Russian Speakers’ Personal Status

S’brent, Bríderlakh, S’brent (It’s Burning, Dear Brothers, it’s Burning)


 


OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Leon Kaplan

Last night, Wednesday the 24th of May 2017, I came home from a long (three-and-a-half-hour) but wonderful gathering. It was the Vilnius Jewish Community’s conference, a democratic, well-organized and well-attended election for the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) as well as for its new board. When I got home I decided to listen to a disk of Yiddish songs by the late Nechama Lifschitz, a disk that her daughter Roza Litay gave me as a gift during a visit at her apartment in Tel Aviv. Around twelve midnight, while listening to songs of our “singing soul” I opened my Facebook page and could not believe my eyes when I saw the link to an article on the official website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) that presumed to cover the evening I had myself attended. It had a big picture not of any of the personalities of the evening, but of the chairperson, Faina Kukliansky standing next to a car and making a V for Victory sign like a victorious general gleeful over the destruction of an array of enemies.

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Adopting Antisemitic Trope, “Official Jewish Community Website” Blasts 300 Vilnius Jews as “Mainly Russian Speakers Calling Themselves Jews”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Over 300 members of the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC), representing all adult age groups, and constituting the numerically largest such conference this century, this evening elected a new VJC chairman at the Karolina Hotel in Vilnius. Professionally organized, members with voting rights had to present their membership cards and separate ID at conference tables organized by initial letters of surnames. The proceedings, started with a few sentences of Yiddish by Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevicius), were meticulously conducted bilingually, with all proceedings in both Lithuanian (first) and (then) Russian in an atmosphere of democratic catharsis of an East European Jewish community, many of whose members have felt sidelined by the interests of a handful of elites close to government circles in recent years. The assembly included virtually all of the known personalities of Vilnius Jewry who do not happen to have employment at Pylimo Street 4, the official community’s headquarters (but there were a few of those too, as well as some from the official synagogue minyan).

After the election of the new chairperson came elections for twenty-one members of the Vilnius Board. Also, a resolution was adopted cancelling the recent attempt to disenfranchise some two thousand Vilnius Jews by recounting their votes as a single vote (while the heads of various NGOs, including the not-yet-built Sheduva Lost Shtetl Museum, have two or more votes each).

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Purveyor of Racist, Misogynist, Antisemitic, Homophobic, Nazist “Art” is Alleged to Work in Lithuania’s Economy Ministry



VILNIUS—Defending History has still had no reply to its open letter of August 2013 to the Minister of the Economy, asking him to look into multiple media reports that the pseudonymous “Zeppelinus,” Lithuania’s best-known purveyor of hate-popart on the internet is indeed a senior civil servant in his own ministry. The issue came to the fore once again in recent weeks with his “appeal” to the head of the Jewish community, and his latest production following a recent controversial conference (conference report).

The following are samples of his “art” in the service of racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism alongside glorification of Nazism. Samples can readily be found for other prejudices, including anti-Polish and anti-Russian hate. Hopefully human rights organizations will continue to counter such materials, first and foremost by establishing, in partnership with law enforcement, the identity of the purveyor of the hate materials, and the answer to the question about alleged continued high employment in a government ministry. An earlier smaller sampling with full translation is available here. Full disclosure: This journal’s editor has on occasion been a target of Mr. Zeppelinus, too.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, UŽGAVĖNĖS (SHROVETIDE), Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Purveyor of Racist, Misogynist, Antisemitic, Homophobic, Nazist “Art” is Alleged to Work in Lithuania’s Economy Ministry

Holocaust Survivor Stands Up Against Proposal to Close Down Russian Language Media in Lithuania


VILNIUS—Pinchos Fridberg, retired professor of physics and Defending History’s 2014 Person of the Year, has again stood up for human rights, going where some “human rights NGOs” seem to fear to tread.

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“Baltic Times” Does It Again: A Page of Hate Calling for Expulsion of a Million Legal Residents in Latvia



O P I N I O N  /  M E D I A   W A T C H

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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Who’s Afraid of Defending History Dot Com?



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

It is gratifying that numerous scholars from different parts of the world, and indeed of differing opinions on the contentious issues that lie at the heart of Defending History, have on occasion found it a useful resource for data and views on various topics, including the Double Genocide movement, the Prague Declaration (2008), the Seventy Years Declaration (2012), the politics of memory, Holocaust Obfuscation, glorification of Holocaust perpetrators (and attempted criminalization of resistance heroes), East European antisemitism, racism, homophobia, and Litvak identity theft (more on contents and quick intro page).

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Open Letter to Evaldas Gustas, new Minister for the Economy in Lithuania



O P I N I O N

SAMPLE IMAGES

Background:

Original 2 May 2013 report; Person identified by the media submits 13 May 2013 complaint to the Press Commission [draft English translation], citing Anarchija.ltBalsas.ltKaunoŽinios.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.

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Baltic Times: Hitting a New Low with “Paid Advertisement” Advocating Migration of Latvia’s Russian Speakers?



 

O P I N I O N  /  M E D I A   W A T C H

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.

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Zeppelinus Images Revealed as Media Claims he is a Government Official



Three Major Lithuanian Sites Claim that Neo-Nazi Internet Figure “Zeppelinus,” a Hater of Poles, Jews, Roma, Russians, Blacks and Gays is actually…

Director of the Economic Ministry’s Human Resources Dept and the Government’s Rep on the “Tripartite Council”

Samples of Zeppelinus’s hate images on the internet:

zeppelinus hasidic kid with gun

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Samples of the Work of a Holocaust-Twisting, Antisemitic, Homophobic Envelope Designer


The following are among the envelopes designed by Antanas Šakalys who continues to be honored by his (other) works being exhibited at both Vilnius University and the Central Post Office in the Lithuanian capital. Details and further links.

These samples are categorized as follows:

1. Holocaust Distortion/Inversion (blaming of victims, honoring of perpetrators, defamation of historians).

2. Antisemitism.

3. Homophobia and Assault on Equal Rights.

4. Defamation of Lithuanian personalities who call for tolerance.

Holocaust Distortion/Inversion (blaming of victims, honoring of perpetrators, defamation of historians)

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Vilnius University Calls Antisemitic, Racist, Homophobic Artist “Humanistic” as 9 Young Lithuanians Protest; Yiddish Institute, US Backers, Bloomington-Borns — All Silent



O P I N I O N

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.

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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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius University Calls Antisemitic, Racist, Homophobic Artist “Humanistic” as 9 Young Lithuanians Protest; Yiddish Institute, US Backers, Bloomington-Borns — All Silent

Reply to the Economist on Lithuania’s Recent Reburial of the 1941 Nazi Puppet “Prime Minister”



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

This is a slightly edited reprint of the comment posted today in reply to the article “Lithuania under the Nazis: Hero or Villain?” on the Economist’s online “Eastern Approaches” section, at: http://www.economist.com/comment/1472788#comment-1472788.

Many thanks to the Economist and its online Eastern Approaches section for highlighting this important issue that so many others have just swept under the rug. But frankly speaking, it does our Lithuanian friends no good to slant each report in the direction of sophisticated apologetics for the Lithuanian (and other regional) governments’ tragic veering to the far right on issues of historic integrity, human rights, freedom of speech, antisemitism, racism, gay rights, and perhaps above all, state-sponsored adulation of local Nazi war criminals and collaborators, and actual local mass murderers of the region’s Jewish population. It was, alas, a level of participation that resulted in the Baltics having the highest percentage of murder of its Jewish population in Holocaust-era Europe.

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Open Debate, Open Society, and Secret Societies



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Last Thursday, 3 November, an article I’d submitted to the Jerusalem Post for consideration appeared on the op-ed page (PDF of the print edition here). In democratic societies, sending an opinion piece to a respectable publication, signing it with one’s real name, and opening it (and oneself) to further open debate and discussion are rather standard. As usual, I linked to the article on my Facebook page, expecting some to agree and some to disagree, moving debate forward.

But a number of Facebook Friends who did not react on my page, or any other open forum, did for some reason find it appropriate to join a kind of witch hunt against the article and its author on a page of a “Secret Group” called Lietuva be neonacizmo (Lithuania Without Neo-Nazism), located at: www.facebook.com/groups/135816956486382.

 

The original discussion of 3 and 4 November 2011 is available here. A full English translation is appended below and is also available as PDF.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Russian Speakers' Personal Status | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Open Debate, Open Society, and Secret Societies

Estonian Nationalists say Holocaust ‘Pales’ by Comparison with Soviet Crimes; Delfi.lt produces its ‘Scorecard’ again


Estonian nationalists demonstrating outside Tallin’s Russian Embassy explained their view that ‘The Holocaust pales before the hundreds of thousands of people who were murdered by the Communists, the annihilation of dozens of ethnicities and the mass deportations!’

The BNS report carried by Delfi.lt (English translation here) which contains the quote also reproduced the image of the ‘red-brown scorecard’.

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Erasmus Students invited to ‘Exchange Genocide Project’


European exchange students on the Erasmus program in Lithuania have received this email from the program’s local leadership inviting them to join for free an interactive ‘Exchange Genocide Project’ complete with Russian speaking actors and psychological and physical punishment. Participating Erasmus students are required to sign this confirmation form.

There is no mention of any ‘Exchange Genocide Project’ to commemorate the Holocaust or to visit peacefully any of the 202 mass murder sites in the country.

Erasmus is financed by the European Union.

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