Monthly Archives: October 2017

Defending History Calls on Ukraine’s President to Publicly Rebuke Senior Official for “Dog Whistle” Advocating Antisemitic Violence



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF PERPETRATORS  |  UKRAINE

In response to a protest from the World Jewish Congress, after the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa unveiled a statue celebrating nationalist leader Symon Petliura — whose troops killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms between 1918 and 1921 — a regional official from the extremist Svoboda party threatened Jewish citizens. In a Facebook rant, the Svoboda official warned Jews opposed to the Petliura statue to fall in line or face the consequences. The Svoboda official stated that “the only time we comfortably coexisted with kikes is Koliyvishchyna,” a reference to an 18th century pogrom against Jews in Ukraine.

Related: Ukraine’s Minister for Infrastructure Plans to Build Actual “Road to Bandera”

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Ukraine’s Minister for Infrastructure Announces He’ll Actually Build — “The Road to Bandera”



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF PERPETRATORS  |  UKRAINE  |  STEPAN BANDERA

As Ukraine’s Orwellian-sounding Ukrainian Institute of National Memory continues building a cult around such antisemitic World War II era nationalists as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych — their forces were responsible for the murder of (at least) tens of thousands of Jews and Poles — some frankly surreal aspects come sharply into view. The latest though really takes the cake.

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Joseph Melamed, Major Leader of International Litvak Community, Dies in Tel Aviv at 93



OBITUARIES  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

See Defending History’s Joe Melamed section

The Real Litvak Champion of the 21st century: Joe Melamed, who passed away Thursday in Tel Aviv at 93 was the genuine Litvak who could not be bought, seduced or bamboozled (not even by photo-ops with presidents and ambassadors, glorious roots trips, grants, honors and other pots of lentils). He lived and breathed with loyalty to his annihilated people, the truth of their disappearance by genocide, and the future of their scattered remnants. And he did so in beautiful Kovno Yiddish, elegant modern Hebrew or a diplomat’s English.

Melamed-alone-Nov-2011

Joe Melamed in his Tel Aviv office on King David Boulevard in 2011. Photo ©DefendingHistory.com.

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Double Genocide: New and Official Form of Holocaust Denial



OPINION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

America was jolted this past summer not only by a neo-Nazi event in Charlottesville, Virginia that left an anti-Nazi protester dead by vehicular homicide, but by President Trump’s “blame on both sides” line, which created in America a microcosm of a debate that has been raging for some years in Eastern Europe among historians of World War II and the Holocaust and several Eastern European governments.

The entire Charlottesville debate was over a bogus moral equivalence that Trump drew between American neo-Nazi demonstrators and those who turned out to oppose them. The larger context was about whether those who who fought for slavery and secession in the Civil War are “the same” as those who fought against slavery and for the Union. Magnify that all a hundred-fold to begin to comprehend what is a major intellectual and political push to contextualize the actual Nazi genocide, the Holocaust, within the Hitlerist “freedom fight” against Soviet Communist domination in Eastern Europe.

Such are our times, in which well-presented postmodernist slop can stultify elementary clarity of thought. In the various cases at hand, different versions of the same bogus moral equivalence strategy of argumentation are used, at a minimum, to make prosaic and palatable that which is inherently beyond the pale, such as state-sponsored public-square adulation for those who collaborated in genocide in Eastern Europe (or, indeed, in slavery).

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New Prague — Brussels Battle over European History?



PRAGUE PLATFORM  |  PRAGUE DECLARATION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  EU

Far-Right “Prague Platform” (Funded by EU Taxpayers) Complains that BRUSSELS “House of European History” Plan has “Neo-Marxist Message”

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Irina Izhogina / DefendingHistory.com

The Prague Platform has a long record of supporting the Prague Declaration and Double Genocide politics, and systematically ignoring the growing manifestations of state glorification of Holocaust collaborators in LatviaLithuaniaUkraine, and other East European countries. Equally there is never mention of the undemocratic criminalization (via “Double Genocide laws”) of the Western narrative of World War II, with punishments of up to 2 years imprisonment in Lithuania (2010), 3 years in Hungary (2010), 5 years in Latvia (2014), 10 years in Ukraine (2015); but no specific prison sentences mentioned in Estonia’s “Valentine’s Day Law” (2012) .

The Platform’s website, publications and materials seem to never even mention that there has been a Europarliamentary reply to the 2008 Prague Declaration: the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration (see text in European languages).

The “battle of the declarations” has itself become an illuminating chronicle of the ongoing history debates and memory wars

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Will Ukraine’s President Poroshenko Correct Abuse of Holocaust Photo?



UKRAINE  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

Ukraine’s “pro-Western” president Petro Poroshenko, who in 2014 proclaimed the founding of a Hitlerist fascist group as a national holiday, and in 2015 tweeted photos of himself in a uniform making a joke of fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose hordes were responsible for the murders of (at least) tens of thousands of Jewish and Polish civilians on the basis of ethnicity, has just “done it again.”

“To be ‘pro-Western’ one must share Western values, not just geopolitical foes.”

—DefendingHistory.com

On Friday, Poroshenko tweeted a photograph which he claimed represented citizens of Western Ukraine being deported to Siberia in 1947. His tweet translates: “Today is the 70th anniversary of mass deportations of populations of western Ukraine to Siberia and northern regions of the former USSR.  We remember.”

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Instead of Removing Honors for Holocaust Collaborators, New Petition is Launched to Ask for Yet Another



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In a 2012 article in Defending History, I asked why Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika is made into a “national hero” here in Lithuania, one honored by street names and public plaques. Since then protests have come, among others, from a somewhat obscured  petition by Lithuanian intellectuals,  an appeal from journalist and Declaration of Independence signatory Rimvydas Valatka, Lithuania’s official Jewish community, Grant Gochin, a South African born author resident in the United States, and others. These appeals, all from 2015, were crowned by a rare protest by Jewish students at a Noreika shrine in central Vilnius (see Defending History’s guide for English readers to the links in the 2015 debate).

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Instead of Removing Honors for Holocaust Collaborators, New Petition is Launched to Ask for Yet Another

Regional Leader of Ukraine’s Svoboda Party Threatens Jews who Disagree with a Public Monument for Pogrom-meister Petliura



 UKRAINE  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  FREE SPEECH  |  GLORIFICATION OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

As reported last week, in connection with a protest from the World Jewish Congress, authorities in Ukraine recently inaugurated a statue to Symon Petliura in the city of Vinnitsa. Petliura (1879—1926) was a Ukrainian whose troops killed tens of thousands of Jewish civilians in a devastating series of pogroms in Ukraine during the Russian Revolution and the civil war that followed it.

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Anti-Nazi Partisan Hero Chasia Langbord Shpanerflig, 96, Dies in Vilnius



OBITUARIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—At Sabbath services at Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue this morning, word began to spread that Vilnius’s oldest surviving veteran of the Jewish Partisans, Chasia (Khásye) Langbord Shpanerflig, had passed away at the age of 96.

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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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Posted in Documents, Ireland, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Comments Off on Text of Irish Ambassador Dónal Denham’s 2008 Speech at Brantsovsky Reception is Released for the Record

World Jewish Congress Laments “Deplorable” Ukrainian Monument for Petliura



 UKRAINE  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  GLORIFICATION OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

The following press statement appeared on the World Jewish Congress website on 17 October 2017:

NEW YORK—The World Jewish Congress has denounced the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa’s “disgraceful and deplorable” move to celebrate nationalist leader Symon Petliura, whose Ukrainian People’s Republic killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms under his leadership in 1918-1921, and urged the local authorities to pull a monument unveiled over the weekend in his honor.

WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said in a statement:

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Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March



FREE SPEECH  |  LATVIA  |  RIGA PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

On March 16, 2017, the annual march honoring Waffen SS Latvian Legion veterans took place in Riga as usual. A co-ruling political party had called the legionnaires “freedom fighters”[1], the Security Police had denounced opponents of the march as “so-called Anti-Fascists” and put them in the chapter “Manifestations of Russia’s compatriot policies in Latvia” of its annual report.[2] The counter-picket applied for by the Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee had been ordered to move farther from the march route. Again, a pretty usual development.

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Posted in Aleksandr Kuzmin, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Symbology | Comments Off on Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March

Ukraine Hearing on Street Naming for Nazi SS Leader is Postponed to 30th



UKRAINE  |  GLORIFICATION OF NAZI COLLABORATORS

As reported on 7 October, the city of Kalush in Western Ukraine has named a street for Hauptsturmführer Dmitro Paliyiv, a key founder of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS Galizien division. The division enjoyed a visit  from Heinrich Himmler during World War II.

15 OCT. UPDATES: JTA report; ALSO: Up to 20,000 participated in annual October 14th Kiev march to glorify the fascist UPA; Nazi salutes reported by Radio Free Europe

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Ukrainian City Naming Street in Honor of Waffen-SS Hauptsturmführer


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Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  | MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—In comments reported today by the Lithuanian press service ELTA, the nation’s prime minister, Saulius Skvernelis has announced and hailed the decision to proceed with a national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery as one that “will lift the Lithuanian capital to a higher level of competitiveness in tourism.” He also notes that “the lack of a modern congress center in Vilnius is the main obstacle for the development of conference tourism in Lithuania,” not mentioning that there are numerous alternative sites for much more rapid and hassle-free construction of such a center.

It is frequently noted here that far from bringing honor to Vilnius and Lithuania, the conference center on the old Jewish cemetery project will bring generations of protest and ongoing instances of prominent persons of conscience from around the world refusing to appear in the building as a matter of principle. It is not only a matter of sentiment relating to the murder of 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust, because of which there are no local descendants to fight for their ancestors’ graves. It is also a current livewire human rights and racism issue. There is little disagreement that in the event of a medieval Lithuanian or Christian cemetery that still contained remains of many thousands of Citizens of Vilnius, no such project would even be discussed.

LITE-Vulovak-on-national-convention-center-opening

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…

Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation



BOOKS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Linas Vildžiūnas

The following English translation, by Laurynas Vaičiūnas, of Linas Vildžiūnas’s review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai appeared today in New Eastern Europe (as PDF). 

A book review of Mūsiškiai (Ours). By: Rūta Vanagaitė. Publisher: Alma littera, Vilnius, 2016.

What makes Rūta Vanagaitė’s Ours (Mūsiškiai) very different from all other Lithuanian books on the Holocaust is that it was from the start written as a bestseller. Written by an experienced public relations professional as an appeal to the Lithuanian public, the book raises the painful issue of historical responsibility. The author does not refrain from giving a personal twist to the story (it would be impossible otherwise, as the Holocaust is an issue of individual position and individual responsibility). The author is piercingly direct and uses black comedy. She approaches the topic with composure and a sense of supremacy. These two features may irritate the reader. However, she is entitled to it as she aims to confront the reader, which she so eloquently achieves.

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Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation

Red-Brown Iconography



DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  SYMBOLOGY

The governing establishments in Eastern European states sometimes produce red-brown symbols as part of the wider campaign to give the notion of red-brown equality an aura of official sanctioned status. The effects are obvious: People are being desensitized to the swastika, Soviet symbols are ‘artistically’ (i.e. via political kitsch) recombinated into the new Dual Equal Evil symbols making the revisionist history ‘true’. Severe pain is caused to families of Holocaust Survivors and anti-Nazi Soviet war veterans alike. The continued silence of the European Union, the OSCE and NATO encourages the drift toward the far right, which includes clean-up of the image of Nazi collaborators in elite circles, and glorification of Nazi symbols in more uncouth environments.

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