Vexed Revival of “Red-Brown Commission”



State-sponsored Zingeris-Račinskas “red-brown commission” (officially: International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania) in Vilnius posts new list of members.

See also: 

Page on the commission

Critiques of the commission and its associated Prague Declaration

DH section on the commission.

Resignations to date from Commission-related bodies include Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Sir Martin Gilbert (London), Prof. Gershon Greenberg (Washington DC), Prof. Konrad Kwiet  (Sydney) and Prof. Dov Levin (Jerusalem).

Holocaust survivors themselves have stood up to express disquiet about some aspects of the commission: Yitzhak AradPinchos Fridberg (more), Dov Levin (more), Joseph Melamed (more), Basheva Ran, the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, Jewish Community of Lithuania / Union of Ghetto Survivorsdecade and a half of issues.

Still no apology to commission’s former (& founding) member Yitzhak Arad after massive state-sponsored defamation. Are the commission’s members happy to go down in history ignoring the defamation of their own founder-member Holocaust survivor defamed (as “suspected war criminal”!) as a part of the East European far right’s campaign to confound perpetrators and victims of the Holocaust? Dr. Arad in 2012 himself boldly and meticulously analyzed the commission’s history.

Prague Declaration:

The Commission plays a major political role in promoting the 2008 Prague Declaration (see Heni, 2009) and various details of alleged “equality” of Nazi and Soviet crimes. Its website features the Prague Declaration in both English and Lithuanian, giving the impression (a) that the declaration is “accepted truth” for Holocaust educators and (b) that all members of the Commission are ipso facto supporters of the Prague Declaration. The website does not mention the existence of the Seventy Years Declaration.

Most Recent:

Commission member from the Genocide Center uses 23 June 2013 in newest attempt to whitewash 1941 LAF collaborators and perpetrators (dismissing the works of “Israeli” [he means Jewish] scholars), in defiance of the established history (Geoff Vasil’s analysis).  Accidental omission? His entry on Commission members’ list omits the “detail” that he is director of the “Genocide and Resistance Research Department” at the Genocide Center… Another small omission: Omission of his being Director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, thereby (for other audiences) instrumentalizing Yiddish to help cover for the Commission’s Prague Declaration Holocaust politics.

Earlier in 2013, the Commission defamed Vilnius survivor Pinchos Fridberg on its website. The entire debate in English.

In 2011, its chairman joined far-right figures in a European Parliament “Double Genocide” event. In 2013, its executive director used an international Holocaust Studies conference in Riga to attack Defending HistoryOne wonders why…

Questions:

Has there been a certain propensity to appoint an overwhelming majority of members (perhaps all) from just one side of the international academic debate? See for example discussions involving professors Anušauskas [Balčiūnas’s reply], Brent [Chersonski’s reply; Yivo], Bubnys, Girnius [Donskis’s reply], Liekis [elder Liekis’s agenda], PolonskySnyder, SužiedėlisZingeris

Is there a danger that the collaborators and perpetrators of 1941, including the Nazi-affiliated Lithuanian Activist Front and Provisional Government, will be whitewashed or graywashed by nationalist manipulated state investment in the revision of history?

Are Western and Israeli members really comfortable with an academic commission led by nationalist politicians, located in the prime minister’s office, headed by the one Jew in Europe who signed the Prague Declaration? With a deeply troubling record of acute one-sidedness and political calculation in the pattern of appointments and projects, and with some members boasting popular-press articles attempting to sanitize (or even heroize) local Nazi-affiliated bodies implicated in the very onset and magnitude of the Lithuanian Holocaust . . .

And finally: Was there “higher” political pressure on Holocaust museums and institutions in the United States and Israel to turn a blind eye to the issues above?


Appendix 1:

 

Paste-in from the Commission’s website of the current list of members:

Members of the Commission

Emanuelis ZINGERIS Chairman of the CommissionMember of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
Arvydas ANUŠAUSKAS Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
Andrew BAKER American Jewish Committee (USA)
Jonathan BRENT YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (USA)
Arūnas BUBNYS Institute of Lithuanian History
Aleksandr DANIEL International Public Organization MEMORIAL (Russia)
Christoph DIECKMANN Keele University (UK)
Kęstutis GIRNIUS Vilnius University
Algirdas JAKUBČIONIS Vilnius University
Šarūnas LIEKIS Vytautas Magnus University of Kaunas
Nicolas LANE American Jewish Committee  (USA)
Jürgen MATTHÄUS United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USA)
Norman NAIMARK Stanford University (USA)
Alvydas NIKŽENTAITIS Lithuanian National Committee of Historians
Antony POLONSKY Brandeis University (USA)
Dina PORAT Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority (Israel)
Janos M. RAINER Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (Hungary)
Timothy SNYDER Yale University (USA)
Saulius SUŽIEDĖLIS University of Millersville (USA)
Joachim TAUBER Nordost-Institut (Germany)
Francoise THOM Sorbonne University (France)
Arkady ZELTSER Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority (Israel)

International Historical Commission is formed by the presidential decree of 16 October 2012.


 

Appendix 2:

Paste-in from the Commission’s website of the current list of administrators/directors:

STAFF AND FUNCTIONS

Ronaldas Racinskas
Executive Director of the Commission
…is the head of the Secretariat and is obliged for performing the functions commissioned to the Secretariat, is responsible for contracting researchers in Lithuania and abroad, for evaluation of the crimes of the Nazi and Soviet occupation regimes, calls consultations of the Commission, defines the structure of the Secretariat, represents the Commission and the Secretariat in the Republic of Lithuania and abroad etc.
Ingrida Vilkienė
The Coordinator for Education projects
is a deputy Executive Director, coordinates education projects initiated by the Commission, is responsible for keeping contacts between the Tolerance education centres and coordinating their activity, ensures the implementation of traditional annual projects, helps to organize teachers’ training seminars on national and international levels.
Eglė Šukytė-Malinauskienė
The Coordinator for Historical Research programs
… is a deputy Executive Director, drafts programs and work plans for research programs, is a member of corresponding expert group, organizes its activity according to the approved programs and work plans and calls the meetings also is responsible for organizing work of the corresponding sub-commission, drafts contracts with Lithuanian and foreign researchers for conducting historical research etc.

Representative for Public relations

…distributes the information about the work of the Commission and seeks to point out most important facts about the Commission activities, keeps contacts with mass media as well as prepares and edits informational brochures about the Commission and its activity, organizes public campaigns.
 
Danutė Develytė
Assistant manager- referent
…organizes the daily activities of the Secretariat, is responsible for documentation, library and archives order as well as for keeping contacts between the members of the Commission, distributes information about the meetings of the Commission, and coordinates the contacts with the experts, scholars and research coordinators.

Marytė Kažukauskienė
Chief Accountant
…ensures the legality of financial operations, the use of state means and drawing up of the documents according to the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

 

 

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