Politics of Memory

When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

Many in the local Lithuanian Jewish and the international Litvak communities have responded with some shock to the news that the Lithuanian government’s official “Year of the Gaon of Vilna and Jewish Heritage” has been launched by a handsome, shiny 10 Euro Coin that plonks a symbol beloved in recent years of neo-Nazis (and prominently used in their new projects) onto a Jewish Menorah. The symbolism strikes some as evoking the idea that the largely vanished Lithuanian Jews and their language make for one of the “cute  Jewish toys” for the ultranationalist camp to exploit in its PR outreach to unwitting foreigners.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?

Latvian Defense Minister Glorifies Country’s Wartime Waffen-SS



OPINION  |  LATVIA   |   MINISTRIES AND HOLOCAUST POLITICS  |   GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS

by Aleksandr Kuzmin

On September 27, Latvia’s minister of defense Dr. Artis Pabriks delivered a speech in More parish commemorating the More battle of September 1944. He chose to say that “Latvian legionnaires are a pride of the Latvian nation and of the state” (Latvijas leģionāri ir latviešu tautas un valsts lepnums) and called them “heroes” (varoņi). The Waffen SS Latvian Legion was a collaborationist Nazi-organized unit, partly volunteer, partly conscripted. Its members swore an oath to Adolf Hitler.

Continue reading

Posted in Aleksandr Kuzmin, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Latvian Defense Minister Glorifies Country’s Wartime Waffen-SS

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

The original Lithuanian text appeared in Bernardinai.lt.

Preamble

הייליקע ליטווישע רבנים, טײַערע חברים און חברטעס, בני ליטא, מײַנע געטרײַע בני ליטא, מיט אהבת ישראל און אהבת ליטא:

Four years ago Prof. Dovid Katz asked me to find a Catholic priest or nun who would publicly speak out regarding the fate of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish cemetery. I failed to do so, but in empathy for my friend, I published an article in the web portal “Veidas” and gave academic talks at three conferences about conceptions which would help us appreciate why it would be meaningful to grant the demand by Jewish believers that we forego the Sports Palace and respect the Jewish cemetery which was there. Tonight in fifteen minutes I will present five images of how I imagine this cemetery, what it could mean for us.

Continue reading

Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial

Israel Chronicle


[most recent update]


Israeli Foreign Policy and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe (1990 — 2020)

JAN 2019: ARON HELLER IN THE WASHINGTON POST ON NETANYAHU’S “SALE OF HOLOCAUST HISTORY” IN EASTERN EUROPE; SAM SOKOL’S NEW PAPER

 

LOOKING BACK AT 2018-2019:

Historic lowpoint in Israeli diplomacy?

Also: Netanyahu’s Trip to Lithuania. Ten Knesset members call on country’s president to cancel convention center project in old Vilna Jewish cemetery; Interior Minister adds his voice.

A historic highpoint: Israeli ambassador to Ukraine, HE Joel Lion, speaks up with integrity.

Continue reading

Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel Chronicle

This Year’s Sept. 23 Events Remembering Holocaust to Include Pleas for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt



Monday September 23 in Vilnius

Day of Prayer and  Respectful Challenge to Spare Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės) from Plans to Site a Convention Center in its Heart

September 23rd is Lithuania’s Holocaust Commemoration Day. It is because of the Holocaust that there are almost no local descendants of the many thousands of buried there to stand up for the dignity and integrity of ancestors’ graves. This is a matter of human and minority rights: it would not be happening to a five-hundred year old cemetery of the majority population. It would not happen in the west of the European Union, and must not happen in its east, whose peoples deserve the same standards of equal rights and human dignity. Cheering at conventions, drinking at bars and flushing toilets surrounded on all four sides by extant graves is not human dignity. Vilnius deserves better for the years and generations to come.

All welcome! Major Litvak rabbis and scholars will be flying in for the one-day event among them Rabbi Asher Arielli, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Rabbi Orin Reich, and Rabbi Yaakov Shapira . Local speakers include Vilnius Jewish Community head Simon Gurevich and Lithuanian philosopher Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Coordinated by Julius Norwilla, chair of the Vilnius Committee for the Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in cooperation with the European Foundation for Human Rights, whose appeal before the Vilnius courts is now supported by 235 affidavits, including the Elyashiv, Finkel, Levine, Segal, Shternbruch & Soloveitchik families.  Established by Dov-Ber and Chaya Fried.Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on This Year’s Sept. 23 Events Remembering Holocaust to Include Pleas for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt

Why Does Lithuania’s Military Academy Disseminate Antisemitic Sentiments?



OPINION  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

I agree that the name of this piece is quite shocking. To see what I am talking about, it suffices to look through just one publication, published by the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania in cooperation with the “Versmė” publishing house. The academy is itself named for an alleged Holocaust collaborator (See my 2013 article), but that is not the topic of today’s piece, save that yet again it turns out that “state agencies just naming something” for a Holocaust collaborator is not seldom itself an ominous portent of institutional and state-sponsored racism. Indeed, the state Military Academy named for one alleged collaborator actually published an antisemitic tome by another, Jonas Noreika, who of course went on to active collaboration with the Holocaust.

Here are several excerpts from this 2016 publication brought out by the Academy that recently made it to foreign book purchasers, that would be universally recognized as antisemitic. The first refers to folks from the different regions of Lithuanians, naturally ignoring that they were for many centuries home to people of diverse origins, religions, nationalities (indeed, the Yiddish language has the term Zámeter for a person from the first named region):

Samogitians, Aukštaitians, Dzūkians, and Klaipėdians!

Your future is full of prosperity and wealth! We must know it well! Because it will depend only on us if we are going to benefit from this prosperity ourselves or give it away to Jews, Germans, and other foreigners that keep invading Lithuania! They see that the highest standard of living in the whole world is going to be here! Indeed! It will not be us migrating to other countries, but others coming to us to earn heaps of money!

Most of the auctioned off farms are bought by Jews! They feel and perhaps know that, in three years’ time or even sooner, that land will be worth tenfold! Indeed!”

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Why Does Lithuania’s Military Academy Disseminate Antisemitic Sentiments?

Vilnius Academic Accuses State History Commission of Having Too Many Foreign Jews as Members



VILNIUSA prominent Vilnius academic known for Holocaust “fixing”, “proud” antisemitism, and a desire to make a national holiday of the day the anti-Jewish violence broke out in Lithuania in 1941, Dr. A. Liekis, returned this week to the fray with a mainstream media attack on the presence of “foreign Jewish” scholars in the state’s history commission, known formally as “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania, and less formally, and for brevity, as the “Red-Brown Commission.”

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Antisemitism & Bias, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Prof. Sarunas Liekis, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Academic Accuses State History Commission of Having Too Many Foreign Jews as Members

Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & “PR Yiddish” Conference for A-1 Cover


[updated 29 August 2019]

Twenty years after Joe Melamed named Noreika & Škirpa as Holocaust collaborators in Crime & Punishment. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Skirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of “Noreika Plaque” in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Protest Mayor’s Actions and Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

Media coverage: AFPAJ,  AP/WAPOA7BBCBS,  EJCIHJNS,   JTA,  TOI 

Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & “PR Yiddish” Conference for A-1 Cover

Bravo to Hizzoner Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius



“It Pays to Defend History”

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Orders Removal of Memorial Plaque for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

ONE WEEK AFTER HIS CITY COUNCIL VOTED TO RENAME ŠKIRPA STREET

Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on Bravo to Hizzoner Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius

Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street



Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Vote is  20 to 16

Defending History brought the issue to the international community in 2010

See Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s classic 2015 Defending History paper on Škirpa; Vilnius City Council efforts by Mark Harold

Report by JTA

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Summer Glut of Lithuanian Gov. Awards for (Alleged) “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Holocaust Revisionism



OPINION  |  AWARDS FOR WESTERN AND JEWISH ENABLERS  | BACKGROUND TO EAST EUROPEAN HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH HOLOCAUST HISTORY FOR POLITICAL GAIN | DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH, JUDAIC, HEBRAIC & YIDDISH STUDIES  |  UPS AND DOWNS OF ISRAELI POLICY  |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY SAGA  |  YIVO MANIPULATED

More Lithuanian Government Glories & Medals for Alleged “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Baltic Holocaust Revisionism

♦ To the outgoing Israeli ambassador, HE Amir Maimon, after he posed with a portrait of an alleged Nazi collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) in support of the collaborator’s glorification. Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas has reported for years on the collaborator, who is also featured on the front banner of neo-Nazi torchlit parades. The Wiesenthal Center had spoken out in good time.

♦ To the “fudged election” government-backed head of the state-supported Jewish community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, after she granted “legitimacy” to the erection of a statue in Chicago to the same alleged Nazi collaborator, the first on American soil. The same monument was soundly rejected a year earlier by the democratically elected town council of New Britain, Connecticut. Head of the Jewish Agency now calling for monument’s urgent removal.

♦ To the current head of New York’s Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, after a decade of intimate collusion in Holocaust obfuscation, glib betrayal of Holocaust victims and survivors and defamation of Yiddish scholars who disagree with far-right instrumentalization of this fragile language and literature and are loyal to the survivors and their families. See the plea by Vilnius’s last Vilna-born survivor, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Faina Kukliansky, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, ministries, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Summer Glut of Lithuanian Gov. Awards for (Alleged) “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Holocaust Revisionism

Monument to Hitler Collaborator in Chicago: A Story that Won’t Go Away . . .



THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST

A Sad Story for Chicago and Lithuania

that is ‘not going away’

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

In Vilnius, Defending History staff get more death threats

First monument on American soil glorifying a wartime Nazi collaborator who is also a prime icon for his country’s neo-Nazis today was inaugurated last month (May 4) in the presence of the visiting Lithuanian foreign minister

The same monument was rejected a year earlier by the city council of New Britain, Connecticut

MEDIA: AlgemeinerBBCGrayzoneIndependentSimon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph. And—Defending History’s take

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Monument to Hitler Collaborator in Chicago: A Story that Won’t Go Away . . .

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?

Continue reading

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

Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941



LEGACY OF JUNE 23  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  NOREIKA SAGA

Advertisement for the Event

BACKGROUND ON LEGACY OF 23 JUNE IN LITHUANIA (AND BEYOND). SAMPLES OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONYBACKGROUND.

EVENT DESCRIPTION GLORIFIES HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA (BACKGROUND)

Question: Is this city really ready to be the Capital of European Culture for 2022?

Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941

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”

Continue reading

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

Sad Day for Chicago (& Lithuania): Monument for Alleged Nazi Collaborator, an Icon of Lithuania’s Far Right, Unveiled on May 4 in Chicago by Visiting Foreign Minister


[LATEST UPDATE]

A Tale of Three Cities

New Britain.  Chicago.  Vilnius.

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument in Chicago to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

It was turned down by the New Britain, Connecticut City Council one year ago

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA

Other reports in: Algemeiner; BBCIndependent; Simon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

On Ramanauskas’s Holocaust-era role see courageous, pioneering articles of Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas in 20142017 and his latest that has just appeared.

 For years after starting his series of articles “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” Balčiūnas was hounded by prosecutors and police (scroll to May 2014).

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA. BEYOND THE HISTORY: WHY A MONUMENT TO A PRIME ICON OF TODAY’S NEO-NAZIS IN EASTERN EUROPE?

a major icon for neo-Nazi parades…

From left to right on the neo-Nazis’ “We know our national heroes” banner (torchlit neo-Nazi parade of Feb. 2018): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States | Comments Off on Sad Day for Chicago (& Lithuania): Monument for Alleged Nazi Collaborator, an Icon of Lithuania’s Far Right, Unveiled on May 4 in Chicago by Visiting Foreign Minister

Judenfrei. But not Judenrein.



OPINION

◊ 

by Chona Leibovich (Leibovičius)

◊  

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.

Continue reading

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.

More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Five years ago, I wrote about the alleged connections of Adolfas Ramanauskas to the persecution of Jews in Druskininkai. Following publication of the Lithuanian version, the English version appeared here in Defending History in 2014. The connections are based in the first instance on Ramanauskas’s own memoirs, published in post-Soviet independent Lithuania, where he boasts that he served as leader of “the rebels’ squad” during the precise days and weeks of June and July 1941 when these “rebels” of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) were in fact unleashing humiliation, plunder, violence and indeed murder against Jewish neighbors (the Soviet army was escaping Hitler’s invasion, not these white-armbanded LAFers). Following upon Ramanauskas’s own memoir and boast came research into the actual police records of the summer of 1941, as well as the postwar Soviet war crimes trials’ transcripts.

When writing that first article in 2014, my goal was not to find or prove something directly compromising. I was simply disturbed by the obvious collision of this heroic myth and its historical circumstances. It was part of my series of articles in Defending History, starting in 2012, that was launched by my essay “Why does the State Commemorate Murderers?”.

LATEST MEDIA:

AlgemeinerBBCIndependentSimon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA

But then, in late 2017, the Seimas (parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania declared 2018 to be the Year of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas. Indignant at the uncritical worship, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s department of East European affairs, brought a copy of my article to the members of the Seimas and was condemned without them even attempting to read it. During that period, I published a second, follow-up article focused on the moral issues.

Successful resistance to the plans of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania to erect a monument to Ramanauskas in his native city of New Britain, Conn., were enabled exactly by the facts mentioned in the 2014 piece (that saga can be followed in Defending History). One year ago, the City Council of New Britain “just said No.”

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?

Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



OUR TAKE ON THE LATEST IN THE 7 YEAR OLD NOREIKA SAGA

VILNIUSLRT state television reported that an American religious Jewish school would held a polite protest outside the Lithuanian consulate in New York on Yom Hashoah, 2 May, to protest the Lithuanian government’s continued state-sponsored glorification of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika and others. The protest was carried out by students of the Rambam Mesivta High School, under the guidance of its renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. See Defending History’s report on the event.

Lithuanian Public Television’s Special Investigation of the controversy over Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika was supposed to air on Thursday May 2 at 7:30 PM (19:30), including an interview with Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. But the program did not air. Instead, the LRT website posted an “Open Letter Regarding the Increase of Tension in Society” signed by four leaders of  Lithuanian (ultra)nationalist organizations. The letter specifically attacks Chicago resident Silvia Foti, Noreika’s granddaughter, California resident Grant Gochin, and other critics of the glorification of Holocaust collaborators, while claiming that Noreika, Škirpa, Brazaitis, Krikštaponis and Kraujelis are national heroes. LRT.lt added a remark clarifying that, according to the Genocide Center, Krikštaponis participated in the mass murder of Jews. The article claims that criticism of glorification of Holocaust collaborators is the work of “Moscow.”

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Hundreds of Rambam Mesivta High School Protest Peacefully at New York’s Lithuanian Consulate



NEW YORK CITY—Hundreds of Jewish high school students from the New York area, pupils at Rambam Mesivta High School, demonstrated peacefully and with dignity outside the Lithuanian Consulate in New York City yesterday, led by their renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. The day was Yom Hashoah, a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, and the occasion was the Lithuanian government’s continued glorification of Jonas Noreika, a major Holocaust collaborator who participated in the destruction of thousands of the country’s citizens in 1941. The Noreika debate is now seven years old, and can be followed chronologically in Defending History (see most recent update).

Students chanted, “Your hero is a Nazi!”

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, United States | Comments Off on Hundreds of Rambam Mesivta High School Protest Peacefully at New York’s Lithuanian Consulate