By Defending History Staff
Photos by Julius Norwilla, Ruta Ostrovskaya, and Dovid Katz
VILNIUS—For the 11th year running, the center of Lithuania’s beautiful capital, Vilnius, was gifted in the high afternoon hours this past Sunday, Match 11th, to far-righters and neo-Nazis on the annual holiday cherished by the free world for its historic importance, in 1990, in the series of events that toppled the Soviet Union’s hated misrule. The Defending History community, all resolute admirers of Lithuania who celebrate its success, has monitored this event annually. The international outcry after the 2008 event, which featured “Juden raus” and a throng of swastikas had led to curious “compromises” each year between organizers and the municipality on what will and will not be done. But no sign yet of the mayor’s office, municipality or government finding the moral backbone to just say, “No, not in the center of our capital on our independence day.”
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches
VILNIUS—Lithuanian Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky today issued a powerful statement on the community’s website condemning the newest call from some top politicians asking the population to revere a national holiday in Lithuania, Užgavėnės, or Shrovetide, that falls this year tomorrow, 28 February 2017. Defending History has been (intermittently) monitoring the day since 2008, as part of the mission to monitor antisemitism and racism, and to cover those sectors of Human Rights that tend to be wholly ignored by the lavishly funded, official human rights organizations here in the Lithuanian capital.
UPDATES AND INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE:
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Racism, Roma
Tagged antisemitism and racism (Lithuania), antisemitism Eastern Europe, Faina Kukliansky, Jewish Community of Lithuania, Shrovetide (Lithuania), Uzgavenes
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).
Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
Tagged Diktatūra, Human rights in Lihtuania, neo-Nazis in Lithuania, Racism in Lithuania, Roma in Lithuania, Šalčininkų rajonas, Vilma Fiokla Kiure
VILNIUS—The pseudonymous neo-Nazi blogger “Zeppelinus,” long alleged to be the alias of a high official in the Ministry of the Economy (DH still awaits a reply to our open letter of 2013 to the relevant minister), is notorious for his racist, antisemitic, and homophobic images that continue to needlessly damage Lithuania’s good name (sampling at end of article). This web journal’s editor has long been one of his many photoshop and photofake targets, naturally a source of pride for any and all within Vilnius’s bona fide human rights community. As some Lithuanian human rights activists put it, “If you didn’t make it into Zeppelinus’s sicko gallery, you’re not really doing enough for human rights in this country.”
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Racism
Tagged Antisemitism in Lithuania, human rights in Lithuania, Lithuanian Ministry of Economy, Lithuanian Ministry of Finance, Zeppelinus
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?
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 cemetery at Piramont (Snipiskes, Christian-Jewish relations in Lithuania, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, Shnipishok)
Afunny thing happened on the way to the neo-Nazi march. I saw a man walking towards me, and thought I knew him. Apparently he thought the same thing, and we both said hello in Lithuanian as we passed one another. As I pondered how we might know each other, it came to me: I had seen him at an earlier neo-Nazi march, probably the one in Kaunas a month earlier. He thought I was a fellow marcher, apparently, or at least not an enemy to the cause.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, EU, Events, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches
The following report appeared today in LGL and is reposted by permission:
Representatives of two parties that are part of Lithuania’s ruling coalition, the Labour Party and Order and Justice, have expressed their views on LGBT issues to Lrt.lt. Deputy chairman of the Lithuanian Labour Party Kęstutis Daukšys was asked a question about the party’s short program, which states that members of the European Parliament representing the Labour Party are going to protect people from legislative initiatives coming from Europe that contradict the Lithuanian character.
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Vilma Fiokla Kiurė (photo: Benediktas Januševičius)
The first international congress of Roma was held on April 8, 1971 in Oprington, England. In 1990, the date was designated International Roma Day.
On this day Roma celebrate and hold concerts, but also remember the most tragic eras in the history of the Roma: persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators in World War II and the resulting genocide of the Roma people. On this day the Vilnius Roma community floats wreaths of flowers on the Neris River in remembrance of their compatriots.
Roma who survived the Second World War, ethnic cleansing and genocide remember that the Nazi soldiers and their local police collaborators used simple external recognition to persecute the Roma. At that time the Roma were still wanderers, and it was a rare member of the community who had identification documents. Few had relationships with sedentary residents, making physical resemblance to the typical Roma the main indicator of ethnicity, in many cases guaranteeing death.
Posted in Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
Tagged "Gypsies" in Lithuania, International Roma Day, Roma / Romani / Gypsy Human Rights, Roma + Lithuania, Vilma Fiokla Kiure
Richard Howitt, British Labour Member of the European Parliament, and spokesperson for the European Parliament Human Rights Sub-Committee today issued the following text of his statement which will be read out in Riga this Sunday March 16th.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, EU, Events, Human Rights, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom
Tagged Holocaust in Latvia, Human Rights in the Baltics, Richard Howitt, UK Conservatives + Latvia, Waffen SS march in Riga
Last May, this journal reported on a full page of racial hate directed at Latvia’s “Russians” (a cover term for Russian-speakers of a multitude of backgrounds). It had appeared in the Baltic Times, under cover of the responsibility-shirking label “Advertisement.” Heaven help us all if the word advertisement can in European Union and NATO countries cover for spreads of hate and incitement to violation of human rights. In this case, the demand is for the veritable expulsion of a million peaceful, legal residents of a member state of these international alliances, both of which are based on the shared commitment to uphold the human rights of all.
Rather than repeat the commentary offered at the page’s earlier appearance, we refer back to it here on the occasion of its reappearance in this month’s Baltic Times (dated 31 October — 27 November 2013), that occupies all of page 5 in the main news (!) section.
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Original 2 May 2013 report; Person identified by the media submits 13 May 2013 complaint to the Press Commission [draft English translation], citing Anarchija.lt, Balsas.lt, KaunoŽinios.lt, Lrytas.lt as well as DefendingHistory.com. He does not deny the identification but disputes the characterization of his work as in harmony with neo-Nazism.
23 July update: Zeppelinus greets Baltic Pride with a new hate image.
Dear Mr. Gustas,
Congratulations on your recent appointment as Economy Minister. May your tenure be blessed with success, wisdom and good fortune for all of Lithuania’s citizens.
We address you on the advent of your tenure on a human rights matter rather than an economic question. We feel certain you would agree that there is a demonstrable correlation between the long-term successful economies of the world and free and open democratic societies that reject all forms of state-supported fascism, racism, antisemitism, homophobia and other forms of hate and exclusionism directed at segments of the population.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Dovid Katz, EU, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Russian Speakers' Personal Status
Tagged Antisemitism, Evaldas Gustas, homophobia in Lithuania, Human Rights, human rights in Lithuania, racism, Zeppelinus
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by Dovid Katz
The leading neo-Nazi blogger in Lithuania, “Zeppelinus,” who was unmasked several months ago by a number of publications as a high official at the Ministry for the Economy and chairman of the nation’s Tripartite Commission, did not deny the identification.
Instead, quite incredibly, he complained to the press commission against those who would dare deem to be unacceptable his hateful racist, antisemitic, homophobic and pro-fascist productions.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism
Tagged Antisemitism in Lithuania, Gay Rights (LGBT) in Lithuania, homophobia, racism, Zeppelinus
The half-page article on the “Business” page of the Baltic Times (dated 4-17 April 2013 but widely available this week here in Vilnius) carries at its end the words “This is a paid advertisement.”
But these words do not succeed in mitigating the moral responsibility of the increasingly ultranationalist, far-right newspaper in disseminating hate material against any minority, least of all of in an EU / NATO member state. The inherent equality of peoples and their races and languages and national and personal identities are an inseparable component of what the European Union and NATO are all about.
Lrytas.lt today published an article by Martynas Čerkauskas, “Lithuanian Economics Ministry Accused of Nationalism” which follows this week’s exposés in Antifa.lt, Baltas.lt, and Kauno Žinios, which all imply or claim that the neo-Nazi internet “hero” who calls himself “Zeppelinus” is actually director of the Economic Ministry’s Expansion of Human Resources Department and a member of the Tripartite Council (labor, business and government), where he is the chief representative of the government’s interests.
A sampling of images attributed to “Zeppelinus” is provided here.
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A dedicated Facebook page provides facts and photos on today’s dignified and courageous demonstration by a small group of young Lithuanian human rights advocates against Vilnius University’s proceeding with an exhibition of an envelope designer whose work features flagrant antisemitic, homophobic and racist material (larger selection here).
Fiokla Kiure’s images of the event are available here; a small selection follows this article.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Richard Maullin, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs
Tagged Anna Shepherd, Antanas Sakalys, Antisemitism in Lithuania, Dan Opatoshu, Daniel Berg, Fairbank Maslin, FM3, homophobia in Lithuania, Richard Maullin, Tina Lunson, Vilnius University, Vilnius University Library, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Vilnius Yiddish Summer Program
According to Vilnius University’s website, a ceremony to open an exhibition of “envelope art” by Antanas Šakalys will be held in the White Hall of the university’s main library on 27 September at 2 PM. Mr. Šakalys’s antisemitic postcards were on sale for many years at the capital’s main Post Office, and were exposed in 2008 by the Jewish community’s newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Racism, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs