Opinion

Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016): His Writings in Defending History



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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016): His Writings in Defending History

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, Litvak Identity Theft?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, 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 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) | Comments Off on 12 Holocaust Massacre Sites in Vilnius Region; Taking a Closer Look at 2

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)

(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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on But Who is Against Vilnius “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”?

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, 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, 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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Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder


[last updated]


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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

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 | 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?

Israel Chronicle


[most recent update]


Israeli Foreign Policy and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe (1990 — 2016)

Debate Tracker:

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

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? | 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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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Citizenship, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, South Africa | Comments Off on South African Litvak in London Critiques Lithuania’s Citizenship Policies

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

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, Litvak Identity Theft?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | 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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o

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 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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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Arūnas Degutis, Signatory of Lithuania’s 1990 Declaration of Independence, Voices View on the Holocaust

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 | 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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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, Litvak Identity Theft?, News & Views, Opinion | 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, Litvak Identity Theft?, News & Views, Opinion, 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, Litvak Identity Theft?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | 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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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 | 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?

What’s The Story With the Mass Grave Uncovered near Šiauliai (Shavl)?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Last week, there was a flurry of reports in the Lithuanian media about human skeletons and personal effects turning up during routine roadworks at Pročiūnai in the region of Šiauliai (in Jewish history: Shavl). Reports and gory pictures appeared among other places in 15min.lt; Etaplius.lt; Skrastas.lt and Snaujienos.lt. I myself, a concerned resident of Šiauliai, commented on the subject on my own blog (here and here). Various articles published contained theorizations about the buried here being victims of Soviet crimes or even equally of Nazi and Soviet crimes.

Monday 13 July. It is probably correct to say that the international scandal was set alight when the “routine” BNS (Baltic News Service) report appeared in English in the Lithuania Tribune (amalgamated with English Delfi). The archaeologist placed in charge by the local government of the investigation of the human remains, Audronė Šapaitė, is quoted in the article as presenting the following certain conclusions. Excerpts follow:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on What’s The Story With the Mass Grave Uncovered near Šiauliai (Shavl)?

London Based “CPJCE” Rushes to Take Credit for Provincial Mass Grave Site Preservation; Fails to Mention Involvement in “Sale” of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery



O P I N I O N

LONDON—The same London-based European cemetery-preservation group that allegedly takes money (for supervision fees) for “supervising” cemetery “conversions” in Eastern Europe forbidden by other rabbinical authorities, today issued a triumphant press release (image below) about its “rescue” of a provincial mass grave site uncovered during routine roadworks in northern Lithuania, near Šiauliai (Yiddish Shavl). The group is the CPJCE (Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe), which was recently received by the prime minister of Lithuania upon its agreeing to a convention center in the middle of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery, with no reference to any of the local rabbis or to universal decency on the question of what is appropriate in an old cemetery.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on London Based “CPJCE” Rushes to Take Credit for Provincial Mass Grave Site Preservation; Fails to Mention Involvement in “Sale” of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery

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



O P I N I O N

by Julius Norwilla

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

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

A Letter from Leffond, France to the Mayor of Vilnius, Capital of Lithuania



O P I N I O N

by Christian Bonneville


Leffond, France, 5 July 2015

Hon. Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania

Monsieur le Maire,

  • Convention and Congress Center
  • Conversion of the Sport Palace Center along the Neris at the Piramónt Location

Congratulations on your election and your determination to develop the cohesion and the attractiveness of the city to be enriched with new facilities and services including a new Conference and Congress Center.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, France, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on A Letter from Leffond, France to the Mayor of Vilnius, Capital of Lithuania

Dancing on Jewish Graves in Vilna



O P I N I O N

by Pinchos Fridberg

Editor’s note: Reprint from The Times of Israel, where this article, with several photographs, appeared on 25 June 2016.


I am a Holocaust survivor. I was born here in Vilnius (Yiddish: Vílne), today’s capital of Lithuania, known forever as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania” for its vibrant Jewish culture, religious and secular, for hundreds of years. Today our post-Holocaust Jewish community is a tiny remnant, just a few thousand people, but we are vibrant, and, as always, a community of many opinions. Once again, a question has arisen that calls for robust discourse.

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Pinchos Fridberg, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Dancing on Jewish Graves in Vilna

Vilnius’s Shnipishek Jewish Cemetery



O P I N I O N

by Bernard Fryshman, PhD

This article appeared in today’s edition of Yated Ne’eman. The PDF of the original is available here.


First, a brief review: In June 2005, Reb Chizkiya Kalmanowitz discovered construction taking place in the Shnipishek Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius. The Shnipishek Cemetery is where the Gaon of Vilna was buried, as was the Ger Tzedek. Even now, the cemetery contains the bodies of the Chayei Adam and the Be’er Hagolah among many others.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, EU, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Vilnius’s Shnipishek Jewish Cemetery

The June 2015 Memorial for the Lietūkis Garage Massacre in Kaunas, Lithuania



O P I N I O N   /   E Y E W I T N E S S   A C C O U N T

by Julius Norwilla

To mark the 74th anniversary of one of the iconic events of the Lithuanian Holocaust, the infamous Lietūkis Garage Massacre of 27 June 1941, the Kaunas Jewish Community organized its annual memorial event at the site, last Friday, 26 June 2015. The massacre, carried out by local Lithuanian “patriots” wearing the white armbands of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), butchered dozens of Jewish passers-by at a garage on Kaunas’s Vytautas Avenue, using a variety of execution methods, including clubbing to death with crowbars, and particularly, forcing water from high-pressure hoses into bodily orifices of the victims until they burst. A growing crowd, including women holding up their young children to get the best views, cheered them on.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The June 2015 Memorial for the Lietūkis Garage Massacre in Kaunas, Lithuania

Rewriting History in Latvia



B O O K S    /    L A T V I A

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

Since I became interested in the fate of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Latvia, rather late (2009), I never failed to buy books when I visited that country, first and foremost written by Jewish survivors of these terrible times, but, also, some books written by non-Jewish Latvians in order to see how they perceived these tragic events, how they related to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and how they presented the history of the German occupation and the mass slaughter of more than 95% of the Jewish population of their country (using the figures of Jews on site at the time of the Nazi invasion as the basis for historians’ estimates).

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Posted in Books, History, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Rewriting History in Latvia

Why Was Richard Maullin, Head of California ISO, Honored by the Foreign Minister of Lithuania?



O P I N I O N

LOS ANGELES—Richard A. Maullin, elected less than a year ago as the chair of the California Independent System Operator (ISO) Board, was lavishly honored here on May 31st by both the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States and the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. The latter, in the tradition of royalty, meticulously placed the Lithuanian Diplomatic Star around the neck of Dr. Maullin, a major American pollster and principal of the LA polling and public policy research firm FM3, often still known by its older name Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Richard Maullin, United States, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Was Richard Maullin, Head of California ISO, Honored by the Foreign Minister of Lithuania?

In Defense of Transparency at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra



O P I N I O N   /    M U S I C

by Ronald C. Kent

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

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

Ukrainian Hitlerist Icons Celebrated in Weston-on-Trent in Derbyshire, England



O P I N I O N    /   U K    /    U K R A I N E

by J. North

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM Great Britain) held a remembrance day at the Tarasivka camp at Weston-on-Trent in Derbyshire. They advertised the event on their website (http://cym.org/uk) and with a poster replete with (ultra)nationalist imagery.

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Posted in Bandera, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ukraine, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Ukrainian Hitlerist Icons Celebrated in Weston-on-Trent in Derbyshire, England

Would this Building Project be Pursued if the Cemetery Were the Resting Place of Christians?



O P I N I O N    /   C H R I S T I A N – J E W I S H   R E L A T I O N S   /   C E M E T E R I E S

by Pastor Michael Maass

I would like to make an observation concerning the use of Jewish cemeteries for building projects, as this has come to be a major issue of controversy in Lithuania, and in other nations as well.

I would like to pose a question:  Would these building projects be pursued if the cemeteries in question were the resting places of Catholics, Protestant Christians, or other non-Jewish people?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Michael & Fausta Maass, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Would this Building Project be Pursued if the Cemetery Were the Resting Place of Christians?

Dictionary of Lithuanian-Jewish Relations (in progress)


Antisemitism Conferences or Studies = Events guaranteed to exclude any mention of contemporary local antisemitism at the point of production, but will feature excellent glossy brochures on the past and on intolerance in faraway lands

Blaming the Victims

Blizzard = Obfuspeak for when Estonia opts out of Obfuscationist documents and inches away from the expected Baltic positions

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Posted in Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Opinion | Comments Off on Dictionary of Lithuanian-Jewish Relations (in progress)

SLS’s 2015 Sutzkever Prize: Yiddish Poetry Serving Right-Wing East European Politics?



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The bizarre saga of the Montreal-based Summer Literary Seminars (SLS) “Jewish Lithuania Sutzkever Prize” continues apace with ever-increasing disrespect toward Abraham Sutzkever and his fellow Jewish partisans who helped liberate Lithuania from the Nazis, and ever more political entanglement with current geopolitical instrumentalization of Yiddish and Jewish causes in Eastern Europe in the context of East-West tensions.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Canada, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sutzkever Prize in Lithuania, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on SLS’s 2015 Sutzkever Prize: Yiddish Poetry Serving Right-Wing East European Politics?

“The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television



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by Geoff Vasil

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

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

Lithuanian Translation of Efraim Zuroff’s 17 April 2015 Vilnius Conference (Prerecorded) Lecture



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

Note: Authorized Lithuanian translation, provided by the Being a Jew project, of the pre-recorded video address by Dr. Efraim Zuroff at the 17 April 2015 conference on the Holocaust in Lithuania organized by Rūta Vanagaitė. The original English text is here.

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Posted in Efraim Zuroff, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Translation of Efraim Zuroff’s 17 April 2015 Vilnius Conference (Prerecorded) Lecture