Tag Archives: Leonidas Donskis
by Defending History Staff
The well-organized conference “Antisemitism, Radicalization and Violent Extremism” was held on 30 September 2015 at Vilnius’s Novotel Hotel by the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HMRI) with partners (see program). It will go down in history as one of the most remarkable capers yet in the fraught local “Dead Jew Business,” as it is increasingly becoming known. The biggest shock of the day was that one of the three keynote morning session speakers was Swedish-born Lithuania-resident filmmaker Jonas Ohman, known in town for his (far right style) glorification of postwar resistance fighters — one of the most painful issues of Baltic antisemitism in the twenty-first century — without the slightest mention of the alleged Holocaust perpetrator background of the precise figures glorified.
But the film maker chosen for the morning session manages at the same time to also be a (far left style) Israel baiter, whose current “humanitarian project” is a petition asking the mayor of Vilnius to sack a Jewish (Israeli-Lithuanian) advisor on the basis of social media “silly photos” that become bacteriologically antisemitic when recycled in his own petition, and beyond, in its recontextualized, politically charged incarnation. Far from doing the same to counter officials and advisors with neo-Nazi links, he boasted in his talk (amateur video) of his links to Right Sector and other Ukrainian groups that adulate wartime Holocaust perpetrators. When he was trashing Israel, the Israeli ambassador to Lithuania, Amir Maimon, sitting in the hall, boldly called out a question: “Are you rewriting the history?” (at time code 13:31).
Высшая арифметика истории Холокоста в Литве
The renowned philosopher and current Liberal MEP representing Lithuania, Professor Leonidas Donskis, has spoken out again on the interrelationships between current antisemitism and Double Genocide discourse, and on the enormous credit due Lithuanian authors who dare confront the historic truth. The following article appeared in the print edition of The Baltic Times on 29 August 2013. Daiva Čepauskaitė’s 2011 play, Day and Night, referred to in the article, was reviewed in Defending History in December 2011. See also our Bold Citizens page.
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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:
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by Dovid Katz
This is a slightly edited reprint of the comment posted today in reply to the article “Lithuania under the Nazis: Hero or Villain?” on the Economist’s online “Eastern Approaches” section, at: http://www.economist.com/comment/1472788#comment-1472788.
Many thanks to the Economist and its online Eastern Approaches section for highlighting this important issue that so many others have just swept under the rug. But frankly speaking, it does our Lithuanian friends no good to slant each report in the direction of sophisticated apologetics for the Lithuanian (and other regional) governments’ tragic veering to the far right on issues of historic integrity, human rights, freedom of speech, antisemitism, racism, gay rights, and perhaps above all, state-sponsored adulation of local Nazi war criminals and collaborators, and actual local mass murderers of the region’s Jewish population. It was, alas, a level of participation that resulted in the Baltics having the highest percentage of murder of its Jewish population in Holocaust-era Europe.
O P I N I O N
by Leonidas Donskis
The ceremonial reburial of the head of the Lithuanian Provisional Government (PG), Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, which recently took place, and the tension and details associated with it, said more about Lithuania today than all the news and commentary over the past twenty years put together.
MEP Leonidas Donskis’s letter, in reply to Krystyna Anna Steiger, author of the international petition against the VMU event, was released today by the MEP for immediate publication in DefendingHistory.com (more background here).
The full text is as follows:
This essay first appeared in Transitions on Line on 10 October 2008, with the following editor’s note: “Lithuanian authorities in late September closed their two-year investigation into the wartime partisan activities of Yitzhak Arad, a Lithuanian-born Israeli historian and a former head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, reportedly on the urging of the European Union and the United States. Prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to link Arad to possible war crimes committed by Soviet partisans during a 1944 fight with German forces that left many Lithuanian civilians dead. The authorities are still considering whether to put two Lithuanian Jewish women, Fania Brantsovskaya (Brantsovsky) and Rachel Margolis, on the witness stand in connection with the killings.”
It is republished here with Professor Donskis’s permission. For a history of the issue, see our page on the subject of Holocaust survivors defamed by prosecutors.
A disturbing tendency has recently appeared in Lithuania. In the words of the eminent scholar of Yiddish Dovid Katz, this tendency may best be described as the “Holocaust Obfuscation movement.” Its essence lies in subversion of the logic and evidence of the Holocaust, whitewashing or at least selectively reading the history of the Second World War and drastically shifting the roles of victims and evil-doers.
O P I N I O N
by Leonidas Donskis
This English version of the essay (the original Lithuanian text appeared in Lietuvos aidas, 28 November 2008) first appeared in the English edition of Jerusalem of Lithuania (Oct-Dec 2008, PDF here) and is republished here with the author’s and editor’s permission.
I have already written that we live in a period of not only monetary inflation, but of concept and value inflation as well. In our time oaths have become worthless, while formerly a person who broke one lost not only all of his own power, but the capacity to represent his values and to participate in the public sphere as well. Nothing, other than his own person and his private life, remained. He no longer had the right to speak on behalf of either his group, his nation, or his society.