Compiled by Dovid Katz
EU/NATO Ally Honors Holocaust Collaborator; Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Protest; 3 US Congressmen Write to Prime Minister
Remains of 1941 fascist leader Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) met by honor guard at Vilnius Airport on 17 May 2012 and reburied in Kaunas’s Church of the Resurrection on the 20th, as city’s mayor dismisses criticism.
Office of the prime minister, who signed off on government funding (€8,700 / US $11,000), defends reburial & honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet “prime minister” who personally signed the protocols confirming Nazi orders for (1) “all means” against Jews (but avoiding executions in public); (2) setting up a concentration camp for Lithuanian Jews [euphemism for the carnage underway at the Seventh Fort]; (3) all Kaunas Jews to be herded into a ghetto within 4 weeks (English here).
Archbishop who praised the wartime collaborator then officiated at the reburial, which was attended (and praised) by MEP V. Landsbergis and former president Valdas Adamkus. The Lithuanian Army Orchestra provided the music.
Coverage: DH I, II; Ofer Aderet in Haaretz I, II, III, IV & V; Arutz 7; BBC News Europe; Jewish Chronicle (London) I, II; 15min.Lt/BNS; Baltic Course; European Jewish Press, II; Rzeczpospolita; Newsweek Poland; Wprost. Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson on first Kaunas conference; Geoff Vasil on 2nd Kaunas conference. Edward Lucas on the Economist blog and in EuropeanVoice.com. More here.
- LITHUANIAN CITIZENS STOOD UP:
- ♦ JEWISH COMMUNITY & MUSEUM (but only on Community’s website);
- ♦ DOZENS OF CITIZENS SIGNED K.A. STEIGER’S PETITION (NOW: AGAINST SITES HONORING COLLABORATORS);
- ♦ MP VYTENIS ANDRIUKAITIS CHALLENGES FOREIGN MINISTER IN THE SEIMAS; PARLIAMENTARY STATEMENT BY MPS ANDRIUKAITIS & SYSAS
- ♦ MILAN CHERSONSKI IN DH;
- ♦ THE FULL STATEMENT OF MEP LEONIDAS DONSKIS AND HIS ESSAY (IN ENGLISH);
- ♦ DARIUS UDRYS IN VILNEWS.COM;
- ♦ INTELLECTUALS’ “POST-FACTO” OPEN LETTER, INCLUDING SOME WHO TOOK DIFFERENT STANCE DURING THE EVENTS IN MAY 2012.
Protests: Petition ◊ Jewish Community of Lithuania & Vilna Gaon Museum [not on museum’s website] ◊ Lithuanian MPs V.P. Andriukaitis and A. Sysas ◊ MP Andriukaitis takes on the foreign minister in parliament; B’nai B’rith International (Washington DC) ◊ European Jewish Parliament ◊ Milan Chersonski in DH.Com ◊ DH ◊ MEP Leonidas Donskis ◊ Dovid Katz ◊ Michael and Fausta Maass (ICEJ) ◊ Regnum.ru ◊ Federation of Russian Jews ◊ Darius Udrys in VilNews.Com ◊ Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson ◊ Geoff Vasil in DH ◊ Efraim Zuroff in the Jerusalem Post; Wiesenthal Center (LA) ◊ Post-facto public letter ◊ 3 US Congressmen Write to PM.
Wobbles, teeters and set-ups: Yale professor answers The Question, in Vilnius. He and NY Yivo director are feted in Vilnius the same week, some say, to deflect attention; their symposium fails to mention the concurrent state-sponsored events to honor collaborator. An open letter.
Whitewash and glorification: Prime Minister; MEP Landsbergis I, II; former President Adamkus; Foreign Minister; Culture Minister; Parliament’s PR office; Archbishop; Kaunas history professor (original); the “liberal” Bernardinai.lt, & II; Mayor of Kaunas; VilNews.com editor-in-chief; “Documentary”; Far-rightist J. Panka in the Jewish Chronicle; open letter from 61 academics; Video promo for “documentary film”. Stage 2 of the earlier attempt by A. Liekis at LAF-PG state glorification?
Deflection: Elite (international) symposium on the Lithuanian Holocaust, in Vilnius the same week, sponsored by the American Embassy (!), centered on “Bloodlands” and with no menti0n of the concurrent reburial ceremonies underway. Open letter in reply. One of the symposium’s participants went on (domestically) to trumpet the “drama of Lithuanian history” inherent for him in reburying a major Nazi collaborator, accusing “the Jews” of intimidating his university’s administrators “with a club”; but when it was all over, he went on to become John Hancock no. 1 of the “post-facto letter” (to which another group of intellectuals replied).
Debates: MP Vytenis Andriukaitis vs. Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis on the floor of the Lithuanian parliament; Aage Myhre and Darius Udrys in VilNews. Dovid Katz replied to Edward Lucas.
[UPDATES TO 2014: Milan Chersonski on the political abuse of history; in response to the Kaunas professor who sees the “drama of Lithuanian history” in the reburial of the Nazi collaborator; Collaborators Glorified section; in Dan Stone’s Goodbye to All That?]
ABOVE: On the watch of the 1941 Nazi puppet “prime minister” Juozas Ambrazevičius (later Brazaitis): Local white-armbanders loyal to the “provisional government” surround Jewish women in Kaunas on the march from their homes to humiliation and mass murder.
BELOW: Signature of the prime minister of the Provisional Government of Lithuania, Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) on the 7 July 1941 protocol [English translation here]. The text includes: “By German order a ghetto for Jews will be established in Vilijampolė, to which all the Jews of the city of Kaunas must be moved within 4 weeks.”
Heavily guarded Kovno Ghetto gate isolating the tens of thousands of the city’s citizens who were Jewish for incarceration, slave labor, humiliation and genocide. Provisional Government confirmation of the German order for the ghetto was signed by the puppet prime minister.
— Dr. Shimon Alperovich, chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania
Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue was defaced on May 18th 2012. Milan Chersonski commented to Haaretz: “This was the unofficial supplementary program to honor the Nazi collaborator. If great eminences like the former heads of state Vytautas Landsbergis and Valdas Adamkus are parties to the honoring of a Holocaust collaborator, then hooligans in town feel able to make their own contribution too with a can of paint thrown at the synagogue. In their own way, they all have thrown paint in the faces of the small surviving Jewish community in the country.” Police have made no arrests. PHOTO: MILAN CHERSONSKI.
QUESTION: Will Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas maintain the deeply offensive lecture hall name honoring the Nazi puppet prime minister who signed the protocols confirming Nazi orders for that very city’s Jews to be put in a concentration camp and ghetto? Are these the values being instilled in students at one of the best universities in the Baltics?
“Lithuania has her magnificent real heroes of 1941: the inspirational people who saved an innocent neighbor from the LAF and Provisional Government’s reign of genocide, starting with the war’s first week. They are that year’s heroes of history who should be honored. May their families live to see streets and squares named for them.”