Human Rights

Latvian Court Rules that Depicting Nazi Violence of 1941 on a Placard is Illegal



FREE SPEECH  |  LATVIA  |  RIGA PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

On March 16, 2017, the annual march honoring Waffen SS Latvian Legion veterans took place in Riga as usual. A co-ruling political party had called the legionnaires “freedom fighters”[1], the Security Police had denounced opponents of the march as “so-called Anti-Fascists” and put them in the chapter “Manifestations of Russia’s compatriot policies in Latvia” of its annual report.[2] The counter-picket applied for by the Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee had been ordered to move farther from the march route. Again, a pretty usual development.

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Posted in Aleksandr Kuzmin, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Symbology | Comments Off on Latvian Court Rules that Depicting Nazi Violence of 1941 on a Placard is Illegal

Andrius Kulikauskas’s Presentation at Sept. 2017 Conference in Lublin, Poland



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  ANTISEMITISM

by Andrius Kulikauskas

The following is a reposting of the author’s posting on his website, with his permission, of his presentation at Culture • Cognition • Communication: (Inter)cultural Perspectives on Language and the Mind (ICPLM 2017), held at the University of Lublin in Polnand on 14 and 15 September 2017. Audio recordingDr. Kulikauskas is assistant professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU).

Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery

How Do Things Come to Matter?

Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. My name is Andrius Kulikauskas of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University in Lithuania. I will be speaking about a question important to me, How do things come to matter? and I will relate it to the topic of Lithuanian Jewish heritage: The Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. So I am very grateful to the organizers and to our last speaker for having a very much related topic and I’ll be focusing on my own philosophical question but as a citizen of Lithuania I am very glad to be able to think about this very concrete issue. In our case, the cemetery is from the 1500s. As you know, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had fantastic relations with Jews up until the Holocaust when Lithuania was I think the first place where all of the Jews were killed, in our countryside in 1941 even before the Wansee conference.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Andrius Kulikauskas’s Presentation at Sept. 2017 Conference in Lublin, Poland

Whom Does the “Lithuanian Jewish Community” Board Really Represent?



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION

by Josifas Parasonis

Professor Josifas Parasonis (Vilnius Gediminas Technical University) contributed this opinion piece in Lithuanian earlier today. This translation is provided by Defending History, with Prof. Parasonis’s consent, for our readers’ information (with hyperlinks provided by DH). In the event of any query arising, the Lithuanian version alone is authoritative. Prof. Parasonis is one of the twenty-one Vilnius Jewish Community council members elected on 24 May 2017. See also the letter signed by him and nineteen others, addressed to the Good Will Foundation last July, and, in reverse chronological order, Defending History’s section on Vilnius Jewish life. DH opinion pieces represent the views of the author.

Methods of authoritarian and obtuse governance, evident for many years in the management of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC), have recently reached the public sphere. Despite the fierce resistance and brutal interference of the chairwoman of the LJC (and, until recently, of the Vilnius Jewish Community, too) Faina Kukliansky, the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) [on 24 May 2017] organized a general conference of Vilnius Jews according to all legal procedures — with, incidentally, record-high attendance — and elected its new council [of 21 members] democratically. But the notion that Jewish people solve their problems in a wise manner, although prevalent in society, demonstrably did not take root in this case. As a former deputy chairman of the LJC (2000–2005), I feel an obligation to share my thoughts on why this has happened. It seems to me that I have a moral right to share these thoughts.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Whom Does the “Lithuanian Jewish Community” Board Really Represent?

A “Vilnius Model” for Roma Integration?



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

In April of 2016, the Vilnius City Municipality announced the launching of its Roma Integration Program, or “Vilnius (Kirtimai) Roma Tabor Community Social Integration Program for 2016-2019.” The municipality’s plans were widely discussed in the media, which in its own turn, came up with sensational headlines like “Program of Roma Integration and Tabor Eradication To Be Approved.” A curious fact: Roma representatives did not take part in the negotiation process for this major 700,000 euro project. They were not invited to even observe a single meeting. As ever, Roma are being “integrated” behind their own backs.

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Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Launches Survey on Empathy for Lithuania’s Jews



   CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

VILNIUS—VGTU Lecturer Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas invites readers of all backgrounds to help in his new survey by answering an online questionnaire, in English (What Would Deepen Empathy for Lithuania’s Jews?) or in Lithuanian (Kas didintų atjautą Lietuvos žydams?). He is hoping for as wide a diversity of views as possible.

Our answers will help his research which he will present in Lublin, Poland on September 14, 2017.  His presentation is: How Do Things Come to Matter? Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery.  He will be speaking at ICPLM 2017, a conference on Culture − Cognition − Communication: (Inter)cultural perspectives on language and the mind. All are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Launches Survey on Empathy for Lithuania’s Jews

New Hotel on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław? A Challenge for Poland’s Jewish-Interest Activists and London’s CPJCE



CEMETERIES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  POLAND  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS   |  CPJCE  |  OPPOSITION TO VILNIUS CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  VILNIUS PETITION

New Hotel Wroclaw

Logo for the new Hotel Wrocław?

WROCŁAWIt would be hard to find a better illustration of what is at stake in the current conflict over the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, than the partly analogous scenario playing out here in this western Polish city that was once the German Breslau (Yiddish Brésle), home to a major European Jewish community. The Gwarna Street Cemetery, just opposite the main railway station, was this city’s first Jewish cemetery, in active use from 1760 until 1856. Although closed for new burials in 1856, it was lovingly maintained, and remained open for visitors until World War II. Several thousand people were buried here.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Hotel on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław? A Challenge for Poland’s Jewish-Interest Activists and London’s CPJCE

Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS  |  THE OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Following Defending History’s publication last weekend of the 28 July 2017 letter to the president of Lithuania signed by twelve United States congressmen, pleading for the new national convention center project to be moved away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius), the news was reported by The Weekly of Vilnius, an elite diplomatic publication on Lithuanian affairs, and then by BNS (Baltic News Service, and in English via the Lithuania Tribune), which put it into the wider Baltic domain. Last Monday, 14 August, there were at least four panel discussions broadcast on Lithuanian TV and radio. The following are full English translations of each of these broadcasts, provided by DefendingHistory.com.

(1) LNK TV: News. With Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Faina Kukliansky,   Rūta Leitanaitė, Daniel Lupschitz (Danielius Lupšicas),  Deividas Matulionis, Romas Pakalnis, Donatas Stundis

(2) LRT TV: Panorama. With Simon Gurevich, Skirmantas Malinauskas, Valdonė Rundenkienė

(3) LRT Radio: Lithuanian Day. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Deividas Matulionis

(4) LRT Radio: 60 Minutes. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Faina Kukliansky, Deividas Matulionis, passers-by and a taxi driver

LITE-Vulovak-on-national-convention-center-opening

Vulovak for DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Professor Leiman Responds to Lithuanian President on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—The following statement by Professor Shnayer (Sid) Leiman, appeared today in the respected American weekly Five Towns Jewish Times. It is a reaction to the comments by Lithuania’s top leaders, made after receiving a letter of protest from twelve United States congressmen concerning plans to site a projected new national convention center in the heart of the territory of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius). International opposition to “the convention center in the old Jewish cemetery” continues to mount.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Professor Leiman Responds to Lithuanian President on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Ruta Bloshtein Responds to Lithuania’s Top Politicians on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—The following statement by Vilnius native and resident Ruta Bloshtein, an active member of the city’s religious Jewish community, appeared today as an update to her international petition, which has just approached the 40,000 signature mark. Her update was issued as  a reaction to the comments by Lithuania’s top leaders, made after receiving a letter of protest from twelve United States congressmen concerning plans to site a projected new national convention center in the heart of the territory of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius). International opposition to “the convention center in the old Jewish cemetery” continues to mount.


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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein Responds to Lithuania’s Top Politicians on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

12 US Congressmen Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

Congress Letter on Piramont

WASHINGTON—A resolute letter (facsimile below; as PDF) signed by twelve United States congressmen to the president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, was released here today. Dated 28 July 2017, the letter expresses American “opposition to the conversion of the old Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports into a convention center on the site of the old Jewish cemetery.” It asserts that “the very presence of the existing structure in the middle of the old Jewish cemetery desecrates it and conflicts with the respect for human dignity that forms the basis of Western Civilization. By contrast, moving the convention center project to another site, and permitting the dismantling of the abandoned Sports Palace it was to replace, would affirm the Lithuanian government’s commitment to basic human rights.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 12 US Congressmen Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Julius Norwilla Releases English Version of Poster for Saving Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—Following his recent release of a Lithuanian-language poster calling for restoration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, Julius Norwilla (Norvila) today released the English-language version, which follows. Readers are invited to print out copies of the poster to help in the campaign (as PDF; as image). [UPDATE: A Yiddish version  of the poster was subsequently published.]

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Julius Norwilla Releases English Version of Poster for Saving Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Summer’s Cool New Vilnius Poster to Save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—For the first time in the history of modern Lithuania, a non-Jewish campaign initiative for a Jewish cause has seen its poster flood the streets of this city’s storied Old Town at the height of the summer tourist season. Conceived and produced by Julius Norwilla (Norvila), a former Protestant minister, using a quote from Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, a Catholic philosopher, and based on an artistic visualization of a young Vilnius artist who supports the campaign, the poster is entitled “Vilnius Without its Ugliest Soviet Eyesore”. That is a reference to the hated ruin of the Soviet Sports Palace which stands in the middle of the old Vilna cemetery, where the city’s Jewish residents were buried in graves paid for by their families as freehold property, from the 15th to the 19th century. The poster makes reference to Vilnius native Ruta Bloshtein’s international petition, which is, at 40,000 signatures to date, arguably the largest Litvak initiative since the Holocaust. Members of Lithuania’s Jewish community who have spoken out to date include Moyshe Bairak, Ruta Bloshtein, Milan Chersonski, Pinchos Fridberg, Dovid Katz, and Josif Parasonis (more here). Current and recent rabbis in Vilnius who have taken a public stand include Chaim Burshtein, Shmuel Jacob Feffer, Kalev Krelin, and Sholom Ber Krinsky.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Summer’s Cool New Vilnius Poster to Save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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.

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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.

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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

Really? A Street in an EU Capital Named for 23 June 1941?



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  LEGACY OF 23 JUNE  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

June-23rd-Street-in-Vilnius

FIND ON GOOGLE MAPS

Vilnius street named for 23 June 1941, and once again: events to honor the shameful day in Lithuanian history, when, guided by the LAF and its provisional government, political, moral and religious leaders turned on their Jewish neighbors in a hate campaign that was to end with the highest rate of Holocaust murder in Europe. More here. More on this and other offensive street names and public shrines. And — How are members of the tiny surviving Jewish minority in Lithuania supposed to feel about this? Holocaust survivors and their families and descendants internationally?

INTERNATIONAL PETITION. See also DH articles by Andrius Kulikauskas, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, Leonidas Donskis, Nida Vasiliauskaitė. 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.

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Really? A Street in an EU Capital Named for 23 June 1941?

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

Neo-Nazis Pick Up Hate Materials from… (Hijacked?) Official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” Website



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Lithuania’s top neo-Nazi blogger “Zeppelinus” has republished with some noticeable relish, in a post dated 27 May 2017, parts of the 19 May official “Lithuanian Jewish Community website” attack (as PDF) on this journal’s editor, Dovid Katz. The attack was, some would say shamefully, signed “LJC staff” though sources rapidly revealed its prime author (see our rapid response on the day). It is not the first time that the antisemitic far-right has found its material on the website of the official Jewish Community under its current leadership (that is under legal challenge after the recent allegedly rigged election), at a time when the website is, disturbingly, allegedly under control of elements very far from the interests of Lithuania’s Jews. Last autumn’s website attacks on Rabbi Sholom-Ber Krinsky were picked up and elaborated by another key antisemitic blogger who went so far as to  dig up the 1790s antisemitic attacks on a prime founder of Lithuanian Hasidism.

You know something is wrong when the neo-Nazis are finding their material on the “website of an official Jewish community”. It’s a website funded in fact by the state via restitution funds deriving from the communal religious properties of the annihilated Jewish communities of Lithuania, administered by a (this one’s for you, George Orwell) “Good Will Foundation”.

Then there was the most recent fiasco, a comparison of the democratic electoral congress of the Vilnius Jewish Community on 24 May to Russia’s “Zapad 2017” military exercises, and the charge that the assembled 300 or so Vilnius Jews were “mainly Russian speakers calling themselves Jews, with only a minority of people with Litvak blood” (see our report which led to JTA’s coverage, and the essays by Professor Pinchos Fridberg and by Leonas Kaplanas). This was a proverbial gift of the gods to the local antisemitic establishment here that revels in delegitimizing the country’s living Jews while embracing a de-Judaized ersatz “Litvak heritage” for PR, with some help from a tiny elite of privileged “court Jews” who themselves at times, it seems, become conduits for antisemitic invective against the local Jewish community. Prof. Fridberg has pointed out that a subsequent vague and unclear “apology” posted failed to disclose the author(s) of the offending text, and never even appeared in the Russian-language section of the website. Is the author of the offending text still employed by the official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community”? Why is his or her identity a secret?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Pick Up Hate Materials from… (Hijacked?) Official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” Website

Lithuanian Intellectual Joins Israeli Rabbis in Plea to Ambassador Bagdonas at Tel Aviv Embassy on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PAPER  TRAIL   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—In recent weeks, Lithuania’s Jewish community has been shaken by a number of vicious attacks against various of its members, apparently written by operatives out to provoke “senseless interethnic strife and division” who have infiltrated to echelons of the official community’s power structures, and published personal invective replete with “demonstrable falsehoods” under the imprimatur not of any named author but of the “Lithuanian Jewish Community” per se (examples here, here, and here). Against that backdrop many Jews and Lithuanians alike, who enjoy some of the best daily relations of any two groups in Eastern Europe, have been finding it necessary to stress that Lithuanian-Jewish relations are excellent and will not be disturbed by such mischief makers (see also today’s JTA report, and a 2015 paper by this journal’s editor). The ongoing passionate debates about the Holocaust, “Double Genocide”, defamation of Jewish partisans, glorification of local Nazi collaborators, city-center neo-Nazi marches on independence days, plans to have a new national convention center in the heart of the old Jewish cemetery, and the fair allocation of restitution funds, are not disputes between “Jews and Lithuanians”: there are, at least locally, proponents from both groups on all sides of each of these debates and various others.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Intellectual Joins Israeli Rabbis in Plea to Ambassador Bagdonas at Tel Aviv Embassy on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Adopting Antisemitic Trope, “Official Jewish Community Website” Blasts 300 Vilnius Jews as “Mainly Russian Speakers Calling Themselves Jews”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Over 300 members of the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC), representing all adult age groups, and constituting the numerically largest such conference this century, this evening elected a new VJC chairman at the Karolina Hotel in Vilnius. Professionally organized, members with voting rights had to present their membership cards and separate ID at conference tables organized by initial letters of surnames. The proceedings, started with a few sentences of Yiddish by Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevicius), were meticulously conducted bilingually, with all proceedings in both Lithuanian (first) and (then) Russian in an atmosphere of democratic catharsis of an East European Jewish community, many of whose members have felt sidelined by the interests of a handful of elites close to government circles in recent years. The assembly included virtually all of the known personalities of Vilnius Jewry who do not happen to have employment at Pylimo Street 4, the official community’s headquarters (but there were a few of those too, as well as some from the official synagogue minyan).

After the election of the new chairperson came elections for twenty-one members of the Vilnius Board. Also, a resolution was adopted cancelling the recent attempt to disenfranchise some two thousand Vilnius Jews by recounting their votes as a single vote (while the heads of various NGOs, including the not-yet-built Sheduva Lost Shtetl Museum, have two or more votes each).

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Russophobia, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Adopting Antisemitic Trope, “Official Jewish Community Website” Blasts 300 Vilnius Jews as “Mainly Russian Speakers Calling Themselves Jews”

Wiesenthal Center Appeals to Lithuanian President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  CEMETERIES

The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued the following statement on 18 May, bringing it into full de facto support of Ruta Bloshtein’s petition which now approaches 40,000 signatures from around the world. 

LOS ANGELES AND JERUSALEM—The leaders of the Simon Wiesenthal Center have appealed to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite to change the current plans of the government to build a convention center on the grounds of the ancient Jewish cemetery at Piramónt in the heart of the Lithuanian capital.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Appeals to Lithuanian President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Lithuanian Jews Dismayed at New Attempt to Crush Democracy



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Coming hard on the heels of the mid-campaign rule-change of 19 April that effectively disenfranchised over 2,000 Vilnius Jews, by “recounting” their collective vote as one vote instead of over 20 (via the long-established formula of 100 persons = one vote), the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, on 4 May placed an announcement on the Lithuanian-language page of the official community website (followed by the Russian section), Lzb.lt, cancelling the widely announced 24 May 2017 conference of the Vilnius Jewish Community decided upon by a clear majority vote of its Council (15 of 21 active members), for which the large hall of Hotel Karolina had already been booked. This was followed on 5 May by an English language version complete with “Red-Ink Warnings from the Leader” which seems to inaccurately report that the planned 24 May conference was an “arbitrary” act of “one” Council of the Vilnius Jewish Community member, presumably referring to her opponent in the race, Simonas Gurevičius.

UPDATES TO 12 MAY 2017: 

8 May 2017: Vilnius Jewish Community board member Simon Ceitlin posts a notice on his Facebook page confirming that the 24 May event at Hotel Karolina will proceed as announced.

10 May 2017: Simonas Gurevičius posts refutation of official Community website notice and confirms that the 24 May meeting, decided by all present at the most recent Vilnius Jewish Community board meeting, will proceed.

12 May 2017: Faina Kukliansky reposts announcement on community website assuring readers that the meeting will not occur.

 

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jews Dismayed at New Attempt to Crush Democracy

Moral Imagination: Soviet Sports Palace, European Convention Center, or Historic Jewish Cemetery?



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES

by Andrius Kulikauskas

MoralImagination-00

I am studying How do people behave? How should they behave? and as part of that, How do issues come to matter? or no longer matter? Today I will share what I am learning about the theoretical power of our imagination to produce and resolve a real life controversy.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on Moral Imagination: Soviet Sports Palace, European Convention Center, or Historic Jewish Cemetery?

Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Interviews by several Defending History staffers with several dozen members of Vilnius’s Jewish community over the past several days have turned up what seems to be a widespread sense of (citing terms that recurred frequently in the conversations) “disappointment” or “shock” at the “unbelievable changing of the rules of an election in the middle of the campaign.” (Such mini-surveys are not scientific, and a professional survey of today’s Jewish community on a number of issues is a critical desideratum here.)

The change seems to be in the cause of in effect disenfranchising the actual living Jews of Lithuania by suddenly decoupling the numbers of living, resident Jews from votes cast for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, for which elections are scheduled, as of today, for May 28th (for recent developments see the DH section on Vilnius Jewish Life). A number of those interviewed mentioned the role of the “Good Will Foundation” that allocates funding for the community’s administration, including elections, from the government finance provided as restitution for prewar communal religious Jewish property. Some of its allocations have been highly controversial.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”

New U.S. Video on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Features Prof. Shnayer Leiman and Malcolm Hoenlein



PIRAMÓNT  | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  CEMETERIES

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Sid (Shnayer) Leiman | Tagged , , | Comments Off on New U.S. Video on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Features Prof. Shnayer Leiman and Malcolm Hoenlein

Would a Lithuanian Church Proceed in 2017 to Honor an Alleged Local Holocaust Perpetrator?



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COMMEMORATING DESTROYED COMMUNITIES

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—Two regular Sunday worshipers at the grand old church in Molėtai, a town of some 6,000 inhabitants in northeastern Lithuania, reported to the Defending History team in Vilnius earlier this week that their priest, Father Kęstutis Kazlauskas, has publicly announced that the church is organizing the production of a bas-relief to be commissioned from “a major Lithuanian artist” (?!) and erected within the sacred premises, to honor alleged Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Žvinys. Outside the two church goers, Defending History has been unable to obtain further corroboration of what would be a shocking development, and a very negative one for modern Lithuania, in a town where 100% of the Jewish residents were murdered in 1941 by the Nazis, with the majority of the actual killing, and its on-site organization, carried out by local nationalist elements.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Would a Lithuanian Church Proceed in 2017 to Honor an Alleged Local Holocaust Perpetrator?

What Should be Done with the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  CEMETERIES

by Shnayer Leiman

What should be done with the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius)? It should be restored. For this to happen, the Soviet ruin in its center should be taken down to ground level, with no further earthworks in the cemetery, ever. Let it forever remain a testimonial to the vibrancy of Jewish life in Vilna.

Two of Vilna’s greatest photographers and artists, Juozapas Kamarauskas (d. 1946) and Jan Bulhak (d. 1950) were mesmerized by Vilna’s Jewish sites, and especially by the Old Jewish Cemetery. They left us with an abundance of photographs and sketches of the Old Jewish Cemetery. Jewish scholars of the 19th and 20th centuries, residents of Vilna, recorded and published for posterity meticulous transcriptions of the texts of hundreds of epitaphs inscribed on the tombstones of the Old Jewish Cemetery.

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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), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on What Should be Done with the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?

Ukraine Updates



Eduard Dolinsky’s New York Times Op-Ed is a Game Changer in Rising Western Consciousness

On Twitter

State-sponsored and elite-endorsed messaging extols the “heroism” of actual World War II perpetrators and ethnic cleansers as well as increasingly overt “East-European style antisemitism”

———

Efforts, masquerading as history, patriotism, political science, mainstream media, and even Holocaust studies, are enabled by the current geopolitical backdrop and a Western tendency to silently “give them all a pass”

See: Josh Cohen in Foreign Policy (2 May 2016);  Semen Doroshenko in (Ukrainian website) Politnavigator (26 Feb. 2017);  Andreas Umland in New Eastern Europe (7 March 2017);  Sam Sokol in the London Jewish Chronicle (9 March 2017);   Report in JTA (27 March 2017);  Eduard Dolinsky in the New York Times (11 April 2017)

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ukraine | Comments Off on Ukraine Updates

Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES

VILNIUS—This year’s March 11th independence day march here last month was again granted the route of highest prestige, from Cathedral Square, up the whole of the capital’s main thoroughfare, Gedimino Boulevard, and ending at Parliament Square. Defending History’s eyewitness report recounted this year’s “detour” to the presidential palace for the bizarre ceremony of attacking Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja), 95 next month, one of the Jewish partisans subjected to defamation by the state’s campaign of Holocaust revisionism that has included a “blame the victims” components that started eleven years ago.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST (ONLY JEWISH) VETERANS OF THE ANTI-NAZI PARTISANS; RENEWED 2017 CAMPAIGN AGAINST FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY

 

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Documents, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day

Lithuanian Jews Call for Democracy in their Community



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—The human rights of even small, weak and demographically struggling minorities to enjoy a free and open website that offers a forum to people and groups of diverse opinions is well established. It is also a test of democracy that members of such groups feel able to speak out when those rights are abrogated. Against that backdrop, it was significant today that a group of older members of Lithuania’s Jewish community (including Holocaust survivors), spoke out on the subject, around a week after a pubic appeal for website democracy by a younger generation on Facebook.  The older group blogs under the name of the semi-legendary 19th century Vilna Jewish “wisecracker and whistleblower” Mótke Chabád in the Russian-language Vilnius-based publication Obzor (not to be confused with Defending History’s “own” Motke Chabad…).

“Bravo to Vilnius’s Jewish community for their pre-Passover 2017 stand for democracy, the younger generation in Facebook, the survivor generation in Obzor.”

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jews Call for Democracy in their Community

Vilnius Workshop, Monday 10 April, on Self-Identity & Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



EVENTS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS | ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS

VILNIUS—An invitation has been extended by the office of Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas to all interested colleagues to attend a seminar in Vilnius Old Town this Monday, 10 April 2017, from 1 to 5 PM (1300 to 1700) at the campus of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University on “Self-Identity and the Old Jewish Cemetery.” People who can only stop in for part of the event may come and go as needed.

MONDAY 10 APRIL

Come and visit between 1 and 5 PM at Workshop on Self-Identity and the Old Jewish Cemetery, at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Traku Street 1, corner of Pylimo, entrance from Pylimo. Defending History’s section, opposition tracker, and paper trail.

EVERYBODY WELCOME

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Vilnius Workshop, Monday 10 April, on Self-Identity & Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

US Taxpayer-Funded Commission Mixed Up in Desecration of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is Reported to Senate Oversight Committee



“US COMMISSION FOR AMERICAN HERITAGE ABROAD”  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—A member of the United States Congress today provided to Defending History the PDF of the letter sent by Senator Ron Johnson, then (and current) chair of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to Ms. Lesley Weiss, then (and current) chair of the taxpayer-funded “United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (USCPAHA). The letter concerned scarcely believable levels of corruption and wastage of taxpayer money. The 12 page PDF follows below (note the page-turning arrows in the upper left hand corner).

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on US Taxpayer-Funded Commission Mixed Up in Desecration of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is Reported to Senate Oversight Committee

State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Issues Document that is “2017’s Jew-Witch Hunt” Against 95 Year Old Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—The following (text below) is a translation from Lithuanian of the 2 March 2017 letter from the state-sponsored Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania (widely known as the Genocide Center) to a nationalist group that put on this year’s March 11th Independence Day neo-Nazi march, with authorities’ permission, in the center of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. The group had complained about Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaite, having granted an award on February 16th to Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, soon to turn 95, for her work in the field of Holocaust education. The president’s office had referred the complaint to the Genocide Center which issued this letter (facsimile of the original below). The correspondence was then read out at a bizarre ceremony that some observers thought bore the hallmarks of a 2017 “Jew-witch hunt” when the Independence day festivities announced a detour to the presidential palace to read out the various letters and condemn Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, who is the only one of her family to survive the Holocaust precisely because she escaped the Vilna Ghetto in September 1943 and joined up with the anti-Nazi Soviet partisans, the only force seriously challenging Hitler’s rule of Lithuania.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Documents, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Issues Document that is “2017’s Jew-Witch Hunt” Against 95 Year Old Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky

Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at the Protest Outside the Latvian Embassy in Berlin



LATVIA | GERMANY | WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGABALTIC MARCHES | GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg (London)

The following is an English translation of Monica Lowenberg’s speech that was read out at the protest at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on 15 March 2017 also addressed by German member of parliament Volker Beck. Ms. Lowenberg could not be in attendance and her speech, published here in the author’s English translation, was read to the assembled by historian Dr. Hans Coppi, chairman of the VVN (Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime in Berlin).

Dr Hans Coppi speaking VVN protesting outside the Latvian embassy Berlin 15.03.2017

Historian Dr. Hans Coppi (with microphone, center rear) addressing protesters at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on the eve of the 2017 annual Waffen SS march in central Riga. PHOTO: LOTHAR EBERHARDT.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at the Protest Outside the Latvian Embassy in Berlin

German Member of Parliament Volker Beck Joins Protest at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin



LATVIA | GERMANY | WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGABALTIC MARCHES | GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg (London)

Last Wednesday, on 15 March 2017, eve of the annual events glorifying Latvia’s Waffen SS in the very heart of the capital city, Riga, one German member of parliament (the Bundestag), Volker Beck, came to the Latvian Embassy in the heart of Germany’s capital, Berlin, to give a speech of support to the protesters. Beck, a member of the Greens, is president of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group. The following is the text of his speech, which I have translated into English.

Volker Beck speaking outside the Latvian embassy

Volker Beck gives a speech of support to protesters at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on the eve of the 2017 annual Waffen SS march in central Riga. PHOTO: LOTHAR EBERHARDT.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Events, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on German Member of Parliament Volker Beck Joins Protest at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin

“List of Allocations” of the “Good Will Foundation” in Vilnius



GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |   HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The following “List of Project Allocations” is a screenshot taken today of the page of that name on the website of the Lithuanian government’s Good Will Foundation. It is also available in the alternative interactive Tableau format (below the screenshot).

It bears the date 1 July 2016 and includes the following introductory text: “We thank all the applicants who submitted project applications to the Good Will Foundation (Geros valios fondas). You may find a list of all projects, including the ones that received funding allocation from the Foundation. All applicants will be contacted individually and informed about the results and decisions taken.”

See also the “Statistics” page that covers several recent years.

The decisions on these allocations are taken by the Foundation’s Board.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on “List of Allocations” of the “Good Will Foundation” in Vilnius

Call for International Protest Against Latvian Gov. Granting Riga Center for Waffen SS Festivities on 16 March 2017



BALTIC MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  LATVIA |  ANTISEMITISM  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Monica Lowenberg (London)

On 16 March 2017, in the Latvian capital of Riga, as in previous years since 1991, after a Lutheran church service, an honorary march and flag-lined rally will take place at the Freedom Monument in the heart of the city to honor Latvian units of the Waffen SS. Latvia, like Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Bulgaria is one of the Eastern European states where locally staffed antisemitic units and death squads under different names who collaborated with the Nazis are celebrated today as national heroes. This is done with tacit consent of the state and varying degrees of tacit or open support from state authorities.

SIGN THE PETITION TODAY

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, EU, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Call for International Protest Against Latvian Gov. Granting Riga Center for Waffen SS Festivities on 16 March 2017

Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Parade; A Tirade Against Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95


[last update 14 March 2017]

HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  IN VILNIUS  | KAUNAS  |  RIGA

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—A six-person monitoring group assembled by Defending History was the only human rights team at this year’s March 11th neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius. DH’s monitors were Eveldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz, Julius Norwilla, Ruta Ostrovskaja, Jacob Piliansky, and Julia Rets. Two senior longtime annual observers, both major figures in Lithuania’s Jewish community for over half a century, Milan Chersonski and Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, were prevented  by health issues from monitoring the event this year.

For years Defending History has asked that the marchers’ freedom of speech be respected at venues away from the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day. The granting of “that time and place” (only since 2008) conveys a sense of legitimization by both the municipality and national government, which are sometimes thought to be playing a “double game” by facilitating the honoring of Holocaust perpetrators locally, alongside commemorations for the victims for foreign consumption. At least two Western ambassadors were “quietly” among the observing crowds.

Photo Galleries:

Evaldas Balčiūnas; Julius Norwilla; Julia RetsAlkas.lt; Delfi.lt. Did “mainstream media” coverage avoid imaging swastikas, other fascist symbols, and Hitler salutes?

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Posted in "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Parade; A Tirade Against Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95

Defending History to Monitor Central Vilnius Neo-Nazi Parade on March 11th Independence Day



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  IN VLNIUS  | KAUNAS  |  RIGA

VILNIUS—DefendingHistory.com invites citizens and visitors in town, and the Human Rights community especially, to come join the annual monitoring mission that will meet this Saturday, 11 March, at 3:30 PM at the Bell Tower on Cathedral square. From 2008, the year the center of Vilnius was first gifted by the municipality to the neo-nazis on the nation’s cherished March 11th independence day, the Vilnius-based team has been keeping track of the annual event, which has caused unbearable pain to the last Holocaust survivors and their families, not least because the marchers often flaunt placards glorifying various specific local Holocaust collaborators, in what appears to be a kind of celebration of the murder of the country’s Jewish citizens in the Holocaust. Since 2009, the team has been monitoring personally, on an annual basis, at the same time silently protesting and commemorating the annihilated Jewish population of the city that was once called Jerusalem of Lithuania. The march’s Facebook page is here.

The following is today’s public entry on the Facebook page of DH’s editor, Dovid Katz:

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Defending History to Monitor Central Vilnius Neo-Nazi Parade on March 11th Independence Day

London Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) Issues Summons to Two Leaders of Lithuania’s Official Jewish Community



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

LONDONDefending History has learned from reliable sources that The Judicial Division of the London Beth Din (Court of the Chief Rabbi) issued a summons on 27 February 2017 (1 Adar 5777 by the Hebrew calendar) calling upon Simas Levinas, chairperson of the Vilna Jewish Religious Community, and Faina Kukliansky, chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, to “agree to attend a hearing and sign a binding Arbitration Agreement, on receipt of which we will fix a hearing date for the mutual convenience of all parties.”

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, United Kingdom, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on London Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) Issues Summons to Two Leaders of Lithuania’s Official Jewish Community

Vilna or Chelm? After 22 Years of Service to Community, Rabbi is Driven from Synagogue Gates by Hired Armed Guards for Having “Called out Page Numbers”



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Security guards paid by the Jewish Community of Lithuania and financed by the “Good Will Foundation” via its allocations from the Restitution monies deriving from the religious Jewish properties of the annihilated pre-Holocaust Lithuanian Jewry, this morning physically prevented Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky from entering the prayer house, on Pylimo Street 39 for the shákhris (Israeli: shakharít) morning service. Defending History has confirmed via reliable sources that at least three foreign members of the Good Will Foundation’s Board, Herbert Block (New York), Nachliel Dison (Jerusalem), and Michael Hasenrath (London) do not agree that the campaign of destruction against Rabbi Krinsky and his many local students is appropriate use of the restitution funds. None of the three, however, has yet issued a public statement. Mr. Block, moreover, is deeply involved in the related scandal of the planned siting of a new national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery. “The Good Will” Foundation, which usually sticks by charter to its stated business and purposes, has now published news of Mr. Block’s reappointment, in the last days of the Obama Administration, to the scandal-ridden Washington agency, USCPAHA, which has yet to issue a public word concerning the old Vilna cemetery’s planned desecration. The agency exists to preserve foreign cemeteries.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilna or Chelm? After 22 Years of Service to Community, Rabbi is Driven from Synagogue Gates by Hired Armed Guards for Having “Called out Page Numbers”

After “Blissful United Congregation” on Sabbath, Some Leaders of “Official” Community Again Take Aim at Rabbi Krinsky



 HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

VILNIUS—Since the Vilnius Choral Synagogue, the only one to survive the war as an in-use synagogue (there were around 160 in town before the Holocaust), was reopened for “one and all” several weeks ago by the controlling “Religious Jewish Community,” on Monday 13 February, services have been blissful and harmonious. On Friday night and Saturday morning services, more Litvak handshakes accompanied by Gut-Shábes and A gútn Shábes were echoed up on high than in many a moon. And, as a kind of special blessing for a demographically challenged post-Holocaust post-Soviet community, attendance has been growing, reaching the largest number in years last weekend (not counting visits by organized tourist groups). Cantor Shmuel Yusem had everyone transfixed with his magnificent cantorial talents. Both rabbis in town this past weekend, Rabbi Sholem Ber Krinsky, the Chabad rabbi who has lived here 22 years, and the community’s official junior rabbi, Samson Daniel Izakson, who arrived just over one year ago, gave excellent brief sermons at their usual junctures in the service (each has their traditional slot in the service for the Dvar-Tóyre, or Dvar Torah).

UPDATES: JTA REPORT OF 27 FEB; DEFENDING HISTORY REPORT AND NEW VIDEO OF 28 FEB

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on After “Blissful United Congregation” on Sabbath, Some Leaders of “Official” Community Again Take Aim at Rabbi Krinsky

Lithuanian Jewish Community Chairperson Faina Kukliansky Issues Powerful Statement on Annual “Holiday” that Humiliates Jews and Roma



ANTISEMITISM  |  UŽGAVĖNĖS / SHROVETIDE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ROMA RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Lithuanian Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky today issued a powerful statement on the community’s website condemning the newest call from some top politicians asking the population to revere a national holiday in Lithuania, Užgavėnės, or Shrovetide, that falls this year tomorrow, 28 February 2017. Defending History has been (intermittently) monitoring the day since 2008, as part of the mission to monitor antisemitism and racism, and to cover those sectors of Human Rights that tend to be wholly ignored by the lavishly funded, official human rights organizations here in the Lithuanian capital.

UPDATES AND INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE:

International Business Times; Lzinios.ltMako.co.il

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Racism, Roma | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jewish Community Chairperson Faina Kukliansky Issues Powerful Statement on Annual “Holiday” that Humiliates Jews and Roma

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.”

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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.”

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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

Dr. Efraim Zuroff Awarded Gold Medal by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic



BELGRADE—The president of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, today awarded a Golden Medal for Merit to Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter and its Director of East European Affairs, as part of the celebrations of Sretenje, the Serbian republic’s national day. The rationale for the award, which was granted to Dr. Zuroff for “exceptional achievements” included his “selfless dedication to defending the truth about the suffering of Jews, and also Serbs, Roma and other nations during World War II.”

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Human Rights, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Roma | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Efraim Zuroff Awarded Gold Medal by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

Kaunas, Lithuania: Run-Up to the February 16th 2017 Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day



Kaunas Mayor & City Council Deciding

whether to again allow neo-nazis sporting banners adulating Holocaust collaborators to take over the city center on Lithuania’s cherished February 16th Independence Day next week

PREVIOUS YEARS IN KAUNAS     IN VILNIUS     IN RIGA     DH SECTION

Banner from last year’s takeover of central Kaunas on Feb. 16th: Same again?

From left: Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, under the banner translating “We know our nation’s heroes”.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Dovid Katz, Human Rights, Israel, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas, Lithuania: Run-Up to the February 16th 2017 Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day

CPJCE’S American Affiliate Calls 34,000 Petition Signers “Evil People”



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

MONROE, NEW YORK—Ignoring the unanimous views of the world’s leading rabbinic authorities in opposition to the project to plonk a 34 million euro convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery, surrounded by thousands of graves on all four sides, “Admas Kodesh,” the American Satmar (Aaronites) affiliate of the London-based CPJCE issued a tweet today condemning as “evil people trying to undermine progress” the 34,000 people, including the chief rabbi of Lithuania, who signed Vilnius resident Ruta Bloshtein’s petition calling on the Lithuanian government to find an alternative venue for the convention center.

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on CPJCE’S American Affiliate Calls 34,000 Petition Signers “Evil People”

Defending History’s 2017 People of the Year



three-winners-1

As 2017 gets underway, Defending History is proud to honor three Vilnius personalities, this year all from its Orthodox Jewish community, who have stood up for cherished principles against powerful forces. In all cases, the principles defended pertain also to human rights more generally. Their courage and determination can serve as an example to all who defend human rights and history even when it is inconvenient and draws the ire of power-invested institutions that are often associated with state-supported entities.

The three honorees are, in alphabetical order, Ruta Bloshtein, Rabbi Kalev Krelin, and Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky. On Facebook. See from previous years the Prophet Amos Human Rights Awards and the 2014 Person of the Year.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Defending History’s 2017 People of the Year

Background to Faina Kukliansky’s Bold Letter to Vilnius Mayor on City Plaque Honoring Holocaust Participator Jonas Noreika


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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on Background to Faina Kukliansky’s Bold Letter to Vilnius Mayor on City Plaque Honoring Holocaust Participator Jonas Noreika

Divide and Conquer?


Iam very concerned about the situation for the last several years at our Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC). More specifically, about the LJC’s chairperson, whose policies have brought about instability and disunity in the Jewish community. It is a sad paradox, that a non-religious person is responsible for the most acutely religious questions in our community. It is even more unacceptable that a secular person, drawn to mundane and material things, would deign to push around the rabbis in town as if they are pawns on the chess table. Such behavior is totally opposite to Jewish religious standards. Yet for external consumption it is called “a renaissance of religious Judaism.”

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Posted in Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Divide and Conquer?

Skaldymas ir valdymas



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

Ruta Bloshtein

Noriu išreikšti susirūpinimą dėl padėties, kuri jau keletą metų klostosi Lietuvos žydų bendruomenėje. O būtent, dėl LŽB pirmininkės veiksmų, keliančių pavojų Lietuvos žydų gyvenimo vienovei ir darnai. Paradoksas ir liūdna ironija tame, kad žydų religinius klausimus sprendžia nereliginga moteris. Ir dar labiau nepriimtina, kad pasaulietė, siekdama savanaudiškų žemiškų tikslų, stumdo rabinus kaip šachmatų figūras. Tokia elgsena prieštarauja religinėms tradicijoms. Ir tai vadinama „judaizmo atgimimu“?

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Posted in Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Skaldymas ir valdymas

Leon Kaplan Comments on Eviction by Jewish Community Head of Rabbi Krinsky and his Fellow Worshippers



VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  OPINION

by Leon Kaplan

The following two comments appeared in Facebook on 1 November 2016 and on 3 November 2016, following publication of Dovid Katz’s 1 November article in Defending History. They have been slightly condensed and copy-edited here.

1 November 2016:

It is time to stand up to this behavior. Does Madam Kukliansky think that in Ponar and the other 250 places of murder that Jews, our brothers and sisters, our children (kinderlakh) had been separated at the time of murder and thrown into a Chabad ditch and into a Misnagdim ditch? If this is a decision by Madam Kukliansky, to call the police or to lock out Krinsky from the building of the Jewish Community, then it is simply disgusting.

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Posted in Human Rights, Leon Kaplan, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Leon Kaplan Comments on Eviction by Jewish Community Head of Rabbi Krinsky and his Fellow Worshippers

Friday, October 28th, in Vilnius



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS


by Jacob Piliansky

On Friday, October 28th 2016, at 5 PM, I approached the gates of our Choral Synagogue, at Pylimo Street 39, for the weekly Eve of Sabbath service. I saw that the gates were locked shut. Finally I noticed Kalman Krinsky, son of Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, the city’s Chabad rabbi for the past twenty-two years. Kalman told me in Yiddish (we speak Yiddish to each other) that the shul was closed and that the prayer service had been moved to the Jewish community’s building at Pylimo 4.

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Posted in Human Rights, Jacob Piliansky, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Friday, October 28th, in Vilnius

Barring a Jew from Prayer Services is a Human Rights Issue



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, Vilnius’s Chabad rabbi, has served Jewish people here and the city’s diverse cultural mosaic for some twenty-two years. And sure, he has had his share of issues, run-ins and errors over the decades, just like everyone else in town. His numerous packed Jewish holiday celebrations have become part and parcel of the city’s remarkable twenty-first century Jewish footprint, most famously on Chanukah. But yet again, he was denied entry to the Jewish community building for daily prayer services this morning by the burly security guards at the official Jewish Community building, who seemed highly adept at avoiding frontal photography. Services were abruptly moved there on Friday evening because of a mysterious “plumbing problem” (heating, in some versions) at the city’s Choral Synagogue. Then, on Friday evening 28 October, police were called to evict from the makeshift prayer address Rabbi Krinsky and his children, pupils and co-worshippers (reports by R. BloshteinZ. Olickij, and J. Piliansky). A sad date in the modern history of Jewish Vilnius.

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Posted in Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Barring a Jew from Prayer Services is a Human Rights Issue

When “Putin” Becomes an Excuse for Hitler-Glorification



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

A recent Washington Post editorial rightfully takes Russia and China to task for persecuting those who dare challenge the state’s distortions of history. In the case of Russia, there is mention of the disgraceful prosecution of a citizen for pointing out that the September 1939 dismemberment of Poland was a joint venture of Germany and the USSR codified by the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. But wait a minute.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Estonia, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on When “Putin” Becomes an Excuse for Hitler-Glorification

Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery



Sept. 2016 Discourse over “Historic Soul” of Central Vilnius

Will Vilnius Mayor & Lithuania’s PM & President Issue Morally Clear Statements on Two Sites Visible from Grand Dukes’ Medieval Hill?

THERE ARE FIVE JEWISH FORMS OF THE FABLED CITY’S NAME: ווילנא, ווילנע, ווילנה, וילנה, ווילניוס

(1) Changing the name of a city center street that glorifies a Nazi collaborator who enthusiastically supported the removal of his country’s Jewish citizens?

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery

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”.

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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.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, 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.

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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

Lithuanian State Bank and Major UK Firm Seem Deeply Involved in Vilnius Jewish Cemetery Scandal



PAPER TRAIL  |  REGISTRY OF OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  DH SECTION

VILNIUS—Turto Bankas, the state bank here whose main mission is to “organize and coordinate renewal of state-owned real estate,” has again revealed itself to be deeply involved in the international scandal of constructing a new National Congress Center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, whose graves date back to the fifteenth century and include some of the leading European Jewish scholars of the last millennium. The project continues to attract opposition from various parts of the world, including major Lithuania-descended rabbis internationally and some members of Lithuania’s small Jewish community. Moreover, Protestant and Catholic authors have pointed out that this would not likely be the fate of an analogous medieval vintage Christian cemetery.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian State Bank and Major UK Firm Seem Deeply Involved in Vilnius Jewish Cemetery Scandal

Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office today issued a press release (text below), including a quote from its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, calling on Visvaldas Matijošaitis, the mayor of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second city, to ban weddings and other celebrations from the now privatized parts of the historic Seventh Fort, where thousands of Kaunas Jews were humiliated, tortured and murdered starting with the first week of the Lithuanian Holocaust in late June 1941.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Efraim Zuroff, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics

Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’



22 July 2016 Defending History Eyewitness Report

VERDICT IN: EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS NOT GUILTY (AFTER 4 YEARS OF HARASSMENT AND A DOZEN 450 KM ROUND TRIPS FROM HOME — BUT COURT ALLOWS FAR RIGHT “PLAINTIFF” 20 DAYS TO APPEAL)

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Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , | Comments Off on Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’

Defending History Responds to Vilnius Architects’ Three “Visualizations” for “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery”



Architects Publish Three Visualizations for National Convention Center Planned for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Where Thousands Still Lie Buried

But critics warn that property magnates, politicians, and their foreign Jewish shmendriks will be haunted for generations by a rather different visualization…

LITE Vulovak on national convention center opening

Vulovak / DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, EU, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Defending History Responds to Vilnius Architects’ Three “Visualizations” for “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery”

Now We [Who Lie Buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery], Know…



PAPER TRAIL  |  REGISTRY OF OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  DH SECTION

VILNIUS—The following is a reprint of the article published on 2 July 2016 in Yated Ne’eman. The title refers to the accompanying illustration which considers the views of the many thousands of Jews buried at Piramónt, Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery in the Šnipiškės (Shnípishok) district, in active use from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. See also background to the article, PDF of the original article, the catalogue of international opposition, the paper trail, the DH section, and our editor’s summary of the issue published in December 2015 in The Times of Israel.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated?, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Now We [Who Lie Buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery], Know…

NY Professor Exposes Rabbis — and the US Federal Agency — that Enable Lithuanian Gov’s Sham New “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”



PAPER TRAIL  |  REGISTRY OF OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  DH SECTION

NEW YORK CITY—Dr. Bernard Fryshman, physics professor at the New York Institute of Technology here, today published a new article concerning the imminent danger to thousands of Jewish graves in Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery upon which a huge $25,000,000 convention center, structured to yield hundreds of millions for property developers is about to be erected, where revelers will clap, sing and use toilets surrounded by the graves of Vilna Jewry paid for, on the understanding of possession in perpetuity, by untold thousands of families between the late fifteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. Protestant and Catholic ethicists have noted that such would never be the disrespect shown a cemetery full of Christian (or majority ethnicity) scholars in a great capital city of Europe. Last summer, Lithuania’s chief rabbi was rapidly fired by the Jewish community’s lay-leader-cum-private-attorney, after he spoke against the convention center project. His replacement has yet to speak out for the record; in the interim the search for a new chief rabbi was the subject of latter day Vilna folklore).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NY Professor Exposes Rabbis — and the US Federal Agency — that Enable Lithuanian Gov’s Sham New “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”

Celebrating (!) 75th Anniversary of Start of the Lithuanian Holocaust (23 June 2016)?



VILNIUS—For the tiny and dwindling group of Holocaust survivors in this part of the world, the indelibly cursed day the genocide began was June 23rd 1941, when hordes of young local “nationalists,” some affiliated with the fascist Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) — which had put in writing its intentions for Jewish fellow-citizens beforehand — began to murder, plunder and rape their neighbors in at least forty locations before the first German soldiers even got there, as confirmed by numerous historians and eyewitnesses. Within a few days, most would don white-armbands.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Celebrating (!) 75th Anniversary of Start of the Lithuanian Holocaust (23 June 2016)?

Asra Kadisha on Vilna Cemetery: From Proud Powerhouse of Historic Truth to Silent Mouse?



PAPER TRAIL  |  REGISTRY OF OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  DH SECTION

O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Between October 2014 and October 2015, the international Jewish-cemetery group Asra Kadisha, coordinated by haredim largely affiliated with the “Zalmen” branch of the split Hasidic Satmar group (today the world’s largest Hasidic group) made a number of contributions that will remain permanent. Thanks in whole or in part to Asra Kadisha, eighteen important documents were published opposing the antisemitic decision of some Lithuanian government officials to allow a convention center to rise, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of skeletons on all four sides, skeletons of Jewish citizens of Vilnius buried there between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. As a Protestant minister and Catholic philosopher have pointed out, such would not have been the decision were it a Christian cemetery or one housing heroes of Lithuanian culture between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. Of course the millions in store for property developers and their many “beneficiaries” (for decades to come) play a prime role; antisemitism enters the picture when the state fails to put in play the same brakes which it applies for majority culture and majority religion sacred sites.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , | Comments Off on Asra Kadisha on Vilna Cemetery: From Proud Powerhouse of Historic Truth to Silent Mouse?

DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators



FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  BOLD CITIZENS

VILNIUS—The latest in a long line of court appearance demanded by summons of Defending History author Evaldas Balčiūnas, will be held this Monday, 13 June, at 1:30 PM (13:30) at Vilnius County Court at Laisves Prospektas 79A, courtroom 019.   

COME SUPPORT EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS MONDAY 13 JUNE 2016, 1:30 PM (13:30), VILNIUS COUNTY COURT, LAISVĖS PROSPEKTAS 79A, ROOM 019

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators

Ruta Bloshtein Discovers 1935 Vilna Rabbis’ Condemnation of Plans to Desecrate Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt



DOCUMENTS  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—In a strictly private capacity, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, a Vilnius born member of Lithuania’s small Jewish community, whose maternal ancestors hail from the shtetl Tríshik (Tryškiai), has released to the media a remarkable Yiddish public poster issued by the Vilna Board of Rabbis on 30 Nissan 5695 — the Jewish calendar date corresponding with 3 May 1935 — that she discovered in Lithuania’s central state archive. It is an impassioned plea by the Board of Rabbis asking the then Polish authorities in the city to abandon their plans for a sports stadium on the site of Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district), the old Vilna Jewish cemetery that goes back to the late fifteenth century, and where thousands of luminous Litvak scholars lie buried.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein Discovers 1935 Vilna Rabbis’ Condemnation of Plans to Desecrate Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt

South African Litvak in London Critiques Lithuania’s Citizenship Policies



OPINION  |  LITHUANIA  |  SOUTH AFRICA  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM & BIAS

by Daniel Lutrin

The following opinion piece by Daniel Lutrin appeared in the South African Jewish Report on 1 June 2016 under the headline “Lithuanian Citizenship: Only Successful Applicant is a Dead Jew.” Comments or discussion may be directed to the South African Jewish Report. Defending History is always prepared to consider actual articles in reaction to published articles.

It was gratifying to see a recent article regarding the plight that Jews of Lithuanian origin (Litvaks) are facing when applying to have their Lithuanian citizenship restored. The article, however, does not hone in on the critical matter at hand, namely the extent to which Lithuanian bureaucrats have gone to deny Jews of their ancestral right to citizenship.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Citizenship, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, South Africa | Comments Off on South African Litvak in London Critiques Lithuania’s Citizenship Policies

Jews and Other Minorities in Eastern Europe Concerned by EU Chief’s Addition of a Single Word about Old Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERY PAPER TRAIL   |   OPPOSITION TO DATE  |   DH SECTION   |   BACKGROUND

BRUSSELS—Back in October, 2015, high-level European Union spokesperson Chiara Adamo had replied to French human rights activist Didier Bertin on behalf of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, assuring the public that

“Contrary to reports in some Lithuanian newspapers and international media, the planned renovation project at the Vilnius Snipisek cemetery is not supported by European Union funds.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Documents, EU, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Jews and Other Minorities in Eastern Europe Concerned by EU Chief’s Addition of a Single Word about Old Jewish Cemetery

Latvia’s Ambassador to the UK Replies to Gareth Thomas MP on Annual Waffen SS Marches in Central Riga



UK  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  DOCUMENTS

LONDON—The following is the 16 April 2016 reply of the Latvian ambassador to the UK Aandris Teikmanis to MP Gareth Thomas, concerning the annual March 16th events in central Riga glorifying the Latvian Waffen SS.


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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom | Comments Off on Latvia’s Ambassador to the UK Replies to Gareth Thomas MP on Annual Waffen SS Marches in Central Riga

UK’s Europe Minister Again Fails to Offer Even Mild Criticism of Baltic State-Enabled Nazi Worship



UK  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  DOCUMENTS

LONDON—The following is the UK Minister for Europe’s 8 April 2016 reply to his former shadow counterpart, Labour MP Gareth Thomas, concerning neo-Nazi marches in Latvia and Lithuania that occur each year with with substantial government support in the heart of each nation’s capital. For reference, the minister’s 2013 reply on the same topic is appended below.


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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, EU, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on UK’s Europe Minister Again Fails to Offer Even Mild Criticism of Baltic State-Enabled Nazi Worship

Latvia Arrests Peaceful German Visitors Who Wanted to Protest Annual Waffen SS March



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  FREE SPEECH |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS  GLORIFIED


 by Frank Brendle

Latvian authorities denied today entry for six German antifascists who intended to support the protest against  tomorrow’s edition of central Riga’s annual  March 16th Waffen SS march.

MORE COVERAGE HERE

This morning, Cornelia Kerth, chairwoman of Germany’s most important antifascist organization, the Association of Persons Persecuted by the Nazis / Federation of Antifascists (in German VVN-BdA) entered Hamburg airport to board her flight with Air Baltic to Riga. Check-in was without problem, but at the final steps before boarding the aircraft, authorities informed her that she may not enter the plane: “You are on a black list of the Latvian immigration authorities,” they said.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Events, Frank Brendle, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Latvia Arrests Peaceful German Visitors Who Wanted to Protest Annual Waffen SS March

German Group Arrested Trying to Enter Latvia for Peaceful Protest Against 16 March Waffen SS Fest



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  FREE SPEECH |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS  GLORIFIED


by Florian Gutsche

RIGA—While Veterans of the Latvian legion of the Waffen-SS are allowed to march on tomorrow’s March 16th “Day of Legionnaires,” a group of antifascists from Germany was arrested while trying to enter Latvia to protest peacefully against the public glorification of the Waffen SS.

MORE COVERAGE HERE

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on German Group Arrested Trying to Enter Latvia for Peaceful Protest Against 16 March Waffen SS Fest

Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day



PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM   |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė  (with additional input and photos by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, and Julius Norwilla)

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PHOTO: EVALDAS BALCIUNAS FOR DH

Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march. On the contrary there are many signs of both tolerance and support from very high places, including the permits to march granted by the municipality (no comment from the mayor?) and other relevant authorities.

Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day: “Without any obstacles, we received from the municipality an official permit to march [this day] on the main boulevard of Vilnius.” The official march was concluded several hours earlier and the heads of state apparently rested quietly as the neo-Nazis proceeded to take over the city center, from Cathedral to Parliament, a route rich in symbolic power.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day

Images from the February 16th 2016 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Lithuania



KAUNAS MARCHES | NEO-NAZI MARCHES | ANTISEMITISM

KAUNAS—For the fifth year running, the Defending History team was the only Lithuania-based monitoring unit on site to observe and record the neo-Nazi march in the center of Kaunas, from start to finish, on February 16th, the anniversary of Lithuania’s 1918 declaration of independence. (DH has monitored the March 11th marches in Vilnius since 2008.) Once again, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office was the only foreign partner to attend, monitor and participate in our annual silent protest. There was no sign of any of the many well-funded human rights monitors in the region.

Yet again, the center of Kaunas, the interwar capital and modern Lithuania’s second city, was gifted by the city’s authorities to the neo-Nazis for their event, which drew hundreds, and was kept orderly by a highly professional, and by now experienced, police and state security presence (which, as ever, took every care to keep the Defending History team secure throughout the day).

This year’s theme was a front-of-march We Know Our Nation’s Heroes banner featuring six figures who share the following unsettling common denominator: all were alleged Nazi collaborators and/or Holocaust perpetrators (from left): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis. It is as if the marchers are celebrating the murder of the 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas, the more than 95% of the over 200,000 strong Lithuanian Jewish population on the eve of the Holocaust, and the resulting “cleansing” of Lithuania’s Jewish minority.

DSC05610

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Events, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Images from the February 16th 2016 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Lithuania

On the Eve of Another Neo-Nazi March in the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day



Will the Neo-Nazis Again be Given Central Kaunas on Feb. 16th Independence Day to Glorify Holocaust Collaborators, Spread Hate, and Damage Lithuania’s Standing?

For the first time, organizers promise to glorify a veritable contingent of specific, named alleged local Holocaust collaborators

including: Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, Kazys Škirpa, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra)Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Racism | Comments Off on On the Eve of Another Neo-Nazi March in the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day

NY Satmar Affiliate of “London Grave Traders” Tweets Triumphant Photos with US Gov “Heritage Abroad Commission” Rep



DOCUMENTS| | US GOV’S “HERITAGE ABROAD” COMMISSION | OPPOSITION TO DATE | PAPER TRAIL | SECTION | EU ASPECTS

KIRYAS JOEL, NYThe “Satmar Headquarters” of the movement’s “Aaronite” branch, partners of the London-based “CPJCE / Admas Kodesh” issued this tweet earlier today, which some observers take to convey the message that the politically connected Hasidic group continues to boast of preventing the “United States Commission for the Preservation [emphasis added] of America’s Heritage Abroad” from expressing even the mildest protest at plans to erect a twenty-five million dollar convention center in the heart of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish cemetery. With the exception of the CPJCE, exposed in Wikileaks as having demanded money for their “supervision” at the same cemetery in 2009 (see Jerusalem Post and JTA reports), major rabbis and rabbinic associations, alongside a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish figures, have expressed unanimous condemnation of the project.

The condemnations include the major groups of Lithuanian (Litvak) rabbis internationally, and also the rival branch of Satmar itself, the “Zalmanite” branch, whose own highest rabbinic court last summer added its voice to the Lithuanian rabbis worldwide. Vilnius has numerous venues appropriate for the new convention center. Some observers remain baffled at the insistence on the old cemetery site, where thousands of graves lie intact, and where revelers would clap, cheer, and use bars and toilets surrounded by a half millennium’s Jewish graves, including major Jewish scholars of the city, historically Vilna, once known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania.

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated?, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NY Satmar Affiliate of “London Grave Traders” Tweets Triumphant Photos with US Gov “Heritage Abroad Commission” Rep

Evaldas Balčiūnas Back in Vilnius Court on 21 January 2016



COME AND SUPPORT DH STAFF WRITER EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS (WHO ALERTED ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD TO NOREIKA MONUMENTS IN 2012). HE IS REPEATEDLY LUGGED INTO COURT FOR HIS ARTICLES  PROTESTING GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST PERPETRATORS AND NEO-NAZI MARCHES.

EVALDAS

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Evaldas Balčiūnas Back in Vilnius Court on 21 January 2016