Cemeteries and Mass Graves

On the Piramónt / Šnipiškės cemetery debate, please see:
DH SECTION: http://defendinghistory.com/category/jewish-cemetery-piramont-snipiskes-shnipishok
BACKGROUND: http://defendinghistory.com/?p=74456
PAPER TRAIL: http://defendinghistory.com/?p=73510
OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER: http://defendinghistory.com/?p=75558


An early draft of
CULTURAL DICTIONARY OF LITHUANIAN JEWISH GRAVESTONES is posted at:
http://defendinghistory.com/the-language-of-litvak-gravestones-a-dictionary-by-dovid-katz

See the JOSEPH LEVINSON website at:
www.JosephLevinson.com

Protected: Vilnius Authorities Dump 1000 Jewish Tombstone Fragments on the Wrong 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), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on Protected: Vilnius Authorities Dump 1000 Jewish Tombstone Fragments on the Wrong Cemetery

US Government Commission’s Herbert Block Visits Defending History Team in Vilnius, Pledges Support for Moving Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



THE PETITION  |  THE OLD VILNA CEMETERY  |  INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER ON THE CEMETERY  |  IN LITHUANIAN  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Herbert Block, a veteran member of the American government’s Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, and chair of its committee on the old Vilnius Jewish cemetery, visited yesterday and today for two sessions with staff of the Defending History team here in the Lithuanian capital. Mr. Block is a well-known and beloved figure for the Lithuanian Jewish community, with whom he worked closely for many years (1999 to 2015), during his tenure as Assistant Executive Vice President of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC or “Joint”), where his work included coordinating successful efforts to achieve restitution that could enable the Jewish community’s survival for generations to come. At present, he is executive director of the American Zionist Movement (AZM). Previously Mr. Block served as Assistant Director for Intergovernmental and Public Affairs for the New York City Independent Budget Office (1996-1999) and was Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Relations at the federal Corporation for National and Community Service in  1994-1995.  He was Assistant to the Mayor of the City of New York from 1990 to 1993 and Special Assistant to the Manhattan Borough President from 1986 to 1989. For years he has been a member of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) with specialization in the Baltic region and Poland.

Herb Block explained how hard he has been working behind the scenes to ensure the cemetery’s preservation, and pledged his firm personal commitment to work resolutely for the convention center project to be moved to another venue in town — away from Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery. 

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, 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), US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on US Government Commission’s Herbert Block Visits Defending History Team in Vilnius, Pledges Support for Moving Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Mounting Opposition to Vilnius ‘Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery’


[LAST UPDATE]

Registry of Opposition to “The National Convention Center” Atop the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės)

2017:  PETITION;  VIDEO;  UNITED STATES CONGRESS; ARTICLES IN LITHUANIAN

(I) Groups of leading Litvak (and other) rabbis

(II) Institutions

(III) Individuals

(IV) Lithuania’s Jewish community

(V) United States Congress

(VI) Background

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mounting Opposition to Vilnius ‘Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery’

Old Jewish Gravestones Transported to Piramónt — to Divert Attention from Convention Center Travesty?



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

by Julius Norwilla

Delfi.lt, the major Lithuanian news portal, yesterday published an article by its correspondent Rūta Pukenė about the latest “activities” on the site of the five-century old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt, which houses the ruin of the old Soviet Sports Palace, surrounded by thousands of still extant graves, amid controversial plans to construct a national convention center using the Soviet building as its core. Many friends of Vilnius have argued forcefully that the city’s interests lie in preserving and restoring Lithuania’s oldest Jewish cemetery, where many rabbinic luminaries still lie buried, and for the convention center project to be moved to another venue in town.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Old Jewish Gravestones Transported to Piramónt — to Divert Attention from Convention Center Travesty?

New Section in Lithuanian on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)



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

VILNIUSDefending History today inaugurated a new section, in the Lithuanian language, on the international efforts calling for restoration of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt and for the Jewish heritage of Vilna and Lithuania to not be defiled by a convention center surrounded by a half millennium of Litvak graves. The convention center project can easily be moved to another appropriate venue. The section aims to provide content stemming from various communities within Lithuania as well as translations of the international outcry over the convention center project.

Vilniaus senosios žydų (Piramonto) kapinės Šnipiškėse

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, 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), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on New Section in Lithuanian on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)

Rabinų deklaracija dėl senųjų Vilniaus Piramonto žydų kapinių (Šnipiškėse)



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

Lietuvių kalba

Neseniai, 5775 žydų kalendoriaus metų Avo mėnesį (2015 m. liepos 16-rugpjūčio 15), buvo hebrajiškai ir angliškai paskelbta rabinų deklaracija dėl senųjų žydų kapinių Vilniuje (tekstas buvo paskelbtas abiem kalbomis 2015 m. liepos 30 d. „Hamodia“ numeryje; liepos 29 d. „Hamodia“ tinklapyje ir liepos 30 d. defendinghistory.com buvo paskelbta apie šį dokumentą).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilniaus senosios žydų (Piramonto) kapinės Šnipiškėse | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Rabinų deklaracija dėl senųjų Vilniaus Piramonto žydų kapinių (Šnipiškėse)

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…



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

VILNIUS—In comments reported today by the Lithuanian press service ELTA, the nation’s prime minister, Saulius Skvernelis has announced and hailed the decision to proceed with a national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery as one that “will lift the Lithuanian capital to a higher level of competitiveness in tourism.” He also notes that “the lack of a modern congress center in Vilnius is the main obstacle for the development of conference tourism in Lithuania,” not mentioning that there are numerous alternative sites for much more rapid and hassle-free construction of such a center.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), 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), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…

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

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

Why the Dead Jews of Vilna Cannot Rest in Peace



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

The following article which covers the recent meetings between the mayor of Vilnius and Jewish leaders in New York City, appeared today in Five Towns Jewish Times (as PDF).

by Rabbi Zev Friedman

The dispute over Vilna’s oldest synagogue has been brewing for more than a decade. Recently, as a result of the involvement and protestations of a coalition of rabbinic leaders and activists, the fight has intensified.

The Jewish community in Lithuania is hundreds of years old. The Vilna Gaon, who lived in the 18th century, and other great Torah luminaries helped Vilna earn its reputation as the Jerusalem of Eastern Europe.

The Shoah. Lithuania has rightfully earned one of the most sordid reputations of anti-Semitism based upon its participation in the Holocaust. While almost everyone heard of Babi Yar, where 33,000 men, women, and children were murdered, many have not heard about Ponary (Ponár), the forest outside of Vilna where double that amount — approximately 70,000 Jews — were rounded up and massacred by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged | Comments Off on Why the Dead Jews of Vilna Cannot Rest in Peace

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

“Weekly of Vilnius” is First Lithuanian Publication to Cover US Congress Letter on 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

VILNIUSThe Weekly of Vilnius, widely considered to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, was today the first in the Lithuanian capital to cover news of the letter from twelve United States congressmen to the president of Lithuania concerning current plans to situate a projected new national convention center in the heart of the city’s historic old Jewish cemetery, at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius. With the permission of the publishers, we are reproducing the title page of today’s edition and the entire article concerning the cemetery. In the spirit of classic journalism, The Weekly of Vilnius has no online edition (only an online description page) and is available weekly by emailed PDF or hard copy to its elite group of subscribers, known to include embassies, government agencies, captains of industry, politicians, academics and relevant institutions, libraries, and think tanks around the world. It is edited by the distinguished economist and journalist Mr. Nehro Khalil. A PDF facsimile of today’s report follows. Please use the arrows in the upper left hand corner to turn pages in either direction.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on “Weekly of Vilnius” is First Lithuanian Publication to Cover US Congress Letter 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

Defending History Releases Yiddish Version of Julius Norwilla’s Lithuanian and English Poster for Piramónt



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

VILNIUS—Defending History today released here a Yiddish version of Julius Norwilla’s Lithuanian and English posters produced in the course of the current campaign to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from becoming the “geo-basis” for a new national convention center where revelers would cheer, clap, sing, and dance, and use bars and toilets, surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Human rights specialists concur that such a fate would not be contemplated for a Christian cemetery in the European Union, much less with the proposed EU contribution of millions of euros in “structural funds”.

As in the case of the Lithuanian and English posters, readers are invited to make as many printouts as possible, and to distribute them far and wide, mentioning wherever possible the ongoing international petition which has to date attracted some 40,000 signatures from many parts of the globe. The Yiddish poster is also available as PDF and higher-res image.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Yiddish Affairs | Comments Off on Defending History Releases Yiddish Version of Julius Norwilla’s Lithuanian and English Poster for Piramónt

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

In Reply to 40,000 Petition Signatories, Lithuania’s Chancellor Rehashes Reliance on Allegedly Corrupt Group of London Rabbis who Reject Consensus of Litvak Rabbis Internationally



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

VILNIUS—Ms. Milda Dargužaitė, since December 2016 the highly respected Chancellor of the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, on 2 June 2017 issued a written reply to Ruta Bloshtein, the Vilnius-born Orthodox Jew who last December initiated a petition on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės (Yiddish: Shnípishek). The petition asks the Lithuanian government to move the national convention center project away from the old Jewish cemetery, and to restore the historic burial ground which dates to the fifteenth century and contains the remains of many of the greatest Lithuanian Jewish scholars. There has been a massive international outcry against plans to cite a convention center in the heart of the old cemetery where revelers would cheer, clap, do politics, sing, drink at bars and use toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves. Ms. Bloshtein’s petition has been signed by 40,000 people, and has been the subject of coverage in Algemeiner.comAmi, the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish JournalTablet, and numerous other publications.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Reply to 40,000 Petition Signatories, Lithuania’s Chancellor Rehashes Reliance on Allegedly Corrupt Group of London Rabbis who Reject Consensus of Litvak Rabbis Internationally

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.

Julius Norwilla’s speech at the Lithuanian Embassy in Tel Aviv: in English, in Lithuanian

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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

Julius Norwilla’s Speech at the Lithuanian Embassy in Tel Aviv



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

TEL AVIV—The following is the text of the speech delivered by Julius Norwilla during the gathering earlier today at the Lithuanian Embassy in Tel Aviv where a delegation of major Litvak rabbis, joined at their request by Mr. Norwilla, who flew in from Vilnius for the event, was welcomed by Ambassador Edminas Bagdonas. Details of the event are here.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Julius Norwilla’s Speech at the Lithuanian Embassy in Tel Aviv

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

Translation of Lithuanian Radio Debate on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



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

The following is a full translation of the radio debate on the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the capital’s Snipiskes district), aired by LRT.lt radio as part of its People and Ideas series on 1 March and again on 5 March 2017 and available in the original Lithuanian on the station’s website. The debate was hosted by Audra Girijotė with the participants (in alphabetical order here): Renaldas Augustinavičius, Ruta Bloshtein, Faina Kukliansky, Andrius Kulikauskas, Shnayer Leiman, Remigijus Šimašius.

Note that this translation works from the Lithuanian voice-over on Professor Leiman’s originally English contribution, rather than from a separate tape of the full English interview with Professor Leiman used by the organizers (who put together the “debate” after separate interviews with the participants). This was decided upon in the spirit of trying to characterize, as best we can, the text and texture actually received by the Lithuanian language audience.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Translation of Lithuanian Radio Debate on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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?

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

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?

Hon. Herbert Block’s Lithuanian Engagements and the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  | OPPOSITION  |   USCPAHA (US COMMISSION FOR AMERICAN HERITAGE ABROAD)  |  CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—The Hon. Herbert Block, a prominent and popular personality known to New Yorkers from his days as the highly successful Jewish affairs liaison for the campaign and administration of New York City mayor David Dinkins years ago has emerged as a major force at the confluence of Jewish-Hasidic, American and Lithuanian-government politics on issues in Lithuanian-Jewish affairs. There are conflicting views about his myriad, and some would say conflict-of-interest laden, entanglements that include a Satmar group in Monroe, New York intent on fulfilling the wishes of Vilnius builders for a convention center and annex in the heart of the old Jewish cemetery of Vilnius (allegedly for the financial benefit of their London followers in the CPJCE), a US taxpayer funded agency that exists to preserve  Jewish cemeteries (but has yet to issue a word of protest at the “convention center in the Jewish cemetery” project) and the Lithuanian government’s “Good Will Foundation” that allocates monies deriving from the religious properties of the annihilated Jewish communities of Lithuania.

NEW SECTION ON MR. BLOCK’S LITHUANIAN INVOLVEMENTS

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), 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), Opinion, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hon. Herbert Block’s Lithuanian Engagements and the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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

Sign The Petition for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Today!



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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Sign The Petition for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Today!

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

Vilnius Author of Piramónt Petition, Head of Kaunas Synagogue Present Petition’s 39,000 Signatures to Lithuanian Government



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—Ruta Bloshtein, author of the international petition to save the old Jewish cemetery in Vilnius from a massive convention center project, and Meyshe Bairak, director of the Choral Synagogue of Kaunas and chair of the city’s religious community, today presented a copy of Ms. Bloshtein’s petition in the Lithuanian translation of Julius Norwilla to Government House in central Vilnius. The large swath of paper, visible in the informal photograph, on the public counter, is the printout of the nearly 39,000 signatures from all over the world garnered to date. Ms. Bloshtein is a native of Vilnius, Mr. Bairak of Kaunas. Both are scions of old Litvak Jewish families of many centuries’ vintage in the depths of Lithuania. Most of their relatives perished in the Holocaust.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Vilnius Author of Piramónt Petition, Head of Kaunas Synagogue Present Petition’s 39,000 Signatures to Lithuanian Government

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

Ethical & Cultural Level of “Admas Kodesh” (/CPJCE) that is Underpinned by Taxpayer-Supported USCPAHA



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

FROM A 5 JULY 2016 TWEET FROM THE OFFICIAL ADMAS KODESH ACCOUNT:

The reference in the tweet is to the outstanding 24 June 2016 essay by the eminent Professor Bernard Fryshman in Yated Ne’eman. Professor Fryshman’s critical role in a landmark 2014 United States Congress law protecting vulnerable cemeteries of minorities internationally was explicitly recognized in the applicable Congressional Resolution. Why would a taxpayer supported agency, USPACHA, now be engaged in repeatedly honoring the Satmar-Aaronite sect’s de facto unit for trading away other people’s graves that publicly libels Professor Fryshman and any others who seek to defend the sanctity of human burial grounds around the world?

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), 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 Ethical & Cultural Level of “Admas Kodesh” (/CPJCE) that is Underpinned by Taxpayer-Supported USCPAHA

London CPJCE Spokesman Proclaims a Soviet Ruin in Vilnius to be Lithuania’s “Tower of London” and its “Statue of Liberty”



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

MORE ON THE CPJCE. OUR OPEN LETTER TO THEM. Exposés by WikileaksJerusalem PostJTA, and DH.

UPDATE: THIS ARTICLE WAS REPUBLISHED IN THE FIVE TOWNS JEWISH TIMES

In a remarkable interview cited today in the highly respected Five Towns Jewish Times, an Orthodox publication based in Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, and Hewlett, all in Nassau County, Queens, New York, Rabbi Abraham Ginsberg, the PR specialist for the London-based CPJCE (“Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe”) is quoted as explaining why, in his estimation, the Lithuanian state feels the burning national-priority need to build a convention center and annex in the heart of Vilna’s historic Jewish cemetery that dates to the 15th century and continues to hold the remains of thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens whose families duly bought their plots over the centuries:

“I asked the rabbi why we are accepting the fact that this excavation and construction that will potentially unearth more bones and destroy many more graves must go forward.

“The rabbi explained that the location is important to Lithuanians because it was in this stadium now in disrepair and rotting that the Lithuanians declared their independence in the aftermath of the collapse of Communism in 1990. ‘This location is Lithuania’s London Tower and Statue of Liberty; they are not letting it go anytime soon,’ Rabbi Ginsberg said.

“He’s a little upset at the American rabbis who met with the Lithuanian ambassador in Washington last week.”

Excerpt from Larry Gordon’s report, “A Grave Matter in Vilna”  in the Five Towns Jewish Times, 23 February 2017

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on London CPJCE Spokesman Proclaims a Soviet Ruin in Vilnius to be Lithuania’s “Tower of London” and its “Statue of Liberty”

A Year & One Month Since US Commission on Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA) “Reported to Satmar Rebba” in Monroe, N.Y.



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

VILNIUS—Today marks one calendar year-and-a-month since “Admas Kodesh,” the American affiliate of the London “grave trading unit” called CPJCE (Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe) boasted on Twitter that Herbert Block, a prominent member of the State Department linked Commission for Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA), came to Monroe, New York to “report to the Satmar Rebba”… Thirteen months later, there has still not been a single public word from the taxpayer-funded commission urging the Lithuanian government to move its convention center project away from the old Jewish cemetery, as now called for by a petition signed by 38,000 people including, in its first moments online in December, the official chief rabbi of Lithuania. The “Admas Kodesh” group had previously, in August 2015, posted triumphant photo-ops with the commission’s chairperson, Ms. Lesley Weiss. Earlier that month, they posted photos of USCPAHA’s Jules Fleischer thanking (!) the Lithuanian Consul General in New York for preserving the cemetery. The same “Admas Kodesh” group so dear to the US taxpayer-funded USPACAHA regularly attacks major Jewish scholars with whom it disagrees, particularly on the Vilna cemetery. One infamous July 2016 tweet refers to the esteemed Professor Bernard Fryshman, who played a major role in the US Congress’s passing of a 2014 law on preservation of cemeteries of minorities, as “Lying Professor Bernard Fryshman” for holding a different point of view on CPJCE / Admas Kodesh role in the Vilnius scandal.

See earlier summary of USCPAHA’s Vilnius cemetery record and DH’s USCPAHA section (best to scroll to bottom and peruse chronologically)

TWEET FROM 20 JAN. 2016: “STATE DEPT COMMISSION’S MR. HERBERT BLOCK REPORTING TO SATMAR REBBA” Mr. Block brought his sons along for the photo-op. One of those pictured is Mr. Gary Schlesinger, author of defamatory tweets (see sample, bottom of page) against Professor Bernard Fryshman and others who have opposed desecrating the old Vilna Jewish cemetery.

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Dovid Katz, 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), Politics of Memory, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Year & One Month Since US Commission on Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA) “Reported to Satmar Rebba” in Monroe, N.Y.

Professor Shnayer Leiman’s Letter to the Editor of “Ami”



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

The following Letter to the Editor (see middle column) from Professor Shnayer Leiman appeared in today’s edition of Ami, following upon the 18 January 2017 feature article by Riva Pomerantz, “Guardian of the Cemetery.”

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Sid (Shnayer) Leiman | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Professor Shnayer Leiman’s Letter to the Editor of “Ami”

“Weekly of Vilnius” is First to Cover Bloshtein Petition in Lithuanian Media



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—The prestigious Weekly of Vilnius, which provides a digest and interpretation in English of news concerning Lithuania, especially for the diplomatic, governmental, business, academic, arts, cultural and international affairs communities, became the first publication, in its 5 February issue, to break the ostensible wall of silence in the Lithuanian media on the international petition by Vilnius native and resident Ruta Bloshtein. Her petition, concerning the fate of the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt in the Šnipiškės (Shnípishok) district of Vilnius, the nation’s capital, has to date garnered close to 38,000 signatures, making it the largest Litvak effort since the Holocaust. The petition calls on Lithuania’s president, prime minister, chancellor, the mayor of Vilnius and the European Commission’s president to move the project of a new national convention center away from the old cemetery. It comes after years of local and international opposition to the project. The Weekly of Vilnius, edited by the widely admired Nehro Khalil, has been known on more than one occasion to breach walls of silence concerning “the second opinion” on an array of issues and topics.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, 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 “Weekly of Vilnius” is First to Cover Bloshtein Petition in Lithuanian Media

Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Authority on Gaon of Vilna, Issues Ruling on Old Jewish Cemetery



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Feffer, who has edited many volumes of the works of the Gaon of Vilna (Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, 1720-1797) under the imprint of Machon HaGra, today released the following statement concerning the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery and the current plans to erect a convention center within it. It is also available in PDF format. In the format below, please click on the arrow in the upper left hand corner to turn the page forward or backward. Earlier versions of the ruling are available in the original rabbinic Hebrew, in the author’s manuscript, and digitally.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Shmuel Jacob Feffer, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Authority on Gaon of Vilna, Issues Ruling on Old Jewish Cemetery

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”

A Reply to London’s Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

LONDON—The world’s greatest rabbinic authorities are unanimously opposed to the project to construct a 34 million euro convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery, surrounded by thousands of graves on all four sides. And now, 34,000 people around the world have also spoken up in a new international petition. Nevertheless, one group of London rabbis, the “CPJCE” (Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe [italics added]) continues to campaign for the convention center in close cooperation with the local business interests and politicians. Its Rabbi Herschel (Hershel) Gluck OBE has spoken out in the London Jewish Chronicle, trashing the petition of a Vilnius born Orthodox Jewish woman, Ruta Bloshtein.

Neither Rabbi Gluck nor the Jewish Chronicle mention that his “CPJCE” was allegedly exposed in Wikileaks (reports in the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, DH) for demanding money for their “supervision”. Rabbi Gluck told the London Jewish Chronicle:

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Reply to London’s Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE

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

Vilnius Resident Launches Petition on City’s Old Jewish Cemetery



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUSRuta Bloshtein, a native and resident of the Lithuanian capital, and stalwart of its small Orthodox community, has launched an international petition via Change.org asking the leaders of Lithuania to move the project for a national convention center away from the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt where many thousands of the city’s Jewish citizens were buried from the 15th to the 19th centuries. It is one of East European Jewry’s most sacred sites. Many of its gravestones were lovingly preserved or renewed right up to the Holocaust, in which around 99% of Vilna’s Jewish community perished.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Resident Launches Petition on City’s Old Jewish Cemetery

World Famous Litvak Rabbi Condemns Plans for Congress Center in Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

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).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on World Famous Litvak Rabbi Condemns Plans for Congress Center in Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region



DEFENDING HISTORY WAS THERE

Annual Sept. 23 Official Commemoration Ceremony at the Ponár (Paneriai) Mass Murder Site Outside Vilnius, Lithuania

Historic Breakthrough as Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Faina Kukliansky Finally Calls for Removal of Street Names and Memorials for Holocaust Collaborators, Boldly Citing Juozas KrikštaponisJonas Noreika, and Kazys Škirpa; Sharp Contrast with Last Year’s Failed Event

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region

Run-Up to Lithuania’s Sept. 23rd 2016 Holocaust Commemoration Day



Events in the Week of Lithuania’s Official September 23rd Holocaust Commemoration Day

Vilnius mayor  — and nation’s president and prime minister — face a stark choice on whether to speak out with moral clarity on painful issues of city-center street names and plaques honoring Holocaust collaborators, and the desecration of the country’s oldest Jewish cemetery by a new congress center, prior to this year’s series of official gala Vilna Ghetto commemoration events, 20-28 September 2016

OUR TAKE ON THE NEW HEBREW-YIDDISH STREET SIGN IN THE OLD JEWISH QUARTER

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Run-Up to Lithuania’s Sept. 23rd 2016 Holocaust Commemoration Day

Jewish Community Complains About Works at Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



Dramatic Pre-Annual Litvak Conference About-Face as Official Jewish Community Finally Protests Something of 2016 Desecration of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery

Defending History published images of these new works last February

But new alarm bells as community calls in as “fixers” the same anti-Litvak London rabbis exposed in “$$$ for graveyard permissions” scandal by Wikileaks, Jerusalem Post, JTA, and DH; They get royal treatment by politicians with interest in the building projects, and have utterly rejected heartfelt pleas from the world’s great Litvak rabbis to move the new congress center away from the old Jewish cemetery to another venue where it can be a source of pride for all the people of Europe and beyond.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Jewish Community Complains About Works at Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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

12 Holocaust Massacre Sites in Vilnius Region; Taking a Closer Look at 2



CEMETERIES AND MASS GRAVES  |  COMMEMORATIONS  |  LITHUANIA

by Julius Norwilla

There are at least twelve Holocaust mass murder sites in the immediate Vilnius region that are marked by some kind of memorial. They are noted in the online Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania, founded by Milda Jakulytė. In Lithuania, there are over 227 such sites that are described in the atlas, which is historically a continuation of the painstaking 1990s work of the late Joseph Levinson, published in his The Book of Sorrow (Vilnius 1997) that documented close to 200 such sites.

The best known is the Paneriai Memorial as the largest mass grave in the country, known as Ponár in Yiddish and Ponary in Polish. It is the site where 100,000 people were humiliated and murdered, around 70,000 of them Jews. This is where official commemorations take place, particularly each year on September 23rd, the day (controversially) designated by the Lithuanian government as the Holocaust Remembrance Day, rather than the international day, on January 27th, or days specific to the Lithuania-wide Holocaust such as June 23rd when violence against and humiliation of Jewish neighbors broke out across Lithuania.

Other mass murder sites in the Vilnius region are visited much less frequently and very often — not at all. But visiting these places is important for the respect for those murdered there and for a deeper understanding of the Holocaust which has so distorted our nation’s qualities.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on 12 Holocaust Massacre Sites in Vilnius Region; Taking a Closer Look at 2

My Take On Malát



OPINION  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS  |  EVENTS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION

by Julius Norwilla

The year 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the genocide of the Jews of the Lithuanian shtetls, the smaller towns, villages and countryside, in fact, a solid majority of Lithuanian Jewry (with a smaller component being kept alive in four cities for slave labor and rolling annihilation over the remaining years of the Holocaust). Marking the anniversary, at the end of August and beginning of September this year (a period in 1941 when a number of the local massacres were concentrated), there have been commemorative events in (Yiddish names first) Birzh (now: Biržai), Dusát (Dusetos), Malát (Molėtai), Shádov (Šeduva), Vílkomir (Ukmergė) and more. By far the largest event took place at Malát on the 29th of August. The project, leading to establishment of a new foundation, was initiated by Tzvi Kritzer. The speakers included high representatives from the Lithuanian government, its official Jewish community, and various public and cultural representatives.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on My Take On Malát

Media Coverage of the Malát (Molėtai) Holocaust Remembrance Project


[UPDATED]

A Selection for English Readers

Project’s Facebook Page; Website

22 September 2016.  Tablet: ‘Holocaust commemorations planned throughout Lithuania this weekend’ by Anna Rudnistky.

9 September 2016.  Defending History: ‘My take on Malát’ by Julius Norwilla [Norvila].

8 September 2016.  En.Delfi.lt: ‘The day Lithuania became a culture of We’ by Alexandra Kudukis.

8 September 2016.  Jewish Community of Lithuania website: ‘Molėtai Holocaust procession draws record crowd’ [unsigned article presumably representing the chairperson’s views].

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Media Coverage of the Malát (Molėtai) Holocaust Remembrance Project

Leon Kaplan’s Speech on the 75th Anniversary of the Malát Massacre



Leon (Liova) Kaplan (in Lithuanian: Leonas Kaplanas) is a native of Vilnius, Lithuania who settled in Washington DC in the early 1970s. He founded the Washington Conservatory of Music and is a noted pianist and master piano educator. He returned to live in Vilnius in 2004, and has over the past year and a half been one of the people involved in enabling the major series of events that culminated in a march by thousands, unveiling of a multilingual monument, and launch of an exhibition, book, and film, in the small town (former shtetl) Malát (Moletai, northeastern Lithuania) on 29 August 2016. The day marked the 75th anniversary of the 1941 massacre of the town’s 2,000 Jews, then a majority of its population. This year’s day of memorial events there has drawn wide and varied media comment and coverage

The following is the English text of Liova Kaplan’s speech, provided by his office at the request of Defending History. At the event the speech was given in both English and Lithuanian.


Honorable Guests,

Thank you to all gathered here, thanks to all those whose conscience does not allow them to forget the tragic events that happened here in Molėtai (Malát), and in almost 300 places across Lithuania, seventy-five years ago. Allow me to quote the book Night by Nobel prize laureate, the late Elie Wiesel:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Documents, Leon Kaplan, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Leon Kaplan’s Speech on the 75th Anniversary of the Malát Massacre

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

Julius Norwilla to Speak on 12 Vilnius Mass Graves



THIS THURSDAY EVENING 4 AUGUST 2016 IN VILNIUS:

Defending History veteran writer-researcher Julius Norwilla will give an illustrated talk on

“A Dozen Holocaust Mass Graves in the Vilnius Area: What is the Actual State of Respect for the Victims?”

Thursday evening, 4 August, 6 PM (1800) at the Jewish Cultural and Information Center, Mėsinių  3 in Vilnius Old Town. Lecture in English, questions in any language. Admission free. Everyone welcome.

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Julius Norwilla to Speak on 12 Vilnius Mass Graves

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 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) | Tagged | 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”

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?

Document Unearthed: 1935 Tel Aviv Protest Against Plans to Defile the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—Professor Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, widely considered to be the world’s leading scholar on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district), today released a remarkable document: a spirited 1935 protest, in Hebrew, from the Vilna Gaon Synagogue in Tel Aviv, against the then Polish municipal authorities’ plans to construct a sports stadium in the heart of the old cemetery.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Document Unearthed: 1935 Tel Aviv Protest Against Plans to Defile the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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

GioBaltic’s Report on Piramónt



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUSDefending History today obtained from multiple sources here PDF copies (all with some faulty representation of Lithuanian language diacritics) of a new geophysical report by the company GeoBaltic, specialists in oil and gas exploration, on the territory of the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt in the Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius. The entire document is now available online, and it is anticipated in some quarters that one or more of the funded bodies tasked with preserving Jewish heritage in Europe (e.g. the US taxpayer-funded Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in Washington DC and the CPJCE in London) will rapidly publish a full English translation along with their own reactions and responses.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on GioBaltic’s Report on Piramónt

First Test of Torah Integrity for New Vilnius Rabbi Samson Daniel Izakson?



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—When Lithuania’s official chief rabbi of eleven years’ standing, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, was dismissed last summer after disagreeing with the government’s plan to erect a national convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery, the event caught the attention of both local and international media. It was quietly hoped, both in Vilnius and abroad, that the eventual replacement would be loyal to sacred Jewish causes (see Rabbi Burshtein’s final statement of his tenure in Vilnius), someone who would not dare, for the considerations of a job, betray the letter and spirit of Jewish law, or the living and the deceased actual Jews of Vilna over the centuries. See Prof. Shnayer Leiman’s essay on the subject, our editor’s summary, a satiric Motke Chabad take, and Dr. Bernard Fryshman’s reminder that “Even now, the cemetery contains the bodies of the Chayey Odom and the Be’eyr ha-Goylo among many others.” A second essay by Professor Leiman paves the way for inspiring reconstruction of many of the major historic structures of Lithuania’s foremost Jewish cemetery.

Vuvolak

by Vulovak (Vilnius) for DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on First Test of Torah Integrity for New Vilnius Rabbi Samson Daniel Izakson?

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

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



HISTORY   |  PIRAMÓNT   |   CEMETERIES   |  PAPER TRAIL   |  OPPOSITION

by Sid (Shnayer) Leiman

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

A: The Photograph

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

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

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

4: R. Hillel b. Yonah (d. 1706)

5: R. Moshe Darshan (d. 1726)

 6: R. Yaakov Kahana (d. 1826)

7: R. Eliyahu Hasid (d. 1710)

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

B: A Visit to the Old Jewish Cemetery in 1940

NOTES

DEDICATION OF THIS ESSAY TO R. KHAYKL LUNSKI

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

Massive New Vilnius Construction Site: Within or Bordering City’s Old Jewish Cemetery?



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—A massive new construction site is being dug up next door to the Soviet-era Sports Palace building in the Šnipiškės section of Vilnius. The former Sports Palace, now the subject of intense international debate over plans for a 25 million dollar conversion into a national conference center, itself “indisputably rests in the middle of the former cemetery,” as confirmed by the United States government a decade ago. But what is unknown is where that may leave this bordering site, which may or may not lie outside various hypothesized boundaries of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, in use from the late fifteenth century to the 1830s. The last generations of pre-Holocaust Vilna Jewry called the cemetery Piramónt.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Massive New Vilnius Construction Site: Within or Bordering City’s Old Jewish Cemetery?

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

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


 


OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Andrius Kulikauskas

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

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

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

Is Lithuania’s President Distancing Herself from Prime Minister’s “Religious Zeal” for the “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”?



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

NEW YORK—In response to his 20 Nov. 2015 letter that has been described by some who have seen it as “powerful,” New York businessman Berel Fried, an Orthodox Jewish scholar and descendant of many people buried at the old Piramónt Jewish cemetery in Vilnius received a reply this week from the office of Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaitė. Her reply, dated 18 Dec. 2015, was released today by Mr. Fried’s office in New York City. Mr. Fried has been a frequent visitor to Vilnius and Kaunas for many years and is a celebrated guest reader of the Torah when he visits the Choral Synagogue on Pylimo Street in Vilnius.

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Posted in Berel Fried, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Is Lithuania’s President Distancing Herself from Prime Minister’s “Religious Zeal” for the “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”?

Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Dovid Katz

Editor’s note: Reprint from The Times of Israel, where this op-ed appeared on 13 December 2015.


Back in 2009, a rancorous dispute over the old Vilna Jewish cemetery was ostensibly solved. Two new buildings, despite worldwide protests, would be allowed to remain, and in return, no more land would be pilfered from the cemetery at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The burial ground goes back to the late fifteenth century, at least. After the Holocaust, with virtually no descendants left to worry about, Soviet authorities helped themselves to the gravestones for use in building projects, but left many thousands of graves intact. A galaxy of eminent European rabbinic scholars and authors were buried there. But once the 2009 “Peace of Piramónt” was brokered (with help from Western embassies here), emotions cooled as all sides got on with their lives.

skeltas-3 black background lite

Future symbol for a capital city in the European Union? by VULOVAK / DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Citizenship, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

It’s Not Just About Old Jewish Cemeteries



O P I N I O N   /   P I R A M Ó N T   /  P A P E R   T R A I L   /   O P P O S I T I O N   /   C E M E T E R I E S

by Milan Chersonski

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

There were many festive occasions celebrated once Lithuania declared its independence in 1990. So many hopes and expectations were inspired by the sweet word freedom. Free-ee-dom! Laisvė! Had it ever been possible to even imagine beforehand, taking one example, that Lithuania would hold a celebration to honor Israeli Independence Day, dear to Jews all over the world? The new state organized a large event at the Palace of Culture of the Trade Unions in Vilnius in honor of a faraway state, which in Soviet times was mentioned only as “the aggressive state of Israel.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on It’s Not Just About Old Jewish Cemeteries

Did Prime Minister Netanyahu Really “Okay” the Vilnius “Conference Center in the Jewish Cemetery”?


[from the day’s front page]


AN ISRAELI-LITHUANIAN MYSTERY

In September, during his trip to Israel, the Lithuanian prime minister reported back home with triumph  that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite happy with plans for a $25,000,000 national conference center in the middle of the old (15th century origin) Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. But did the Israeli PM really reject out-of-hand the growing  international Jewish (and non-Jewish) chorus of condemnation for a plan to have convention revelers clap, cheer, sing, drink in bars and use toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves including some of the foremost Jewish scholars of the last millennium? Where his own ancestors are buried? Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding. Background on the cemetery’s history and implications of the case for all Europe, and on the current project.

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Question in the UK Parliament on the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius



UK   /   P I R A M Ó N T   /   O P P O S I T I O N   /   C E M E T E R I E S    /   D O C U M E N T S

LONDON—At the initiative of Monica Lowenberg, Defending History’s London correspondent, UK member of parliament Gareth Thomas (Labour) tabled a question in the House of Commons (no. 14144) on 29 October 2015 on the planned desecration of the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of Vilnius, Lithuania) by construction of a twenty-five million dollar national convention center. His question, and the reply by the current Minister for Europe, David Lidington, of 3 November 2015, are reproduced below (and available online).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Documents, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United Kingdom | Comments Off on Question in the UK Parliament on the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius

Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”



O P I N I O N     /     C E M E T E R I E S    /     P I R A M Ó N T    /    P A P E R   T R A I L

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—This city’s dashing young new mayor, Remigijus Šimašius, elected last spring, has now added Yiddish to the previously bilingual (Lithuanian-English) signs, wrought of expensive metal in rounded-edged casement, in times of austerity for pensioners and others in town. These signs are being placed near Soviet-era edifices made of pilfered Jewish gravestones (matséyves) that are a blot on this charming East European capital. This is the latest model featured on the mayor’s office website:

mayorskhokhme

Photo: Vilnius Municipality / Mayor’s Office.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, CPJCE (London), Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”

A Latvian-American Journalist in Riga Reflects on a Jewish Cemetery Saga in Vilnius



O P I N I O N     /     C E M E T E R I E S    /     P I R A M Ó N T    /    P A P E R   T R A I L

by Juris Kaža

Riga based journalist Juris Kaža made the following observations in recent Facebook threads. They are collected here with the author’s permission.

This is incredible. So the Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania became Home Depot for the Soviet-era construction industry? We need some granite blocks? Yo, take the Goldbergas family plot, there are five headstones! By the way, the big stone for Rabbi Whatshisname would make a great plinth, have it dragged here, please. Can’t somebody undo this bizarre mess, gather the stones and make an appropriate memorial?

This is crazy. The Soviets ravage your cemetery after the Nazis kill your co-religionists and you get this for asking independent Lithuania to stop desecrating graves? They should do their best to restore the burial and memorial place and build their conference center elsewhere, not on the site already desecrated by the Soviets. WTF??

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Juris Kaža, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on A Latvian-American Journalist in Riga Reflects on a Jewish Cemetery Saga in Vilnius

Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski, Polish Documentary Film Maker and Judaica Specialist at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERIES    OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    ROTHSCHILD     DH SECTION     EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Polish scholar, author, film maker and Jewish heritage specialist Dr. Tomasz (Tomek) Wiśniewski is renowned as a world specialist on the culture and remnants of numerous erstwhile centers of East European Jewish life, most famously Białystok (in Poland, but in Jewish culture within the Litvak north of Jewish Eastern Europe). He was a delegate at last month’s Rothschild Foundation London (Hanadiv) conference on Jewish cemeteries, held here in Vilnius. Following the event, he issued a statement on his Facebook page concerning the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, known as Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district. A slightly revised version was translated from Polish by Julius Norwilla and the translation approved by the author. It reads as follows:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski, Polish Documentary Film Maker and Judaica Specialist at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Dr. Beata Nemcová, Slovakian Scholar at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERIES    OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    ROTHSCHILD    DH SECTION    EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Slovakian scholar, author and Jewish heritage specialist Dr. Beata Nemcová, a delegate at last week’s Rothschild Foundation London (Hanadiv) conference on Jewish cemeteries, has issued a statement calling on authorities here to move the state’s $25,000,000 convention center project away from the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, known as Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district, to another location. The statement reads as follows (followed by a facsimile).

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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, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Beata Nemcová, Slovakian Scholar at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Rothschild Conference on Jewish Cemeteries Issues Press Release



 Triumphant Press Release on Conclusion of Rothschild’s Jewish Cemeteries Conference Whitewashes Lithuanian Gov. Plan to Desecrate Old Jewish Cemetery with $25,000,000 Convention Center

KAUNAS RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY ISSUES PROTEST

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Comments Off on Rothschild Conference on Jewish Cemeteries Issues Press Release

Statement of the Kaunas Jewish Religious Community Regarding the Old Piramónt Jewish Cemetery in Šnipiškės



KAUNAS—Moushe Beirakas (Moyshe Beirak), head of the Kaunas Jewish Religious Community, which administers the city’s historic Choral Synagogue, issued the following statement today. The original is in Lithuanian, and the translation was approved by the author. [Update: A version of the English text appears on the community’s Facebook page.]

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As Rothschild Conference Winds Up in Vilnius, Kaunas Religious Jewish Community Issues Statement of Defiance



VILNIUS—The controversial Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) London conference on Jewish cemeteries wound up here in the Lithuanian capital yesterday afternoon with a triumphant press release that seemed to suggest that there are no serious objections to a $25,000,000 convention center in the middle of the old Jewish cemetery (the release says little about most of the diverse topics and academic contributions that made up the bulk of the actual academically and culturally rich event). A dozen delegates contacted by DefendingHistory.com had no idea from one-sided conference presentations that there was a highly specific, budgeted-for decision taken for the multimillion dollar facility not necessarily appropriate for a historic cemetery where thousands of people’s remains are interred. They were under the impression that there is some consultative, respectful dialogue between the different sides. There was much more they were not told about.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Comments Off on As Rothschild Conference Winds Up in Vilnius, Kaunas Religious Jewish Community Issues Statement of Defiance