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

Professor Leiman Responds to Vilnius Attack on Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition



OPINION  |   MEDIA WATCH  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION 

by Shnayer Leiman

Note: This follows on from our report where links are to be found to the articles that elicited the present discussion.

Anyone who would claim that Ruta Bloshtein, a citizen of Lithuania, born and raised in Vilnius, is anything less than a staunch supporter of what is ultimately best for Lithuania, is sorely mistaken. She is a courageous leader of the Vilnius Jewish community and seeks only truth and fairness in Lithuania’s treatment of its minority communities. An abomination took place in Vilnius when it was under Soviet domination. A Sports Palace was constructed over a historical Jewish cemetery, where for some 400 years, every Jew – man, woman, and child – who died in Vilnius was buried. These include the graves of the Gaon of Vilna’s entire family (parents, wives, and children); R. Abraham Danzig, author of a famous Jewish code of law still in use and studied widely, and his family; and hundreds of other distinguished rabbis, scholars, poets, and scientists.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Professor Leiman Responds to Vilnius Attack on Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition

“United Lithuania” to Hold Peaceful Gathering on Sunday to Celebrate Sanctity of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



VILNIUS—A peaceful gathering will be held this Sunday, 12 January,  AT 2 PM to celebrate the sanctity of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district across the river from central Vilnius. The event will be organized by Vieninga Lietuva (United Lithaunia), a group of Lithuanians and Jews working together to make bona fide  progress by dialogue and a search for basic truths —  rather than just score PR or political points — concerning the issues at hand. In this case, the group has asked for the new national convention center project to be moved away from the five hundred year old Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, which could be lovingly restored. The initiative’s website,  Vieninga Lietuva describes the event in detail, and the event’s poster appears below.

In the run-up to Sunday’s event, the event’s organizer, Dr Andrius Kulikauskas, founder and editor of Vieninga Lietuva, has issued a detailed press release published at BNS, comprising images and video, along with his nuanced take on a number of the complex issues in play [update: it has appeared also in Vakarų Ekspresas].

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, also a prominent contributor to Defending History over the years, today released the following statement:

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on “United Lithuania” to Hold Peaceful Gathering on Sunday to Celebrate Sanctity of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

What Website in Vilnius would Defame Leading Jewish Woman Activist to Deter Jewish People from Voicing Views?


[LAST UPDATE: 12 JAN. 2020]

OPINION  |   MEDIA WATCH  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  JEWISH COMMUNITY ISSUES

VILNIUS—Yet again, an operative has allegedly been mobilized as fodder to personally attack a member of Lithuania’s small Jewish community as part of a campaign by some state-sponsored “official Jewish community leadership” to intimidate today’s Lithuanian Jews. If they stand up for a Jewish cemetery, and dare disagree with it becoming a national convention center, they will be smeared on the official website as liars, misleaders and secretly paid agents of some mysterious source of riches. This is a tragedy. It is part of a saga that will go down in Jewish history as possibly the worst case of state restitution for prewar Jewish property leading to disastrous results for the present and future of Jewish life on site, while providing glories and power for a tiny local elite and its “boards” of foreign fellow-travelers who relish coming to Vilnius for banquets and photo-ops with the high and mighty.

The latest effort was published earlier this week on the Lithuanian (PDF) and Russian (PDF) pages of the official community’s website. Perhaps they are too ashamed of the piece to post it in English. It is after all meant to frighten local Jewish people to never dare disagree. A full English translation is available (as PDF). It accuses one of the most esteemed, idealistic, hard-working, modestly-living and dedicated members of the community, Ruta Bloshtein, author of the acclaimed international petition to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from becoming a convention center grounds, of “misleading tens of thousands of people” and consisting of “pure lies.” Before declaring at the end, Soviet commissar style, that the “discussion is closed,” the author addresses Ms. Bloshtein in the second person: “I have already started believing that your propaganda campaign has a vested material interest. Somebody is paying for this campaign in hope of material gain.” In the classic mode of Soviet propaganda, the truth is  turned upside down. It is the builders, property developers, state property bank, corrupt politicians in tow, convention center managers, and a handful of shameless Jewish quislings (in Lithuania and abroad) who have a “vested material interest” that has been exposed as monetary in the case of the London “grave trading rabbis” who offer “permissions” to desecrate Jewish cemeteries in cases where all other rabbis on the planet forbid it.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Website in Vilnius would Defame Leading Jewish Woman Activist to Deter Jewish People from Voicing Views?

Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery


[LAST UPDATE]


JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION

JUMP TO WHAT’S GOING ON WITH ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE PRESERVING JEWISH CEMETERIES

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?”

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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

Ruta Bloshtein Responds to Latest Call for a Convention Center Atop the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION

by Ruta Bloshtein (Vilnius)

This article appeared in Lithuanian on the website of the official Jewish Community of Lithuania. After the site’s editor refused to publish an English version on the site’s extensive English-language section, the author released this text for publication here. See also Ms. Bloshtein’s recent article in New York’s Algemeiner Journal. She is the author of the international petition concerning the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery.

In his article “On the Reconstruction of the Palace of Sports on the Old Vilnius Šnipiškės (Piramont) Jewish Cemetery into the New Congress Center” (“Dėl Sporto rūmų rekonstrukcijos ant esančių senųjų Vilniaus žydų Šnipiškių (Piramonto) kapinių į naują Kongresų centrą”), published on the Lithuanian Jewish Community website on December 12, 2019, the author expresses his concern over the possibility of the cemetery being desecrated for the third time if the decision to demolish the building of the Palace of Sports was made.

The author calls the suggestion to restore the cemetery a “delirious fantasy”—in effect a slur against the suggestion by highly esteemed Professor Sid Leiman, who has spent many years researching the history, plans, and epitaphs of the Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Cemetery in great detail.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein Responds to Latest Call for a Convention Center Atop the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

A “Day of Shame” in Annals of Lithuanian Jewish History?



Did a “Dubious Minyan of Ten State Property Bank Officials” with Alleged “Jewish Enablers” Just Sell Out the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery for a Multimillion Euro Conference Center?

Are leaders of  some American Jewish organizations betraying Jewish interests for a pot of lentils from East European governments? AJC’s Andy Baker trashes Ruta Bloshtein’s petition and its tens of thousands of signatories; another one-sided YIVO “symposium” (but with powerful audience questions from Ms. Rebecca Cook and Prof. Bernard Fryshman)… Top state medals for Yivo and AJC leaders (see Yivo’s “politics in Lithuania” record from 2011). “History will be very clear about all this, notwithstanding the current mush achieved by some big PR bucks.” Recent PR shtik includes claiming some books found decades ago are “just now discovered” and recruiting an American academic (who helped cover for two new buildings on the old Vilna cemetery over a decade ago) to tell the media they are “the new Dead Sea Scrolls”…

If a new national convention center is indeed to open at the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, thousands each night would cheer, sing, clap, dance, use bars and flush toilets surrounded by thousands of Vilna Jewish graves going back over 500 years. Including the parents and son of the Gaon of Vilna. Just as the state-sponsored “2020 Year of the Gaon” gets underway, including a handsome new recombinated menorah coin.

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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, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A “Day of Shame” in Annals of Lithuanian Jewish History?

How does One Hurt and Humiliate a Person (or a People)?



OPINION

by Ruta Bloshtein

The author is a native of Vilnius hailing from centuries of Litvaks, who has worked for years in the Judaica department of Lithuania’s Martynas Mažvydas National Library. She is a prominent member of Vilnius’s small Orthodox Jewish community. She is the author of the international petition to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. English translations of some of her writings are available online. For more on the 10 euro “Gaon coin” referred to, see its DH section. The views reflected in this article are strictly Ms. Bloshtein’s. The Lithuanian original of this article appeared in 7md (PDF of print version).

 

How does one hurt and humiliate a person (or a people)?

By Actions.

2020 has been declared “The Year of the Vilna Gaon and the Jewish Heritage.” Sounds solemn? It only sounds so. Empty pots make the most noise. What are these words based on? On plans to build a convention center on Jewish graves? On the remains of the Vilna Gaon’s family members and tens of thousands of other Jews. How does that sound? Like a mockery of the close to 50,000 Jews and Non-Jews from around the world who signed the protest petition. How does that sound? Like laughing at the sorrow of the venerable rabbis, of the great leaders of Lithuanian-tradition yeshivas. How does that sound? Like a rape of the very spirit, of the religious and moral norms of the entire nation.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, 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, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How does One Hurt and Humiliate a Person (or a People)?

Kokiais būdais galima užgauliai pažeminti žmogų?



OPINION

Ruta Bloshtein

Komentaro autorė — vilnietė, aktyvi mažos Vilniaus žydų ortodoksų bendruomenės narė, ilgus metus dirbanti Lietuvos nacionalinės Martyno Mažvydo bibliotekos Judaikos skyriuje. Ji yra ir tarpautinės peticijos Senosioms Vilniaus žydų (Piromonto) kapinėms išsaugoti rengėja. Kai kurių jos straipsnių angliškas versijas galite rasti atitinkamoje Defending History“ sekcijoje. Daugiau apie komentare minimą „Gaono monetą“ skaitykite jai skirtoje Defending History“ sekcijoje. Komentare išsakyta nuomonė yra ponios Bloštein.

Kokiais būdais galima užgauliai pažeminti žmogų?

Veiksmu, raštu ir žodžiu.

Veiksmu.

2020 metai paskelbti „Gaono ir žydų paveldo metais“. Skamba skambiai? Tik skamba. Tuščia puodynė garsiai skamba. Kuo pagrįsti šie žodžiai? Planais įrengti nacionalinį konferencijų centrą ant žydų kapų? Ant Vilniaus Gaono šeimos narių, jų palikuonių ir likusių dešimčių tūkstančių žydų palaikų. Skamba? Kaip pašaipa iš 50 000 pasaulio žydų ir ne žydų, pasirašiusiųjų protesto peticiją. Skamba? Kaip pajuoka iš didžiųjų litvakų ješyvų vadovų, garbių rabinų širdgėlos. Skamba? Kaip prievartavimas visos tautos dvasios, religinių nuostatų ir moralės normų.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilniaus senosios žydų (Piramonto) kapinės Šnipiškėse | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kokiais būdais galima užgauliai pažeminti žmogų?

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