Human Rights

Schedule of September 23rd 2019 Events on Lithuania’s Holocaust Day, in Plea for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



VILNIUS—The following is the schedule for today’s events organized by Mr. Dov-Ber and Mrs. Chaya Fried of New York City in cooperation with the Vilnius Committee for Preservation of the Piramónt Jewish Cemetery (chaired by Julius Norwilla) and the European Foundation for Human Rights (represented by attorney Evelina Dobrowolska). The first event, at twilight, is on a ridge above the cemetery, moderated by Rabbi Yehuda Genut. The second, more formal, seminar is at the nearby Marriott Hotel, moderated by Mrs. Chaya Fried.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Schedule of September 23rd 2019 Events on Lithuania’s Holocaust Day, in Plea for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & “PR Yiddish” Conference for A-1 Cover


[updated 29 August 2019]

Twenty years after Joe Melamed named Noreika & Škirpa as Holocaust collaborators in Crime & Punishment. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Skirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of “Noreika Plaque” in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Protest Mayor’s Actions and Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

Media coverage: AFPAJ,  AP/WAPOA7BBCBS,  EJCIHJNS,   JTA,  TOI 

Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & “PR Yiddish” Conference for A-1 Cover

Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941



LEGACY OF JUNE 23  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  NOREIKA SAGA

Advertisement for the Event

BACKGROUND ON LEGACY OF 23 JUNE IN LITHUANIA (AND BEYOND). SAMPLES OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONYBACKGROUND.

EVENT DESCRIPTION GLORIFIES HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA (BACKGROUND)

Question: Is this city really ready to be the Capital of European Culture for 2022?

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941

Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATES; FIRST PUBLICATION: 13 MAY]

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  LITHUANIA’S JEWISH COMMUNITY  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  US STATE DEPT. MANIPULATED?  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

You just could not make this stuff up. A powerful government unit of an East European democracy that is a member of the EU and NATO wants nothing more than to plonk a monument in America for someone who was not only an alleged Holocaust collaborator (see Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles of 2014, 2017 and 2019), but who is today a prime icon of the country’s neo-Nazis. Indeed, his visage is first on their banner of “national heroes” used to front torch-lit neo-Nazi parades in the nation’s capital. The monument is unveiled in Chicago on May 4, 2019.

Ramanauskas is first (at left) on neo-Nazis’ front banner at torchlit parade in Vilnius

 

High government officials from the Seimas and the Lithuanian consulate in New York jad fronted  an effort to put the monument in New Britain, Connecticut, and charm that city’s mayor (2017) into going along with the plan, without mentioning the honoree’s having boasted in his own memoirs of leading a pro-Hitler militia in the days when the Lithuanian Holocaust was launched in late June of 1941. After many months of discussion (2018), the city council of New Britain overwhelmingly turns down the idea.

Update of 1 June 2019: Jerusalem Post reports that head of Jewish Agency demands the monument in Chicago “be removed as soon as possible”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator

More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Five years ago, I wrote about the alleged connections of Adolfas Ramanauskas to the persecution of Jews in Druskininkai. Following publication of the Lithuanian version, the English version appeared here in Defending History in 2014. The connections are based in the first instance on Ramanauskas’s own memoirs, published in post-Soviet independent Lithuania, where he boasts that he served as leader of “the rebels’ squad” during the precise days and weeks of June and July 1941 when these “rebels” of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) were in fact unleashing humiliation, plunder, violence and indeed murder against Jewish neighbors (the Soviet army was escaping Hitler’s invasion, not these white-armbanded LAFers). Following upon Ramanauskas’s own memoir and boast came research into the actual police records of the summer of 1941, as well as the postwar Soviet war crimes trials’ transcripts.

When writing that first article in 2014, my goal was not to find or prove something directly compromising. I was simply disturbed by the obvious collision of this heroic myth and its historical circumstances. It was part of my series of articles in Defending History, starting in 2012, that was launched by my essay “Why does the State Commemorate Murderers?”.

LATEST MEDIA:

AlgemeinerBBCIndependentSimon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA

But then, in late 2017, the Seimas (parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania declared 2018 to be the Year of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas. Indignant at the uncritical worship, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s department of East European affairs, brought a copy of my article to the members of the Seimas and was condemned without them even attempting to read it. During that period, I published a second, follow-up article focused on the moral issues.

Successful resistance to the plans of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania to erect a monument to Ramanauskas in his native city of New Britain, Conn., were enabled exactly by the facts mentioned in the 2014 piece (that saga can be followed in Defending History). One year ago, the City Council of New Britain “just said No.”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?

Hundreds of Rambam Mesivta High School Protest Peacefully at New York’s Lithuanian Consulate



NEW YORK CITY—Hundreds of Jewish high school students from the New York area, pupils at Rambam Mesivta High School, demonstrated peacefully and with dignity outside the Lithuanian Consulate in New York City yesterday, led by their renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. The day was Yom Hashoah, a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, and the occasion was the Lithuanian government’s continued glorification of Jonas Noreika, a major Holocaust collaborator who participated in the destruction of thousands of the country’s citizens in 1941. The Noreika debate is now seven years old, and can be followed chronologically in Defending History (see most recent update).

Students chanted, “Your hero is a Nazi!”

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Dr. Kulikauskas to Speak on Noreika Issue at Vilnius Conference on Interdisciplinary Interaction



THE NOREIKA SAGA  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE POLICIES  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS   |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—On Friday, April 26, 18:00-18:20, Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, curator of the Captain Jonas Noreika Museum, Archive and Forum, will give the final talk at the conference “The Territories of Interaction of Aesthetics, Art Philosophy and Art History: Intercultural Fields of the Functions of Representation”, organized by Prof. Antanas Andrijauskas at the Lithuanian Cultural Studies Institute, at Saltoniškių St. 58, Vilnius.

Dr. Kulikauskas will be speaking in Lithuanian on “How to Forego, Through Dialogue, Monumental Images of Those Who Voiced the Will of the Lithuanian Nation in 1941 But Committed Crimes Against Humanity”.

His talk will be followed by an hour of open dialogue on two questions:

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Kulikauskas to Speak on Noreika Issue at Vilnius Conference on Interdisciplinary Interaction

Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to be Shamed Again This Weekend as Soviet Dump is Glorified



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  USCPAHA | CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH

VILNIUS—In a shock both to human rights activists here and the small but vibrant Jewish community, the “Open House Vilnius” project of the NGO “Architektūros fondas”, in partnership with  M. K. Čiurlionis House and Museum is organizing a major event this coming weekend  to  feature an “audio-visual installation by the composer Vytautas Paukštelis”. The event is being sponsored by European Union taxpayer euros via the EU’s “Creative Europe and European Music Paths” program.

“The Ghosts of Vilna Will Not be Silenced” (by Vulovak for DefendingHistory)

The problem? It is being staged right smack in the middle of the Old Vilna Jewish at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės district, Shnípeshok in Yiddish). In fact, the staging could not be some kind of clerical error resulting from lack of being informed. For years now, there has been an international (and local!) movement beseeching the Lithuanian government and its state-owned Turto bankas, and the City of Vilnius, to move the convention center project away from the old Jewish cemetery, so that it might be lovingly restored, as, for example, per the Frankfurt model, and become an international site that will attract people from around the world, instead of a mark of racism and antisemitism in the city that was once the “Jerusalem of Lithuania” and even today uses that phrase for marketing and PR.

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European Foundation for Human Rights Takes Desecration of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Court



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  USCPAHA | CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH

VILNIUS—The European Foundation for Human Rights has today filed a lawsuit with the District Court of Vilnius City. The following is the full text of a press release issued by the group this morning, which appears on its website:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on European Foundation for Human Rights Takes Desecration of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Court

Court will Read Out Noreika Verdict Wednesday 27th at 1 PM in Historic Holocaust History Trial



VILNIUS—On March 27, Wednesday, at 1 PM here in Vilnius, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court will be reading its verdict on  the case filed by California resident Grant Gochin calling on  the state-sponsored Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center, widely known as the Genocide Center, to revise its evaluation of Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika as a hero who is worthy of state honors. Hundreds of documents have been produced demonstrating beyond all doubt his participation in the Lithuanian Holocaust (see sample document). One of the case’s sensations was the powerful and historic statement condemning Noreik’a crimes produced by his granddaughter, the American educator and author Silvia Foti.

The public and the press are welcome to attend the conclusion of this historic trial at Žygimantų Street 2 in central Vilnius.

BACKGROUND

DH’s take. Report on 15 Jan. hearing. Report on 5 March hearing. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article that brought Noreika to the attention of the English speaking world. Balčiūnas’s DH section.

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Latvian Gov. Again Gifts Central Riga for Glorification of Nation’s Wartime Waffen SS



RIGA MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES IN EASTERN EUROPE  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  ANTISEMITISM

AROUND 1000 TAKE PART IN 16 MARCH CENTRAL RIGA PARADE GLORIFYING LATVIA’S WARTIME NAZI WAFFEN SS

UPDATE OF 20 MARCH: CANADA CONDEMNS EVENT

Media coverage: Delfi.lvDPA;  HaaretzJerusaem Post;  Jüdisches Forum (video)LSM.lv;  Times of IsraelToronto Sun

Detail from the day

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Events, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Latvian Gov. Again Gifts Central Riga for Glorification of Nation’s Wartime Waffen SS

Did USCPAHA’s (and AZM’s, and GWF-LJHF’s) Point Man on Old Vilna Cemetery Flip Yet Again?



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  USCPAHA | HERBERT BLOCK’S POSITIONS ON THE SUBJECT  |  CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Herbert Block, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Did USCPAHA’s (and AZM’s, and GWF-LJHF’s) Point Man on Old Vilna Cemetery Flip Yet Again?

A National Gang-Up on our Country’s Leading Playwright



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  WOMEN’S RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Marius Ivaškevičius is a famous writer, theater and cinema playwright and director who has clearly stated his opinion on the Holocaust more than once. He also contributed substantially to the 2016 Molėtai (Malát) Holocaust remembrance march. He has even criticized the naming of Škirpa Street in central Vilnius after a Nazi collaborator who called for Lithuania’s Jewish citizens to be expelled.

Once the reports that Ivaškevičius was chosen to receive the National Prize for his achievements in literature became public, a public persecution of the writer got underway with rapidity and venom. Far-right groups appealed to the prosecutor’s office not only to stop him getting the prize, but also to start a court case against him, allegedly for violating Criminal Code in his writings, turning him into a potential criminal. The pretext was Ivaškevičius’ novel Žali (The Greens), written sixteen years ago and dedicated to exploring the topic of postwar anti-Soviet resistance. The prosecutor’s office rejected the call and Ivaškevičius received the prize.

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The Strange Holocaust Trial in the Lithuanian Capital



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Last Tuesday, 5 March 2019, a Vilnius court sat in judgment over an appeal to the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” by Grant Arthur Gochin, a financial advisor in California who is of Litvak heritage and was himself born in South Africa (he did not come in for the trial but was represented by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and academic specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas). The request in effect asked the Genocide Center (formally “The Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania” or LGGRTC) to revisit their refusal to re-examine the historical certificate they issued whitewashing Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. In support, the plaintiff submitted a big stack of documents from Lithuania’s own archives, and claimed that the Center’s conclusions ignore or misinterpret a whole series of documents and that they are biased in their justification of Noreika and taking into account only “positive aspects” of his activities. The Center explained away some documents signed by Noreika by using other documents that were signed by the German administration much later, but failed to properly name the criteria according to which some witnesses and documents are deemed important and others are rejected. Gochin’s lawyer noted that responsibility for crimes to humanity is not canceled out by the fact that the perpetrator held office and was following orders.

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Run-Up to 2019’s February 16th March in Central Vilnius



NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

Are Vilnius Authorities Again Gifting Capital’s Storied Old Town for Far-Right March on Cherished Independence Day?

Last year’s neo-Nazi event featured front banner glorifying a series oflocal Holocaust collaborators; it was addressed by a high Catholic Church official and “honored guest” neo-Nazis from abroad

2018 lead banner: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE”. The “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941. PHOTO: © DEFENDING HISTORY.

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Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”



by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson


Saturday February 16, 2019 will celebrated as Independence Day in Lithuania (marking the 1918 rise of the state; a second independence day, March 11th, marks its 1990 reestablishment). The far-right-nationalists of Lithuania have once again been permitted to march through the central Old Town streets of the country’s capital to praise their so-called heroes. These views on “heroes” held by the Vilnius marchers are pretty much shared by much of the present and past government establishments, as evidenced, for example, by street names and  public plaques and many episodes of glorification of collaborators, including the infamous 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, The OSCE, Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”

Why Do They Do It in the Winter?



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

A wave of nationalism and hatred is rolling through Europe. In Gdańsk, Poland, mayor Paweł Adamowicz, who encouraged democracy and tolerance, was killed. From Hungary, where the ultra-right powers, namely Orbán’s Fidesz party and its ideological neighbor, third-in-size Jobbik, have taken power, come the news of the worsening conditions of Roma people. Eviction of Roma in Miskolc is but one example of segregation and discrimination (on Youtube).  Shocking footage from Bulgaria has also recently reached international Roma community (see on Facebook). The footage shows Roma houses being destroyed in the middle of the winter and the people resisting  being suppressed and beaten. Apparently, after a conflict between two Roma youths and local soldiers, the Bulgarian government decided to collectively punish the  Roma community by banishing them from the Voidinovo settlement by Plovdiv, which, by the way, is the European Capital of Culture 2019. The Bulgarian government is on a par with its Hungarian counterpart when it comes to discriminatory rhetoric and prejudice against the Roma.

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Jewish Gravestone Steps of Reformed Evangelical Church in Central Vilnius Finally Removed



CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  CEMETERIES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

One of the stones with visible Jewish lettering stepped on for decades during its stint as a step at the front entrance of the Reformed Evangelical Church on central Vilnius’s Pylimo Street. Photo: DefendingHistory.com.

VILNIUS—More than five years after Defending History’s September 2013 article (“Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church”), almost four years after Julius Norwilla’s May 2015 impassioned plea (“A Protestant Pastor in Vilnius Speaks Out About Church Steps Still Made of Pilfered Jewish Gravestones”), and almost five since Genrich Agranovski’s 2014 survey (“The Stones Tell Me. After All, They Lived Here”) of Jewish gravestones pilfered for public space in Vilnius, the steps were finally removed last week in the face of mounting international pressure.

See Defending History reports over the years on the Jewish gravestones at the Reformed Evangelical Church in Vilnius 

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Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s “PR” Includes Disparagement of Rimvydas Valatka and Evaldas Balčiūnas over their Opposition to State Glorification of a Holocaust Collaborator



OPINION  | FREE SPEECH AND DEMOCRACY  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Editor’s note: The following Letter to Colleagues shared by Dr. Kulikauskas is followed by his own follow-up letter in Lithuanian to the office to which he was directed.

Dear Colleagues,

A colleague alerts us to the following anonymous presentation by the Lithuanian National Defense Ministry’s Strategic Communications Department and Public Relations’ Planning and Analysis Division on “The War for Hearts and Minds”, “Karas dėl širdžių ir protų”

This Department

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s “PR” Includes Disparagement of Rimvydas Valatka and Evaldas Balčiūnas over their Opposition to State Glorification of a Holocaust Collaborator

My Seven Long Years with Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”)



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Editor’s note: Seven years ago,  journalist, researcher and ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was born, raised and continues to live in Lithuania, began his remarkable series of articles on state “heroes” who were alleged Holocaust collaborators (or perpetrators) with his 2012 essay on Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”), published in Lithuanian and the same year, in English in Defending History. As a result, Mr.  Balčiūnas (bal-CHOO-nass) was subjected to years of legal harassment and persecution by prosecutors, police, and assorted far-right “plaintiffs” (please scroll down to 22 May 2014 in the Balčiūnas section to follow the saga). The Defending History community is proud to have stood by Evaldas at each of the kangaroo trial hearings in Vilnius, and is delighted that all these years later, talented American campaigners with wherewithal have taken up the cause to major good effect, and have now brought the Noreika matter to the Vilnius courts (see report on 15th January  hearing). We hope that our American friends and colleagues will see their way clear to fully crediting Evaldas Balčiūnas’s work (and noting its consequences for him) on the various new websites and blogs established, including, for starters, the excellent online Captain Jonas Noreika Museum.

The first time I heard of Jonas Noreika was back in 1993. I was chatting with Petras Dargis in the editorial room of the newspaper where I worked, here in Šiauliai, northwestern Lithuania, when a man of short stature came in. He started to scold one of the reporters for his article on Jonas Noreika. These were the times — right after the Soviet system’s collapse — when various colleagues and friends were going through the deepest corners of their memory, looking for all sorts of bits and pieces of their past struggles and sufferings.

This was particularly the case when that which was perceived by some as “their battles” or perhaps even their “glorious episodes” amounted to extraordinary suffering for others. First, Noreika’s comrades came to the editorial office and told of glorious episodes of the (so-called) Uprising of June 1941, incarceration in Stutthof, and the post-war legend of General Vėtra (Noreika’s famous nom-de-guerre which translates: General Storm). The journalist published the story, referring to respectable historical sources.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on My Seven Long Years with Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”)