Litvak Affairs

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LITVAK STUDIES

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

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

Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery


[LAST UPDATE]


JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION

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

Monday Sept. 23 2019:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Why Does Lithuania’s Military Academy Disseminate Antisemitic Sentiments?



OPINION  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

I agree that the name of this piece is quite shocking. To see what I am talking about, it suffices to look through just one publication, published by the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania in cooperation with the “Versmė” publishing house. The academy is itself named for an alleged Holocaust collaborator (See my 2013 article), but that is not the topic of today’s piece, save that yet again it turns out that “state agencies just naming something” for a Holocaust collaborator is not seldom itself an ominous portent of institutional and state-sponsored racism. Indeed, the state Military Academy named for one alleged collaborator actually published an antisemitic tome by another, Jonas Noreika, who of course went on to active collaboration with the Holocaust.

Here are several excerpts from this 2016 publication brought out by the Academy that recently made it to foreign book purchasers, that would be universally recognized as antisemitic. The first refers to folks from the different regions of Lithuanians, naturally ignoring that they were for many centuries home to people of diverse origins, religions, nationalities (indeed, the Yiddish language has the term Zámeter for a person from the first named region):

Samogitians, Aukštaitians, Dzūkians, and Klaipėdians!

Your future is full of prosperity and wealth! We must know it well! Because it will depend only on us if we are going to benefit from this prosperity ourselves or give it away to Jews, Germans, and other foreigners that keep invading Lithuania! They see that the highest standard of living in the whole world is going to be here! Indeed! It will not be us migrating to other countries, but others coming to us to earn heaps of money!

Most of the auctioned off farms are bought by Jews! They feel and perhaps know that, in three years’ time or even sooner, that land will be worth tenfold! Indeed!”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Why Does Lithuania’s Military Academy Disseminate Antisemitic Sentiments?

Yivo’s Newest One-Sided “Lithuanian-Jewish Event” on Thursday 5 Sept.



OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  | YIDDISH AFFAIRS

NEW YORK—The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, founded in Vilna (then Wilno, Poland) in 1925 as the world’s premier Yiddish-in-Yiddish academic institute, has, to the consternation of many of its life-long supporters and participating scholars, in recent years been (temporarily, its long-time supporters hope) “hijacked” by a few elite circles in the Lithuanian government who are determined to exploit Judaic, and especially the now-weak branch of Yiddish studies as a tool to cover for policies of rewriting the history of the Holocaust in a far-right East European nationalist spirit, as well as state programs of glorification of alleged Holocaust collaborators. The best known cry of protest came  several years ago from Vilna-born Holocaust survivor and lifelong resident, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

וואָס וואָלטן טאַקע טראַכטן מאַקס ווײַנרײַך, זלמן רייזען און דינה אַבראַמאָוויטש וועגן די נײַע צילן פון ניו⸗יאָרקער ייוואָ?

Even as ever more circles in today’s free, democratic, and delightful Lithuania have come to understand the Jewish, Litvak and Holocaust issues in a spirit of friendship and partnership, New York’s Yivo continues to function as a political arm of the Holocaust revisionists’ “International Commission on the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” (Yivo’s director even joined the commission), and a small “Jewish manipulation unit” in the Foreign Ministry, neither of which reflect so much of what is really going on. For a month now, the headline of Defending History has honored Vilnius’s mayor for boldly taking down two long-standing, and contemptible, public space memorials for Holocaust collaborators.

Still, yet again, Yivo has opted to exclude all other voices, while enabling the ongoing shenanigans of nationalist manipulation which recently resulted in the NY Yivo director’s being awarded the Cross for the Knight of the Order  for Merits to Lithuaniafrom the Lithuanian government, even as Holocaust survivors and their families continue to be betrayed in a way that would make Yivo’s founders twist in their graves.

As for teaching of the living Yiddish language, literature and culture, not a penny of the millions raised by Yivo has gone into the smallest class. Conversely, Yiddish teaching and study continue in the city despite the campaigns of personal  exclusion and defamation by those enabled and directed by Yivo.

Defending History has been following events since 2011, when a gala event on the Vilna Ghetto invited as guest of honor a foreign minister called out for his overt antisemitism by the Jewish community, through recent weeks, when the director of Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, was duly awarded his knighthood. Never once has Yivo invited to New York the Vilna Ghetto Holocaust survivors Rachel Margolis and Fania Brantsovsky, whose families have still not  received apologies for the state-run campaigns to characterize them as war criminals in the history books and on the web, in virtue of their having survived the Holocaust by joining with the anti-Nazi partisans who were the only force in Lithuania seriously fighting the Nazis during the genocide.

This Thursday’s event, cosponsored by the Lithuanian consulate in New York, follows the usual pattern (scroll through the history for examples) of having one genuine Lithuanian hero who has stood up for the truth and has little idea that (or how) he is being manipulated. This time it is the great Lithuanian-American  humanist, writer and professor Tomas Venclova. The Yivo program lists the title of his September 5th talk as virtually identical with his 2015 publication in Defending History: “Lithuanians and Jews: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t over the last Forty Years?” It was based on a Vilnius conference paper he read, on a podium he shared with Defending History staff, whom he entrusted with the translation to English (see also his DH section, also the DH editor’s lecture at the same conference).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, United States, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yivo’s Newest One-Sided “Lithuanian-Jewish Event” on Thursday 5 Sept.

“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

Vilnius Academic Accuses State History Commission of Having Too Many Foreign Jews as Members



VILNIUSA prominent Vilnius academic known for Holocaust “fixing”, “proud” antisemitism, and a desire to make a national holiday of the day the anti-Jewish violence broke out in Lithuania in 1941, Dr. A. Liekis, returned this week to the fray with a mainstream media attack on the presence of “foreign Jewish” scholars in the state’s history commission, known formally as “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania, and less formally, and for brevity, as the “Red-Brown Commission.”

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Antisemitism & Bias, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Prof. Sarunas Liekis, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Academic Accuses State History Commission of Having Too Many Foreign Jews as Members

Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & “PR Yiddish” Conference for A-1 Cover


[updated 29 August 2019]

Twenty years after Joe Melamed named Noreika & Škirpa as Holocaust collaborators in Crime & Punishment. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Skirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of “Noreika Plaque” in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Protest Mayor’s Actions and Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

Media coverage: AFPAJ,  AP/WAPOA7BBCBS,  EJCIHJNS,   JTA,  TOI 

Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & “PR Yiddish” Conference for A-1 Cover

Raphael Ahren’s Important 4 Aug. Article in Times of Israel; DH’s Response



OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—Who’s afraid of DefendingHistory.com? Yet again, a treatment of Holocaust history and Jewish issues in Lithuania involving government funding of a journalist’s trip coincides with the “two frightening words” Defending History not being mentioned, in spite of the journal’s being one of the central addresses for these matters for a decade now, entailing publication of several thousand reports over the decade, including dozens of authors and subjects. There has been no such hesitation in reports in the New York Times, BBC and other general outlets. Are readers of Jewish publications not entitled to the same standards of inclusion of views and news?

Today’s extensive and important article by Raphael Ahren  on some of the most pressing Lithuanian-Jewish issues appears in The Times of Israel. The Defending History community’s comments appear in an informal posting on the journal’s Facebook page. An unedited paste-in follows below.


Who’s afraid to mention the words Defending History?


Congrats to Raphael Ahren on his historically important article in today’s Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/graves-guilt-and-genius-inside-lithuanias-struggle-with-its-checkered-past/.
Its most singular achievement is perhaps the sterling quote from Prof. Yehuda Bauer, dean of Holocaust scholars in Israel and far beyond, a powerful retort to the nonsense that those who disagree with the Lithuanian government’s (small but powerful and overfinanced) ‘history fixing units’ are ipso facto non-scholars, scoundrels, and all the rest.
As ever, journalists who do not reach out to interview ANY of the dozen or so DefendingHistory.com authors in Lithuania, and whose articles don’t mention the two words Defending History are sometimes prone to being manipulated by their government hosts (on state sponsored trips) to the detriment of at least some aspects of genuine open debate. Just a few examples from today’s article:

(1) While the debate over the degree of local complicity in the Holocaust is important, it should not obviate the need to at least deal with the massive campaign to export to the West a revised view of the Holocaust altogether (the Double Genocide or Two Holocausts theory). The primary documents are the Prague Declaration, and our rejoinder, The Seventy Years Declaration, signed also by eight incredibly brave Lithuanian parliamentarians (none of them were reached out to for the article). In other words, there is a serious battle over the wider history that remains unmentioned. There is a larger issue on the extent to which the Holocaust “fixing” policies of a whole range of East European states are ipso facto the 21st century incarnation of Holocaust Denial per se. See for example:
https://archive.jewishcurrents.org/the-double-genocide-theory/. For more academic papers on these subjects please see: http://defendinghistory.com/holocaust-and-antisemitism-studies-papers-and-reviewsin-academic-venues.

(2) The ongoing need for state apologies to the Holocaust survivors (or their families) defamed for posterity as potential war criminals in history books and on the web (it was Mr. Ahren himself who penned one of the best articles on that back in 2009, and now — wholly unmentioned). Of course these kangaroo charges were themselves a function of Double Genocide thinking, and the need to “find” supposedly “equivalent genocide perpetrators” among the handful of Holocaust survivors. Please see Mr. Ahren’s terrific 2009 article: http://www.operationlastchance.org/PDF/p_8_lith_2.pdf.

(3) The article cites a government official’s mistatement of DH editor Dovid katz’s opinion, claiming the view that “all” anti-Soviet heroes are being called Holocaust collaborators! This is a scurrilous misstatement (and locally very dangerous and already led to a new death threat). It was wrong of the journalist to quote it without also speaking to DK and the Defending History team to be able to cite the named person’s response.

(4) On the question of the Old Vilna Jewish cemetery, there are still thousands of graves extant (found by ground radar) on all four sides of the Soviet dump slated to become the national convention center. A year ago, a New York Times journalist was not afraid to ask also the views of the democratically elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community too (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/30/world/europe/lithuania-genocide-museum-jews.html)
But perhaps the next journalist to look into all this will ask gov. officials just one question: Had this been a 500 year old Christian Lithuanian cemetery, would they be building a national convention center with graves all around, or would it be lovingly and respectfully restored as a national and international treasure?

(5) The Defending History team happens to agree entirely with Mr. Ahren’s findings that daily life for Jewish people in Lithuania is fine! Again, “what it is that is the issue” goes unmentioned. East European antisemitism differs markedly from its western counterparts. See for example:
https://isgap.org/flashpoint/west-is-west-east-is-east-the-specific-east-european-incarnation-of-antisemitism/
or. more recently: http://defendinghistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/PDF-of-DK-on-Holocaust-Inversion-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf.

(6) The discussion of the parliament’s decision to name 2020 “for the Jews” needs to include the history of the decision, i.e. a reaction to much criticism of 2019 being named for an alleged Holocaust collaborator, one for whom a monument was slated to go up in New Britain Connecticut last year (see: http://defendinghistory.com/category/new-britain-connecticut-plans-to-glorify-alleged-nazi-collaborator?order=desc); this year the monument went up in Chicago (see: http://defendinghistory.com/category/debates-on-adolfas-ramanauskas-vanagas?order=desc). The head of the Jewish Agency has spoken out: https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Herzog-underscores-obligation-to-remove-Chicago-monument-honoring-Nazi-collaborator-591319).
INCIDENTALLY, Defending History’s response to the naming of 2019 for an alleged Holocaust collaborator was to start naming years for LITHUANIAN RIGHTEOUS who risked everything to just do the right thing.
Our 2018 choice: http://defendinghistory.com/malvina-sokelyte-valeikiene-is-defending-historys-2018-person-of-the-year/92536
Our 2019 choice: http://defendinghistory.com/jonas-paulavicius-1898-1952-is-defending-historys-2019-person-of-the-year/97205
We are confident that history will render a true verdict on who, during these years, was the TRUE friend of Lithuania. . .

(7) Mr. Ahren writes that he is consciously staying away from internal Jewish community rifts which are sadly a part of the scene in many places. That is in itself a fine position to take, but here it seems to function as an excuse for shutting out entirely and failing to ALSO interview the democratically elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community, Simon Gurevich, which represents the vast majority of Lithuanian Jews, and who has taken a DIFFERENT stance on the very issues dealt with in this article (most famously the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery slated to become a national convention center, with the support of the government-supported non-democratic official Jewish community; see: http://defendinghistory.com/democratically-elected-leadership-of-vilnius-jewish-community-shows-consistent-moral-clarity-on-old-vilna-jewish-cemeterys-fate/97300).

(8) Finally, let us hope that future journalistic quests will reach out to the Jewish Lithuanian citizens who have over the years actually spoken out with inspirational courage. They do not deserve to be omitted from a foreign journalist’s quest to learn the various sides of issues that they have given so very much to express themselves, even when not convenient to their careers or status. To name just a few: Moyshe Bairak, Roza Bieliauskiene, Ruta Bloshtein, Milan Chersonski, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, Simon Gurevich, Leon Kaplan, Sania Kerbelis, Rachel Kostanian, Arkady Kurliandchik, Chona Leibovich (Leibovičius), Prof. Josif Parasonis… When journalists fail to do so, it can mean that “the names of the right Jews to talk to” have been provided by the same government whose policies are being critically discussed. . . In other words, a state apparatus supplies its “own list of dissidents” for the benefit of journalists. And, last but not least, there are the many inspirational non-Jews who have earned over decades of blood, sweat and tears the moral right to be heard by foreign journalists on these topics. Here in Lithuania they include: Vytenis Andriukaitis, Evaldas Balciunas, Saulius Berzinis, Andrius Kulikauskas, Fiokla Kiure, Julius Norvila, Ruta Ostrovskaya, Prof. Liudas Truska, Linas Vildziunas, If you have a moment, do look up their essays on the pages of www.DefendingHistory.com  AUTHORS page is at: http://defendinghistory.com/authors)
—————————


Postscripts:
(1) Lithuania is a wonderful place and great to visit, see our page for some ideas: http://defendinghistory.com/litvak-tourism


(2) The ongoing debates with a small and powerful government unit do not equate to being “against” a country. They do concern important issues on which there are various opinions. Defending History’s summary of the currently outstanding Lithuanian-Jewish issues is an updated version of the original that was hammered out in close consultation with the late Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the long-time beloved head of the Jewish community. It’s at:
http://defendinghistory.com/7-solutions
Perhaps one day a journalist will come and at least ask these seven questions and even dare to report that for the state’s “Jewish issue units” to come to terms with them would cost so very little — and do so very much good. . . .
A good week to all!

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Raphael Ahren’s Important 4 Aug. Article in Times of Israel; DH’s Response

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Removes Plaque Honoring Holocaust Collaborator in 4 AM Raid



“It Pays to Defend History”

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Orders Removal of Memorial Plaque for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

ONE WEEK AFTER HIS CITY COUNCIL VOTED TO RENAME ŠKIRPA STREET

According to reports, city’s removal squad came 4 AM on 27 July; see now: the nationalist backlash (2); new president falls back on “more discussions needed” ignoring years of such discussions.  JTA report. Vilnius prosecutors considering challenges to mayor’s action. Vilnius’s Prof. Pinchos Fridberg takes the battle  over glorifying Hitler collaborators right to Vytautas Landsbergis. Meanwhile, Conservative Party’s Landsbergis Jr. hits back and official Jewish community exposes antisemitic slur on his FB page.

Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Removes Plaque Honoring Holocaust Collaborator in 4 AM Raid

Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street



Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Vote is  20 to 16

Defending History brought the issue to the international community in 2010

See Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s classic 2015 Defending History paper on Škirpa; Vilnius City Council efforts by Mark Harold

Report by JTA

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Virtual Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna


by Dovid Katz ©2019


FEATURED: FORGOTTEN YIDDISH POEM BY VILNA YIDDISH POET HIRSH GLIK; AVANT GARDE THEATER STUDIO INVITES ZALMEN REYZEN TO SHAKESPEARE AND GOGOL SCENES IN YIDDISH

LATEST ACQUISITIONS

More on JEWISH VILNA

See also: Mini-Museum of Jewish Life in Interwar Lithuania

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Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views | Comments Off on Virtual Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna

Monument to Hitler Collaborator in Chicago: A Story that Won’t Go Away . . .



THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST

A Sad Story for Chicago and Lithuania

that is ‘not going away’

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

In Vilnius, Defending History staff get more death threats

First monument on American soil glorifying a wartime Nazi collaborator who is also a prime icon for his country’s neo-Nazis today was inaugurated last month (May 4) in the presence of the visiting Lithuanian foreign minister

The same monument was rejected a year earlier by the city council of New Britain, Connecticut

MEDIA: AlgemeinerBBCGrayzoneIndependentSimon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph. And—Defending History’s take

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Monument to Hitler Collaborator in Chicago: A Story that Won’t Go Away . . .

Biržai (Birzh), in Northern Lithuania, Honors Holocaust Victims at Forest Mass Grave Site; But City-Center Museum Honors the Collaborators



OPINION  |  MUSEUMS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

This weekend, the new monument to 2,400 Biržai Jews, massacred on August 8, 1941, will be unveiled in Biržai, a town in northern Lithuania known in Yiddish as Birzh. On that fateful day in Pakamponys forest, German Gestapo officers and their Lithuanian accomplices murdered 900 children, because they were Jewish children, 780 women, because they were Jewish women, and 720 men, because they were Jewish, too. The locals call the site “the Biržai Jews’ grave”.

That day, more than one third of the inhabitants of that old historical city were massacred. A vibrant community was destroyed and trust in Biržai as a safe place to live was wholly undermined. This old wound had not been taken care of properly up until now. There is a memorial stone at the site of the massacre, the site itself is covered with tiles. There is a memorial inscription, too. However, all those people with their lives and their dreams remained but a number in stone. People behind the new memorial decided to fix this, and now we have more than five hundred names carved on a steel wall. This difficult task required a lot of effort. Alongside with the people, the murderers also destroyed the documents attesting to their lives.

What does the Town’s Official Museum Think?

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Biržai (Birzh), in Northern Lithuania, Honors Holocaust Victims at Forest Mass Grave Site; But City-Center Museum Honors the Collaborators

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

Advertisement for the Event

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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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941

Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATES; FIRST PUBLICATION: 13 MAY]

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  LITHUANIA’S JEWISH COMMUNITY  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  US STATE DEPT. MANIPULATED?  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

You just could not make this stuff up. A powerful government unit of an East European democracy that is a member of the EU and NATO wants nothing more than to plonk a monument in America for someone who was not only an alleged Holocaust collaborator (see Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles of 2014, 2017 and 2019), but who is today a prime icon of the country’s neo-Nazis. Indeed, his visage is first on their banner of “national heroes” used to front torch-lit neo-Nazi parades in the nation’s capital. The monument is unveiled in Chicago on May 4, 2019.

Ramanauskas is first (at left) on neo-Nazis’ front banner at torchlit parade in Vilnius

 

High government officials from the Seimas and the Lithuanian consulate in New York jad fronted  an effort to put the monument in New Britain, Connecticut, and charm that city’s mayor (2017) into going along with the plan, without mentioning the honoree’s having boasted in his own memoirs of leading a pro-Hitler militia in the days when the Lithuanian Holocaust was launched in late June of 1941. After many months of discussion (2018), the city council of New Britain overwhelmingly turns down the idea.

Update of 1 June 2019: Jerusalem Post reports that head of Jewish Agency demands the monument in Chicago “be removed as soon as possible”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator

Sad Day for Chicago (& Lithuania): Monument for Alleged Nazi Collaborator, an Icon of Lithuania’s Far Right, Unveiled on May 4 in Chicago by Visiting Foreign Minister


[LATEST UPDATE]

A Tale of Three Cities

New Britain.  Chicago.  Vilnius.

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument in Chicago to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

It was turned down by the New Britain, Connecticut City Council one year ago

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA

Other reports in: Algemeiner; BBCIndependent; Simon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

On Ramanauskas’s Holocaust-era role see courageous, pioneering articles of Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas in 20142017 and his latest that has just appeared.

 For years after starting his series of articles “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” Balčiūnas was hounded by prosecutors and police (scroll to May 2014).

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA. BEYOND THE HISTORY: WHY A MONUMENT TO A PRIME ICON OF TODAY’S NEO-NAZIS IN EASTERN EUROPE?

a major icon for neo-Nazi parades…

From left to right on the neo-Nazis’ “We know our national heroes” banner (torchlit neo-Nazi parade of Feb. 2018): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States | Comments Off on Sad Day for Chicago (& Lithuania): Monument for Alleged Nazi Collaborator, an Icon of Lithuania’s Far Right, Unveiled on May 4 in Chicago by Visiting Foreign Minister