Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches

Swastikas are Back for Far-Right’s Independence Day March in Central Vilnius on March 11th



NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

EYEWITNESS REPORT

VILNIUS—Today’s neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius had fewer participants than in earlier years, with most estimates putting a cap of 500 on the number. Many were supporters of far-right presidential candidate Arvydas Juozaitis, and made use of his associated symbol and slogan translating “Lithuania is here.” But the black skull-and-crossbones flag with the “Lithuanian swastika” (with added lines) at the top corner was at the front or center of the proceedings from their start at Cathedral Square to their conclusion with some speeches at Lukiskes Square. Former Genocide Center official Ricardas Cekutis was on hand.  There were some organized shouts of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (‘Lithuania for Lithuanians’). The following are some images of the event, which was monitored by Defending History’s correspondent Julius Norwilla and editor Dovid Katz. See Mr. Norwilla’s photo gallery for more photos.

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February 16th March in Vilnius Avoids Swastikas and Fascist Symbols


NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

EYEWITNESS REPORT

VILNIUS—DH’s on-site monitors here, observing the event for a decade, report on “significant progress”: For the first time in many years, the far-right February 16 march, though at times noxious (e.g. when a group reveled in a “Noreika plaque photo-op”), had no visible banners glorifying local Holocaust collaborators and no visible swastikas on flags, and no organized chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians). By contrast, a few Latvian visitors wore jackets emblazoned with “Waffen SS”. At its conclusion, two of the march’s organizers approached our team for a civil discussion which turned to the participation of “non-Catholic & non-ethnic Lithuanians” in the war of independence leading to the rise of the democratic interwar Lithuanian Republic on 16 Feb. 1918.

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Run-Up to 2019’s February 16th March in Central Vilnius



NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

Are Vilnius Authorities Again Gifting Capital’s Storied Old Town for Far-Right March on Cherished Independence Day?

Last year’s neo-Nazi event featured front banner glorifying a series oflocal Holocaust collaborators; it was addressed by a high Catholic Church official and “honored guest” neo-Nazis from abroad

2018 lead banner: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE”. The “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941. PHOTO: © DEFENDING HISTORY.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Human Rights, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Run-Up to 2019’s February 16th March in Central Vilnius

Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”



by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson


Saturday February 16, 2019 will celebrated as Independence Day in Lithuania (marking the 1918 rise of the state; a second independence day, March 11th, marks its 1990 reestablishment). The far-right-nationalists of Lithuania have once again been permitted to march through the central Old Town streets of the country’s capital to praise their so-called heroes. These views on “heroes” held by the Vilnius marchers are pretty much shared by much of the present and past government establishments, as evidenced, for example, by street names and  public plaques and many episodes of glorification of collaborators, including the infamous 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, The OSCE, Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”

Center of Vilnius Again Gifted to 1,000 Far-Right & Neo-Nazi Marchers on Lithuania’s Cherished March 11th Independence Day



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS  MARCHES  |  REGIONAL PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION

By Defending History Staff

Photos by Julius Norwilla, Ruta Ostrovskaya, and Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—For the 11th year running, the center of Lithuania’s beautiful capital, Vilnius, was gifted in the high afternoon hours this past Sunday, Match 11th, to far-righters and neo-Nazis on the annual holiday cherished by the free world for its historic importance, in 1990, in the series of events that toppled the Soviet Union’s hated misrule. The Defending History community, all resolute admirers of Lithuania who celebrate its successhas monitored this event annually. The international outcry after the 2008 event, which featured “Juden raus” and a throng of swastikas had led to curious “compromises” each year between organizers and the municipality on what will and will not be done. But no sign yet of the mayor’s office, municipality or government finding the moral backbone to just say, “No, not in the center of our capital on our independence day.”

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Defending History Invites Volunteers to Help Monitor March 11 Neo-Nazis’ Event in Central Vilnius



EVENTS  | VILNIUS MARCHES  | KAUNAS MARCHES | PRO-NAZI MARCHES IN EASTERN EUROPE

SUNDAY 11 MARCH: Celebrating Lithuania’s independence and success and also, as each year, monitoring the neo-Nazi march for which the center of Vilnius is gifted (on this of all days). Monitoring group meets at 15:30 (3:30 PM) sharp at the Bell Tower on Cathedral Square. Our monitors are quiet, peaceful, courteous, carry no placards and chant no replies. We are there to monitor, record, and report, and silently remember the annihilated Jews of Lithuania in the face of marchers’ practice in recent years of flaunting banners with images of actual collaborators of the Lithuanian Holocaust (a thinly-veiled way of expressing glee at the genocide). Hopefully human rights organizations will finally do their jobs. See Defending History’s annual eyewitness reports for previous Vilnius marches (Kaunas marches here).

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“Nationalist” March in Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s 100th Birthday Ends Up in Usual Neo-Nazi Spirit



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS  MARCHES  |  REGIONAL PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION

Eyewitness Report by Defending History Staff with photos by Julius Norwilla. His photo gallery available here.

 

Lead banner reads: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE. This year’s “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941.

It started off as a sanitized version of neo-Nazi culture made to look like just “mainstream nationalist.” But by the time the event reached its peak, it featured hundreds of people carrying torches through some of the oldest streets of Vilnius Old Town, while worshiping a banner featuring six alleged Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Holocaust per se, thereby symbolically expressing some kind of glee at the successful ethnic cleansing which these “heroes” supported. The Catholic Church gave the events a de facto  blessing. The two open voices of morally clear protest were of the Jewish activist Daniel Lupshitz and the Catholic professor Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Defending History’s Julius Norwilla and Dovid Katz monitored the event.

For more on the six figures depicted on the lead banner, follow the links for (from left):  Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and  Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Dovid Katz, Events, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on “Nationalist” March in Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s 100th Birthday Ends Up in Usual Neo-Nazi Spirit

Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES

VILNIUS—This year’s March 11th independence day march here last month was again granted the route of highest prestige, from Cathedral Square, up the whole of the capital’s main thoroughfare, Gedimino Boulevard, and ending at Parliament Square. Defending History’s eyewitness report recounted this year’s “detour” to the presidential palace for the bizarre ceremony of attacking Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja), 95 next month, one of the Jewish partisans subjected to defamation by the state’s campaign of Holocaust revisionism that has included a “blame the victims” components that started eleven years ago.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST (ONLY JEWISH) VETERANS OF THE ANTI-NAZI PARTISANS; RENEWED 2017 CAMPAIGN AGAINST FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY

 

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Documents, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day

State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Issues Document that is “2017’s Jew-Witch Hunt” Against 95 Year Old Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—The following (text below) is a translation from Lithuanian of the 2 March 2017 letter from the state-sponsored Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania (widely known as the Genocide Center) to a nationalist group that put on this year’s March 11th Independence Day neo-Nazi march, with authorities’ permission, in the center of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. The group had complained about Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaite, having granted an award on February 16th to Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, soon to turn 95, for her work in the field of Holocaust education. The president’s office had referred the complaint to the Genocide Center which issued this letter (facsimile of the original below). The correspondence was then read out at a bizarre ceremony that some observers thought bore the hallmarks of a 2017 “Jew-witch hunt” when the Independence day festivities announced a detour to the presidential palace to read out the various letters and condemn Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, who is the only one of her family to survive the Holocaust precisely because she escaped the Vilna Ghetto in September 1943 and joined up with the anti-Nazi Soviet partisans, the only force seriously challenging Hitler’s rule of Lithuania.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Documents, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Issues Document that is “2017’s Jew-Witch Hunt” Against 95 Year Old Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky

Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Parade; A Tirade Against Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95


[last update 14 March 2017]

HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  IN VILNIUS  | KAUNAS  |  RIGA

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—A six-person monitoring group assembled by Defending History was the only human rights team at this year’s March 11th neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius. DH’s monitors were Eveldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz, Julius Norwilla, Ruta Ostrovskaja, Jacob Piliansky, and Julia Rets. Two senior longtime annual observers, both major figures in Lithuania’s Jewish community for over half a century, Milan Chersonski and Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, were prevented  by health issues from monitoring the event this year.

For years Defending History has asked that the marchers’ freedom of speech be respected at venues away from the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day. The granting of “that time and place” (only since 2008) conveys a sense of legitimization by both the municipality and national government, which are sometimes thought to be playing a “double game” by facilitating the honoring of Holocaust perpetrators locally, alongside commemorations for the victims for foreign consumption. At least two Western ambassadors were “quietly” among the observing crowds.

Photo Galleries:

Evaldas Balčiūnas; Julius Norwilla; Julia RetsAlkas.lt; Delfi.lt. Did “mainstream media” coverage avoid imaging swastikas, other fascist symbols, and Hitler salutes?

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Posted in "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Parade; A Tirade Against Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95

Defending History to Monitor Central Vilnius Neo-Nazi Parade on March 11th Independence Day



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  IN VLNIUS  | KAUNAS  |  RIGA

VILNIUS—DefendingHistory.com invites citizens and visitors in town, and the Human Rights community especially, to come join the annual monitoring mission that will meet this Saturday, 11 March, at 3:30 PM at the Bell Tower on Cathedral square. From 2008, the year the center of Vilnius was first gifted by the municipality to the neo-nazis on the nation’s cherished March 11th independence day, the Vilnius-based team has been keeping track of the annual event, which has caused unbearable pain to the last Holocaust survivors and their families, not least because the marchers often flaunt placards glorifying various specific local Holocaust collaborators, in what appears to be a kind of celebration of the murder of the country’s Jewish citizens in the Holocaust. Since 2009, the team has been monitoring personally, on an annual basis, at the same time silently protesting and commemorating the annihilated Jewish population of the city that was once called Jerusalem of Lithuania. The march’s Facebook page is here.

The following is today’s public entry on the Facebook page of DH’s editor, Dovid Katz:

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Defending History to Monitor Central Vilnius Neo-Nazi Parade on March 11th Independence Day

UK’s Europe Minister Again Fails to Offer Even Mild Criticism of Baltic State-Enabled Nazi Worship



UK  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  DOCUMENTS

LONDON—The following is the UK Minister for Europe’s 8 April 2016 reply to his former shadow counterpart, Labour MP Gareth Thomas, concerning neo-Nazi marches in Latvia and Lithuania that occur each year with with substantial government support in the heart of each nation’s capital. For reference, the minister’s 2013 reply on the same topic is appended below.


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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, EU, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on UK’s Europe Minister Again Fails to Offer Even Mild Criticism of Baltic State-Enabled Nazi Worship

Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day



PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM   |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė  (with additional input and photos by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, and Julius Norwilla)

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PHOTO: EVALDAS BALCIUNAS FOR DH

Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march. On the contrary there are many signs of both tolerance and support from very high places, including the permits to march granted by the municipality (no comment from the mayor?) and other relevant authorities.

Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day: “Without any obstacles, we received from the municipality an official permit to march [this day] on the main boulevard of Vilnius.” The official march was concluded several hours earlier and the heads of state apparently rested quietly as the neo-Nazis proceeded to take over the city center, from Cathedral to Parliament, a route rich in symbolic power.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day

Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015



O P I N I O N

by Tomas Venclova

The following text is the authorized English translation of Professor Venclova’s address at a conference on Holocaust issues, organized by Rūta Vanagaitė, held at Vilnius City Hall on 17 April 2015. The original Lithuanian text. Video of Tomas Venclova speaking. Conference program. Conference’s final press release.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Tomas Venclova, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015

Wiesenthal Center Releases Vilnius Municipality’s 10 March Response to Appeal to Halt Neo-Nazi Takeover of Downtown Vilnius on Lithuania’s Independence Day


The Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center today released the response received by its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to his 3 March appeal to the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, the nation’s capital, to halt the planned neo-Nazi march in the city’s center on independence day, March 11th. The response was received on 10 March by emailed PDF, and seems to fail to address the requests in the letter that the municipality ensure that Nazi symbols, racially exclusionary slogans and glorification of Holocaust collaborators not be allowed in the city center on the national holiday.

Dr. Zuroff’s letter of March 3rd elicited the following reply on the 10th of March (as PDF):

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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.

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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

Jewish Community of Lithuania Issues Statement on Neo-Nazis’ March in Central Vilnius



VILNIUS—The Jewish Community of Lithuania today issued a statement concerning yesterday’s far-right march for which state powers again allocated the capital’s most prestigious central boulevard and a march route starting at Gediminas’ Hill and the Cathedral, and passing by the offices of the prime minister and government and concluding at the nation’s parliament.

The text of the statement, which follows earlier statements and discussions, is as follows:

The Lithuanian Jewish Community does not approve of the march by the Union of Lithuanian Nationalist Youth held on March 11, Lithuanian Independence Day, in Vilnius, because we believe the values publicly espoused by the marchers do not correspond to the principles of the modern democratic state which has been the basis for the creation of Lithuania for the last 25 years.

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Defending History’s Eyewitness Report on Vilnius, March 11, 2015



1,500 Neo-Nazis and Far-Right Extremists Again Given Vilnius’s Main Boulevard on Nation’s March 11th Independence Day; They Parade from Cathedral Square to Nation’s Parliament with Fascist Symbols and Chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for [Pure] Lithuanians) 

STATEMENTS FROM PRECEDING DAYS;

UPDATES: FOLLOWING THE EVENT — JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LITHUANIA’S STATEMENT AND REPORTSIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER; GEOFF VASIL IN DH

Flag with Swastika Hoisted Outside Nation’s Parliament for Over an Hour

Photos: Geoff Vasil (left image) and Defending History (right image)

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Run-Up to the March 11, 2015 Neo-Nazi March in Central Vilnius…



Will Lithuania’s Leaders Let 25th Independence Day be Marred by Neo-Nazis Commandeering Capital’s Center?

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The Latest:

Last-minute statements from the head of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and the Simon Wiesenthal’s Center director of East European Affairs. From Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

Appeals from Dr. Zuroff to the mayor of Vilnius, and Dr. Vilhjálmsson to the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI).

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On Eve of Planned Neo-Nazi March, Statements by Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center



VILNIUS—On the eve of the planned neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius, slated for 3 PM on March 11th, Lithuania’s independence day, the chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Faina Kukliansky, issued a statement on the community’s website, which was followed within minutes by a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director of East European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The full text of both statements follows:

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Faina Kukliansky, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on On Eve of Planned Neo-Nazi March, Statements by Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center