History

Sad Error of Naming 2018 for Someone who “Just” Led a Pro-Nazi “Partisan Squad” in Lithuania in June and July of 1941



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

The national scandal unleashed by the Lithuanian Rūta Vanagaitė and the Jewish Efraim Zuroff via their statements about Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, is gradually losing momentum. The Seimas (parliament) went right ahead and declared the incoming year, 2018, to be The Year of Ramanauskas-Vanagas. That is sad. Three years ago, I wrote about this person’s activities in Druskininkai in 1941. Society back then was silent about it. It was only the desire of some politicians to glorify this personage that led to the aforementioned Lithuanian and Jewish commentators to talk about him. They spoke loudly and an antisemitic bubble burst. Vanagaitė’s statement had some inaccuracies, which, and the very statement was taken as an insult by the mainstream. Public details of Zuroff’s statement were scarce. My 2014 article was among those details.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Sad Error of Naming 2018 for Someone who “Just” Led a Pro-Nazi “Partisan Squad” in Lithuania in June and July of 1941

The Extraordinary Recent History of Holocaust Studies in Lithuania



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LITHUANIA’S STATE COMMISSION ON NAZI AND SOVIET CRIMES   |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Dovid Katz

This paper was published today by Taylor and Francis on its website. It appears in Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, volume 31, no. 3, pp. 285-295 (Dec. 2017). Dapim is edited by the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research at the University of Haifa.

In Lithuania, the primary provider for Holocaust studies for close to two decades has been the state-sponsored International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania (ICECNSORL), which was established in 1998 by decree of the nation’s president and is housed in the office of its prime minister, embedding it in the highest strata of Lithuanian politics. Several of its activities have enabled significant contributions in research, education, and public commemoration.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Extraordinary Recent History of Holocaust Studies in Lithuania

Books in the Debate to Late 2017


[updated] 


In the Debate to Late 2017

YEAR OF PUBLICATION VARIES.  

See DH’s BOOKS SECTION

Andriukaitis (reviewed by Vasil)

Bankier [Kuniuchowsky Collection] (reviewed by Zuroff)

Berlin (notice of appearance in Defending History)

Bubnys (reviewed by Katz; by Vasil)

Cassedy (reviewed by Katz;  by Nadler;  by Zabludoff;  by Zuroff)

Continue reading

Posted in Books, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Books in the Debate to Late 2017

Defending History Calls on Ukraine’s President to Publicly Rebuke Senior Official for “Dog Whistle” Advocating Antisemitic Violence



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF PERPETRATORS  |  UKRAINE

In response to a protest from the World Jewish Congress, after the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa unveiled a statue celebrating nationalist leader Symon Petliura — whose troops killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms between 1918 and 1921 — a regional official from the extremist Svoboda party threatened Jewish citizens. In a Facebook rant, the Svoboda official warned Jews opposed to the Petliura statue to fall in line or face the consequences. The Svoboda official stated that “the only time we comfortably coexisted with kikes is Koliyvishchyna,” a reference to an 18th century pogrom against Jews in Ukraine.

Related: Ukraine’s Minister for Infrastructure Plans to Build Actual “Road to Bandera”

Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Defending History Calls on Ukraine’s President to Publicly Rebuke Senior Official for “Dog Whistle” Advocating Antisemitic Violence

Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation



BOOKS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Linas Vildžiūnas

The following English translation, by Laurynas Vaičiūnas, of Linas Vildžiūnas’s review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai appeared today in New Eastern Europe (as PDF). 

A book review of Mūsiškiai (Ours). By: Rūta Vanagaitė. Publisher: Alma littera, Vilnius, 2016.

What makes Rūta Vanagaitė’s Ours (Mūsiškiai) very different from all other Lithuanian books on the Holocaust is that it was from the start written as a bestseller. Written by an experienced public relations professional as an appeal to the Lithuanian public, the book raises the painful issue of historical responsibility. The author does not refrain from giving a personal twist to the story (it would be impossible otherwise, as the Holocaust is an issue of individual position and individual responsibility). The author is piercingly direct and uses black comedy. She approaches the topic with composure and a sense of supremacy. These two features may irritate the reader. However, she is entitled to it as she aims to confront the reader, which she so eloquently achieves.

READ MOREAS PDF.

 

Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation

Kulikauskas to Address Conference in Wrocław, Poland on “Determining Personal Responsibility” in Lithuania’s Holocaust



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

(Department of Philosophy & Cultural Studies, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University)

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University is scheduled to speak at the XIII Philosophers’ Rally on “Determining Personal Responsibility for a Social Calamity: The Origins of the Holocaust in Lithuania”. The event is Poland’s annual philosophy conference and will take place on 6-8 July at the University of Wrocław, at the Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics (LAE), Building D. He will speak on Saturday, 8 July, 12:30−13:00, in Lecture Hall 2D, which is the main hall. The LAE faculty is especially interested in how philosophy addresses challenges from the contemporary sociopolitical world. Dr. Kulikauskas’s talk will be based on his findings, which have appeared in English in Defending History: “How Did Lithuanians Wrong Litvaks?” and, in particular, his analysis of champions and facilitators of the Holocaust in Lithuania. His abstract for the upcoming Wrocław conference follows his analytic chart below.

Continue reading

Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Kulikauskas to Address Conference in Wrocław, Poland on “Determining Personal Responsibility” in Lithuania’s Holocaust

Vilnius, 23 June 2017: Nationalists Glorify Atrocities with Posters on Genocide Museum Fence



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  MUSEUMS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

(Department of Philosophy & Cultural Studies, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University)

On June 23, 2017, the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Association (Lietuvos laisvės kovotojų sąjunga) organized a commemoration of the June 23, 1941 anti-Soviet uprising with a complete lack of sensitivity for Lithuanian victims of the Holocaust.

The official celebration at the Parliament’s Independence Square included an elaborately choreographed flag raising by the Lithuanian Army’s Honor Guard, music by the Armed Forces Orchestra, a reenactment of the Declaration of Independence with its hopes for a place for Lithuania in Hitler’s New Europe, and a speech by Vytautas Landsbergis, patriarch of modern-day Lithuania.

More by Andrius Kulikauskas. Articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas; Milan Chersonski; Leonidas Donskis; Nida Vasiliauskaitė.  See also:
DH section on The Legacy of 23 June 1941. DH pages on: LAF intentions; painful street names; dry-clean of the week of 23 June 1941.

Continue reading

Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius, 23 June 2017: Nationalists Glorify Atrocities with Posters on Genocide Museum Fence

New Defending History Section: The Legacy of 23 June 1941



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

 A new section has been added today to Defending History’s existing repertoire, one dedicated to the legacy of 23 June 1941, which for the Jews of Lithuania and other countries represents the onset of the Holocaust east of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop line, a day after the launch of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, his attack on the then Soviet Union. On this day in a number of countries, including Lithuania, Latvia and (western) Ukraine, local “freedom fighters” began to molest, humiliate and butcher innocent Jewish neighbors before the arrival of the first German forces. Nothing can be more painful in the 21st century than pro-Western governments, elites, institutions and societal leaders glorifying the day as one of alleged uprising against the Soviet Union. For one thing, it is falsification of history: the Soviet forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, the largest in human history, not the local Jew-killers. For another, the current glorification of the Holocaust’s first local perpetrators is an affront to civilized society, human rights and basic decency. The new section is The Legacy of 23 June.

Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on New Defending History Section: The Legacy of 23 June 1941

Baltic Holocaust: First Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized



by Rafael Katz

The two Stahlecker Reports summarize the inner workings of Einsatzgruppe A during the Baltic invasion of Operation Barbarossa, which set in motion the Holocaust. We herewith offer a digitized version of the two reports. For an introduction to the reports and links for download please see our earlier article in January 2015. As of now, we have digitized half of the reports, and will give notice once we complete the conversion. The full reports can be viewed in their JPG version via the link above. Below we offer a digitized version of 1-100 from 1-143 of the first report, and, on a separate page, 1-73 of 150 from the second report.

Continue reading

Posted in Documents, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rafael Katz, Raphael Katz | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Baltic Holocaust: First Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized

Baltic Holocaust: Second Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized



by Rafael Katz

Note: See for introductory remarks the author’s earlier January 2015 summary of the project and his posting today of the digitized text of the First Stahlecker Report.

Continue reading

Posted in Documents, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rafael Katz, Raphael Katz | Comments Off on Baltic Holocaust: Second Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized

Major German Holocaust Scholar Slips (Again) into Baltic Nationalist Discourse



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFAIRS  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION

by Dovid Katz

East European state-sponsored “Holocaust Fixing” continues apace. The distinguished German scholar and author of a major two-volume work on the Lithuanian Holocaust, Professor Christoph Dieckmann, has given a major interview intended for the general public on the popular Delfi.lt news portal. He was in town for an IHRA conference held in intimate collaboration with the Lithuanian government’s units on the Holocaust and Jewish affairs, including the Red-Brown Commission, of which Prof. Dieckmann is, surprisingly for many of his genuine admirers, a longtime member and apologist.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Germany, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Major German Holocaust Scholar Slips (Again) into Baltic Nationalist Discourse

Scholars Issue Public Letter on Ukrainian Holocaust Revisionist Participation in 9-11 March 2017 Paris Conference



UKRAINE  |   FRANCE   |   DOUBLE GENOCIDE REVISIONISM   |  DOUBLE GAMES

 ◊

The following open Letter of Concern appears on the Academia.edu page of Professor Tarik Cyril Amar and others.

To the Organizers of the Symposium “The Holocaust in Ukraine. New Perspectives on the Evils of the 20th Century,” Paris, March 9-11, 2017:

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, France, Free Speech & Democracy, History, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Scholars Issue Public Letter on Ukrainian Holocaust Revisionist Participation in 9-11 March 2017 Paris Conference

The Holocaust and The Long Arm of Antisemitism in Latvia



LATVIA |  ANTISEMITISM  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  HISTORY

by Monica Lowenberg (London)

 ◊

From 1800 until the 1860s, the Jews of Liepāja (Libau, Libava) were mainly under the cultural influence of German Jewry. The community’s educational system included both traditional religious bodies as well as institutions dedicated to the ideas of the Haskalah, or Jewish enlightenment movement that strived for modernization. Aharon Ber Nurok served as the rabbi in the city starting in 1907. Indeed, he and his brother, Mordechai headed the rabbinate for all of Latvia at one time. After pogroms grew rampant in Ukrainian Russia in the 1880s, Liepāja absorbed many Jewish refugees. The community established special relief institutions to deal with the newcomers. When a modern-style school opened in Liepāja in 1885, the Hebrew grammarian Mordechai Manischewitz taught Hebrew language and literature. That same year, a local oveve Tsiyon (Love of Zion) association was founded, and a Bund (Jewish socialist) group became active at the turn of the century. As Bella Scheftel Kass recalls, “Our town of Liepaja was something of an oddity. Situated within an Eastern European enclave, it boasted a slice of German culture (a hangover from the days of old Courland). A significant number of Jewish homes were under the influence of that culture. Many families were German speaking, sent their children to German-language private schools and read the local German-language press. In these circles assimilation was deeply rooted.”

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views | Comments Off on The Holocaust and The Long Arm of Antisemitism in Latvia

Neo-Nazis, Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & Spewing Racism, Again Gifted Center of Kaunas on Lithuania’s Cherished Feb 16th Independence Day


[Last media link update: 26 Feb. 2017]

Defending History Monitors Kaunas Neo-Nazi March on Lithuania’s Feb. 16th Independence Day

OUR REPORT ON THE RUN-UP TO THE MARCH

Media coverage of the march: JTA; History News NetworkTimes of Israel (French edition); BNS / Delfi.lt; Bernardinai.ltAlkas.lt; Diena.lt; Kaunaskasvyksta.ltKauno.diena.lt15min.lt; tv3.lt;  Novaya Gazeta; Antisemitism.org.ilIzrus.co.il; EinNews.com; CBS8.comWFMJ.comFox8Live; TodayInTheNews.comOfficial Lithuanian Jewish Community response; TelAvivTimes.com

The five-person Defending History team was the only human rights monitor  this year. “We came to remember the 30,000 murdered Jews of Kaunas on the independence day that they too patriotically marked with love every year. It is shocking that yet again the mayor and city council have gifted the center of the city, including Liberty Boulevard and the plaza of the historic presidential palace, on the cherished independence day, to the neo-nazis who so damage the name of modern, tolerant, democratic Lithuania.”

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis, Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & Spewing Racism, Again Gifted Center of Kaunas on Lithuania’s Cherished Feb 16th Independence Day

Letter from a German Soldier in Kaunas, 29 June 1941



DOCUMENTS   |   HISTORY

by Andreas Kuck

The following letter, presented in German facsmile of the original and in a draft English translation, was sent by German soldier Heinrich Sandt (1908 — 19??) from Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania, on 29 June 1941 (the letter is both dated and stamped with the date). He was a member of the 10th Company of Infantry Regiment 89 (later Grenadier Regiment 89). He wrote the letter to his wife Elisabeth about what he witnessed in Kaunas. The 89th appears to have crossed the Nemunas (Nieman River) on 25 June 1941. 

Continue reading

Posted in Documents, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views | Comments Off on Letter from a German Soldier in Kaunas, 29 June 1941

Additional Reading Suggestions for Participants in a Feb. 2017 Yivo Course


[updated]

The following list has been compiled at the request of several students in a course on Lithuanian Jewry and the Holocaust in Lithuania to be held at the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research in New York in February 2016. It is strictly unofficial, unconnected to the program, and was compiled in Vilnius to complement the course’s own excellent reading list.

 

Lithuanian Jewish Culture and History

The Holocaust in Lithuania

“Double Genocide” & Other 21st Century Debates

Defending History Reference Pages

Continue reading

Posted in History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States, Yivo Manipulated? | Comments Off on Additional Reading Suggestions for Participants in a Feb. 2017 Yivo Course

Simon Malkes Perpetuates Memory of Vilna Rescuer Karl Plagge



MEMOIRS  |  BOOKS  |  HISTORY

by Simon Malkes (Paris)

Simon Malkes

SIMON MALKES

I was born in 1927 in the city whose official name was then Wilno, Poland (historically Vilna, today’s Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania). When I was fourteen, the Nazis took over the city, began murdering its Jewish population and set up the Vilna Ghetto. My own survival is due to my having been taken as a teenage repairman of German military vehicles at the plant known as HKP (Heereskraftfahrpark or Army Motor Vehicle Repair Park) on Subotsh Street (today’s Subačiaus). That one enterprise was under the directorship of Major Karl Plagge (1897–1957), a righteous gentile who did everything he could to protect as many Jewish workers as possible from the huge murder machine. Famously, shortly before the Nazi flight from the Soviet army in the summer of 1944, he gave a coded warning to his workers about a need for imminent escape.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, France, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Simon Malkes Perpetuates Memory of Vilna Rescuer Karl Plagge

Conference on East European Holocaust Opens in Warsaw



Conference in Warsaw, 5–7 December 2016:

Conference Features Omer Bartov, Christoph Dieckmann, Dan Michman, Antony Polonsky, Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Saulius Sužiedėlis, Rūta Vanagaitė, Efraim Zuroff, and Other Major Specialists on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe

Expectations rising that the Lithuanian government sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” (three of whose members are speaking) may now publicly call for (1) research (and acknowledgment of extant research and testimony) on massive “pre-German violence” in dozens of towns in the last week of June 1941; (2) written state apologies to defamed Holocaust survivors Yitzhak Arad, Fania Brantsovsky, Pinchos Fridberg, Rachel Margolis and Joseph Melamed; (3) dismantling of public-space shrines, street names, university lecture halls etc that honor Holocaust collaborators; (4) repeal of the 2010 “red-brown jailtime law” that effectively criminalizes free debate;  (5) abandonment of official adherence to 2008 Prague Declaration (and acknowledgment of the need for consideration also of the points made in the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration).

Continue reading

Posted in Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Conference on East European Holocaust Opens in Warsaw

Is Eastern European “Double Genocide” Revisionism Reaching Museums?



HISTORY  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  MUSEUMS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Dovid Katz

This paper appeared today in Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, published by Taylor and Francis.

ABSTRACT: In contrast to twentieth-century Holocaust Denial, the most recent assault on the narrative of the genocide of European Jewry has emanated from a sophisticated revisionist model known as Double Genocide, codified in the 2008 Prague Declaration. Positing “equality” of Nazi and Soviet crimes, the paradigm’s corollaries sometimes include attempts to rehabilitate perpetrators and discredit survivors. Emanating from pro-Western governments and elites in Eastern Europe in countries with records of high collaboration, the movement has reached out widely to the Holocaust Studies establishment as well as Jewish institutions. It occasionally enjoys the political support of major Western countries in the context of East-West politics, or in the case of Israel, attempts to garner (eastern) European Union support. The empirical effects to date have included demonstrable impact on museums, memorials and exhibits in Eastern Europe and beyond.

The demise of twentieth-century-style Holocaust denial in mainstream Western society is aptly symbolized by David Irving’s loss to Deborah Lipstadt in the London High Court in 2000. But around the same time, a new and more irksome method of writing the Holocaust out of history was emerging under the radar, this time without necessarily denying any of the historical events or a single death. Particularly in Eastern Europe, it was being forged with state funding and more subtle powers of persuasion in academia, the media, the arts and international diplomacy.

READ MORE

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Eastern European “Double Genocide” Revisionism Reaching Museums?

Vanagaitė and Zuroff’s “Mūsiškiai”


[last update]


For the first time, a Lithuanian author teamed up with an Israeli Holocaust scholar in search for the truth about widespread local enthusiasm, seventy-five years ago, for mass murder of civilian neighbors, and today’s failures in coming to grips with that history, in a land of hundreds of Jedwabnes. A genuine historic advance in Lithuanian-Jewish relations is seen in the startling partnership of Rūta Vanagaitė and Dr. Efraim Zuroff in Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai: Kelionė su priešu (“Our People: Journey with an Enemy”), published in Vilnius in January 2016. See also the media tracking page on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Operation Last Chance website.

English   Lithuanian   German   Polish   Russian

The following listing of coverage by language (English, Lithuanian, Russian, Polish) is far from exhaustive. The humongous reaction needs to be studied in its own right.

Nov. 2017 Update: Renewed media conflagration launched by the author’s 26 October 2017 PR rollout of multiple initiatives, two of which were directly relevant to the legacy of Mūsiškiai.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Documents, Efraim Zuroff, History, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vanagaitė and Zuroff’s “Mūsiškiai”

Will the EU, the OSCE and the Council of Europe Ask Latvia to Revoke the 1998 Declaration?



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  LATVIA  |  ANNUAL WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGA

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

On 29 October 1998, a few weeks after the parliamentary elections, the outgoing Parliament of Latvia had adopted the Declaration on Latvian Legionnaires in the World War II. The vote was as follows: 50 ayes, 8 nays, 3 abstentions.

Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

The text contains several questionable statements. Those include claiming that “The aim of soldiers who were drafted into the Legion or who joined it voluntary was to protect Latvia from the restoration of Stalin’s regime” and asking the government to “prevent insults against the honour and dignity of Latvian soldiers.” To make it clear — the ones whose reputation was intended to be defended were Nazi collaborators, voluntarily or not. And the intention was pretty obvious — as the rapporteur MP, Mr. Mauliņš, said before the vote, “this decision will be our position towards our soldiers who truly fought for the independence of Latvia”.

Continue reading

Posted in Aleksandr Kuzmin, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Will the EU, the OSCE and the Council of Europe Ask Latvia to Revoke the 1998 Declaration?

August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities



Summer and Fall 2016: 75th Anniversary

of the Nazis’ annihilation, with vast local collaboration, of Lithuania’s Jews in the towns, villages, provinces; implementation of ghettoization and mass murder in the cities.

Perhaps among the simplest, most minimalist measures of a municipality’s sincerity (beyond PR bonanzas, photo-ops and legitimizations via useful foreigners): (a) Modest town-center information board on the origins, history, culture, contributions and (true) fate of the town’s Jewish citizens; (b) Rapid removal of any local shrines, street names, museum tributes etc. to the local collaborators and murderers. “You just can’t make heroes out of the killers and expect to cover it up with some annual PR event for the foreigners.”

Language and respect for the victims: In addition to Lithuanian and English, will new memorial texts (including those at forest mass graves and old cemeteries) continue to include Yiddish, the language of 100% of the murdered Jews in all these towns? For many years, Lithuania has had a uniquely admirable record in this regard.

Continue reading

Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Shádov (Šeduva), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities

Some High Latvian Politicians Think the Waffen SS Fought for Freedom



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  LATVIA  |  ANNUAL WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGA

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Aleksandrs Feigmanis

Dr. Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

There are here in Latvia some high-ranking Latvian politicians who actually believe that the country’s Waffen SS fighters fought for freedom of their country. Every year on the 16th of March Latvian nationalists gather at the Freedom Monument in the heart of Riga, the nation’s capital, and in the cemetery at Lestene, a village some seventy-two kilometers from Riga, to remember and honor (honor!) the living and dead veterans of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS.

Established by order of Adolf Hitler on the 10th of February 1943, they fought for Nazi Germany against the Red Army on the Volkhov front near Leningrad, and later in Great River region, Kurzeme (Kurland), in Poland, Germany and elsewhere.

Although the alarming series of annual events commemorating and glorifying the Latvian SS Volunteer Legion events are now officially non-governmental, some MPs and even ministers do not hesitate to not only participate publicly, setting an example for the nation’s youth, but also to publicly refer to Waffen SS legionnaires as heroes and national freedom fighters. Had Hitler won the war, there would have been no Latvia left to become free in 1991. By swearing and oath to Adolf Hitler’s genocidal regime, and then in fact delaying the liberation of the concentration camps by the Allies, they were pawns of the Nazis who do not deserve to be glorified by a modern, democratic member of the European Union and NATO.

Continue reading

Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Some High Latvian Politicians Think the Waffen SS Fought for Freedom

Vilnius City Council “Defers” Decision on Street Honoring Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATE]


I24’s 14 July 2016 report. Background in DH on British-born city council member, Mark Harold Splinter, who proposed the change (his statement in English). Samples from elsewhere in Lithuania. Wider issue in Eastern Europe. Within “Double Genocide” theory. Related 24 July 2016 report by JTA.

FOR MORE BACKGROUND ON KAZYS ŠKIRPA (CENTER) SEE DH ARTICLES BY ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS, EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS, AND MILAN CHERSONSKI; PROF. T. SNYDER’S BLOODLANDS:  “Škirpa used this suffering in his radio broadcasts to spur mobs to murder. Some 2,500 Jews […]” … (p. 192)

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council “Defers” Decision on Street Honoring Hitler Collaborator

Is There Still A Breeding Ground for Ustaša in Croatia?



OPINION   |   CROATIA   |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

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

 

Croatia is a nation that has been bathed in blood during numerous conflicts, as the victim of the odious Serbian aggression during the recent civil war, and for its football team proudly wearing the red and white checkered reproduction of the national flag. Happily, it is nowadays chiefly known as a tourist destination.

Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Croatia, EU, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Comments Off on Is There Still A Breeding Ground for Ustaša in Croatia?

Joseph Levinson’s 1990s Map of Lithuanian Mass-Murder Sites is Released by Family



DOCUMENTS      |    HISTORY   |    LITHUANIA   |   JOSEPH LEVINSON

VILNIUS—The Vilnius-based family of the late pioneering historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust, Joseph Levinson (1917–2015) has today released the map of Lithuanian mass-grave sites where the country’s Jewish population was annihilated, mostly in 1941. The map appeared in Levinson’s 1997 Book of Sorrow, but had not been released separately, and has occasionally been overlooked by later historians, who have naturally been able to add to the roughly 200 sites discovered, visited, detailed and mapped by Levinson in the 1990s. In addition to the image below, it is now available as PDF. More on Levinson’s life and books can be found at the website www.JosephLevinson.com. Defending History has a Joseph Levison section.

Continue reading

Posted in History, Joseph Levinson, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Joseph Levinson’s 1990s Map of Lithuanian Mass-Murder Sites is Released by Family

In Reponse to the Media: 9 July 2016



Western Mainstream Media Fails to Mention that East European Allies of the West are Investing in Glorification of Hitler’s Local Collaborators

Huffington Post Piece on Stepan Bandera Worship in Ukraine Omits his Organization’s Responsibility for Hundreds of Thousands of Murders of Poles and Jews; Landmark Historical Book on Bandera Still Goes Unmentioned by Most Mass Media

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", 70 Years Declaration, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Reponse to the Media: 9 July 2016

Defending History Brings Results



VILNIUS—Five years ago in 2011, on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust on 23 June 1941 and the following days — nationalist murderers killed thousands of Jewish neighbors before the first German forces arrived or assumed control — the state sponsored an array of activities honoring the “rebels” (an historic nonsense, the Soviet occupying forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, the largest in human history, not the local Jew-killers).

Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Defending History Brings Results

Professor Dov Levin’s Findings on the Outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust



DOCUMENTS  |  HISTORY

The following is the first column of page 898 of Professor Dov Levin’s entry, “Lithuania,” in volume 3 of Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (Israel Gutman, editor-in-chief; published by Macmillan, New York, and Collier Macmillan, London, 1990, in cooperation with Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem). Further reading on the subject. Eyewitness testimonies.

Continue reading

Posted in Documents, Dov Levin (1925 - 2016), History, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Professor Dov Levin’s Findings on the Outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust

Lithuanian Prosecutor Writes to Jewish Community Head on Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators in Malát (Molėtai)



DOCUMENTSLITHUANIA | POLITICS OF MEMORY | GENOCIDE CENTER | OPINION

VILNIUS—The website of Lithuania’s official Jewish Community today published an English translation of a 2 March 2016 letter (original here) sent by Prosecutor Rimvydas Valentukevičius in reply to a letter from community chairperson Faina Kukliansky. The text of the translation published today follows. The correspondence relates to alleged perpetrators in the northeastern Lithuanian town Malát (Molėtai), where an international commemoration is planned for August 2016.

For other recent interactions with the prosecutor’s office, see our 3 March 2016 report on another request, that for release of  (or action regarding) the list of several thousand names of persons that the Genocide Center now concedes were potentially Holocaust perpetrators.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Documents, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Lithuanian Prosecutor Writes to Jewish Community Head on Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators in Malát (Molėtai)

A Picture and its One Thousand Words: The Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Revisited



HISTORY   |  PIRAMÓNT   |   CEMETERIES   |  PAPER TRAIL   |  OPPOSITION

by Sid (Shnayer) Leiman

The following is a reprint, with Professor Leiman’s permission, of his essay originally published on 14 January 2016 in The Seforim Blog. His October 2015 essay on the current plans for a convention center in the heart of the same cemetery is available here. He is Professor Emeritus of Jewish History and Literature at Brooklyn College in the City University of New York.

A: The Photograph

1: R. Menahem Manes Chajes (1560-1636)

2:  R. Shaul Katzenellenbogen (ca. 1770-1825)

3: R. Moshe, Dayyan of Vilna (ca. 1670-1740)

4: R. Hillel b. Yonah (d. 1706)

5: R. Moshe Darshan (d. 1726)

 6: R. Yaakov Kahana (d. 1826)

7: R. Eliyahu Hasid (d. 1710)

8: R. Yosef b. Elyah (d. 1718)

B: A Visit to the Old Jewish Cemetery in 1940

NOTES

DEDICATION OF THIS ESSAY TO R. KHAYKL LUNSKI

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Yiddish Affairs | Comments Off on A Picture and its One Thousand Words: The Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Revisited

We Shall Never Forget Kazimierz Sakowicz’s “Ponary Diary”



BOOKS  |  OPINION  |  LITHUANIA  |  HISTORY

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

Ponary Diary, 1941 — 1943. A Bystander’s Account of a Mass Murder. by Kazimierz Sakowicz. Edited by Yitzhak Arad. Foreword by Rachel Margolis. Yale University Press: New Haven and London 2005.

It goes without saying that a book of eyewitness Holocaust testimony penned at Lithuania’s largest mass grave site in the years 1941 to 1943, and first published in English in 2005, does not lose its importance for those who have not read it even a decade later; even if many other, much less important books, sport a more recent date of publication. Moreover, given the Lithuanian government’s campaign against the scholar who rediscovered and first published the manuscript in the 1990s, and against the scholar who edited the English edition cited above (both as part of its campaign against Jewish partisan survivors), the poignancy and human interest are even greater. It is indeed  a most appropriate time to pay tribute to that rediscoverer, Dr. Rachel Margolis (1921—2015), who passed away in Rehovot, Israel last summer, without realizing, in her nineties, her dying wish of visiting her native Vilna one last time, because of her fear of prosecutors’ threats and intimidation.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Books, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Roland Binet, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on We Shall Never Forget Kazimierz Sakowicz’s “Ponary Diary”

Vilnius Prosecutor Skirts Key Question: Will the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators be Made Public?



LITHUANIA | POLITICS OF MEMORY | GENOCIDE CENTER | OPINION

by Dovid Katz

 

VILNIUS—An array of local observers, speaking as usual off the record here, declared themselves “in shock” over the official response to the Jewish Community released by Prosecutor General Rimvydas Valentukevičius yesterday, dealing with widespread requests that the state’s Genocide Center — with which his Prosecutor General’s office has closely cooperated on Holocaust issues for many years — release the list of around two thousand names of alleged Holocaust murderers that it recently announced it had compiled, drawing international press attention. Over the years, the Center has been critiqued by the Wiesenthal Center and by various authors in Defending History for its alleged history-distorting antics; Evaldas Balčiūnas and Andrius Kulikauskas are among the boldest challengers of the Center’s moral integrity. (See also DH’s page on the Genocide Center, and on the museum which it directs in central Vilnius.)

The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel has long maintained an estimate of 23,000 local perpetrators involved in the killing. Thousands were listed on the Association’s website until June 2009 when the Israeli Foreign Ministry, under pressure from Lithuanian counterparts, itself harshly pressured the Association’s then chairperson to remove the list from its website. But it continues to circulate widely both on the internet and its fuller form is preserved in Joseph Melamed’s 1999 book, Crime and Punishment (Tel Aviv 1999), where the lists of alleged killers are organized by region and town.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Prosecutor Skirts Key Question: Will the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators be Made Public?

Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LATVIA  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

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

Introduction

Next month, the European Union and NATO will again be faced with the annual city-center march in Riga, the Latvian capital, glorifying the country’s Hitlerist Waffen SS. I had of course for years heard about the infamous March 16th marches in Riga when old members of the Latvian Waffen SS, their sympathizers and those who feel nostalgic about the good old time under Nazi rule proudly parade through the central streets of the beautiful capital of Latvia, ending their solemn march in front of the Freedom Monument, where they – solemnly and hierarchically – lay bundles of flowers at the foot of the monument and sing the national anthem.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Belgium, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?

Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”


 


OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Andrius Kulikauskas

I am inspired by the deep feelings which have been stirred amongst Litvaks regarding the fate of the Vilnius Sports Palace built on top of the Jewish cemetery. I wish for our state of Lithuania to do its utmost on behalf of Lithuanians to restore the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius as a symbol of our aspiration for the closest friendship between Lithuanians and Jews. I realized that it would be most helpful for me to present my thoughts in Lithuanian.

“From the top of Gediminas Castle, do we want to see and cherish, for hundreds of years to come, what the Communist Party Chief saw (the Sports Palace) or what the Grand Duke of Lithuania saw (the Jewish cemetery)?”

Continue reading

Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Citizenship, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”

Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Andrius Kulikauskas

01-SkirpaRastikisKlimasLozoraitisBurauskaite

As of October 28, 2015, the home page of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania has a link to an authorative statement by General Director Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė about Kazys Škirpa. She responds to a request for information by the City of Kaunas, which has a street in Škirpa’s name. Škirpa was Lithuania’s representative in Berlin, the leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front, organizer of Lithuania’s anti-Soviet rebellion and Prime Minister of Lithuania’s Provisional Government in 1941. In bold letters she emphasizes:

Continue reading

Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)

Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D   /   G E N O C I D E    C E N T E R

by Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

“I am a former Lithuanian soldier myself and have a personal remark to make. Nobody will ever force me to wear the uniform of another country’s armed forces, because I am a Lithuanian patriot. I will not wear the uniform of Russia or of Mozambique.”

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

One of the main Lithuanian dailies Lietuvos žinios (Lithuanian News) reported in an article on 24 November 2015  that the council of the celebrated Sajūdis organization (famed for its role in resisting the USSR and helping to achieve Lithuanian independence), had now, in 2015, decided to apply to prosecutors to take legal action over an article that had appeared in the 13 October 2015 edition of Laisvas laikraštis (Free Newspaper).

Sajūdis “decided” that the author  had violated the law because he mentioned that Lithuanian postwar militants Vytautas Žemaitis, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra), Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas and others might have been personally involved in Holocaust atrocities. [Editor’s note: See articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas on the alleged Holocaust involvement of Žemaitis, Noreika, and Baltūsis -Žvejas.]

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sweden | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?

Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator


[from the day’s front page]

But many in Vilnius shocked as official Jewish Community website posts the statement with no comment (in English translation with “God’s honest truth” headline (PDF) following the initial Lithuanian report; But mishap could be editor’s error or work of local “mischief maker”. Simon Wiesenthal Center responds. Report in the Jerusalem Post. Jewish Community leadership then replied to critics.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator

Faina Kukliansky, Chair of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Issues Sharp Response to Latest Genocide Center Whitewash of a Local Holocaust Perpetrator



VILNIUS—The website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania today posted a powerful response by chairperson Faina Kukliansky to the statement released earlier in the week by the national state-funded “Genocide Center.” That statement attempted to whitewash the infamous Holocaust perpetrator and Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika, and itself came as a response to a petition and series of articles last summer calling for removal of one of the public shrines to Noreika in the center of this city, the nation’s capital.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Faina Kukliansky, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Faina Kukliansky, Chair of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Issues Sharp Response to Latest Genocide Center Whitewash of a Local Holocaust Perpetrator

Another “Conference on Antisemitism” in Lithuania



Human Rights  /  Antisemitism  /  Opinion

by Defending History Staff

The well-organized conference “Antisemitism, Radicalization and Violent Extremism”  was held on 30 September 2015 at Vilnius’s Novotel Hotel by the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HMRI) with partners (see program). It will go down in history as one of the most remarkable capers yet in the fraught local “Dead Jew Business,” as it is increasingly becoming known. The biggest shock of the day was that one of the three keynote morning session speakers was Swedish-born Lithuania-resident filmmaker Jonas Ohman, known in town for his (far right style) glorification of postwar resistance fighters — one of the most painful issues of Baltic antisemitism in the twenty-first century — without the slightest mention of the alleged Holocaust perpetrator background of the precise figures glorified.

But the film maker chosen for the morning session manages at the same time to also be a (far left style) Israel baiter, whose current “humanitarian project” is a petition asking the mayor of Vilnius to sack a Jewish (Israeli-Lithuanian) advisor on the basis of social media “silly photos” that become bacteriologically antisemitic when recycled in his own petition, and beyond, in its recontextualized, politically charged incarnation. Far from doing the same to counter officials and advisors with neo-Nazi links, he boasted in his talk (amateur video) of his links to Right Sector and other Ukrainian groups that adulate wartime Holocaust perpetrators. When he was trashing Israel, the Israeli ambassador to Lithuania, Amir Maimon, sitting in the hall, boldly called out a question: “Are you rewriting the history?” (at time code 13:31).

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Norway, Opinion, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another “Conference on Antisemitism” in Lithuania

Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Strange Summer’s Media Circus



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In the midst of this past summer’s heatwave here in Lithuania, Delfi.lt, one of the most popular news portals in the land, exploded with discussions on commemorations and memorials for Nazi collaborators in our country. Rimvydas Valatka, a  columnist for the portal and  signatory of the Declaration of Independence, started it all with his article of 26 July. The “current events background” was the recent removal of the controversial Soviet-era statues of soldiers on Vilnius’s Green Bridge. Valatka, a veteran of Lithuanian journalism with the rarefied street-cred of a Declaration of Independence signatory, appealed for removal of the memorial plaque for Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika (“Generolas Vėtra”) from a central Vilnius library building, and wrote about a petition for its removal signed by a group of intellectuals and public figures, and addressed to the mayor of Vilnius as well as to the director of the relevant library (Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), where the plaque hangs prominently in the heart of Lithuania’s capital.


The stone honoring Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika tops the lot on the facade of the Genocide Museum on Gedimino Boulevard in the Lithuanian capital, a stone’s throw from the nation’s parliament. When are we going to stop glorifying those who helped annihilate Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust? When is this going to come down?


Continue reading

Posted in Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Strange Summer’s Media Circus

The Holocaust was Also a Matter of Plundering the Jewish Victims



O P I N I O N    /     H I S T O R Y    /    L A T V I A

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

Having recently spent a few days in Germany, and watching different television channels, I once more realized that that country still broadcasts regular programs on the Holocaust. Nearly each and every evening during my stay, I had the opportunity to see fragments of such programs, broadcast on less popular channels (“ZDF History” for example). And, it is true, it is one of the things that I admire most in modern Germany — the regular televising of documentaries on the Holocaust, never hiding the enormous responsibility of the Nazis in the destruction of the Jews.

Continue reading

Posted in History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Roland Binet | Comments Off on The Holocaust was Also a Matter of Plundering the Jewish Victims

What It Is to Defend Your Own History



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D

by Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

krokuva2

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

One can hear various stories about history here in Lithuania. The main narrative is about Bad Communists and Good Nazis. Yes, it is true. Especially very recently, after the civil (or whatever kind of) war broke out in Ukraine, the Nazis and those who justify and glorify them, both in Ukraine and Lithuania, have found new strength. Under the banner of “Ukraine Fights For All Of Us,” some have decided to bring back such “heroes” as the killer Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas.

For my part, I would like to defend our Tauras district (in the Kaunas region) from the legacy of this genre of “hero.” For his history was not only one of guerilla warfare against Soviet forces but about what he was doing in 1941 when the wholesale slaughter of our Jewish population was underway.  This has a lot to do with Lithuania, who we are as proud Lithuanians whose history, like every other people on this earth, has its high and its low moments.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on What It Is to Defend Your Own History

Wiesenthal Center Praises Vytautas Bruveris’s Call for Investigating Scope of Local Holocaust Participation



TAURAGĖ  (TÁVRIK), LITHUANIA—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised an op-ed in the popular Lithuanian news portal Lrytas.lt by prominent journalist Vytautas Bruveris calling upon the government to finally undertake a comprehensive investigation of the scope of Lithuanian complicity in Holocaust crimes. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who is currently in Lithuania on a research expedition, the Center expressed its appreciation and support for the content of the article and expressed the hope that the government would indeed implement the ideas raised by Bruveris.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Efraim Zuroff, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Praises Vytautas Bruveris’s Call for Investigating Scope of Local Holocaust Participation

The June 2015 Memorial for the Lietūkis Garage Massacre in Kaunas, Lithuania



O P I N I O N   /   E Y E W I T N E S S   A C C O U N T

by Julius Norwilla

To mark the 74th anniversary of one of the iconic events of the Lithuanian Holocaust, the infamous Lietūkis Garage Massacre of 27 June 1941, the Kaunas Jewish Community organized its annual memorial event at the site, last Friday, 26 June 2015. The massacre, carried out by local Lithuanian “patriots” wearing the white armbands of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), butchered dozens of Jewish passers-by at a garage on Kaunas’s Vytautas Avenue, using a variety of execution methods, including clubbing to death with crowbars, and particularly, forcing water from high-pressure hoses into bodily orifices of the victims until they burst. A growing crowd, including women holding up their young children to get the best views, cheered them on.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The June 2015 Memorial for the Lietūkis Garage Massacre in Kaunas, Lithuania

Rewriting History in Latvia



B O O K S    /    L A T V I A

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

Since I became interested in the fate of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Latvia, rather late (2009), I never failed to buy books when I visited that country, first and foremost written by Jewish survivors of these terrible times, but, also, some books written by non-Jewish Latvians in order to see how they perceived these tragic events, how they related to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and how they presented the history of the German occupation and the mass slaughter of more than 95% of the Jewish population of their country (using the figures of Jews on site at the time of the Nazi invasion as the basis for historians’ estimates).

Continue reading

Posted in Books, History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Rewriting History in Latvia

Legacy of Rūta Vanagaitė’s 17 April 2015 Conference at Vilnius City Hall


[updated]


venclova speaks

Tomas Venclova addresses Ruta Vanagaite’s conference at Vilnius City Hall on April 17, 2015. Photo: Julius Norwilla.

Continue reading

Posted in Events, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Legacy of Rūta Vanagaitė’s 17 April 2015 Conference at Vilnius City Hall

Lithuania’s President and Entourage Lay Wreaths at Ponár on May 8th…



VIDEO

Dovid Katz in Times of Israel (11 May)

Efraim Zuroff in i24 (12 May)

“Equally” at Monuments for Jewish, Lithuanian and Polish Victims, but Skipping the Stone Commemorating the 7,514 Red Army Prisoners of Various Nationalities Starved and Murdered at the Site.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Double Games, Double Genocide, Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s President and Entourage Lay Wreaths at Ponár on May 8th…

“The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

The national Lithuanian television channel Lietuvos rytas TV recently (on May 4) broadcast a show by veteran talk-show host Rūta Grinevičiūtė (surname recently changed to Janutienė) called Nuoga Tiesa, “Naked Truth,” which posed the question, “Do you want the Jews to return again [sic] to Lithuania?” Viewers were invited to call in and/or vote by special telephone lines for Yes and No with a one euro toll per call. For that and a number of other reasons the entire program had something of the macabre about it, and although some of the guests made some important points, all of them seemed to miss certain glaring details which would have been the center of attention in the West.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Geoff Vasil, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Rūta Vanagaitė, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television

Bubnys Replies to Editor of Defending History



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS–Genocide Center historian Dr. Arūnas Bubnys has posted on Facebook the following comment about this journal’s editor.

Continue reading

Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on Bubnys Replies to Editor of Defending History

A New Book on the Kaunas (Kovno) Ghetto by Arūnas Bubnys



O P I N I O N   /   B O O K S

by Geoff Vasil

This small book, brought out in three separate editions (English, Lithuanian, Russian) by the state-supported Genocide Center, looks more like a brochure than anything else. The cover features the author’s name, in small type, above all else, then a larger Kaunas Ghetto, then a line with the years 1941-1944, against a backdrop of a computerized dark blue sky above a “tasteful” black-and-white picture of Jews lined up in columns inside Kaunas ghetto. The computerized dark blue wraps around the spine to the back cover where some vague lines comprise a hand-drawn map of the streets making up Kaunas ghetto, an ISBN number in white above UPC Bookland barcode featuring the same number again, and then a web address, www.genocid.lt.  I found myself staring at the internet address and wondering what language that was supposed to be. Lithuanian is always “genocidas” and “genocid” isn’t possible as any permutation or declension of the noun, and of course English is “genocide.” Perhaps it’s Russian in Latin-letter transcription? But that would contradict the nationalist and ethnic bias of the publisher, the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian Residents where Arūnas Bubnys is a leading figure. Perhaps “genocid” is someone’s notion of a non-English and yet international form of the word, formed by reducing it from the Lithuanian nominative case ending -as? I checked my favorite search engine, and of course the Lithuanian organization’s webpage came up first, but was soon followed by a wikipedia and wiktionary entry for the Croatian word.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Double Games, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A New Book on the Kaunas (Kovno) Ghetto by Arūnas Bubnys

New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

When I wrote several years ago (Lithuanian; English) about the monument erected to Juozas Barzda at Iešnalis Lake, I thought it must have been some sort of misunderstanding.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians

In English Translation: V. Brandišauskas’s Classic Review of A. Liekis



D O C U M E N T S   /   B O O K S   /   H I S T O R Y

The following is an English translation by Geoff Vasil of a book review by Valentinas Brandišauskas of Algimantas Liekis’s Lietuvos laikinoji vyriausybė (1941 06 22–08 05) that appeared in the Lithuanian publication Genocidas ir Rezistencija No. 8, 2000, and is posted online


Review: A Doubtful Selection of “Frontists,” or, about One More in a Series of A. Liekis’s “Monographs”: Lietuvos laikinoji vyriausybë (1941 06 22–08 05) [Provisional Government of Lithuania, June 22—August 5, 1941], Vilnius, 2000, 428 pp.

 ◊

The negative predictions have been fulfilled, unfortunately, even beyond expectations. That’s what can be said about a news item that appeared in the Lithuanian exile community’s monthly Akiračiai regarding preparations by Lithuanian historian Algimatas Liekis, who did some work at the Lithuanian Studies Research and Studies Center in Chicago, to write a book about the June Uprising of 1941 and the Provisional Government (PG). Recalling the historian’s past (“during the Soviet era […] he was the komsorg [Communist Youth Party minder] in the Soviet navy, Party secretary of the History Institute of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic…”) and doubting his reputation as an academic, it was said that “Frontist successors” to the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) had invited Liekis

“to write a book that would help the Lithuanian parliament push through the legislation needed to ‘legalize’ the Provisional Government and to proclaim the day of the uprising a national holiday.”

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Valentinas Brandišauskas | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on In English Translation: V. Brandišauskas’s Classic Review of A. Liekis

Translation of Lithuanian News Report on Recent Statements by Genocide Center’s Director



Editor’s note: This article has been translated for our readers at the suggestion of Professor Pinchos Fridberg, whose note to us (here translated from the original Yiddish) reads:  “As a Holocaust survivor, I respectfully request that Defending History arrange for translation and publication of this article, in which the director-general of the Genocide Center in Vilnius is quoted as saying that ‘Not all people who contributed to the Holocaust should be considered murderers of Jews’.”

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Translation of Lithuanian News Report on Recent Statements by Genocide Center’s Director

How Did Lithuanians Wrong Litvaks?



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Iwill speak about painful things, and so I understand if some of you won’t want to listen and will step out.

It is most important that we empathize with the victims of the Holocaust, and yet we must also empathize with the perpetrators if we wish to understand what happened and who was responsible for what. Litvaks outside of Lithuania feel hurt that Lithuanians shirk responsibility for the Holocaust.

I won’t be indifferent. I am a deliberate Lithuanian. I was born in the diaspora. I chose to be Lithuanian. Is the Lithuanian worldview harmful? I must investigate.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Andrius Kulikauskas, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on How Did Lithuanians Wrong Litvaks?

A Secret Revealed? On Destruction of the Jewish Community of Betygala, Lithuania



H I S T O R Y

by Aleksandras Vitkus and Chaim Bargman

Betygala (in Yiddish: Betigóle) is one of the oldest towns in Samogitia (Žemaitija), known since the time of Duke Mindaugas in the thirteenth century. The small town is located about 2 kilometers from the River Dubysa, near the little Vieversa stream. The surroundings of Betygala are very beautiful, especially the valley, shores and effluents of the River Dubysa. In Betygala we can find the monument of Vytautas the Great which remained standing even during the Soviet period.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chaim Bargman, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on A Secret Revealed? On Destruction of the Jewish Community of Betygala, Lithuania

The Two Full Stahlecker Reports: Holocaust Atrocities in the Baltics



D O C U M E N T S

by Rafael Katz

The Stahlecker Reports offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of what was the onset the Final Solution: the Baltic invasion within Operation Barbarossa. Naturally, Most wartime documents deal with the effect and aftermath of the war. In the sea of war documents, the Stahlecker Reports are pivotal, in that in that they shed some light on the backdrop and the motives behind the war’s operations.

Continue reading

Posted in Documents, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Rafael Katz, Raphael Katz | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Two Full Stahlecker Reports: Holocaust Atrocities in the Baltics

Some Family Relics of Jewish Vilna



M E M O I R S

by Pinchos Fridberg

 ◊

Coming across the Jewish Life in Poland section of Yivo’s website, I decided to write this short memoir. This photograph shows the teachers and graduates of the Vilner Yiddish Real-Gymnasium (Vílner yídishe reál-gimnázye) in 1930. The school’s principal was Leyb Turbowich, and the literature teacher was the great Jewish poet Moyshe Kulbak, the author of  a well-known Yiddish poem Vílne, among many others.

1

Continue reading

Posted in History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Pinchos Fridberg | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Some Family Relics of Jewish Vilna

UN Resolution Against Glorification of Nazism Opposed on 21 Nov. 2014 by Just Three Countries



D O C U M E N T S   /   G L O R I F I C A T I O N    O F   C O L L A B O R A T O R S

The following is the official 21 Nov. 2014 United Nations voting sheet for the resolution (A/C.3/69/L.56/Rev.1) “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” The original is posted on the UN website. This copy has three added arrows for rapid identification of the three states that voted “No.”

Media coverage includes: Margaret Besheer in Voice of America;  Joseph Brean in Canada’s National Post;  George Eliason in Global ResearchKen Hanly in Digital Journal;  Dovid Katz in The Times of Israel;  Ryan Maloney in Huffington Post Jim Miles in CounterPunch;  Boruch Shubert in JP Updates;  Sam Sokol in the Jerusalem Post.

Glorification of Nazi collaborators (and local perpetrators) by states and their elites is a serious issue in various countries, including Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine.

Continue reading

Posted in Canada, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, History, Israel, News & Views, Ukraine, United Nations, United States | Comments Off on UN Resolution Against Glorification of Nazism Opposed on 21 Nov. 2014 by Just Three Countries

What Riga Ghetto Survivors Recall about Herberts Cukurs, Now “Hero” of New Show in Latvia



O P I N I O N / H I S T O R Y

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Herberts Cukurs (1900-1965) had been an officer and a famous aviator during the years of the interwar Latvian Republic (1918-1940). After Nazi Germany’s 1941 occupation of Latvia, he became a significant figure in the infamous Arājs Kommando (or Sonderkommando Arajs), a notorious killing unit during the Latvian Holocaust. The Arājs group consisted of about 1,200 people, mostly local Latvians. It was established at the beginning of July 1941 within the German security services.

The Arājs Kommando carried out the killing of at least 30,000 Jews in numerous cities and towns in Latvia. The toll included the family of my grandfather in Vilani (in Yiddish Vilon), which occurred at dawn on August 4, 1941. The victims were his parents, and his sisters and their husbands and young children.

Continue reading

Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on What Riga Ghetto Survivors Recall about Herberts Cukurs, Now “Hero” of New Show in Latvia

Hungarian Government’s Holocaust Policies Meet Robust Responses in 2014


[last update]


The following links represent a selection only. Sincere gratitude to Professor Michael Shafir for his assistance in tracking relevant media.

Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, EU, History, Hungary, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Hungarian Government’s Holocaust Policies Meet Robust Responses in 2014

Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at Berlin Screening of Juergen Hobrecht’s New Riga Ghetto Film



by Monica Lowenberg

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Arts, Events, Film, Germany, History, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at Berlin Screening of Juergen Hobrecht’s New Riga Ghetto Film

The Politics of History



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil. Final version approved by the author.

 

Much has been said about recent history policy in Lithuania. What this means, different speakers understand differently. It probably isn’t wise to dwell long on the concept. Let’s just say “history policy” is the interpretation of historical events provided by state institutions and officials.

SEE SECTION ON

FREE SPEECH

The truth is specific. I will give one example of how this appears in our and neighboring states and how that illuminates the history of our state.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Politics of History

“Double Genocide” Snuck into Congress?



Did “Double Genocide” from the “Prague Declaration” Land Under the Radar in the United States Congress?

PAIN IS EXACERBATED AS PLOY COINCIDES WITH 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF D DAY EVENTS

stealth bomber
By stealth out of the East?

A Shock for Veterans, Holocaust Survivors & their Families: US Congress Approves Mixed Soviet-Nazi Commemoration Day in Line with 2008 “Prague Declaration”  (Text)

Continue reading

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Double Genocide, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States, US State Dept Manipulated?, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Double Genocide” Snuck into Congress?

Dan Stone’s “Goodbye to All That?” Has Discussion on Battle of the Declarations


Dan Stone’s new book, Goodbye to All That? A History of Europe Since 1945 (Oxford University Press, March 2014) has some discussion on the “Battle of the Declarations” in Europe: the Prague Declaration (“PD” of 2008) and the Seventy Years Declaration (“SYD” of 2012).

Each of the declarations has its own website: the PD at praguedeclaration.eu; SYD at: seventyyearsdeclaration.org. The SYD was produced as an initiative of Defending History, which has its (openly partisan) section on the Seventy Years Declaration, its text in European languages, and a page of critiques of the Prague Declaration. The SYD’s launch was greeted by the then Lithuanian foreign minister’s “moustache comparison” and his attack on the eight Lithuanian parliamentarians who had signed it. The 2012 documentary film Rewriting History focuses on the origins of the Seventy Years Declaration.

The following is a brief excerpt from Dan Stone’s Goodbye to All That? from page 281:

Continue reading

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Books, Documents, Double Genocide, History, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dan Stone’s “Goodbye to All That?” Has Discussion on Battle of the Declarations

Distorted Nationalist History in Ukraine



O P I N I O N

Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe interviewed by Christopher Hale on 15 March 2012. This interview originally appeared on Christopher Hale’s blog. It is reproduced in Defending History with Dr. Rossolinski-Liebe’s permission.

Continue reading

Posted in Bandera, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, G. Rossoliński-Liebe, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Distorted Nationalist History in Ukraine

Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Adolfas Ramanauskas Vanagas was a well-known post-war partisan commander. Here’s what the Center for the Study of the Genocide of the Residents of Lithuania has to say about him on their website:

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai

Studies on Nazi Collaboration in Ukraine and Current Attempts to Glorify the Collaborators


 


Recent Publications by Dr. Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe (Berlin):

2010: “Celebrating Fascism and War Criminality in Edmonton. The Political Myth and Cult of Stepan Bandera in Multicultural Canada” in Kakanien Revisited, 12 (2010): 1–16.

2011: “The ‘Ukrainian National Revolution’ of Summer 1941” in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History vol. 12, no.1 (2011): 83–114.

2011:  “The Act of 30 June 1941, and its 2011 Commemoration in Ukraine” in Defending History, 25 June 2011.

Continue reading

Posted in Bandera, Canada, Collaborators Glorified, G. Rossoliński-Liebe, History, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Studies on Nazi Collaboration in Ukraine and Current Attempts to Glorify the Collaborators

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.

Continue reading

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

Sergijus Staniškis Litas: Who’s Hiding the 1941 Gaps in His Biography — and Why?



O P I N I O N   /   P O L I T I C S  O F  M E M O R Y   /   C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Authorized translation from the Lithuanian original by Geoff Vasil.


Today Sergijus Staniškis Litas is presented as a noble partisan commander who concentrated his unusual skills on battling the occupiers. At least that’s how the writers of the Lithuanian Center for the Study of Genocide and Resistance present him on their webpage at http://www.genocid.lt/datos/stanisk.htm.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Sergijus Staniškis Litas: Who’s Hiding the 1941 Gaps in His Biography — and Why?

Artists Knew, Allied Leaders Kept Silent



O P I N I O N

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

 

When I was in New York last year, I saw an extraordinary exhibition of paintings by Marc Chagall, “War, Exile and Love” at the Jewish Museum. The focus was on the works he produced during his years of exile in the United States. This exhibition, well attended, shed an interesting light on what the artist knew about the horrific events unfolding in Europe at the time of his sojourn in the United States.

Continue reading

Posted in Arts, History, Human Rights, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet, United Kingdom, United States | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Artists Knew, Allied Leaders Kept Silent

New “National Council of Historical Memory” to Control Thought About History in Lithuania?


VILNIUS—Among other news portals in Lithuania, 15min.lt reported on 23 December that a group of nationalists in the Seimas (parliament) had proposed establishment of a new institution, the “National Council of Historical Memory” to set the “indisputable truth about historic events.” Coming on top of the 2010 red-brown criminalization of opinion law that has brought alarm from human rights circles in the European Union, this latest layer of state establishment of alleged historic truth would compound the damage.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Human Rights, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on New “National Council of Historical Memory” to Control Thought About History in Lithuania?

Vilnius Genocide Center Releases a New Graywash on the Vilna Ghetto



B O O K S    /    O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The unfortunate and wasteful campaign of Holocaust obfuscation waged by certain East European state institutions continues apace. The level of investment continues to strike outsiders as puzzling, given current economic and cultural issues and the younger population’s clear focus on the future and a better life for all in the new and multicultural European Union. Here in Lithuania, the first victims of the government’s (rather Soviet-style) “genocide industry” are the hard-working people of the country who deserve more judicious disbursement of their nation’s resources. The state-sponsored Genocide Center has just released three simultaneous editions (English, Lithuanian and Russian) of a new book on the Vilna Ghetto by historian Arūnas Bubnys, its own “director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Department.”

 Dr. Bubnys is also a member of the state-sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known for short as the “red-brown commission”). He was one of a minority of members of the Commission who refused to sign the (in the opinion of some, inadequate) letter of 14 October 2013 to Dr. Yitzhak Arad.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Books, Double Games, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Genocide Center Releases a New Graywash on the Vilna Ghetto

How Has Post-Soviet Lithuania Used Holocaust Remembrance to Project a “New” European Identity?



O P I N I O N

by Rachel Croucher  (Melbourne, Australia)

 

Lithuania declared its restoration of independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on March 11, 1990. The country then began to immediately seek closer ties with established Western European institutions as a means to consolidate its national and economic security. After centuries of subjugation at the hands of various foreign powers, this need for national and economic security was seen as being of primary and urgent concern to the fledgling democracy. This race to join as many Western European institutions as possible was also a way to prove to the rest of the world that Lithuania was now in practice a true European country, part of the post-1945 Western European order. The sentiment behind this is best expressed by Czech-born and naturalized French writer Milan Kundera when he stated in 1989 that

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Double Games, Double Genocide, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rachel Croucher | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on How Has Post-Soviet Lithuania Used Holocaust Remembrance to Project a “New” European Identity?

If Israel Can Honor the USSR’s Unquestionable Role in Bringing Down Hitler, Why Can’t France and the European Union?



O P I N I O N

by Didier Bertin

From the very beginning, the source of our problems is to be found in an inaccurate narrative of World War II that is rather widespread here in France. This can be explained in part by France’s  position as a de facto ally of the Axis at first, starting from the time of Petain’s surrender to Hitler’s forces in 1940. It was rather late in the war that a substantial segment of society in the country per se (as opposed to the heroic resisters who had joined the Allies outside surrendered France’s borders) became a stalwart ally of the United States and Great Britain, at a time when that was by a confluence of circumstances most convenient for all three countries.

Continue reading

Posted in Didier Bertin, Double Genocide, France, History, Israel, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on If Israel Can Honor the USSR’s Unquestionable Role in Bringing Down Hitler, Why Can’t France and the European Union?

Chersonski Replies to Aleksandravičius on the 2012 Kaunas Reburial of the 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan ChersonskijTranslated from Russian by Ludmila Makedonskaya (Grodno); updated English version approved by the author, Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. He was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania. The views he expresses in Defending History are his own. Photo: Milan Chersonski (image © Jurgita Kunigiškytė). Milan Chersonski section.


 

 Real Heroes and Supposed Heroes

 

Who Protested and Why?

In May 2012 solemn funeral events were held in Kaunas: the ashes of the interim prime minister of the Provisional Government of Lithuania (hereinafter PG) Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis were transferred from the state of Connecticut in the United States, where he was buried in 1974, to Kaunas, the former temporary capital of Lithuania. There the ashes were reburied.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Media Watch, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Chersonski Replies to Aleksandravičius on the 2012 Kaunas Reburial of the 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister

Efraim Zuroff Critiques Vilnius Genocide Center’s Latest Attempt to Massage Figures (and Ethics) of Local Holocaust Perpetrators


In a statement issued in Jerusalem today, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff noted two major flaws in a recent report issued by the state-sponsored Genocide Center in Vilnius, Lithuania. The report’s key findings, presented by the Center’s Dr. Alfredas Rukšėnas, were published by the Lithuanian news portal Delfi on 25 October 2013 (English translation available in Defending History).

According to Dr. Zuroff:

“The findings of the report, as presented by the coordinator of this project, are clearly part of a systematic attempt by the Lithuanian government to minimize the role of ethnic Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Based on the records in our archives, I can unequivocally state, that the figure of 2,055 Lithuanians whose direct and indirect participation in Holocaust crimes was confirmed by this study, is a gross underestimate of the number of Lithuanians complicit in Shoah crimes, designed to deflect blame from local collaborators and hide the extensive scope of Lithuanian involvement in the mass murder of Jews, both in Lithuania and outside her borders.

“Also highly objectionable is the assertion by Dr. Rukšėnas that those Lithuanians who indeed murdered Jews really had no choice but to do so, having received orders to commit murder from their superiors. Besides the fact that in many cases, these superiors were themselves Lithuanians, such arguments have been consistently and unequivocally rejected by courts all over the world, starting with the Nuremberg Trials.”

Posted in Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Efraim Zuroff Critiques Vilnius Genocide Center’s Latest Attempt to Massage Figures (and Ethics) of Local Holocaust Perpetrators

Genocide Center in Vilnius Responds to the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators Published by the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel



Editor’s note:  The following is an English translation by Geoff Vasil of an article that appeared on Delfi.lt on October 25, 2013. The images that appeared with the original Lithuanian text are not reproduced here.

In 1999, The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel published Crime and Punishment, compiled after many years of work, by its chairman, Tel Aviv attorney Joseph Melamed, a native of Kovno (Kaunas), Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Jewish partisan resistance in Lithuania and of the Israeli War of Independence. In the late 1990s, Mr. Melamed wrote repeatedly to Lithuanian prosecutors, explaining that some Holocaust perpetrators and witnesses were still alive and investigations could be pursued.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on Genocide Center in Vilnius Responds to the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators Published by the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel

Questions and Answers on the Holocaust-Gulag “Competitive Martyrology”



O P I N I O N

by Michael Shafir (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

 

1. Approximately when did the drive to equate the Holocaust and the sufferings endured by people under Communist regimes start?

It is very difficult to pinpoint an exact date. In the West, a number of Sovietologists have long driven attention to the fact that the horrible crimes perpetuated by Stalin and his henchmen in East Central Europe deserved the attention and the opprobrium that Nazism met with after the Second World War. Due to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous book Gulag, these crimes soon began to be referred to under the synthetic name of that book. The collapse of the Communist regimes in the region in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 intensified that drive, which also found an impulse in the once popular (but later criticized) “totalitarian model.” That model was now revived, finding support particularly in the eastern part of Europe that had suffered under Soviet domination. Western historians were (and still are) quite divided over this issue. For example, Robert Conquest, who produced several important books on Stalinist crimes, was reluctant to place the Holocaust and the Gulag on the same footing. On the other hand, Stéphane Courtois, who edited and contributed to the Black Book of Communism, not only embraced the comparison, but insisted on

Continue reading

Posted in Croatia, Double Genocide, History, Michael Shafir, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Nations | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Questions and Answers on the Holocaust-Gulag “Competitive Martyrology”

Yehiel Zilberman’s Memoirs (excerpt)


 


M E M O I R S

by Yehiel Zilberman

Translated from Russian by Olga Gorelik

 

This is a chapter from the memoirs written by Yehiel Zilberman, translated from Russian by Olga Gorelik (© Yehiel Zilberman & Olga Gorelik). The chapter appears in Defending History by permission of the copyright holders, with thanks to the good offices of Victor Shifrin (Los Angeles).

Yehiel (Yekhíel) Zilberman was born in Lithuania in 1922. In 1940 he graduated from the H. N. Bialik Hebrew High School in Shavl (Šiauliai) and was admitted to the Institute of Commerce in the same city. In June of 1941, one year after Lithuania fell under Soviet rule, Yehiel along with his parents and brother Moshe (Mikhail) was exiled to the Altai Region in Russia where he lived until 1945. In 1949 he graduated with Honors from Gorky Industrial Institute and became a chemical engineer. Yehiel worked in both manufacturing and scientific research. In 1954 he received his PhD from the Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology. In 1965 Dr. Zilberman received the title of Professor. From 1970 to 1990 he taught at Gorky Polytechnic Institute.

Dr. Yehiel Zilberman has been resident in Haifa, Israel, since 1990.

Continue reading

Posted in Documents, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Yehiel Zilberman’s Memoirs (excerpt)