Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches

Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941



LEGACY OF JUNE 23  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  NOREIKA SAGA

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BACKGROUND ON LEGACY OF 23 JUNE IN LITHUANIA (AND BEYOND). SAMPLES OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONYBACKGROUND.

EVENT DESCRIPTION GLORIFIES HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA (BACKGROUND)

Question: Is this city really ready to be the Capital of European Culture for 2022?

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Great Expectations for Kaunas, as City is Named 2022 “Capital of European Culture”



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

Congratulations to the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, once known also as Kovno (in Yiddish Kóvne) on its selection as Europe’s “Capital of European Culture” in 2022, sharing the title with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg.

The city’s leaders now have a splendid opportunity to take the moral high road in dealing with a number of ghosts from the present and the past. To start with the present, will the city’s officials now act rapidly to avoid a public perception disaster by moving this year’s neo-Nazi parade away from the city center during the February 16th Independence Day celebrations? Previous years’ marches have on occasion glorified actual Kaunas Holocaust collaborators, causing deep pain to Survivors and their families, as well to so many of the city’s people.

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Neo-Nazis, Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & Spewing Racism, Again Gifted Center of Kaunas on Lithuania’s Cherished Feb 16th Independence Day


[Last media link update: 26 Feb. 2017]

Defending History Monitors Kaunas Neo-Nazi March on Lithuania’s Feb. 16th Independence Day

OUR REPORT ON THE RUN-UP TO THE MARCH

Media coverage of the march: JTA; History News NetworkTimes of Israel (French edition); BNS / Delfi.lt; Bernardinai.ltAlkas.lt; Diena.lt; Kaunaskasvyksta.ltKauno.diena.lt15min.lt; tv3.lt;  Novaya Gazeta; Antisemitism.org.ilIzrus.co.il; EinNews.com; CBS8.comWFMJ.comFox8Live; TodayInTheNews.comOfficial Lithuanian Jewish Community response; TelAvivTimes.com

The five-person Defending History team was the only human rights monitor  this year. “We came to remember the 30,000 murdered Jews of Kaunas on the independence day that they too patriotically marked with love every year. It is shocking that yet again the mayor and city council have gifted the center of the city, including Liberty Boulevard and the plaza of the historic presidential palace, on the cherished independence day, to the neo-nazis who so damage the name of modern, tolerant, democratic Lithuania.”

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Kaunas, Lithuania: Run-Up to the February 16th 2017 Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day



Kaunas Mayor & City Council Deciding

whether to again allow neo-nazis sporting banners adulating Holocaust collaborators to take over the city center on Lithuania’s cherished February 16th Independence Day next week

PREVIOUS YEARS IN KAUNAS     IN VILNIUS     IN RIGA     DH SECTION

Banner from last year’s takeover of central Kaunas on Feb. 16th: Same again?

From left: Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, under the banner translating “We know our nation’s heroes”.

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Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office today issued a press release (text below), including a quote from its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, calling on Visvaldas Matijošaitis, the mayor of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second city, to ban weddings and other celebrations from the now privatized parts of the historic Seventh Fort, where thousands of Kaunas Jews were humiliated, tortured and murdered starting with the first week of the Lithuanian Holocaust in late June 1941.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Efraim Zuroff, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics

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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Images from the February 16th 2016 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Lithuania



KAUNAS MARCHES | NEO-NAZI MARCHES | ANTISEMITISM

KAUNAS—For the fifth year running, the Defending History team was the only Lithuania-based monitoring unit on site to observe and record the neo-Nazi march in the center of Kaunas, from start to finish, on February 16th, the anniversary of Lithuania’s 1918 declaration of independence. (DH has monitored the March 11th marches in Vilnius since 2008.) Once again, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office was the only foreign partner to attend, monitor and participate in our annual silent protest. There was no sign of any of the many well-funded human rights monitors in the region.

Yet again, the center of Kaunas, the interwar capital and modern Lithuania’s second city, was gifted by the city’s authorities to the neo-Nazis for their event, which drew hundreds, and was kept orderly by a highly professional, and by now experienced, police and state security presence (which, as ever, took every care to keep the Defending History team secure throughout the day).

This year’s theme was a front-of-march We Know Our Nation’s Heroes banner featuring six figures who share the following unsettling common denominator: all were alleged Nazi collaborators and/or Holocaust perpetrators (from left): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis. It is as if the marchers are celebrating the murder of the 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas, the more than 95% of the over 200,000 strong Lithuanian Jewish population on the eve of the Holocaust, and the resulting “cleansing” of Lithuania’s Jewish minority.

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On the Eve of Another Neo-Nazi March in the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day



Will the Neo-Nazis Again be Given Central Kaunas on Feb. 16th Independence Day to Glorify Holocaust Collaborators, Spread Hate, and Damage Lithuania’s Standing?

For the first time, organizers promise to glorify a veritable contingent of specific, named alleged local Holocaust collaborators

including: Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, Kazys Škirpa, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra)Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas

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Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015



O P I N I O N

by Tomas Venclova

The following text is the authorized English translation of Professor Venclova’s address at a conference on Holocaust issues, organized by Rūta Vanagaitė, held at Vilnius City Hall on 17 April 2015. The original Lithuanian text. Video of Tomas Venclova speaking. Conference program. Conference’s final press release.

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Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb 16th 2015 March in Kaunas



The following statement appeared  today on the website of the Jewish Commnity of Lithuania:

The Position of the Lithuanian Jewish Community on the Slogan Chanted by the Lithuanian Union of Nationalist Youth, “Lithuania for Lithuanians”

The Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community, deeply upset and concerned by recent anti-Semitic attacks in the Kingdom of Denmark and France and by the rise in neo-Nazi tendencies all over Europe, calls upon the government institutions of the Lithuanian state to take stock of the situation in Lithuania at the current time. By identifying the problem of ethnic hate early, we can prevent possible tragedy in the future.

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Efraim Zuroff Leads Kaunas Protest


 


Event Summary and Links to Coverage:

Defending History’s Team of 12 Monitors & Protests Kaunas Independence Day Neo-Nazi March on Feb. 16th

Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb. 20th

MARCH FEATURED LONG SERIES OF FASCIST-STYLE TAUNTS OF LIETUVA LIETUVIAMS  (“LITHUANIA FOR [ETHNIC] LITHUANIANS”) ALONG WITH SWASTIKAS, OTHER FASCIST SYMBOLS AND A HUGE BANNER OF THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PM WHO COLLABORATED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS CITY’S CITIZENS WHO WERE JEWISH. MAYOR’S OFFICE GAVE PERMITS FOR CITY CENTER TRAVESTY ON NATION’S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

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February 16th 2015 in Kaunas…



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

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

February 16th in Kaunas. The Kaunas municipal administration was asked by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s  Efraim Zuroff and Defending History’s editor Dovid Katz not to allow this march for a number of reasons. The Kaunas municipality saw no problem and allowed the march to go ahead. As in earlier years, a Defending History team observed the march. The Kaunas Antifa organization decided not to hold a protest this year, so I was at liberty to be present as part of the DefendingHistory team.

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Defending History’s Eyewitness Report on Kaunas, February 16, 2015



Wiesenthal Center – Defending History Team of 12 Monitors & Protests Kaunas Independence Day Neo-Nazi March

UPDATE:

Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb. 20th

MARCH FEATURED LONG SERIES OF FASCIST-STYLE TAUNTS OF LIETUVA LIETUVIAMS  (“LITHUANIA FOR [ETHNIC] LITHUANIANS”) ALONG WITHSWASTIKAS, OTHER FASCIST SYMBOLS AND A HUGE BANNER OF THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PM WHO COLLABORATEDIN THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS CITY’S CITIZENS WHO WERE JEWISH. MAYOR’S OFFICE GAVE PERMITS FOR CITY CENTER TRAVESTY ON NATION’S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

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Run-Up to the 16 Feb. 2015 Neo-Nazi March in Central Kaunas



Baltic Nazi-Glorifying Marching Season Underway

COME JOIN US IN KAUNAS, MONDAY 16 FEB. at 1 PM (1300), AT RAMYBĖS PARK, TO MONITOR, SILENTLY PROTEST, & REMEMBER THE  CITY’S MORE THAN 30,000 MURDERED JEWISH CITIZENS.

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A Baltic Month of Neo-Nazi Events (from February 16th to March 16th)



Baltic Nazi-Glorifying Marching Season Underway

COME JOIN US IN KAUNAS, MONDAY 16 FEB. at 1 PM (1300), AT RAMYBĖS PARK, TO MONITOR, SILENTLY PROTEST, & REMEMBER THE  CITY’S MORE THAN 30,000 MURDERED JEWISH CITIZENS.

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WIESENTHAL CENTER’S EFRAIM ZUROFF FLYING IN TO MONITOR EVENT AND LEAD PEACEFUL PROTEST;  HIS LETTER TO KAUNAS MAYOR;  OBZOR;  DELFI.LT;  KAUNO DIENA;  ALKAS.LT

DH’S CORRESPONDENCE WITH KAUNAS MAYOR’S OFFICE. FOR THE RECORD:ISRAELI HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS’ LETTER OF 2013.

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Correspondence with Kaunas Mayor’s Office to 13 February 2015



D O C U M E N T S

Below, (1) the text of DH’s letter to the mayor of Kaunas on 3 February, (2) the response received from his office on 11 February, (3) our response of the same date, and (4) the response from the mayor’s office received on 13 February and (5) our response of the same date. The correspondence relates to the annual neo-Nazi march planned for 16 February 2015 in central Kaunas. See also section on previous marches, and our 3 February 2015  correspondence with the Kaunas police. Note that a banner featuring a major Kaunas Holocaust collaborator, the Nazi puppet prime minister Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis (reburied with full honors as a hero in Kaunas, in 2012), is depicted in a 2014 photograph used by the march’s organizers to advertise the 2015 event.

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Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff Writes to Mayor of Kaunas on Neo-Nazi March



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office here today released the text of a letter sent by director Dr. Efraim Zuroff to the mayor of Kaunas, Lithuania, Andrius Kupčinskas, concerning the neo-Nazi march scheduled for February 16th. See also Defending History’s correspondence with the mayor’s office and our background summary.

SEE EXTENDED COVERAGE ON PAGE 1

The text of the letter is as follows:

February 12, 2015
Meras Andrius Kupčinskas
Laisves al. 96 201 kab.
Kaunas
LITHUANIA


Dear Mayor Kupčinskas,

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Correspondence with Kaunas Mayor’s Office to 11 February 2015



D O C U M E N T S

Below, (1) the text of DH’s letter to the mayor of Kaunas, (2) the response received today from his office, and (3) our further response, in connection with the annual neo-Nazi march planned for 16 February 2015 in central Kaunas. See also section on previous marches, and our 3 February 2014  correspondence with the Kaunas police. Note that a banner featuring a major Kaunas Holocaust collaborator, the Nazi puppet prime minister Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis (reburied with full honors as a hero in Kaunas, in 2012), is depicted in a 2014 photograph used by the march’s organizers to advertise the 2015 event.

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Run-Up to the Annual February 16th Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas



WILL LITHUANIA’S LEADERS SPEAK OUT AGAINST GRANTING MAJOR CITY CENTERS ON INDEPENDENCE DAYS TO NEO-NAZI MARCHES THAT ADULATE 1941 HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS?

WILL “BAGEL SHOP” AND OTHER FUNDED MONITORS ISSUE A MORALLY DIGNIFIED STATEMENT? A MEMBER OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY SPEAKS OUT; HIS EARLIER VIDEOTAPED INTERVIEW IN RICHARD BLOOM’S DOCUMENTARY.

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Kaunas Police Informs Defending History on Status of February 16th Neo-Nazi March


KAUNAS—As in previous years (for example, 2013), the Kaunas District Police Department today informed Defending History that it has issued no permits for a march on February 16th, referring us instead to the body that would have issued the permit — the Kaunas City Municipality, which has not (yet) responded to our queries. The letter received (image below) states “We inform you that Kaunas County Police have not issued a permit for organizing a march / rally” on 16 February 2015, and suggests “you refer to Kaunas City Municipality.”

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