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

Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery


[LAST UPDATE]


JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION

LETTER TO LITHUANIA’S LEADERS BY SOUTH AFRICA’S CHIEF RABBI

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE OLD JEWISH CEMETERY IN VILNIUS (23 SEPT).  DR. ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS’S KEYNOTE SPEECH.

FALL 2019: LEGAL ACTION BROUGHT BY EUROPEAN FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CONTINUES AT VILNIUS DISTRICT COURT.  International appeal for more people willing to certify the Vilnius burial of their own ancestors. Over 200 to date have provided affidavits to the court!

APRIL 2019: EUROPEAN FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS GOES TO COURT IN VILNIUS OVER FATE OF OLD JEWISH CEMETERY;

BUT GREEDY BUILDERS AND NATIONALIST GOV. OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO RELY ON “PERMISSIONS” FROM ALLEGEDLY CORRUPT LONDON-BASED “CPCJE RABBIS” EXPOSED BY WIKILEAKS IN GRAVES-FOR-CASH SCHEME.

SHOCKING VIDEO OF LONDON RABBIS FETED BY PRIME MINISTER OF LITHUANIA FOR THEIR PERMISSION TO PLACE CONVENTION CENTER AND ANNEX ON TOP OF OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY IN DEFIANCE OF ALL LITHUANIAN ORIGIN RABBIS WORLDWIDE


Simon Gurevich, elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community, representing the 2,200 Jewish citizens of Lithuania’s capital, tells the New York Times: “The Soviets didn’t build just coincidentally the Sports Palace there, they built it as part of an antisemitic campaign of destruction of Jewish sites. Is this Soviet despotism a part of the heritage we would like to keep?”

On 5 Sept. 2018 the Vilnius Jewish Community in partnership with a number of regional Lithuanian Jewish communities released an approved English version of their powerful 29 Aug. statement. On 12 September, ten members of the Israeli Knesset wrote to Lithuania’s president.

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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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

The original Lithuanian text appeared in Bernardinai.lt.

Preamble

הייליקע ליטווישע רבנים, טײַערע חברים און חברטעס, בני ליטא, מײַנע געטרײַע בני ליטא, מיט אהבת ישראל און אהבת ליטא:

Four years ago Prof. Dovid Katz asked me to find a Catholic priest or nun who would publicly speak out regarding the fate of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish cemetery. I failed to do so, but in empathy for my friend, I published an article in the web portal “Veidas” and gave academic talks at three conferences about conceptions which would help us appreciate why it would be meaningful to grant the demand by Jewish believers that we forego the Sports Palace and respect the Jewish cemetery which was there. Tonight in fifteen minutes I will present five images of how I imagine this cemetery, what it could mean for us.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial

Coverage of Sept. 23 Events Focused on Saving Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



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

Invitations to the Event Attracted Two Hundred People from Seven Countries

The program of speakers and events.  Facebook report with photos.  Text of Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s keynote speech. Julius Norwilla’s photo gallery.

Lithuanian media: Main  LRT evening news  (from timecode 4:56).  15min.lt (report and photo gallery).  Lithuanian text of Dr. Kulikauskas’s keynote address published in Bernardinai.ltEuropean Foundation for Human Rights (Lithuanian offices).

Lithuanian Polish language media: TVP WilnoWilnoteka.lt.

Jewish and international media: HamevaserKikar.

MEANWHILE…

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Coverage of Sept. 23 Events Focused on Saving Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Chief Rabbi of South Africa Calls on Lithuania’s Leaders to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Jewish Cemetery



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

JOHANNESBURG—The Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, today added his voice to the international Litvak and wider opposition to state-sponsored desecration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in the form of a national convention center surrounded by Jewish graves going back half a millennium in Vilna, the city once known as Jerusalem of Lithuania. The office of the chief rabbinate made public his letter to Lithuania’s president, Gitanas Nausėda and prime minister Saulius Skvernelis.

A PDF of his letter is available here, and follows below. Please use handles in the upper left-hand corner to turn pages.


Chief Rabbi of South Africa on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), South Africa | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Chief Rabbi of South Africa Calls on Lithuania’s Leaders to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Jewish Cemetery

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



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

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

This Year’s Sept. 23 Events Remembering Holocaust to Include Pleas for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt



Monday September 23 in Vilnius

Day of Prayer and  Respectful Challenge to Spare Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės) from Plans to Site a Convention Center in its Heart

September 23rd is Lithuania’s Holocaust Commemoration Day. It is because of the Holocaust that there are almost no local descendants of the many thousands of buried there to stand up for the dignity and integrity of ancestors’ graves. This is a matter of human and minority rights: it would not be happening to a five-hundred year old cemetery of the majority population. It would not happen in the west of the European Union, and must not happen in its east, whose peoples deserve the same standards of equal rights and human dignity. Cheering at conventions, drinking at bars and flushing toilets surrounded on all four sides by extant graves is not human dignity. Vilnius deserves better for the years and generations to come.

All welcome! Major Litvak rabbis and scholars will be flying in for the one-day event among them Rabbi Asher Arielli, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Rabbi Orin Reich, and Rabbi Yaakov Shapira . Local speakers include Vilnius Jewish Community head Simon Gurevich and Lithuanian philosopher Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Coordinated by Julius Norwilla, chair of the Vilnius Committee for the Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in cooperation with the European Foundation for Human Rights, whose appeal before the Vilnius courts is now supported by 235 affidavits, including the Elyashiv, Finkel, Levine, Segal, Shternbruch & Soloveitchik families.  Established by Dov-Ber and Chaya Fried.Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on This Year’s Sept. 23 Events Remembering Holocaust to Include Pleas for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt

“Serious Incident Report” to UK’s Charity Commission over London CPJCE’s Grave Dealings in Vilnius



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

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—The following is the text of the complaint that was filed with the UK Charity Commission by Stone King solicitors here, a firm specializing in the righting of alleged corruption by charitable organizations recognized by the commission concerning. The Serious Incident Report”, as these are known in the UK, includes the following text:

“Put simply it is alleged that this Charity [CPJCE—“Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe” ], in collaboration, for payment, to the further destruction through development of the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery in the Snipiskes district of the modern Vilnius, the Capital of Lithuania (See Lithuania liveliest Cemetery” in The Times of Israel, 13.12.15). This proposed development has been met with universal protest and condemnation by the international Jewish Community. This includes an international petition which currently contains 45,000 signatures, a letter from 12 Congressmen, oppositions from the 12 greatest Lithuanian origin rabbis and a letter from Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites to the President of Lithuania dated 1.2.18. We set below for ease of reference a list of hyperlinks which demonstrates the scale of opposition.”

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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), Opinion, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on “Serious Incident Report” to UK’s Charity Commission over London CPJCE’s Grave Dealings in Vilnius

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



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

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

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

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

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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 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to be Shamed Again This Weekend as Soviet Dump is Glorified

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

Lithuania’s Gov. “Property Bank” is Using “Weak and Divided” Jewish Reaction to Proceed with “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery” Project



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

by Julius Norwilla

As “the day of the bulldozers” nears, Lithuania’s state “Property Bank” (Turto Bankas, often translated “Asset Bank”) is coming close to announcing the final contracts for the planned Convention Center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius. The derelict Soviet building slated for conversion (alongside construction of a large annex) is surrounded on all four sides by many thousands of Jewish graves left untouched by the Soviet authorities who pilfered all the stones for building works and ballast. There has been massive international opposition, including Lithuanian-origin rabbinical authorities worldwide, in addition to a petition started by Vilnius resident Ruta Bloshtein that is close to 46,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Julius Norwilla’s impressions after a meeting with the leaders of Lithuania’s state Property Bank now managing the convention center project in the heart of Piramónt cemetery? They are willing to talk, but they are not convinced  that “the Jews themselves” really care so much. In fact, a future “talking point” for a permanently controversial and damaging “convention center” will be that “Well, they found enough Jews they could manipulate to go along with it so what do you want from us?”

The takeaway? The time for major international pressure is now. The petition has attracted more than 45,000 signatures.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Gov. “Property Bank” is Using “Weak and Divided” Jewish Reaction to Proceed with “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery” Project

Two Visualizations of a Convention Center in the Middle of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery



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

“The rights of minority cemeteries to be left in peace are human rights”

I: Lithuania’s State Bank (“Turto Bankas”) triumphantly issues its latest visualization for a national convention center  in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves. The huge new annex is “artfully” obscured (at the back).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Two Visualizations of a Convention Center in the Middle of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery

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



CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  CEMETERIES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

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

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

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

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Jewish Gravestone Steps of Reformed Evangelical Church in Central Vilnius Finally Removed

Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery: Geotechnical Expert Group’s Press Release of Sept. 2008 is “Back in Circulation”



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

VILNIUS—At the request of Defending History staff, several news outlets here have located and released the original 3 September 2008 press release issued by Arieh Klein, head of the Experts Group appointed to conduct geophysical and other surveys of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės district of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital) to determine the boundaries of the extant cemetery underground. This was always a public document intended for the media, marked as a “press release” in accompanying emails. It is available as PDF.

The document reveals that both “new green buildings” (the King Mindaugas Buildings) that were featured in this century’s first major dispute over this cemetery, are within the boundaries of the cemetery, as are, naturally, the banks, chic cafes and restaurants, apartments and other amenities and offices on the premises.

But to this day, the buildings’ operators dismiss the geotechnical findings as “slander”. Something to remember when you  next visit this part of Vilnius!

It is separately documented that truckloads of earth were clandestinely removed (and their location never disclosed), and that the builders’ and their government associates’ “bags of tricks” back then included setting up international committees with prestigious “Useful Jewish Idiots” — or UJIs — as local Jews refer informally to foreign Jewish dignitaries and professors who become part of the PR machine that is alleged to cover and deflect from various aspects of the Jewish news here. The full text of the press release follows.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery: Geotechnical Expert Group’s Press Release of Sept. 2008 is “Back in Circulation”

Democratically Elected Leadership of Vilnius Jewish Community Shows Consistent Moral Clarity on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’s Fate



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

VILNIUS—During the fiascos of recent formal visits to Lithuania by the chairperson of the US taxpayer-funded “Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (known for short as “USCPAHA”), a ubiquitous feature was the seemingly unending stream of photo-ops with leaders of the “official” state-sponsored Jewish community which has quite naturally supported government plans for a convention center and annex to be situated in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery. What many foreign visitors do not understand is that this enterprise does not have democratically legitimate leadership. In the middle of the last leadership election, in spring 2017, the chairperson changed the rules to disenfranchise the three thousand Jewish citizens of Lithuania in favor of a “new system” whereby “associations alone” would vote, these being the chairperson’s own board of associates. When the Vilnius Jewish Community held a very public and democratic vote, the state-sponsored official community echoed antisemitic tropes that the current Jews are some kind of Russians who say they are Jews. In November of 2018, the courts ruled her election illegal, a remarkable public demonstration followed last spring, but then, after an array of legal ruses, some quite amusing, the appeals court last month legalized her election. But not-illlegal is not moral, and being “not illegal” is a rather poor standard for Jewish and democratic legitimacy in the  small and fragile post-Holocaust space. More and more people are calling for a simple solution: new and fair elections under the aegis of an outside ombudsman or polling organization, in which every Lithuanian Jewish citizen has one vote.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Democratically Elected Leadership of Vilnius Jewish Community Shows Consistent Moral Clarity on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’s Fate

Incredibly, US Taxpayer-Funded Commission is HURTING instead of HELPING the Cause!



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

by Ruta Bloshtein

The following is the text of the petition update posted by Ms. Bloshtein on 4 January 2019 at the Change.org site of her petition to save the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, which has exceeded the 45,000 signature mark.

My Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who signed our petition, there have been various delays in the onset of works to erect a national convention center and large new annex on the site of a Soviet ruin that is right in the middle of our sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, where the B’er Hagola Reb Moshe Rivkes; the Chayei Adam Reb Avrom Dantsig; Reb Menachem-Manes Chayes; Reb Boruch Romm, Reb Avrom the son of the Gaon of Vilna; Reb Yitzchok the father of Chaim of Volozhin lie buried, alongside many other thousands of Jewish citizens of Vilna (today’s Vilnius, capital of Lithuania) whose families duly paid for their plots in perpetuity. This would never happen if it were a Christian or Lithuanian national cemetery where nationally beloved figures found what was meant to be their place of rest.

Now, unfortunately, imminent danger lurks again, as the government’s own bank has just announced that building is again soon scheduled to start.

We must therefore redouble our polite and civil protests to ensure that this does not happen, that the government finds ANOTHER place for its new national convention center (that will be a pride, not a “shande” for our country), and that the cemetery can be lovingly restored as has been done in other European cities. I am sorry to report that in recent times one of the main obstacles has been the (US taxpayer funded!) “United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (known as “USCPAHA” for short) that exists to preserve endangered cemeteries, not to collude with foreign governments and their agents to help with excuses and cover-ups to destroy them!

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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), Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Incredibly, US Taxpayer-Funded Commission is HURTING instead of HELPING the Cause!

Israel’s Interior Minister Protests Desecration of Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



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

JERUSALEM—In a letter dated today, and released to the media, Israel’s Minister of the Interior Rabbi Aryeh Machluf Deri appealed to the director of the Foreign Ministry to take serious action concerning the threat of desecration to the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius).

The letter calls for the Foreign Ministry’s “immediate intervention” and cites the pain that would be caused to world Jewry by pursuit of the current project planned for the site.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on Israel’s Interior Minister Protests Desecration of Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

New York Daily News Covers Struggle to Preserve the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



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

NEW YORK CITY—The Sunday edition of New York’s Daily News today published a report by its crime reporter Reuven Blau on efforts to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery by persuading authorities to move their planned new national convention center to another venue so that the cemetery, dating to the 15th century and containing the remains of thousands of Vilna Jews over the centuries, might be lovingly restored. The article appears on the newspaper’s website, but is not accessible in various European and other countries. For readers’ convenience, a PDF follows (and can be accessed here).  The focus of the article is Mr. Dov (Berel) Fried of New York,  a Talmudic scholar in the grand Litvak tradition who is one of the central figures in the international coalition that has emerged to save the cemetery.

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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) | Comments Off on New York Daily News Covers Struggle to Preserve the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vulovak’s Latest Caricature in His Series on ‘The Convention Center in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  CEMETERIES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ARTS  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

אויך מיר אַ קאָנווענשאָן צענטער!

Oykh mir a konvenshon tsenter!

Don’t Lithuania’s citizens deserve a sparkling new convention center where they will be welcomed by leaders of the arts, entertainment, industry and statecraft, not by the ghosts of the thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens who lie buried on all four sides, in the city’s Old Jewish Cemetery, where their families purchased their burial plots in perpetuity? 

by VULOVAK for Defending History

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Posted in Arts, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged | Comments Off on Vulovak’s Latest Caricature in His Series on ‘The Convention Center in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’

US Taxpayer-Funded Commission Taken to Court in DC for Helping Vilnius Builders Desecrate City’s Old Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  USCPAHA  | CPJCE

NEW YORK CITY—A New York Institute of Technology professor of physics, Prof. Bernard Fryshman, who is also one of the world’s major advocates for the preservation of endangered minority cemeteries (he helped the US Congress draft its 2014 resolution on the subject) has teamed up with Boruch Pines, a New York based descendant of many persons buried in the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt in the Šnipiškės (Yiddish: Shnípeshok) district of modern Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. Together, they filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on 8 November 2018. Defending History has obtained a copy of the summons and complaint, available as PDF, and below immediately following this report.

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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, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on US Taxpayer-Funded Commission Taken to Court in DC for Helping Vilnius Builders Desecrate City’s Old Jewish Cemetery