D O C U M E N T S
Editor’s note: By agreement of Žilvinas Butkus, author of the following 12 August 2009 email, and its recipient, the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, the document is now published. Note that the draft law appended at the end of the document was adapted by the parliament and signed by the parliament in revised form in June 2010. The bill’s framers had made it clear that promoting Double Genocide in Europe lay close to the heart of this legislative initiative.
August 12, 2009
Editor’s note: The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office today released for the record the following September 2007 email exchange with the director of the Los Angeles based “Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute” (VYI).
Posted in Documents, News & Views, Opinion, USA, Vilnius Yiddish Institute
Tagged Dan Opatoshu, Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust in Lithuania, Richard Maullin, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Steven Spielberg + Hoocaust in Lithuania, Vilnius Yiddish Institute
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.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Israel, Litvak Affairs, Litvak Identity-Theft as Post Holocaust Phenomenon, Media Watch, News & Views, Olga Zabludoff, Opinion, Politics of Memory, South Africa, The Holocaust in Lithuania
Tagged Brothers Zingeris (Lithuania), Holocaust in Lihuania, Jerusalem Post + Lithuania, Olga Zabludoff, South Africans + Lithuania, Steve Linde
O P I N I O N
by Didier Bertin
The French original of this article appeared in the December 2013 issue of Cahiers Bernard Lazare. This adapted English translation appears with the authorization of the author and permission of Cahiers Bernard Lazare.
New names: VB, FPÖ , FN , PVV. new faces, but underlying factors and what they refer to remain unchanged. It is sometimes called NFR (new far right); the NFR has not done anything new and reflects deeply rooted convictions transmitted from generation to generation on soil that is fertile for them: Europe. There are extremists in the left wing and among the Greens but in case of crisis the far right attracts a significant number of people from many social classes including the workers. We will thus focus our analysis on extremism on the right wing and also — on European governments.
O P I N I O N
Authorized translation from Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil
This week the Lithuanian government resolved not to grant so-called hero’s pensions to surviving rescuers of Jews.
The decision is an odd one and raises doubts concerning the values to which this government claims to adhere. Although truth be told, this isn’t the first instance of unseemly conduct showing disrespect to hundreds of thousands of people murdered just because they were Jewish and towards those Lithuanians who attempted to save those scheduled for execution.
O P I N I O N
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.
Here in front of you is a paper arranged in full accordance with the structural requirements of academic articles: from the Abstract to Acknowledgements, with quotations followed by references to their sources, with original spelling of names following in brackets. It is not meant to challenge the reader, who may smile the use of the phrase “higher mathematics” here.
I would like to inform those readers about two things: firstly, higher mathematics (such is the English common phrase, the reference here is to higher arithmetic of course; some will recognize “numbers theory”  in the section on mathematics, which studies “integer numbers and similar objects”; secondly, I am the only one “darling Pinchos in Lithuania calling himself a “professor”  as the former head of BNS so kindly put it not too long ago. So darling, that internet magazine Face (“Veidas”) for some reason accompanied my publication  with as many as twenty supposed images of my face (their underlying assumption being that all Jewish faces have one unitary certain look).
O P I N I O N
by Monica Lowenberg
Monica Lowenberg’s office has released for publication the following public letter sent to British ORT.
British ORT, FAO The Chief Executive, Mr. Dan Green
25 November 2013
Dear Mr. Green,
It is with deep regret that my 90 year old father, Ernest Lowenberg, former Berlin ORT pupil and I write to you today.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Double Games, EU, Events, Litvak Affairs, Litvak Identity-Theft as Post Holocaust Phenomenon, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The Holocaust in Lithuania, UK
Tagged British ORT, Egidijus Aleksandravicius, Lionidas Donskis, Lithuanian Embassy in London, Litvaks, Monica Lowenberg, University College London (UCL), Vytautas Magnus University, Westminster Synagogue
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?
VILNIUS—Defending History today obtained from local sources a copy of the official statement of the Lithuanian State Language Commission concerning the spelling, in Lithuanian, of the word for Holocaust, usually Holokaustas.
For some it will sound astounding that in the country with the highest percentage of Jews killed (96.4%) in Holocaust era Europe, where a massive state effort has been underway to promote “Double Genocide” and the “Prague Declaration,” a simple suggestion from the tiny remnant Jewish community that Holocaust be spelled with a capital letter (denoting its status as a unique event in history) has drawn a tortured, convoluted reply from the state language commission, one that seems to wittingly confound the capitalization question with the issue of whether holocausts strike far and wide, like hurricanes.
Text of a Letter to the Editor in today’s International New York Times:
Lithuania’s Holocaust debate
Regarding “Lithuania’s unloved sentinels” (News, Nov. 13): James Kanter admirably sums up the pros and cons of retaining in central Vilnius “the last major monuments on public display here that still trumpet Communism,” namely a set of statues on Green Bridge. Although he mentions that there is “now little trace of a once thriving Jewish community obliterated in the Holocaust,” he neglects to mention the street names, museum exhibits, public plaques and more that honor local Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators (on the grounds that they were “also” anti-Soviet). The lively debate raging here shouldn’t be kept from Western eyes.
Dovid Katz, Vilnius, Lithuania
B O O K S / O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
The unfortunate and wasteful campaign of Holocaust obfuscation waged by certain Lithuanian state institutions continues apace. The level of investment continues to strike outsiders as puzzling, given current economic and cultural issues and the younger population’s clear focus on the future and a better life for all in the new and multicultural European Union. In other words, the first victims of the government’s (rather Soviet-style) “genocide industry” are the hard-working people of Lithuania who deserve more judicious disbursement of their nation’s resources. The state-sponsored Genocide Center has just released three simultaneous editions (English, Lithuanian and Russian) of a new book on the Vilna Ghetto by historian Arūnas Bubnys, its own “director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Department.” Dr. Bubnys is also a member of the state-sponsored “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”). He was one of a minority of members of the Commission that refused to sign the (in the opinion of some, inadequate) letter of 14 October 2013 to Dr. Yitzhak Arad.
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Books, Double Games, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, History, News & Views, Opinion, The Holocaust in Lithuania
Tagged Arunas Bubnys, Genocide Center, Holocaust Obfuscation, International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, Lithuania, Vilna Ghetto, Vilnius, Yitzhak Arad
O P I N I O N
by Rachel Croucher (Melbourne, Australia)
Lithuania declared its restoration of independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on March 11, 1990. The country then began to immediately seek closer ties with established Western European institutions as a means to consolidate their national and economic security. After centuries of subjugation at the hands of various foreign powers, this need for national and economic security was seen as being of primary and urgent concern to the fledgling democracy. This race to join as many Western European institutions as possible was also a way to prove to the rest of the world that Lithuania was now in practice a true European country, part of the post-1945 Western European order. The sentiment behind this is best expressed by Czech-born and naturalized French writer Milan Kundera when he stated in 1989 that
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rachel Croucher
Tagged Emanuelis Zingeris, Holocaust in Lithuania, International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, Rachel Croucher, Vytatuas Landsbergis, Yitzhak Arad
At the request of Defending History, Dr. Clemens Heni’s office in Berlin has kindly made available for our readers’ convenience a PDF comprising his writings and presentations between 2009 and 2013 that deal with the 2008 Prague Declaration and its subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) links with contemporary antisemitism. Dr. Heni is author, among other works, of Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon (Berlin 2013).
The PDF is available here. Dr. Heni’s website: www.ClemensHeni.net.
O P I N I O N
by Evaldas Balčiūnas
Defending History reported earlier on the attempt to restore a monument in Obeliai (Abél in Yiddish), a town in northeastern Lithuania, not far from the Latvian border.
It is an unpleasant story and one that is still developing. Although seven decades have passed since the mass murder of the Jews of Abél, some people think that everyone has forgotten who carried out that mass murder.
O P I N I O N
A senior historian and his government’s “master fixer for foreign Jewish academics,” Professor Sarunas Liekis told an audience of hundreds in Philadelphia last Sunday that Dovid Katz had never been a professor of Yiddish at Vilnius University, and had been discontinued in 2010 by the American Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (led by Richard Maullin of Los Angeles) for not having turned up for class for several years (!).
VILNIUS — Observers of the sometimes eerie human rights scene here thought they had seen it all, or most of it, but an elected parliamentarian’s latest stunt was seen as a new setback for Lithuania’s image even by conservatives on social issues.
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.
O P I N I O N
by Didier Bertin
From the very beginning, the source of our problems is to be found in an inaccurate narrative of World War II that is rather widespread here in France. This can be explained in part by France’s position as a de facto ally of the Axis at first, starting from the time of Petain’s surrender to Hitler’s forces in 1940. It was rather late in the war that a substantial segment of society in the country per se (as opposed to the heroic resisters who had joined the Allies outside surrendered France’s borders) became a stalwart ally of the United States and Great Britain, at a time when that was by a confluence of circumstances most convenient for all three countries.
Translated 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.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, History, Media Watch, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The Holocaust in Lithuania
Tagged 1941 Provisional Government of Lithuania, Egidijus Aleksandrevicius, Holocaust in Lithuania, Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis, Lithuania Activist Front (LAF), Milan Chersonski, Milan Chersonskij, Valdas Bartusavičius, Vytautas Magnus University
O P I N I O N
by Efraim Zuroff
Authorized English translation of Dr. Zuroff’s speech at the annual commemoration event held by the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, received from the Israel Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Hebrew original is here.
Attorney Yosef Melamed asked me to update you regarding the recent events which have taken place since the last memorial event a year ago, concerning the attempts by the Lithuanian government to distort the history of the Holocaust and to minimize or deny the participation of many Lithuanians in the murder of Jews, not only in Lithuania but also beyond its borders.
Posted in Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Israel, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The Holocaust in Lithuania
Tagged Alfredas Rukšėnas, Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, Efraim Zuroff, Emanuel Zingeris, Genocide Center Vilnius, Holocaust in Lithuania, Joseph Melamed, Milan Chersonski, Pinchos Fridberg, Rachel Kostanian
by Monica Lowenberg
In 2011, I made my first journey to Riga, the capital city of Latvia.
A few months before, I had been tracked down by two distant cousins on a genealogy site, quite out of the blue. I remember the strange feeling I had when one of them asked me if I felt “Latvian.” Latvian? German Christian, German Jewish, British, yes — but Latvian Jewish? No.
Posted in Latvia, Memoirs, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, UK
Tagged Holocaust in Latvia, Holocaust in the Baltics, Monica Lowenberg, Paul Lovenbergs, Riga Ghetto
דבריו של ד″ר אפרים זורוף באזכרה השנתית לקורבנות השואה בליטא
כ″ה חשון תשע″ד 28/10/2013
ערב טוב לכולם,
עו″ד יוסף מלמד בקש ממני לעדכן אותכם לגבי האירועים שהתרחשו מאז האזכרה האחרונה לפני שנה בנסיונות של ממשלת ליטא לעוות את ההסטוריה של השואה, וכמו כן גם למזער או להעלים את השתתפותם של ליטאים כל כך רבים ברצח יהודים בליטא, אבל גם מחוץ לגבולותיה.
O P I N I O N
An abstract, sometimes called a summary, is a short explanation of the salient parts of an article or book. Abstracts are useful for surveying a large body of literature on a given topic, and aid in selecting specific works for a fuller reading. This selection very much depends on the honesty of the person doing the selecting.
I am interested in Holocaust research. I use the internet and search engines, and often they point to the webpage of the Lithuanian government sponsored Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania, known for short as the Genocide Center. Its own website has many summaries for this topic. These abstracts often have a strange tone.
Posted in Double Genocide, Evaldas Balčiūnas, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The Holocaust in Lithuania
Tagged Evaldas Balciunas, Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania, Genocide Centre in Vilnius, Kražiai (Krozh), Nemakščiai (Namoksht, Nemoksht), Vidukle
O P I N I O N
by Michael Shafir (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
1. Approximately when did the drive to equate the Holocaust and the sufferings endured by people under Communist regimes start?
It is very difficult to pinpoint an exact date. In the West, a number of Sovietologists have long driven attention to the fact that the horrible crimes perpetuated by Stalin and his henchmen in East Central Europe deserved the attention and the opprobrium that Nazism met with after the Second World War. Due to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous book Gulag, these crimes soon began to be referred to under the synthetic name of that book. The collapse of the Communist regimes in the region in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 intensified that drive, which also found an impulse in the once popular (but later criticized) “totalitarian model.” That model was now revived, finding support particularly in the eastern part of Europe that had suffered under Soviet domination. Western historians were (and still are) quite divided over this issue. For example, Robert Conquest, who produced several important books on Stalinist crimes, was reluctant to place the Holocaust and the Gulag on the same footing. On the other hand, Stéphane Courtois, who edited and contributed to the Black Book of Communism, not only embraced the comparison, but insisted on
Posted in Double Genocide, History, Michael Shafir, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Double Genocide, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Obfuscation, Michael Shafir, Nazi and Soviet crimes, Prague Declaration (2008)
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
It is both right and laudable that University College London, the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and other partners are organizing a “Round Table Discussion: Anti-Soviet Resistance in the Baltic States” in central London, scheduled for 5 November 2013, 2 to 6:30 PM, with free admission for all (free tickets here; Facebook page here).
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, UK
Tagged anti-fascist + London, far right history revisionism London, Latvia Estonia + Holocaust history, Lithuania, SSEES, UCL
The following is the text provided by the office of Simon Malkes (Paris) of the speech he delivered at a conference held at the Lithuanian parliament on 22 September 2013, as part of the series of events of the Fourth International Litvak Congress in Vilnius, Lithuania. Mr. Malkes, a Vilna native and survivor of the Vilna Ghetto, is president of the ORT school network.
Simon Malkes (right) speaks to an old friend on Gedimino Boulevard in central Vilnius, after his speech at a session of the Fourth International Litvak Congress held at the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas).
My name is Simon Malkes. I am a French citizen, living in Paris since 1952. I am a rare survivor, among the less than one percent of Vilna Jewry. I survived thanks to the German officer Karl Plagge who managed the HKP automobile works camp in Vilnius between 1941 and 1944. In 2005, I succeeded to obtain from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem the Righteous Among the Nations title, posthumously, for Karl Plagge.
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…
Virtual exhibition “Vilnius Ghetto”
On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany (the Reich) invaded the Soviet Union and in a few days seized Lithuania, formerly occupied by the USSR. One of the main goals of the Nazis was to annihilate the whole Jewish nation.
by Geoff Vasil
The Contemporary Art Center’s reading room in Vilnius is hosting an unusual-for-Lithuania Holocaust event called Keep Me in Mind. Briefly, visitors are invited to wander among different tables where good-looking and polite people await them with small boxes and sheaves of papers. When you sit down the narrator at the table tells the story of an individual Holocaust survivor, from childhood to the present. Almost all of the survivors seem to now live in Haifa, Israel. One survivor, Benjamin Ginzburg, came from Vilnius.
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Film, Theatre, Sculpture, Geoff Vasil, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The Holocaust in Lithuania
Tagged "Keep me in Mind", Geoff Vasil, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust Politics
O P I N I O N
by Danny Ben-Moshe (Melbourne)
As I watch the news of tourists excluded from national parks in America, as Federal Government is shutdown, I recall my visit to Washington DC’s famous National Mall, when I was recently in the city for a screening of Rewriting History.
I viewed several memorials of inspiring individuals: Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. People who said no to hate and tried to foster positive political change. Physically I was in the American capital, but in the midst of Rewriting History screenings, my head was in an East European space, and this was the prism through which I saw many of the city’s magnificent exhibits. One memorial resonated with me more than any other: The Martin Luther King Memorial.
B O O K S
Ponary Diary 1941-1943: A Bystander’s Account of a Mass Murder, by Kazimierz Sakowicz; edited by Yitzhak Arad. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005
Ruta’s Closet, by Keith Morgan with Ruth Kron Sigal. London: Unity Press (an imprint of Unicorn Press Ltd), 2013
Malice, Murder, and Manipulation: One Man’s Quest for Truth, by Grant Arthur Gochin. Los Angeles, 2013
The concept “Holocaust memoir” encompasses many subgenres in time and place. This review will cover the interlocking treatments by three very different types of witnesses:
Posted in Books, News & Views, Olga Zabludoff, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The Holocaust in Lithuania
Tagged and Manipulation, Grant Arthur Gochin, Kazimierz Sakowicz, Keith Morgan, Malice, Mujrder, Olga Zabludoff, Ponaryh Diary, Ruta's Closet, Ruth Kron Sigal
O P I N I O N
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.
Posted in Double Genocide, EU, Geoff Vasil, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Double Genocide, Geoff Vasil, Prague Declaration of 2008, Prague Platform on European Conscience and Communism, Tuskulenai Peace Park (Vilnius)
O P I N I O N
In 1998 the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” was established by Lithuanian presidential decree.
The commission is directed in tandem by Emanuelis Zingeris and Ronaldas Račinskas. The former is the commission’s chairman and a Conservative MP in the Lithuanian Seimas, while the latter is the commission’s executive director. The Lithuanian Jewish Community has no representation on the commission.
O P I N I O N / E Y E W I T N E S S R E P O R T
by Avro Kuresh
On Friday, September 13, 2013, the Baltos Lankos publishing firm in Vilnius held a discussion at their main book sales outlet in Vilnius to present a book edited by Professor Jurgita Verbickienė about the Jews of Lithuania.
The discussion on this doubly auspicious day—eve of Yom Kippur and Friday the 13th—began with Verbickienė presenting a short sketch of the book and two other participants in the discussion, Zigmas Vitkus and Simonas Gurevičius. The latter is the executive director of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. The topic was how Lithuanians view Jews.