Tag Archives: Dr. Jonathan Brent (Yivo)

Summer Glut of Lithuanian Gov. Awards for (Alleged) “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Holocaust Revisionism



OPINION  |  AWARDS FOR WESTERN AND JEWISH ENABLERS  | BACKGROUND TO EAST EUROPEAN HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH HOLOCAUST HISTORY FOR POLITICAL GAIN | DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH, JUDAIC, HEBRAIC & YIDDISH STUDIES  |  UPS AND DOWNS OF ISRAELI POLICY  |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY SAGA  |  YIVO MANIPULATED

More Lithuanian Government Glories & Medals for Alleged “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Baltic Holocaust Revisionism

♦ To the outgoing Israeli ambassador, HE Amir Maimon, after he posed with a portrait of an alleged Nazi collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) in support of the collaborator’s glorification. Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas has reported for years on the collaborator, who is also featured on the front banner of neo-Nazi torchlit parades. The Wiesenthal Center had spoken out in good time.

♦ To the “fudged election” government-backed head of the state-supported Jewish community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, after she granted “legitimacy” to the erection of a statue in Chicago to the same alleged Nazi collaborator, the first on American soil. The same monument was soundly rejected a year earlier by the democratically elected town council of New Britain, Connecticut. Head of the Jewish Agency now calling for monument’s urgent removal.

♦ To the current head of New York’s Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, after a decade of intimate collusion in Holocaust obfuscation, glib betrayal of Holocaust victims and survivors and defamation of Yiddish scholars who disagree with far-right instrumentalization of this fragile language and literature and are loyal to the survivors and their families. See the plea by Vilnius’s last Vilna-born survivor, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

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Translation of a Yiddish Correspondence: The Vilna Holocaust Survivor and the Director of Yivo



D O C U M E N T S

Editor’s note: The following is a translation of the open letter by Professor Pinchos Fridberg, a Holocaust survivor in Vilnius, and the reply by Yivo’s director, Dr. Jonathan Brent. Both were published in the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) on 1 March 2015. Prof. Fridberg has also posted an audio file of his reading his letter aloud in his native Vilna Yiddish. In the case of any issue arising, the Yiddish text is authoritative. For readers’ reference, hyperlinks have been added (by Defending History) to various of the documents and topics cited. See also the Pinchos Fridberg page and section in Defending History, page and section on the state-sponsored commission discussed, and section on Yivo issues.

September 2014 at Ponár, the mass muder site of Vilna Jewry: Three representatives of the controversial state sponsored commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes pay respects in unison: (from left): Dr. Jonathan Brent, Emanuelis Zingeris, Ronaldas Račinskas. Photo: Defending History.


 

D

ear Dr. Jonathan Brent,

 

I appeal to you in Yiddish. Do you know why? Because I believe, that a person who is the leader of the Yivo institute will understand me. My name is Pinchos Fridberg. I was born in Vilna before the war and am a survivor of the Holocaust. My grandmother and grandfather, and all our relatives on my mother’s side — 28 people — lie [at the mass murder site] Ponár.

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Former Director of Yivo Speaks Out on Current Policies Concerning Lithuania


The comments on Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s 14 Oct. 2012 op-ed in The Times of Israel on Yivo’s current policies regarding Lithuanian issues include one (dated 15 Oct.) from Yivo’s former director, Professor Allan Nadler of Drew University. His comment:

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United Nations Human Rights Committee Notes Lithuanian Government’s Position on Public Swastikas and Authorized Neo-Nazi Parades


The United Nation’s Human Rights Committee in its 11 July 2012 report, issued in Geneva,  included the following text concerning the Lithuanian government’s arguments regarding the legalization of public swastikas and the ongoing authorization of neo-Nazi parades:

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Yivo Director’s Statements on Legal Swastikas in Lithuania, Plus Some Facts


 [updated to May 2013]


 

“One of the most important statements in the article is that the swastika is banned by Lithuanian law, something that Katz and others have refused to acknowledge.”

— Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, in a 9 September 2o11 memo sent to members of his staff

———

“Fact: It is illegal to display the swastika in Lithuania today.”

— Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, in a 13 September 2o11 memo comprising the text of his proposed Public Yivo Statement, for which the support of Prof. Jeffrey Veidlinger (Bloomington) is claimed.

Chronology of events, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee statement of 2012, provided below…

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Yivo and Lithuania: Rolling summary coverage to 9 Nov 2011



Will Yivo Capitulate to East European ‘State Looting’ of its Archives in Vilnius? Provide Name as Cover for Holocaust Obfuscation & Antisemitism?Continue reading

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Yivo Director’s Statement on Lithuanian Foreign Minister’s 2010 Antisemitic Comments, Plus Some Facts


“Fact: The anti-Semitic comment allegedly made by Foreign Minister Ažubalis and quoted by Efraim Zuroff (Simon Wiesenthal Center, Israel) as fact was hearsay.”

— Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, in a 13 September 2o11 memo sent to all members of his staff

 

14 October 2010:  Respected journalist Vytautas Bruveris publishes his report (“Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Strategist Sees Jewish Conspiracy”) in Lietuvos rytas, on the foreign minister’s comments made to a meeting of his entire political faction (Homeland Union / Christian Democrats), now the country’s ruling party, in a meeting in the country’s parliamentPDF here.  Full English translation here.

14 October 2010:  Immediate response of the Jewish Community of Lithuania after the convening of a special meeting of the community’s Board of Directors in which twenty-one board members participated. Authorized English text here.

14 October 2010:  DefendingHistory.com report here.

15 October 2010Alfa.lt reports, citing in detail the press release issued by the foreign minister in reply. His remarks, made to his entire party faction, could not easily be denied, so the reports are attacked by the ministry’s press release as ‘hearsay’, the foreign ministry line since then, faithfully produced verbatim on 13 September 2011 by the obliging head of Yivo in New York City (see quote and link at top of this page).

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Was Rachel Margolis Honored (or Mentioned) at the “Vilna Ghetto Experience” Yivo Event Sponsored by the Lithuanian Government?


The Yivo concert mounted in memory of the Vilna Ghetto was held on 22 September, a date near the September 23rd anniversary of its liquidation (in 1943). Survivors questioned find it unconscionable that the Yivo evening could not also be utilized as a forum for polite, constructive and appropriate protest at the Lithuanian government’s targeting precisely of Vilna Ghetto survivors (among other Holocaust survivors) for kangaroo ‘war crimes investigations’ that have drawn international protest.

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Yivo: Rolling Coverage to 23 September 2011


Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Triumphantly Announces Its Yivo Coup — A Capitulation on ‘(Looted) Books and (Hijacked) Brand’ Sought for Two Decades — on 23 September, Day of Commemoration for the Vilna Ghetto

But confusion reigns after Yivo director tells Jewish press in New York that surrender of books and brand is not yet final

DETAILS HERE

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Yossi Melman of Haaretz Responds to Yivo Director’s Attack


Haaretz reporter Yossi Melman, author of the 7 Sept. article which brought the Lithuanian government campaign against Holocaust survivor Joseph Melamed to wide attention, and who today broke the story about Yad Vashem’s disinvitation of a Lithuanian minister over the Melamed affair, has today authorized release to the media of his 13 Sept. letter to Yivo director Jonathan Brent. The letter is in response to Mr. Brent’s 9 Sept. circular email to the entire staff of Yivo. Mr. Melman explained to DefendingHistory.com that he is releasing the letter because he had received no response from Mr. Brent.

From: Yossi Melman
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
To: Jonathan Brent
Subject: outrageous

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Yivo Director Sends New Circular to Staff, Refining Lithuanian Government Talking Points; Claims Support of Veidlinger and Zipperstein for (Inaccurate) Public Statement


Following up on his 9 September 2011 circular to the staff of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research in New York, the executive director today circulated a new missive, likewise sent to all members of staff, and claiming the support of two eminent professors, Steven J. Zipperstein and Jeffrey Veidlinger. [Full disclosure: Veidlinger was one of Bloomington’s Borns Jewish Studies program staff involved in secret 2009  negotiations with the by-then government-manipulated Vilnius Yiddish Institute, a factor in the disemployment of this journal’s editor as professor of Yiddish, language and literature, the post he held from 1999 to 2010.]

This statement follows the publication of concerns of members of the British parliament (on its website), the open letter of Milan Chersonski, longtime editor of the newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and coverage in English, French, German and Hebrew publications, in addition to the earlier coverage in the Forward, Haaretz and DefendingHistory.com (which first interviewed Joseph Melamed at length on 30 August).

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Milan Chersonski, Longtime Editor of ‘Jerusalem of Lithuania’, Releases a Public Letter to the Director of Yivo in New York


 


O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, released to the media today a public letter to the director of Yivo in New York. Mr. Chersonski stressed that the views are his own, and do not reflect any official opinion. From 1979 to 1999, he was director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which was one of the USSR’s very few Yiddish amateur theater companies. Jerusalem of Lithuania ceased publication in 2011.

The text of Milan Chersonski’s letter follows in English. Translated from Russian by Asya Fruman and approved by Milan Chersonski.


 

Vilnius, Lithuania, 12 September 2011

 

Dear Mr. Brent,

I, a World War II refugee, a citizen of the independent Republic of Lithuania, address you as a resident of the city where Yivo, the first and most important academic institute of Yiddish language, literature, culture and history, was founded.

For more than eighty years Yivo was run by the most prominent Yiddish scholars, renowned for their research works as well as for their outstanding organizational skills. They and their successors maintained Yivo’s honor and dignity.

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Holocaust Survivors from Lithuania Protest Yivo’s Decision to Honor the Foreign Minister of Lithuania at Vilna Ghetto Commemoration


The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, one of the world’s last active organizations of Holocaust survivors from Lithuania, today released to the media (by fax) its letter of protest to the executive director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research concerning Yivo’s recent decision to have the Lithuanian foreign minister as ‘guest of honor’ at its 22 September event to commemorate the Vilna Ghetto. The association’s letter notes that its members are ‘nearly all Holocaust survivors ourselves’.

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Et tu, Yivo? Holocaust Survivors Jolted by Plan for Lithuanian Foreign Minister to be ‘Guest of Honor’ at Vilna Ghetto Commemoration



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

When you have loved an institution all your life — and written over decades about its impact on the history of ideas — it becomes a responsibility, even when painful, to try to dissuade it from making a serious error that would put in jeopardy its integrity.

The Lithuanian foreign minister, who has to date not apologized publicly for his widely reported antisemitic outburst in October 2010, has been named by the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research as its ‘guest of honor’ at a concert on 22 September 2011. The remnant Jewish community of Lithuania is small and fragile. Nevertheless it responded robustly, less than a year ago, to the foreign minister’s comments and proceeded to publish its response in English, Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish.

Yivo’s website enumerates the joint sponsorship for the 22 September 2011 event by ‘the Embassy Series in cooperation with the Lithuanian Consulate and the Lithuanian Delegation to the United Nations’. The event is being held to commemorate the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto on 23 September 1943.

Perpetrators glorified

In 2011 — to mark the 70th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion, and  to the chagrin of Holocaust survivors internationally — the Lithuanian government has invested in a series of events honoring the local perpetrators who began to kill Jewish neighbors in dozens of towns before the Germans even arrived (a reading list on the history is available here). The ‘logic’ has been that they were actually rebelling against Soviet rule, though it is not disputed by historians that the Soviets were obviously fleeing the Nazi invasion.

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