statement condemning Noreik’a crimes produced by his granddaughter, the American educator and author Silvia Foti.
The public and the press are welcome to attend the conclusion of this historic trial at Žygimantų Street 2 in central Vilnius.
DH’s take. Report on 15 Jan. hearing. Report on 5 March hearing. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article that brought Noreika to the attention of the English speaking world. Balčiūnas’s DH section.
OPINION | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | GENOCIDE CENTER
Lithuania’s conscience calls for volunteers. The January 24, 2019 newsletter is now available for the informal network called Lithuania’s Conscience (“Lietuvos sąžinė”). As editor and organizer, I wish to add some words in English for readers of Defending History. Our network is united by our resolve to take responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed in 1941 by various leaders in the name of the Republic of Lithuania and on behalf of the Lithuanian nation.
We will be meeting in Vilnius on Monday, January 28, 16:00-17:00, at the small conference room of the Tolerance Center, Naugarduko g. 10/2. The purpose of the meeting is to achieve preliminary consensus on basic principles, a list of demands, and next steps. The newsletter includes working drafts. Please alert me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (+3706 072-7665) if you’d like to attend or if you’d like to give input.
Noreika Trial Adjourned to March 5th after State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Tells Panel of Judges it Needs Time to Study the Papers (that it has been familiar with for decades)
OPINION | VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER | VILNIUS GENOCIDE MUSEUM | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS | ACADEMIC BACKGROUND
Defending History was there. See Background and DH’s take on the trial.
THE PLAINTIFFS’ TABLE: Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, longtime contributing writer at DH (left) represented absent American plaintiff Grant Gochin at the hearing on state honors for Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika, whose case was first brought to the English speaking world in 2012 by Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was also in attendance. At right is attorney Rokas Rudzinskas. PHOTO © Defending History 2019.
VILNIUS—As the long-awaited trial opened this morning, the Genocide Center’s official and two lawyers explained to the three-judge panel that they need a lot of time to study so many documents, including some less-than-perfect printouts, hence an adjournment would be required. The next hearing was set for 5 March. In fact, the Genocide Center has for many years been familiar with the documents demonstrating Jonas Noreika’s brutal Holocaust collaboration (and has for years tried to say that they prove “only” ethnic cleansing, expulsion, isolation and ghettoization, humiliation, and plunder of all the region’s citizens who were Jewish).
Just seven people came to observe (three of them from DH’s team, nobody from abroad). There was no local media coverage as of now. US, UK, Israeli embassies sent no observers. Efforts to “muzzle the whole thing” seem to have been effective.
Update of 19 Jan: media blackout at the national and local level here has continued unbroken as of today (except for “Putin-propagandist” pseudo-media)
OPINION | VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER | VILNIUS GENOCIDE MUSEUM | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS | ACADEMIC BACKGROUND
As trials of alleged criminals come to an end, is the era of ‘history on trial’ getting underway?
On January 15th, 2019, at 10 AM, a momentous historic court case will unfold in Vilnius, Lithuania, scheduled to start at the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in the heart of the capital. Challenged by a call for removal of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika from the pantheon of national heroes (including street names, memorials and an inscribed stone block on the capital’s central boulevard), the state-sponsored “Genocide Center”, a bastion of far-right extremism that, in the opinion of many, does grave damage to the image of modern democratic Lithuania, will be defending Noreika using the hard-earned tax euros of the nation’s noble citizens. See the remarkable 2018 Salon magazine essay by Noreika’s granddaughter, American author and educator Silvia Foti; DH report by Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas on the action brought by Grant Gochin. Documents include the original query (15 June), Genocide Center’s response (19 July), Mr. Gochin’s legal complaint (10 August) and the Genocide Center’s response (1 Oct.).
Editor’s note: Seven years ago, journalist, researcher and ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was born, raised and continues to live in Lithuania, began his remarkable series of articles on state “heroes” who were alleged Holocaust collaborators (or perpetrators) with his 2012 essay on Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”), published in Lithuanian and the same year, in English in Defending History. As a result, Mr. Balčiūnas (bal-CHOO-nass) was subjected to years of legal harassment and persecution by prosecutors, police, and assorted far-right “plaintiffs” (please scroll down to 22 May 2014 in the Balčiūnas section to follow the saga). The Defending History community is proud to have stood by Evaldas at each of the kangaroo trial hearings in Vilnius, and is delighted that all these years later, talented American campaigners with wherewithal have taken up the cause to major good effect, and have now brought the Noreika matter to the Vilnius courts (see report on 15th January hearing). We hope that our American friends and colleagues will see their way clear to fully crediting Evaldas Balčiūnas’s work (and noting its consequences for him) on the various new websites and blogs established, including, for starters, the excellent online Captain Jonas Noreika Museum.
The first time I heard of Jonas Noreika was back in 1993. I was chatting with Petras Dargis in the editorial room of the newspaper where I worked, here in Šiauliai, northwestern Lithuania, when a man of short stature came in. He started to scold one of the reporters for his article on Jonas Noreika. These were the times — right after the Soviet system’s collapse — when various colleagues and friends were going through the deepest corners of their memory, looking for all sorts of bits and pieces of their past struggles and sufferings.
This was particularly the case when that which was perceived by some as “their battles” or perhaps even their “glorious episodes” amounted to extraordinary suffering for others. First, Noreika’s comrades came to the editorial office and told of glorious episodes of the (so-called) Uprising of June 1941, incarceration in Stutthof, and the post-war legend of General Vėtra (Noreika’s famous nom-de-guerre which translates: General Storm). The journalist published the story, referring to respectable historical sources.
VILNIUS—As the date (15 January) nears of what some have dubbed the Holocaust trial of the 21st century, an increasing number of observers request more information on the alleged Holocaust collaborator at the center of it all, Jonas Noreika (1910–1947). His case was brought to the English-reading world by Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas in 2012 (as part of a series on Holocaust collaborators who are glorified with state funding). Mr. Balčiūnas was “rewarded” with years of legal harassment from police and prosecutors over his objections to state honors for Holocaust collaborators (see the Balciunas section, scroll down to May 2014 for start of the legal proceedings; while enjoying a modern freewheeling democracy on nearly all issues, Lithuania’s residents have run into troubles when challenging state policy on the Holocaust.).
Jonas Paulavičius: Volunteered a Century Ago for Lithuania’s War of Independence, Went on to Save 16 People During the Holocaust
by Danutė Selčinskaja
During the Nazi occupation years, when humanity was being trampled, and marauding and murder were rampant, when all effort was put toward turning the inhabitants of occupied lands into obedient and unfeeling creatures, meeting a dedicated person who dared to resist the spreading hatred seemed like a miracle to the unjustly persecuted. Jonas Paulavičius, indomitable enemy of the Nazi regime and veteran volunteer of the Lithuanian Wars of Independence, went on to become such a miracle to twelve Kaunas Jews, two Russian POWs, and two persecuted Lithuanians. Jonas made a decision: the only way to resist the terror of the Nazis and their helpers was to save at least several Jews who were suffering at the hands of the Nazis and whose lives were at risk.
Jonas Paulavičius was born in 1898 to a family of poor peasants. He learned the trade of the carpenter in his teenage years and could earn a living by himself, thus becoming self-sufficient and independent at a young age. After Lithuania declared independence in 1918, it soon became clear that, without a military of its own, Lithuanian statehood was doomed. During the period of its initial formation and the first stage of battles against the Bolsheviks, the Lithuanian military was comprised of 3,000 volunteers who responded to the December 27, 1918, call issued by the Government: Lithuania is in Danger. Jonas Paulavičius was among the brave men who volunteered immediately to fight for the freedom of Lithuania.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA—Richard Bloom, director of Richard Bloom Productions, has just announced the release of the updated version of Defending Holocaust History, a documentary film originally released in 2013. The film focuses in on the campaign by elements of the Lithuanian government and the country’s nationalist elite to rewrite the history of the Holocaust, by attempting to delegitimize the Holocaust as a unique historical event through various actions designed to diminish the Holocaust and “upgrade local Soviet crimes” to the status of genocide, along the way harassing Holocaust survivors who joined the resistance while glorifying local Holocaust perpetrators who were also “anti-Soviet” (the entire complex has become known as “Double Genocide”). As readers of DH will know, these continue to be burning and current issues, every bit as timely as in the year of the original film’s production.
Vilnius Genocide Center: “Legitimized” by 19 Nov. Yad Vashem Conference in Jerusalem?
Its chief historian Dr. A. Bubnys is a major speaker; See DH review of his book on the Vilna Ghetto and report on Jewish community’s response to his publication on the Shavl (Šiauliai) Ghetto. Are pliant “Jewish academics” being flown in and wheeled out to provide cover for the newest chapters in Holocaust revisionism? These include East European state glorification of collaborators and denial of the outbreak of mass violence by the LAF and other “nationalist heroes” against Jewish neighbors before the onset of German administration in the last week of June 1941.
“BELIEVE IT OR NOT”
Lithuania’s State Sponsored “Genocide Center” Goes to Court to Defend Legacy of Notorious Holocaust Collaborator
The Question: Does a vibrant and successful EU/NATO democracy really need expensive far-right history “fixing” units that adore Nazi collaborators, stifle free debate of history and ethics, promote ultranationalism, and do untold damage to the country?
Pope Francis’s two-day visit to Lithuania this weekend includes a symbolic stop at the Vilna Ghetto on his second day, September 23, at roughly 4 PM at Rūdininkai Square. On that day, 75 years ago, Nazi Germans liquidated the Vilna Ghetto, murdering some of its Jews in Paneriai Forest (Ponár), and moving the rest to concentration camps in Latvia, Estonia and Germany. Since 1994, it has been the National Day of Commemoration of the Genocide of Lithuania’s Jews. Now it will surely be linked in the Lithuanian psyche with this visit by Pope Francis, and perhaps some day, Saint Francis.
However, his visit is also a chance for him to make plain to the children of God our lack of empathy for Lithuania’s Jews. A very short detour to the “Vilnius Sports Palace” — and a heavenly nod by the Pope — would let us tear down that “Soviet temple”, resurrect the holy Jewish cemetery beneath it, and enjoy a symbol of Litvak and Lithuanian friendship forever. This brings to mind the detour Jesus made in Jericho, when two blind men called out, “Lord, have mercy on us, you son of David!” And Jesus halted the crowd.
Lithuanian citizen Grant Gochin, a Litvak born in South Africa and living in California, has relentlessly challenged Lithuania’s Genocide Center to tell the truth about Jonas Noreika, whom the Center maintains can be considered an anti-Soviet and anti-Nazi hero despite his role as a Holocaust perpetrator. Gochin’s 40 page Query Regarding Jonas Noreika’s criminal gang, submitted on June 15, 2018, is available in a PDF file which includes the Lithuanian original (pages 49-89), the English translation (pages 1-45), and an extensive list of source materials (pages 90-100). Jonas Noreika’s granddaughter Silvia Foti also contributed a letter in support of Grant’s query (pages 47-48). The Genocide Center has posted its 18 page response in Lithuanian. On its website it warns that “G.A.G Gochin’s ‘investigation’ of J. Noreika, without providing substantial proof, possibly violating the Republic of Lithuania’s Constitution and the Republic of Lithuania’s Criminal Code, accuses many individuals […]”.
Today’s central Vilnius event celebrated the 77th anniversary of the 23 June 1941 “uprising.” Between fifty and sixty people took part. Half of them are members of the motorbike club. The event was organized by the Lithuanian Seimas (parliament). The Seimas was represented by three MPs – Žygimantas Pavilionis, former ambassador to USA; Audronius Ažubalis, former foreign minister; and Laurynas Kasčiūnas. One of the speakers was the Roman Catholic priest and motorbiker Egidijus Kazlauskas who spoke about the suffering and the perseverance of Lithuanians when persecuted by deportations to the eastern Soviet Union. Vilnius city Mayor Remigijus Šimašius was not present, but he has sent his greetings via advisor Mindaugas Kubilius.
A guest of honor was Vytautas Landsbergis, the elder statesman who was modern democratic Lithuania’s founding head of state. In the new century he became a European parliamentarian dedicated to revision of World War II history, most famously via the Prague Declaration which he signed. The event was co-organized by the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Union (Lietuvos laisvės kovotojų sąjunga).