O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
I caught part of the Lithuanian “International” Red-Brown Commission’s “international” conference in the Lithuanian parliament last month, and obtained video of the parts I missed. There are a lot of things intellectually wrong with what the majority of the speakers said, but I can’t help thinking, feeling, that the emotional content was the overriding message, not the various sophistic, sham arguments and contrived non-debate “debate” between Emanuelis Zingeris and other speakers.
It was my feeling that only two of the speakers really spoke with any reverence or respect for the dead, in a tone appropriate to discussing the subject at hand. One was a sociologist I’d never heard of before who spoke in simple statistical figures about current popular Lithuanian views of the Holocaust and Jews.
The other was Saulius Sužiedėlis, a Lithuanian-American scholar (I believe that’s a fair way to characterize his national identity), who said so much that was simply wrong, but at least delivered his somewhat stochastic and very personal message with the sort of sincerity and honor which one expects in a seeker after truth, and which leads one to assume that even if that seeker has some of the details wrong at the moment, he will eventually get it right and will find the inner courage to correct himself.
O P I N I O N
by Monica Lowenberg
It is the 24th of December 2012, three days after the announced end of the world. I am sitting at my desk drinking a cup of a tea. No gaping hole has suddenly swallowed me up, no heavens have collapsed, no earthquakes have caused Tsunamis to sweep coastal towns. My cat is blissfully unaware of the commotion millions of people around the world have caused on mountain tops, at sacred sites and even in a museum in Russia which for apparently only $1,500 offered salvation in the underground bunker of the former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Apparently the museum sold all 1,000 tickets in one fell swoop and I am sure now regret that they offered a 50% discount if nothing happened. Tant pis. It is amazing how people will believe anything today. Even some very intelligent people.
The last time I looked at the international petition site I set up against the SS marches in Latvia, in number one place, above any human rights cause, came the rights of Shetland ponies. I am not sure what happened to the Shetland ponies but clearly something must have, as thousands and thousands of people across the world vitriolically and vociferously protested and voted for their rights and rightly so. However, when it comes to the rights of humans the voting finger is in most cases nowhere to be seen.
Several days after Monica Lowenberg’s petition was presented to the Lithuanian embassy in London, one of the petition’s points was partly acted on, at least as far as a press release goes, by a governmental agency in Lithuania, notably the Vilnius municipality.
PUBLIC PETITIONS HAVE AN EFFECT!
Point no. 4 of Ms. Lowenberg’s petition reads:
4) A commitment to disallow the neo-Nazi parades in the city centres of Vilnius and Kaunas on national Independence Day holidays in 2013 (with no prejudice to reassignment of venues on free speech grounds to sites and dates that do not heavily imply state support).
Professor Michael Berkowitz of University College London’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, an expert on Lithuanian Jewish studies, was the member of staff who told London petitioner Monica Lowenberg on 14 December 2012 that Brandeis Professor Antony Polonsky’s banning of the reading of a five minute petition would be upheld by the UCL department (correspondence here; background on the UCL saga here—best enjoyed in chronological order from the bottom upwards…).
The text of the petition and list of international signatories to date is available on Change.org.
Professor Polonsky was knighted by the president of Lithuania earlier this year for services to that country’s efforts to improve its Jewish PR profile, a PR profile that has suffered difficulty from repeated state honoring of Nazi collaborators and perpetrators, state defamation of Holocaust survivors who joined the resistance, and state investment in a revised far-right-based historical model for World War II.
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.
Posted in Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Estonia, Israel, News & Views, Opinion
Tagged Andrus Ansip, Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust and Israel, Holocaust in Estonia, Holocaust in the Baltics, Jaanika Kressa
The following letter was released today by Professor Weisskirchen’s office. It is followed by an English translation by Irene Fick.
Dezember 17, 2012
H.E. Ambassador Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene
The Embassy of Lithuania
Exzellenz, sehr geehrte Frau Botschafterin,
O P I N I O N
by David Cukier
The following is the text of the author’s letter today to the provost of University College London, following up on his earlier communication of 29 November.
- From: David Cukier
- To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
- Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 3:38 PM
- Subject: UCL Conference on December 17th and 18th 2012: Jews and Non-Jews in Lithuania: Coexistence, Cooperation, Violence
Dear Professor Grant,
I attach an earlier communication to you in which I asked you to consider the wisdom of hosting the above conference at UCL as a former student who takes great pride in having studied at UCL and the objectives and principles established by its founders.
London observers were wondering whether the medal Professor Antony Polonsky received earlier this year from the president of Lithuania for his PR work for the Lithuanian government may have something to do with his denial of Monica Lowenberg’s request, asking for five minutes for her father, a Holocaust survivor, to read out at next week’s conference her petition to the Lithuanian government, proposing constructive solutions to the issues at hand. The petition has to date garnered over 250 signatories from two dozen countries. The following is the correspondence, which started with Ms. Lowenberg’s appeal to Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert and Dr. Francois Guesnet. Dr. Guesnet, the Corob Reader in Jewish History at UCL is one of the conference coordinators on behalf of the Lithuanian government funded institutions financing the conference. Holocaust survivors consulted cannot understand why safe and secure academics who hold high posts at Western institutions should so fear “even to give five minutes for somebody else to come and disagree” with the conference’s pay-masters in the freedom of the British capital.
Posted in Documents, Double Games, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Free Speech & Democracy, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
Tagged Antisemitism Lithuania, Antony Polonsky, Dept of Hebrew & Jewish Studies, Francois Guesnet (Corob Fellow), Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust Obfuscation, Michael Berkowitz + Lithuania, Michael Berkowitz UCL, Monica Lowenberg, UCL
O P I N I O N
by Monica Lowenberg
The following letter to the provost of University College London was released for publication today by Ms. Lowenberg’s office.
To the Provost
Dear Professor Grant,
Please find pasted below correspondence between myself and Dr Francois Guenest of UCL and Professor Polonsky who together have organised with the Lithuanian government this year’s Part 2 conference ‘No Simple Stories’ to be held next week 17-19 December at the Lithuanian embassy in London and UCL.
I requested that I read out a petition that hundreds of people across the world, scholars, survivors and others agree with, a petition that disagrees with Polonsky’s and the Lithuanian government’s interpretation of events and action. Polonsky as designated organiser has refused me the opportunity to read out the petition.
Serious questions have to now be raised about the conference, its agenda and UCL.
O P I N I O N
by David Cukier
HE Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė
The Lithuanian Embassy,
2 Bessborough Gardens,
London, SW1V 2JE
13 December 2012
I write to you concerning the forthcoming conference to be hosted by UCL called ‘Simple Stories’ where the conference co-sponsored by your government is attempting to revise the accepted historical narrative concerning the events of 1941-1944 in Lithuania . In so doing it is encouraging divisive extremist fascist political opinion in your country, which as an EU and NATO member, it surely behoves Lithuania to seek to eliminate. Rather it should be incumbent on the Government of Lithuania to discourage prejudicial politics against all its minorities including the small Jewish minority in the country, and to respect human rights that were so lacking in the war years between 1941-41.
O P I N I O N
The run-up to next week’s controversial Lithuanian-government sponsored conference on Lithuanian Jewish issues in London, which is sowing enough confusion as it is, was put into further disarray as it emerged that an email received by hundreds of people (from various forwarders) is apparently part of a curious hoax. The only discernible purpose seemed to be bring discord into the fragile ranks of the surviving Litvak camp by spreading a set of “symmetrical” false rumors.
Some of the emails were identified as originally coming from an official of an NGO, “Maceva” that is dedicated to the laudable cause of maintaining Lithuanian Jewish graveyards, but it is increasingly thought that this shocking attribution could well be part of the hoaxter’s agenda, and that an unambiguous denial — or apology —will be forthcoming from Maceva’s board of directors at the earliest possible opportunity.
The major two — actually three — pieces of disinformation being disseminated are:
Posted in Double Games, Double Genocide, Events, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory
Tagged International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania, Leonidas Donskis, Litvak community, Maceva NGO (Lithuanian Jewish cemeteries), Monica Lowenberg, Saulius Suziedelis, Vytautas Landsbergis, Yitzhak Arad
After investing heavily in reburying with full honours and glorifying the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister (in May 2012), sectors of the Lithuanian government are investing in a second lavish London conference (in Dec. 2012) to cover up these policies with Jewish PR. Issues on the table include the ongoing glorification of local Holocaust perpetrators (most recently in a “peace park” in the capital), and support for the Prague Declaration of 2008, and other Double Genocide revisionist projects. Defending History has proposed constructive solutions to the issues at hand.
Glittering 2012 events in Vilnius and Kaunas to mark the reburial with full honours of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who signed the German orders for all of Kovno (Kaunas) Jewry to be herded into a ghetto. He also signed orders for a concentration camp that was actually a torture and mass murder site (Seventh Fort, Kaunas).
B O O K S
by Geoff Vasil
Vytautas Landsbergis, Rezistencijos pradžia [“The Beginning of the Resistance: June 1941: Documents on the Six-Week Provisional Government of Lithuania”], Vilnius 2012.
MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, former speaker of the Lithuanian parliament and leader of the Lithuanian independence movement in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, unveiled his latest polemic at a ceremony cum press conference held on the first floor of the Signatarų Namai building in Vilnius’s Old Town on September 11, 2012, the historic site where Lithuanian independence was proclaimed from the balcony to the street below sometime around February 16, 1918.
This small book—there’s only 22 pages written by Landsbergis, the rest is a motley collection of supposedly historic documents—is an attempt to answer criticism of the Lithuanian Government and Catholic Church’s ceremonial reburial of Lithuanian Nazi puppet prime minister Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis and other concurrent celebrations in the spring of 2012.
Posted in Books, Collaborators Glorified, Geoff Vasil, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Geoff Vasil, Holocaust in Lithuania, Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), Lithuanian Provisional Government (1941), SLS (Summer Literary Seminars), Theory of CIA prisons in Lithuania, Vytautas Landsberrgis
O P I N I O N
Dear Mr. Hirsch,
Congratulations on your selection as judge of the new literary translation contest named for the eminent late Yiddish poet Avrom (Abraham) Sutzkever (1913-2010). News of the contest was today disseminated far and wide (information affixed below, for readers’ rapid reference, and to help inspire more entries in your competition).
Will prosecutors (and the writers’ union) in Vilnius be told about Avrom Sutzkever’s days with the Soviet partisans?
You may know that in addition to being a major twentieth century Yiddish poet and editor, Sutzkever survived the Holocaust by escaping the Vilna Ghetto to join the anti-Nazi Jewish partisans. You may or may not know that elderly Lithuanian Jewish Holocaust survivors, who like Sutzkever escaped certain death by joining the partisans, but who are still alive and relatively well, have been defamed as “war criminals” by the same Lithuanian government that recently invested in a Sutzkever plaque in Vilnius, brought over his Israeli family for festivities, and invests in ever more Jewish and Yiddish PR stunts (complete with honors for compliant foreigners) to camouflage a campaign of revisionism.
This is on top of a disturbing toleration of serious antisemitism, including in recent years, state-sanctioned neo-Nazi marches in the heart of the capital city on independence day, the legalization of public swastikas (the UN Human Rights Committee has commented), and inaction regarding front pages of mass circulation newspapers worthy of the 1930s. The most famous examples in recent years are depictions of the Jew and the Gay controlling the world (2009), and, less than a year ago, of one of the city’s resident rabbis.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sutzkever Prize in Lithuania, United States, Yiddish Affairs
Tagged Abraham Sutzkever, Ed Hirsch, Holocaust in Lithuania, Summer Literary Seminars, Sutzkever Prize in Lithuania, Writers Union in Vilnius
O P I N I O N
Londoner Monica Lowenberg, who has done so much, with a petition and via press coverage, to keep on Britain’s political agenda the Latvian government-blessed Waffen-SS parades in Riga each year, has in one fell swoop done a huge good for sadly analogous topics pertaining to neighboring Lithuania. By launching an international petition in advance of this month’s Lithuanian government sponsored PR conference in London, and focusing the petition on simple, virtually cost-free good-will solutions to the irksome issues in Lithuanian-Jewish relations, she has shown how easy the extant problems would be to solve if the political will were there from the state (and it is the state, not the everyday people of the country that is the cause of all these problems). A state has embarked on a foolhardy campaign to rewrite history in the direction of glorification of Hitlerist allies in Eastern Europe, precisely the opposite of the values that EU and NATO member states should be instilling in new generations of Europeans.
Ms. Lowenberg’s petition, signed by hundreds of people from a dozen countries in its first few days, begins with the simple request for a public apology by the Lithuanian government to the Holocaust survivors defamed by Lithuania’s antisemitic state prosecutors who have called the courageous Jewish ghetto survivors who joined the anti-Nazi partisans (and are heroes of the free world) — “war criminals.” For half a dozen years, the campaign has included everything from press releases saying that these survivors “cannot be found” to police actually turning up looking for two women in their late eighties.
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Events, Human Rights, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Games, Double Genocide, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
Tagged Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauškienė, East-Central Europe, Fania Brantsovsky, Holocaust in Lithuania, Joseph Melamed, Lithuanian-Jewish relations, Monica Lowenberg, Post-Communist Europe, Post-Communist views of the Holocaust, Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, Rachel Margolis, Seventy Years Declaration, Yitzhak Arad