Opinion

Biržai (Birzh), in Northern Lithuania, Honors Holocaust Victims at Forest Mass Grave Site; But City-Center Museum Honors the Collaborators



OPINION  |  MUSEUMS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

This weekend, the new monument to 2,400 Biržai Jews, massacred on August 8, 1941, will be unveiled in Biržai, a town in northern Lithuania known in Yiddish as Birzh. On that fateful day in Pakamponys forest, German Gestapo officers and their Lithuanian accomplices murdered 900 children, because they were Jewish children, 780 women, because they were Jewish women, and 720 men, because they were Jewish, too. The locals call the site “the Biržai Jews’ grave”.

That day, more than one third of the inhabitants of that old historical city were massacred. A vibrant community was destroyed and trust in Biržai as a safe place to live was wholly undermined. This old wound had not been taken care of properly up until now. There is a memorial stone at the site of the massacre, the site itself is covered with tiles. There is a memorial inscription, too. However, all those people with their lives and their dreams remained but a number in stone. People behind the new memorial decided to fix this, and now we have more than five hundred names carved on a steel wall. This difficult task required a lot of effort. Alongside with the people, the murderers also destroyed the documents attesting to their lives.

What does the Town’s Official Museum Think?

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Biržai (Birzh), in Northern Lithuania, Honors Holocaust Victims at Forest Mass Grave Site; But City-Center Museum Honors the Collaborators

Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATES; FIRST PUBLICATION: 13 MAY]

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  LITHUANIA’S JEWISH COMMUNITY  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  US STATE DEPT. MANIPULATED?  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

You just could not make this stuff up. A powerful government unit of an East European democracy that is a member of the EU and NATO wants nothing more than to plonk a monument in America for someone who was not only an alleged Holocaust collaborator (see Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles of 2014, 2017 and 2019), but who is today a prime icon of the country’s neo-Nazis. Indeed, his visage is first on their banner of “national heroes” used to front torch-lit neo-Nazi parades in the nation’s capital. The monument is unveiled in Chicago on May 4, 2019.

Ramanauskas is first (at left) on neo-Nazis’ front banner at torchlit parade in Vilnius

 

High government officials from the Seimas and the Lithuanian consulate in New York jad fronted  an effort to put the monument in New Britain, Connecticut, and charm that city’s mayor (2017) into going along with the plan, without mentioning the honoree’s having boasted in his own memoirs of leading a pro-Hitler militia in the days when the Lithuanian Holocaust was launched in late June of 1941. After many months of discussion (2018), the city council of New Britain overwhelmingly turns down the idea.

Update of 1 June 2019: Jerusalem Post reports that head of Jewish Agency demands the monument in Chicago “be removed as soon as possible”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator

Judenfrei. But not Judenrein.



OPINION

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by Chona Leibovich (Leibovičius)

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Chona Leibovich (Leibovičius)

In our country, there has for decades now been a ceaseless series of battles in the mass media, social media and other nooks and crannies of the public space.

A new surge has emerged. The subject of the various high-voltage disputes? The attitude of members of society, and particularly the cultural elite and the authorities to the collaboration of the Lithuanian population with the two adversarial branches of “socialism”: the so-called workers’ and peasants’ variety (Communist) and national socialism (Nazism). During the year before the entry of Nazi troops onto the territory of the Lithuanian Soviet republic  in June of 1941, and after World War II ended here in July 1944, many local people cooperated with the Soviets. The cooperation of an overwhelming part of the country’s population with the Soviet occupational authorities became especially enthusiastic and active during the long, peaceful postwar period. To a certain extent, it was natural because one always wants to live, and not just to survive, but also to find oneself, to be able to create something. However, by the sharpest of contrasts, during the Nazi occupation,considerable numbers became not just willing and active accomplices of the “general” Nazi policies pursued by the occupiers, but also initiators and enthusiasts of repressions and mass murder directed against Jews and, selectively, against members of other sections of the civilian population.

Some naively believed that Hitler’s invasion would help the nation break free of the “friendly” embrace of the USSR and restore independence. Others were guided by more prosaic considerations, such as robbing and killing their neighbors and fellow citizens. Others still did not disdain either and combined the useful with the pleasing. And it never occurred to the many elites leading these activities that killing a peaceful unarmed people in their own country, a whole people declared an enemy by the nationalist propaganda, cannot bring a nation the good luck it years for, even if you somehow assume that they really all were your enemies.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Judenfrei. But not Judenrein.

American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE POLICIES  |  THE NOREIKA SAGA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS    |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Author Silvia Foti, the American granddaughter of the notorious Lithuanian Holocaust collaborator, Jonas Noreika, has been described as “exceptionally courageous” for publicly telling the truth about her grandfather, whom far-right elements in the Lithuanian government and its “history fixing agencies” continue to revere with street names, plaques and state-contrived history. That rewriting of history has a “higher purpose” — to downgrade the Holocaust and beyond whitewashing, to recast the local perpetrators as “heroes” (because they were “anti-Soviet,” a description that could match close to 100% of the East European Holocaust murderers). He is only one of a series of collaborators in the destruction of around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry (among the highest proportions in Holocaust-era Europe) who are regarded as “national heroes” in tandem with the vast, and lavishly state-financed, campaign to rewrite World War II as “two equal genocides,” thereby, according to some, seeking to  write the Holocaust out of history as unique event here — without denying a single death.

This week, Ms. Foti launched an international petition boldly entitled  “Remove all honors awarded to my grandfather Jonas Noreika.” In some ways, it is a follow-up to an earlier petition, launched some years ago by London-based Monica Lowenberg.

TO SIGN THE PETITION 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika

Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to be Shamed Again This Weekend as Soviet Dump is Glorified



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  USCPAHA | CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH

VILNIUS—In a shock both to human rights activists here and the small but vibrant Jewish community, the “Open House Vilnius” project of the NGO “Architektūros fondas”, in partnership with  M. K. Čiurlionis House and Museum is organizing a major event this coming weekend  to  feature an “audio-visual installation by the composer Vytautas Paukštelis”. The event is being sponsored by European Union taxpayer euros via the EU’s “Creative Europe and European Music Paths” program.

“The Ghosts of Vilna Will Not be Silenced” (by Vulovak for DefendingHistory)

The problem? It is being staged right smack in the middle of the Old Vilna Jewish at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės district, Shnípeshok in Yiddish). In fact, the staging could not be some kind of clerical error resulting from lack of being informed. For years now, there has been an international (and local!) movement beseeching the Lithuanian government and its state-owned Turto bankas, and the City of Vilnius, to move the convention center project away from the old Jewish cemetery, so that it might be lovingly restored, as, for example, per the Frankfurt model, and become an international site that will attract people from around the world, instead of a mark of racism and antisemitism in the city that was once the “Jerusalem of Lithuania” and even today uses that phrase for marketing and PR.

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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 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to be Shamed Again This Weekend as Soviet Dump is Glorified

How I Feel about Street Names & Public Plaques for Alleged Holocaust Collaborators



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Roza Bieliauskienė

The twentieth century was drenched in upheavals, blood and tears. New states were founded, others were destroyed and above all, it cost so many people a huge price: to suffer broken lives and fates or to be senselessly killed. If not for the world wars, how much more would humankind have reached in science, art, literature, technology, economy and more.

 Over seventy years have passed since the end of the Holocaust, and, as in the legend of Till Eulenspiegel the ashes of our people‘s annihilation during the Holocaust is still in our hearts. We do not forget them, every year we come to Ponár (Paneriai), to the fortresses of Kaunas. In my case, also to the Pivonijos forest where in the period from July to September of 1941 so many of my relatives, all simple peaceful civilians, perished, they of the Reitenbort and Kahan families. We also visit other places of mass killings.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How I Feel about Street Names & Public Plaques for Alleged Holocaust Collaborators

A Tale of Two Cities? New Britain (Connecticut) and Chicago (Illinois)



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  USA

VILNIUS—Will Chicago, Illinois, allow a planned May 4th unveiling of a sculpture glorifying alleged Holocaust collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) to proceed in its world-famous Freedom Park without due process for Holocaust victims, survivors, and their spokespeople? Without a public discussion including the many in Lithuania who oppose glorifying Hitlerist collaborators? The English news release for the project casually omits the reference to the Holocaust present in the original BNS Lithuanian report. That reference is of course the controversy that led New Britain, Connecticut to veto a Ramanauskas monument last year. Do the people of Chicago know they would be getting a New Britain reject, and most importantly, why it was rejected by the New England town after many months of deliberation?

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Tale of Two Cities? New Britain (Connecticut) and Chicago (Illinois)

Court Steps Aside, Vilnius Genocide Center ‘Shows its True Face’



OPINION  | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

On March 27, 2019, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court ruled against Grant Gochin as to his complaint against the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center. He will have to pay the Center’s legal fees. The Genocide Center proceeded to triumphantly depict Jonas Noreika as a flawless hero, yet in places the contrary view is breaking through the one-sided, subservient reporting by most of the Lithuanian press.

The essence of Grant Gochin’s complaint was that the Center had been unobjective, incomplete, and abused its power in replying to his “Query Regarding Jonas Noreika’s Criminal Gang” and in refusing to change its certificate about Jonas Noreika. Holocaust perpetrator Captain Jonas Noreika is celebrated in Lithuania with honors, statues, plaques, and street names.

The Court ruled that “…the Court cannot take on the Center’s prescribed functions nor its powers…”

The Center’s main argument had been that Gochin had no material interest in the certificate about Jonas Noreika. This was most callous, given that Gochin counts 100 relatives as victims of the Holocaust, with quite a number of them in Šiauliai District, where Jonas Noreika was District Chief. Government agencies refer to the certificate as the basis for honoring Noreika.

DH’s eyewitness report with links to (scant) media coverage

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Court Steps Aside, Vilnius Genocide Center ‘Shows its True Face’

A Lithuanian Jewish Citizen on Why Jewish Life is Divided into “Before” vs. “After” 19 April 2017



OPINION  |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY LIFE 

by Arkady Kurliandchik

Arkady Kurliandchik

On the 19th of April 2017, an event transpired that seems to have divided, from the viewpoint of time, our life as Jewish citizens of Lithuania. We were left with two new categories: before and after. Before and after the day when our democratic community’s leadership, in the middle of a community election campaign, changed the rules to disenfranchise the living three thousand or so Jews in the country in favor of a new electoral system based on the votes of the current chairwoman’s own board that would from now on mean that “the official” Jewish community represents not the Jewish people of Lithuania. It represents the people on that board and their “associations,” whether real or not.

To tell the truth, our Jewish community collectively, and each of us individually felt deeply humiliated with that imperious power-hungry arrogance. This historical action was carried out by a small group of  power-hungry plotters who usurped that which had been held with human dignity by our Jewish self-government here. This clique of usurpers, in a single meeting, “changed the election rules” to deprive the Jews of Lithuania of the right to vote on issues related to communal Jewish life. What has happened will go down as a black chapter in the history of Jews in Eastern Europe.

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A National Gang-Up on our Country’s Leading Playwright



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  WOMEN’S RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Marius Ivaškevičius is a famous writer, theater and cinema playwright and director who has clearly stated his opinion on the Holocaust more than once. He also contributed substantially to the 2016 Molėtai (Malát) Holocaust remembrance march. He has even criticized the naming of Škirpa Street in central Vilnius after a Nazi collaborator who called for Lithuania’s Jewish citizens to be expelled.

Once the reports that Ivaškevičius was chosen to receive the National Prize for his achievements in literature became public, a public persecution of the writer got underway with rapidity and venom. Far-right groups appealed to the prosecutor’s office not only to stop him getting the prize, but also to start a court case against him, allegedly for violating Criminal Code in his writings, turning him into a potential criminal. The pretext was Ivaškevičius’ novel Žali (The Greens), written sixteen years ago and dedicated to exploring the topic of postwar anti-Soviet resistance. The prosecutor’s office rejected the call and Ivaškevičius received the prize.

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The Strange Holocaust Trial in the Lithuanian Capital



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Last Tuesday, 5 March 2019, a Vilnius court sat in judgment over an appeal to the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” by Grant Arthur Gochin, a financial advisor in California who is of Litvak heritage and was himself born in South Africa (he did not come in for the trial but was represented by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and academic specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas). The request in effect asked the Genocide Center (formally “The Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania” or LGGRTC) to revisit their refusal to re-examine the historical certificate they issued whitewashing Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. In support, the plaintiff submitted a big stack of documents from Lithuania’s own archives, and claimed that the Center’s conclusions ignore or misinterpret a whole series of documents and that they are biased in their justification of Noreika and taking into account only “positive aspects” of his activities. The Center explained away some documents signed by Noreika by using other documents that were signed by the German administration much later, but failed to properly name the criteria according to which some witnesses and documents are deemed important and others are rejected. Gochin’s lawyer noted that responsibility for crimes to humanity is not canceled out by the fact that the perpetrator held office and was following orders.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on The Strange Holocaust Trial in the Lithuanian Capital

Lithuania’s Gov. “Property Bank” is Using “Weak and Divided” Jewish Reaction to Proceed with “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery” Project



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

by Julius Norwilla

As “the day of the bulldozers” nears, Lithuania’s state “Property Bank” (Turto Bankas, often translated “Asset Bank”) is coming close to announcing the final contracts for the planned Convention Center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius. The derelict Soviet building slated for conversion (alongside construction of a large annex) is surrounded on all four sides by many thousands of Jewish graves left untouched by the Soviet authorities who pilfered all the stones for building works and ballast. There has been massive international opposition, including Lithuanian-origin rabbinical authorities worldwide, in addition to a petition started by Vilnius resident Ruta Bloshtein that is close to 46,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Julius Norwilla’s impressions after a meeting with the leaders of Lithuania’s state Property Bank now managing the convention center project in the heart of Piramónt cemetery? They are willing to talk, but they are not convinced  that “the Jews themselves” really care so much. In fact, a future “talking point” for a permanently controversial and damaging “convention center” will be that “Well, they found enough Jews they could manipulate to go along with it so what do you want from us?”

The takeaway? The time for major international pressure is now. The petition has attracted more than 45,000 signatures.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Gov. “Property Bank” is Using “Weak and Divided” Jewish Reaction to Proceed with “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery” Project

Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika



OPINION  | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

On February 14, BBC World Service Outlook presented a 23 minute conversation with Silvia Foti and Grant Gochin about Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika. Silvia Foti, born in Chicago, is the granddaughter of Noreika, and Grant Gochin, born in South Africa, and resident in California, is related to a hundred of his victims in the Šiauliai region. The radio show, “The truth about my ‘hero’ grandfather”, reached about 75 million listeners, a well-informed 1% of humanity.

Global interest is growing as Lithuania’s Genocide Center chooses to defend in court its refusal to reconsider its estimation of Jonas Noreika. In a similar spirit, on February 5, the State Security Department together with the Defense Ministry’s Intelligence and Counterintelligence Department warned in their 2019 National Threat Assessment Report to the Seimas: “Russian officials and subordinate propagandists seek to shape the attitude that only Nazi collaborators and Holocaust-complicit criminals supported the resistance against the Soviet occupation. To compromise the Lithuanian resistance the Kremlin cynically manipulates the Holocaust tragedy to achieve the goals of its history policy.”

See also: Defending History’s take. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s series of articles which brought this issue to the English speaking world starting in 2012. Prof. Pinchos Fridberg’s position that the Noreika issue cannot be about one single plaque in the sea of national glorification. DH’s section on Collaborators Glorified. Illustrations of a number of street names and state plaques that glorify alleged Holocaust collaborators. 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Holocaust collaborator prime minister. More. DH Editor’s academic papers on the wider historical and intellectual background.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika

Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”



by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson


Saturday February 16, 2019 will celebrated as Independence Day in Lithuania (marking the 1918 rise of the state; a second independence day, March 11th, marks its 1990 reestablishment). The far-right-nationalists of Lithuania have once again been permitted to march through the central Old Town streets of the country’s capital to praise their so-called heroes. These views on “heroes” held by the Vilnius marchers are pretty much shared by much of the present and past government establishments, as evidenced, for example, by street names and  public plaques and many episodes of glorification of collaborators, including the infamous 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, The OSCE, Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”

Why Do They Do It in the Winter?



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

A wave of nationalism and hatred is rolling through Europe. In Gdańsk, Poland, mayor Paweł Adamowicz, who encouraged democracy and tolerance, was killed. From Hungary, where the ultra-right powers, namely Orbán’s Fidesz party and its ideological neighbor, third-in-size Jobbik, have taken power, come the news of the worsening conditions of Roma people. Eviction of Roma in Miskolc is but one example of segregation and discrimination (on Youtube).  Shocking footage from Bulgaria has also recently reached international Roma community (see on Facebook). The footage shows Roma houses being destroyed in the middle of the winter and the people resisting  being suppressed and beaten. Apparently, after a conflict between two Roma youths and local soldiers, the Bulgarian government decided to collectively punish the  Roma community by banishing them from the Voidinovo settlement by Plovdiv, which, by the way, is the European Capital of Culture 2019. The Bulgarian government is on a par with its Hungarian counterpart when it comes to discriminatory rhetoric and prejudice against the Roma.

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Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Calls for Volunteers on Lithuanian-Jewish Issues



OPINION  | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Lithuania’s conscience calls for volunteers. The January 24, 2019 newsletter is now available for the informal network called Lithuania’s Conscience (“Lietuvos sąžinė”). As editor and organizer, I wish to add some words in English for readers of Defending History. Our network is united by our resolve to take responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed in 1941 by various leaders in the name of the Republic of Lithuania and on behalf of the Lithuanian nation.

We will be meeting in Vilnius on Monday, January 28, 16:00-17:00, at the small conference room of the Tolerance Center, Naugarduko g. 10/2. The purpose of the meeting is to achieve preliminary consensus on basic principles, a list of demands, and next steps. The newsletter includes working drafts. Please alert me by email (ms@ms.lt) or phone (+3706 072-7665) if you’d like to attend or if you’d like to give input.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Calls for Volunteers on Lithuanian-Jewish Issues

Once Again, Sophomoric and Substandard Journalism at the Yiddish Forward



OPINION  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE (VYI)  |  “YIDDISH” AS COVER FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM IN EASTERN EUROPE  |  MEDIA WATCH

by Dovid Katz

Over many years, the jaundiced personal attacks by the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) on colleagues in the field of Yiddish who may hold different opinions, or are just not part of the “Yugntruf” or “Sovetish Heimland” cliques that took over the paper at the turn of the century, have been a cause for concern. For that matter, not the only cause for concern at the many millions of dollars squandered that could have built a genuine revival of Yiddish-in-Yiddish culture among younger generations worldwide that has instead gone on these two clubs and their very specific agendas. I have myself over the years been the object of a number of attacks, for the most part published without the name of the author, in the worst traditions of a yellow press. On one occasion, back in 2011, when “Mr. Jacob London of Oxford” wrote about the Vilnius-based issues of Yiddish studies in the city and its abuse by far-right elements intent on rewriting history in the spirit of East European ultranationalism, we responded on these pages with a piece entitled “Has the Forward Association Abandoned Elementary Ethics?” that was, naturally, signed by its author.

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Noreika Trial Adjourned to March 5th after State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Tells Panel of Judges it Needs Time to Study the Papers (that it has been familiar with for decades)



OPINION  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE MUSEUM  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

Defending History was there. See Background and DH’s take on the trial.

THE PLAINTIFFS’ TABLE: Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, longtime contributing writer at DH (left) represented absent American plaintiff Grant Gochin at the hearing on state honors for Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika, whose case was first brought to the English speaking world in 2012  by Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was also in attendance.  At right is attorney Rokas Rudzinskas. PHOTO © Defending History 2019.

VILNIUS—As the long-awaited trial opened this morning, the Genocide Center’s official and two lawyers explained to the three-judge panel that they need a lot of time to study so many documents, including some less-than-perfect printouts, hence an adjournment would be required. The next hearing was set for 5 March. In fact, the Genocide Center has for many  years been familiar with the documents demonstrating Jonas Noreika’s brutal Holocaust collaboration (and has for years tried to say that they prove “only” ethnic cleansing, expulsion, isolation and ghettoization, humiliation, and plunder of all the region’s citizens who were Jewish).

Just seven people came to observe (three of them from DH’s team, nobody from abroad). There was no local media coverage as of now. US, UK, Israeli embassies sent no observers. Efforts to “muzzle the whole thing” seem to have been effective.

Update of 19 Jan: media blackout at the national and local level here has continued unbroken as of today (except for “Putin-propagandist” pseudo-media)

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Noreika Trial Adjourned to March 5th after State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Tells Panel of Judges it Needs Time to Study the Papers (that it has been familiar with for decades)

Democratically Elected Leadership of Vilnius Jewish Community Shows Consistent Moral Clarity on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’s Fate



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

VILNIUS—During the fiascos of recent formal visits to Lithuania by the chairperson of the US taxpayer-funded “Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (known for short as “USCPAHA”), a ubiquitous feature was the seemingly unending stream of photo-ops with leaders of the “official” state-sponsored Jewish community which has quite naturally supported government plans for a convention center and annex to be situated in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery. What many foreign visitors do not understand is that this enterprise does not have democratically legitimate leadership. In the middle of the last leadership election, in spring 2017, the chairperson changed the rules to disenfranchise the three thousand Jewish citizens of Lithuania in favor of a “new system” whereby “associations alone” would vote, these being the chairperson’s own board of associates. When the Vilnius Jewish Community held a very public and democratic vote, the state-sponsored official community echoed antisemitic tropes that the current Jews are some kind of Russians who say they are Jews. In November of 2018, the courts ruled her election illegal, a remarkable public demonstration followed last spring, but then, after an array of legal ruses, some quite amusing, the appeals court last month legalized her election. But not-illlegal is not moral, and being “not illegal” is a rather poor standard for Jewish and democratic legitimacy in the  small and fragile post-Holocaust space. More and more people are calling for a simple solution: new and fair elections under the aegis of an outside ombudsman or polling organization, in which every Lithuanian Jewish citizen has one vote.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Democratically Elected Leadership of Vilnius Jewish Community Shows Consistent Moral Clarity on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery’s Fate

Israel’s Interior Minister Protests Desecration of Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  ISRAEL CHRONICLE  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

JERUSALEM—In a letter dated today, and released to the media, Israel’s Minister of the Interior Rabbi Aryeh Machluf Deri appealed to the director of the Foreign Ministry to take serious action concerning the threat of desecration to the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius).

The letter calls for the Foreign Ministry’s “immediate intervention” and cites the pain that would be caused to world Jewry by pursuit of the current project planned for the site.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on Israel’s Interior Minister Protests Desecration of Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery