Media Watch

“Weekly of Vilnius” Provides Exclusive English Language Coverage of the Vanagaitė Saga



FREE SPEECH  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUSThe Weekly of Vilnius, sometimes considered to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, today released its weekly issue which contains a highly documented summary of many of the sides in the debate over author and PR specialist Ruta Vanagaitė’s comments concerning state plans to name 2018 for someone who led a pro-Nazi militia during the early days of the Lithuanian Holocaust in 1941, but who is being honored for his postwar service in the anti-Soviet resistance. Defending History has published its own take along with a much more limited summary of the debate which readers may consult for comparison and helping “complete the picture” as best as it can be in English. Note that selections of Lithuanian articles on the subject from the major news portal Delfi.lt, and from BNS (Baltic News Service), in both cases generally representing government and “nationalist establishment” positions, are available in English translation on the English Delfi.lt (Lithuania Tribune) site (search “Vanagaitė” for rapid reference).

With the permission of the publishers of The Weekly of Vilnius, we are reproducing the pages relating to the Vanagaitė saga from this week’s issue. In the spirit of classic journalism, The Weekly of Vilnius has no online edition (only an online description page) and is available weekly by emailed PDF or hard copy to its elite circle of subscribers, known to include embassies, government agencies, captains of industry, politicians, academics and relevant libraries, and think tanks. It is edited by the distinguished economist and journalist Mr. Nehro Khalil. The Weekly of Vilnius now has a Facebook page.

A PDF facsimile of today’s Weekly of Vilnius report follows. Please use the arrows in the upper left hand corner to turn pages in either direction.

THE WEEKLY OF VILNIUS - ISSUE No. 265 - Week in Review - November 6, 2017
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on “Weekly of Vilnius” Provides Exclusive English Language Coverage of the Vanagaitė Saga

Vanagaitė’s PR Rollout in Vilnius of (1) Romance with Wiesenthal Center Nazi Hunter, (2) New Book, Dual (3) Holocaust & (4) Postwar KGB Based Critique of Nationalist Hero — A Mix-&-Match Making for Mass Media Melee


[UPDATED; FURTHER UPDATES TO 17 NOV. 2017 FOR ENGLISH SECTION ONLY]


BOOKS (/Mūsiškiai)  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED?  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

Jump to: R. Vanagaitė’s first and second retraction. The Upshot?  Articles in English. Editor’s take. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2014 article.

26-27 October 2017

R. Vanagaitė’s meticulous 26 Oct. 2017 media-PR rollout extraordinaire with posed photo gallery (first article in English here) of her sensational Lithuanian-Jewish Holocaust-legacy romance with partner Dr. Efraim Zuroff, legendary Nazi-hunter and director of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, was from the outset inextricably intertwined with serious Holocaust issues (particularly her simultaneously timed rollout against further state glorification of an alleged Holocaust collaborator), current geopolitical discourse, regional antisemitism and a host of local media celebrity spats. The following links represent only some of the media in the days from 26 Oct. 2017 onward that can help elucidate a major PR initiative on a romance self-publicized and its (for some disturbing) insertion into the long, hard battle over the truth in Lithuanian Holocaust historiography. A local wag wrote his followers to look at the Book of Judges exposition of the Samson and Delilah story.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vanagaitė’s PR Rollout in Vilnius of (1) Romance with Wiesenthal Center Nazi Hunter, (2) New Book, Dual (3) Holocaust & (4) Postwar KGB Based Critique of Nationalist Hero — A Mix-&-Match Making for Mass Media Melee

Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation



BOOKS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Linas Vildžiūnas

The following English translation, by Laurynas Vaičiūnas, of Linas Vildžiūnas’s review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai appeared today in New Eastern Europe (as PDF). 

A book review of Mūsiškiai (Ours). By: Rūta Vanagaitė. Publisher: Alma littera, Vilnius, 2016.

What makes Rūta Vanagaitė’s Ours (Mūsiškiai) very different from all other Lithuanian books on the Holocaust is that it was from the start written as a bestseller. Written by an experienced public relations professional as an appeal to the Lithuanian public, the book raises the painful issue of historical responsibility. The author does not refrain from giving a personal twist to the story (it would be impossible otherwise, as the Holocaust is an issue of individual position and individual responsibility). The author is piercingly direct and uses black comedy. She approaches the topic with composure and a sense of supremacy. These two features may irritate the reader. However, she is entitled to it as she aims to confront the reader, which she so eloquently achieves.

READ MOREAS PDF.

 

Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation

Neo-Nazis in Lithuania Again Get “Material” from “Official” Jewish Community’s Leadership



VILNIUS—In a kind of topsy-turvy-world follow-up to last June’s neo-Nazi pick-up of an abusive article on the website of the official state-sponsored Jewish Community of Lithuania, the nation’s chief neo-Nazi blogger, “Zeppelinus,” infamous for his racist, misogynistic, homophobic and antisemitic invective and graphics (samples here and here), has again jumped on the recent attempts of the current leadership of the state-sponsored official “Jewish Community of Lithuania” to use the historic term “Litvak” (‘Jew of Lithuanian heritage’) to divide the Jewish community racially and ethnically between alleged “pure-blooded Lithuanian Jews identifiable today by their Lithuanian language” and “Russian-speakers.” On at least one occasion, an international scandal resulted in a half-mouthed apology following the most offensive official posting and a hapless attempted “edit” that followed on. Vilna-born Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg has commented on the affair.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis in Lithuania Again Get “Material” from “Official” Jewish Community’s Leadership

Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



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

VILNIUS—Following Defending History’s publication last weekend of the 28 July 2017 letter to the president of Lithuania signed by twelve United States congressmen, pleading for the new national convention center project to be moved away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius), the news was reported by The Weekly of Vilnius, an elite diplomatic publication on Lithuanian affairs, and then by BNS (Baltic News Service, and in English via the Lithuania Tribune), which put it into the wider Baltic domain. Last Monday, 14 August, there were at least four panel discussions broadcast on Lithuanian TV and radio. The following are full English translations of each of these broadcasts, provided by DefendingHistory.com.

(1) LNK TV: News. With Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Faina Kukliansky,   Rūta Leitanaitė, Daniel Lupschitz (Danielius Lupšicas),  Deividas Matulionis, Romas Pakalnis, Donatas Stundis

(2) LRT TV: Panorama. With Simon Gurevich, Skirmantas Malinauskas, Valdonė Rundenkienė

(3) LRT Radio: Lithuanian Day. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Deividas Matulionis

(4) LRT Radio: 60 Minutes. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Faina Kukliansky, Deividas Matulionis, passers-by and a taxi driver

LITE-Vulovak-on-national-convention-center-opening

Vulovak for DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

“Weekly of Vilnius” is First Lithuanian Publication to Cover US Congress Letter on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



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

VILNIUSThe Weekly of Vilnius, widely considered to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, was today the first in the Lithuanian capital to cover news of the letter from twelve United States congressmen to the president of Lithuania concerning current plans to situate a projected new national convention center in the heart of the city’s historic old Jewish cemetery, at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius. With the permission of the publishers, we are reproducing the title page of today’s edition and the entire article concerning the cemetery. In the spirit of classic journalism, The Weekly of Vilnius has no online edition (only an online description page) and is available weekly by emailed PDF or hard copy to its elite group of subscribers, known to include embassies, government agencies, captains of industry, politicians, academics and relevant institutions, libraries, and think tanks around the world. It is edited by the distinguished economist and journalist Mr. Nehro Khalil. A PDF facsimile of today’s report follows. Please use the arrows in the upper left hand corner to turn pages in either direction.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on “Weekly of Vilnius” is First Lithuanian Publication to Cover US Congress Letter on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Neo-Nazis Pick Up Hate Materials from… (Hijacked?) Official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” Website



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Lithuania’s top neo-Nazi blogger “Zeppelinus” has republished with some noticeable relish, in a post dated 27 May 2017, parts of the 19 May official “Lithuanian Jewish Community website” attack (as PDF) on this journal’s editor, Dovid Katz. The attack was, some would say shamefully, signed “LJC staff” though sources rapidly revealed its prime author (see our rapid response on the day). It is not the first time that the antisemitic far-right has found its material on the website of the official Jewish Community under its current leadership (that is under legal challenge after the recent allegedly rigged election), at a time when the website is, disturbingly, allegedly under control of elements very far from the interests of Lithuania’s Jews. Last autumn’s website attacks on Rabbi Sholom-Ber Krinsky were picked up and elaborated by another key antisemitic blogger who went so far as to  dig up the 1790s antisemitic attacks on a prime founder of Lithuanian Hasidism.

You know something is wrong when the neo-Nazis are finding their material on the “website of an official Jewish community”. It’s a website funded in fact by the state via restitution funds deriving from the communal religious properties of the annihilated Jewish communities of Lithuania, administered by a (this one’s for you, George Orwell) “Good Will Foundation”.

Then there was the most recent fiasco, a comparison of the democratic electoral congress of the Vilnius Jewish Community on 24 May to Russia’s “Zapad 2017” military exercises, and the charge that the assembled 300 or so Vilnius Jews were “mainly Russian speakers calling themselves Jews, with only a minority of people with Litvak blood” (see our report which led to JTA’s coverage, and the essays by Professor Pinchos Fridberg and by Leonas Kaplanas). This was a proverbial gift of the gods to the local antisemitic establishment here that revels in delegitimizing the country’s living Jews while embracing a de-Judaized ersatz “Litvak heritage” for PR, with some help from a tiny elite of privileged “court Jews” who themselves at times, it seems, become conduits for antisemitic invective against the local Jewish community. Prof. Fridberg has pointed out that a subsequent vague and unclear “apology” posted failed to disclose the author(s) of the offending text, and never even appeared in the Russian-language section of the website. Is the author of the offending text still employed by the official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community”? Why is his or her identity a secret?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Pick Up Hate Materials from… (Hijacked?) Official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” Website

Pinchos Fridberg’s Open Letter Concerning a Website Post of the Official Lithuanian Jewish Community



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The following is an English translation (by Ludmilla Makedonskaya) of Professor Pinchos Fridberg’s article in Russian that appeared in the Vilnius-based publication Obzor on 26 May 2017. Note that the original Russian version is the only authoritative text for any issues arising. Professor Fridberg is a native of Vilna, a Holocaust survivor, a retired physics professor and the author of numerous articles and studies. For translations of a selection of his work on Defending History’s issues, in English translation, see our Pinchos Fridberg section.

For more information on the issue see the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) website report on the 24 May elections held by the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC), Defending History’s initial real-time report and rejoinder, the second version posted, the JTA report on the affair,  the subsequent LJC “apology” and Leon Kaplan’s essay on these pages.

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Pinchos Fridberg, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Pinchos Fridberg’s Open Letter Concerning a Website Post of the Official Lithuanian Jewish Community

Translation of Lithuanian Radio Debate on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PAPER  TRAIL   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES

The following is a full translation of the radio debate on the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the capital’s Snipiskes district), aired by LRT.lt radio as part of its People and Ideas series on 1 March and again on 5 March 2017 and available in the original Lithuanian on the station’s website. The debate was hosted by Audra Girijotė with the participants (in alphabetical order here): Renaldas Augustinavičius, Ruta Bloshtein, Faina Kukliansky, Andrius Kulikauskas, Shnayer Leiman, Remigijus Šimašius.

Note that this translation works from the Lithuanian voice-over on Professor Leiman’s originally English contribution, rather than from a separate tape of the full English interview with Professor Leiman used by the organizers (who put together the “debate” after separate interviews with the participants). This was decided upon in the spirit of trying to characterize, as best we can, the text and texture actually received by the Lithuanian language audience.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Translation of Lithuanian Radio Debate on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Interviews by several Defending History staffers with several dozen members of Vilnius’s Jewish community over the past several days have turned up what seems to be a widespread sense of (citing terms that recurred frequently in the conversations) “disappointment” or “shock” at the “unbelievable changing of the rules of an election in the middle of the campaign.” (Such mini-surveys are not scientific, and a professional survey of today’s Jewish community on a number of issues is a critical desideratum here.)

The change seems to be in the cause of in effect disenfranchising the actual living Jews of Lithuania by suddenly decoupling the numbers of living, resident Jews from votes cast for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, for which elections are scheduled, as of today, for May 28th (for recent developments see the DH section on Vilnius Jewish Life). A number of those interviewed mentioned the role of the “Good Will Foundation” that allocates funding for the community’s administration, including elections, from the government finance provided as restitution for prewar communal religious Jewish property. Some of its allocations have been highly controversial.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Shádov (Šeduva), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”

Community Democratization: Four Leadership Jobs? Four People!



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—The disappointing failure of the official website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania to give Equal Space to each candidate, and to each campaign, in the current leadership contest is a scar in the modern community’s history that can still be repaired as the campaign turns to its final stages. Let us hope it will be, and that this minimal democratic standard will be respected by the site’s editor and by the Good Will Foundation that allocates lavish finance for the website, which was never intended to be a Soviet-style paean to a single never-to-be-questioned Leader. Perhaps the Board’s foreign members, in particular, will rise to the occasion, at long last, at next week’s scheduled meeting here in Vilnius, especially in light of the recent series of unsettling reports.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Community Democratization: Four Leadership Jobs? Four People!

Major German Holocaust Scholar Slips (Again) into Baltic Nationalist Discourse



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFAIRS  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION

by Dovid Katz

East European state-sponsored “Holocaust Fixing” continues apace. The distinguished German scholar and author of a major two-volume work on the Lithuanian Holocaust, Professor Christoph Dieckmann, has given a major interview intended for the general public on the popular Delfi.lt news portal. He was in town for an IHRA conference held in intimate collaboration with the Lithuanian government’s units on the Holocaust and Jewish affairs, including the Red-Brown Commission, of which Prof. Dieckmann is, surprisingly for many of his genuine admirers, a longtime member and apologist.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Germany, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Major German Holocaust Scholar Slips (Again) into Baltic Nationalist Discourse

Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Parade; A Tirade Against Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95


[last update 14 March 2017]

HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  IN VILNIUS  | KAUNAS  |  RIGA

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—A six-person monitoring group assembled by Defending History was the only human rights team at this year’s March 11th neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius. DH’s monitors were Eveldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz, Julius Norwilla, Ruta Ostrovskaja, Jacob Piliansky, and Julia Rets. Two senior longtime annual observers, both major figures in Lithuania’s Jewish community for over half a century, Milan Chersonski and Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, were prevented  by health issues from monitoring the event this year.

For years Defending History has asked that the marchers’ freedom of speech be respected at venues away from the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day. The granting of “that time and place” (only since 2008) conveys a sense of legitimization by both the municipality and national government, which are sometimes thought to be playing a “double game” by facilitating the honoring of Holocaust perpetrators locally, alongside commemorations for the victims for foreign consumption. At least two Western ambassadors were “quietly” among the observing crowds.

Photo Galleries:

Evaldas Balčiūnas; Julius Norwilla; Julia RetsAlkas.lt; Delfi.lt. Did “mainstream media” coverage avoid imaging swastikas, other fascist symbols, and Hitler salutes?

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Posted in "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Parade; A Tirade Against Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95

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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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis, Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & Spewing Racism, Again Gifted Center of Kaunas on Lithuania’s Cherished Feb 16th Independence Day

“Weekly of Vilnius” is First to Cover Bloshtein Petition in Lithuanian Media



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—The prestigious Weekly of Vilnius, which provides a digest and interpretation in English of news concerning Lithuania, especially for the diplomatic, governmental, business, academic, arts, cultural and international affairs communities, became the first publication, in its 5 February issue, to break the ostensible wall of silence in the Lithuanian media on the international petition by Vilnius native and resident Ruta Bloshtein. Her petition, concerning the fate of the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt in the Šnipiškės (Shnípishok) district of Vilnius, the nation’s capital, has to date garnered close to 38,000 signatures, making it the largest Litvak effort since the Holocaust. The petition calls on Lithuania’s president, prime minister, chancellor, the mayor of Vilnius and the European Commission’s president to move the project of a new national convention center away from the old cemetery. It comes after years of local and international opposition to the project. The Weekly of Vilnius, edited by the widely admired Nehro Khalil, has been known on more than one occasion to breach walls of silence concerning “the second opinion” on an array of issues and topics.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Weekly of Vilnius” is First to Cover Bloshtein Petition in Lithuanian Media

A Reply to London’s Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

LONDON—The world’s greatest rabbinic authorities are unanimously opposed to the project to construct a 34 million euro convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery, surrounded by thousands of graves on all four sides. And now, 34,000 people around the world have also spoken up in a new international petition. Nevertheless, one group of London rabbis, the “CPJCE” (Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe [italics added]) continues to campaign for the convention center in close cooperation with the local business interests and politicians. Its Rabbi Herschel (Hershel) Gluck OBE has spoken out in the London Jewish Chronicle, trashing the petition of a Vilnius born Orthodox Jewish woman, Ruta Bloshtein.

Neither Rabbi Gluck nor the Jewish Chronicle mention that his “CPJCE” was allegedly exposed in Wikileaks (reports in the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, DH) for demanding money for their “supervision”. Rabbi Gluck told the London Jewish Chronicle:

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Reply to London’s Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE

Conflict of Interest as Red-Brown Commission Chief Legitimized by Meeting with “Litvak Leaders”?



OPINION  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION  |  ISRAEL AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—The 22 November edition of the Jerusalem Post carried the following news item about an international meeting at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

Lithuanian and Israeli diplomats, academics, and government officials, together with representatives of Litvak organizations in Israel, the American Jewish Committee, the World Jewish Congress and the Tel Aviv Municipality, will congregate on Thursday at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation to discuss Lithuania and Israel – Past, Present and Future. Among the Lithuanians will be Lithuanian Ambassador Edminas Bagdonas, Ronaldas Račinskas, executive director of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania; Faina Kukliansky, chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community; and several other Lithuanian dignitaries. Among the topics tabled for discussion is the reinstatement of Lithuanian citizenship to Lithuanian expatriates living in Israel.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Double Genocide, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Conflict of Interest as Red-Brown Commission Chief Legitimized by Meeting with “Litvak Leaders”?

Did “Double Genocide” Just Get to the “O’Reilly Factor”?



MEDIA WATCH  |  OPINION  |  USA

by Dovid Katz

NEW YORK—At least a few viewers of the Fox News Channel’s premier prime time program, “The O’Reilly Factor” were taken aback to hear Bill O’Reilly spurt out last night, in his best high-school teacher by-the-way factual tone, “Stalin was as bad as Hitler! Alright, it’s the same thing!” during a segment presented as uncontested truth. The guest inspiring the “truism” was Mr. Marion Smith, executive director of the Washington DC based “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” (sometimes known for short as VOC).

fireshot-capture-3-marion-smith-on-the-oreilly-factor-10-21-16-_-https___www-youtube-com_watch

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Posted in Double Genocide, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform", United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Did “Double Genocide” Just Get to the “O’Reilly Factor”?

Vanagaitė and Zuroff’s “Mūsiškiai”


[last update]


For the first time, a Lithuanian author teamed up with an Israeli Holocaust scholar in search for the truth about widespread local enthusiasm, seventy-five years ago, for mass murder of civilian neighbors, and today’s failures in coming to grips with that history, in a land of hundreds of Jedwabnes. A genuine historic advance in Lithuanian-Jewish relations is seen in the startling partnership of Rūta Vanagaitė and Dr. Efraim Zuroff in Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai: Kelionė su priešu (“Our People: Journey with an Enemy”), published in Vilnius in January 2016. See also the media tracking page on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Operation Last Chance website.

English   Lithuanian   German   Polish   Russian

The following listing of coverage by language (English, Lithuanian, Russian, Polish) is far from exhaustive. The humongous reaction needs to be studied in its own right.

Nov. 2017 Update: Renewed media conflagration launched by the author’s 26 October 2017 PR rollout of three initiatives, two of which were directly relevant to the legacy of Mūsiškiai.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Documents, Efraim Zuroff, History, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vanagaitė and Zuroff’s “Mūsiškiai”

Media Coverage of the Malát (Molėtai) Holocaust Remembrance Project


[UPDATED]

A Selection for English Readers

Project’s Facebook Page; Website

22 September 2016.  Tablet: ‘Holocaust commemorations planned throughout Lithuania this weekend’ by Anna Rudnistky.

9 September 2016.  Defending History: ‘My take on Malát’ by Julius Norwilla [Norvila].

8 September 2016.  En.Delfi.lt: ‘The day Lithuania became a culture of We’ by Alexandra Kudukis.

8 September 2016.  Jewish Community of Lithuania website: ‘Molėtai Holocaust procession draws record crowd’ [unsigned article presumably representing the chairperson’s views].

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Media Coverage of the Malát (Molėtai) Holocaust Remembrance Project

August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities



Summer and Fall 2016: 75th Anniversary

of the Nazis’ annihilation, with vast local collaboration, of Lithuania’s Jews in the towns, villages, provinces; implementation of ghettoization and mass murder in the cities.

Perhaps among the simplest, most minimalist measures of a municipality’s sincerity (beyond PR bonanzas, photo-ops and legitimizations via useful foreigners): (a) Modest town-center information board on the origins, history, culture, contributions and (true) fate of the town’s Jewish citizens; (b) Rapid removal of any local shrines, street names, museum tributes etc. to the local collaborators and murderers. “You just can’t make heroes out of the killers and expect to cover it up with some annual PR event for the foreigners.”

Language and respect for the victims: In addition to Lithuanian and English, will new memorial texts (including those at forest mass graves and old cemeteries) continue to include Yiddish, the language of 100% of the murdered Jews in all these towns? For many years, Lithuania has had a uniquely admirable record in this regard.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Shádov (Šeduva), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities

In Reponse to the Media: 9 July 2016



Western Mainstream Media Fails to Mention that East European Allies of the West are Investing in Glorification of Hitler’s Local Collaborators

Huffington Post Piece on Stepan Bandera Worship in Ukraine Omits his Organization’s Responsibility for Hundreds of Thousands of Murders of Poles and Jews; Landmark Historical Book on Bandera Still Goes Unmentioned by Most Mass Media

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", 70 Years Declaration, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Reponse to the Media: 9 July 2016

NY Professor Exposes Rabbis — and the US Federal Agency — that Enable Lithuanian Gov’s Sham New “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”



PAPER TRAIL  |  REGISTRY OF OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  DH SECTION

NEW YORK CITY—Dr. Bernard Fryshman, physics professor at the New York Institute of Technology here, today published a new article concerning the imminent danger to thousands of Jewish graves in Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery upon which a huge $25,000,000 convention center, structured to yield hundreds of millions for property developers is about to be erected, where revelers will clap, sing and use toilets surrounded by the graves of Vilna Jewry paid for, on the understanding of possession in perpetuity, by untold thousands of families between the late fifteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. Protestant and Catholic ethicists have noted that such would never be the disrespect shown a cemetery full of Christian (or majority ethnicity) scholars in a great capital city of Europe. Last summer, Lithuania’s chief rabbi was rapidly fired by the Jewish community’s lay-leader-cum-private-attorney, after he spoke against the convention center project. His replacement has yet to speak out for the record; in the interim the search for a new chief rabbi was the subject of latter day Vilna folklore).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NY Professor Exposes Rabbis — and the US Federal Agency — that Enable Lithuanian Gov’s Sham New “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”

Defending History Brings Results



VILNIUS—Five years ago in 2011, on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust on 23 June 1941 and the following days — nationalist murderers killed thousands of Jewish neighbors before the first German forces arrived or assumed control — the state sponsored an array of activities honoring the “rebels” (an historic nonsense, the Soviet occupying forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, the largest in human history, not the local Jew-killers).

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Defending History Brings Results

Celebrating (!) 75th Anniversary of Start of the Lithuanian Holocaust (23 June 2016)?



VILNIUS—For the tiny and dwindling group of Holocaust survivors in this part of the world, the indelibly cursed day the genocide began was June 23rd 1941, when hordes of young local “nationalists,” some affiliated with the fascist Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) — which had put in writing its intentions for Jewish fellow-citizens beforehand — began to murder, plunder and rape their neighbors in at least forty locations before the first German soldiers even got there, as confirmed by numerous historians and eyewitnesses. Within a few days, most would don white-armbands.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Celebrating (!) 75th Anniversary of Start of the Lithuanian Holocaust (23 June 2016)?

San Francisco Examiner — Bamboozled?



MUSEUMS  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

VILNIUS—Yet another major American newspaper, this time the San Francisco Examiner, has done a fine travel report on Vilnius, the beautiful capital of Lithuania, but with perhaps naive and uncritical treatment of one of the city’s less savory sites that is a product of the far-right history revisionism of the ultranationalist camp. It is the city center’s so-called “Museum of Genocide Victims” that is mostly dedicated to the genocide that did not happen in Lithuania (during the dictatorial Soviets’ misrule), while making national heroes of some of the local collaborators  including actual killers) in the Holocaust — the genocide that did take place, resulting in the annihilation of 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry, the highest percentage in Holocaust-era Europe. The conceptual backdrop is the thriving Double Genocide movement in this part of the world.

The Examiner article reports that “Gediminas Avenue, the main artery through the city […] ends up at the Museum of Genocide Victims, the location of the 20th century Soviet KGB prison. […] The Museum is a very powerful statement to the horrors mankind can inflict on humanity.” Not a word about the fact that the same building was also a Gestapo headquarters during the Holocaust where the murders of 100,000 citizens at nearby Ponár (Paneriai) were coordinated, nor about the massive glorification of Holocaust collaborators throughout the building.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on San Francisco Examiner — Bamboozled?

Vilnius City Council Member Decries Memorials for Nazi Collaborators



VILNIUS—Briton Mark Adam Harold, also known as Mark Splinter, this city’s sole foreign elected City Council member, spoke out in an interview published today in 15min.lt calling for the city to accept the 2015 petition of a group of intellectuals to remove plaques honoring Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. In his reply to a pointed question, he also added that the city-center street named for Nazi collaborator Kazys Škirpa be renamed for Righteous of the Nations (rescuers of civilians targeted for death by the Nazis and their local partners). He also challenged the city’s mayor, implying that there might be an element of cowardice in failure to undertake simple measures that would immeasurably improve the international reputation of Lithuania’s storied capital.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council Member Decries Memorials for Nazi Collaborators

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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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Forward Coverage of Yivo Strife Omits Mention of Instrumentalization by Lithuanian Holocaust Revisionism Industry

When Both Law Enforcement and Politicians Cover Up Racism



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM  |  ROMA  |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

A Nigerian citizen was attacked with a knife and injured in Kaunas, Lithuania, earlier this month. Trying hard to avoid describing the assault as a racially motivated hate crime, law enforcement officials and the mainstream media alike explained that the incident was purely part of a private dispute. Strange to tell, reading through official statistics you would rapidly come to the conclusion that racist and xenopohobic crimes in Lithuania stand at about zero. And, that neo-Nazi minded youth are “just patriotic.” 

It is no great secret in this part of the world that law enforcement officials and some politicians like to beautify the statistics, or to terminate or redefine proceedings brought in respect of racial or xenophobic hatred. One example comes to mind from 2011, when MPs J. Narkevičius and E. Zingeris appealed to the General Prosecutor’s Office to do something about  the neo-Nazi ideology espoused in the song “Diktatūra” by the group “Šalčininkų rajonas” (Šalčininkai District). 

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on When Both Law Enforcement and Politicians Cover Up Racism

Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D   /   G E N O C I D E    C E N T E R

by Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

“I am a former Lithuanian soldier myself and have a personal remark to make. Nobody will ever force me to wear the uniform of another country’s armed forces, because I am a Lithuanian patriot. I will not wear the uniform of Russia or of Mozambique.”

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

One of the main Lithuanian dailies Lietuvos žinios (Lithuanian News) reported in an article on 24 November 2015  that the council of the celebrated Sajūdis organization (famed for its role in resisting the USSR and helping to achieve Lithuanian independence), had now, in 2015, decided to apply to prosecutors to take legal action over an article that had appeared in the 13 October 2015 edition of Laisvas laikraštis (Free Newspaper).

Sajūdis “decided” that the author  had violated the law because he mentioned that Lithuanian postwar militants Vytautas Žemaitis, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra), Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas and others might have been personally involved in Holocaust atrocities. [Editor’s note: See articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas on the alleged Holocaust involvement of Žemaitis, Noreika, and Baltūsis -Žvejas.]

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sweden | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?

No Surprise: Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator



But many in Vilnius shocked as official Jewish Community website posts the statement with no response or comment (in English translation as well as the original Lithuanian); But mishap could be editor’s error. Simon Wiesenthal Center responds. Report in the Jerusalem Post.  Community’s leadership replies.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on No Surprise: Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator

Wiesenthal Center “Shocked at Whitewash of Lithuanian Holocaust Perpetrator”



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community for what it termed a “brazen whitewash of the Holocaust crimes of one of the perpetrators of the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry.”

REPORT IN THE JERUSALEM POST

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center “Shocked at Whitewash of Lithuanian Holocaust Perpetrator”

Neo-Nazi Alleged to Work in Lithuanian Economy Ministry Didn’t Like DH’s Report on Vilnius Conference



VILNIUS—The pseudonymous neo-Nazi blogger “Zeppelinus,” long alleged to be the alias of a high official in the Ministry of the Economy (DH still awaits a reply to our open letter of 2013 to the relevant minister), is notorious for his racist, antisemitic, and homophobic images that continue to needlessly damage Lithuania’s good name (sampling at end of article). This web journal’s editor has long been one of his many photoshop and  photofake targets, naturally a source of pride for any and all within Vilnius’s bona fide human rights community. As some Lithuanian human rights activists put it, “If you didn’t make it into Zeppelinus’s sicko gallery, you’re not really doing enough for human rights in this country.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazi Alleged to Work in Lithuanian Economy Ministry Didn’t Like DH’s Report on Vilnius Conference

Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Strange Summer’s Media Circus



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In the midst of this past summer’s heatwave here in Lithuania, Delfi.lt, one of the most popular news portals in the land, exploded with discussions on commemorations and memorials for Nazi collaborators in our country. Rimvydas Valatka, a  columnist for the portal and  signatory of the Declaration of Independence, started it all with his article of 26 July. The “current events background” was the recent removal of the controversial Soviet-era statues of soldiers on Vilnius’s Green Bridge. Valatka, a veteran of Lithuanian journalism with the rarefied street-cred of a Declaration of Independence signatory, appealed for removal of the memorial plaque for Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika (“Generolas Vėtra”) from a central Vilnius library building, and wrote about a petition for its removal signed by a group of intellectuals and public figures, and addressed to the mayor of Vilnius as well as to the director of the relevant library (Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), where the plaque hangs prominently in the heart of Lithuania’s capital.


The stone honoring Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika tops the lot on the facade of the Genocide Museum on Gedimino Boulevard in the Lithuanian capital, a stone’s throw from the nation’s parliament. When are we going to stop glorifying those who helped annihilate Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust? When is this going to come down?


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Posted in Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Strange Summer’s Media Circus

Wiesenthal Center Praises Vytautas Bruveris’s Call for Investigating Scope of Local Holocaust Participation



TAURAGĖ  (TÁVRIK), LITHUANIA—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised an op-ed in the popular Lithuanian news portal Lrytas.lt by prominent journalist Vytautas Bruveris calling upon the government to finally undertake a comprehensive investigation of the scope of Lithuanian complicity in Holocaust crimes. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who is currently in Lithuania on a research expedition, the Center expressed its appreciation and support for the content of the article and expressed the hope that the government would indeed implement the ideas raised by Bruveris.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Efraim Zuroff, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Praises Vytautas Bruveris’s Call for Investigating Scope of Local Holocaust Participation

Double Genocide Discourse Now Standard for the New York Times?



O P I N I O N     /     M E D I A   W A T C H

VILNIUS—Naturally the New York Times cannot publish or even post very many of the Letters to the Editor that it receives. But when a dozen or so reactions from different parts of the world to a single article are all discarded, it is perhaps worth someone posting a submitted letter elsewhere for the record. This is especially true where there is a larger concern. In this case, it is the paper’s imposition, in recent years, of a wall of silence about the Holocaust Obfuscation, World War II revisionism and far-right historiography peddled by East European countries. These are, as it happens, the same countries who are in today’s geopolitics America’s and the West’s most reliable European allies in the New Cold War against the authoritarian, revanchist Putin regime.

The Times’ policy has sometimes extended to misrepresenting the East European far right’s history revisionism as accepted fact by publishing multiple op-eds from only one side of the argument. When the Times did (obliquely) cover the Seventy Years Declaration in early 2012, its reporter, tightly controlled by the State Department, would not mention the declaration by name, would not meet any of the government’s critics to hear their views, confused the two declarations in contest, and quoted a famous Brandeis professor without mentioning he was in town to receive a medal from the Lithuanian president for helping the state’s PR.

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Posted in Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Double Genocide Discourse Now Standard for the New York Times?

What Does the Mayor of Vilnius Think About His City’s Thousands of Jewish Graves?



O P I N I O N

by Julius Norwilla

Back in May, the story broke about an electrical station on an uninhabited hillside by a highway here in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, being made out of pilfered old Jewish gravestones. It quickly spread to the international press, including London’s Daily Mail. The city’s recently elected mayor, Remigijus Šimašius reacted with lightning speed, getting the city’s sign-making maestros to create and mount a handsome solid-metal smartly round-edged bilingual sign condemning the “example of Soviet barbarism” and promising the rapid removal of the stones to a place of dignity where they will form part of a memorial. A PR disaster was spun into a rapid reaction force’s PR triumph against discrimination that could only do our great city proud.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Double Games, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on What Does the Mayor of Vilnius Think About His City’s Thousands of Jewish Graves?

In Defense of Transparency at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra



O P I N I O N   /    M U S I C

by Ronald C. Kent

In January 2012 I became aware of a then-upcoming performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Since I knew that Carl Orff was a Nazi-approved composer, who created this work in 1936, I wrote a letter to Maestro Andreas Delfs and Music Director Edo de Waart, requesting that they place the biography of Orff during the Nazi period in the program, in the interest of enlightenment, transparency, and full disclosure, thereby situating “Carmina Burana” in its historical context for listeners.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Germany, Media Watch, Music, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Defense of Transparency at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

New Conflict Over Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, As New Heritage Commission Gets Underway



Updates on the new conflict over the old Vilna Jewish cemetery site at Piramónt (now part of the Šnipiškės [Yiddish: Shnípishok] district), and the related issues surrounding a concurrently established new commission on Jewish heritage will be added here as they become available.

THE PAGE IS HERE

 

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on New Conflict Over Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, As New Heritage Commission Gets Underway

“The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

The national Lithuanian television channel Lietuvos rytas TV recently (on May 4) broadcast a show by veteran talk-show host Rūta Grinevičiūtė (surname recently changed to Janutienė) called Nuoga Tiesa, “Naked Truth,” which posed the question, “Do you want the Jews to return again [sic] to Lithuania?” Viewers were invited to call in and/or vote by special telephone lines for Yes and No with a one euro toll per call. For that and a number of other reasons the entire program had something of the macabre about it, and although some of the guests made some important points, all of them seemed to miss certain glaring details which would have been the center of attention in the West.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Geoff Vasil, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Rūta Vanagaitė, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television

Purveyor of Racist, Misogynist, Antisemitic, Homophobic, Nazist “Art” is Alleged to Work in Lithuania’s Economy Ministry



VILNIUS—Defending History has still had no reply to its open letter of August 2013 to the Minister of the Economy, asking him to look into multiple media reports that the pseudonymous “Zeppelinus,” Lithuania’s best-known purveyor of hate-popart on the internet is indeed a senior civil servant in his own ministry. The issue came to the fore once again in recent weeks with his “appeal” to the head of the Jewish community, and his latest production following a recent controversial conference (conference report).

The following are samples of his “art” in the service of racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism alongside glorification of Nazism. Samples can readily be found for other prejudices, including anti-Polish and anti-Russian hate. Hopefully human rights organizations will continue to counter such materials, first and foremost by establishing, in partnership with law enforcement, the identity of the purveyor of the hate materials, and the answer to the question about alleged continued high employment in a government ministry. An earlier smaller sampling with full translation is available here. Full disclosure: This journal’s editor has on occasion been a target of Mr. Zeppelinus, too.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, UŽGAVĖNĖS (SHROVETIDE), Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Purveyor of Racist, Misogynist, Antisemitic, Homophobic, Nazist “Art” is Alleged to Work in Lithuania’s Economy Ministry

A Russian Observer Replies to Recent Feast of an American Daily Beast



O P I N I O N

by Alex Nosovich (Kaliningrad)

*Editor’s note

The governments of the Baltic countries, while cheerleading the introduction of new sanctions against the Russian Federation, are also doing something else that is going unnoticed. They are exploiting tensions between the West and Russia to settle scores with local dissidents, who advocate equal rights for national minorities and oppose glorification of Nazi collaborators. They are prevented from holding events, and impacted at the personal level, while their activities are marginalized so that they might become invisible in the eyes of the international community. This is done with help of American Neocons (neoconservatives), including the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), an organization established in 2009.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Latvia, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Russian Observer Replies to Recent Feast of an American Daily Beast

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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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, EU, Events, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Run-Up to the 16 Feb. 2015 Neo-Nazi March in Central Kaunas

Defending History Team in Vilnius Thanks Targum Shlishi for Support


VILNIUS—The Defending History team based here wrote today to Targum Shlishi in the United States to thank its board and director for offering support to the Defending History project at a critical juncture in its seven year history. The Vilnius-based project began in the spring of 2008, its web journal Holocaust in the Baltics got underway in 2009 and was renamed Defending History in 2010.

Targum Shlishi cited Defending History’s work in its newsletter today. The relevant paragraph reads as follows:

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Peter Jukes Tweets on Documentary that Glorifies Alleged Nazi Collaborator



O P I N I O N

LONDON—British author Peter Jukes, best known for his screenplays, literary criticism and political journalism, tweeted last week on the release in the United States of a new documentary film that heroizes certain postwar anti-Soviet “forest brothers” in Lithuania. The film, “The Invisible Front,” that premiered in Greenwich Village’s prestigious Cinema Village theater on 7 November, fails to even mention the view that various of the specific figures it glorifies for their post 1944 activities were in fact alleged recycled Nazi collaborators of 1941. That was the year when, in the days following the Nazi invasion launched on 22 June, the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) started butchering local civilian Jews, often elderly rabbis or young women, before the first German forces had arrived. Premeditation becomes evident from perusal of the LAF’s prewar leaflets.

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Posted in Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Film, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Peter Jukes, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Peter Jukes Tweets on Documentary that Glorifies Alleged Nazi Collaborator

Lithuanian TV Nixes LGBT Rights Video, Again



L G B T   R I G H T S    /   H U M A N   R I G H T S

The following report appeared today on the LGL website, and is reposted here by permission of LGL.

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Vilnius Daily’s Report on the Dyukov Affair



The following is a translation, by Geoff Vasil, of a news article in today’s Lietuvos rytas, available online in the original Lithuanian on lrytas.lt.

 

Aleksandr Dyukov: “Lithuanians are Nazi Collaborators Who Made Up the Occupation”

August 14, 2014

The Kremlin’s propagandist arrested at the Vilnius Airport, Aleksandr Dyukov, found out: he’s isn’t wanted in countries in the Shengen zone. After checking his documents and information in the database, border police working at Vilnius Airport told the arrival he may not enter Lithuania because he is included on a list of personae non gratae. After spending the night in special airport facilities, Dyukov boarded the first plane for Moscow in the morning.

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Hungary’s Supreme Court Forbids Local Media to Use the Term “Far Right” in Describing the Far Right Jobbik Party


JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized a decision by Hungary’s Supreme Court which recently ruled that local media cannot refer to the Jobbik party as “far right.”

UPDATE: See now Efraim Zuroff’s 14 June 2014 op-ed in the Jerusalem Post

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Reply to a Roger Cohen Opinion Piece on Ukraine and Lithuania



The following is the text of a letter to the editor sent to the New York Times on 8 March 2014 in response to Roger Cohen’s “Ukraine Fights for its Truth.” As it was not published, it is now included here for the record, and for the sake of the continuing discussion. The embedded links, and square-bracketed updates, have been added today.


Even the brightest can have a blind spot. Yet again, razor-sharp, liberal humanist Roger Cohen has been taken in by PR from the ultranationalists in Eastern Europe. Missing from his “Ukraine Fights for its Truth” (INYT, 6 March) — where he discusses both Ukraine and his ancestral town here in Lithuania — is all that is wrong with the revisionist narrative that is based on a far-right rewriting of history known as “Double Genocide.”

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Posted in Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ukraine, Zháger (Žagarė) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Reply to a Roger Cohen Opinion Piece on Ukraine and Lithuania

Respublika “Slightly” Edits Efraim Zuroff’s Obituary for Shimon Alperovich



M E D I A   W A T C H

Vitas Tomkus’s daily tabloid, Respublika has, alongside its sister title, Vakaro Žinios (Evening News, also owned by Tomkus) in many views inflicted tangible damage upon Lithuania and its image. The papers leave a long trail of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic invective, not seldom in sensationalistic formats that mirror the 1930s.

The most notorious instance was perhaps the 2004 front page featuring the unseemly cartoon of the The Jew and The Gay holding up a globe under the headline “Who runs the world?” recycled (and again, on page 1), in 2009. Vakaro Žinios (Evening News) even featured a sickening photo montage of the then head of the Jewish community Dr. Shimon Alperovich, and a Soviet-era abacus, with text suggesting the Jews were conspiring to defraud the Lithuanian people. More recently, a front page was devoted to a local rabbi with a headline about Jews not having to pay taxes. The word Žydai (Jews) alone was in massive size type, as on numerous occasions, e.g. when the paper accused “The Jews” of plotting to steal the building housing the Culture Ministry. It is almost all out of a dark satire.

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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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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Efraim Zuroff on Tablet Magazine’s Co-Sponsorship of Lithuanian Government’s Yivo Event, and a Suggestion for Yivo’s Audience

More Mainstream Media Coverage of the Swastika Issue in Lithuania



The following, for our readers’ information, is Geoff Vasil’s translation of a 3 February 2014 article that appeared in 15min.lt. Please see the original Lithuanian for the photos referenced herein by their captions in square brackets.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, EU, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged | Comments Off on More Mainstream Media Coverage of the Swastika Issue in Lithuania

Swedish Film Director Speaks Out on the Lithuanian Holocaust, Sort of, a Little Bit



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Jonas Öhman is a Swede who has been coming to Lithuania and living here on and off from almost the beginning of modern independence in the 1990-1991 period. During that time he has produced a number of films, only one of which appears to his credit on the internet film database imdb.com, but all of which deal more or less with a mythologized version of the history of Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans.

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Respublika’s 18 January 2014 Front Page Article “Kaunas Jewish Community Chairman Gercas Žakas: One Point for Discord between Lithuanians and Jews”



The following translation, by Geoff Vasil, is of a front page article in the Vilnius daily Respublika (18 January 2014), featuring an interview with Kaunas Jewish community leader Gercas Žakas (the words superimposed on the photo roughly translate: “Perhaps someone really is provoking us and sowing discord intentionally”). The Lithuanian original is available online.

See also the the front page spread featuring interviews with Faina Kukliansky and Moshe Beirakas which appeared two days earlier, on 16 January 2014.

 ZAKAS in Respublika


 

Kaunas Jewish Community Chairman Gercas Žakas: One Point for Discord between Lithuanians and Jews

January 18, 2014

by Olava STRIKULIENĖ

Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas was initially surprised when the daily newspaper Respublika, where his son Arijus worked as a reporter, was deemed an antisemitic newspaper. And now Žakas is surprised our politicians sported a Wehrmacht symbol during Defenders of Freedom Day.

Žakas: “What symbol are you talking about?” Žakas asked. “I know nothing, I was away. Apparently someone wasn’t paying enough attention.”

Respublika: “During the commemoration of January 13 at parliament forget-me-not pins were passed out, which are really a symbol of the Nazi German Wehrmacht military.”

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Respublika’s Editorial on Nazi Symbols in Use


 

The following is a translation, by Geoff Vasil for Defending History, of the editorial that appeared on 17 January 2014 in the Vilnius daily Respublika (p. 4), a day after the front page story (16 Jan.) featuring photographs of Faina Kukliansky and Moishe Beirakas, and a day before the front story (17. Jan) featuring Gercas Žakas.

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Heritage Articles from Lithuanian Jewish Community’s “Jerusalem of Lithuania” Going Online


new page has been launched to provide selected articles from the English edition of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Jerusalem of Lithuania. The newspaper was regularly published in four separate editions (English, Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish) from 1989 to early 2011. These selections are from the years 1999-2011, when the quadrilingual publication was edited by Milan Chersonski, now a senior staff writer at Defending History. The page is being developed in close consultation with Mr. Chersonski.

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Respublika’s 16 January 2014 Front Page Article “Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time”



The following translation, by Geoff Vasil, is of a front page article in the Vilnius daily Respublika (16 January 2014). The Lithuanian original is available online. See also: Geoff Vasil’s comment on the article which may serve as an introduction to some of the local issues and nuances.

Respublika Jan 2014 interviews with Faina Kukliansky and Moishe Beirak


 

Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time

January 16, 2014 by Asta MARTIŠIŪTĖ and Olava STRIKULIENĖ, Respublika reporters MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, chairman of the Supreme Soviet/Restored Parliament of Lithuania, speaking at a solemn event to commemorate January 13 [1991], spoke in his speech about the Holocaust as well. Was it necessary to mention this at a ceremony dedicated to the 14 defenders of Lithuanian freedom who died and who hadn’t even been alive during Holocaust times? Beyond this, January 13 [commemorations] didn’t come off without yet another curiosity. A Wehrmacht symbol was used in the “Forget-me-not” campaign and MP Rasa Juknevičienė said next January it will be possible to acquire these symbols [lapel pins] throughout Lithuania, and not exclusively in the capital. Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on Respublika’s 16 January 2014 Front Page Article “Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time”

Forget Me Knot



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

In an attempt to maintain their reputation as the most anti-Semitic major newspaper in Lithuania, the editors at Respublika have fired a new salvo in their information war against the international forces of Communist Zionism with a straw-man argument designed to rehabilitate the swastika as a Lithuanian cultural heritage symbol.

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An Open Letter to Steve Linde, Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post



O P I N I O N

by Olga Zabludoff

Editor’s note: This and other responses were first offered to the Jerusalem Post for publication.


The Lithuanian government is pouring ever more resources and doing an ever better job with its PR campaign to turn Litvaks (Jews of Lithuanian origin) into virtual PR agents who now go further than they do themselves: painting a picture of the New Jewish Paradise in Lithuania without even mentioning the existence of painful current issues. Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Steve Linde no doubt meant only the best with his Chapter-of-Psalms, and will, I feel confident, now be happy to give the issues some rounded airing.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Olga Zabludoff, Opinion, Politics of Memory, South Africa | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on An Open Letter to Steve Linde, Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post

“Higher Mathematics” of the Lithuanian Holocaust



O P I N I O N

by Pinchos Fridberg

NOTE: This English version of a recent piece by Professor Pinchos Fridberg (of Vilnius), translated by Lumilla Makedonskaya (of Grodno), is for our readers’ information. In the case of any doubt or matter arising, the original Russian text alone is authoritative.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Pinchos Fridberg | Comments Off on “Higher Mathematics” of the Lithuanian Holocaust

Jerusalem Post, Again, Fails to Post Dissenting Comments on a “Lithuania Ecstasy” Story



M e d i a   W a t c h   /   O p i n i o n

Readers on several continents again report to Defending History that the Jerusalem Post has failed to post perfectly polite comments to yet another ecstatic ode to issueless Lithuanian-Jewish love. This time it’s the story “Growing Lithuanian Business Ties Beget Political Support” which reported on the recent visit to Israel of the Lithuanian Minister for the Economy Evaldas Gustas.

The rejected comments pointed out that a senior specialist employed at his ministry was exposed last spring as Lithuania’s most hateful internet blogger, responsible for a series of images disparaging to Jews, Blacks, Gays, and to the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania (sampling of images here). Our Open Letter to the minister essentially asks why the hateful top official is still in office. Is such a question taboo for a major English language daily in Israel?

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Posted in Citizenship, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, South Africa | Tagged , | Comments Off on Jerusalem Post, Again, Fails to Post Dissenting Comments on a “Lithuania Ecstasy” Story

“Baltic Times” Does It Again: A Page of Hate Calling for Expulsion of a Million Legal Residents in Latvia



O P I N I O N  /  M E D I A   W A T C H

Last May, this journal reported on a full page of racial hate directed at Latvia’s “Russians” (a cover term for Russian-speakers of a multitude of backgrounds). It had appeared in the Baltic Times, under cover of the responsibility-shirking label “Advertisement.” Heaven help us all if the word advertisement can in European Union and NATO countries cover for spreads of hate and incitement to violation of human rights. In this case, the demand is for the veritable expulsion of a million peaceful, legal residents of a member state of these international alliances, both of which are based on the shared commitment to uphold the human rights of all.

Rather than repeat the commentary offered at the page’s earlier appearance, we refer back to it here on the occasion of its reappearance in this month’s Baltic Times (dated 31 October — 27 November 2013), that occupies all of page 5 in the main news (!) section.

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Chersonski Replies to Aleksandravičius on the 2012 Kaunas Reburial of the 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan ChersonskijTranslated from Russian by Ludmila Makedonskaya (Grodno); updated English version approved by the author, Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. He was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania. The views he expresses in Defending History are his own. Photo: Milan Chersonski (image © Jurgita Kunigiškytė). Milan Chersonski section.


 

 Real Heroes and Supposed Heroes

 

Who Protested and Why?

In May 2012 solemn funeral events were held in Kaunas: the ashes of the interim prime minister of the Provisional Government of Lithuania (hereinafter PG) Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis were transferred from the state of Connecticut in the United States, where he was buried in 1974, to Kaunas, the former temporary capital of Lithuania. There the ashes were reburied.

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Efraim Zuroff Critiques Vilnius Genocide Center’s Latest Attempt to Massage Figures (and Ethics) of Local Holocaust Perpetrators


In a statement issued in Jerusalem today, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff noted two major flaws in a recent report issued by the state-sponsored Genocide Center in Vilnius, Lithuania. The report’s key findings, presented by the Center’s Dr. Alfredas Rukšėnas, were published by the Lithuanian news portal Delfi on 25 October 2013 (English translation available in Defending History).

According to Dr. Zuroff:

“The findings of the report, as presented by the coordinator of this project, are clearly part of a systematic attempt by the Lithuanian government to minimize the role of ethnic Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Based on the records in our archives, I can unequivocally state, that the figure of 2,055 Lithuanians whose direct and indirect participation in Holocaust crimes was confirmed by this study, is a gross underestimate of the number of Lithuanians complicit in Shoah crimes, designed to deflect blame from local collaborators and hide the extensive scope of Lithuanian involvement in the mass murder of Jews, both in Lithuania and outside her borders.

“Also highly objectionable is the assertion by Dr. Rukšėnas that those Lithuanians who indeed murdered Jews really had no choice but to do so, having received orders to commit murder from their superiors. Besides the fact that in many cases, these superiors were themselves Lithuanians, such arguments have been consistently and unequivocally rejected by courts all over the world, starting with the Nuremberg Trials.”

Posted in Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Efraim Zuroff Critiques Vilnius Genocide Center’s Latest Attempt to Massage Figures (and Ethics) of Local Holocaust Perpetrators

Former BNS Chief Artūras Račas Lets Loose Again on Fridberg, Kanovičius, Pancerovas, Zuroff…



The following is a translation of an October 2, 2013 piece published by former Baltic News Service chief Artūras Račas on his blog. For context, see some of Mr. Račas’s previous work on Holocaust related issues, e.g. his comments on state investigations of Holocaust survivors who became anti-Nazi partisans (2008) and on Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Dr. Efraim Zuroff (2013); see also Prof. Fridberg’s reply.


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English Translation of the Lithuanian Text on the Vilna Ghetto Provided by the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania…



The following is an English translation, by Geoff Vasil, from the original Lithuanian text that appears on the website of the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania concerning the Vilna Ghetto, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of its liquidation on September 23, 1943.

In an important article that appeared in Lithuanian in Bernardinai.lt, and in English in the Lithuania Tribune, author Sergejus Kanovičius pointed out the remarkable disparity of tone between the Lithuanian version on the Chief Archivist’s website (that appears below in English translation), and the English version provided on the Chief Archivist’s website…


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Who’s Afraid of Defending History Dot Com?



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

It is gratifying that numerous scholars from different parts of the world, and indeed of differing opinions on the contentious issues that lie at the heart of Defending History, have on occasion found it a useful resource for data and views on various topics, including the Double Genocide movement, the Prague Declaration (2008), the Seventy Years Declaration (2012), the politics of memory, Holocaust Obfuscation, glorification of Holocaust perpetrators (and attempted criminalization of resistance heroes), East European antisemitism, racism, homophobia, and Litvak identity theft (more on contents and quick intro page).

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Zeppelinus, Unmasked as Official at Lithuania’s Ministry for the Economy, Posts New Gay-Hate Image to “Welcome” Baltic Pride Week



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The leading neo-Nazi blogger in Lithuania, “Zeppelinus,” who was unmasked several months ago by a number of publications as a high official at the Ministry for the Economy and chairman of the nation’s Tripartite Commission, did not deny the identification.

Instead, quite incredibly, he complained to the press commission against those who would dare deem to be unacceptable his hateful racist, antisemitic, homophobic and pro-fascist productions.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Zeppelinus, Unmasked as Official at Lithuania’s Ministry for the Economy, Posts New Gay-Hate Image to “Welcome” Baltic Pride Week

Free Speech and Holocaust Remembrance in the Eastern European Union



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

NOTE: This was written in response to “Foreign countries use far-right operations to undermine Lithuania’s image” published on June 7, 2013, on the Lithuania Tribune website.

Initially the editor-in-chief of the Lithuania Tribune agreed to publish the following reply in the Lithuania Tribune, but then changed his mind and finally refused, only informing the author a month later…

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Baltic Times: Hitting a New Low with “Paid Advertisement” Advocating Migration of Latvia’s Russian Speakers?



 

O P I N I O N  /  M E D I A   W A T C H

The half-page article on the “Business” page of the Baltic Times (dated 4-17 April 2013 but widely available this week here in Vilnius) carries at its end the words “This is a paid advertisement.”

But these words do not succeed in mitigating the moral responsibility of the increasingly ultranationalist, far-right newspaper in disseminating hate material against any minority, least of all of in an EU / NATO member state. The inherent equality of peoples and their races and languages and national and personal identities are an inseparable component of what the European Union and NATO are all about.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Russian Speakers' Personal Status | Comments Off on Baltic Times: Hitting a New Low with “Paid Advertisement” Advocating Migration of Latvia’s Russian Speakers?

The Homophobic Track Record of MEP Vytautas Landsbergis



O P I N I O N

by Anna Shepherd

Lithuanian conservative politician, former Head of the Lithuanian Parliament and current EPP Member of the European Parliament Vytautas Landsbergis has consistently expressed homophobic views and spoken out against initiatives to strengthen LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights in the European community, and particularly in Lithuania itself.

SEE ALSO:

LANDSBERGIS’S TRACK RECORD ON JEWISH ISSUES

ON THE GLORIFICATION OF LOCAL NAZI COLLABORATORS

Landsbergis expressed his views about LGBT rights unambiguously in his outlandish claim in 2010 that paedophilia is connected to homosexuality. This claim was made at a parliamentary hearing on the sexual abuse on children organised in the European Parliament. According to Landsbergis, children should be protected from “homosexual propaganda” and “homophilic [sic] paedophilia”. Landsbergis’ claims were condemned by Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs; and the European Parliament’s Intergroup for LGBT Rights, which stated that it condemns paedophilia unreservedly, as do all recognized LGBT organizations worldwide.

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Zeppelinus Images Revealed as Media Claims he is a Government Official



Three Major Lithuanian Sites Claim that Neo-Nazi Internet Figure “Zeppelinus,” a Hater of Poles, Jews, Roma, Russians, Blacks and Gays is actually…

Director of the Economic Ministry’s Human Resources Dept and the Government’s Rep on the “Tripartite Council”

Samples of Zeppelinus’s hate images on the internet:

zeppelinus hasidic kid with gun

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In Obeliai (Abél) and Rokiškis (Rákishok): More State-Sponsored Glorification of Nazi Collaborators


 


O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Years ago, when I first started doubting the veracity of certain propaganda intended to diminish the culpability of local forces in the Holocaust, I interviewed an elderly woman who was an eye-witness to what happened in late June of 1941 in Rokiškis (in Yiddish: Rákishok) in northern (or northeastern) Lithuania.

abel 1942

Obeliai (Abel) 1942: Is curiosity or concern sparked by this “celebration of 1941 partisans” coming from the apex of Nazi rule in Lithuania (1942, when the local Jews were already all murdered)? It seems not. This photo is of the 1942 Nazi-era memorial torn down by the Soviets, and just replaced by a new one, commemorating the same pro-Nazi “partisans” …

She told me how a bunch of young men turned savage, rounded up Jewish men, stuck them in what amounted to a pig sty surrounded by barbed wire in the center of town, and then tortured and humiliated them until they murdered them. She said this gang of savages went by the name of Savisaugos batalionas, which is Lithuanian for self-defense battalion. Were they led by Germans? No, she said, there hadn’t been a single German to be seen.

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One-Sided Coverage in the “Lithuania Tribune”?



M E D I A   W A T C H   /   O P I N I O N

 

A month has now elapsed since the online Lithuania Tribune took a defamatory press release as God’s-honest-truth news, in absence of the slightest attempt to obtain a quote from the victim, or indeed anyone with a contrasting view. The press release came not from a news agency, but the highly partisan executive director of the “Red-Brown Commission” (the full and rather Orwellian name of which is “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania”). The Commission is highly controversial to say the least, and resignations to date (all on principle) from its associated bodies include Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Sir Martin Gilbert (London), Prof. Gershon Greenberg (Washington, DC), Prof. Konrad Kwiet (Sydney) and Prof. Dov Levin (Jerusalem). Moreover, while putting forward an educational image to donors, it is in fact the ultranationalist political engine of a sizable part of the Double Genocide movement in Eastern Europe today, and this dubious role has been brought to light repeatedly. Major statements on the Commission’s activities came in 2012 from its former member Yitzhak Arad, and from the world’s last active association of Holocaust survivors from Lithuania.

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Strength Through Joy “Hitler Youth” Events Sponsored by the City of Vilnius on March 11, 2013



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

by Geoff Vasil

 

This March 11, the day in 1990 when the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic declared Lithuania sovereign and separate from the Soviet Union, was celebrated in Vilnius in the usual manner: neo-Nazis, skinheads, their young and naive followers and a gaggle of elderly politicians—both serving MPs and has-beens—assembled and marched up the main boulevard chanting nationalist and anti-minority slogans, scaring children and generally making the streets unsafe for normal activities.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Strength Through Joy “Hitler Youth” Events Sponsored by the City of Vilnius on March 11, 2013

A Counter-Question to Lithuanian Journalist Artūras Račas



O P I N I O N

by Pinchos Fridberg


Editor’s note [with updates to 3 March 2013]:

On his personal blog, Artūras Račas, director of Baltic News Service (BNS), attacked the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, as well as the prominent Vilnius-born, and currently Vilnius-resident Holocaust survivor and retired professor of radio physics, Dr. Pinchos Fridberg. A full English translation of Mr. Račas’s article is included in Defending History’s coverage of the sensational outburst by the head of Lithuania’s major news agency.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Opinion, Pinchos Fridberg, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A Counter-Question to Lithuanian Journalist Artūras Račas

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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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Games, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Pinchos Fridberg, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Tolerance Education? State-Sponsored Commission Uses its Website to Call Holocaust Survivor a “Liar” & to Demand “Apology from Jewish Community”

Head of Baltic News Service (BNS) Tweets Against Efraim Zuroff and Pinchos Fridberg


Artūras Račas, head of Baltic News Service (BNS), the main news agency in the Baltics, in a tweet today heaped scorn on Vilnius Holocaust survivor Professor Pinchos Fridberg and on the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The tweet  is reproduced below and links to the tweeter’s article, which is also available in English translation [updates: Prof. Fridberg’s replylater report].

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Head of Baltic News Service (BNS) Tweets Against Efraim Zuroff and Pinchos Fridberg

US Researcher is Persuaded that the Problem in Lithuania is called “Zuroff and Katz”



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The blog Christine Beresniova and Rokas Beresniovas recently published the article “A lamentable absence of sexy scandals.” We will refrain from comment on their understanding of the concept “sexy scandals” and stick to the work of fellow human rights advocates, which entails standing up to powerful establishments on behalf of minorities, victims of prejudice, and in the case of Eastern Europe, the victims (and handful of survivors) of genocide. Those who stand up know all too well that to do so is not all that often convenient, easygoing or self-serving.

Beresniovas and Beresniova Website Banner (2013)

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on US Researcher is Persuaded that the Problem in Lithuania is called “Zuroff and Katz”

Red-Brown Commission’s Newest Layer of Obfuscation: Are Names of Members Secret?


The Lithuanian government sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes of Lithuania,” known for short as the “Red-Brown Commission” has recently added a new layer of obfuscation and opacity to its activities.

Its website has deleted the names of the “Members of the Commission” thereby rendering it a kind of “secret society.”

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Red-Brown Commission’s Newest Layer of Obfuscation: Are Names of Members Secret?