Rabbi Tzvi Rotberg, One of the world’s top Litvak rabbis and head of the world-famous yeshiva (rabbinical academy) Beth Meir, in Bnei-Brak, Israel, issued a public letter, in rabbinic Hebrew, on 25 September 2016 pleading with Lithuanian state authorities to intervene to stop the building of a planned National Congress Center atop the graves of some of the greatest Lithuanian rabbis of the last thousand years. He refers metaphorically to the “outcry of those that lie in the dust from the previous generations who were righteous and pure” and condemns plans for celebrations and unholy events on top of their remains. Rabbi Rotberg is the grandson of the fabled Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg, a close disciple and associate of the Chofetz Chaim (Yiroel-Meir of Radin).
VILNIUS—For close to three decades, Vilnius has been the only city in the world with municipally sponsored public plaques and signs that regularly include Yiddish. Symbologically for a small, weak, stateless, threatened and “threat-to-nobody” language in this part of the world, it was an equally important statement of respect for the language, literature and culture of the murdered Jewish people of the city that Yiddish sometimes came first, “on top,” and always so when it was a question between Yiddish and modern Israeli Hebrew.
For the first time in thirty years, Yiddish has been denied primacy of place among the Jewish languages of the city. The new sign starts with an Israeli Hebrew version used by nobody in pre-Holocaust Vilna.
Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Yiddish Affairs
Tagged Amir Maimon, Emanuelis Zingeris, Faina Kukliansky, Hebrew-Yiddish conflict, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust remembrance in Vilnius, Jewish Community of Lithuania, Vilnius Jewish street names, Vilnius Yiddish street signs, Yiddish in Lithuania, Yiddish in Vilnius, Yiddish street names, Yidishe gas in Vilnius, Zydu gatve in Vilnius
For the first time, a Lithuanian author teamed up with an Israeli Holocaust scholar in search for the truth about widespread local enthusiasm, seventy-five years ago, for mass murder of civilian neighbors, and today’s failures in coming to grips with that history, in a land of hundreds of Jedwabnes. A genuine historic advance in Lithuanian-Jewish relations is seen in the startling partnership of Rūta Vanagaitė and Dr. Efraim Zuroff in Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai: Kelionė su priešu (“Our People: Journey with an Enemy”), published in Vilnius in January 2016. See also the media tracking page on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Operation Last Chance website.
The following listing of coverage by language (English, Lithuanian, Russian, Polish) is far from exhaustive. The humongous reaction needs to be studied in its own right.
Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Documents, Efraim Zuroff, History, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Efraimas Zuroffas, Holocaust in Lithuania, Mūsiškiai: Kelionė su priešu, Ruta Vanagaite, Vanagaite + Zuroff, Zuroff + Vanagaite
The following comment appeared on Facebook today:
YAD VASHEM’S “political department” and the group that visited Lithuania last week:
Thanks to both members of the group who quietly reached out to the Defending History team for a meeting. As you saw, nothing but good comes from relaxed, pleasurable, respectful and frank exchange of ideas and knowledge, over a cup of coffee. It was sad that the group was (again) hermetically sealed from “The Second Opinion” here in Vilnius (and those Holocaust survivors who hold such opinions), as if Israeli citizens cannot be trusted to cope with a rich tapestry of opposing views when they visit Eastern Europe. (That various “Yiddish” institutions gleefully, at times, play the role of gatekeeper of ideas here is another issue.) For background on the issues from our team’s perspective, please see:
Over the years some amazing Israeli heroes of truth and courage have indeed spoken out.
Posted in Dovid Katz, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, Yad Vashem Manipulated?, Yiddish Affairs
Tagged Chen Ivri Apter, Yad Vashem, Yad Vashem + Lithuania, Yad Vashem + politics, Yad Vashem + Vilnius, Yad Vashem educational trips, Yitzhak Arad
The following is the first column of page 898 of Professor Dov Levin’s entry, “Lithuania,” in volume 3 of Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (Israel Gutman, editor-in-chief; published by Macmillan, New York, and Collier Macmillan, London, 1990, in cooperation with Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem). Further reading on the subject. Eyewitness testimonies.
KAUNAS—One month after this year’s infamous Independence Day march in central Kaunas that featured a banner glorifying a number of Holocaust collaborators, including those co-responsible for the fate of this city’s 30,000 Jews in the Holocaust here on its ground zero, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania HE Amir Maimon has paid a very public congratulatory call on the mayor and city council to praise them unreservedly for their Jewish remembrance policies. There was no public mention of the march or request that future events desist from publicly glorifying the city’s collaborators. The following report is from today’s edition of the official website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Holocaust survivors and their families in both Kaunas and Vilnius who contacted Defending History were incredulous and “in shock”…
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Israel, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory
Tagged Amir Maimon (Vilnius), ISRAELI EMBASSY IN LITHUANIA, Israeli policy on Holocaust, Kaunas neo-Nazi marches
As the Lithuanian government-sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” (popular moniker for the “International Commission for Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes of Lithuania“), quiet on the international front for a time, announces a comeback global conclave for 17-19 March 2016, suspense is rising as to whether various Jewish organizations, including Yivo and the AJC, but above all the Israel Foreign Ministry, will again be coming on board to legitimize the body that is the midwife of the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament.
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Documents, Double Games, Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem Manipulated?
Tagged Arvydas Anusauskas, Commission on Nazi and Soviet Crimes, Historical Commission of Lihtuania, Israel-Lithuania relations, Israeli Foreign Ministry + Eastern Europe, Joseph Melamed, Rachel Margolis, Ronaldas Racinskas, Yitzhak Arad
The following is the official 21 Nov. 2014 United Nations voting sheet for the resolution (A/C.3/69/L.56/Rev.1) “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” The original is posted on the UN website. This copy has three added arrows for rapid identification of the three states that voted “No.”
Media coverage includes: Margaret Besheer in Voice of America; Joseph Brean in Canada’s National Post; Ken Hanly in Digital Journal; Dovid Katz in The Times of Israel; Ryan Maloney in Huffington Post; Jim Miles in CounterPunch; Boruch Shubert in JP Updates; Sam Sokol in the Jerusalem Post.
Glorification of Nazi collaborators (and local perpetrators) by states and their elites is a serious issue in various countries, including Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine.
TEL AVIV— Daniel Galay, director of Leyvik House in central Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s major Yiddish culture institutions, issued the following statement today on the Leyvik House website (copy), and on its Facebook page (see also Efraim Zuroff’s Facebook comment). For background see our earlier report.
Appeal to the World Jewish Congress
Tel Aviv, 12 June 2014
Like all lovers of Yiddish language and culture, we at Leyvik House in Tel Aviv, home to the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel, were happy to see the recent announcement that the World Jewish Congress would be facilitating a new Yiddish center in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Genocide, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, South Africa, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, Yiddish Affairs
Tagged Daniel Galay, Dovid Katz, Leyvik House, Michael Schneider (World Jewish Congress), Rachel Margolis, World Jewish Congress + Vilnius, World Jewish Congress + Yiddish, Yiddish in Vilnius
JERUSALEM—On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed today internationally, Dorot Hahemshech, Israel’s largest association of children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, issued a call to both the Israeli government and other democracies to renew and intensify the efforts to bring to justice Nazi war criminals and collaborators while it is still possible. The leaders of the NGO also commented on the growing phenomenon of distorting the history of the Holocaust in a number of countries, particularly in the context of the Double Genocide movement rampant in Eastern Europe.
The following is a translation from the original Hebrew text.
O P I N I O N
by Olga Zabludoff
Editor’s note: This and other responses were first offered to the Jerusalem Post for publication.
The Lithuanian government is pouring ever more resources and doing an ever better job with its PR campaign to turn Litvaks (Jews of Lithuanian origin) into virtual PR agents who now go further than they do themselves: painting a picture of the New Jewish Paradise in Lithuania without even mentioning the existence of painful current issues. Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Steve Linde no doubt meant only the best with his Chapter-of-Psalms, and will, I feel confident, now be happy to give the issues some rounded airing.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Olga Zabludoff, Opinion, Politics of Memory, South Africa
Tagged Brothers Zingeris (Lithuania), Holocaust in Lihuania, Jerusalem Post + Lithuania, Olga Zabludoff, South Africans + Lithuania, Steve Linde
M e d i a W a t c h / O p i n i o n
Readers on several continents again report to Defending History that the Jerusalem Post has failed to post perfectly polite comments to yet another ecstatic ode to issueless Lithuanian-Jewish love. This time it’s the story “Growing Lithuanian Business Ties Beget Political Support” which reported on the recent visit to Israel of the Lithuanian Minister for the Economy Evaldas Gustas.
The rejected comments pointed out that a senior specialist employed at his ministry was exposed last spring as Lithuania’s most hateful internet blogger, responsible for a series of images disparaging to Jews, Blacks, Gays, and to the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania (sampling of images here). Our Open Letter to the minister essentially asks why the hateful top official is still in office. Is such a question taboo for a major English language daily in Israel?