Monthly Archives: November 2015

Roma in Lithuania: But What Does the Government Need To Do?



R O M A   /   H U M A N   R I G H T S    /    O P I N I O N

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

“Which social group in the EU is most generally evicted from housing?” This was the question cheerfully posed by the host of the Good Morning Lithuania show on our national television. The viewer who called in said “Roma” and won a prize.

It can be pleasant to drink morning coffee while tuned to a TV quiz, but this time it was quite something else. The program’s entertaining format and the host’s frequent jokes are not very funny at all when such painful social issues are the subject of entertainment. But the episode well illustrates the public attitude towards the Roma here. Many Roma are still deemed to be distant, exotic and mysterious people, an object rather than a living community. Maybe because there is a lack of empathy and understanding in dealing with Roma integration problems and there are various language issues too.

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DH Correspondent Evaldas Balčiūnas in Vilnius Court This Tuesday 17 Nov. 2015



FRIENDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, FREE SPEECH AND DEFENDING HISTORY INVITED TO COME AND OFFER MORAL SUPPORT TO OUR VETERAN CORRESPONDENT

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on DH Correspondent Evaldas Balčiūnas in Vilnius Court This Tuesday 17 Nov. 2015

Did Prime Minister Netanyahu Really “Okay” the Vilnius “Conference Center in the Jewish Cemetery”?


[from the day’s front page]


AN ISRAELI-LITHUANIAN MYSTERY

In September, during his trip to Israel, the Lithuanian prime minister reported back home with triumph  that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite happy with plans for a $25,000,000 national conference center in the middle of the old (15th century origin) Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. But did the Israeli PM really reject out-of-hand the growing  international Jewish (and non-Jewish) chorus of condemnation for a plan to have convention revelers clap, cheer, sing, drink in bars and use toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves including some of the foremost Jewish scholars of the last millennium? Where his own ancestors are buried? Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding. Background on the cemetery’s history and implications of the case for all Europe, and on the current project.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Israel, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Did Prime Minister Netanyahu Really “Okay” the Vilnius “Conference Center in the Jewish Cemetery”?

Question in the UK Parliament on the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius



UK   /   P I R A M Ó N T   /   O P P O S I T I O N   /   C E M E T E R I E S    /   D O C U M E N T S

LONDON—At the initiative of Monica Lowenberg, Defending History’s London correspondent, UK member of parliament Gareth Thomas (Labour) tabled a question in the House of Commons (no. 14144) on 29 October 2015 on the planned desecration of the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of Vilnius, Lithuania) by construction of a twenty-five million dollar national convention center. His question, and the reply by the current Minister for Europe, David Lidington, of 3 November 2015, are reproduced below (and available online).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Documents, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United Kingdom | Comments Off on Question in the UK Parliament on the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius

Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”



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by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—This city’s dashing young new mayor, Remigijus Šimašius, elected last spring, has now added Yiddish to the previously bilingual (Lithuanian-English) signs, wrought of expensive metal in rounded-edged casement, in times of austerity for pensioners and others in town. These signs are being placed near Soviet-era edifices made of pilfered Jewish gravestones (matséyves) that are a blot on this charming East European capital. This is the latest model featured on the mayor’s office website:

mayorskhokhme

Photo: Vilnius Municipality / Mayor’s Office.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, CPJCE (London), Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Mayor Plays with Fire: Yiddish, Pilfered Jewish Gravestones, and an Olympics of “Barbarism”

A Latvian-American Journalist in Riga Reflects on a Jewish Cemetery Saga in Vilnius



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by Juris Kaža

Riga based journalist Juris Kaža made the following observations in recent Facebook threads. They are collected here with the author’s permission.

This is incredible. So the Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania became Home Depot for the Soviet-era construction industry? We need some granite blocks? Yo, take the Goldbergas family plot, there are five headstones! By the way, the big stone for Rabbi Whatshisname would make a great plinth, have it dragged here, please. Can’t somebody undo this bizarre mess, gather the stones and make an appropriate memorial?

This is crazy. The Soviets ravage your cemetery after the Nazis kill your co-religionists and you get this for asking independent Lithuania to stop desecrating graves? They should do their best to restore the burial and memorial place and build their conference center elsewhere, not on the site already desecrated by the Soviets. WTF??

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Juris Kaža, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Comments Off on A Latvian-American Journalist in Riga Reflects on a Jewish Cemetery Saga in Vilnius

Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator


[from the day’s front page]

But many in Vilnius shocked as official Jewish Community website posts the statement with no comment (in English translation with “God’s honest truth” headline (PDF) following the initial Lithuanian report; But mishap could be editor’s error or work of local “mischief maker”. Simon Wiesenthal Center responds. Report in the Jerusalem Post. Jewish Community leadership then replied to critics.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator

Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski, Polish Documentary Film Maker and Judaica Specialist at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERIES    OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    ROTHSCHILD     DH SECTION     EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Polish scholar, author, film maker and Jewish heritage specialist Dr. Tomasz (Tomek) Wiśniewski is renowned as a world specialist on the culture and remnants of numerous erstwhile centers of East European Jewish life, most famously Białystok (in Poland, but in Jewish culture within the Litvak north of Jewish Eastern Europe). He was a delegate at last month’s Rothschild Foundation London (Hanadiv) conference on Jewish cemeteries, held here in Vilnius. Following the event, he issued a statement on his Facebook page concerning the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, known as Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district. A slightly revised version was translated from Polish by Julius Norwilla and the translation approved by the author. It reads as follows:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski, Polish Documentary Film Maker and Judaica Specialist at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Faina Kukliansky, Chair of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Issues Sharp Response to Latest Genocide Center Whitewash of a Local Holocaust Perpetrator



VILNIUS—The website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania today posted a powerful response by chairperson Faina Kukliansky to the statement released earlier in the week by the national state-funded “Genocide Center.” That statement attempted to whitewash the infamous Holocaust perpetrator and Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika, and itself came as a response to a petition and series of articles last summer calling for removal of one of the public shrines to Noreika in the center of this city, the nation’s capital.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Faina Kukliansky, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Faina Kukliansky, Chair of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Issues Sharp Response to Latest Genocide Center Whitewash of a Local Holocaust Perpetrator

No Surprise: Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator



But many in Vilnius shocked as official Jewish Community website posts the statement with no response or comment (in English translation as well as the original Lithuanian); But mishap could be editor’s error. Simon Wiesenthal Center responds. Report in the Jerusalem Post.  Community’s leadership replies.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on No Surprise: Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator

Wiesenthal Center “Shocked at Whitewash of Lithuanian Holocaust Perpetrator”



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community for what it termed a “brazen whitewash of the Holocaust crimes of one of the perpetrators of the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry.”

REPORT IN THE JERUSALEM POST

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center “Shocked at Whitewash of Lithuanian Holocaust Perpetrator”

Dr. Beata Nemcová, Slovakian Scholar at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERIES    OPPOSITION    PAPER TRAIL    ROTHSCHILD    DH SECTION    EU ASPECTS

VILNIUS—Slovakian scholar, author and Jewish heritage specialist Dr. Beata Nemcová, a delegate at last week’s Rothschild Foundation London (Hanadiv) conference on Jewish cemeteries, has issued a statement calling on authorities here to move the state’s $25,000,000 convention center project away from the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, known as Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district, to another location. The statement reads as follows (followed by a facsimile).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Beata Nemcová, Slovakian Scholar at Vilnius Rothschild Conference, Speaks Out on Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Noreika Debate Crowned by Jewish Student Protest



Vytautas Landsbergis, Hero of Lithuanian Independence, Shocks Many with “Defense” of Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika

Icon of freedom struggle now attacks journalist Rimvydas Valatka (who supported a petition last summer for removal of a Vilnius shrine to the Nazi collaborator) and Defending History regular Evaldas Balčiūnas (for asking why Lithuania honors such Nazist figures). Balčiūnas’s rapid reply. Earlier DH appraisal of Landsbergis’s 21st century positions.

BACKGROUND TO THE DEBATE

IN DRAMATIC REVERSAL ON GENOCIDE CENTER, LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY CHAIRPERSON FAINA KUKLIANSKY BLASTS CENTER FOR WHITEWASHING THE HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR. IN A HISTORIC STATEMENT (BRINGING HER INTO BROAD AGREEMENT WITH DH’S LONGSTANDING CRITIQUE) SHE ASKS WHAT KIND OF “HOLOCAUST EDUCATION” CAN PROCEED IN SUCH A CONTEXT.

JEWISH STUDENT LEADER AMIT BELAITĖ SPEAKS OUT WITH SINGULAR COURAGE

Posted in News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Noreika Debate Crowned by Jewish Student Protest

Strange Debate Over State-Sponsored Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



Vytautas Landsbergis, Hero of Lithuanian Independence, Shocks Many with “Defense” of Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika

Icon of freedom struggle now attacks journalist Rimvydas Valatka (who supported a petition last summer for removal of a Vilnius shrine to the Nazi collaborator) and Defending History regular Evaldas Balčiūnas (for asking why Lithuania honors such Nazist figures). Balčiūnas’s rapid reply. Earlier DH appraisal of Landsbergis’s 21st century positions.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Strange Debate Over State-Sponsored Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika