Museums

Two “C Words” for Holocaust Museums: Center of Town, and — Collaboration



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

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

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Two “C Words” for Holocaust Museums: Center of Town, and — Collaboration

Austrian Volunteer Reflects on Year in Lithuania, Calls for City-Center Holocaust Museum in the Capital



O P I N I O N

by Sebastian Hager

 

Iwas proud to serve as Austria’s remembrance volunteer (Gedenkdiener) in 2013-2014. Based in Vilnius in the Green House, the country’s only serious Holocaust exhibit, I was able to travel extensively and meet Lithuanian citizens from a wide variety of backgrounds. Despite all the hype, the Jewish heritage is not really in the best of shape. There is a lot of ignorance combined with an ethnocentric nationalist worldview.

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A Visit to Ukraine, Where the Holocaust Becomes a Negligible Detail



O P I N I O N  /   T R A V E L   L O G

by Frank Brendle  (Berlin)

Editor’s note: The author travelled through Ukraine in autumn 2014 with a team from the Berlin-based Educational Center for Peace Research and Pinima productions. A German version of this report appeared in www.bildungswerk-friedensarbeit.org. This English version has been approved by the author. The photographs were supplied by Frank Brendle and Pinima productions, Berlin. Any re-use should credit each photo appropriately. For background on the Ukrainian Holocaust see a recent US Holocaust museum (USHMM) report, and the Defending History work by Grzegorz Rosslinski-Liebe and Per Anders Rudling; also our Ukraine section and page on 2014 international media.

 

It’s a late summer night in Lviv and we have our first encounter with Ukrainian civil society: A demonstration of bicyclists. The words “critical mass” are written on their banners, and they are fighting for more space on the roads. Just like in Germany. But something else is different than in Germany: The leader of the demonstration is shouting “Slava Ukraini!” and the crowd shouts back: “Heroiam Slava” (Glory to Ukraine – Glory to the Heroes). Then comes the next organized chant and reply-to-the-chant: “Glory to the Nation – Death to the Enemies.” fun-in-participation factor is multiplied as passers-by shout the chant, eliciting the expected reply from the marchers.

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Which Issues Did the Exhibition Neglect to Cover?



M U S E U M S   /   O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

These observations do not claim to be a review of the traveling exhibition “Lithuanian Jews behind the Iron Curtain,” which was mounted by the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum in Vilnius (hereinafter “the state Jewish museum”) from 13 March to 31 July 31 this year. By and large, issues raised refer to the fate of Lithuanian Jewry during World War II and contemporary issues regarding some issues in Lithuanian history.

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The Politics of History



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil. Final version approved by the author.

 

Much has been said about recent history policy in Lithuania. What this means, different speakers understand differently. It probably isn’t wise to dwell long on the concept. Let’s just say “history policy” is the interpretation of historical events provided by state institutions and officials.

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FREE SPEECH

The truth is specific. I will give one example of how this appears in our and neighboring states and how that illuminates the history of our state.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Politics of History

Double Genocide MEPs Sneak Revisionism into Parliamentarium Museum


The Double Genocide supporting website “Reconciliation of European Histories” boasted today that its core group of right-wing MEPs from Eastern Europe has succeeded in its demand to insert red-brown revisionism in depictions of the World War II and Holocaust era in the prestigious Parliamentarium Museum in the EU capital Brussels.

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Exhibit Honoring Jewish World War II Veterans Disappears Into Vilnius Thin Air



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—Three Vilnius-based members of the Defending History team visited the Pylimo Street section of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania this week, and asked to be shown the famous and widely admired exhibit honoring the Jewish veterans of the war against Hitler in Lithuania. The exhibit, titled Lithuania’s Jews in the Struggle Against Nazism, was opened in a spirit of unity, reconciliation and mutual respect, some fourteen years ago (PDF of the report in the Spring 2000 English edition of the Jewish community’s then quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania, which was edited by Milan Chersonski from 1999 until 2011; JPEG; reduced image below). Its primary author was Joseph Levinson.

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Artists Knew, Allied Leaders Kept Silent



O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

 

When I was in New York last year, I saw an extraordinary exhibition of paintings by Marc Chagall, “War, Exile and Love” at the Jewish Museum. The focus was on the works he produced during his years of exile in the United States. This exhibition, well attended, shed an interesting light on what the artist knew about the horrific events unfolding in Europe at the time of his sojourn in the United States.

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Inclusion and Occlusion



O P I N I O N

A REVIEW OF THE PRAGUE PLATFORM’S TRAVELLING EXHIBITION “TOTALITARIANISM IN EUROPE” PAID FOR BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (CURRENTLY ON SHOW AT TUSKULĖNAI PARK IN VILNIUS, LITHUANIA)

by Geoff Vasil


 

At the edge of downtown Vilnius, along the river Neris where the buildings suddenly turn old and worn and bushes, trees and grass take on unmanicured forms, across the bridge whose entree is gated by the Danish and British embassies to Lithuania, there is a strange park nestled in between some very empty Soviet-looking and much older buildings.

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Old Blood Libel Plaque Still Displayed, Without Comment, at Bernardinai Church in Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

WHERE THE BLOOD LIBEL STILL STANDS: Seventeenth century plaque commemorating a seven year old allegedly killed by 170 Jewish-inflicted wounds, on display at Bernardinai Church, Maironio Street 10 in Vilnius

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Old Blood Libel Plaque Still Displayed, Without Comment, at Bernardinai Church in Vilnius

Never Have So Many Owed So Much to So Few: Reflections on an August 2013 Visit to Some Museums in Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud/Belgium)

 

I recently returned home to Belgium from a visit to Vilnius, Lithuania. As is my custom, I visited different museums where the memory of the victims of the Holocaust is kept alive. I went first to the Green House on Pamenkalnio St 12. Not easy to find for foreigners as there are few indications on the streets. I also went to the Center for Tolerance. Apart from my wife and me there was no one else in either museum at the time of our visits there (in the high tourist season in August).

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Yad Vashem and the “Two Genocides”



O P I N I O N

by Danny Ben-Moshe  (Melbourne)

This op-ed was first published in Jerusalem Report in August 2013.


I remember my first visit to Yad Vashem as a 16-year-old visitor to Jerusalem. It had a profound, and indeed formative, effect on me. I left there with a badge clipped to my lapel inscribed with the motto, zakhor, the Hebrew word for remember.

Yet for all its splendid work, Yad Vashem whose formal title is The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, I am sorry to say, is now dramatically failing both the martyrs and heroes of the country where the percentage of the Jewish community annihilated in the Holocaust was higher than anywhere else in Europe – Lithuania.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Australia, Danny Ben-Moshe, Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yad Vashem and the “Two Genocides”

Would a Jewish Museum in Vilnius Graywash the Lithuanian Holocaust?



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz


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

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Red-Brown “Platform” Runs Another Double Genocide Conference — in Warsaw…



Another EU Supported Lopsided “Double Genocide” Conference, This Time — in Warsaw (14-15 May 2013), Courtesy of the Red-Brown “Platform”

 

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Ukrainian Holocaust-Revisionist Museum Seeks Legitimacy with Well-Oiled North American Tour; Dr. Rudling Protests


1: Ultranationalists sponsor a North American lecture tour for a Lviv-based museum director. Harvard University (18 Oct) and a meeting with Canada’s prime minister (19 Oct) included.
2: Lund University (Sweden) historian Dr. Per Anders Rudling protests.

Dr. Per Anders Rudling

3: Canadian organizations complain to the vice-chancellor in Sweden about Dr. Rudling.
4: Exclusive: Per Anders Rudling in DefendingHistory
5: Scholars issue open letter
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Canadian Prime Minister Manipulated into Praising Holocaust-Distorting Museum in Ukraine


In the course of remarks criticizing the current Ukrainian government for its human rights abuses, made in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper added words of praise for a visiting director of a Holocaust-distorting museum in Ukraine who was on a Canada lecture tour last week, and for the museum itself. The museum, in Lviv, Ukraine, glorifies and sanitizes some of the local Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators. An account of the prime minister’s remarks appeared in a 19 October 2012 report in the Toronto Sun.

There is no suggestion that the Canadian prime minister agrees with the Ukrainian Holocaust revisionists, or would wish to compliment those glorifying the local perpetrators. Instead, the episode is seen as yet another instance of a well-oiled lobby being able to confuse, combine and confound issues in dealings with Western personalities and institutions that stand far from these issues.  Attempts to make heroes of the local Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators, in the spirit of antisemitic East European (ultra)nationalism, have also been documented this year in Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania.

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Ukrainian Ultranationalists Sponsor Lecture Tour Across North American Universities



O P I N I O N

by Per Anders Rudling

Last week, a Canada-wide lecture tour by Ruslan Zabily was announced. He is the former director of the Center for the Study of the Liberation Movement and the current director of the Lonsky Street Prison National Memorial Museum (for short: the Lonsky Museum) in Lviv, Ukraine.

AT THE LONSKY MUSEUM: JEWISH HOLOCAUST VICTIMS PHOTOSHOPPED OUT. A woman has just recognized a loved one among the victims of the NKVD killings in 1941. In the background of the original photo one also sees groups of Jewish victims of the massacre which followed within days of the NKVD murders (Jews were forced to carry and rebury these victims). Thousands of Jews were killed as Soviet crimes were blamed on them and used to incite antisemitic violence and murder. In this photoshopped version on display at the Lonsky Museum, the nationalists’ Jewish civilian victims are literally covered by the circular insertions of Soviet crime statistics, implicitly ethniziced as Ukrainian suffering.

The original image, before photoshopping at the Lonsky…

The lecture tour includes some of the most prestigious universities in Canada — the universities of Alberta, Toronto, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ottawa — as well as Harvard University’s Ukrainian Studies Institute in the United States. The lectures in Alberta and Toronto are facilitated by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies; the Peter Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine; the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies; the Harvard Institute of Ukrainian Studies and its Chair of Ukrainian Studies.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bandera, Canada, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Free Speech & Democracy, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Per Anders Rudling, Politics of Memory, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ukrainian Ultranationalists Sponsor Lecture Tour Across North American Universities

Vylius-Vėlavičius: Patriot or Another “Tuskulėnai Peace Park” Holocaust Perpetrator?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

In my recent article about the war criminals buried at Tuskulėnai Memoral Park in Vilnius I provided a list of Nazi collaborators convicted by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on April 19, 1943, and May 24, 1944 of murdering civilians during the Holocaust. This does not mean, however, that those convicted under other laws are guiltless.

SEE ALSO:

Milan Chersonski on Tuskulėnai Park in Vilnius

According to criminal case materials and archival material examined by Lithuanian historians, there are rabid Nazi collaborators buried at Tuskulėnai Memoral Park. Despite the facts, today falsified, but very “patriotic,” biographies for these people are being crafted and disseminated, according to which they are portrayed as fearless warriors who battled for a free Lithuania.

I have written about one of them, Jonas Noreika, nicknamed General Vėtra, convicted under sections 1a and 2 of article 58 of the criminal code of the RSFSR, but who was recently decorated posthumously by Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus, so I won’t repeat that here.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Museums, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Vylius-Vėlavičius: Patriot or Another “Tuskulėnai Peace Park” Holocaust Perpetrator?

Dr. Per Anders Rudling’s Email to Colleagues of 3 October 2012 Concerning the Zabily Speaking Tour In North America


 


The following is the text of the email which Dr. Per Anders Rudling circulated to colleagues today on the subject of Ruslan Zabily’s planned North American lecture tour, including engagements at top universities and a meeting with the prime minister of Canada.


 
3 October 2012 16:03:03 CEST Dear Colleagues,
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MP Denis MacShane Writes to the Director-General of the Imperial War Museum in London



 O P I N I O N

by Denis MacShane

The letter below was sent by then MP Denis MacShane to the director-general of the Imperial War Museum on 18 September 2012. It was released for publication in 2013, and now appears in its chronological (time of writing) slot in Defending History’s Denis MacShane section.

 

  • Ms Diane Lees
  • Director-General
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Lambeth Road
  • London SE1 6HZ

Dear Ms Lees:

I write to you as one of the MPs who takes a special interest in contemporary antisemitism. I chaired the All Party Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the problem, have written a well-received book “Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism” (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2008/9), and lecture and write all over the world on the return of the racist ideology of antisemitism in the 21st century.

Thus as a life-long supporter of the Imperial War Museum, and one particularly proud that this magnificent British institution encompasses the excellent Holocaust Exhibition, I write to express some urgent concern that IWM might unwittingly be drawn into a plan by certain far-right or ultranationalist circles in the current Lithuanian government to abuse the good name and offices of IWM in an attempt to legitimise the profoundly problematic “Genocide Centre” in Lithuania, in a series of meetings scheduled for this month, apparently organised by the Lithuanian Embassy here in London.

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