Efraim Zuroff

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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A Shameful Shoah Whitewash



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

This comment appeared in today’s Jewish Chronicle (London) and is reposted here by the author’s permission.


A financially-strapped small Eastern European country is spending tens of thousands of pounds to sponsor an extraordinarily large number of political and cultural events ― lectures, concerts, exhibitions and films ― in London next week. Why? That is the obvious question for the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, several Lithuanian cultural institutions, and local UK partners.

Under the heading No Simple Stories; Jewish-Lithuanian relationships: facing difficult questions, the events are projected as an honest attempt to address the ostensibly complex history of Lithuania’s once very large Jewish community, which was irreparably decimated during the Holocaust — 96.4% of the 220,000 Jews who lived in Lithuania under the Nazi occupation were slaughtered, with the help of a large number of local collaborators.

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Text of the Letter Delivered to the Lithuanian Ambassador in London on 7 February 2011



Text of the letter delivered to the Lithuanian ambassador in London Monday morning 7 February 2011 by the Right Honourable Denis MacShane MP. The letter was drafted by Danny Ben-Moshe and evolved with input from the other signatories. Signatories include Lord Janner of Braunstone, Rabbi Barry Marcus of Central Synagogue, and Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert, head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London which hosted the main conference. PDF here. Background and further links to press coverage here.


H.E. Dr Oskaras Jusys

Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania
84 Gloucester Place
London W1U 6AU

7 February 2011

Dear Ambassador

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Václav Havel and the Prague Declaration



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

 

I hate to spoil the Havel and the Jews festival in the wake of his demise, but I feel that it is important to point out a terrible mistake Havel made which directly relates to Jewish affairs. I am referring to his signing the Prague Declaration of June 3, 2008 (along with 39 other East European politicians and intellectuals), which basically equates Communist crimes with those of the Nazis, warns that “Europe will not be united unless it is able to unite its history [and] recognize Communism and Nazism as a common legacy”and seeks to deny the Holocaust its deserved status as a unique case of genocide.

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Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors Protest Tel Aviv “Gala”


Kovno Ghetto Survivor and Resistance Hero Joe Melamed, 87, Leads March 5th 2012 Picket Line Against “Sellout Gala” at the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama

Lithuanian Foreign Minister and Brothers Zingeris are Greeted by Protesting Holocaust Survivors

A FIRST-TIME PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LEYVIK HOUSE YIDDISH CULTURE CENTERTHE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL OFFICE AND THE ASSOCIATION OF LITHUANIAN JEWS IN ISRAEL

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Efraim Zuroff Responds to Tablet Magazine Essay on Timothy Snyder



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

  • The following comment first appeared in the discussion following David Mikics’s Tablet magazine article on Timothy Snyder (“The Diplomat of Shoah History. Does Yale historian Timothy Snyder absolve Eastern Europe of special complicity in the Holocaust?”). It is reproduced here with Dr. Zuroff’s permission. For further background, see the links below.

Unfortunately, this excellent article by David Mikics focuses almost exclusively on Poland, which for historical reasons is not the place where Snyder’s Bloodlands totally fails to present a historical account of the reality of the Holocaust. A far better place would be the Baltics in general, and Lithuania in particular. In these countries, three important phenomena took place:

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Wiesenthal Center Protests Australia’s Failure to Extradite Suspected Nazi War Criminal



FROM THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center harshly criticized this morning’s decision by the Australian High Court to block the extradition to Hungary for war crimes of suspected Nazi collaborator Charles (Karoly) Zentai.

“Today is a sad day for Australia, and for justice, but most of all for the Nazis’ victims, their families and those who empathize with their suffering. Our sympathies today are with the Balazs family, whose brother Peter was the victim of Zentai and his accomplices, and who tried to see justice achieved in this case, but were thwarted by the Australian authorities.”

— Efraim Zuroff

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The Case that Broke the Heart of a Nazi-Hunter



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

The following is a transcription of the text that appeared in today’s edition of The Australian.


 

At the end of next week, I will have spent 32 years as a “Nazi-hunter,” trying to facilitate the prosecution of those individuals who in the service of Nazi Germany or in alliance with its regime, engaged in the persecution and/or murder of innocent civilians categorized as “enemies” of the Third Reich. During that period, I have dealt with many dozens of cases of all sorts of criminals from many different nationalities and walks of life, from mass murderers to individuals who were charged with the murder of a single person.

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Wiesenthal Center Calls for Immediate Dismissal of Director of Croatian Episcopal Archives who Denies Holocaust Crimes at Jasenovac


JERUSALEM―The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called for the immediate dismissal of Dr. Stjepan Razum, director of the Episcopal Archives of the Croatian State Archives in the wake of his August 10 interview to www.hrsvijet.net in which he claimed that the figures of victims in the notorious Croatian concentration camp Jasenovac were exaggerated and a product of Serb propaganda.

In a statement issued here by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted that such attempts to rewrite the history of World War II in Croatia by whitewashing the horrific crimes committed by the Ustasha cannot be tolerated and are inexcusable when asserted by prominent Church officials.

According to Zuroff:

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Holocaust “Humor” in Leading Estonian News Weekly “Eesti Ekspress”


Jerusalem—In a statement issued here today by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center denounced in the strongest terms a fake ad which appeared in the “humor pages” of the Estonian news magazine Eesti Ekspress with a photograph of concentration camp inmates under the heading: “One, two, three: Dr. Mengele’s diet pills work miracles on you. There were no fatties in Buchenwald.”

According to Zuroff:

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Efraim Zuroff Comments on Facebook on Next Tuesday’s Zingeris Event at Yivo in New York City


Efraim Zuroff, the Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter and author, today posted the following message on his Facebook page. It is reproduced here with the permission of Dr. Zuroff, who is director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel office and its Operation Last Chance. For more on the alleged US embassy (Vilnius) blackballing of Dr. Zuroff from an international 2011 summer program in Vilnius see here. Background to the Yivo event: see Milan Chersonski’s article.


  • This is a call for action to those in the NYC area. This coming Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM, YIVO is hosting an evening at the Center for Jewish History at 15 West 16th St. entitled “Reclaiming The Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today.” The problem is that the featured guests are all supporters of the Lithuanian government’s efforts to promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes and are minimizing the huge role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews. Anyone able to go and confront Markas Zingeris, the Lithuanian PM’s advisor on genocide, and former US ambassador to Lithuania Anne Derse whose embassy blackballed my participation in a seminar on Lithuanian Jewish history at the request of the Lithuanian authorities, will be doing a big mitzva!!!

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Simon Wiesenthal Center Laments Yivo’s Betrayals of Jewish Causes for the Sake of Lithuanian State PR



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

reprinted with the author’s permission from today’s Times of Israel


 

This week, one of the more shameful events in Lithuanian-Jewish relations since the Baltic republic regained independence in 1991 will be hosted in New York by the once-venerable Yivo Institute. Under the heading “Reclaiming the Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today,” the Yiddish research institute will host Markas Zingeris, whom it describes as a “Lithuanian-Jewish poet and writer,” to speak about relations between Jews and Lithuanians since the fall of Communism.

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The Real Truth



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

Note: The following letter to the editor in today’s edition of the Baltimore Jewish Times is republished here with the author’s permission. 


 

According to the title chosen for Simone Ellin’s review (Oct. 19) of Ellen Cassedy’s book, We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust, the author “explores the Lithuanian Holocaust from all vantage points.” In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Cassedy neglects the most important vantage point of the history of the Shoa in Lithuania, the uniquely extensive role played by Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews (not only in Lithuania, but also in Belarus and Poland), a fact incredibly omitted from Ellin’s review. In that respect, it is clear that Ellin was so captivated by Cassedy’s narrative that she failed to realize that the author presented her readers with a very one-sided picture of contemporary Lithuanian-Jewish relations in the wake of the Holocaust.

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Estonia’s Severe Case of Holocaust Amnesia



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

From today’s Times of Israel.


 

The visit to Israel of a foreign prime minister used to be a big deal. That’s why there were so many photos of Burmese head of state U Nu’s visit in the early sixties. Those days, however, are long gone and today when most prime ministers visit us it’s usually of little or no interest to anybody and they get almost no coverage unless they are major world figures.

That would help explain why I only found out Tuesday morning that Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was to be touring Yad Vashem that day.

Ostensibly, that is no occasion of any particular significance, and the visit is more or less a pro forma requirement for any head of state coming to Israel in that capacity, especially if he or she has never been here before. But that is not true in the case of the Estonian leader, who heads a country that is suffering from a severe Baltic variant of post-Communist Eastern European Holocaust amnesia. This is an intellectual disease whose four main characteristics are a systematic minimization of crimes by local Nazi collaborators, a distinct lack of political will to prosecute and punish such individuals, a tendency to glorify locals who fought alongside the Nazis – in Estonia’s case in Waffen-SS units – and a determination to promote the historical canard of supposed equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes.

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Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Punishment of Hungary by FIFA for Antisemitic Behavior of Hungarian Fans in August 2012


Jerusalem—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised the steps taken earlier this week by the international football federation (FIFA) to punish the Hungarian Football Federation in the wake of the antisemitic behavior of many dozens of Hungarian fans at a friendly match against Israel held this past August 15 in Budapest.

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Facebook Discussion of 23-29 April 2013 on the May 2013 Global Forum in Jerusalem


A paste-in of the Facebook discussion to date on the upcoming Global Forum conferences in Jerusalem is available at:

http://defendinghistory.com/facebook-discussion-on-2013-global-forum-23-29-april-2013.

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Wiesenthal Center Blasts Latest Pro-Fascist Commemoration by Latvian Authorities


JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today denounced the commemoration of the “liberation” of the Latvian city of Limbazi, sponsored by the Visu Latvija political party, a member of the ruling coalition in the nation’s parliament in Riga.

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Efraim Zuroff’s Speech at the 28 October 2013 Annual Memorial Program of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel [in Hebrew]



דבריו של ד″ר אפרים זורוף באזכרה השנתית לקורבנות השואה בליטא

 כ″ה חשון תשע″ד 28/10/2013

 

ערב טוב לכולם,

עו″ד יוסף מלמד בקש ממני לעדכן אותכם לגבי האירועים שהתרחשו מאז האזכרה האחרונה לפני שנה בנסיונות של ממשלת ליטא לעוות את ההסטוריה של השואה, וכמו כן גם למזער או להעלים את השתתפותם של ליטאים כל כך רבים ברצח יהודים בליטא, אבל גם מחוץ לגבולותיה.

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Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s Speech at the Annual Memorial for Lithuanian Holocaust Victims



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

Authorized English translation of Dr. Zuroff’s speech at the annual commemoration event held by the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, received from the Israel Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Hebrew original is here.


Good evening,

Attorney Yosef Melamed asked me to update you regarding the recent events which have taken place since the last memorial event a year ago, concerning the attempts by the Lithuanian government to distort the history of the Holocaust and to minimize or deny the participation of many Lithuanians in the murder of Jews, not only in Lithuania but also beyond its borders.

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Efraim Zuroff Critiques Vilnius Genocide Center’s Latest Attempt to Massage Figures (and Ethics) of Local Holocaust Perpetrators


In a statement issued in Jerusalem today, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff noted two major flaws in a recent report issued by the state-sponsored Genocide Center in Vilnius, Lithuania. The report’s key findings, presented by the Center’s Dr. Alfredas Rukšėnas, were published by the Lithuanian news portal Delfi on 25 October 2013 (English translation available in Defending History).

According to Dr. Zuroff:

“The findings of the report, as presented by the coordinator of this project, are clearly part of a systematic attempt by the Lithuanian government to minimize the role of ethnic Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Based on the records in our archives, I can unequivocally state, that the figure of 2,055 Lithuanians whose direct and indirect participation in Holocaust crimes was confirmed by this study, is a gross underestimate of the number of Lithuanians complicit in Shoah crimes, designed to deflect blame from local collaborators and hide the extensive scope of Lithuanian involvement in the mass murder of Jews, both in Lithuania and outside her borders.

“Also highly objectionable is the assertion by Dr. Rukšėnas that those Lithuanians who indeed murdered Jews really had no choice but to do so, having received orders to commit murder from their superiors. Besides the fact that in many cases, these superiors were themselves Lithuanians, such arguments have been consistently and unequivocally rejected by courts all over the world, starting with the Nuremberg Trials.”

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