Opinion

London CPJCE Spokesman Proclaims a Soviet Ruin in Vilnius to be Lithuania’s “London Tower” and its “Statue of Liberty”



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

In a remarkable interview cited today in the highly respected Five Towns Jewish Times, an Orthodox publication based in Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, and Hewlett, all in Nassau County, Queens, New York, Rabbi Abraham Ginsberg, the PR specialist for the London-based CPJCE (“Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe”) is quoted as explaining why, in his estimation, the Lithuanian state feels the burning national-priority need to build a convention center and annex in the heart of Vilna’s historic Jewish cemetery that dates to the 15th century and continues to hold the remains of thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens whose families duly bought their plots over the centuries:

“I asked the rabbi why we are accepting the fact that this excavation and construction that will potentially unearth more bones and destroy many more graves must go forward.

“The rabbi explained that the location is important to Lithuanians because it was in this stadium now in disrepair and rotting that the Lithuanians declared their independence in the aftermath of the collapse of Communism in 1990. ‘This location is Lithuania’s London Tower and Statue of Liberty; they are not letting it go anytime soon,’ Rabbi Ginsberg said.

“He’s a little upset at the American rabbis who met with the Lithuanian ambassador in Washington last week.”

Excerpt from Larry Gordon’s report, “A Grave Matter in Vilna”  in the Five Towns Jewish Times, 23 February 2017

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on London CPJCE Spokesman Proclaims a Soviet Ruin in Vilnius to be Lithuania’s “London Tower” and its “Statue of Liberty”

But Who is Against Vilnius “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”?


[UPDATED]

Registry of Opposition to “The National Convention Center” Atop the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės)

INTERNATIONAL PETITION

(I) Groups of leading Litvak (and other) rabbis

(II) Institutions

(III) Individuals

(IV) Lithuania’s Jewish community

(V) Background

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on But Who is Against Vilnius “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”?

A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  MUSEUMS

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

VILNIUS—The Litvak world, internationally fragmented and weak, yet so vibrant and creative, has been cheered by news reports of the new shtetl museum to rise in the near future in Shádev, a Lithuanian town of many centuries of Jewish heritage where a great rabbinic personality, Reb Móyshe Ha-Góyle (“Moses the Exile”, Méyshe Ha-Géyle in deep Litvish pronunciation, Moshé Ha-Golé in Israeli Hebrew) thrived in the fifteenth century.

A good shtetl museum here will be a blessing to the Litvak, European Jewish, Yiddish and shtetl heritage internationally. It will be a blessing to modern, democratic Lithuania. To this day, the basket of idols of the contemporary Jewish market downplays the magnitude of Yiddish language, literature, and culture, shtetl culture and heritage, and the magnificent East European Jewish legacy more generally. News media have gone with reports by AFP and by JTA, and there is more on the project’s website.

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Posted in Arts, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)

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 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

Israel Chronicle


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Israeli Foreign Policy and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe (1990 — 2017)

Debate Tracker:

2017   2016   2015   2013   2012   2011   2010   2009

Media Tracker:

2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   earlier years


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Posted in Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel Chronicle

Defending History’s 2017 People of the Year



three-winners-1

As 2017 gets underway, Defending History is proud to honor three Vilnius personalities, this year all from its Orthodox Jewish community, who have stood up for cherished principles against powerful forces. In all cases, the principles defended pertain also to human rights more generally. Their courage and determination can serve as an example to all who defend human rights and history even when it is inconvenient and draws the ire of power-invested institutions that are often associated with state-supported entities.

The three honorees are, in alphabetical order, Ruta Bloshtein, Rabbi Kalev Krelin, and Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky. On Facebook. See from previous years the Prophet Amos Human Rights Awards and the 2014 Person of the Year.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Defending History’s 2017 People of the Year

“Surreal” Nov. 29th Vilnius Public Debate on Street Named for Nazi Collaborator


[LAST UPDATE]

In Vilnius, City Council Holds “Surreal” Public Debate on 29 Nov. 2016 on Street Name Honoring a Nazi Collaborator; But Will the Mayor (Who Did Not Attend) Ever Speak Out with Moral Clarity?

Keynote speaker was Mark Adam Harold, the British born city councillor who “courageously and dramatically” proposed renaming the street that currently honors Nazi collaborator K. Škirpa.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on “Surreal” Nov. 29th Vilnius Public Debate on Street Named for Nazi Collaborator

Conference on East European Holocaust Opens in Warsaw



Conference in Warsaw, 5–7 December 2016:

Conference Features Omer Bartov, Christoph Dieckmann, Dan Michman, Antony Polonsky, Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Saulius Sužiedėlis, Rūta Vanagaitė, Efraim Zuroff, and Other Major Specialists on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe

Expectations rising that the Lithuanian government sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” (three of whose members are speaking) may now publicly call for (1) research (and acknowledgment of extant research and testimony) on massive “pre-German violence” in dozens of towns in the last week of June 1941; (2) written state apologies to defamed Holocaust survivors Yitzhak Arad, Fania Brantsovsky, Pinchos Fridberg, Rachel Margolis and Joseph Melamed; (3) dismantling of public-space shrines, street names, university lecture halls etc that honor Holocaust collaborators; (4) repeal of the 2010 “red-brown jailtime law” that effectively criminalizes free debate;  (5) abandonment of official adherence to 2008 Prague Declaration (and acknowledgment of the need for consideration also of the points made in the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration).

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Posted in Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Conference on East European Holocaust Opens in Warsaw

Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder


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THE LATEST

Reviews of Bloodlands

Reviews of Black Earth

Instrumentalization?

2012   2013   2014   2015   2016

This journal holds leading historian Professor Timothy Snyder (Yale University) in the highest esteem, and trusts that this select list of reviews taking issue with aspects of Bloodlands of direct concern to DefendingHistory.com will not be taken amiss. It does not include reviews which have engaged in personal attack or pursued grudges, or which focus on other issues.

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Posted in Australia, Books, Double Genocide, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder

Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl



 

OPINION  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  COMMEMORATIONS FOR DESTROYED COMMUNITIES

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in ISGAP Flashpoint:

The words “antisemitism in the shtetl” might evoke recollections of Fiddler on the Roof, a touch of family lore “from the old country” way back when, or for those familiar with modern Yiddish literature, a scene from this or that writer. Baffling as it may sound, however, it a substantial contemporary topic in the study of antisemitism, and, perhaps even more surprisingly, part of a phenomenon with implications for the future, given the vast number of cities, towns and villages in the world with a rich Jewish history but no living Jews, where potent anti-Jewish feeling (as well as pro-Jewish feeling) can be observed. As noted back in Flashpoint 21, antisemitism in Eastern Europe is very different from its much better known Western and Middle East incarnations.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl

Is Eastern European “Double Genocide” Revisionism Reaching Museums?



HISTORY  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  MUSEUMS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Dovid Katz

This paper appeared today in Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, published by Taylor and Francis.

ABSTRACT: In contrast to twentieth-century Holocaust Denial, the most recent assault on the narrative of the genocide of European Jewry has emanated from a sophisticated revisionist model known as Double Genocide, codified in the 2008 Prague Declaration. Positing “equality” of Nazi and Soviet crimes, the paradigm’s corollaries sometimes include attempts to rehabilitate perpetrators and discredit survivors. Emanating from pro-Western governments and elites in Eastern Europe in countries with records of high collaboration, the movement has reached out widely to the Holocaust Studies establishment as well as Jewish institutions. It occasionally enjoys the political support of major Western countries in the context of East-West politics, or in the case of Israel, attempts to garner (eastern) European Union support. The empirical effects to date have included demonstrable impact on museums, memorials and exhibits in Eastern Europe and beyond.

The demise of twentieth-century-style Holocaust denial in mainstream Western society is aptly symbolized by David Irving’s loss to Deborah Lipstadt in the London High Court in 2000. But around the same time, a new and more irksome method of writing the Holocaust out of history was emerging under the radar, this time without necessarily denying any of the historical events or a single death. Particularly in Eastern Europe, it was being forged with state funding and more subtle powers of persuasion in academia, the media, the arts and international diplomacy.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Eastern European “Double Genocide” Revisionism Reaching Museums?

Vilnius Remembers Valerijus Čekmonas on his 80th



VILNIUS—While some biographies cite 1937 as the year of Professor Valerijus Čekmonas’s month, many of his numerous students and admirers both here in Vilnius, and internationally, who were heartboken by his untimately death in 2004, are taking the 1936 year as definitive and celebrating his life this season on the occasion of what would have been his eightieth birthday.

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Posted in Lithuania, News & Views, Obituaries, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Remembers Valerijus Čekmonas on his 80th

Why Can’t Riga Just Replace a Plaque on the Wall?



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |   LATVIA

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

 


I am a tour guide in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Whenever I take tourists through  Riga’s fabled Old Town, we together pass, on the way from Town Hall Square to the still-functioning synagogue, the address Peldu Street 15, right on the corner of Peldu and Kungu. There is a high school building and a twenty-four-hour parking lot guarded all the time. And right in front of us, on the outside wall of Peldu 15, there is the half-destroyed plaque for the Righteous Among the Nations Anna Alma Pole.

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Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Why Can’t Riga Just Replace a Plaque on the Wall?

Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls on Mayor of Vilnius to Remove Plaque Honoring a Holocaust Collaborator



VILNIUS—Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky, a prominent lawyer here in the Lithuanian capital, today released on the community’s official website the text of her letter to the mayor of Vilnius calling for the removal of a plaque honoring the notorious Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. The letter follows her bold speech at the 23 September Ponár (Paneriai) memorial which likewise called on government officials to remove honors for Holocaust perpetrators, citing three prominent collaborators by name.

There was immediate speculation on which human rights, Jewish and Israeli organizations, here and internationally, would react with rapid public expressions of support for the chairperson’s letter. The charismatic young mayor of Vilnius has a colorful record on Jewish issues, which Defending History has been following for years, starting with his earlier stint as justice minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls on Mayor of Vilnius to Remove Plaque Honoring a Holocaust Collaborator

Leon Kaplan Comments on Eviction by Jewish Community Head of Rabbi Krinsky and his Fellow Worshippers



VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  OPINION

by Leon Kaplan

The following two comments appeared in Facebook on 1 November 2016 and on 3 November 2016, following publication of Dovid Katz’s 1 November article in Defending History. They have been slightly condensed and copy-edited here.

1 November 2016:

It is time to stand up to this behavior. Does Madam Kukliansky think that in Ponar and the other 250 places of murder that Jews, our brothers and sisters, our children (kinderlakh) had been separated at the time of murder and thrown into a Chabad ditch and into a Misnagdim ditch? If this is a decision by Madam Kukliansky, to call the police or to lock out Krinsky from the building of the Jewish Community, then it is simply disgusting.

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Posted in Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Leon Kaplan Comments on Eviction by Jewish Community Head of Rabbi Krinsky and his Fellow Worshippers

Barring a Jew from Prayer Services is a Human Rights Issue



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, Vilnius’s Chabad rabbi, has served Jewish people here and the city’s diverse cultural mosaic for some twenty-two years. And sure, he has had his share of issues, run-ins and errors over the decades, just like everyone else in town. His numerous packed Jewish holiday celebrations have become part and parcel of the city’s remarkable twenty-first century Jewish footprint, most famously on Chanukah. But yet again, he was denied entry to the Jewish community building for daily prayer services this morning by the burly security guards at the official Jewish Community building, who seemed highly adept at avoiding frontal photography. Services were abruptly moved there on Friday evening because of a mysterious “plumbing problem” (heating, in some versions) at the city’s Choral Synagogue. Then, on Friday evening 28 October, police were called to evict from the makeshift prayer address Rabbi Krinsky and his children, pupils and co-worshippers (reports by R. BloshteinZ. Olickij, and J. Piliansky). A sad date in the modern history of Jewish Vilnius.

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Posted in Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Opinion, The "Fake Litvak" Movement ..., Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Barring a Jew from Prayer Services is a Human Rights Issue

A Confusing Week in Jewish Vilnius



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

by Zecharya Olickij

This last week has been very confusing to me. I’m a local Vilna Jew, and I have been very happy to see the harmony in the city’s Choral Synagogue for many years now. In fact, for over a year now, all Jews have been praying together in absolute harmony in the main synagogue, the only one to survive the war intact.

I was very happy when I saw a large number of local Jews (most of whom are not personally observant) flocking to the synagogue to celebrate Simchas Torah last week. How beautiful to watch the dancing, the singing, the joy, the Torah. No strife, no quarrels, no negativism. The atmosphere of sheer holiness of this ancient and eternal Jewish joy. It was wonderful.

But then came Friday evening (the 28th of October, eve of the Sabbath of 27 Tishrei).

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Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Confusing Week in Jewish Vilnius

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”?

When “Putin” Becomes an Excuse for Hitler-Glorification



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

A recent Washington Post editorial rightfully takes Russia and China to task for persecuting those who dare challenge the state’s distortions of history. In the case of Russia, there is mention of the disgraceful prosecution of a citizen for pointing out that the September 1939 dismemberment of Poland was a joint venture of Germany and the USSR codified by the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. But wait a minute.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Estonia, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on When “Putin” Becomes an Excuse for Hitler-Glorification

Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016)



The Defending History Community Mourns our Colleague

LEONIDAS DONSKIS

13 August 1962 — 21 September 2016


HIS WORK IN DEFENDING HISTORY INCLUDES ESSAYS ON:

Inflation of the word “genocide” and criminalization of debate

The campaign against Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi Soviet partisans and its implications

Response to proposals to “reevaluate” the Hitlerist LAF and Provisional Government collaborators of 1941

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Free Speech & Democracy, Leonidas Donskis, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016)

Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius



OPINION  |  COMMEMORATION OF DESTROYED COMMUNITIES  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  IDENTITY-THEFT LITVAK INDUSTRY

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—For close to three decades, Vilnius has been the only city in the world with municipally sponsored public plaques and signs that regularly include Yiddish. Symbologically for a small, weak, stateless, threatened and “threat-to-nobody” language in this part of the world, it was an equally important statement of respect for the language, literature and culture of the murdered Jewish people of the city that Yiddish sometimes came first, “on top,” and always so when it was a question between Yiddish and modern Israeli Hebrew.

For the first time in thirty years, Yiddish has been denied primacy of place among the Jewish languages of the city. The new sign starts with an Israeli Hebrew version used by nobody in pre-Holocaust Vilna.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The "Fake Litvak" Movement ..., Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius

Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery



Sept. 2016 Discourse over “Historic Soul” of Central Vilnius

Will Vilnius Mayor & Lithuania’s PM & President Issue Morally Clear Statements on Two Sites Visible from Grand Dukes’ Medieval Hill?

THERE ARE FIVE JEWISH FORMS OF THE FABLED CITY’S NAME: ווילנא, ווילנע, ווילנה, וילנה, ווילניוס

(1) Changing the name of a city center street that glorifies a Nazi collaborator who enthusiastically supported the removal of his country’s Jewish citizens?

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery

12 Holocaust Massacre Sites in Vilnius Region; Taking a Closer Look at 2



CEMETERIES AND MASS GRAVES  |  COMMEMORATIONS  |  LITHUANIA

by Julius Norwilla

There are at least twelve Holocaust mass murder sites in the immediate Vilnius region that are marked by some kind of memorial. They are noted in the online Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania, founded by Milda Jakulytė. In Lithuania, there are over 227 such sites that are described in the atlas, which is historically a continuation of the painstaking 1990s work of the late Joseph Levinson, published in his The Book of Sorrow (Vilnius 1997) that documented close to 200 such sites.

The best known is the Paneriai Memorial as the largest mass grave in the country, known as Ponár in Yiddish and Ponary in Polish. It is the site where 100,000 people were humiliated and murdered, around 70,000 of them Jews. This is where official commemorations take place, particularly each year on September 23rd, the day (controversially) designated by the Lithuanian government as the Holocaust Remembrance Day, rather than the international day, on January 27th, or days specific to the Lithuania-wide Holocaust such as June 23rd when violence against and humiliation of Jewish neighbors broke out across Lithuania.

Other mass murder sites in the Vilnius region are visited much less frequently and very often — not at all. But visiting these places is important for the respect for those murdered there and for a deeper understanding of the Holocaust which has so distorted our nation’s qualities.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on 12 Holocaust Massacre Sites in Vilnius Region; Taking a Closer Look at 2

Editor’s Comment on a Yad Vashem Group Visiting Lithuania



The following comment appeared on Facebook today:

YAD VASHEM’S “political department” and the group that visited Lithuania last week:

Thanks to both members of the group who quietly reached out to the Defending History team for a meeting. As you saw, nothing but good comes from relaxed, pleasurable, respectful and frank exchange of ideas and knowledge, over a cup of coffee. It was sad that the group was (again) hermetically sealed from “The Second Opinion” here in Vilnius (and those Holocaust survivors who hold such opinions), as if Israeli citizens cannot be trusted to cope with a rich tapestry of opposing views when they visit Eastern Europe. (That various “Yiddish” institutions gleefully, at times, play the role of gatekeeper of ideas here is another issue.) For background on the issues from our team’s perspective, please see:
http://defendinghistory.com/…/political-pressure-on-yad-vas…
http://defendinghistory.com/israel-debates/43340
http://defendinghistory.com/blaming-the-victims
http://defendinghistory.com/category/israel

Over the years some amazing Israeli heroes of truth and courage have indeed spoken out.

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Posted in Dovid Katz, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, Yad Vashem Manipulated?, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Editor’s Comment on a Yad Vashem Group Visiting Lithuania

My Take On Malát



OPINION  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS  |  EVENTS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION

by Julius Norwilla

The year 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the genocide of the Jews of the Lithuanian shtetls, the smaller towns, villages and countryside, in fact, a solid majority of Lithuanian Jewry (with a smaller component being kept alive in four cities for slave labor and rolling annihilation over the remaining years of the Holocaust). Marking the anniversary, at the end of August and beginning of September this year (a period in 1941 when a number of the local massacres were concentrated), there have been commemorative events in (Yiddish names first) Birzh (now: Biržai), Dusát (Dusetos), Malát (Molėtai), Shádov (Šeduva), Vílkomir (Ukmergė) and more. By far the largest event took place at Malát on the 29th of August. The project, leading to establishment of a new foundation, was initiated by Tzvi Kritzer. The speakers included high representatives from the Lithuanian government, its official Jewish community, and various public and cultural representatives.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on My Take On Malát

Grigory Tzvi Kritzer’s Speech on the 75th Anniversary of the Malát Massacre



Grigory Tzvi Kritzer, a native of Vilnius, Lithuania, who settled many years ago in Israel, is a well-known Israeli soccer (football) agent. He was the primary organizer of the series of events that culminated in a march by thousands, unveiling of a multilingual monument, and launch of an exhibition, book, and film, in the small town (former shtetl) Malát (Molėtai, northeastern Lithuania) on 29 August 2016. The book and exhibition were the products of the initiative and creative work of regional museum director, Viktorija Kazlienė, in close cooperation with Leon Kaplan who edited and translated the book. 

The day marked the 75th anniversary of the 1941 massacre of the town’s 2,000 Jews, then a majority of its population. This year’s day of memorial events there has drawn wide and varied media comment and coverage

The following is the English text of Tzvi Kritzer’s speech, provided by his office at the request of Defending History. The translation is by Aleksandras Federas.


We decided to walk that road one and a half years ago, and then I imagined that there would be only a few people here… Now, look around, my heart is beating with joy that our relatives and loved ones, who perished here in Molėtai, have not been forgotten.

Thanks to all of you, to those who have come from faraway countries and to those who live here, in Lithuania. I am particularly moved to see here people from all corners of Lithuania. I would like to thank the mayor of Molėtai, Mr. Stasys Žvinis, and all his team for their help and support.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Tzvi-Hirsh Kritzer | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Grigory Tzvi Kritzer’s Speech on the 75th Anniversary of the Malát Massacre

Leon Kaplan’s Speech on the 75th Anniversary of the Malát Massacre



Leon (Liova) Kaplan (in Lithuanian: Leonas Kaplanas) is a native of Vilnius, Lithuania who settled in Washington DC in the early 1970s. He founded the Washington Conservatory of Music and is a noted pianist and master piano educator. He returned to live in Vilnius in 2004, and has over the past year and a half been one of the people involved in enabling the major series of events that culminated in a march by thousands, unveiling of a multilingual monument, and launch of an exhibition, book, and film, in the small town (former shtetl) Malát (Moletai, northeastern Lithuania) on 29 August 2016. The day marked the 75th anniversary of the 1941 massacre of the town’s 2,000 Jews, then a majority of its population. This year’s day of memorial events there has drawn wide and varied media comment and coverage

The following is the English text of Liova Kaplan’s speech, provided by his office at the request of Defending History. At the event the speech was given in both English and Lithuanian.


Honorable Guests,

Thank you to all gathered here, thanks to all those whose conscience does not allow them to forget the tragic events that happened here in Molėtai (Malát), and in almost 300 places across Lithuania, seventy-five years ago. Allow me to quote the book Night by Nobel prize laureate, the late Elie Wiesel:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Documents, Leon Kaplan, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Leon Kaplan’s Speech on the 75th Anniversary of the Malát Massacre

Some High Latvian Politicians Think the Waffen SS Fought for Freedom



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  LATVIA  |  ANNUAL WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGA

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Aleksandrs Feigmanis

Dr. Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

There are here in Latvia some high-ranking Latvian politicians who actually believe that the country’s Waffen SS fighters fought for freedom of their country. Every year on the 16th of March Latvian nationalists gather at the Freedom Monument in the heart of Riga, the nation’s capital, and in the cemetery at Lestene, a village some seventy-two kilometers from Riga, to remember and honor (honor!) the living and dead veterans of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS.

Established by order of Adolf Hitler on the 10th of February 1943, they fought for Nazi Germany against the Red Army on the Volkhov front near Leningrad, and later in Great River region, Kurzeme (Kurland), in Poland, Germany and elsewhere.

Although the alarming series of annual events commemorating and glorifying the Latvian SS Volunteer Legion events are now officially non-governmental, some MPs and even ministers do not hesitate to not only participate publicly, setting an example for the nation’s youth, but also to publicly refer to Waffen SS legionnaires as heroes and national freedom fighters. Had Hitler won the war, there would have been no Latvia left to become free in 1991. By swearing and oath to Adolf Hitler’s genocidal regime, and then in fact delaying the liberation of the concentration camps by the Allies, they were pawns of the Nazis who do not deserve to be glorified by a modern, democratic member of the European Union and NATO.

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Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Some High Latvian Politicians Think the Waffen SS Fought for Freedom

Books in the Debate to Mid 2016


[updated] 


In the Debate to Mid 2016

YEAR OF PUBLICATION VARIES.  2016 TITLES ARE IN RED.

See also BOOKS SECTION

Andriukaitis (reviewed by Vasil)

Bankier [Kuniuchowsky Collection] (reviewed by Zuroff)

Bubnys (reviewed by Katz; by Vasil)

Cassedy (reviewed by Katz;  by Nadler;  by Zabludoff;  by Zuroff)

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When Yiddish is a Prop for Holocaust Revisionism



NEWS, VIEWS, QUIPS AND SHMIPS FROM SUMMER 2016

Yiddish summer course again features American author Ellen Cassedy as lecturer on Holocaust topics; her 2012 book, part-funded by the Tides Foundation (a Soros beneficiary), was launched by the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington DC.

But will students be informed of critical reviews of the book (e.g. by Allan Nadler, Olga Zabludoff, Efraim Zuroff, Dovid Katz) or about the peaceful protest that awaited her at London University?

Will organizers invite, for balance, Ruta Vanagaite and Efraim Zuroff to discuss their 2016 book (recently featured in Newsweek)?

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When Yiddish is a Prop for Holocaust Revisionism

Is There Still A Breeding Ground for Ustaša in Croatia?



OPINION   |   CROATIA   |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

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

 

Croatia is a nation that has been bathed in blood during numerous conflicts, as the victim of the odious Serbian aggression during the recent civil war, and for its football team proudly wearing the red and white checkered reproduction of the national flag. Happily, it is nowadays chiefly known as a tourist destination.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Croatia, EU, History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Comments Off on Is There Still A Breeding Ground for Ustaša in Croatia?

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

Now We [Who Lie Buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery], Know…



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

VILNIUS—The following is a reprint of the article published on 2 July 2016 in Yated Ne’eman. The title refers to the accompanying illustration which considers the views of the many thousands of Jews buried at Piramónt, Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery in the Šnipiškės (Shnípishok) district, in active use from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. See also background to the article, PDF of the original article, the catalogue of international opposition, the paper trail, the DH section, and our editor’s summary of the issue published in December 2015 in The Times of Israel.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated?, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Now We [Who Lie Buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery], Know…

Asra Kadisha on Vilna Cemetery: From Proud Powerhouse of Historic Truth to Silent Mouse?



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

O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Between October 2014 and October 2015, the international Jewish-cemetery group Asra Kadisha, coordinated by haredim largely affiliated with the “Zalmen” branch of the split Hasidic Satmar group (today the world’s largest Hasidic group) made a number of contributions that will remain permanent. Thanks in whole or in part to Asra Kadisha, eighteen important documents were published opposing the antisemitic decision of some Lithuanian government officials to allow a convention center to rise, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of skeletons on all four sides, skeletons of Jewish citizens of Vilnius buried there between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. As a Protestant minister and Catholic philosopher have pointed out, such would not have been the decision were it a Christian cemetery or one housing heroes of Lithuanian culture between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. Of course the millions in store for property developers and their many “beneficiaries” (for decades to come) play a prime role; antisemitism enters the picture when the state fails to put in play the same brakes which it applies for majority culture and majority religion sacred sites.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , | Comments Off on Asra Kadisha on Vilna Cemetery: From Proud Powerhouse of Historic Truth to Silent Mouse?

South African Litvak in London Critiques Lithuania’s Citizenship Policies



OPINION  |  LITHUANIA  |  SOUTH AFRICA  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM & BIAS

by Daniel Lutrin

The following opinion piece by Daniel Lutrin appeared in the South African Jewish Report on 1 June 2016 under the headline “Lithuanian Citizenship: Only Successful Applicant is a Dead Jew.” Comments or discussion may be directed to the South African Jewish Report. Defending History is always prepared to consider actual articles in reaction to published articles.

It was gratifying to see a recent article regarding the plight that Jews of Lithuanian origin (Litvaks) are facing when applying to have their Lithuanian citizenship restored. The article, however, does not hone in on the critical matter at hand, namely the extent to which Lithuanian bureaucrats have gone to deny Jews of their ancestral right to citizenship.

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Appeal to Conscience of the “Red-Brown Commission”


[updated]


Appeal to the conscience of the members of the renewed state-financed “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", 70 Years Declaration, Double Genocide, Germany, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Pinchos Fridberg, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform", Yad Vashem Manipulated?, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Appeal to Conscience of the “Red-Brown Commission”

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", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The "Fake Litvak" Movement ..., United States, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Forward Coverage of Yivo Strife Omits Mention of Instrumentalization by Lithuanian Holocaust Revisionism Industry

Another Holocaust-Obfuscating PR Bash at “Vilnius Jewish Public Library”



VILNIUS JEWISH PUBLIC LIBRARY | DOUBLE GAMES | RED-BROWN COMMISSION

VILNIUS—Yet again, the “Vilnius Jewish Public Library,” housed in exquisite city-center premises in a courtyard off the capital’s central Gedimino Boulevard, has been the base for a Holocaust-obfuscating event featuring stars of the state’s “Red-Brown Commission” who are dispatched far and wide to deny the existence of the state-sponsored “Double Genocide” campaign, to mitigate the campaign against Holocaust survivors, the efforts to glorify local collaborators, and to obscure entirely the Second Opinion expressed in the Seventy Years Declaration. Incredibly, the roster of invited speakers did not include Ms. Rūta Vanagaitė, author of Mūsiškiaithe new best-selling book on the Holocaust that has in effect revolutionized the country’s coming to terms with its Holocaust-era past. What is the “Jewish” Library afraid of?

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, The "Fake Litvak" Movement ..., Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another Holocaust-Obfuscating PR Bash at “Vilnius Jewish Public Library”

Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day



PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM   |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė  (with additional input and photos by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, and Julius Norwilla)

 ◊
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PHOTO: EVALDAS BALCIUNAS FOR DH

Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march. On the contrary there are many signs of both tolerance and support from very high places, including the permits to march granted by the municipality (no comment from the mayor?) and other relevant authorities.

Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day: “Without any obstacles, we received from the municipality an official permit to march [this day] on the main boulevard of Vilnius.” The official march was concluded several hours earlier and the heads of state apparently rested quietly as the neo-Nazis proceeded to take over the city center, from Cathedral to Parliament, a route rich in symbolic power.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day

Arūnas Degutis, Signatory of Lithuania’s 1990 Declaration of Independence, Voices View on the Holocaust



OPINION

by Andrius Kulikauskas

degutis_arunas

Arūnas Degutis

O
n February 26, 2016, Arūnas Degutis posted his thoughts on Lithuanian-Litvak relations at the Minciu Sodas discussion forum, one of the longest running public Internet forums in Lithuanian, which I founded in 1999. Degutis writes that Lithuanians as a nation should empathize with Jewish victims of the Holocaust, especially those murdered by Lithuanians, and indeed should make a moral apology. Degutis was one of the signers of the declaration of Lithuania’s  independence on March 11, 1990.  In 1984, he was thrown out of work for  his ties with anti-Soviet dissidents. In the summer of 1988, he became a key organizer of the Lithuanian Reform Movement “Sąjūdis,” especially  as an editor of “Sąjūdžio žinios.”

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Sugihara Abused? Red-Brown Commission Ropes In Japanese Embassy for 11 Feb. Event



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  JAPAN  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

VILNIUS—Over the past decade, few foreign embassies in Lithuania have done as much as Japan’s to help ensure that the accurate history of the Holocaust in Lithuania is never forgotten and indeed, that remembrance events and educational programs feed into both national and international efforts to raise awareness and sensitivities in the cause of averting future massacres of innocent civilians.

Japan’s Holocaust remembrance achievements in Lithuania are manifold. From 2008, when state prosecutors connected to the Genocide Center began defaming local Holocaust survivors, Japan’s embassy joined with others in giving honor to the wrongly accused, including the 2009 “Walk in the Rain” organized by then Norwegian ambassador Steinar Gil. More well known are the embassy’s activities in commemoration of Chiune (Sempo) Sugihara, the inspirational Japanese humanist who saved thousands of lives by issuing visas in Kaunas in 1940. One of the most important goes back to the turn of our century when the embassy participated actively, and generously, in setting up Sugihara House in Kaunas.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, Events, Japan, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Sugihara Abused? Red-Brown Commission Ropes In Japanese Embassy for 11 Feb. Event

Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LATVIA  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

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

Introduction

Next month, the European Union and NATO will again be faced with the annual city-center march in Riga, the Latvian capital, glorifying the country’s Hitlerist Waffen SS. I had of course for years heard about the infamous March 16th marches in Riga when old members of the Latvian Waffen SS, their sympathizers and those who feel nostalgic about the good old time under Nazi rule proudly parade through the central streets of the beautiful capital of Latvia, ending their solemn march in front of the Freedom Monument, where they – solemnly and hierarchically – lay bundles of flowers at the foot of the monument and sing the national anthem.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Belgium, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?

An Open Letter to Holocaust Scholars and Educators in the Francophone World



OPINION  |  FRANCE  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

Dear Colleagues:

Re: Conference on the Lithuanian Holocaust scheduled for this week in Vilnius

The newest Lithuanian “Double Genocide Industry” outreach to the French speaking academic world of Holocaust and World War II studies, this week’s conference in Vilnius, combines a number of truly outstanding scholars and papers with a political agenda of finding Francophone legitimization for Baltic Holocaust revisionism. The French component includes outstanding personalities from Mémorial de la Shoah, from Institut d’Histoire du Temps présent, and from the French Embassy in Lithuania. The strategy has recently evolved following a protracted collapse of US/UK/Israeli confidence in both the “Red-Brown Commission” (page)  and the “Genocide Center” (page), both of which have been extensively exposed in recent months. Participants from Lithuania include one of the Double Genocide movement’s main “attack dogs” who makes fine hay of smearing local Lithuanian truth tellers as stooges of Moscow or useful idiots, especially when attempting to discredit honest multi-sided conferences (e.g. last April’s Vilnius conference).

Will the European Commission and the Claims Conference ever see the light on how their generosity is abused by Baltic nationalist Holocaust revisionism?

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Posted in Double Genocide, EU, Events, France, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on An Open Letter to Holocaust Scholars and Educators in the Francophone World

Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”


 


OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Andrius Kulikauskas

I am inspired by the deep feelings which have been stirred amongst Litvaks regarding the fate of the Vilnius Sports Palace built on top of the Jewish cemetery. I wish for our state of Lithuania to do its utmost on behalf of Lithuanians to restore the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius as a symbol of our aspiration for the closest friendship between Lithuanians and Jews. I realized that it would be most helpful for me to present my thoughts in Lithuanian.

“From the top of Gediminas Castle, do we want to see and cherish, for hundreds of years to come, what the Communist Party Chief saw (the Sports Palace) or what the Grand Duke of Lithuania saw (the Jewish cemetery)?”

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Citizenship, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”

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

Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Dovid Katz

Editor’s note: Reprint from The Times of Israel, where this op-ed appeared on 13 December 2015.


Back in 2009, a rancorous dispute over the old Vilna Jewish cemetery was ostensibly solved. Two new buildings, despite worldwide protests, would be allowed to remain, and in return, no more land would be pilfered from the cemetery at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The burial ground goes back to the late fifteenth century, at least. After the Holocaust, with virtually no descendants left to worry about, Soviet authorities helped themselves to the gravestones for use in building projects, but left many thousands of graves intact. A galaxy of eminent European rabbinic scholars and authors were buried there. But once the 2009 “Peace of Piramónt” was brokered (with help from Western embassies here), emotions cooled as all sides got on with their lives.

skeltas-3 black background lite

Future symbol for a capital city in the European Union? by VULOVAK / DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Citizenship, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Andrius Kulikauskas

01-SkirpaRastikisKlimasLozoraitisBurauskaite

As of October 28, 2015, the home page of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania has a link to an authorative statement by General Director Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė about Kazys Škirpa. She responds to a request for information by the City of Kaunas, which has a street in Škirpa’s name. Škirpa was Lithuania’s representative in Berlin, the leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front, organizer of Lithuania’s anti-Soviet rebellion and Prime Minister of Lithuania’s Provisional Government in 1941. In bold letters she emphasizes:

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)

It’s Not Just About Old Jewish Cemeteries



O P I N I O N   /   P I R A M Ó N T   /  P A P E R   T R A I L   /   O P P O S I T I O N   /   C E M E T E R I E S

by Milan Chersonski

Milan ChersonskijTranslated from the Russian by Ludmila Makedonskaya (Grodno); 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. See also Milan Chersonski section. Photo © Jurgita Kunigiškytė.

There were many festive occasions celebrated once Lithuania declared its independence in 1990. So many hopes and expectations were inspired by the sweet word freedom. Free-ee-dom! Laisvė! Had it ever been possible to even imagine beforehand, taking one example, that Lithuania would hold a celebration to honor Israeli Independence Day, dear to Jews all over the world? The new state organized a large event at the Palace of Culture of the Trade Unions in Vilnius in honor of a faraway state, which in Soviet times was mentioned only as “the aggressive state of Israel.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on It’s Not Just About Old Jewish Cemeteries

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 Collaborators Glorified, 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?

Roma in Lithuania: But What Does the Government Need To Do?



R O M A   /   H U M A N   R I G H T S    /    O P I N I O N

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

“Which social group in the EU is most generally evicted from housing?” This was the question cheerfully posed by the host of the Good Morning Lithuania show on our national television. The viewer who called in said “Roma” and won a prize.

It can be pleasant to drink morning coffee while tuned to a TV quiz, but this time it was quite something else. The program’s entertaining format and the host’s frequent jokes are not very funny at all when such painful social issues are the subject of entertainment. But the episode well illustrates the public attitude towards the Roma here. Many Roma are still deemed to be distant, exotic and mysterious people, an object rather than a living community. Maybe because there is a lack of empathy and understanding in dealing with Roma integration problems and there are various language issues too.

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Posted in Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė | Comments Off on Roma in Lithuania: But What Does the Government Need To Do?

Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”



O P I N I O N     /     C E M E T E R I E S    /     P I R A M Ó N T    /    P A P E R   T R A I L

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—This city’s dashing young new mayor, Remigijus Šimašius, elected last spring, has now added Yiddish to the previously bilingual (Lithuanian-English) signs, wrought of expensive metal in rounded-edged casement, in times of austerity for pensioners and others in town. These signs are being placed near Soviet-era edifices made of pilfered Jewish gravestones (matséyves) that are a blot on this charming East European capital. This is the latest model featured on the mayor’s office website:

mayorskhokhme

Photo: Vilnius Municipality / Mayor’s Office.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, CPJCE (London), Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”

A Latvian-American Journalist in Riga Reflects on a Jewish Cemetery Saga in Vilnius



O P I N I O N     /     C E M E T E R I E S    /     P I R A M Ó N T    /    P A P E R   T R A I L

by Juris Kaža

Riga based journalist Juris Kaža made the following observations in recent Facebook threads. They are collected here with the author’s permission.

This is incredible. So the Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania became Home Depot for the Soviet-era construction industry? We need some granite blocks? Yo, take the Goldbergas family plot, there are five headstones! By the way, the big stone for Rabbi Whatshisname would make a great plinth, have it dragged here, please. Can’t somebody undo this bizarre mess, gather the stones and make an appropriate memorial?

This is crazy. The Soviets ravage your cemetery after the Nazis kill your co-religionists and you get this for asking independent Lithuania to stop desecrating graves? They should do their best to restore the burial and memorial place and build their conference center elsewhere, not on the site already desecrated by the Soviets. WTF??

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Juris Kaža, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on A Latvian-American Journalist in Riga Reflects on a Jewish Cemetery Saga in Vilnius

Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski, Polish Documentary Film Maker and Judaica Specialist at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERIES    OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    ROTHSCHILD     DH SECTION     EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Polish scholar, author, film maker and Jewish heritage specialist Dr. Tomasz (Tomek) Wiśniewski is renowned as a world specialist on the culture and remnants of numerous erstwhile centers of East European Jewish life, most famously Białystok (in Poland, but in Jewish culture within the Litvak north of Jewish Eastern Europe). He was a delegate at last month’s Rothschild Foundation London (Hanadiv) conference on Jewish cemeteries, held here in Vilnius. Following the event, he issued a statement on his Facebook page concerning the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, known as Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district. A slightly revised version was translated from Polish by Julius Norwilla and the translation approved by the author. It reads as follows:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski, Polish Documentary Film Maker and Judaica Specialist at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Faina Kukliansky, Chair of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Issues Sharp Response to Latest Genocide Center Whitewash of a Local Holocaust Perpetrator



VILNIUS—The website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania today posted a powerful response by chairperson Faina Kukliansky to the statement released earlier in the week by the national state-funded “Genocide Center.” That statement attempted to whitewash the infamous Holocaust perpetrator and Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika, and itself came as a response to a petition and series of articles last summer calling for removal of one of the public shrines to Noreika in the center of this city, the nation’s capital.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Faina Kukliansky, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Faina Kukliansky, Chair of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Issues Sharp Response to Latest Genocide Center Whitewash of a Local Holocaust Perpetrator

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”

Dr. Beata Nemcová, Slovakian Scholar at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERIES    OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    ROTHSCHILD    DH SECTION    EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Slovakian scholar, author and Jewish heritage specialist Dr. Beata Nemcová, a delegate at last week’s Rothschild Foundation London (Hanadiv) conference on Jewish cemeteries, has issued a statement calling on authorities here to move the state’s $25,000,000 convention center project away from the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, known as Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district, to another location. The statement reads as follows (followed by a facsimile).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Beata Nemcová, Slovakian Scholar at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

As Lithuania’s President Visits Israel



O P I N I O N

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Posted in Dovid Katz, Events, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, The "Fake Litvak" Movement ... | Comments Off on As Lithuania’s President Visits Israel

Another “Conference on Antisemitism” in Lithuania



Human Rights  /  Antisemitism  /  Opinion

by Defending History Staff

The well-organized conference “Antisemitism, Radicalization and Violent Extremism”  was held on 30 September 2015 at Vilnius’s Novotel Hotel by the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HMRI) with partners (see program). It will go down in history as one of the most remarkable capers yet in the fraught local “Dead Jew Business,” as it is increasingly becoming known. The biggest shock of the day was that one of the three keynote morning session speakers was Swedish-born Lithuania-resident filmmaker Jonas Ohman, known in town for his (far right style) glorification of postwar resistance fighters — one of the most painful issues of Baltic antisemitism in the twenty-first century — without the slightest mention of the alleged Holocaust perpetrator background of the precise figures glorified.

But the film maker chosen for the morning session manages at the same time to also be a (far left style) Israel baiter, whose current “humanitarian project” is a petition asking the mayor of Vilnius to sack a Jewish (Israeli-Lithuanian) advisor on the basis of social media “silly photos” that become bacteriologically antisemitic when recycled in his own petition, and beyond, in its recontextualized, politically charged incarnation. Far from doing the same to counter officials and advisors with neo-Nazi links, he boasted in his talk (amateur video) of his links to Right Sector and other Ukrainian groups that adulate wartime Holocaust perpetrators. When he was trashing Israel, the Israeli ambassador to Lithuania, Amir Maimon, sitting in the hall, boldly called out a question: “Are you rewriting the history?” (at time code 13:31).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, The "Fake Litvak" Movement ..., Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another “Conference on Antisemitism” in Lithuania

Vilnius Names Street for Beloved Lithuanian Rescuer Ona Šimaitė



E V E N T S    /    O P I N I O N

by Defending History Staff

VILNIUS—For many years it has been a source of deep pain to many Lithuanians, Jews and others that the capital (and cities and towns around the country) continue to have street names honoring Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators but none for the true heroes of the Lithuanian Holocaust — the Lithuanian rescuers, who risked their and their families’ lives to “just do the right thing” and rescue some person or persons of a minority marked for rapid murder on the basis of Jewish birth. In the Baltics, the rescuers had to have much more courage even than in many other countries, because they were regarded as enemies of Lithuanian nationalism as then constructed, not only as defiers of the German occupying forces’ program of extermination. They were regarded as “enemies of Lithuania” and sympathizes of communism who could expect no mercy if found out either by the German authorities or the local Lithuanian forces.

In 2013, Defending History objected to the plan to name a street for Ona Šimaitė in the boondocks and pressed for her street to be right in the city center.

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Posted in CPJCE (London), Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on Vilnius Names Street for Beloved Lithuanian Rescuer Ona Šimaitė

Ponár (Paneriai) Memorial: No Rabbi, No Cantor, No Kaddish



Ponár (Paneriai) Commemoration on Lithuania’s Annual Holocaust Day is Dejudaicized Even More in “Nationalist Takeover of Litvak Heritage”: No Rabbi, No Cantor, No Kaddish

But ethnic Lithuanian costume and song are featured at the mass grave of Vilna Jewry. Honor guard with bayoneted rifles was a questionable touch.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), The "Fake Litvak" Movement ... | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ponár (Paneriai) Memorial: No Rabbi, No Cantor, No Kaddish

New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues



E V E N T S   /   O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

For many years, international visitors to Rokiškis (in Yiddish: Rákishok, or less formally: Rákeshik), in northeastern Lithuania, have remarked that the town’s central area seemed to preserve little (or no) trace or commemoration of its erstwhile Jewish population, though a large monument now graces the entrance to the old Jewish cemetery outside town. Before the Holocaust, this town was home to around 3,500 Jews (some 40% of the total population, and the overwhelming majority in its central area). Luckily, a short film of pre-Holocaust Jewish Rákishok survives (from 1937), and is available on Youtube. Thanks to Polish film maker Tomek Wisniewski for circulating the link in recent days. 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues

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 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

Summer 2015 Debate on Removing Vilnius Public Honors for Nazi Collaborators



Balčiūnas,  Gochin,  Kanovich,  and Valatka:  Asking for Vilnius to Take Down Plaques and Street Names that Honor Holocaust Collaborators

But petition to mayor from group of intellectuals stays “secret”

And some local media regards the discussion itself as “a Russian plot”…

SEE DEFENDING HISTORY PAGE AND SECTION ON HONORS FOR PERPETRATORS

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Summer 2015 Debate on Removing Vilnius Public Honors for Nazi Collaborators

The Holocaust was Also a Matter of Plundering the Jewish Victims



O P I N I O N    /     H I S T O R Y    /    L A T V I A

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

Having recently spent a few days in Germany, and watching different television channels, I once more realized that that country still broadcasts regular programs on the Holocaust. Nearly each and every evening during my stay, I had the opportunity to see fragments of such programs, broadcast on less popular channels (“ZDF History” for example). And, it is true, it is one of the things that I admire most in modern Germany — the regular televising of documentaries on the Holocaust, never hiding the enormous responsibility of the Nazis in the destruction of the Jews.

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Posted in History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Roland Binet | Comments Off on The Holocaust was Also a Matter of Plundering the Jewish Victims

A New Yorker’s Open Letter to the Vice President of the European Commission



THE PAPER TRAIL   /   THE OPPOSITION   /   DH SECTION   /   BACKGROUND

Mr. Berel Fried of New York City, an Orthodox Jewish scholar and businessman, has authorized this publication of his letter, sent earlier today to Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, regarding plans for a convention center at the old Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. He is a frequent visitor to Vilnius, where he is known for his exquisite Torah readings at the Choral Synagogue. The most recent public response from the European Commission is here.

Hon. Frans Timmermans

First Vice President of the European Commission

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Berel Fried, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on A New Yorker’s Open Letter to the Vice President of the European Commission

What It Is to Defend Your Own History



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 Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

krokuva2

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

One can hear various stories about history here in Lithuania. The main narrative is about Bad Communists and Good Nazis. Yes, it is true. Especially very recently, after the civil (or whatever kind of) war broke out in Ukraine, the Nazis and those who justify and glorify them, both in Ukraine and Lithuania, have found new strength. Under the banner of “Ukraine Fights For All Of Us,” some have decided to bring back such “heroes” as the killer Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas.

For my part, I would like to defend our Tauras district (in the Kaunas region) from the legacy of this genre of “hero.” For his history was not only one of guerilla warfare against Soviet forces but about what he was doing in 1941 when the wholesale slaughter of our Jewish population was underway.  This has a lot to do with Lithuania, who we are as proud Lithuanians whose history, like every other people on this earth, has its high and its low moments.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on What It Is to Defend Your Own History

Motke Chabad Weighs In on Vilnius Debate



C E M E T E R I E S    /    P I R A M Ó N T    /   L I T V A K     H U M O R

by Motke Chabad

Our community has asked me to help them find a new chief rabbi, and to formulate the primary requirements specific to Vilna, as only Motke can. No problem.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Motke Chabad, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Motke Chabad Weighs In on Vilnius Debate

Grant Arthur Gochin in the Jerusalem Post on Memorials for Holocaust Perpetrator J. Noreika in Central Vilnius



Gochin’s Jerusalem Post Article   Who was Noreika?   Street Names for Nazis?   Reburials?   More Honors?

2023748827

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Grant Arthur Gochin in the Jerusalem Post on Memorials for Holocaust Perpetrator J. Noreika in Central Vilnius

Jewish Community Website Posts Response to Jerusalem Post Article on Piramónt



VILNIUS—The website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania today posted an English version of its chairperson’s reply to a Jerusalem Post article of 11 August 2015 by Sam Sokol. The following is the text of the reply reposted in full with no textual changes. For more background from the Defending History perspective, please see the list of publications on the topic to date, DH’s summary of the high political and finance-sector intrigue, a registry of public opposition to the convention center project, and our editor’s open letter to the group of London rabbis invoked in recent debates.

About the Anger on Šnipiškės Cemetery and the Congress Center Project

Why is there so much anger and such a lack of truth emanating from an article by the well known and much respected Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post regarding the former Jewish cemetery in the neighborhood of Šnipiškės (Shnipishok, aka Piramont) in Vilnius, demolished by the Soviets in 1950 to make way for the Palace of Sports, which is now the subject of plans to renovate as a conference center? The Government of Lithuania is only planning to renovate existing buildings to serve as a conference center and for other cultural events while at the same time cleaning up and commemorating the territory of the former Jewish cemetery. This decision is being implemented in cooperation with members of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe who are to be included as supervisors over all work there. The Government’s actions regarding the project are being coordinated fully with the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Faina Kukliansky, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged | Comments Off on Jewish Community Website Posts Response to Jerusalem Post Article on Piramónt

Wiesenthal Center Issues Statement on Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius



C E M E T E R I E S   /   P I R A M Ó N T

JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today released a statement reaffirming its previously reported opposition to plans to place a $25,000,000 convention and congress center on Vilnius’s old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės). International opposition to the project has been mounting in recent weeks. The text was released by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office and head of its East European Affairs division. The text follows:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Efraim Zuroff, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Issues Statement on Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius

Lithuania’s Chief Rabbi Issues Statement Opposing Convention Center Project at Old Jewish Cemetery



O P I N I O N    /    D O C U M E N T S    /   C E M E T E R I E S    /   P I R A M Ó N T

VILNIUSThe office of Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, chief rabbi of Lithuania since 2004, today released to the media the following statement, adding to statements of opposition to the proposed convention center at Piramónt. It follows a contrary statement from the head of the Jewish Community of Lithuania published on its website.

From the Office of the Chief Rabbi of Lithuania

Vilnius, 26 Av 5775 / 11 August 2015


My dear fellow Jews in Lithuania,

A primary task of every Jewish community is to care about old and new Jewish cemeteries. The Vilnius cemetery in Šnipiškės (Shnipishok), long known as Piramont, was purchased by the Jewish community for the full price in 1487, and many thousands of the city’s Jewish citizens paid for their and their loved ones’ plots of burial ground. Among those buried there were many of the greatest of our nation: rabbis, dayanim, teachers, authors of books of rabbinical thought and Jewish learning. In virtue of their achievements, Vilna became the capital of the Jewish world for many generations.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chaim Burshtein, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Chief Rabbi Issues Statement Opposing Convention Center Project at Old Jewish Cemetery

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

Vilnius Professor of Architectural & Civil Engineering Speaks Out on Sports Palace at the Old Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Jewish Cemetery


 


O P I N I O N    /    C E M E T E R I E S    /     P I R A M Ó N T

by Prof. Josifas Parasonis

While serving as deputy chairman  of the Jewish Community of Lithuania in July and August of 2005 I participated in discussions at the Urban Development Department of the Vilnius City Municipality Administration regarding the construction of an apartment building near the Mindaugas Bridge. My own profession is civil engineering. Supported by representatives of the United States Senate, delegates of the American Jewish community demanded that the capital’s municipality halt the construction, as the site of the construction once used to be a Jewish cemetery.

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on Vilnius Professor of Architectural & Civil Engineering Speaks Out on Sports Palace at the Old Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Jewish Cemetery

Roma, Travellers and Jews Commemorate the Holocaust



O P I N I O N    /    R O M A   I S S U E S

by Ruth Barnett

Over a hundred people gathered on August 2nd, 2015 at the Holocaust Memorial in Hyde Park to commemorate the liquidation of the “Gypsy Camp” at Auschwitz on August 2nd 1944 and the murder of between .5 and 1.5 million Roma in the Holocaust.

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Posted in Events, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Roma, Ruth Barnett, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Roma, Travellers and Jews Commemorate the Holocaust

“Absolute Barbarism”: An Orthodox Jewish Resident of Vilnius Speaks Out on Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Cemetery



O P I N I O N     /     T H E   C E M E T E R Y   A T   P I R A M Ó N T

by Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein

Ruta Bloshtein

Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein

This week we Jews observed the saddest day in our people’s tradition — Tisha B’Av (Yiddish: Tíshebov), the annual fast day which commemorates the anniversary of a number of disasters in Jewish history, primarily the destruction of both the first and second temples in Jerusalem. On this day of mourning and lamentation we fast. While sitting on the floor and reading the Book of Lamentations and the Kinoys (sacred poems of mourning), I thought about the Tíshebov tradition of visiting graves of our great sages and of departed family members.

In Vílne (Vilnius), this tradition was observed for ages by visiting the Piramónt cemetery, where throughout a period of more than five hundred years hundreds of thousands have been buried there — the Jews of Vílne, our ancestors among them — and so many illustrious rabbis and sages, who passed on the infinite treasures of their wisdom to us, to help us find the most honest and ethical way of life. It is, in our belief, on account of their merits that the rebuilding of the third temple will come sooner.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein | Tagged , , | Comments Off on “Absolute Barbarism”: An Orthodox Jewish Resident of Vilnius Speaks Out on Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Cemetery

Vilnius Native Ruta Bloshtein Speaks Out about the Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)



O P I N I O N   /   C E M E T E R I E S   /   P I R A M Ó N T   (Š N I P I Š K Ė S)

by Rūta (Reyzke) Bloshtein


Ruta Bloshtein

Rūta (Reyzke) Bloshtein

Šią savaitę mes, žydai, minėjome tragiškiausią mūsų tautos istorijos datą — Tiša b’Av (jidiš: Tišebov) — abiejų Jeruzalės Šventyklų sugriovimą. Gedulą ir netekties skausmą išreiškiame pasninkaudami. Sėdėdama ant grindų ir skaitydama Kinojs knygą (gedulingas elegijas), mąsčiau ir apie tradiciją šią dieną lankyti mūsų didžių išminčių kapus.

Vilniuje ši tradicija buvo puoselėjama lankant Piramont kapines, kuriose per penkis šimtmečius palaidoti šimtai tūkstančių mano protėvių — Vilniaus žydų, tarp jų iškilių rabinų ir išminčių, palikusių neišsemiamus išminties lobius mums, siekiantiems kilniai ir dorai eiti gyvenimo keliu. Per jų nuopelnus bus, duok Dieve, pagreitintas Trečiosios Šventyklos atstatymas.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Native Ruta Bloshtein Speaks Out about the Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)

But Will New Vilnius Mayor Remove City’s Shrines to Holocaust Perpetrators?



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Vilnius’s new mayor, the honorable Remigijus Šimašius, continues to express profound respect for his city’s Jewish heritage of many centuries’ standing. His dapper style, originality and flamboyance have impressed many. But some raise questions about the choices he makes about which issues to address or ignore. Julius Norwilla’srecent comment contrasts the mayor’s “instant metal sign” marking gravestones found in the walls of an electric sub-station, marked as a symptom of Soviet barbarism, with his public silence — hopefully soon to be broken! — about plans to build a $25,000,000 convention and entertainment complex smack in the middle of the city’s oldest Jewish cemetery. Hopefully, the mayor will respond to the appeal to authorities from his constituent Professor Pinchos Fridberg, one of his city’s last living Vilnius-born Holocaust survivors (one of about three left from an interwar population of 60,000 Jews that stood ar around 80,000 just before the Holocaust), as well as to the other public appeals to date, that have come from faithful Jewish and Christian sources alike.

New Section on Mayor Šimašius and Jewish Issues over the Years

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , | Comments Off on But Will New Vilnius Mayor Remove City’s Shrines to Holocaust Perpetrators?

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?

Who Has Yet to Express a Public View on the Wisdom of Planting a Convention Center in the Middle of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius?



VILNIUS—Public opposition to the placing of a twenty-five million dollar convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery has come from an array of individuals and organizations, in Vilnius and internationally.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Who Has Yet to Express a Public View on the Wisdom of Planting a Convention Center in the Middle of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius?

Open Letter to Members of CPJCE in the UK: Do You Really Want a Convention Center in the Heart of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery?



O P I N I O N   /   O P E N   L E T T E R

Dear Esteemed Associates of the “Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe” enumerated on the CPJCE letterhead [more than one eminent personage on the list is deceased; their precious names might perhaps best not be invoked for the organization’s current adventures?]

S.B.E. Berger, Rabbi B.Z. Blum, L. Davis, Rabbi J.H. Dunner, Rabbi Z. Feldman, D. Frand, B.S.E. Freshwater, A.C. Ginsberg, Rabbi H. Gluck OBE, A. Goldman, S. Grosz,  M. Hershaft, D. Herzka, M.B. Krausz, J. Kruskal, J. Lobenstein MBE, Y. Marmorstein, Rabbi A. Pinter, Rabbi E. Schlesinger, Rabbi E. Shechter, J. Shik, M.E. Stern, S.B. Stern, Rabbi C. M. Wosner


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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Open Letter to Members of CPJCE in the UK: Do You Really Want a Convention Center in the Heart of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery?