Lithuania’s Jewish Community Issues

Lithuanian Government Announces Construction of a $25,000,000 Convention Center in the Center of Vilna’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery



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

by Sid Leiman

The following is a reprint, with Professor Leiman’s permission, of his essay originally published on 13 September 2015 (Erev Rosh Ha-Shanah 5776) in The Seforim Blog. He is Professor Emeritus of Jewish History and Literature at Brooklyn College in the City University of New York. Russian versions have to date appeared twice, here and here.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Government Announces Construction of a $25,000,000 Convention Center in the Center of Vilna’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery

Genocide Center Greets New Year’s 2016 With More Adulation of Holocaust Perpetrators



Most Lithuanian Citizens Not Aware that State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” (GC) is the only (?) Gov. Body in the EU in the Business of Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators

Defending History led the way in 2010 with page and section exposing the GC (which runs the city-center “Genocide Museum”)

NEW: ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS REPLIES TO GENOCIDE CENTER’S NEW ATTEMPT TO “FIX” HOLOCAUST RECORD OF KAZYS ŠKIRPA

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Genocide Center Greets New Year’s 2016 With More Adulation of Holocaust Perpetrators

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, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”

Lithuanian Jewish Community Shocked by Cave-In of Titular Head to Genocide Center’s Holocaust Obfuscation



POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GENOCIDE CENTER | LITHUANIA  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

The following 5 February 2016 Jewish Telegraphic Agency news item has appeared widely in international Jewish media, including the Forward, Haaretz, Jewish Journal, and the Ottowa Jewish Bulletin.

JTA—The leader of Lithuania’s Jewish community supported a proposal to delay publishing the names of suspected Holocaust perpetrators out of concern for their families’ reputation and privacy. Faina Kukliansky, a former prosecutor and president of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, made this assertion following discussions in Lithuania on publishing a list of 1,000 names that historians from the state-owned Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania have spent years compiling. The center’s director, Terese Birute Burauskaite, said on Tuesday that her institution would publish the list this year in a book, but later said it would transfer the list to state prosecutors instead. “I have it complete,” she said of the list, “but how will the families [of those named] react if this violates their rights, if their guilt is not proven? I will convey it to the prosecutors.” Burauskaite said she transferred a list with 2,055 names to the government in 2012, but it was neither published nor used in criminal investigations. The center then eliminated more than 1,000 names from that list.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Faina Kukliansky, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jewish Community Shocked by Cave-In of Titular Head to Genocide Center’s Holocaust Obfuscation

Wiesenthal Center Praises Lithuanian Jewish Community Call to Publish List of Local Holocaust Perpetrators



LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

JERUSALEMThe Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised the call issued late last week in Vilnius by the Lithuanian Jewish community to the official state Genocide and Resistance Research Center to publish its list of 2,055 Lithuanians whom it alleges participated in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. In a statement issued here by its chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who also is responsible for Eastern European Affairs, the Center noted the importance of the call by community president Faina Kukliansky to finally reveal the names on the list which was originally compiled in 2012, but has hitherto never been made public. Of particular importance was the community’s call upon the Genocide Center to verify whether any of the persons on the list were still alive, how many of them had been granted rehabilitations and whether any of these persons had received decorations from the Lithuanian government (for their anti-Soviet activities).

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Efraim Zuroff, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Praises Lithuanian Jewish Community Call to Publish List of Local Holocaust Perpetrators

First Test of Torah Integrity for New Vilnius Rabbi Samson Daniel Izakson?



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—When Lithuania’s official chief rabbi of eleven years’ standing, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, was dismissed last summer after disagreeing with the government’s plan to erect a national convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery, the event caught the attention of both local and international media. It was quietly hoped, both in Vilnius and abroad, that the eventual replacement would be loyal to sacred Jewish causes (see Rabbi Burshtein’s final statement of his tenure in Vilnius), someone who would not dare, for the considerations of a job, betray the letter and spirit of Jewish law, or the living and the deceased actual Jews of Vilna over the centuries. See Prof. Shnayer Leiman’s essay on the subject, our editor’s summary, a satiric Motke Chabad take, and Dr. Bernard Fryshman’s reminder that “Even now, the cemetery contains the bodies of the Chayey Odom and the Be’eyr ha-Goylo among many others.” A second essay by Professor Leiman paves the way for inspiring reconstruction of many of the major historic structures of Lithuania’s foremost Jewish cemetery.

Vuvolak

by Vulovak (Vilnius) for DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on First Test of Torah Integrity for New Vilnius Rabbi Samson Daniel Izakson?

Vilnius City Council Member Decries Memorials for Nazi Collaborators



VILNIUS—Briton Mark Adam Harold, also known as Mark Splinter, this city’s sole foreign elected City Council member, spoke out in an interview published today in 15min.lt calling for the city to accept the 2015 petition of a group of intellectuals to remove plaques honoring Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. In his reply to a pointed question, he also added that the city-center street named for Nazi collaborator Kazys Škirpa be renamed for Righteous of the Nations (rescuers of civilians targeted for death by the Nazis and their local partners). He also challenged the city’s mayor, implying that there might be an element of cowardice in failure to undertake simple measures that would immeasurably improve the international reputation of Lithuania’s storied capital.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council Member Decries Memorials for Nazi Collaborators

Ruta Bloshtein Discovers 1935 Vilna Rabbis’ Condemnation of Plans to Desecrate Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt



DOCUMENTS  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—In a strictly private capacity, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, a Vilnius born member of Lithuania’s small Jewish community, whose maternal ancestors hail from the shtetl Tríshik (Tryškiai), has released to the media a remarkable Yiddish public poster issued by the Vilna Board of Rabbis on 30 Nissan 5695 — the Jewish calendar date corresponding with 3 May 1935 — that she discovered in Lithuania’s central state archive. It is an impassioned plea by the Board of Rabbis asking the then Polish authorities in the city to abandon their plans for a sports stadium on the site of Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district), the old Vilna Jewish cemetery that goes back to the late fifteenth century, and where thousands of luminous Litvak scholars lie buried.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein Discovers 1935 Vilna Rabbis’ Condemnation of Plans to Desecrate Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt

Document Unearthed: 1935 Tel Aviv Protest Against Plans to Defile the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—Professor Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, widely considered to be the world’s leading scholar on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district), today released a remarkable document: a spirited 1935 protest, in Hebrew, from the Vilna Gaon Synagogue in Tel Aviv, against the then Polish municipal authorities’ plans to construct a sports stadium in the heart of the old cemetery.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Document Unearthed: 1935 Tel Aviv Protest Against Plans to Defile the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vilnius Open Forum on Yiddish, Litvaks, Holocaust: All Welcome on 7 July



THURSDAY 7 JULY 2016 AT 7 PM (1900):

OPEN FORUM IN VILNIUS CHAIRED BY DEFENDING HISTORY EDITOR ON

“What You Always Wanted to Ask about Yiddish & Litvaks & The Lithuanian Holocaust”

A Question-and-Answer Session at the Jewish Cultural and Information Center, Mesiniu 3, Vilnius. Everyone Welcome. Admission Free.


Posted in Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Comments Off on Vilnius Open Forum on Yiddish, Litvaks, Holocaust: All Welcome on 7 July

Joseph Levinson’s 1990s Map of Lithuanian Mass-Murder Sites is Released by Family



DOCUMENTS      |    HISTORY   |    LITHUANIA   |   JOSEPH LEVINSON

VILNIUS—The Vilnius-based family of the late pioneering historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust, Joseph Levinson (1917–2015) has today released the map of Lithuanian mass-grave sites where the country’s Jewish population was annihilated, mostly in 1941. The map appeared in Levinson’s 1997 Book of Sorrow, but had not been released separately, and has occasionally been overlooked by later historians, who have naturally been able to add to the roughly 200 sites discovered, visited, detailed and mapped by Levinson in the 1990s. In addition to the image below, it is now available as PDF. More on Levinson’s life and books can be found at the website www.JosephLevinson.com. Defending History has a Joseph Levison section.

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Posted in History, Joseph Levinson, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Comments Off on Joseph Levinson’s 1990s Map of Lithuanian Mass-Murder Sites is Released by Family

Defending History Responds to Vilnius Architects’ Three “Visualizations” for “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery”



Architects Publish Three Visualizations for National Convention Center Planned for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Where Thousands Still Lie Buried

But critics warn that property magnates, politicians, and their foreign Jewish shmendriks will be haunted for generations by a rather different visualization…

LITE Vulovak on national convention center opening

Vulovak / DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, EU, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Defending History Responds to Vilnius Architects’ Three “Visualizations” for “Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery”

Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’



22 July 2016 Defending History Eyewitness Report

VERDICT IN: EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS NOT GUILTY (AFTER 4 YEARS OF HARASSMENT AND A DOZEN 450 KM ROUND TRIPS FROM HOME — BUT COURT ALLOWS FAR RIGHT “PLAINTIFF” 20 DAYS TO APPEAL)

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Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , | Comments Off on Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’

Vilnius City Council “Defers” Decision on Street Honoring Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATE]


I24’s 14 July 2016 report. Background in DH on British-born city council member, Mark Harold Splinter, who proposed the change (his statement in English). Samples from elsewhere in Lithuania. Wider issue in Eastern Europe. Within “Double Genocide” theory. Related 24 July 2016 report by JTA.

FOR MORE BACKGROUND ON KAZYS ŠKIRPA (CENTER) SEE DH ARTICLES BY ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS, EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS, AND MILAN CHERSONSKI; PROF. T. SNYDER’S BLOODLANDS:  “Škirpa used this suffering in his radio broadcasts to spur mobs to murder. Some 2,500 Jews […]” … (p. 192)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council “Defers” Decision on Street Honoring Hitler Collaborator

August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities



Summer and Fall 2016: 75th Anniversary

of the Nazis’ annihilation, with vast local collaboration, of Lithuania’s Jews in the towns, villages, provinces; implementation of ghettoization and mass murder in the cities.

Perhaps among the simplest, most minimalist measures of a municipality’s sincerity (beyond PR bonanzas, photo-ops and legitimizations via useful foreigners): (a) Modest town-center information board on the origins, history, culture, contributions and (true) fate of the town’s Jewish citizens; (b) Rapid removal of any local shrines, street names, museum tributes etc. to the local collaborators and murderers. “You just can’t make heroes out of the killers and expect to cover it up with some annual PR event for the foreigners.”

Language and respect for the victims: In addition to Lithuanian and English, will new memorial texts (including those at forest mass graves and old cemeteries) continue to include Yiddish, the language of 100% of the murdered Jews in all these towns? For many years, Lithuania has had a uniquely admirable record in this regard.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Shádov (Šeduva) | Comments Off on August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities

Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery



Sept. 2016 Discourse over “Historic Soul” of Central Vilnius

Will Vilnius Mayor & Lithuania’s PM & President Issue Morally Clear Statements on Two Sites Visible from Grand Dukes’ Medieval Hill?

THERE ARE FIVE JEWISH FORMS OF THE FABLED CITY’S NAME: ווילנא, ווילנע, ווילנה, וילנה, ווילניוס

(1) Changing the name of a city center street that glorifies a Nazi collaborator who enthusiastically supported the removal of his country’s Jewish citizens?

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old 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 Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius

Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016)



The Defending History Community Mourns our Colleague

LEONIDAS DONSKIS

13 August 1962 — 21 September 2016


HIS WORK IN DEFENDING HISTORY INCLUDES ESSAYS ON:

Inflation of the word “genocide” and criminalization of debate

The campaign against Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi Soviet partisans and its implications

Response to proposals to “reevaluate” the Hitlerist LAF and Provisional Government collaborators of 1941

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Free Speech & Democracy, Leonidas Donskis, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Leonidas Donskis (1962—2016)

September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region



DEFENDING HISTORY WAS THERE

Annual Sept. 23 Official Commemoration Ceremony at the Ponár (Paneriai) Mass Murder Site Outside Vilnius, Lithuania

Historic Breakthrough as Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Faina Kukliansky Finally Calls for Removal of Street Names and Memorials for Holocaust Collaborators, Boldly Citing Juozas KrikštaponisJonas Noreika, and Kazys Škirpa; Sharp Contrast with Last Year’s Failed Event

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region

All Welcome at Q & A Session with DH Editor in Vilnius



IN VILNIUS ON THURSDAY EVENING:

ALL WELCOME AT QUESTION-AND-ANSWER & DISCUSSION EVENING WITH OUR EDITOR, DOVID KATZ, AT THE JEWISH CULTURAL AND INFORMATION CENTER

THIS THURSDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 6:15 PM             AT MESINIU 3 IN VILNIUS OLD TOWN

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Posted in Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs | Comments Off on All Welcome at Q & A Session with DH Editor in Vilnius