“Jewish” Events as Cover?

Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?



OPINION  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Beware of any academic conference hosted by a nation’s parliament. This isn’t about Lithuania, the Baltics, or Eastern Europe. It’s about the intellectual independence and academic integrity of bona fide academic conclaves anywhere. There are elementary questions. Was there a public call for papers? Was there an academic committee established to select those papers by the most competent specialists on the actual topic of the conference? An academic committee that would guard against the petty jealousies, politics of revenge and personal exclusions, as well as larger political correctnesses or state-sponsored-agency attempts to predetermine the proceedings or (ab)use them for governmental PR? Is the conference a free tribune for the exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect? One where scholars of opposing views can thrash it out, robustly and publicly — without the loss of interpersonal respect — to yield positive results for the area of human enquiry to which the conference was dedicated in the first place. One of the ironies is that Vilnius is nowadays host to some of the world’s best (and most academically free) conferences in an array of fields, both in the humanities and the sciences. That Soviet-style rigging should survive in the case of Judaic studies, of all things, will itself be studied one day.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?

Kerler’s 9 August Lecture on “Yiddish: A Language in Contact Within and Without” Open to Public



VILNIUS—Professor Dov-Ber Kerler, deeply involved in the 2010 purge of Vilnius Yiddish Institute staff (including his own former doctoral supervisor at Oxford) for having disagreed with some Lithuanian government policies on the Holocaust, and in an alleged ongoing effort to obfuscate the history of Yiddish studies at Oxford and Vilnius, will be lecturing this Wednesday, 9 August 2017, at the new Judaica Research Center at Lithuania’s National Library in Vilnius. He is the head of the leading American Yiddish graduate studies program, that currently produces more Yiddish Studies doctorates than any other, at the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University at Bloomington. The topic of the lecture is “Yiddish: A Language in Contact Within and Without” on which Prof. Kerler has carried out pioneering research for decades. The event is open to the public free of charge. The lecture is underwritten by the government’s Ministry of Culture. More details are available on the Center’s Facebook page. Professor Kerler is also a specialist on Ethics in Yiddish Studies. He was honored for his efforts by a popular t-shirt in Lithuania.

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Scholars Issue Public Letter on Ukrainian Holocaust Revisionist Participation in 9-11 March 2017 Paris Conference



UKRAINE  |   FRANCE   |   DOUBLE GENOCIDE REVISIONISM   |  DOUBLE GAMES

 ◊

The following open Letter of Concern appears on the Academia.edu page of Professor Tarik Cyril Amar and others.

To the Organizers of the Symposium “The Holocaust in Ukraine. New Perspectives on the Evils of the 20th Century,” Paris, March 9-11, 2017:

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When the Picture and the Headline Tell Opposite Stories



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE   |   LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

Full credit to the Forward’s Paul Berger, who has, as ever, sought to be meticulously fair in his new article on some aspects of contemporary Lithuanian Jewish life. This “addendum” goes in a sense more to the wider issues encountered when Western journalists cover stories in the “slightly exotic east,” here in Eastern Europe, on ground zero of the Holocaust, where Jewish communities are ipso facto remnant communities, and where certain larger trends can at times be in play.

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Nida Degutiene’s Litvak-Israeli Cookbook Featured at NY’s Lithuanian Consulate in Cooperation with Yivo



OPINION   |   EVENTS   |   BOOKS   |   YIVO’S “LITHUANIAN PR” AGENDA

A TASTE OF ISRAELNEW YORK—Tomorrow’s daytime event featuring Nida Degutiene’s new book, A Taste of Israel: From Classic Litvak to Modern Israel (Penguin Random House South Africa 2016) is a joint production of the Consulate General of Lithuania in New York City and the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. It will be held at the Consulate General’s offices at 420 Fifth Avenue at 12:30 PM on Monday 16 January 2017. Defending History recommends the event to our readers in the New York City area and we recommend Ms. Degutiene’s excellent book (available from many outlets including Amazon).

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In Reply to Summertime Yiddishists in Vilnius



VILNIUSThe following Facebook post, on the page of DH’s editor, issued today, is republished below. For context and a fuller picture, see DH’s recent report on the manipulation of Yiddish by the state’s commission reponsible for promoting the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament and beyond.

Image may contain: shoes, text and one or more people

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When Yiddish is a Prop for Holocaust Revisionism



NEWS, VIEWS, QUIPS AND SHMIPS FROM SUMMER 2016

Yiddish summer course again features American author Ellen Cassedy as lecturer on Holocaust topics; her 2012 book, part-funded by the Tides Foundation (a Soros beneficiary), was launched by the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington DC.

But will students be informed of critical reviews of the book (e.g. by Allan Nadler, Olga Zabludoff, Efraim Zuroff, Dovid Katz) or about the peaceful protest that awaited her at London University?

Will organizers invite, for balance, Ruta Vanagaite and Efraim Zuroff to discuss their 2016 book (recently featured in Newsweek)?

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“Prague Platform” Ensnares “European Shoah Legacy Institute” in Double Genocide



Prague Platform” and Slovak government announce partnership with the “European Shoah Legacy Institute” (!) in organizing:

EU Competition for a New Red-Brown, Mix-n-Match Memorial in Brussels; Students Aged 16-21 Eligible

CAMPAIGN TO EXPORT DOUBLE GENOCIDE FROM EAST EUROPEAN NATIONALISTS TO THE WIDER EU?

Will the red-equals-brown street-shows of Eastern Europe now be exported to Brussels under cover of a “Jewish” organization dedicated to Holocaust justice?

“Guidelines” include the requirement that “the memorial must be inclusive of the victims of National Socialism, Fascism and Communism”

LONG RECORD OF USE OF JEWISH, YIDDISH, OR HOLOCAUST PROJECTS AS A KIND OF PR COVER FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM

ALSO: EU funded “Prague Platform” exhibit that spews Double Genocide revisionism of the Holocaust arrives in Budapest; More on the “Platform” and the exhibit that circles the globe (courtesy of EU taxpayers) to underpin Eastern European far-right revisionism; Still, Platform’s director insists that nobody is erecting monuments for Nazi collaborators — Unaware of news from Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine?   More

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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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Appeal to Conscience of the “Red-Brown Commission”


[updated]


Appeal to the conscience of the members of the renewed state-financed “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania

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UCL “Point Man” Honored in Vilnius



LONDONDefending History readers are familiar with the curious history of University College London’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies repeatedly providing cover for Lithuanian government efforts to obfuscate the Holocaust via the revisionist paradigm widely known as Double Genocide.  The saga started in late 2010 with the announcement of an “academic” conference from which all critics of Lithuanian government policy were banned, and whose raison d’être was announced as replacing the “simplified” narratives of the Holocaust. The then head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Prof. Ada Rapoport-Albert, was herself one of the signatories on a public letter of protest handed to the Lithuanian embassy in February 2011. The Wiesenthal Center’s director of East European affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, published an op-ed on the subject in London’s Jewish Chronicle.

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Forward Coverage of Yivo Strife Omits Mention of Instrumentalization by Lithuanian Holocaust Revisionism Industry



YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  DOUBLE GAMES

NEW YORK CITY—A 9 March 2016 Forward article, by Britta Lokting, focused on Martin Peretz’s recent resignation from Yivo’s board, cited a number of current Yivo issues. It did not, however, mention the major issue of instrumentalization by the Lithuanian government’s campaign of Holocaust obfuscation, relativization and revisionism. It did reference the now-famous Vilnius-based digitization project.

In 2011, Yivo honored an antisemitic foreign minister while failing to honor the Yiddish speaking Vilna Holocaust survivors maligned by Lithuanian prosecutors, resulting in a heartfelt plea from the long-time editor of the Jewish community’s quadrilingual newspaper. Then, in 2012, it sent its director to Vilnius to help cover for the reburial with full honors of a Holocaust perpetrator, and saw its director join (and thereby give legitimacy to) the notorious “Red-Brown Commission.” A year ago, the organization was called to task by a Vilna Holocaust survivor in the Yiddish Fórverts (English translation here; unmentioned in the English Forward?). See Defending History’s section on Yivo issues in recent years.

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A Month After Kaunas March Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators, Israeli Ambassador Shocks Survivors by Praising City’s Jewish Remembrance



ISRAEL CHRONICLE   |  ISRAEL SECTION  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES

KAUNAS—One month after this year’s infamous Independence Day march in central Kaunas that featured a banner glorifying a number of Holocaust collaborators, including those co-responsible for the fate of this city’s 30,000 Jews in the Holocaust here on its ground zero, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania HE Amir Maimon has paid a very public congratulatory call on the mayor and city council to praise them unreservedly for their Jewish remembrance policies. There was no public mention of the march or request that future events desist from publicly glorifying the city’s collaborators. The following report is from today’s edition of the official website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Holocaust survivors and their families in both Kaunas and Vilnius who contacted Defending History were incredulous and “in shock”…

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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”

Rothschild (of London) Finances “Closed” Conference (in Vilnius) on Jewish Cemeteries (That May be Cover for Most Painful Desecration Yet of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery)



OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    HIGH INTRIGUE     DH SECTION     EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Not for the first time, outstanding scholars and professionals are happy to accept a gracious invitation to a Jewish-topic international conference in this beautiful East European capital city that has for centuries been a symbol of the resilience of various minority cultures, including  stateless cultures, to thrive side by side.

“HISTORY IN THE MAKING”

Delegates to a conference on Jewish cemeteries, held in Vilnius in 2015, can get to read the statement in 2015 on a certain Jewish cemetery by the Chief Rabbi of Lithuania of 11 years’ standing, for which he was dismissed a couple of months before the conference. Would the conference not wish to hear from the rabbi too?

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Run-Up to a Vilnius Rothschild Foundation (London) Conference



CONCERN SPREADING OVER “CLOSED [SECRET?] CONFERENCE” IN VILNIUS 25-28 OCTOBER FINANCED BY ROTHSCHILD FOUNDATION (HANADIV LONDON)! LIST OF SPEAKERS INCLUDES SPOKESMAN OF THE LONDON CPJCE “GRAVE TRADER RABBIS” BUT NOT ONE FROM THE MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION

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Another “Conference on Antisemitism” in Lithuania



Human Rights  /  Antisemitism  /  Opinion

by Defending History Staff

The well-organized conference “Antisemitism, Radicalization and Violent Extremism”  was held on 30 September 2015 at Vilnius’s Novotel Hotel by the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HMRI) with partners (see program). It will go down in history as one of the most remarkable capers yet in the fraught local “Dead Jew Business,” as it is increasingly becoming known. The biggest shock of the day was that one of the three keynote morning session speakers was Swedish-born Lithuania-resident filmmaker Jonas Ohman, known in town for his (far right style) glorification of postwar resistance fighters — one of the most painful issues of Baltic antisemitism in the twenty-first century — without the slightest mention of the alleged Holocaust perpetrator background of the precise figures glorified.

But the film maker chosen for the morning session manages at the same time to also be a (far left style) Israel baiter, whose current “humanitarian project” is a petition asking the mayor of Vilnius to sack a Jewish (Israeli-Lithuanian) advisor on the basis of social media “silly photos” that become bacteriologically antisemitic when recycled in his own petition, and beyond, in its recontextualized, politically charged incarnation. Far from doing the same to counter officials and advisors with neo-Nazi links, he boasted in his talk (amateur video) of his links to Right Sector and other Ukrainian groups that adulate wartime Holocaust perpetrators. When he was trashing Israel, the Israeli ambassador to Lithuania, Amir Maimon, sitting in the hall, boldly called out a question: “Are you rewriting the history?” (at time code 13:31).

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Why Was Richard Maullin, Head of California ISO, Honored by the Foreign Minister of Lithuania?



O P I N I O N

LOS ANGELES—Richard A. Maullin, elected less than a year ago as the chair of the California Independent System Operator (ISO) Board, was lavishly honored here on May 31st by both the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States and the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. The latter, in the tradition of royalty, meticulously placed the Lithuanian Diplomatic Star around the neck of Dr. Maullin, a major American pollster and principal of the LA polling and public policy research firm FM3, often still known by its older name Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

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Lithuania’s President and Entourage Lay Wreaths at Ponár on May 8th…



VIDEO

Dovid Katz in Times of Israel (11 May)

Efraim Zuroff in i24 (12 May)

“Equally” at Monuments for Jewish, Lithuanian and Polish Victims, but Skipping the Stone Commemorating the 7,514 Red Army Prisoners of Various Nationalities Starved and Murdered at the Site.

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SLS’s 2015 Sutzkever Prize: Yiddish Poetry Serving Right-Wing East European Politics?



O P I N I O N

The bizarre saga of the Montreal-based Summer Literary Seminars (SLS) “Jewish Lithuania Sutzkever Prize” continues apace with ever-increasing disrespect toward Abraham Sutzkever and his fellow Jewish partisans who helped liberate Lithuania from the Nazis, and ever more political entanglement with current geopolitical instrumentalization of Yiddish and Jewish causes in Eastern Europe in the context of East-West tensions.

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Stated Purposes of Lithuanian Government’s New Commission on Jewish Heritage



D O C U M E N T S

The following excerpt from the Lithuanian government’s documents, released today, explains the purposes of the new state commission on Jewish heritage. It is excerpted from longer documents available here and here. Updates on the commission’s history will appear on this page.

FOR UPDATES SEE HERE

But was it all part of a massive ruse to cover up for the 25 million dollar convention center planned for the heart of the old Jewish cemetery in Vilna?

 

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Double Games, 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 | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Stated Purposes of Lithuanian Government’s New Commission on Jewish Heritage

The Lithuanian Government’s New Commission on Lithuanian Jewish Heritage



D O C U M E N T S

The following English version of the Lithuanian government’s announcement of its new state commission on Jewish heritage was released today. A PDF of the entire document is available here. An excerpt containing the mission statement is available here.

Update of 22 July 2015: Evidence mounts that the “Heritage Commission” was set up by the Lithuanian government, in part, to cover for the decision, at the same time, to proceed with a twenty-five million dollar convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt. One or more members of the commmision are also members of the state’s “red-brown commission” that promotes Double Genocide revisionism of Holocaust history; of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad; of a London rabbinic group that profits from “selling rights” to build on cemeteries under its expensive supervision. See the narrative and the paper trail (where color-coding marks the heritage commission’s adventures in purple).

Update of 22 June 2015: See now our report on the recent history of the Vilnius cemetery dispute. See also the statement from Herbert Block’s office about his own membership in the commission below.

Update of 1 June 2015: See now the 1 May listing of twelve major issues for the commission (with 1 June addendum) and the media chronicle of the renewed dispute over construction of a congress and entertainment complex on the site of Vilna’s Old Jewish cemetery.

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Translation of a Yiddish Correspondence: The Vilna Holocaust Survivor and the Director of Yivo



D O C U M E N T S

Editor’s note: The following is a translation of the open letter by Professor Pinchos Fridberg, a Holocaust survivor in Vilnius, and the reply by Yivo’s director, Dr. Jonathan Brent. Both were published in the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) on 1 March 2015. Prof. Fridberg has also posted an audio file of his reading his letter aloud in his native Vilna Yiddish. In the case of any issue arising, the Yiddish text is authoritative. For readers’ reference, hyperlinks have been added (by Defending History) to various of the documents and topics cited. See also the Pinchos Fridberg page and section in Defending History, page and section on the state-sponsored commission discussed, and section on Yivo issues.

September 2014 at Ponár, the mass muder site of Vilna Jewry: Three representatives of the controversial state sponsored commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes pay respects in unison: (from left): Dr. Jonathan Brent, Emanuelis Zingeris, Ronaldas Račinskas. Photo: Defending History.


 

D

ear Dr. Jonathan Brent,

 

I appeal to you in Yiddish. Do you know why? Because I believe, that a person who is the leader of the Yivo institute will understand me. My name is Pinchos Fridberg. I was born in Vilna before the war and am a survivor of the Holocaust. My grandmother and grandfather, and all our relatives on my mother’s side — 28 people — lie [at the mass murder site] Ponár.

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Wiesenthal Center Blasts Vilnius Genocide Center’s Involvement in Jewish Community’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Event



The Simon Wiesenthal Center today issued a statement expressing dismay that Vilnius’s state-sponsored Genocide Center (full name: Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania) was included in the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s annual program marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. The third of three events was dedicated entirely to a book produced by the Center. The only announced speaker for the event, the book’s author, is known for rejecting known elements of the historic narrative of the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry, for his support for monuments for pro-Hitler forces, and for participation in far-right pro-fascist journals.

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No Cover-Up at Auschwitz!



 

O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The following text is the original draft, submitted on 20 January 2015 at the invitation of the London Jewish Chronicle. An edited version (processed with all courtesies to the author) appeared in the JC on 22 January. This version is posted here simply to emphasize the author’s belief that ceremonies at Auschwitz that do not address the current massive campaign by eastern EU states to downgrade and obfuscate the Holocaust are unwittingly part of a cover-up of the very unique historical phenomena they are meant to accurately preservce and pass on. The related issue of whether Russia’s leaders will be invited to the ceremonies has been analyzed in recent pieces by Efraim Zuroff and Pinchos Fridberg.


 

No Cover-Up at Auschwitz!

 
The heralded 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz approaches, amidst a grand oblivion to what is happening before our very eyes to the actual history of the Holocaust. If we fail to speak out about the irksome issues too, the pomp and circumstance ipso facto morph into an unsavoury cover-up.
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Two “C Words” for Holocaust Museums: Center of Town, and — Collaboration



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Christmas-time congratulations are due to the four architects who have won the Vilnius state Jewish museum’s competition for plans to build a Holocaust museum at the mass murder site known as Ponár in Yiddish, Ponary before the war in Polish, and currently Lithuanian Paneriai. It is a short ride outside the capital city Vilnius. The victory of the foursome, Jautra Bernotaitė, Ronaldas Pučka (team leader), Andrius Ropolas and Paulius Vaitiekūnas, is announced on the museum’s website (and on Mr. Ropolas’s site). The competition was jointly run with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The elaborate description of the project’s conception, by the Union of Architects, includes many sophisticated concepts, with multiple learned citations, from Freud to Foucault. Just one rather simpler word, a word (and exhibit) needed for any Holocaust museum, is missing from the text: collaboration.

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Letter from the Director of SLS of 13 May 2011


 


HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS  /  US FOREIGN POLICY AND THE HOLOCAUST

While Dr. Efraim Zuroff, an esteemed scholar and accomplished author who has disagreed with the Lithuanian government’s Holocaust revisionism was declared by the US embassy to be “political” and grant-threatening or nullifying for a supported literary program, subsequent speakers reflecting the policies of the Lithuanian government may have been included without hesitation, e.g. E. Cassedy in 2014. Incidentally, Defending History criticized an earlier State Dept. supported visit by Ms. Cassedy, not objecting to her appearance on any of these occasions, but rather to the exclusion of second opinions from the roster of speakers.

UPDATE: SEE ALSO REPLY

For students of the history of Holocaust issues in American foreign policy during the Obama administration, possible links with officials of a US museum and a Fulbright fellow in Vilnius may prove to be of some interest in future studies of attempts to manipulate the Holocaust debate during these years, in the context of Baltic and east-west politics, and of shifting State Department policy. Others who have remarked on the shift in US policy include Rachel Kostanian, longtime head of the Green House Holocaust museum in Vilnius; Milan Chersonski, longtime editor of the Jewish community’s quadrilingual newspaper; and journalist Geoff Vasil.
One yardstick for a future study will be the roster of Jewish-interest speakers who appeared with direct and indirect State Dept. support, and the percentage who had disagreed with Baltic nationalist Holocaust revisionism.
This document (below) appears here today after an SLS official publicly called the author of an op-ed in New York’s Algemeiner Journal “a bald-faced liar” (in the comments to the op-ed),  for asserting US embassy manipulation of the debate on the Holocaust in Lithuania via SLS, with a follow-up replete with unusual personal invective including the issue of our editor’s choice of city of residence…
Incidentally, the same SLS leader had published a very different earlier set of views numerous times, e.g. here and here, and was pleased for a Defending History section to be devoted to his writings and interviews.

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An Open Letter to Inna Rogatchi



O P I N I O N

Dear Dr. Rogatchi,

Warm congratulations on your excellent film, The Lessons of Survival. Conversations with Simon Wiesenthal. We encourage all our readers to see the film, and those who live in or near Vilnius to attend the screening this Tuesday 28 October 2014 at 5 PM at the Vilnius Jewish Public Library, followed  by a distinguished panel discussion.

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Far-Left and Far-Right Politics are Not Good for Yiddish



O P I N I O N

Early this summer (for the second year in a row), several participants in the annual Helix trip to Eastern Europe contacted Defending History asking to meet with us during their stay here in Vilnius. We promptly replied to each, explaining that one of us would be delighted to speak to the group, even for a very short talk, and gratis, but that we did not feel comfortable with the idea of them meeting us “secretly,” in other words without the agreement of the group’s leadership and/or sponsors.

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A Kyrgyz-Kazakhstani Yiddish Twist? Was A. Mashkevich, Major Jewish Philanthropist, Manipulated by Lithuanian Operatives?


Alexander Mashkevich

Alexander Mashkevich

Sources in the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, themselves asking to remain anonymous, have leaked to select media contacts that the “secret donor” for the secretive new WJC/ORT Yiddish cultural center in Vilnius is none other than Kyrgyz born Alexander Mashkevich, a charismatic, brilliant, well-liked, and decidedly flamboyant “Russian Jewish oligarch” who is mostly associated with Kazakhstan.

Mr. Mashkevich holds a doctorate in linguistics, is descended from Lithuanian Jews, and is known for his generosity to numerous charities and his leadership in the Russian-speaking Jewish world. He is a former president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. The WJC and ORT sources supplying the information claim to be worried on his behalf about manipulation by the Lithuanian government’s “double genocide unit” via the medium of famous Jewish organizations.

The center’s establishment was announced in a Vilnius interview with World Jewish Congress executive director Michael Schneider last April, in which he indicated that the new center would be funded by “an anonymous donor who doesn’t want his name to be mentioned.”

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Milan Chersonski, Longtime Editor of “Jerusalem of Lithuania” Calls on World Jewish Congress to Advertise New Yiddish Positions in Vilnius


VILNIUS—Milan Chersonski made public today the text of his letter to Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. Mr. Chersonski was editor-in-chief of the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) Jerusalem of Lithuania, the official publication of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, from 1999 to 2011. From 1979 to 1999 he was artistic director of the Jewish Folk Theatre in Vilnius, which for many years had been the only Yiddish theatre in the Soviet Union. A film documentary tribute to his work was released in 2012 (part 1; part 2).

Mr. Chersonski is a regular contributor to Defending History. This statement reflects his personal views.


An Open Letter  to Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress

 Vilnius, 25 July 2014

Dear Mr. Lauder,

I am one of your loyal admirers who for many years, as editor (in the years 1999-2011) of the quadrilingual newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Jerusalem of Lithuania, has been following your achievements, and also your deep commitment to Judaism via a range of philanthropic initiatives that have made a substantial difference for the betterment of Jewish life. When you were appointed to the presidency of the World Jewish Congress in 2007, I was proud as editor to give the event and your many achievements front page coverage (see Jerusalem of Lithuania, 2007, no. 5-6: page 1).

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Tel Aviv’s Leyvik House Issues Call to World Jewish Congress on Vilnius Yiddish Jobs in the Works


 TEL AVIV— Daniel Galay, director of Leyvik House in central Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s major Yiddish culture institutions, issued the following statement today on the Leyvik House website (copy), and on its Facebook page (see also Efraim Zuroff’s Facebook comment). For background see our earlier report.


 

Appeal to the World Jewish Congress

Tel Aviv, 12 June 2014

Like all lovers of Yiddish language and culture, we at Leyvik House in Tel Aviv, home to the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel, were happy to see the recent announcement that the World Jewish Congress would be facilitating a new Yiddish center in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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Could WJC get Ensnared in “Yiddish” as Cover for Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania?



O P I N I O N

A recent report, also available as PDF, suggests sudden and deep involvement of the World Jewish Congress in the Lithuanian government’s repeatedly documented use of Yiddish, Judaic studies and even Holocaust studies as means to advance — or cover for — state-sponsored Double Genocide revisionism with respect to the essential narrative of the Holocaust. The report has proven to be disturbing for the wider Holocaust survivor community and its supporters.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, South Africa, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Could WJC get Ensnared in “Yiddish” as Cover for Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania?

WJC Executive Director Michael Schneider Goes on the Record in Vilnius, about Yiddish and Secret Donor


The following is a reprint of the interview given by Michael Schneider, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, dated 9 April 2014 and posted shortly thereafter on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania (PDF here).

UPDATE: See Section on WJC and ORT Yiddish involvement in Vilnius. Open letters to the WJC from Milan Chersonski, Daniel Galay, Regina Kopilevich, Prof. Olegas Poliakovas.


 

World Jewish Congress and Lithuanian Jewish Community Attention to and Support for the Vilnius Yiddish Institute

 April 9, 2014

SchneiderisMICHAEL SCHNEIDERIS

Michael Schneider, a well-known leader of the World Jewish Congress and former executive director of WJC and the JDC (Joint), is currently visiting the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Discussions are taking place at the community on improving and expanding the activity of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University and changes in its administration.

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Olga Zabludoff’s Comment on a February 2014 Yivo Symposium


 


The following 7 March 2014 comment by Olga Zabludoff on the video posted of the 14 February 2014 event at Yivo appears in the Comments section for her earlier article in the Algemeiner Journal, where readers can follow the entire discussion.


Many thanks to Yivo for posting the video of the discussion “Unresolved History: Jews and Lithuanians after the Holocaust.” In my opinion, the champion panelist was Leonidas Donskis who opened his heart with conviction and courage. As a Jewish Lithuanian his understanding of and sympathy for both Jews and Lithuanians have generated wise insights and pervasive truths. Among his magnitude of analytical comments to be applauded, Donskis explained that the Far Right in Lithuania has managed to get close to the center of power where they have been “mainstreamed” rather than marginalized. He also reflected on how difficult it is for Lithuanians who have decided to tell the truth. As a nation “we lack the political courage,” he remarked.

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Out On Ellis Street in San Francisco



O P I N I O N

Members of the US-based “Litvak SIG” (both those on the free lists, and those who paid their $36 a year dues for full membership), have been informed of the following event and the book it features, coming up this Thursday evening in San Francisco. (When Messiah will come, the subscribers to both “SIG” sections will learn about the existence of Defending History, too and its modest, but free, Litvak interest sections. We must have patience.)

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Lithuanian-Jewish Affairs: Three Events


(Reposted from today’s Jerusalem Post)


 

O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

Three events took place this weekend which reflect the ambiguities of contemporary Jewish life in the Baltics and particularly in Lithuania, the largest of the three new democracies. In reverse order, on Sunday, ultra-nationalist groups staged an Independence Day march, which included anti-Semitic themes, in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s interwar capital and the country’s second largest city.Continue reading

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Another Panel at Yivo, Neo-Nazi Marches in Lithuania, and American Silence on Glorification of Nazi Collaborators



 

O P I N I O N

by Olga Zalubdoff

The following is the text of Olga Zabludoff’s op-ed published on 13 February 2014 in the Algemeiner JournalComments by readers are available at the original site of publication.


 

Yivo, Lithuania, The Holocaust

Nobody could love or respect the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research more than I do. It was founded as the Yiddish Scientific Institute in Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1925. Yivo remains a symbol for all who cherish our Yiddish heritage and, now, its last prewar survivors. Through the years I have spent many wondrous hours at Yivo, digging, discovering, and learning about my Litvak ancestors, their shtetlakh, and their culture. Being there always felt like being home. The books and documents I handled seemed almost sacred. Memories of conversations with Yivo’s’s revered librarian Dina Abramowicz still make me smile. . .

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Updates to 14 February 2014: Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Gov. Sponsored Camouflage Symspoium at Yivo in New York


Colleagues in Lithuania of all backgrounds invited to meet Dr. Efraim Zuroff, and join silent, peaceful protest against state-enabled neo-Nazi glorification of local Holocaust collaborators: Sunday 16 Feb, 2 PM, Ramybes Park, Kaunas

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Efraim Zuroff on Tablet Magazine’s Co-Sponsorship of Lithuanian Government’s Yivo Event, and a Suggestion for Yivo’s Audience


Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter, and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, has posted the following comment on the website of Tablet magazine, as one of the comments to a new book review. The comment also appears separately on Facebook.

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Facebook Discussion (3 to 11 Dec. 2013) on a Nov. 2013 University of Toronto Event



Dovid Katz shared a link.
Friends in TORONTO and CANADA: Some links relating to the recent “Holocaust in Lithuania” symposium at the University of Toronto: http://defendinghistory.com/summary-coverage-of-toronto-24-nov-2013-symposium-on-the-holocaust-in-lithuania/61406 Toronto | DefendingHistory.com defendinghistory.com
Js Kopstein I was there. It was actually an excellent discussion. Lots of disagreement, lots of back and forth. Whatever the motives of the Lithuanian government, you really can’t characterize the event as one sided.
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Yiddish Roulette? One Resigns in Bloomington, Another Rides In from Buffalo


Sources in Bloomington, Indiana and Vilnius, Lithuania, confirmed this week that Dr. Daniel R. Berg, an eminent physician in the greater Bloomington area, has resigned from the rump “Board of Friends” of Sarunas Liekis’s “Vilnius Yiddish Institute” (VYI). The institute’s website abruptly removed Dr. Berg’s name and photograph from the board. No letter of resignation was released to the media, but a source close to the doctor said he was dismayed to see the institute’s resources being dedicated to a campaign of defamation against its own former Yiddish professor and founder, whose name and contributions have been deleted from the historic faculty page, in the classic Soviet style of revising history.

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Summary Coverage of 1-2 December 2013 London Events at ORT and Westminster Synagogue Sponsored by Lithuanian Embassy



Monica Lowenberg Issues Public Letter on Lithuanian Embassy Event

Embassy’s Latest PR Initiative Entangles Westminster Synagogue and British ORT

Lowenberg Family Severs Lifelong ORT Ties

EVENT ORGANIZERS DID NOT ALLOW PETITION TO BE READ OUT

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Summary Coverage of Toronto 24 Nov. 2013 Symposium on the Holocaust in Lithuania



University of Toronto’s Centre for Jewish Studies is latest target of Lithuanian Government’s one-sided roadshow featuring the “Red Brown Commission”; Recent gigs in VilniusBerlin, LALondonPhiladelphia

But in addition to THREE Commission members, announced  panel also included Kovno Ghetto survivor and scholar Prof. Sara Ginaitė who challenged ongoing revisionism re outbreak of the Holocaust in the week of 22 June 1941

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Monica Lowenberg Releases Text of Letter to British ORT on Latest Lithuanian Embassy Sponsored “Litvak Do” in London



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

Monica Lowenberg’s office has released for publication the following public letter sent to British ORT. 


 

British ORT, FAO The Chief Executive, Mr. Dan Green

25 November 2013

Dear Mr. Green,

It is with deep regret that my 90 year old father, Ernest Lowenberg, former Berlin ORT pupil and I write to you today.

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How Has Post-Soviet Lithuania Used Holocaust Remembrance to Project a “New” European Identity?



O P I N I O N

by Rachel Croucher  (Melbourne, Australia)

 

Lithuania declared its restoration of independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on March 11, 1990. The country then began to immediately seek closer ties with established Western European institutions as a means to consolidate its national and economic security. After centuries of subjugation at the hands of various foreign powers, this need for national and economic security was seen as being of primary and urgent concern to the fledgling democracy. This race to join as many Western European institutions as possible was also a way to prove to the rest of the world that Lithuania was now in practice a true European country, part of the post-1945 Western European order. The sentiment behind this is best expressed by Czech-born and naturalized French writer Milan Kundera when he stated in 1989 that

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Red-Brown Commission Member Takes Katz-Bashing Campaign to Litvak Culture Fest in Philadephia; LA Next?



O P I N I O N

A senior historian and his government’s “master fixer for foreign Jewish academics,” Professor Sarunas Liekis told an audience of hundreds in Philadelphia last Sunday that Dovid Katz had never been a professor of Yiddish at Vilnius University, and had been discontinued in 2010 by the American Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (led by Richard Maullin of Los Angeles) for not having turned up for class for several years (!).

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Summary Coverage of Berlin Event on Jewish Vilna and the Vilna Ghetto



One-Sided Vilna Ghetto Roadshow in Berlin?

(27-29 Oct)

CINDERELLA NOT INVITED TO THE BALL?  Her 92nd birthday was 28 Oct, in the middle of the conference.

Dr. Rachel Margolis, Vilna native, Vilna Ghetto survivor, heroic resistance fighter against the Nazis, co-founder of the Green House Holocaust museum in Vilnius, who rediscovered and published long lost diary of eyewitness to the Ponár massacres, defamed by Lithuanian state prosecutors, is not on the list of speakers in Berlin.

FROM RECENT YEARS: CHEN IVRI APTERGORDON BROWNUS CONGRESSMEN,LORD JANNERBACKGROUNDFACT SHEET. RACHEL ON VIDEO. THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS.

Rachel Margolis of Vilnius Meanwhile, in Rehovot, Rachel Margolis prepared to celebrate her 92nd birthday (Monday 28 Oct). PHOTO: HADAS PARUSH

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An Inalienable Right to be Schizophrenic?



O P I N I O N  /  E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T

by Geoff Vasil

 

On Friday, September 13, 2013, the Baltos Lankos publishing firm in Vilnius held a discussion at their main book sales outlet in Vilnius to present a book edited by Professor Jurgita Verbickienė about the Jews of Lithuania.

The discussion on this doubly auspicious day—eve of Yom Kippur and Friday the 13th—began with Verbickienė presenting a short sketch of the book and two other participants in the discussion, Zigmas Vitkus and Simonas Gurevičius. The latter is the executive director of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. The topic was how Lithuanians view Jews.

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Dr. Shimon Alperovich, Former Chairman of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Motivates his Doubts on Plans to Rebuild the Great Synagogue


Dr. Shimon Alperovich, who was chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania from 1992 to earlier this year when he retired, gave an interview today on the contentious subject of the project to rebuild the Great Synagogue in Vilnius’s old town. It was lovingly known in Vilna Yiddish as di gréyse shúl or di shtót-shul.

Dr. Alperovich stressed that he was speaking in a personal capacity.

The interview is available, in Yiddish, on YouTubeContinue reading

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An Article Sent to the South African Jewish Report


 


O P I N I O N

by Olga Zabludoff

NOTE: This article was submitted to the South African Jewish Report last spring. It never appeared and is therefore posted here for information and in the spirit of the ongoing discussion. It is again poignantly relevant in view of the South African contingent to be courted by government officials at the Fourth International Litvak Congress to be held in Vilnius later this month.


The Ball Is Now in Your Court

I have just returned from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The newly launched special exhibition, “Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust,” left me feeling drained. It’s not that I learned anything I didn’t already know. It’s just that the message, delivered in marquee-style displays, old photographs, video footage from the period, and recent oral testimonies, juxtaposed to create the sensation that I had been there — a victim.

“But what do we learn that resembles what we have seen? We have barely begun to understand the killing fields of Lithuania. . . .” writes Edward Rothstein in his review of the new exhibition (“Bystanders, Not So Innocent,” April 25, 2013, New York Times).

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Red-Brown Commission’s PR Roadshow Heads for Philadelphia PA Gig on November 10th


Three members of the Lithuanian government’s renewed “Red-Brown Commission” are to headline its next American PR event, scheduled for Philadelphia on 10 November. The Commission is widely seen as one of the politico-academic engines of Holocaust revisionism in the European Union in the spirit of “Double Genocide.” Moreover the body publicly supports the (2008) Prague Declaration, the “bible” of the Double Genocide movement. Its website does not mention existence of the European parliamentary rejoinder, the (2012) Seventy Years Declaration, signed by seventy-one EU parliamentarians, including six courageous MPs and MEPs from Lithuania.

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Disarray as Shimon Samuels Lecture at Vilnius “Jewish Library” is Cancelled



Vilnius Jewish Public Library, recently host to Genocide Center and R & B Commission

ANNOUNCES CANCELLATION

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Lithuania Propaganda Agency is On The Road Again



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

This opinion piece and eyewitness report by Geoff Vasil relates to the July 10th event in honor of the Red-Brown Commission held at the Vilnius Jewish Public Library. See related reports on the library’s instrumentalization as a PR platform for the Commission and the more or less contemporaneous announcement of the Commission’s resumed activities, in the absence of apologies to Yitzhak Arad, Pinchos Fridberg, and the other accused Holocaust survivors.


Attendees at the July 10, 2013 event to honor the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” were treated to speeches and plentiful Katz-bashing by (from right) Ronaldas Račinskas, Saulius Sužiedėlis and Ilya Lempertas.

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A Library with an Agenda? Bringing American Naifs On Board the Ultranationalists’ Baltic Holocaust Distortion Train?



SUMMARY COVERAGE OF “VILNIUS JEWISH PUBLIC LIBRARY” EVENTS TO 19 JULY 2013:

Wyman Brent’s prophecy fulfilled?

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EHU Center for German Studies: “Colloquium Vilnense 2013” is Short on “The Second Opinion” when it comes to The Holocaust



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

Colleagues at the prestigious European Humanities University in Vilnius (EHU, also known as the Belarusian Humanities University, in exile here in Vilnius) have passed on the public poster for this year’s series of seminars under the title Colloquium vilnense 2013, running from May to November 2013. The A3 size poster is reproduced (much reduced) at the bottom of this page in two halves.

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Holocaust Survivors from Lithuania Issue Statement on Sutzkever Prize in Vilnius


On the 15 July 2013 centenary of the birth of the illustrious Yiddish poet of Vilna, Abraham Sutzkever (1913–2010), the last active association of Holocaust survivors from Lithuania released the statement below (also available as PDF). It urges organizers, participants, judges and prize winners to avoid being instrumentalized as cover-up props for Holocaust obfuscation. It proposes that they simply issue public statements calling for written public apologies from the Lithuanian government to the defamed Jewish partisans who knew Sutzkever well from the forests of Lithuania and dozens of years of contact in survivor circles. See the related debate on this year’s Sutzkever Prize.

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Would a Jewish Museum in Vilnius Graywash the Lithuanian Holocaust?



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz


A recent visit to Vilnius’s “Jewish Museum — Tolerance Center” has revealed a shocking panel purporting to convey the “facts” of June 23rd 1941, the darkest date in Lithuanian Jewish history. It is the date on which the Holocaust in Lithuania began. No need, incidentally, to take our word for it. Ask any Lithuanian Jew, of any generation, current abode or political persuasion: When did the Holocaust in your country start?

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Chief Lithuanian Bureaucrat/Historian Rehabilitates Nation’s Quislings, Again



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

In an interview posted on the Delfi website on June 21, 2013, Lithuanian government historian Arūnas Bubnys, head of department for the Orwellian- or even Kafkaesque-sounding Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania, once again lent support to the pro-Nazi Lithuanian Quisling government that seized power on June 23, 1941.

The interview, titled “Lithuanian Historian: June Uprising was Rehabilitation for Shameful Surrender to Soviets,” is available here. An English translation is provided here.

What follows is my commentary on that interview.

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Kaunas “Religious Heritage” Conference Considering Alternate Venue, as University with Shrine to 1941 Nazi Puppet PM is Object of Petition


— Summary of news to date:


 

Shrines for Nazis, in the EU?

ambrazeviciusInternational Petition Tops 750 Mark; Progress Seen, as Organizers of Kaunas “Religious Heritage” Conference Reported to Seek Alternatve Venue; Vytautas Magnus University Continues to Honor City’s 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister who Presided over Initiation of the Lithuanian Holocaust

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Lithuanian Government’s 2013 Vilna Ghetto PR Jamboree



Vilna Ghetto is Back in Focus

 

But Will “Vilna Ghetto Fest” Include Public Apologies to Defamed Vilna (and Kovno) Ghetto Anti-Nazi Jewish Partisan Heroes? Invitations to Come Join the Party?

UPDATES:

1. The Secret “Big-Bucks Vilna Ghetto Disneyland Theme Park” Project (minus the Jewish community, minus apologies to the Partisans of Vilna, minus removals of memorials to local Holocaust perpetrators).

2. Renewed International Petition.

3. Ghetto survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance have been criminalized.

4. Government delegation in South Africa trying to pry Disneyland “investment” from unsuspecting South African Jews.

 

SEVEN SIMPLE SOLUTIONS

Rachel Margolis and Chen Ivri Apter

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Charles Adès Fishman Adds Voice, on Yom Hashoah, to Sutzkever Prize Fracas



O P I N I O N

by Charles Adès Fishman

 

Dear Ed,

I could hardly believe it when I was told that you were participating in the Sutzkever Translation Prize competition as a judge. The Ed Hirsch whose work I’ve read and admired for years—the Ed Hirsch I’ve admired for years—wouldn’t allow himself to be used in a way that will help the Neo-Nazi forces in Lithuania remove the stain of antisemitism from its persecution of individuals who served as Jewish partisans during the Holocaust years.

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Peter Thabit Jones Issues Open Letter on Sutzkever Translation Prize



O P I N I O N

by Peter Thabit Jones

 

Dear Mr. Hirsch

As a fellow poet and human being, I implore you to withdraw as a judge in a competition that will be part of a series of events misrepresenting things, in effect for the benefit of certain elements in the Lithuanian government. Alternatively, as suggested by colleagues, a simple requirement that each of the wrongfully defamed Jewish Holocaust Survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance be issued a full and public apology would bring the matter to a rapid close.

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Arthur Dobrin’s Open Letter to Ed Hirsch



O P I N I O N

by Arthur Dobrin

 

I am writing to you because it has come to my attention that you are to be the judge in the Avrom Sutzkever Poetry Translation Prize. Many years ago I came across a book of Sutzkever and have used several lines from his poems in a book of mine on bereavement. I was deeply touched by his work and wanted to share it with others.

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When Cassedy Came to London Town



O P I N I O N / E Y E W I T N E S S   A C C O U N T

by Emily Sheinbaum

 

On a rainy London evening, Thursday the 7th of March, six protesters met at University College London (UCL), for Cassedy had come to town. Her public talk initially scheduled to take place in the Garwood lecture theatre was unexpectedly changed to the Medawar Lankester lecture theatre two days prior. People on the Hebrew department’s Institute of Jewish Studies email list were notified of the change in venue but the details were, curiously enough, not updated on UCL’s website.

Nevertheless, despite such last-minute logistical alterations, protesters against Cassedy’s book tour that is underway “in association” with the Lithuanian government met at 6:30 PM in the narrow corridor leading to the Lankester theatre. By a small table they strategically positioned themselves ready to warmly greet the 45 odd attendees who politely walked past and eagerly took handouts concerning the Lithuanian government’s recent actions since 2006, Ms. Cassedy’s association with the government, petitions, letters and book reviews.

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Tolerance Education? State-Sponsored Commission Uses its Website to Call Holocaust Survivor a “Liar” & to Demand “Apology from Jewish Community”



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

commission's attack on survivor

Somebody’s idea of “tolerance education”? Extract from the official website of the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known for short as the “red-brown commission”)

Educators, diplomats, historians and journalists thought they had seen it all when it came to Holocaust-in-Lithuania issues in recent times. But an online attack by the state sponsored “history commission” on a local Holocaust survivor, Professor Pinchos Fridberg, who is deeply involved in honoring righteous Lithuanians who saved a Jewish neighbor, because he expressed his views against distortion of the Holocaust? That is a bit much even for here.

UPDATE of 21 February 2014:

One year later: Defamation continues on Commission website;

See Chronology of a Debate and what Pinchos Fridberg actually said…

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Instead of Truth about the Holocaust – Myths about Saving Jews



O P I N I O N

by Pinchos Fridberg


Editor’s note [updated 27 January 2013]:
Pinchos Fridberg, a native and resident of Vilnius, is a Holocaust survivor. He graduated from Vilnius University in 1961 and completed his PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics in 1965 and an additional doctoral science degree in radio physics in 1974. From 1961 to 1978 he was chair of the Laboratory of Theoretical Investigations at the Vilnius Scientific Institute of Radio Measuring Devices. In 1978 he joined Grodno State University, where he was named professor. In 1989 he became head of the Department of Theoretical Radio Physics at the Zondas Company in Vilnius.

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An Open Letter to Ed Hirsch



O P I N I O N

 

Dear Mr. Hirsch,

Congratulations on your selection as judge of the new literary translation contest named for the eminent late Yiddish poet Avrom (Abraham) Sutzkever (1913-2010). News of the contest was today disseminated far and wide (information affixed below, for readers’ rapid reference, and to help inspire more entries in your competition).

Will prosecutors (and the writers’ union) in Vilnius be told about Avrom Sutzkever’s days with the Soviet partisans?

You may know that in addition to being a major twentieth century Yiddish poet and editor, Sutzkever survived the Holocaust by escaping the Vilna Ghetto to join the anti-Nazi Jewish partisans. You may or may not know that elderly Lithuanian Jewish Holocaust survivors, who like Sutzkever escaped certain death by joining the partisans, but who are still alive and relatively well, have been defamed as “war criminals” by the same Lithuanian government that recently invested in a Sutzkever plaque in Vilnius, brought over his Israeli family for festivities, and invests in ever more Jewish and Yiddish PR stunts (complete with honors for compliant foreigners)  to camouflage a campaign of revisionism.

This is on top of a disturbing toleration of serious antisemitism, including in recent years, state-sanctioned neo-Nazi marches in the heart of the capital city on independence day, the legalization of public swastikas (the UN Human Rights Committee has commented), and inaction regarding front pages of mass circulation newspapers worthy of the 1930s. The most famous examples in recent years are depictions of the Jew and the Gay controlling the world (2009), and, less than a year ago, of one of the city’s resident rabbis.

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Jewish Center in Ukraine Apparently Duped into Honoring a Nazi Collaborationist Organization


According to a report received today from a publication in Ukraine (reproduced in full below), the launch of the new Menorah complex in the city of Dnipropetrovsk, billed as the city’s largest building, includes a new museum containing an exhibit that naively whitewashes the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), an infamous pro-Hitler fascist organization responsible for many Jewish deaths during the Holocaust. The exhibit is quoted in the report as including information on Jews “saved” by the OUN, with no mention of its large-scale record of murder.

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Self-Induced Confusion



B O O K S

by Olga Zabludoff

Review of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust by Ellen Cassedy. University of Nebraska Press, 2012.


Had this title been billed as a simple memoir of Cassedy’s trip to Lithuania in the summer of 2004, my criticism of her book would be tempered. She had gone to the land of her ancestors to study Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute and to connect with her Jewish roots. The professors and mentors she encounters at the Yiddish Institute come alive, as do the various Lithuanians and Jews with whom she connects. Cassedy is a good writer who captures physical details well. But even at that, this reviewer found the memoir to be superficial.

The major problem is that Cassedy’s book is being promoted as the Bible of the Lithuanian Holocaust by advocates for the current Lithuanian government and elite establishment which aspire to paint for the outside world a distorted version of the Holocaust. A version defined in shades of gray and the confusion they generate.  A version that incorporates the mythology of equivalency between crimes committed by the Nazi and Soviet occupation regimes.

SEE ALSO THE REVIEWS BY

Dovid Katz in the Algemeiner Journal

Allan Nadler in the Forward

Efraim Zuroff in Haaretz

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Yivo and the Lithuanian Government: Box coverage to 16 October 2012


New York: Yivo’s Lithuanian Circus—Blow to Holocaust Survivors and their Families—Coming to Town on Tuesday

Milan Chersonski (Vilnius)

Allan Nadler (Drew University)

Faye Ran (New York)

Efraim Zuroff (Jerusalem)

From surrendering books to surrendering history: “sad and mad” Yivo saga continues. When it all started

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Former Director of Yivo Speaks Out on Current Policies Concerning Lithuania


The comments on Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s 14 Oct. 2012 op-ed in The Times of Israel on Yivo’s current policies regarding Lithuanian issues include one (dated 15 Oct.) from Yivo’s former director, Professor Allan Nadler of Drew University. His comment:

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Pardoning Nazism, in the Name of Lithuanian-Jewish Relations



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

reprinted with the author’s permission from today’s Times of Israel


 

This week, one of the more shameful events in Lithuanian-Jewish relations since the Baltic republic regained independence in 1991 will be hosted in New York by the once-venerable Yivo Institute. Under the heading “Reclaiming the Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today,” the Yiddish research institute will host Markas Zingeris, whom it describes as a “Lithuanian-Jewish poet and writer,” to speak about relations between Jews and Lithuanians since the fall of Communism.

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Efraim Zuroff Comments on Facebook on Next Tuesday’s Zingeris Event at Yivo in New York City


Efraim Zuroff, the Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter and author, today posted the following message on his Facebook page. It is reproduced here with the permission of Dr. Zuroff, who is director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel office and its Operation Last Chance. For more on the alleged US embassy (Vilnius) blackballing of Dr. Zuroff from an international 2011 summer program in Vilnius see here. Background to the Yivo event: see Milan Chersonski’s article.


  • This is a call for action to those in the NYC area. This coming Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM, YIVO is hosting an evening at the Center for Jewish History at 15 West 16th St. entitled “Reclaiming The Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today.” The problem is that the featured guests are all supporters of the Lithuanian government’s efforts to promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes and are minimizing the huge role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews. Anyone able to go and confront Markas Zingeris, the Lithuanian PM’s advisor on genocide, and former US ambassador to Lithuania Anne Derse whose embassy blackballed my participation in a seminar on Lithuanian Jewish history at the request of the Lithuanian authorities, will be doing a big mitzva!!!

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Is this Really What You Want To Do, Mr. Executive Director of Yivo?



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which in Soviet times was the USSR’s only Yiddish amateur theater company. The views he expresses in DefendingHistory are his own. This is an authorized English version (updated by the author) by Ludmilla Makedonskaya (Los Angeles). Russian original.
Photo: Milan Chersonski at this desk at the Jewish Community of Lithuania (image © 2012 Jurgita Kunigiškytė). Milan Chersonski section.

Dear Mr. Jonathan Brent,

A little over a year ago, on 12 September 2011, I wrote my first open letter to you. I wrote that it is inappropriate to hold an event commemorating the Jews of Vilna who were victims of genocide together with the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Audronis Ažubalis on the premises of Yivo. If you did not then find time to read my letter, you can find it now online.

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Holocaust Commemoration Vilnius Style — with an Israeli Twist


 


E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T  /  O P I N I O N

 

The ceremony today to commemorate Lithuanian Holocaust victims at Ponár, the country’s largest mass murder site, outside the capital city of Vilnius, on the day officially known as Day to Commemorate the Lithuanian Jewish Victims of Genocide, went off pretty much as most official commemorations do here: inappropriate and with seeming desperation to focus on any topic except the circumstances of the actual Lithuanian Holocaust—the massive collaboration and participation that led to the country’s having the highest proportion of Holocaust murder in Europe.

Ponár is the site’s Yiddish name. It is today Paneriai and is known as Ponary in Polish.

The official date, the 23rd of September was marked this year on the 24th, apparently so officials wouldn’t have to interrupt their weekend break.

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Crying Over Dead Jews



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Lithuania’s Jewish community isn’t immune from the broader issues facing Jewish existence in Eastern Europe and there are the same problems of Jewish identity that crop up in Russia, Bulgaria, Poland and elsewhere. And just as there are Christian Evangelicals and others who support the policies of the right-wing in the State of Israel elsewhere in Europe, there are those same voices among Lithuanian politicians and public figures.

What is perhaps different in Lithuania than elsewhere in Eastern Europe is that this Gentile support for Zionist ideals doesn’t translate into support for the surviving local Jewish community or contribute to a profounder and more sympathetic understanding of the Holocaust.

UPDATE OF 5 AUGUST 2012: This essay was republished with permission in the Algemeiner Journal; in 15min.lt (where it seems to have been taken down, but is still listed in Search); in Jewish Ideas Daily (where it was chosen as one of the editor’s picks for 1 August 2012).

Visitors to Vilnius will see any number of plaques dedicated to famous Jewish residents of Vilnius and several dedicated to the Holocaust. Those who look a little deeper under the surface might find there are a number of agencies, organizations and institutions operating in Vilnius which seemingly are aimed at promoting Jewish history, language and culture. In fact, both the plaques and monuments, and the majority of these “Jewish” organizations, serve as little more than window-dressing and display show-cases the Lithuanian government rolls out as exhibits evidencing Lithuanian sincerity in addressing the incomparable atrocity of the Holocaust.

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Amherst’s NYBC Caught Up in Lithuanian Government’s Jew-less, Yiddish-less PR Library


Last March 11th, Lithuanian Independence Day, when over a thousand neo-Nazi marchers passed the sign for the government’s Jewish Public Library on the capital’s main boulevard, no member of the library’s staff turned up to oppose the neo-fascists, with even a modest, polite sign of disapproval. The march proceeded with official permits and the participation of several members of parliament identified with the ruling coalition. The Lithuanian Embassy in Washington DC failed to respond to a DC based petition that attracted 2,156 signatories, many from Lithuanian citizens.

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The Steve Felder – Olga Zabludoff Debate (in SAJR, May-July 2012)



1: Lithuania – a Past Not Forgotten

by Steve Felder

Given the Lithuanian heritage of the overwhelming majority of South African Jews, it is somewhat surprising that seemingly few have visited modern-day Lithuania. Bucking the trend, I visited during March with a small yet prominent delegation of Jewish business executives, on a “mission” arranged by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the largest Jewish humanitarian and welfare organization in the world.

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