Symbology

Double Genocide: New and Official Form of Holocaust Denial



OPINION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

America was jolted this past summer not only by a neo-Nazi event in Charlottesville, Virginia that left an anti-Nazi protester dead by vehicular homicide, but by President Trump’s “blame on both sides” line, which created in America a microcosm of a debate that has been raging for some years in Eastern Europe among historians of World War II and the Holocaust and several Eastern European governments.

The entire Charlottesville debate was over a bogus moral equivalence that Trump drew between American neo-Nazi demonstrators and those who turned out to oppose them. The larger context was about whether those who who fought for slavery and secession in the Civil War are “the same” as those who fought against slavery and for the Union. Magnify that all a hundred-fold to begin to comprehend what is a major intellectual and political push to contextualize the actual Nazi genocide, the Holocaust, within the Hitlerist “freedom fight” against Soviet Communist domination in Eastern Europe.

Such are our times, in which well-presented postmodernist slop can stultify elementary clarity of thought. In the various cases at hand, different versions of the same bogus moral equivalence strategy of argumentation are used, at a minimum, to make prosaic and palatable that which is inherently beyond the pale, such as state-sponsored public-square adulation for those who collaborated in genocide in Eastern Europe (or, indeed, in slavery).

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Posted in Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, United States | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Double Genocide: New and Official Form of Holocaust Denial

Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March



FREE SPEECH  |  LATVIA  |  RIGA PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

On March 16, 2017, the annual march honoring Waffen SS Latvian Legion veterans took place in Riga as usual. A co-ruling political party had called the legionnaires “freedom fighters”[1], the Security Police had denounced opponents of the march as “so-called Anti-Fascists” and put them in the chapter “Manifestations of Russia’s compatriot policies in Latvia” of its annual report.[2] The counter-picket applied for by the Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee had been ordered to move farther from the march route. Again, a pretty usual development.

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Posted in Aleksandr Kuzmin, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Symbology | Comments Off on Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March

Ukrainian City Naming Street in Honor of Waffen-SS Hauptsturmführer


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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Ukrainian City Naming Street in Honor of Waffen-SS Hauptsturmführer

Red-Brown Iconography



DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  SYMBOLOGY

The governing establishments in Eastern European states sometimes produce red-brown symbols as part of the wider campaign to give the notion of red-brown equality an aura of official sanctioned status. The effects are obvious: People are being desensitized to the swastika, Soviet symbols are ‘artistically’ (i.e. via political kitsch) recombinated into the new Dual Equal Evil symbols making the revisionist history ‘true’. Severe pain is caused to families of Holocaust Survivors and anti-Nazi Soviet war veterans alike. The continued silence of the European Union, the OSCE and NATO encourages the drift toward the far right, which includes clean-up of the image of Nazi collaborators in elite circles, and glorification of Nazi symbols in more uncouth environments.

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Posted in Double Genocide, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , | Comments Off on Red-Brown Iconography

New “Litvak” Postage Stamp is Disturbing for Lithuanian Jews, Holocaust Survivors, and Yiddish Lovers



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  IDENTITY THEFT OF LITVAK HERITAGE  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  SYMBOLOGY

by Dovid Katz

One does not have to be a theoretical champion of Free Enterprise vs. Government Intervention to take stock of this week’s incredible contrast between the two major products of this last week in September, the annual week of intensive Jewish commemoration activity in Lithuania, and particularly, in its fabled capital, Vilnius. By “products” we mean things of substantive physicality that will outlive by far the week’s posturing, speeches, and meetings with glittering public officials and national leaders.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , | Comments Off on New “Litvak” Postage Stamp is Disturbing for Lithuanian Jews, Holocaust Survivors, and Yiddish Lovers

Andrius Kulikauskas’s Presentation at Sept. 2017 Conference in Lublin, Poland



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  ANTISEMITISM

by Andrius Kulikauskas

The following is a reposting of the author’s posting on his website, with his permission, of his presentation at Culture • Cognition • Communication: (Inter)cultural Perspectives on Language and the Mind (ICPLM 2017), held at the University of Lublin in Polnand on 14 and 15 September 2017. Audio recordingDr. Kulikauskas is assistant professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU).

Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery

How Do Things Come to Matter?

Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. My name is Andrius Kulikauskas of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University in Lithuania. I will be speaking about a question important to me, How do things come to matter? and I will relate it to the topic of Lithuanian Jewish heritage: The Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. So I am very grateful to the organizers and to our last speaker for having a very much related topic and I’ll be focusing on my own philosophical question but as a citizen of Lithuania I am very glad to be able to think about this very concrete issue. In our case, the cemetery is from the 1500s. As you know, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had fantastic relations with Jews up until the Holocaust when Lithuania was I think the first place where all of the Jews were killed, in our countryside in 1941 even before the Wansee conference.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Andrius Kulikauskas’s Presentation at Sept. 2017 Conference in Lublin, Poland

Lithuanian Gov. Announces Renaming of “Genocide Museum”; Defending History Congratulates Officials



Defending History Brings Results

Lithuanian Gov. Announces Name Change for a Far-Right History-Distorting “Genocide Museum”

“COURAGEOUS STEP”;  DEFENDING HISTORY SAYS: CONGRATULATIONS!

See Dovid Katz in 2009;  Defending History in 2010;  “Genocide Center” behind the museum; 2016 study of “Double Genocide” impact on museums

THE CHANGE IS A MAJOR SETBACK FOR THE DOUBLE GENOCIDE MOVEMENT’S CAMPAIGN TO REDEFINE GENOCIDE IN THE CAUSE OF EQUALIZING AND MIX-AND-MATCHING TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT EVILS

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Posted in Double Genocide, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Lithuanian Gov. Announces Renaming of “Genocide Museum”; Defending History Congratulates Officials

Brand New Yiddish Signs Come to Malát (Molėtai), Town in Northeast Lithuania



MALÁT  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

MALÁT (MOLĖTAI)—At the initiative of Viktorija Kazlienė, founder and director of the Museum of the Molėtai Region (Molėtų krašto muziejus) in northeastern Lithuania, a series of Jewish historical signs were unveiled this week. The project came to fruition thanks to the material support of the Department of Cultural Heritage, that is under the aegis of Lithuania’s Ministry of Culture.

In the event, these signs mark the one-year anniversary of the internationally acclaimed march of memory held in August 2016 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the massacre of the town’s Jews in 1941 by local collaborators, under the aegis of the Nazis, and during the period of rapid annihilation of Lithuania’s provincial Jewry. In addition to playing a pivotal role in enabling the 2016 march and commemorative events, Ms. Kazlienė organized an extensive exhibition on the centuries-old Jewish life in the erstwhile shtetl, known in Yiddish as Malát. With Leonas Kaplanas, she coauthored a book based on the exhibition. It was featured in this year’s Vilnius Book Fair.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Brand New Yiddish Signs Come to Malát (Molėtai), Town in Northeast Lithuania

In Alytus, a Monument Brings Us Together



EVENTS  |  HISTORY  |  BALTIC HEROES  |  HONORING RESCUERS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

(Department of Philosophy & Cultural Studies, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University)

01-Monument

On Tuesday, July 4, 2017, at 11:00 pm, some forty residents of Alytus assembled at Vaclovas Jankauskas’s sculpture garden to welcome a new monument, “For a Person Who Tried to Save a Person” (Žmogui gelbėjusiam žmogų), and to forever honor those who risked all they had to help Jews during the traumatic days and years of the Holocaust.
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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Symbology | Comments Off on In Alytus, a Monument Brings Us Together

Vilnius, 23 June 2017: Nationalists Glorify Atrocities with Posters on Genocide Museum Fence



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  MUSEUMS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

(Department of Philosophy & Cultural Studies, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University)

On June 23, 2017, the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Association (Lietuvos laisvės kovotojų sąjunga) organized a commemoration of the June 23, 1941 anti-Soviet uprising with a complete lack of sensitivity for Lithuanian victims of the Holocaust.

The official celebration at the Parliament’s Independence Square included an elaborately choreographed flag raising by the Lithuanian Army’s Honor Guard, music by the Armed Forces Orchestra, a reenactment of the Declaration of Independence with its hopes for a place for Lithuania in Hitler’s New Europe, and a speech by Vytautas Landsbergis, patriarch of modern-day Lithuania.

More by Andrius Kulikauskas. Articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas; Milan Chersonski; Leonidas Donskis; Nida Vasiliauskaitė.  See also:
DH section on The Legacy of 23 June 1941. DH pages on: LAF intentions; painful street names; dry-clean of the week of 23 June 1941.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius, 23 June 2017: Nationalists Glorify Atrocities with Posters on Genocide Museum Fence

Moral Imagination: Soviet Sports Palace, European Convention Center, or Historic Jewish Cemetery?



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES

by Andrius Kulikauskas

MoralImagination-00

I am studying How do people behave? How should they behave? and as part of that, How do issues come to matter? or no longer matter? Today I will share what I am learning about the theoretical power of our imagination to produce and resolve a real life controversy.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on Moral Imagination: Soviet Sports Palace, European Convention Center, or Historic Jewish Cemetery?

Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius



OPINION  |  COMMEMORATION OF DESTROYED COMMUNITIES  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  IDENTITY-THEFT LITVAK INDUSTRY

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—For close to three decades, Vilnius has been the only city in the world with municipally sponsored public plaques and signs that regularly include Yiddish. Symbologically for a small, weak, stateless, threatened and “threat-to-nobody” language in this part of the world, it was an equally important statement of respect for the language, literature and culture of the murdered Jewish people of the city that Yiddish sometimes came first, “on top,” and always so when it was a question between Yiddish and modern Israeli Hebrew.

For the first time in thirty years, Yiddish has been denied primacy of place among the Jewish languages of the city. The new sign starts with an Israeli Hebrew version used by nobody in pre-Holocaust Vilna.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius

Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”


 


OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Andrius Kulikauskas

I am inspired by the deep feelings which have been stirred amongst Litvaks regarding the fate of the Vilnius Sports Palace built on top of the Jewish cemetery. I wish for our state of Lithuania to do its utmost on behalf of Lithuanians to restore the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius as a symbol of our aspiration for the closest friendship between Lithuanians and Jews. I realized that it would be most helpful for me to present my thoughts in Lithuanian.

“From the top of Gediminas Castle, do we want to see and cherish, for hundreds of years to come, what the Communist Party Chief saw (the Sports Palace) or what the Grand Duke of Lithuania saw (the Jewish cemetery)?”

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Citizenship, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”

Rothschild (of London) Finances “Closed” Conference (in Vilnius) on Jewish Cemeteries (That May be Cover for Most Painful Desecration Yet of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery)



OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    HIGH INTRIGUE     DH SECTION     EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Not for the first time, outstanding scholars and professionals are happy to accept a gracious invitation to a Jewish-topic international conference in this beautiful East European capital city that has for centuries been a symbol of the resilience of various minority cultures, including  stateless cultures, to thrive side by side.

“HISTORY IN THE MAKING”

Delegates to a conference on Jewish cemeteries, held in Vilnius in 2015, can get to read the statement in 2015 on a certain Jewish cemetery by the Chief Rabbi of Lithuania of 11 years’ standing, for which he was dismissed a couple of months before the conference. Would the conference not wish to hear from the rabbi too?

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Events, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, Symbology, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rothschild (of London) Finances “Closed” Conference (in Vilnius) on Jewish Cemeteries (That May be Cover for Most Painful Desecration Yet of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery)

New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues



E V E N T S   /   O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

For many years, international visitors to Rokiškis (in Yiddish: Rákishok, or less formally: Rákeshik), in northeastern Lithuania, have remarked that the town’s central area seemed to preserve little (or no) trace or commemoration of its erstwhile Jewish population, though a large monument now graces the entrance to the old Jewish cemetery outside town. Before the Holocaust, this town was home to around 3,500 Jews (some 40% of the total population, and the overwhelming majority in its central area). Luckily, a short film of pre-Holocaust Jewish Rákishok survives (from 1937), and is available on Youtube. Thanks to Polish film maker Tomek Wisniewski for circulating the link in recent days. 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Rákishok (Rokiškis), Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues

Joseph Levinson’s Symbolic Gravestones for His Parents “Speak Out” During His Own Funeral (12 April 2015)



C E M E T E R I E S   /   P H O T O G R A P H Y

by Dovid Katz

As dozens gathered at Vilnius Jewish cemetery to bid farewell to dear Joseph Levinson today, those who read Yiddish could not fail to notice the two symbolic gravestones he erected on the family plot, in Yiddish by choice.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Joseph Levinson, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Symbology, Yiddish Affairs | Comments Off on Joseph Levinson’s Symbolic Gravestones for His Parents “Speak Out” During His Own Funeral (12 April 2015)

Associated Press Reports on US Plan to Train Fascist “Azov” Battalion in Ukraine



US SINKS INTO FURTHER INVOLVEMENT WITH PRO-NAZI ELEMENTS IN UKRAINE

AP REPORTS ON OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DECISION TO SEND US TROOPS TO TRAIN UKRAINIAN FAR-RIGHT “AZOV” BATTALION  THAT FLAUNTS NAZI SYMBOLS

TRAINING WILL START ON APRIL 20, IMPORTANT TO FASCISTS WHO CELEBRATE HITLER’S BIRTHDAY

US Representative John Conyers’ Amendment of May 2014 Back in Focus; Tom Parfitt’s August 2014 report in London’s Telegraph

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Posted in Bandera, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Ukraine, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Comments Off on Associated Press Reports on US Plan to Train Fascist “Azov” Battalion in Ukraine

New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

When I wrote several years ago (Lithuanian; English) about the monument erected to Juozas Barzda at Iešnalis Lake, I thought it must have been some sort of misunderstanding.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians

Text of US Rep. John Conyers’ Proposed Amendment Restricting Aid to Pro-Nazi Forces in Ukraine


 Defending History has obtained the full text, available to our readers as PDF, and as images (following this text) of US Congressman John Conyers’ proposed amendment that would have restricted US military aid to units that extol Nazi perpetrators or use Nazi, racist or white supremacist symbols. The amendment proposed by Mr. Conyers, who represents Michigan’s 13th congressional district, failed to pass.

The amendment, dated 19 May 2014, contains language that would instruct the Secretary of Defense to restrict aid in cases where he “has credible evidence that the unit or its members have taken public stances or taken actions that are indicative of extremism,” including three categories:

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Posted in News & Views, Symbology, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Text of US Rep. John Conyers’ Proposed Amendment Restricting Aid to Pro-Nazi Forces in Ukraine

Member of Lithuania’s Jewish Community Speaks Out on Neo-Nazi Parades, and Govt. Flowers at Monument to Hitler’s Soldiers



O P I N I O N

by Jacob Piliansky

Iam proud to be a Litvak, and I am proud to be a citizen of independent and democratic Lithuania. I very much enjoy walking in our city’s delightful Vingis Park, as well as downtown in the beautiful city center area.

 However, I feel suddenly both sad and shocked, when I see neo-Nazi parades with swastikas and other fascist symbols  along  Gedimino Boulevard on our independence day repeating the yelled chants of “Lithuania for [ethnic] Lithuanians.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Jacob Piliansky, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Symbology, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Member of Lithuania’s Jewish Community Speaks Out on Neo-Nazi Parades, and Govt. Flowers at Monument to Hitler’s Soldiers

Ukraine’s “Centrist” Leaders Honor Holocaust-Era Nazi Collaborators as “Heroes”



Ukrainian Parliament’s Debate on Glorifying World War II Hitlerist Nationalists Ends in Disarray

But “Centrist” President Poroshenko Proclaims Day of Fascist Group’s Founding as National Holiday

Mainstream Western Media Mostly Ignores the News (but see: Sunday Times)

In a September tweet, Ukraine’s president said UPA fighters were an “example of heroism.” It was a prelude to the scheduled Oct. 14th debate in parliament on declaring Hitler’s executioners in Ukraine to be “freedom fighters.” When violence broke out on the 14th outside the national parliament, the Western media, including the BBC, whitewashed the Hitler-era Holocaust perpetrators being glorified by Ukraine’s nationalist leaders.

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Posted in Bandera, Collaborators Glorified, News & Views, Symbology, Ukraine | Comments Off on Ukraine’s “Centrist” Leaders Honor Holocaust-Era Nazi Collaborators as “Heroes”

More Mainstream Media Coverage of the Swastika Issue in Lithuania



The following, for our readers’ information, is Geoff Vasil’s translation of a 3 February 2014 article that appeared in 15min.lt. Please see the original Lithuanian for the photos referenced herein by their captions in square brackets.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, EU, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged | Comments Off on More Mainstream Media Coverage of the Swastika Issue in Lithuania

Riga, Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS, Stags and Silence?



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

The UK’s home secretary Theresa May, the Hungarian Jobbik party, and Holocaust Memorial Day have all been in the press lately. Reading how the leader of pro-Nazi Jobbik party was, in the interests of free speech, allowed to hold his rally in Hyde Park, I have to question why Ms. May allowed this man entry into the UK and hadn’t called his racist attitudes, “unacceptable” as she had in the past with, “Every Muslim should be a terrorist” Zakir Naik. What had changed?

In the capital of European culture? Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)

In the Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Symbology, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Riga, Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS, Stags and Silence?

Aleksandrs Feigmanis Documents Mysterious Eight-Pointed Star in Riga Synagogue


MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFollowing publication last year of an article on the mysterious eight-pointed star known from some old Jewish cemeteries in western Lithuania (the area known as Zámet in Yiddish, corresponding in part to Žemaitija), DH contributor Dr. Aleksandrs Feigmanis, director of Riga-based BalticGen Tours, has reported that a similar eight-pointed star adorns the (recently renovated) synagogue in Riga, Latvia. Hopefully, images will emerge of the prewar design corresponding to the reconstructed section in question.

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Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Symbology | Comments Off on Aleksandrs Feigmanis Documents Mysterious Eight-Pointed Star in Riga Synagogue

Respublika’s Editorial on Nazi Symbols in Use


 

The following is a translation, by Geoff Vasil for Defending History, of the editorial that appeared on 17 January 2014 in the Vilnius daily Respublika (p. 4), a day after the front page story (16 Jan.) featuring photographs of Faina Kukliansky and Moishe Beirakas, and a day before the front story (17. Jan) featuring Gercas Žakas.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on Respublika’s Editorial on Nazi Symbols in Use

Respublika’s 16 January 2014 Front Page Article “Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time”



The following translation, by Geoff Vasil, is of a front page article in the Vilnius daily Respublika (16 January 2014). The Lithuanian original is available online. See also: Geoff Vasil’s comment on the article which may serve as an introduction to some of the local issues and nuances.

Respublika Jan 2014 interviews with Faina Kukliansky and Moishe Beirak


 

Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time

January 16, 2014 by Asta MARTIŠIŪTĖ and Olava STRIKULIENĖ, Respublika reporters MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, chairman of the Supreme Soviet/Restored Parliament of Lithuania, speaking at a solemn event to commemorate January 13 [1991], spoke in his speech about the Holocaust as well. Was it necessary to mention this at a ceremony dedicated to the 14 defenders of Lithuanian freedom who died and who hadn’t even been alive during Holocaust times? Beyond this, January 13 [commemorations] didn’t come off without yet another curiosity. A Wehrmacht symbol was used in the “Forget-me-not” campaign and MP Rasa Juknevičienė said next January it will be possible to acquire these symbols [lapel pins] throughout Lithuania, and not exclusively in the capital. Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on Respublika’s 16 January 2014 Front Page Article “Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time”

Raising Cain on the Resurrection of Abel



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. Genesis 3:13

And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. Genesis 4:10

Driving east out of Rokiškis, fields give way to forest, and the lake country leads on to strange and wild hills in an abandoned quarter of the country bordering Latvia. The lake country is beautiful, almost alpine in its effect, and spotted with small settlements and villages of varying sizes, some even boasting gas stations and schools.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Arts, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rákishok (Rokiškis), Symbology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Raising Cain on the Resurrection of Abel

Lithuanian State Language Commission Turns Down Jewish Community’s Suggestion for a Spelling Rule that “Holocaust” Be Spelled with a Capital “H”


VILNIUSDefending History today obtained from local sources a copy of the official statement of the Lithuanian State Language Commission concerning the spelling, in Lithuanian, of the word for Holocaust, usually Holokaustas.

For some it will sound astounding that in the country with the highest percentage of Jews killed (96.4%) in Holocaust era Europe, where a massive state effort has been underway to promote “Double Genocide” and the “Prague Declaration,” a simple suggestion from the tiny remnant Jewish community that Holocaust be spelled with a capital letter (denoting its status as a unique event in history) has drawn a tortured, convoluted reply from the state language commission, one that seems to wittingly confound the capitalization question with the issue of whether holocausts strike far and wide, like hurricanes.

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Mystery of the Eight-Pointed Western Litvak (Zámeter) Symbol on Jewish Gravestones



by Dovid Katz

 

On expeditions and on culture and history tours, we have on a number of occasions come across unusual Jewish gravestones (in Yiddish — matséyves), so far invariably on the territory of western Lithuania (and on occasion, in bordering Latvia) that is the land known in Litvak culture as Zámet (a Jewish person therefrom is a Zámeter, f. Zámeterin or deep Litvak Zámeterke).

In broad terms, it corresponds to historic Samogitia (Lithuanian Žemaitija). However, the specific cultural and linguistic borders relevant to Litvak culture and Yiddish dialectology often make for a unique Litvak geocultural configuration. For a general Yiddish orientation on the (pre-Holocaust) linguistic situation, see e.g. the maps for ‘ear’ and ‘dove’ vs ‘deaf’ in the in-progress Language Atlas of Lithuanian Yiddish.

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The Neo-Nazis Hate the Feminists, Too



Protesters against ultranationalist groups must face police and prosecutors

O P I N I O N

by Lina Žigelytė

 

Lina Zigelyte

Lina Žigelytė

A spectre is haunting Lithuania — the spectre of feminism. All the powers of far-right Lithuania (this includes also far-rightists who know how to present themselves as center-right) have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: puritans and watchful police officers, bloggers and self-described patriots.

The word “feminist” has become the most recent label to define the enemy of the state. This is because grassroots strategies — theatrical protests, DIY media, art projects, and solidarity with social minorities — are rapidly changing the landscape of local feminism. What is important, these strategies also invigorate the broader fight against neo-Nazism.

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Swastikas From Latvia in Center of Šiauliai (Shavl), Lithuania, as Police Look On


Since 2010, when a Lithuanian court proclaimed public swastikas legal and included in its ruling the “historical wisdom” that it only a harmless ancient Baltic symbol, swastikas have proliferated at public events sponsored by the far right, with police looking on listlessly. Most painfully for the dwindling numbers of Holocaust survivors here and abroad, swastikas and other fascist symbols, along with glorification of local Holocaust collaborators, have figured in sanctioned independence day marches in Kaunas on February 16th each year, and in the capital city Vilnius, each March 11th.

In 2012, the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee commented publicly.

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In Obeliai (Abél) and Rokiškis (Rákishok): More State-Sponsored Glorification of Nazi Collaborators


 


O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Years ago, when I first started doubting the veracity of certain propaganda intended to diminish the culpability of local forces in the Holocaust, I interviewed an elderly woman who was an eye-witness to what happened in late June of 1941 in Rokiškis (in Yiddish: Rákishok) in northern (or northeastern) Lithuania.

abel 1942

Obeliai (Abel) 1942: Is curiosity or concern sparked by this “celebration of 1941 partisans” coming from the apex of Nazi rule in Lithuania (1942, when the local Jews were already all murdered)? It seems not. This photo is of the 1942 Nazi-era memorial torn down by the Soviets, and just replaced by a new one, commemorating the same pro-Nazi “partisans” …

She told me how a bunch of young men turned savage, rounded up Jewish men, stuck them in what amounted to a pig sty surrounded by barbed wire in the center of town, and then tortured and humiliated them until they murdered them. She said this gang of savages went by the name of Savisaugos batalionas, which is Lithuanian for self-defense battalion. Were they led by Germans? No, she said, there hadn’t been a single German to be seen.

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Red-Brown Circus in Lithuanian Capital



Outgoing prime minister, after right wing’s loss in Lithuania’s elections, headlines “Double Genocide” conference in nation’s parliamentRed-Brown Commission is primary organizer of the eventGirniusLandsbergisLiekisRačinskasZingeris are featured; Partners include the “Genocide Center” that Glorifies Local Holocaust Perpetrators

UPDATES TO 21 FEBRUARY 2013:

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR PINCHOS FRIDBERG SPEAKS OUT — ON THE LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY’S WEBSITE; IN THE ALGEMEINER; SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER’S OPERATION LAST CHANCE; AND DEFENDING HISTORY.

EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS

GEOFF VASIL (VASILIAUSKAS)

OUR PRE-CONFERENCE REPORT

Dovid Katz replies to the Red-Brown Commission website’s attack against Professor Pinchos Fridberg

Once again: Abusing European Union symbols to give the misimpression that all of the EU supports the East European far right’s Holocaust revisionism and the imposition of Double Genocide historiography under the Orwellian heading  “United Europe — United History” (= One Opinion Allowed; the second opinion is punishable by 2 years in jail in Lithuania, 3 years in Hungary):

M E A N W H I L E  . . . in Berlin, “Platform of European Memory and Conscience” (“Prague Platform”) abused Kristallnacht as “attention hook” for “equal” Soviet crimes.

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A “New” Postcard, Featuring Antisemitic Distortion of the 1941 Lietukis Garage Massacre, Comes to Light as Vilnius University Calls the Envelope-Maker “Humanistic”


Just as Vilnius University put up a sign in Lithuanan and English, defending as “humanistic” its exhibition of a collection of envelopes by the antisemitic and homophobic designer Antanas Šakalys, the VU employee who had first provided the offensive images to DefendingHistory, which we published on 21 September 2012, provided another, at 2PM today, to coincide with the time of the scheduled gala opening of the exhibition, cancelled after our article and the 25 Septenber Delfi.lt report by Eglė Samoškaitė. The 2PM slot was then symbolically taken up at the university by a group of nine dauntless protesters against the glorification of an antisemitic and homophobic designer.

Ironically the envelope released today, a production of the same designer, also refers to “humanism”…

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A Detective Story about an Exhibit at Vilnius University: Jews are Upset, Leftists Protesting, University in Disarray



by Eglė Samoškaitė

Translation of Ms. Samoškaitė’s Lithiuanian article that appeared in today’s Delfi.lt.

www.DELFI.lt

Representatives from New Left organization were angered by an exhibit of envelope art by graphic artist Antanas Šakalys scheduled to go on display at Vilnius University library because the artist earlier had used antisemitic and homophobic illustrations on envelopes.

Dovid Katz, who was born in America but lives in Lithuania, published on his website Defendinghistory.com several of Šakalys’s envelopes which human rights experts characterized as antisemitic.

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Holocaust Commemoration Vilnius Style — with an Israeli Twist


 


E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T  /  O P I N I O N

 

The ceremony today to commemorate Lithuanian Holocaust victims at Ponár, the country’s largest mass murder site, outside the capital city of Vilnius, on the day officially known as Day to Commemorate the Lithuanian Jewish Victims of Genocide, went off pretty much as most official commemorations do here: inappropriate and with seeming desperation to focus on any topic except the circumstances of the actual Lithuanian Holocaust—the massive collaboration and participation that led to the country’s having the highest proportion of Holocaust murder in Europe.

Ponár is the site’s Yiddish name. It is today Paneriai and is known as Ponary in Polish.

The official date, the 23rd of September was marked this year on the 24th, apparently so officials wouldn’t have to interrupt their weekend break.

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Crying Over Dead Jews



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Lithuania’s Jewish community isn’t immune from the broader issues facing Jewish existence in Eastern Europe and there are the same problems of Jewish identity that crop up in Russia, Bulgaria, Poland and elsewhere. And just as there are Christian Evangelicals and others who support the policies of the right-wing in the State of Israel elsewhere in Europe, there are those same voices among Lithuanian politicians and public figures.

What is perhaps different in Lithuania than elsewhere in Eastern Europe is that this Gentile support for Zionist ideals doesn’t translate into support for the surviving local Jewish community or contribute to a profounder and more sympathetic understanding of the Holocaust.

UPDATE OF 5 AUGUST 2012: This essay was republished with permission in the Algemeiner Journal; in 15min.lt (where it seems to have been taken down, but is still listed in Search); in Jewish Ideas Daily (where it was chosen as one of the editor’s picks for 1 August 2012).

Visitors to Vilnius will see any number of plaques dedicated to famous Jewish residents of Vilnius and several dedicated to the Holocaust. Those who look a little deeper under the surface might find there are a number of agencies, organizations and institutions operating in Vilnius which seemingly are aimed at promoting Jewish history, language and culture. In fact, both the plaques and monuments, and the majority of these “Jewish” organizations, serve as little more than window-dressing and display show-cases the Lithuanian government rolls out as exhibits evidencing Lithuanian sincerity in addressing the incomparable atrocity of the Holocaust.

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United Nations Human Rights Committee Notes Lithuanian Government’s Position on Public Swastikas and Authorized Neo-Nazi Parades


The United Nation’s Human Rights Committee in its 11 July 2012 report, issued in Geneva,  included the following text concerning the Lithuanian government’s arguments regarding the legalization of public swastikas and the ongoing authorization of neo-Nazi parades:

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Reburial as a Means for the Rewriting of History



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski


At Taxpayer Expense

Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis), 1903 — 1974

Memorial funeral events, dedicated to the moving of Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis’s ashes, were held in Kaunas for a week and a half from May 17th to 27th. He was the acting prime minister of the summer 1941 Provisional Government of Lithuania (PG); his ashes were moved to the former provisional Lithuanian capital, Kaunas.

His ashes were delivered by airplane from the distant state of Connecticut to the current Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, and then escorted with honors to Kaunas, where the ashes, originally buried in 1974, were re-buried, this time with full state honors.

Apparently, those who initiated the reburial were pursuing three goals of importance to them:

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1500 Honor the Waffen SS at Riga’s Liberty Monument; Event is Praised by Latvia’s President, Condemned by Council of Europe’s Commission on Racism



E Y E W I T N E S S    R E P O R T  /  O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

RIGA—According to most estimates, there were around 1500 participants today in the city-center ceremony honoring the Waffen SS, about 1000 police, and about one hundred protesters who turned out in opposition to the event.

The ongoing campaign by some East European governments to repackage far-right ultranationalist politics and policies (with concomitant antisemitic, racist and Nazi-glorifying undertones) as a wholesome British-conservative-style “center right” has suffered a major blow.  The battleground of ideas has in recent weeks shifted to the annual Waffen SS commemoration ceremony held at Liberty Monument, the symbolic heart of the capital of Latvia, with the blessing of some of the nation’s top leaders.

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The Posthumous Remaking of a Holocaust Perpetrator in Lithuania: Why is Jonas Noreika a National Hero?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Who was Jonas Noreika?

Jonas Noreika (1910-1947), also known by his nom de guerre, General Vėtra, has been named by the current Lithuanian government as “an important member of the resistance” and an object of every sort of heroic commemoration.

In 1997 he was posthumously awarded the Order of the Cross of Vytis, First Degree. The same year a memorial plaque was placed on the facade of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences Library in Vilnius.

Library of the Academy of Sciences in Vilnius. The red arrow marks the Noreika plaque.

The Noreika plaque

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Antony Polonsky Returns to Brandeis ‘Knighted’ by Lithuanian President’s Cross of the Officer of the Order — for helping the Baltic State’s Holocaust PR Campaign



C O M M E N T

With the president: Professor Antony Polonsky wearing the Cross of the Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. Photo: Džoja Barysaitė

VILNIUS—Professor Antony Polonsky of Brandeis University, one of the world’s most accomplished scholars of Polish-Jewish history and the long time editor of the seminal Polish Jewish history series Polin, was at the Lithuanian president’s palace today to receive from her excellency the prestigious Cross of the Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. The award, pinned on his chest by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, was not for a lifetime of sterling work on Polish Jewish history, but it seemed, for several years’ staunch and perhaps somewhat naive loyalty to the public relations program of the current government of Lithuania. The presidential press release, reported in English by Baltic News Service (BNS), put it this way:

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Old Stones Speak to Young Pupils: Jewish Gravestones in the Walls of a Vilnius School Yard



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield)

 

The Lazdynai Middle School in Vilnius, built in the early 1970s, has an admirable reputation, inter alia for an excellent trilingual policy enabling Polish and Russian to flourish alongside the national language, Lithuanian, in a spirit of multicultural respect and harmony so fitting for the city’s history.

Updates to May 2013:

Return visit to the Stones of Lazdynai

Updates to 15 December 2011

Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art and Monuments

Facebook discussion thread

Work in Progress: A Cultural Dictionary of Lithuanian Jewish Gravestones

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The Brand New HOLOCAUST Room in the BASEMENT of the City Center GENOCIDE Museum in Vilnius


Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield).  Text by Dovid Katz. From a visit on 18 November 2011.


Which is worse?

Genocide Museum on ground zero of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe that does not mention the Holocaust,

Or

One that, more than a year after being exposed in this journal in the summer of 2010, and a confluence of international pressures, has added, in October 2011, a single solitary cell in the basement, unannounced on the main floor, that distorts the Lithuanian Holocaust and actually glorifies (as ‘rebels’) the local killers who unleashed the Holocaust in the country, while failing to mention their Holocaust role in an exhibit on the Holocaust?

You decide. . .   

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Yivo Director’s Statements on Legal Swastikas in Lithuania, Plus Some Facts


 [updated to May 2013]


 

“One of the most important statements in the article is that the swastika is banned by Lithuanian law, something that Katz and others have refused to acknowledge.”

— Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, in a 9 September 2o11 memo sent to members of his staff

———

“Fact: It is illegal to display the swastika in Lithuania today.”

— Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, in a 13 September 2o11 memo comprising the text of his proposed Public Yivo Statement, for which the support of Prof. Jeffrey Veidlinger (Bloomington) is claimed.

Chronology of events, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee statement of 2012, provided below…

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Ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden protest Antisemitism in Lithuania; Red-Equals-Brown Movement is Noted


BNS reported today that the Vilnius-based ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have written in no uncertain terms to the president and other major officials of Lithuania to express concern over the growing manifestations of antisemitism.

Two of the signatories confirmed privately to Defending History that the initiative had come from British ambassador HE Simon Butt, who also drafted the letter. Ambassador Butt had in 2008 organized a letter in moral support of Dr. Rachel Margolis, a walk through the Vilna Ghetto with Ms. Fania Brantsovsky, and had, together with other senior Western diplomats stationed in Vilnius, visited the decaying Jewish partisan fort in the forest.

“Spurious attempts are made to equate the uniquely evil genocide of the Jews with Soviet crimes against Lithuania, which, though great in magnitude, cannot be regarded as equivalent in either their intention or result.”

Excerpt from a letter to the president of Lithuania from the ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, 25 November 2010

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Pig’s Head, with Hat and Earlocks, Placed at Kaunas Synagogue Door During Sabbath Service


A pig’s head, adorned with a black hat and makeshift hasidic style earlocks, was placed on the pavement right outside the door, within the courtyard of the main synagogue in Kaunas,   Lithuania’s second city, during Sabbath morning services. This caused profound grief to the very small congregation of survivors who pray at the city’s Choral Synagogue, the only prewar Jewish prayerhouse in town that still functions. The service was interrupted as police arrived to investigate. The Lithuanian Jewish Community described it as a neo-Nazi antisemitic attack. The police however told BNS that the incident ‘is still qualified as a disturbance of the public peace’. Moreover, the commander of the Central Police Commissariat Gintautas Dirmeikis told BNS that ‘There are no suspects so far’. Photo by Laimutis Brundza / Kauno diena.

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Swastika Sanitization



In May 2010 a Lithuanian court legalized public displays of swastikas, with nearly no reaction from foreign embassies or human rights groups. Reports here and here. Jewish community’s reaction here. See also the page on Antisemitism. On the term swasticals, see our report for 8 May 2010.

REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION

11 March 2008

Gedimino Boulevard, Vilnius. This is the ‘Lithuanian swastika’ with the added lines meant to evoke the ‘Columns of Gediminas‘.  Details and video of the parade here.


16 February 2010

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Klaipeda Court Approves Public Swastikas as Symbol of ‘Lithuania’s Historical Heritage’


While threatening prison sentences for persons holding the belief that the Holocaust is not equal to Soviet crimes, a sudden new trend of ‘liberalism’ appears regarding public displays of swastikas. A court in Klaipeda approved the Nazi symbols on the grounds that they are ‘Lithuania’s historical heritage rather than symbols of Nazi Germany’. The net result it that now the only illegal symbols are the Soviet ones, which are not used by anyone, other than aged anti-Nazi war veterans celebrating the Ninth of May. Hence, it is all part and parcel of the movement legitimizing a pro-fascist view of twentieth century history.

BNS report Delfi report.   Alfa.lt report following the protest of Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office. JTA report on the court’s decision and Dr Zuroff’s response. More details here.  See page on Swastikas.


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Lithuanian Court Legalizes Public Swastikas as ‘Historical Heritage’; 2008 Ban on ‘Nazi and Soviet Symbols’ now Excludes… Swastikas


A Lithuanian court in Klaipeda approved the public display of swastikas on the grounds that they are ‘Lithuania’s historical heritage rather than symbols of Nazi Germany’. An ultranationalist ‘expert’ transported from Vilnius was easily able to persuade the court, which did not bother to ask a contrasting view of the Holocaust Survivor community, or the Jewish Community of Lithuania, in a European country with one of the highest proportions of Holocaust genocide on the continent. This sad distinction resulted from massive local participation.  Image from 16 Feb Klaipeda demonstration courtesy DMN atKaunodiena.lt.

BNS report on the court’s 19 May decision here. So much for the parliament’s 2008 ban on ‘Nazi and Soviet symbols’ which only caused pain to aged veterans of the anti-Nazi war effort, and which was ultimately part of the machinations in support of the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament, in cooperation with the movement’s local power structures.

The United States Embassy has remained silent on the legalization of public swastikas.

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Human Rights, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, US State Dept Manipulated?, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Lithuanian Court Legalizes Public Swastikas as ‘Historical Heritage’; 2008 Ban on ‘Nazi and Soviet Symbols’ now Excludes… Swastikas

Lithuanian Court Approves Display of Swastikas in Public


A Lithuanian court in Klaipeda approved the public display of swastikas on the grounds that they are ‘Lithuania’s historical heritage rather than symbols of Nazi Germany’. An ‘expert’ transported from Vilnius was easily able to persuade the court, which did not bother to ask a contrasting view of the Holocaust Survivor community, or the Jewish Community of Lithuania, in a European country with the highest proportion of Holocaust genocide on the continent. This sad distinction resulted from massive local collaboration and actual participation.

Media coverage: BNS report on the court’s 19 May decision hereDelfi report.   JTA report on the court’s decision and Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s reaction. Photo by J. Markevicius on Delfi.

UPDATES

UN Human Rights Committee (Geneva) comments in July 2012

Continuation of the debate through the summer of 2012

“Lithuanian swastikas” at the March 11th 2013  independence day parade on the main boulevard of Vilnius, the capital

So much for the parliament’s 2008 ban on ‘Nazi and Soviet symbols’ which only caused pain to aged veterans of the anti-Nazi war effort, and which was ultimately part of the machinations in support of the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament, in cooperation with the movement’s local power structures.  See also Swastikas and Swasticals.

The United States embassy in Vilnius has maintained a studied public silence.

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, US State Dept Manipulated?, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Comments Off on Lithuanian Court Approves Display of Swastikas in Public

Neo-Nazis, Protected by Police, flaunt Swasticals near Reval Lietuva Hotel During Baltic Pride Parade


BNS summary here. Video here. The state prosecution service that continues to  ‘investigate for war crimes’ Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance, and passes over neo-Nazi marches in utter silence, tried hard (but failed) to stop the May 8th Baltic Pride Tolerance march in Vilnius. 


OUR EYEWITNESS REPORT: 

After being refused entry into the actual Baltic Pride marchers’ area, on grounds that we did not have individual permits, we were directed to the plaza between the Reval Lietuva Hotel and the CUP department store where we were told the march’s concluding point could be observed. There, police eagerly directed visitors and sympathisers into an ‘observation area’ just below on a grassy hillside. It soon became evident that while limiting the formal numbers of Baltic Pride participants, the police were shepherding visitors into an area occupied by neo-fascists and bolstering their apparent numbers.

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Neo-Nazi March again Escorted by Police on Lithuania’s Independence Day in the heart of Vilnius; White Armbands are Back


The fragile but proud Jewish community of Lithuania was again shaken to its core by a Neo-Nazi march in broad daylight through sections of downtown Vilnius on Lithuania’s March 11 Independence Day (see below at March 2008). Once again, the marchers, this time numbering around 500, were diligently escorted by police. Marking the twentieth anniversary of the country’s bold breakaway from Soviet tyranny and its inspiring transition to a modern democracy — a magnificent achievement celebrated by all the country’s communities —  it is a cherished day all around. Its tainting by another police-escorted Neo-Nazi parade was all the more painful, especially for aged Holocaust Survivors.

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Swastikas Flaunted on February 16th Independence Day


In 2010, Uzgavenes coincided with February 16th Independence Day celebrations. In some areas, Nazi symbols were touted. Occasionally the practice is nowadays packaged as the reclamation of the prewar swastika as a proposed symbol of the nation. In this image, residents of Klaipeda celebrate ‘classic swastika art’. Photo courtesy of  DMN. Report hereEnglish translation. [Note: The Klaipeda swastikas led to the court case which legalized the public display of swastikas; see now entry for 19 May 2010.]

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Jewish Community Building Defaced by Swastikas and Star of David Hanging from Gallows


Images (on delfi.lt) of the neo-Nazi paint attack on the central Vilnius building of the Jewish Community of Lithuania on the night of 9-10 August 2008; additional image (photos by Milan Chersonski, editor of Jerusalem of Lithuania). There have been no arrests.

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Legal Ban on Nazi and Soviet Symbols in the Spirit of Red-Brown ‘Equivalence by Law’, a Blow to Freedom of Speech


BBC report, ‘Lithuanian ban on Soviet symbols’. A legally imposed ‘equivalence’ of ‘Nazi and Soviet symbols’ came as a grave moral blow to elderly veterans of the war against Nazism, and their proud families (notwithstanding an addition to the law technically exempting veteran memorials).


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