Vilnius Yiddish Institute

Developments collectively defining the hijack of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (VYI), an academic and minority language cultural institution founded to protect a fragile, threatened language and culture, by state-financed political forces determined to use Yiddish, Judaic studies and Holocaust studies per se as camouflage for red-brown politics. One of the results has been a director who is a member of the state’s commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes rather than a specialist in Yiddish language, literature and culture.
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Text of Irish Ambassador Dónal Denham’s 2008 Speech at Brantsovsky Reception is Released for the Record



DOCUMENTS  |  IRELAND  |  BLAMING THE VICTIMS?

Nearly a decade after MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHE Dónal Denham’s 3 June 2008 historic reception for Fania Brantsovsky, a hero of the Holocaust-era anti-Nazi Jewish partisan resistance in Lithuania, held at the Irish Ambassador’s Residence in Vinius, the text of his speech has been released. It appears below. See our report on the June 2008 event. Historical note: Defending History believes it was the first time since collapse of the Soviet Union that Western embassies in one of the new democracies saw a need to honor a person who was being unjustly targeted by state prosecution services and other national elites. The American, Austrian, British, French, German, Norwegian and other embassies followed the Irish lead. 

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Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?



OPINION  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Beware of any academic conference hosted by a nation’s parliament. This isn’t about Lithuania, the Baltics, or Eastern Europe. It’s about the intellectual independence and academic integrity of bona fide academic conclaves anywhere. There are elementary questions. Was there a public call for papers? Was there an academic committee established to select those papers by the most competent specialists on the actual topic of the conference? An academic committee that would guard against the petty jealousies, politics of revenge and personal exclusions, as well as larger political correctnesses or state-sponsored-agency attempts to predetermine the proceedings or (ab)use them for governmental PR? Is the conference a free tribune for the exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect? One where scholars of opposing views can thrash it out, robustly and publicly — without the loss of interpersonal respect — to yield positive results for the area of human enquiry to which the conference was dedicated in the first place. One of the ironies is that Vilnius is nowadays host to some of the world’s best (and most academically free) conferences in an array of fields, both in the humanities and the sciences. That Soviet-style rigging should survive in the case of Judaic studies, of all things, will itself be studied one day.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?

Baltic Red-Brown “Nazi-Soviet Hunter” Featured at Brazil’s Olympics in Rio



OPINION  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION (PAGE)  |  RB COMMISSION (SECTION)  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE

VILNIUS—The news portal Delfi.lt reported yesterday on Lithuanian sharpshooting star Ronaldas Račinskas making a hit at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics not only for his talents with a rifle, but on his work back home for which the headline calls him the “Nazi-Soviet hunter,” in the latest of a long series of Holocaust terms appropriated and ably recast by the Red-Brown movement’s PR wizzards. Besides heading a commission that now includes the gentleman who launched the campaign, a decade ago, to “hunt” Holocaust survivors who joined the Jewish partisans, his “Nazi and Soviet hunting” refers to his role as Director of the Secretariat of that comission, popularly known as the Red-Brown Commission, a state-financed entity that is one of the main European engines for spreading the revisionist far right’s “Double Genocide” model of World War II history. In that history, as an example, those who liberated Auschwitz are declared to be equal in principle to those who committed the genocide there. Moreover the movement’s primary document, the 2008 Prague Declaration (PD), insists that all European “minds” accept the revised history and regard Nazi and Soviet crimes as equal, a stance widely considered to be a camouflage for obfuscating and diminishing the Holocaust. The response in the European arena came in the form of the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration (SYD).

Director of the Secretariat of the state-sponsored International Commission on the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania (known for short as the “Red-Brown Commission”) is a sharpshooting star at the Rio Olympics. He has rapidly brought red-brown politics into the apolitical environment of the Olympic Games. His views on the Holocaust feature in a new German documentary.

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In Reply to Summertime Yiddishists in Vilnius



VILNIUSThe following Facebook post, on the page of DH’s editor, issued today, is republished below. For context and a fuller picture, see DH’s recent report on the manipulation of Yiddish by the state’s commission reponsible for promoting the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament and beyond.

Image may contain: shoes, text and one or more people

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UCL “Point Man” Honored in Vilnius



LONDONDefending History readers are familiar with the curious history of University College London’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies repeatedly providing cover for Lithuanian government efforts to obfuscate the Holocaust via the revisionist paradigm widely known as Double Genocide.  The saga started in late 2010 with the announcement of an “academic” conference from which all critics of Lithuanian government policy were banned, and whose raison d’être was announced as replacing the “simplified” narratives of the Holocaust. The then head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Prof. Ada Rapoport-Albert, was herself one of the signatories on a public letter of protest handed to the Lithuanian embassy in February 2011. The Wiesenthal Center’s director of East European affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, published an op-ed on the subject in London’s Jewish Chronicle.

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Why Was Richard Maullin, Head of California ISO, Honored by the Foreign Minister of Lithuania?



O P I N I O N

LOS ANGELES—Richard A. Maullin, elected less than a year ago as the chair of the California Independent System Operator (ISO) Board, was lavishly honored here on May 31st by both the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States and the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. The latter, in the tradition of royalty, meticulously placed the Lithuanian Diplomatic Star around the neck of Dr. Maullin, a major American pollster and principal of the LA polling and public policy research firm FM3, often still known by its older name Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

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Member of Red-Brown Commission and Trasher of Yiddish Dissidents is Appointed to Council of Europe’s “Commission against Racism and Intolerance” (ECRI)



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Waves of shock laced with the “actual” human rights community’s usual black humor undulated through the different struggling branches of that community this week as the Council of Europe announced the appointment of one of the most multiply-titled intellectuals of modern Lithuania (or Europe), Prof. Dr. S. Liekis, as a new member of the Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (CARI). Professor Liekis is professor at Vilnius University, Romeris University, Vytautas Magnus University, and a crack member of the government’s red-brown commission, formally known by its somewhat Orwellian name, The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. The local term “actual human rights” community in Lithuania refers to those who monitor and publicly post on issues, as opposed to those on endless government and EU budgets who are sometimes accused of covering up issues and shirking from anything that is not nationalist PR meant for naive Westerners.


One immediate opportunity presents itself. CARI and the Council of Europe could quickly make clear their view of the Lithuanian government’s decision to allow an SS banner with a swastika to be foisted at the nation’s Parliament (the Seimas) for over an hour on the nation’s hallowed independence day, 11 March 2015. Reports on the day, which funded human rights organizations here generally failed to monitor, in Defending History and on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania.


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A Kyrgyz-Kazakhstani Yiddish Twist? Was A. Mashkevich, Major Jewish Philanthropist, Manipulated by Lithuanian Operatives?


Alexander Mashkevich

Alexander Mashkevich

Sources in the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, themselves asking to remain anonymous, have leaked to select media contacts that the “secret donor” for the secretive new WJC/ORT Yiddish cultural center in Vilnius is none other than Kyrgyz born Alexander Mashkevich, a charismatic, brilliant, well-liked, and decidedly flamboyant “Russian Jewish oligarch” who is mostly associated with Kazakhstan.

Mr. Mashkevich holds a doctorate in linguistics, is descended from Lithuanian Jews, and is known for his generosity to numerous charities and his leadership in the Russian-speaking Jewish world. He is a former president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. The WJC and ORT sources supplying the information claim to be worried on his behalf about manipulation by the Lithuanian government’s “double genocide unit” via the medium of famous Jewish organizations.

The center’s establishment was announced in a Vilnius interview with World Jewish Congress executive director Michael Schneider last April, in which he indicated that the new center would be funded by “an anonymous donor who doesn’t want his name to be mentioned.”

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Regina Kopilevich, Genealogist and Historical Tour Guide for Jewish Lithuania, Speaks Out on Yiddish in Vilnius


VILNIUS—Regina Kopilevich, whose extensive contributions to Jewish genealogy and tourism have been covered by the New York Times, today released a statement about the new Yiddish language teaching positions planned in Vilnius. Ms. Kopilevich is one of the leading tour guides in the Baltic region for both Jewish history and family roots voyagers.

The statement follows in short order those released by Milan Chersonski, longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, the Jewish community’s former newspaper; Daniel Galay, director of Leivick House and the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel; and Professor Olegas Poliakovas, a philology professor at Vilnius University and longtime member of the university’s senate. The positions are being arranged by high officials of the World Jewish Congress.

The text of Ms. Kopilevich’s statement follows.


Open Letter from Regina Kopilevich

Vilnius, 28 July 2014

Professor Dovid Katz first came to Lithuania when it was part of the Soviet Union, and set out on 25 years of interviewing and recording (and always helping) aged Holocaust survivors in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, and northeastern Poland.

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Milan Chersonski, Longtime Editor of “Jerusalem of Lithuania” Calls on World Jewish Congress to Advertise New Yiddish Positions in Vilnius


VILNIUS—Milan Chersonski made public today the text of his letter to Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. Mr. Chersonski was editor-in-chief of the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) Jerusalem of Lithuania, the official publication of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, from 1999 to 2011. From 1979 to 1999 he was artistic director of the Jewish Folk Theatre in Vilnius, which for many years had been the only Yiddish theatre in the Soviet Union. A film documentary tribute to his work was released in 2012 (part 1; part 2).

Mr. Chersonski is a regular contributor to Defending History. This statement reflects his personal views.


An Open Letter  to Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress

 Vilnius, 25 July 2014

Dear Mr. Lauder,

I am one of your loyal admirers who for many years, as editor (in the years 1999-2011) of the quadrilingual newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Jerusalem of Lithuania, has been following your achievements, and also your deep commitment to Judaism via a range of philanthropic initiatives that have made a substantial difference for the betterment of Jewish life. When you were appointed to the presidency of the World Jewish Congress in 2007, I was proud as editor to give the event and your many achievements front page coverage (see Jerusalem of Lithuania, 2007, no. 5-6: page 1).

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Prof. Olegas Poliakovas, Longtime Member of Vilnius University’s Senate, Speaks Out on New Yiddish Positions in Vilnius


 VILNIUS—The office of Vilnius University’s Professor Olegas Poliakovas, a leading philologist and member of the Senate of Vilnius University (from 2001 to 2014), issued this statement today concerning possible new Yiddish studies positions in Vilnius.

For background to recent developments, please see the earlier report on the World Jewish Congress initiative; the statement issued by Daniel Galay, director of Leyvik House, the center of Yiddish cultural activities in Israel; and a Facebook comment by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.

In the meantime, the World Jewish Congress has included news of the new institute in its newsletter, without confirming that the academic positions will be advertised in a fair and transparent process to ensure academic quality, moral integrity, and independence from political pressures. As widely reported, the previous professor of Yiddish (1999-2010), Dr. Dovid Katz (DH’s editor), was terminated following eleven years of incident-free service after speaking out for the Holocaust survivor veterans of the Jewish partisans who are accused of war crimes (in the absence of any charges or specific issues).


Text of Statement issued by Professor Olegas Poliakovas:

Vilnius, 22 July 2014

I was delighted to hear of the possibility that a professorship or major teaching position in Yiddish Studies would be restored in Vilnius. Before World War II, Vilnius was one of the greatest centers of Yiddish culture in Europe. It ceased to have that distinction due to the tragic fate of the Jewish population during the war. Thus, this teaching position could play a part in the restoration of historic justice.

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Tel Aviv’s Leyvik House Issues Call to World Jewish Congress on Vilnius Yiddish Jobs in the Works


 TEL AVIV— Daniel Galay, director of Leyvik House in central Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s major Yiddish culture institutions, issued the following statement today on the Leyvik House website (copy), and on its Facebook page (see also Efraim Zuroff’s Facebook comment). For background see our earlier report.


 

Appeal to the World Jewish Congress

Tel Aviv, 12 June 2014

Like all lovers of Yiddish language and culture, we at Leyvik House in Tel Aviv, home to the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel, were happy to see the recent announcement that the World Jewish Congress would be facilitating a new Yiddish center in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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Could WJC get Ensnared in “Yiddish” as Cover for Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania?



O P I N I O N

A recent report, also available as PDF, suggests sudden and deep involvement of the World Jewish Congress in the Lithuanian government’s repeatedly documented use of Yiddish, Judaic studies and even Holocaust studies as means to advance — or cover for — state-sponsored Double Genocide revisionism with respect to the essential narrative of the Holocaust. The report has proven to be disturbing for the wider Holocaust survivor community and its supporters.

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WJC Executive Director Michael Schneider Goes on the Record in Vilnius, about Yiddish and Secret Donor


The following is a reprint of the interview given by Michael Schneider, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, dated 9 April 2014 and posted shortly thereafter on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania (PDF here).

UPDATE: See Section on WJC and ORT Yiddish involvement in Vilnius. Open letters to the WJC from Milan Chersonski, Daniel Galay, Regina Kopilevich, Prof. Olegas Poliakovas.


 

World Jewish Congress and Lithuanian Jewish Community Attention to and Support for the Vilnius Yiddish Institute

 April 9, 2014

SchneiderisMICHAEL SCHNEIDERIS

Michael Schneider, a well-known leader of the World Jewish Congress and former executive director of WJC and the JDC (Joint), is currently visiting the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Discussions are taking place at the community on improving and expanding the activity of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University and changes in its administration.

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Yiddish Roulette? One Resigns in Bloomington, Another Rides In from Buffalo


Sources in Bloomington, Indiana and Vilnius, Lithuania, confirmed this week that Dr. Daniel R. Berg, an eminent physician in the greater Bloomington area, has resigned from the rump “Board of Friends” of Sarunas Liekis’s “Vilnius Yiddish Institute” (VYI). The institute’s website abruptly removed Dr. Berg’s name and photograph from the board. No letter of resignation was released to the media, but a source close to the doctor said he was dismayed to see the institute’s resources being dedicated to a campaign of defamation against its own former Yiddish professor and founder, whose name and contributions have been deleted from the historic faculty page, in the classic Soviet style of revising history.

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Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office Releases 2007 Correspondence with LA Board Chief of Vilnius Yiddish Institute



Editor’s note: The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office today released for the record the following September 2007 email exchange with the director of the Los Angeles based “Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute” (VYI).

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Red-Brown Commission Member Takes Katz-Bashing Campaign to Litvak Culture Fest in Philadephia; LA Next?



O P I N I O N

A senior historian and his government’s “master fixer for foreign Jewish academics,” Professor Sarunas Liekis told an audience of hundreds in Philadelphia last Sunday that Dovid Katz had never been a professor of Yiddish at Vilnius University, and had been discontinued in 2010 by the American Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (led by Richard Maullin of Los Angeles) for not having turned up for class for several years (!).

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EHU Center for German Studies: “Colloquium Vilnense 2013” is Short on “The Second Opinion” when it comes to The Holocaust



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

Colleagues at the prestigious European Humanities University in Vilnius (EHU, also known as the Belarusian Humanities University, in exile here in Vilnius) have passed on the public poster for this year’s series of seminars under the title Colloquium vilnense 2013, running from May to November 2013. The A3 size poster is reproduced (much reduced) at the bottom of this page in two halves.

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Bloomington-Borns Jewish Studies Arranges for 2nd Right-Wing Soviet-Israeli Self Publishing Poet to be “Professor of Yiddish in Vilnius”


Through the good offices of the Borns Jewish Studies program at Indiana University (Bloomington), and its Dr. Alice Field Cohn Chair Yiddish studies professor, D.B. Kerler (“Boris Karloff”), who allegedly knifed his own doctoral supervisor in pursuit of a summer position in Vilnius (despite having a tenured position in the US), a comrade Soviet-Israeli self-publishing Yiddish poet has been announced as visiting professor of Yiddish on the home page of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Both have in some views allowed themselves to be instrumentalized by the right-wing Holocaust-revisionist establishment that seeks to cover for state policies including rampant antisemitism and the “Double Genocide” campaign via events and stunts in the field of Yiddish and Jewish studies.

According to the announcement, Dr. Velvl Chernin is now the “visiting professor” of Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, which was purged of full-time Jewish staff in 2010 and has been criticized for being Yiddish-free for eleven months of the year.

That situation has apparently now been remedied by the appointment of Dr. Chernin, who, it is announced,

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



O P I N I O N

A dedicated Facebook page provides facts and photos on today’s dignified and courageous demonstration by a small group of young Lithuanian human rights advocates against Vilnius University’s proceeding with an exhibition of an envelope designer whose work features flagrant antisemitic, homophobic and racist material (larger selection here).

Fiokla Kiure’s images of the event are available here; a small selection  follows this article.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Richard Maullin, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius University Calls Antisemitic, Racist, Homophobic Artist “Humanistic” as 9 Young Lithuanians Protest; Yiddish Institute, US Backers, Bloomington-Borns — All Silent

Vilnius University to Host Exhibit by Antisemitic, Homophobic “Envelope Artist”


According to Vilnius University’s website, a ceremony to open an exhibition of “envelope art” by Antanas Šakalys will be held in the White Hall of the university’s main library on 27 September at 2 PM. Mr. Šakalys’s antisemitic postcards were on sale for many years at the capital’s main Post Office, and were exposed in 2008 by the Jewish community’s newspaperJerusalem of Lithuania.

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Vilnius ‘Yiddish Studies Professor’ tells ‘Economist’ that Litvaks who Speak Out for Lithuanian Jewry are ‘Taliban’


Litvak Taliban?

Dispatched to London by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, the state-approved director of the Vilnius Yiddish(-less) Institute bemoaned feeling himself ‘between two Talibans’, referring to the antisemitic establishment in Lithuania on the one hand, and to a polite letter of Litvak protest on the other. The comment was reported in today’s Economist, in an article by Edward Lucas, which also reports that the VYI director, Sarunas Liekis, described himself as ‘a Yiddish-studies professor from Vilnius’.

The ‘Taliban’ letter was signed among others, by Lord Janner; British MP Denis MacShane; head of the last active Litvak organization in the world, Joe Melamed; the master historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust Prof. Dov Levin; Rabbi Barry Marcus, leader of London’s Central Synagogue. Text of the ‘Taliban’ letter here. Signatories here.

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Director of Yiddish Institute heading to Kazakhstan to Promote Freedom of Expression for Journalists


OR:

YIDDISH BORAT, HAVING SAVED FREEDOM OF THE PRESS IN LITHUANIA, HEADS FOR KAZAKHSTAN TO EDUCATE THE OSCE. HE ‘CLEANSED’ HIS ‘YIDDISH INSTITUTE’ OF YIDDISH FOR 11 MONTHS OF THE YEAR. . .

Sarunas Liekis, director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute has been appointed by Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an elite team of experts who were sent to a Review Conference in Warsaw (30 Sept — 8 Oct), in preparation for a second Review Conference in Vienna (18-26 Oct), and a third in Astana, Kazakhstan (26-28 Nov). These are all in preparation for a much larger OSCE summit scheduled for Kazakhstan that will follow on 1-2 December in Astana, that nation’s capital.

A prime theme of the OSCE summit, which marks Lithuania’s accession to the  chairmanship of OSCE, is media freedom and safety of journalists.

Details were released on 5 October by the Ministry (more here), which also put on its website this photo of the team preparing for the series of foreign trips culminating in the OSCE summit.

Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:  ‘The True Taste of Yiddish Language and Literature  — and Litvak Culture’

This journal sincerely hopes the VYI’s director, Professor Sarunas Liekis, will report to the OSCE on the failure of Lithuanian prosecutors to abandon the lamentable investigation into his own institute’s librarian, 88 year old Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, who has, along with other Holocaust Survivors, been the victim of an ultranationalist state-sponsored campaign of defamation. Details here. These are grave violations of human rights that were duly brought to the attention of the OSCE in December 2009.

The role of the press has been vital in these sad events.

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Holocaust Revisionists Successfully Manipulate Borns Jewish Studies Program (Indiana U, Bloomington); Vilnius Yiddish Institute is Purged with ‘a little help from Bloomington’


After authoring the book on Litvak culture for the Lithuanian section at the February 2009 Jerusalem Book Fair, the editor of this website who is the founding professor of Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, declined to attend to chair the Yiddish culture session, when he was told not to bring to the fair Dr. Rachel Margolis, resident in Rechovot. Dr. Margolis is one of the heroic Jewish partisans defamed by the Double Genocide industry.

Is the master J-handler keeping an eye? Prof. Sarunas Liekis (left) and Prof. Dov-Ber Kerler at the Jerusalem Book Fair.

The Lithuanian government unit running these affairs rapidly replaced him with Dov-Ber Kerler, the Alice Field Cohen professor at the Borns Jewish Studies program at Indiana University (Bloomington), who did not have time to keep a promise to visit with Dr. Rachel Margolis in Rechovot, as a symbol of moral support for the accused Holocaust Survivors. The complete program of events paid for by the Lithuanian government is here (but note that contrary to the published-for-PR schedule, Yitzhak Arad did not — as a matter of principle — appear at the event).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, Double Games, News & Views, Richard Maullin, United States, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Holocaust Revisionists Successfully Manipulate Borns Jewish Studies Program (Indiana U, Bloomington); Vilnius Yiddish Institute is Purged with ‘a little help from Bloomington’

Lithuania’s Last Jewish Professor has Contract Terminated, after Mounting Defense for Holocaust Survivors accused of ‘War Crimes’


Discontinuation of the contract of Lithuania’s last Jewish professor  — Dovid Katz, founding Yiddish professor at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute and editor of this website — for having mounted a defense of the defamed Holocaust Survivors, and building (via the Vilnius diplomatic community, op-eds in mainstream publications, and this site) international opposition to the ‘Double Genocide’ movement in Europe, and in Lithuania.

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Brazauskas Dies; Builder of Modern Lithuania who Embraced all his Country’s Peoples


Algirdas Brazauskas (1932-2010), visionary first elected president and later prime minister of free Lithuania died today in Vilnius. In each of his land’s highest offices he proved himself a leader in the grand spirit of the multicultural Grand Duchy of Lithuania who will be properly appreciated long after our time.

From the start of Lithuania’s new history as a proud democratic nation, Algirdas Brazauskas understood that it did no good for his country that war criminals had been rehabilitated by ultranationalist officials.

He paid tribute to Jewish partisan veterans for helping to free Lithuania from Nazi tyranny. As president, he  honored Prof Dov Levin. As prime minister, he issued a certificate of recognition to Dr Rachel Margolis.

President Brazauskas’s historic speech to the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on 1 March 1995 will never be forgotten (full text here). But in modern Litvak collective memory, there is perhaps one incident, that took place one day before, that will be remembered even more. The Lithuanian delegation was met by a picket line of Holocaust survivors near Yad Vashem.  One elderly survivor, Y. Brosh, whose entire family was murdered at Ponar, made his feelings known robustly. Like the other survivors who protested, he was wearing a yellow star on his jacket. President Brazauskas went over to to the man, hugged him and kissed him.

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Professor Iossel Announces Launch of Litvak Institute in the Canadian Jewish News


The following article by David Lazarus appeared today in the Canadian Jewish News.

MONTREAL Concordia University professor Mikhail Iossel was cautiously optimistic as he was about to leave for Vilnius, Lithuania, to take the first steps in launching a historically unprecedented undertaking, the Litvak Studies Institute (LSI).

The institute will operate as a permanent, non-profit studies program in Vilnius – known as Vilna to generations of Jews – seeking to preserve and transmit the rich religious, literary, linguistic and cultural legacy that defined Jewish Lithuania and was all but obliterated in the Holocaust, the creative writing professor said in an interview.

But the endeavour, Iossel acknowledged, is being undertaken in a country that – like most of eastern Europe – is experiencing rising nationalistic undercurrents and rumblings that depict Nazism and Stalinism as equal historic evils. Lithuania itself is being presented as a victim of genocide as the government attempts to sanitize its own involvement in the Holocaust.

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Key Diplomats in Vilnius ‘walk in the rain’ with VYI Librarian Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky


At the initiative of Norway’s ambassador to Lithuania HE Steinar Gil, a group of ambassadors and chiefs of mission defied persistent rain to go on a historical walking tour of the Vilna Ghetto, where Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 87, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, recounted the history of the city’s anti-Nazi resistance. They represented the embassies of Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Russia. Britain, Canada and the United States had participated on a previous date.

The walk was preceded by a meeting at the Jewish Community of Lithuania addressed by Norwegian ambassador HE Steinar Gil, JCL chairman Dr Shimon Alperovich, executive director Mr Simon Gurevich, and Professor Dovid Katz of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. The event is perceived as a meaningful response to the campaign of defamation targeting Jewish veterans of the anti-Nazi resistance (see below at 28 October 2009). Report at: Responses (→ 26 Nov 2009).




Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, France, Germany, Japan, News & Views, Norway, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Leave a comment

Lithuania’s Main News Portal Calls Jewish Partisan Hero Fania Brantsovsky a Suspect in a Mass Murder after she is Honored by the President of Germany


Minutes after the German Embassy in Vilnius issued a press release announcing that it had awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit to Holocaust survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (born 1922), Lithuania’s main news portal, Delfi.lt, published a bileful attack replete with libelous and ridiculous accusations about her ‘war crimes’ (in effect trying to blame the Holocaust’s victims, a frequent ploy of the Baltic region’s Double Genocide Industry that is pushing the Prague Declaration in the European Parliament). The campaign against Holocaust survivors was launched by the antisemitic press and picked up by state prosecutors, starting in 2006 (see Blaming the Victims and the 28 Oct 2009 entry on the home page). English translation. The Lithuanian original appeared with this caricature of anti-Nazi resistance veteran Brantsovsky, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, whose entire family perished in the Holocaust. It is not known why the Yiddish institute’s website contains no mention of the award, or of the unseemly attack against its own beloved librarian, who has been with the VYI since its inception in 2001. Speculation has centered on pressure ‘from above’ and fear of falling into disfavor with powers that be. On a related note, there is growing international interest in preservation of the underground partisan fort where Fania lived from September 1943 until the region’s liberation in July 1944. Authorities in the country seem to wish the fort to disappear. Fania is the country’s last Holocaust survivor who actually lived there. She continues to accompany visitors and students there. The international effort to save this remarkable Holocaust site is spearheaded by Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art & Monuments site.

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Germany, Human Rights, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Leave a comment

German President awards Fania Brantsovsky the Federal Cross of Merit


…Antisemitic Tirade Follows in Vilnius

Antisemitic reaction on Lithuania’s main news portal came within minutes of the German embassy’s press release announcing its award to anti-Nazi Jewish partisan veteran Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. The award is the president’s Federal Cross of Merit. It was presented to her by Germany’s ambassador to Lithuania Hans-Peter Annen in a ceremony at his embassy in Vilnius. Details at Responses (→ 28 Oct 2009).  [May 2010: Disturbingly, neither Fania’s award nor the antisemitic barrage against her has been mentioned to this day on the VYI website.]

English translation of the report on the Baltic internet portal Delfi, including the remarks of a ruling-party member of  parliament. It appeared with this caricature of the 87 year old Holocaust survivor who had just been honored by Germany’s president. Posted comments that threatened her with violence have now been removed. More details at Blaming the Victims (→ 28 Oct 2009). Daiva Repečkaitė and Milan Chersonski reply.

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Events, Germany, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Leave a comment

Seminars in Secret at the Annual Summer Program in Yiddish when the Topic is Holocaust Obfuscation


Seminars on Holocaust Obfuscation had to be held in private apartments during the Summer Program in Yiddish Language and Literature. [UPDATES added in later months as these materials appeared: Memoirs have been published by  Julia Blaukopf (Photographic Interiors, Pennsylvania); Jana Hock (Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch); Michael Cohen (more recent article here); Josh Markovitz (both UCLA). There have been comments in the Guardian and the Nation.]

The Vilnius Yiddish Institute staff list distributed to summer course students was purged of staff who spoke out publicly on behalf of the accused survivors and against ‘Double Genocide’. Lectures were convened at private apartments on August 10, 17, 19, 20 (more details at: Events). Image from 17 August; first and last slides; slide on European Parliament issues; more at Jamie Ehrenpreis’s Facebook siteGroup of participants after the 19 Aug. presentation; more by J. Ehrenpreis here.

Austrian Holocaust museum volunteer Adalbert Wagner set up power-point facilities, generously lent by the Green House Holocaust Museum. The organization of these lectures was assisted by VYI summer course participants  Dr Judy Freier, Dr Ilya Levin, Prof Abraham Lichtenbaum, Daniel Nemenyi, Dr Shimon Samuels, Berti Wagner. Larry Mandel, Daniel Nemenyi and  Martina Ravagnan for opened up their homes to one lecture each.

It is thought that the ‘Dirty Tricks Department’ of the Lithuanian government unit aiming to manipulate Jewish issues is planning for the Yiddish institute to become a PR tool of the government, with the Yiddish professor of Bloomington, Indiana brought over summertime and for select events to provide the necessary Yiddish Studies Cover for several weeks a year.


UPDATES HERE


Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Seminars in Secret at the Annual Summer Program in Yiddish when the Topic is Holocaust Obfuscation

Vilna Ghetto Victims Substituted for War Criminals List in the Baltic Times; VYI Chief calls the Association of Lithuanian Jews ‘Extreme Right-Wingers’


Part of a list of Jewish victims of the Vilna Ghetto (including fallen resistance hero Yechiel Sheinboim) appears in the Baltic Times instead of the captioned list of alleged Nazi-allied murderers (zoom-in).

The young foreign reporter was wholly innocent; a still unidentified source provided the wrong list. An obscure and ambiguous correction appeared the following week.

Moreover, director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute Sarunas Liekis is quoted (misquoted?) in the article (column 2), as calling the last active group of Litvak Holocaust survivors in the world (the ALJ in Tel Aviv) ‘extreme right-wingers’, adding that ‘scholars don’t talk to them’. Although now aged, these survivors’ ranks still include prominent Holocaust scholars.

The Baltic trend to delegitimize Holocaust survivors and their supporters is part of the wider series of attempted conceptual realignments deemed ‘necessary’ to propagate the Double Genocide bandwagon, and obfuscation of the Holocaust, within the context of regional unltranationalism.


Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Comments Off on Vilna Ghetto Victims Substituted for War Criminals List in the Baltic Times; VYI Chief calls the Association of Lithuanian Jews ‘Extreme Right-Wingers’

Dissenting Academic Rapidly Replaced with Foreign Stand-in at the Jerusalem Book Fair; Dr Rachel Margolis Betrayed Again


After authoring the book on Litvak culture for the Lithuanian section at the Jerusalem Book Fair, the editor of this website declined to attend to chair the Yiddish culture session, when he was asked not to bring to the fair Dr Rachel Margolis, resident in Rechovot; she is one of the heroic Jewish partisans defamed by the Double Genocide industry.

The Lithuanian government unit running these affairs rapidly replaced him with the Yiddish professor from the Borns Jewish Studies program at Indiana University (Bloomington).

The ‘Book Fair Affair’ was widely reported. See: Haaretz: ‘When Lithuania was Yiddishland’ by Raphael Ahren; also: comments by Milan Chersonski, editor of the Jewish community’s periodical, Jerusalem of Lithuania: ‘It’s not just about the Jerusalem Book Fair’ (Jan-March 2009); May 2010 update on Dr Margolis’s situation here.

More details here on the ‘Book Fair Affair’ and the further cooperation of the Borns Jewish Studies program with the nationalist establishment in Vilnius.

UPDATES TO JUNE 2011 SEE HERE


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Dr Efraim Zuroff’s Seminar at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute is Blackballed


The assistant director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Ruta Puisyte, reported today that Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s scheduled seminar at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute was cancelled on the orders of the institute’s director, Professor Sarunas Liekis. No explanation was given.

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Ireland’s Ambassador Donal Denham Hosts a Reception for Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky at his Residence in Vilnius


The Embassy of Ireland in Lithuania issued a certificate of lifetime achievement to Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, signed by HE Ambassador Dónal Denham, who presented the award at a reception today at the ambassador’s residence. Ambassador Denham’s speech concluded with the words: ‘Fania is one brave woman! You are a beautiful person, a special person, an inspiration to us all.’

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Efraim Zuroff Hands the Lithuanian Ambassador a Letter of Protest in Tel Aviv on her State’s Campaign against Jewish Partisan Heroes in Vilnius


At an event today in Tel Aviv the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, hand-delivered a letter of protest to the Lithuanian ambassador to Israel, HE Asta Skaisgirytė Liaukšienė.

Dr. Zuroff’s letter (PDF here, and reproduced in full below from facsimile transmission), in addition to noting the neo-Nazi parade held with police help in the center of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital on March 11th this year, and the ongoing “investigation” against former Yad Vashem director Dr. Yitzhak Arad, emphasizes the shocking events earlier this month, when police in Vilnius came looking for two Jewish women Holocaust survivors and heroes of the Jewish partisan resistance against Nazi Germany, Dr. Rachel Margolis and Ms. Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky.

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Police Come Looking for Holocaust Survivors Rachel Margolis and Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky


Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, Events, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Comments Off on Police Come Looking for Holocaust Survivors Rachel Margolis and Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky