Geoff Vasil

“The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

The national Lithuanian television channel Lietuvos rytas TV recently (on May 4) broadcast a show by veteran talk-show host Rūta Grinevičiūtė (surname recently changed to Janutienė) called Nuoga Tiesa, “Naked Truth,” which posed the question, “Do you want the Jews to return again [sic] to Lithuania?” Viewers were invited to call in and/or vote by special telephone lines for Yes and No with a one euro toll per call. For that and a number of other reasons the entire program had something of the macabre about it, and although some of the guests made some important points, all of them seemed to miss certain glaring details which would have been the center of attention in the West.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Geoff Vasil, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television

A New Book on the Kaunas (Kovno) Ghetto by Arūnas Bubnys



O P I N I O N   /   B O O K S

by Geoff Vasil

This small book, brought out in three separate editions (English, Lithuanian, Russian) by the state-supported Genocide Center, looks more like a brochure than anything else. The cover features the author’s name, in small type, above all else, then a larger Kaunas Ghetto, then a line with the years 1941-1944, against a backdrop of a computerized dark blue sky above a “tasteful” black-and-white picture of Jews lined up in columns inside Kaunas ghetto. The computerized dark blue wraps around the spine to the back cover where some vague lines comprise a hand-drawn map of the streets making up Kaunas ghetto, an ISBN number in white above UPC Bookland barcode featuring the same number again, and then a web address, www.genocid.lt.  I found myself staring at the internet address and wondering what language that was supposed to be. Lithuanian is always “genocidas” and “genocid” isn’t possible as any permutation or declension of the noun, and of course English is “genocide.” Perhaps it’s Russian in Latin-letter transcription? But that would contradict the nationalist and ethnic bias of the publisher, the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian Residents where Arūnas Bubnys is a leading figure. Perhaps “genocid” is someone’s notion of a non-English and yet international form of the word, formed by reducing it from the Lithuanian nominative case ending -as? I checked my favorite search engine, and of course the Lithuanian organization’s webpage came up first, but was soon followed by a wikipedia and wiktionary entry for the Croatian word.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Double Games, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A New Book on the Kaunas (Kovno) Ghetto by Arūnas Bubnys

An “Inner” View of the Neo-March on Vilnius, 2015



O P I N I O N   /   N E O – N A Z I   M A R C H E S

by Geoff Vasil

 

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.

Continue reading

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 | Comments Off on An “Inner” View of the Neo-March on Vilnius, 2015

The Nazis are Just Nuts



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Geoff Vasil

◊ 

Somewhere in his voluminous correspondence, correspondence that far surpasses in quantity any of his literary endeavors, H. P. Lovecraft mentions what he sees as the almost arbitrary adoption of Christianity by northern European peoples, and comments that another religion might work just as well. That sense of another religion operating in parallel runs heavily throughout his stories, and nowhere is his notion better illustrated than in his short piece The Festival, roughly centered around an “I’ll be home for Christmas” motif in an unknown village of New England that turns terribly strange but somehow familiar for all its strangeness.

Continue reading

Posted in Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged | Comments Off on The Nazis are Just Nuts

Yivo Conference: Unresolved History



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

This comment on the event “Unresolved History: Jews and Lithuanians After the Holocaust,” held February 14, 2014 in New York City is based on the videotape of the event that Yivo has posted on its website. Readers may also wish to see Olga Zabludoff’s articles before and after the event, and the comments accruing during last month’s discussion in New York’s Algemeiner.Com. Geoff Vasil has covered a number of state-sponsored Holocaust events over the years, including one featuring some of the same participants last summer in Vilnius. Defending History’s openly critical views of the “red-brown commission” are available in the section dedicated to various of the debates in recent years. The commission’s own website is here.


 

On February 14, 2014, a small panel spoke at YIVO world headquarters in NYC. There weren’t many people in the audience, to judge from the crowd sounds, and at least one panelist wasn’t there. It had been delayed a day earlier when a massive ice storm hit the city and temperatures plummeted. Tomas Venclova wasn’t able to make it because of the weather and poor health.

Continue reading

Posted in Events, Geoff Vasil, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, The Great SLS About-Face, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Yivo Conference: Unresolved History

Swedish Film Director Speaks Out on the Lithuanian Holocaust, Sort of, a Little Bit



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Jonas Öhman is a Swede who has been coming to Lithuania and living here on and off from almost the beginning of modern independence in the 1990-1991 period. During that time he has produced a number of films, only one of which appears to his credit on the internet film database imdb.com, but all of which deal more or less with a mythologized version of the history of Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans.

Continue reading

Posted in Arts, Film, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sweden | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Swedish Film Director Speaks Out on the Lithuanian Holocaust, Sort of, a Little Bit

Forget Me Knot



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

In an attempt to maintain their reputation as the most anti-Semitic major newspaper in Lithuania, the editors at Respublika have fired a new salvo in their information war against the international forces of Communist Zionism with a straw-man argument designed to rehabilitate the swastika as a Lithuanian cultural heritage symbol.

Continue reading

Posted in Double Games, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Forget Me Knot

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.

Continue reading

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, Symbology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Raising Cain on the Resurrection of Abel

Keep the Local History Out of Mind?



REVIEW OF KEEP ME IN MIND

by Geoff Vasil

 

The Contemporary Art Center’s reading room in Vilnius is hosting an unusual-for-Lithuania Holocaust event called Keep Me in Mind. Briefly, visitors are invited to wander among different tables where good-looking and polite people await them with small boxes and sheaves of papers. When you sit down the narrator at the table tells the story of an individual Holocaust survivor, from childhood to the present. Almost all of the survivors seem to now live in Haifa, Israel. One survivor, Benjamin Ginzburg, came from Vilnius.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Arts, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Keep the Local History Out of Mind?

Inclusion and Occlusion



O P I N I O N

A REVIEW OF THE PRAGUE PLATFORM’S TRAVELLING EXHIBITION “TOTALITARIANISM IN EUROPE” PAID FOR BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (CURRENTLY ON SHOW AT TUSKULĖNAI PARK IN VILNIUS, LITHUANIA)

by Geoff Vasil


 

At the edge of downtown Vilnius, along the river Neris where the buildings suddenly turn old and worn and bushes, trees and grass take on unmanicured forms, across the bridge whose entree is gated by the Danish and British embassies to Lithuania, there is a strange park nestled in between some very empty Soviet-looking and much older buildings.

Continue reading

Posted in Double Genocide, EU, Geoff Vasil, History, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Inclusion and Occlusion

An Inalienable Right to be Schizophrenic?



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

by Geoff Vasil

 

On Friday, September 13, 2013, the Baltos Lankos publishing firm in Vilnius held a discussion at their main book sales outlet in Vilnius to present a book edited by Professor Jurgita Verbickienė about the Jews of Lithuania.

The discussion on this doubly auspicious day—eve of Yom Kippur and Friday the 13th—began with Verbickienė presenting a short sketch of the book and two other participants in the discussion, Zigmas Vitkus and Simonas Gurevičius. The latter is the executive director of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. The topic was how Lithuanians view Jews.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Books, Events, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on An Inalienable Right to be Schizophrenic?

Lithuania Propaganda Agency is On The Road Again



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

This opinion piece and eyewitness report by Geoff Vasil relates to the July 10th event in honor of the Red-Brown Commission held at the Vilnius Jewish Public Library. See related reports on the library’s instrumentalization as a PR platform for the Commission and the more or less contemporaneous announcement of the Commission’s resumed activities, in the absence of apologies to Yitzhak Arad, Pinchos Fridberg, and the other accused Holocaust survivors.


Attendees at the July 10, 2013 event to honor the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” were treated to speeches and plentiful Katz-bashing by (from right) Ronaldas Račinskas, Saulius Sužiedėlis and Ilya Lempertas.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Double Games, Events, Geoff Vasil, Humor (Of Sorts), Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, The Great SLS About-Face | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania Propaganda Agency is On The Road Again

Free Speech and Holocaust Remembrance in the Eastern European Union



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

NOTE: This was written in response to “Foreign countries use far-right operations to undermine Lithuania’s image” published on June 7, 2013, on the Lithuania Tribune website.

Initially the editor-in-chief of the Lithuania Tribune agreed to publish the following reply in the Lithuania Tribune, but then changed his mind and finally refused, only informing the author a month later…

Continue reading

Posted in Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Free Speech & Democracy, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Free Speech and Holocaust Remembrance in the Eastern European Union

Chief Lithuanian Bureaucrat/Historian Rehabilitates Nation’s Quislings, Again



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

In an interview posted on the Delfi website on June 21, 2013, Lithuanian government historian Arūnas Bubnys, head of department for the Orwellian- or even Kafkaesque-sounding Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania, once again lent support to the pro-Nazi Lithuanian Quisling government that seized power on June 23, 1941.

The interview, titled “Lithuanian Historian: June Uprising was Rehabilitation for Shameful Surrender to Soviets,” is available here. An English translation is provided here.

What follows is my commentary on that interview.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Chief Lithuanian Bureaucrat/Historian Rehabilitates Nation’s Quislings, Again

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Symbology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on In Obeliai (Abél) and Rokiškis (Rákishok): More State-Sponsored Glorification of Nazi Collaborators

Strength Through Joy “Hitler Youth” Events Sponsored by the City of Vilnius on March 11, 2013



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

by Geoff Vasil

 

This March 11, the day in 1990 when the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic declared Lithuania sovereign and separate from the Soviet Union, was celebrated in Vilnius in the usual manner: neo-Nazis, skinheads, their young and naive followers and a gaggle of elderly politicians—both serving MPs and has-beens—assembled and marched up the main boulevard chanting nationalist and anti-minority slogans, scaring children and generally making the streets unsafe for normal activities.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Strength Through Joy “Hitler Youth” Events Sponsored by the City of Vilnius on March 11, 2013

The Real Dope on the February 16 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Readers and supporters of Defending History likely realize there is a diversity of opinion and views held by contributors (made explicit on the About us page), and in that spirit I’d like to share my own impressions of the neo-Nazi march on Lithuanian Independence Day 2013 in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second-largest city and the provisional capital in the interwar period.

First, Kaunas was colder than expected. The breeze contributed to the chill. There seemed to be half as many police as protestors at the staging area, Ramybės Parkas, next to the bus station in central Kaunas. The police wore three uniforms: green, grey and, I was told by someone representing himself as being from Interpol, a large number of plain-clothes officers dispersed among the crowd, presumably meaning the marchers, since the number of protestors was paltry, just a handful of people.

See also the memoirs of Evaldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz (and 2nd), Efraim Zuroff

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Real Dope on the February 16 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania

Why Christine Beresniova is Out of Order



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

I’ve never met Christine Beresniova, but I’ve followed her career, so to speak, through the media and mutual acquaintances, and wish her only the best. She first came to my attention after apparently making some very limited and not very public criticisms of Lithuanian Holocaust education, which sufficiently pissed off the Holocaust Obfuscation establishment ensconced within the corridors of state power for them to label her some kind of Russian agent in informal conversations.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Christine Beresniova is Out of Order

Tell Me I’m Wrong



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

I caught part of the Lithuanian “International” Red-Brown Commission’s “international” conference in the Lithuanian parliament last month, and obtained video of the parts I missed. There are a lot of things intellectually wrong with what the majority of the speakers said, but I can’t help thinking, feeling, that the emotional content was the overriding message, not the various sophistic, sham arguments and contrived non-debate “debate” between Emanuelis Zingeris and other speakers.

It was my feeling that only two of the speakers really spoke with any reverence or respect for the dead, in a tone appropriate to discussing the subject at hand. One was a sociologist I’d never heard of before who spoke in simple statistical figures about current popular Lithuanian views of the Holocaust and Jews.

The other was Saulius Sužiedėlis, a Lithuanian-American scholar (I believe that’s a fair way to characterize his national identity), who said so much that was simply wrong, but at least delivered his somewhat stochastic and very personal message with the sort of sincerity and honor which one expects in a seeker after truth, and which leads one to assume that even if that seeker has some of the details wrong at the moment, he will eventually get it right and will find the inner courage to correct himself.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Comments Off on Tell Me I’m Wrong

Landsbergis’s New Book Tries (Yet Again) to Sanitize the 1941 Hitlerist “Provisional Government” of Lithuania



B O O K S

by Geoff Vasil

Vytautas Landsbergis, Rezistencijos pradžia [“The Beginning of the Resistance: June 1941: Documents on the Six-Week Provisional Government of Lithuania”], Vilnius 2012.


MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, former speaker of the Lithuanian parliament and leader of the Lithuanian independence movement in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, unveiled his latest polemic at a ceremony cum press conference held on the first floor of the Signatarų Namai building in Vilnius’s Old Town on September 11, 2012, the historic site where Lithuanian independence was proclaimed from the balcony to the street below sometime around February 16, 1918.

This small book—there’s only 22 pages written by Landsbergis, the rest is a motley collection of supposedly historic documents—is an attempt to answer criticism of the Lithuanian Government and Catholic Church’s ceremonial reburial of Lithuanian Nazi puppet prime minister Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis and other concurrent celebrations in the spring of 2012.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Collaborators Glorified, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Landsbergis’s New Book Tries (Yet Again) to Sanitize the 1941 Hitlerist “Provisional Government” of Lithuania

Landsbergis Tries Yet Again to Fix Reputation of 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister



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

by Geoff Vasil

 

In the tradition of totalitarian societies, a certain segment of the Lithuanian political spectrum found it inconceivable there should be protests over the repatriation and reburial of Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, the Nazi puppet prime minister of Lithuania in 1941.

The reburial ceremonies took place earlier this year with state support and accompanying civil and church ceremonies.

DefendingHistory and a number of Lithuanian politicians, writers and public figures protested against the reburial, while many “formers”—foremost former Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus, who himself served under Nazi command in Lithuania in 1944—conspicuously attended the reburial in Kaunas.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Collaborators Glorified, Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Landsbergis Tries Yet Again to Fix Reputation of 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister

Journey into the Backwaters of Holocaust Obfuscation



B O O K S

by Geoff Vasil

Journey into the Backwaters of the Heart: Stories of Women Who Survived Hitler and Stalin by Laima Vince. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform: 2012.


The first problem the reader comes across is in the introduction, where the author asserts two waves of Jewish immigration into Lithuania in the 8th and 11th centuries. Much later in the book she says, twice, Jews settled in Lithuania in the 16th century, a claim that leaves the informed reader wondering for whom the grand duke Vytautas (Witold) issued his famous charters on the rights of Jews in the 14th century.

The introduction also presents the events of 1940 and 1941 in Lithuania in a manner calculated to make the reader think the Lithuanian Provisional Government of 1941 and the Lithuanian Activist Front were two altogether separate entities.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Double Genocide, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Journey into the Backwaters of Holocaust Obfuscation

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.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Christian-Jewish Issues, Double Games, Geoff Vasil, Humor (Of Sorts), Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Israel, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Symbology | Comments Off on Crying Over Dead Jews

Unelected 1941 Pro-Nazi Provisional Government of Lithuania Never Intended Good for Country



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

In May Lithuania celebrated the return of the ashes of the Nazi puppet prime minister of June, 1941, Juozas Ambrazevičius (who changed his surname to Brazaitis as a matter of convenience when he began using papers issued to one Brazaitis). The schizophrenic nature of the events were evident from the start, from the Kubilius government’s resolution allocating 30,000 litas in funding to celebrate the Lithuanian Nazi which, several items down the list, also allocated 3,000 litas for a project to “name the names,” to draw up a list of Lithuanian Holocaust victims, in conjunction with the Yad Vashem institution in Jerusalem.

The dissociative shell game continued when the government and state institutions sought to pawn off the events they financed on other institutions: the Catholic Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Kaunas, and an “academic conference/commemoration” planned at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. After a scandal broke and former professor now MEP Leonidas Donskis published an eloquent protest on DH, the rector of VMU, who didn’t want the heat, told the Nazi celebrators to find another venue, one supplied by the Kaunas municipality, the chambers of the Kaunas city council. Then, in keeping with the theme of schizophrenia, VMU decided to allow another “academic conference” on university premises, initially with the exact same list of speakers as the banned event.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Free Speech & Democracy, Geoff Vasil, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, US State Dept Manipulated? | Comments Off on Unelected 1941 Pro-Nazi Provisional Government of Lithuania Never Intended Good for Country

Litvak Devastates Second Kaunas Conference on Nazi Collaborator Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

last revision 26 May 2012, 23:55.


The second conference in Kaunas on the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister and Holocaust collaborator Juozas Ambrazevičius cum Brazaitis, held Thursday, May 24, was treated to some harsh facts presented by a living Litvak, Kovno (Kaunas) historian and Jewish tour guide Chaim Bargman.

Although Vytautas Magnus University initially agreed to and then reneged on a deal with the Lithuanian government to host the earlier “academic conference” last Saturday May 19 purely to adulate the “prime minister” of 1941, they changed their minds yet again—possibly under influence from chairman of their board of directors, former president Valdas Adamkus, who in 2011 celebrated the seventieth anniversary of the LAF fascists—and provided university resources this week for a second event announced as an open discussion event. To their great credit, they did webcast the event and have posted the video (here).

Continue reading

Posted in Chaim Bargman, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Litvak Devastates Second Kaunas Conference on Nazi Collaborator Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis

Lithuanian Neo-Nazi Leader Calls for Murder of MPs



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

Ričardas Čekutis, “chief specialist” at Lithuanian’s state-sponsored Genocide Center in Vilnius old town, a fascist party leader and co-organizer of the annual neo-Nazi marches through Vilnius, has again made controversial comments on Facebook, this time apparently calling upon other Lithuanian neo-Nazis to murder three MPs. Two of the three are signatories to the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD) first published in DefendingHistory.com and presented to the president of the European Parliament in Strasbourg last month.

Confirming suspicions that SYD had angered not just the clique of apparatchiks who earn a good living from the Double Genocide industry in this part of the world, and had made wider waves in the Lithuanian neo-Nazi underground, Čekutis seemed to call for someone to shoot MPs Vytenis Andriukaitis, Justinas Karosas—both of whom signed the SYD—and the MP Petras Austrevičius.

Continue reading

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Lithuanian Neo-Nazi Leader Calls for Murder of MPs

Discussion: Ambassador Linas Linkevičius and Geoff Vasil



O P I N I O N

An  English translation of Ambassador Linas Linkevičius’s recent article on Delfi.lt, followed by Geoff Vasil’s reply on DefendingHistory.com.


When Will We Comprehend the Whole Truth about the Holocaust?

by Linas Linkevičius

10 April 2012

 

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was characterized by diversity of religious belief and religious tolerance. Neither is it any accident that Lithuania was called the Northern Jerusalem for centuries. Cultural tolerance was the pride and strength of our country. Why is it that we have to speak of this in the past tense? Who edited our genetic code?

Continue reading

Posted in Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged | Comments Off on Discussion: Ambassador Linas Linkevičius and Geoff Vasil

Light and Darkness Do Not Mix



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Saulius Beržinis is an astounding filmmaker. Somehow the Lithuanian director of documentaries has a knack for drawing out frank admissions on camera, even from collaborators who recount how they murdered Jews.

Beržinis has a great reputation in Holocaust studies around the world, but, as the saying goes, a prophet is often unrecognized in his native land, and the cloak of invisibility around the Lithuanian Holocaust cast by the activists in the Double Genocide industry has marginalized the documentary maker at home, where his “The Happy Faces of the Murderers” is basically unknown.

Continue reading

Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged | Comments Off on Light and Darkness Do Not Mix

Some Psycho-Sexual Undercurrents of the Lithuanian Independence Day Nazi March



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Back in 2008 a friend and I put subtitles to the march by Lithuanian neo-Nazis through the capital, Vilnius, on independence day, and put the video with subtitles up on YouTube. Back then there was almost zero mention of the march where openly fascist youth chanted slogans about attacking and killing Jews and Russians, and the de rigueur “Juden raus.” Following the YouTube posting and as news travelled around the world, certain Lithuanian media figures and politicians felt the need to at least say something. Not much, but something.

Continue reading

Posted in "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Events, Geoff Vasil, Humor (Of Sorts), LGBT Rights, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Some Psycho-Sexual Undercurrents of the Lithuanian Independence Day Nazi March

Some Worrying Slippage at ‘Bernardinai.lt’?



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

Andrius Navickas, a religious studies expert and editor-in-chief of the Bernardinai.lt website, published a rather strange editorial at the end of 2011 taken from a speech he gave over Lithuanian Radio.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Christian-Jewish Issues, Geoff Vasil, History, Human Rights, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Some Worrying Slippage at ‘Bernardinai.lt’?

Petras Stankeras Rides Again: Rehabilitating Fascism for the Lithuanian Mainstream



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

Petras Stankeras appeared on the pages of DefendingHistory.com in late November 2010, after publishing on 14 November 2010 in the mainstream Lithuanian weekly magazine Veidas an article in which he called the Holocaust “a myth”, described Ribbentrop’s hanging as a lamentable case of “victor’s justice” (also praising the Nazi foreign minister for conducting himself heroically), and called the Nuremberg Trials “a farce”.  A full translation of the article is  available  here. A subsequent comment piece appeared in this journal early this year.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Petras Stankeras Rides Again: Rehabilitating Fascism for the Lithuanian Mainstream

Main Lithuanian Paper Caves In to Antisemitic Sentiment as Economy Sours



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

A colleague sent me a link to an article on the webpage of Lietuvos rytas that appeared in their Sunday edition during the first week of December, 2011 (PDF of the print version; full English translation;  report in Defending History.com). The heading on the email said the article was antisemitic.

Lietuvos rytas (“Lithuanian Morning”) has been Lithuania’s main newspaper pretty much since independence from the Soviet Union. The quality of the newspaper has varied over the years, but they at least usually refrain from printing overtly antisemitic material, whereas competing newspapers and their editors-in-chief have made this their bread and butter at certain periods, especially Lietuvos aidas and Respublika, although Lietuvos aidas has all but disappeared as a real newspaper and Respublika appears to have turned into an advertising-driven newspaper distributed for free.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Main Lithuanian Paper Caves In to Antisemitic Sentiment as Economy Sours

A Conference for Tolerance Day


 


O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

On Wednesday, November 16th 2011, the Tolerance Center in Vilnius hosted a conference called: Tolerance and Totalitarianism. Challenges to Freedom.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Events, Geoff Vasil, LGBT Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Conference for Tolerance Day

Is it Science, or Football?



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

by Geoff Vasil (Vilnius)

A few friends asked me if I could attend a book presentation in Kaunas, since they couldn’t make it. The book is called Undigested Past: The Holocaust in Lithuania by Robert van Voren. It was published in English first as part of a series by the Rodopi publishing house on Eastern Europe. I’d never heard of van Voren, but people told me he was known for his books on psychiatric abuses in the Soviet Union. The poster for the event proclaimed boldly in Lithuanian that the conference’s official language would be English, which made me smirk, but an English-language version of the poster became available on the morning of the event.

Continue reading

Posted in Events, Geoff Vasil, History, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Is it Science, or Football?

No Limits to ‘History Shenanigans’?



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil (Vilnius)

According to a recent report on Delfi.lt, Lithuanian MP Gintaras Songaila, who has expressed support for the neo-Nazi marches through central Vilnius on Lithuania’s Independence Day, has recently begun disseminating a brochure to his fellow Lithuanian parliamentarians about alleged Polish atrocities against Lithuanians from before and during World War II. The brochure is based on a book by Algimantas Liekis called Black Pages in Lithuanian History.

Continue reading

Posted in Geoff Vasil, History, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on No Limits to ‘History Shenanigans’?

Nationalists’ Roundtable Discussion Invites Jewish Community Chairman to ‘Speak about Lithuania’



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

Medieval Lithuania was a colonial power in Europe stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. After the sixteenth-century union with Poland and the eighteenth-century partitions by other European powers that reduced Poland to nothing, Lithuania reemerged as a modern state in the aftermath of World War I based largely on the ethnic boundaries of the Lithuanian population. Then there was the contested region around the capital, Vilnius, the majority of whose population identified themselves as Poles (or Jews, or Belarusians, and others).

Continue reading

Posted in Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion, Shimon Alperovich (1928 – 2014) | Comments Off on Nationalists’ Roundtable Discussion Invites Jewish Community Chairman to ‘Speak about Lithuania’

What Happened when Holocaust Survivor Joseph Melamed Did Exactly what Historian A. Liekis Suggested?



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

The following is a reprint, with the author’s permission, of his article in London’s Jewish Chronicle this week.

Wreaths Laid, but Doubt Hangs in the Air

Today is Lithuanian Holocaust Day. This is the day the Vilna Ghetto was “liquidated” in 1943, but is not generally known among Lithuanians. It does not even appear on the Wikipedia list of Lithuanian holidays, although Molotov-Ribbentrop Day, August 23, does. September 23 usually receives a few minutes on the evening news — after it’s over.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Celebrations of Fascism, Double Genocide, Events, Geoff Vasil, Joseph Melamed, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on What Happened when Holocaust Survivor Joseph Melamed Did Exactly what Historian A. Liekis Suggested?

Eyewitness Report: ‘March of the Living’ at Ponar Killing Site near the Lithuanian Capital



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

by Geoff Vasil

I attended the March of the Living today at Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai), the mass killing site outside Vilnius, Lithuania. It is Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. I had been to Ponár only once before, because a friend of mine was afraid she would get lost taking the city buses there and back.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Double Games, Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on Eyewitness Report: ‘March of the Living’ at Ponar Killing Site near the Lithuanian Capital

Lithuanian Fascists Checking Lists of Citizens who Oppose Fascism



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

Ričardas Čekutis, an organizer of the March 11th 2011 neo-Nazi march through central Vilnius and the head of public relations at Lithuania’s Genocide Research Center, an institution nominally tasked with (and paid for by the taxpayers) to promote genocide research and education, recently answered some criticism of himself and his ideas, a neo-fascist political party and neo-Nazi marches, questions that were posed by Darius Kuolys.

Continue reading

Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Opinion | Comments Off on Lithuanian Fascists Checking Lists of Citizens who Oppose Fascism

How to hold an academic conference in a Soviet (and occasionally, in a post-Soviet) milieu



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

1. Line up the names of people who agree with you and are ideologically reliable or beholden to you for their ticket there and back. Best to use locals as far as possible with a big-wheel foreign invitee or two, provided they’re safe.

2. Do some stuff, make a program, maybe provide a tour to foreign academics, get them sauced. The program of events can be created on the fly, tailored to meet the needs of attracting the right set of people, using up funds allocated, etc. Be creative.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Opinion | Comments Off on How to hold an academic conference in a Soviet (and occasionally, in a post-Soviet) milieu

Baltic Media: Covering the Fascist Marches, or Covering Them Up?


 


O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

This year Lithuanian neo-Nazis organized by Marius Kundrotas, Ričardas Čekutis and Julijus Panka with Lithuanian MP Kazimieras Uoka as their mascot marched in Kaunas on February 16 and through central Vilnius on March 11. February 16 is the old, pre-World War II national day of independence while March 11 is the date in 1990 when the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet voted to restore national independence and exit the Soviet Union.

Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Estonia, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Baltic Media: Covering the Fascist Marches, or Covering Them Up?

Lithuania and Tolerance



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

2010 was an astonishing year for human rights in Lithuania. Toward the beginning of 2010 there were public demonstrations in the capital by self-designated patriotic youth, decked out in various paramilitary costumes, in plain clothes bearing variations on swastikas and wearing white arm bands. These Lithuanian neo-Nazis marched across the main streets and squares in Vilnius on independence day (March 11th), made a showing to protest against a silent march of people from the main square to a cemetery to honor the dead on Soviet Victory Day (May 9th), and most spectacularly managed to outnumber 10 to 1 Lithuania’s first gay pride march (May 8th) with a violent mob throwing objects, hurtling insults and proudly waving flags with pseudo-swastikas behind police lines. The gay pride march almost didn’t happen, as it hadn’t many years in a row, because of bureaucratic impedance from the Vilnius municipality over issuing a permit and from law enforcement and the parliament. The neo-Nazi marches, on the other hand, had support from within parliament, MPs who personally asked for, and got, permits from the city for a march. Several MPs also came to the anti-gay pride protest with bullhorns, stormed police barriers and generally foamed at the mouth, caught on camera.

Continue reading

Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Geoff Vasil, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Lithuania and Tolerance