Tag Archives: Faina Kukliansky

Yivo’s Newest One-Sided “Lithuanian-Jewish Event” on Thursday 5 Sept.



OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  | YIDDISH AFFAIRS

NEW YORK—The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, founded in Vilna (then Wilno, Poland) in 1925 as the world’s premier Yiddish-in-Yiddish academic institute, has, to the consternation of many of its life-long supporters and participating scholars, in recent years been (temporarily, its long-time supporters hope) “hijacked” by a few elite circles in the Lithuanian government who are determined to exploit Judaic, and especially the now-weak branch of Yiddish studies as a tool to cover for policies of rewriting the history of the Holocaust in a far-right East European nationalist spirit, as well as state programs of glorification of alleged Holocaust collaborators. The best known cry of protest came  several years ago from Vilna-born Holocaust survivor and lifelong resident, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

וואָס וואָלטן טאַקע טראַכטן מאַקס ווײַנרײַך, זלמן רייזען און דינה אַבראַמאָוויטש וועגן די נײַע צילן פון ניו⸗יאָרקער ייוואָ?

Even as ever more circles in today’s free, democratic, and delightful Lithuania have come to understand the Jewish, Litvak and Holocaust issues in a spirit of friendship and partnership, New York’s Yivo continues to function as a political arm of the Holocaust revisionists’ “International Commission on the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” (Yivo’s director even joined the commission), and a small “Jewish manipulation unit” in the Foreign Ministry, neither of which reflect so much of what is really going on. For a month now, the headline of Defending History has honored Vilnius’s mayor for boldly taking down two long-standing, and contemptible, public space memorials for Holocaust collaborators.

Still, yet again, Yivo has opted to exclude all other voices, while enabling the ongoing shenanigans of nationalist manipulation which recently resulted in the NY Yivo director’s being awarded the Cross for the Knight of the Order  for Merits to Lithuaniafrom the Lithuanian government, even as Holocaust survivors and their families continue to be betrayed in a way that would make Yivo’s founders twist in their graves.

As for teaching of the living Yiddish language, literature and culture, not a penny of the millions raised by Yivo has gone into the smallest class. Conversely, Yiddish teaching and study continue in the city despite the campaigns of personal  exclusion and defamation by those enabled and directed by Yivo.

Defending History has been following events since 2011, when a gala event on the Vilna Ghetto invited as guest of honor a foreign minister called out for his overt antisemitism by the Jewish community, through recent weeks, when the director of Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, was duly awarded his knighthood. Never once has Yivo invited to New York the Vilna Ghetto Holocaust survivors Rachel Margolis and Fania Brantsovsky, whose families have still not  received apologies for the state-run campaigns to characterize them as war criminals in the history books and on the web, in virtue of their having survived the Holocaust by joining with the anti-Nazi partisans who were the only force in Lithuania seriously fighting the Nazis during the genocide.

This Thursday’s event, cosponsored by the Lithuanian consulate in New York, follows the usual pattern (scroll through the history for examples) of having one genuine Lithuanian hero who has stood up for the truth and has little idea that (or how) he is being manipulated. This time it is the great Lithuanian-American  humanist, writer and professor Tomas Venclova. The Yivo program lists the title of his September 5th talk as virtually identical with his 2015 publication in Defending History: “Lithuanians and Jews: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t over the last Forty Years?” It was based on a Vilnius conference paper he read, on a podium he shared with Defending History staff, whom he entrusted with the translation to English (see also his DH section, also the DH editor’s lecture at the same conference).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, United States, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yivo’s Newest One-Sided “Lithuanian-Jewish Event” on Thursday 5 Sept.

Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATES; FIRST PUBLICATION: 13 MAY]

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  LITHUANIA’S JEWISH COMMUNITY  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  US STATE DEPT. MANIPULATED?  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

You just could not make this stuff up. A powerful government unit of an East European democracy that is a member of the EU and NATO wants nothing more than to plonk a monument in America for someone who was not only an alleged Holocaust collaborator (see Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles of 2014, 2017 and 2019), but who is today a prime icon of the country’s neo-Nazis. Indeed, his visage is first on their banner of “national heroes” used to front torch-lit neo-Nazi parades in the nation’s capital. The monument is unveiled in Chicago on May 4, 2019.

Ramanauskas is first (at left) on neo-Nazis’ front banner at torchlit parade in Vilnius

 

High government officials from the Seimas and the Lithuanian consulate in New York jad fronted  an effort to put the monument in New Britain, Connecticut, and charm that city’s mayor (2017) into going along with the plan, without mentioning the honoree’s having boasted in his own memoirs of leading a pro-Hitler militia in the days when the Lithuanian Holocaust was launched in late June of 1941. After many months of discussion (2018), the city council of New Britain overwhelmingly turns down the idea.

Update of 1 June 2019: Jerusalem Post reports that head of Jewish Agency demands the monument in Chicago “be removed as soon as possible”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turmoil Growing over Monument in Chicago that Glorifies a Hitler Collaborator

A Lithuanian Jewish Citizen on Why Jewish Life is Divided into “Before” vs. “After” 19 April 2017



OPINION  |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY LIFE 

by Arkady Kurliandchik

Arkady Kurliandchik

On the 19th of April 2017, an event transpired that seems to have divided, from the viewpoint of time, our life as Jewish citizens of Lithuania. We were left with two new categories: before and after. Before and after the day when our democratic community’s leadership, in the middle of a community election campaign, changed the rules to disenfranchise the living three thousand or so Jews in the country in favor of a new electoral system based on the votes of the current chairwoman’s own board that would from now on mean that “the official” Jewish community represents not the Jewish people of Lithuania. It represents the people on that board and their “associations,” whether real or not.

To tell the truth, our Jewish community collectively, and each of us individually felt deeply humiliated with that imperious power-hungry arrogance. This historical action was carried out by a small group of  power-hungry plotters who usurped that which had been held with human dignity by our Jewish self-government here. This clique of usurpers, in a single meeting, “changed the election rules” to deprive the Jews of Lithuania of the right to vote on issues related to communal Jewish life. What has happened will go down as a black chapter in the history of Jews in Eastern Europe.

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on A Lithuanian Jewish Citizen on Why Jewish Life is Divided into “Before” vs. “After” 19 April 2017

Vilnius Jewish Community Calls for New Democratic Elections



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  DEMOCRACY  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—The elected leadership of the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) today published on its website, and on its Facebook page, an English version of the Lithuanian original that appeared on 10 October on the website as well as, on the same date, in the form of a Baltic News Service (BNS) press release, providing the contact name of Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), chair of the community and one of its twenty-one member elected council. The VJC, representing the more than 2,000 Jews of Vilnius in affiliation with groups in Šiauliai, Klaipeda and others, represents the vast majority of today’s living Jewish citizens in Lithuania. In fact, its electoral conference of May 2017 was the largest electoral conference of Jewish citizens in Lithuania this century.

“And most importantly […], to provide new elections for the chairpersonship of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in accordance with the honest rules that have been in place for many years, taking into account the votes of all the Jews of Lithuania, and not the ‘associations’  of ‘close friends’ who are themselves dependent for funding on the grace of the chairperson.”

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community Calls for New Democratic Elections

Sept. 23rd Ponár Memorial and Pope Francis’s Visit to Vilna Ghetto Memorial



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HOLOCAUST MEMORIALS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

IMAGE OF THE DAY: Elected chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community, Simon Gurevich, was not allowed past the security barrier, barring him from the Pope’s event to commemorate the Vilna Ghetto. At the earlier event at Ponár, he was not allowed to deliver his prepared remarks.

VILNIUS—The two major “September 23rd” events today in Vilnius were the annual commemoration ceremony at the mass murder site Ponár in the forest outside the city, and, later in the afternoon, Pope Francis’s visit to the small monument, its 1990s Yiddish letters faded beyond legibility, commemorating the Vilna Ghetto in an Old Town square opposite the city’s beloved Jewish Cultural and Information Center (JCIC). [See also Andrius Kulikauskas’s appeal to the Pope on the eve of his visit in connection with his visit to Lukiškės Square in central Vilnius.]

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sept. 23rd Ponár Memorial and Pope Francis’s Visit to Vilna Ghetto Memorial

Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) Issues Historic Statement Calling for Free Democratic Elections for Lithuania’s Jews



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) today issued the following authoritative English language text of its statement following the Vilnius District Court’s decision of 21 December 2017 (earlier versions appeared in Lithuanian and Russian). The following is the text as it appeared today on the VJC’s Facebook page. Since the court ruling there have been media reports in Defending History, JTA, Times of Israel, Forward, and various other outlets.

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Posted in Documents, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) Issues Historic Statement Calling for Free Democratic Elections for Lithuania’s Jews

Vilnius District Court Nullifies LJC Head’s Spring 2017 “Election”



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—In her ruling issued earlier today, Vilnius District Court Judge Rima Bražinskienė, following up on her crucial 29 May 2017 judgment, confirmed the illegality of last April’s mid-campaign rule change by the board of the “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” which effectively disenfranchised the 2,200 members of the Vilnius Jewish community (as well as the Jewish people in the other. smaller communities) by replacing the long-standing proportional voting system with an oligarchic system giving one vote to each board member (most of whom have allegedly received professional, promotional or financial benefits from the funds of the “Good Will Foundation” that finances the community). As a result, the capacity of the Holocaust-remnant Jewish community of Lithuania to democratically choose its leadership was in one tragic fell swoop annulled in favor of a system that gave that authority to a roomful of wannabe-oligarchs, some of whom hold two or three votes each. The large corpus of protests include last summer’s letter from twenty of the elected members of the Vilnius Jewish Community’s council and a more recent article by Professor Josifas Parasonis.

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The court action asking for relief was brought by the Vilnius Jewish Community as plaintiff. Its 21 member council was elected last May 24th in the largest Jewish electoral assembly in Lithuania this century with meticulous voting open to all community members. Today’s ruling includes the text:

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Posted in Documents, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius District Court Nullifies LJC Head’s Spring 2017 “Election”

Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky: Not Afraid to Blog on Community Leaders’ Injustices



CHABAD IN VILNIUS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION

VILNIUS—After a number of readers reported technical difficulties in accessing the publicly posted and widely read blog of Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, in the interests of preserving the history of the Lithuanian Jewish community these are here offered in chronological order with separate links for each (the original is also available in internet libraries). Rabbi Krinsky’s respectful call for the resignations of leaders of the Good Will Foundation is perhaps the best known, covering the wider issue of integrity of restitution payments far beyond Chabad issues alone. For  highly divergent views on the events the rabbi covers in these blog posts, see the Defending History section tracking Rabbi Krinsky’s recent history in Vilniusand the official website of the state-sponsored Jewish Community of Lithuania (e.g. herehere).

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Chabad in Vilnius, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky: Not Afraid to Blog on Community Leaders’ Injustices

Honest Error at German Embassy in Vilnius?



OPINION  |  USE AND ABUSE OF PONÁR  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—“There is nothing new under the sun,” as the Good Book says (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Sure, on occasion, Irish communities will feud in Boston, Italians in New York, Chinese in LA and Lithuanians in Chicago. It is part of the professional training, posture, and policy of diplomats to negotiate such inevitabilities by way of common sense, wisdom, and fairness. For years now, the widely admired German ambassador to Lithuania, HE Jutta Schmitz has kept her embassy’s diplomatic table open to people and organizations, governmental and non-governmental, from across the colorfully diverse spectrum of opinion in Lithuania. It is not known whether the recent completion of her Vilnius ambassadorship and departure from Lithuania,  and the temporary vacancy,  had anything to do with the embassy’s recent, and quite innocent, faux-pas.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Honest Error at German Embassy in Vilnius?

Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS  |  THE OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Following Defending History’s publication last weekend of the 28 July 2017 letter to the president of Lithuania signed by twelve United States congressmen, pleading for the new national convention center project to be moved away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius), the news was reported by The Weekly of Vilnius, an elite diplomatic publication on Lithuanian affairs, and then by BNS (Baltic News Service, and in English via the Lithuania Tribune), which put it into the wider Baltic domain. Last Monday, 14 August, there were at least four panel discussions broadcast on Lithuanian TV and radio. The following are full English translations of each of these broadcasts, provided by DefendingHistory.com.

(1) LNK TV: News. With Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Faina Kukliansky,   Rūta Leitanaitė, Daniel Lupschitz (Danielius Lupšicas),  Deividas Matulionis, Romas Pakalnis, Donatas Stundis

(2) LRT TV: Panorama. With Simon Gurevich, Skirmantas Malinauskas, Valdonė Rundenkienė

(3) LRT Radio: Lithuanian Day. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Deividas Matulionis

(4) LRT Radio: 60 Minutes. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Faina Kukliansky, Deividas Matulionis, passers-by and a taxi driver

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

Vulovak for DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vilnius Jewish Community Releases Letter Signed by 20 Elected Board Members Addressed to “Good Will Foundation”



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—One month ago, on 7 July 2017, twenty of the twenty-one elected board members of the Vilnius Jewish Community (the 21st was abroad) signed a full-hearted letter addressed to the Good Will Foundation, the Lithuanian government restitution fund for Jewish community survival deriving from part of the value of the communal properties owned by the annihilated religious Jewish communities of prewar Lithuania. To this date, there has been no reply from the Good Will Foundation, nor any statement from its esteemed foreign board members who represent the World Jewish Restitution Organization. The board’s co-chair is Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee, who is a recipient of a number of Lithuanian government medals over the years.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community Releases Letter Signed by 20 Elected Board Members Addressed to “Good Will Foundation”

Neo-Nazis Pick Up Hate Materials from… (Hijacked?) Official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” Website



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Lithuania’s top neo-Nazi blogger “Zeppelinus” has republished with some noticeable relish, in a post dated 27 May 2017, parts of the 19 May official “Lithuanian Jewish Community website” attack (as PDF) on this journal’s editor, Dovid Katz. The attack was, some would say shamefully, signed “LJC staff” though sources rapidly revealed its prime author (see our rapid response on the day). It is not the first time that the antisemitic far-right has found its material on the website of the official Jewish Community under its current leadership (that is under legal challenge after the recent allegedly rigged election), at a time when the website is, disturbingly, allegedly under control of elements very far from the interests of Lithuania’s Jews. Last autumn’s website attacks on Rabbi Sholom-Ber Krinsky were picked up and elaborated by another key antisemitic blogger who went so far as to  dig up the 1790s antisemitic attacks on a prime founder of Lithuanian Hasidism.

You know something is wrong when the neo-Nazis are finding their material on the “website of an official Jewish community”. It’s a website funded in fact by the state via restitution funds deriving from the communal religious properties of the annihilated Jewish communities of Lithuania, administered by a (this one’s for you, George Orwell) “Good Will Foundation”.

Then there was the most recent fiasco, a comparison of the democratic electoral congress of the Vilnius Jewish Community on 24 May to Russia’s “Zapad 2017” military exercises, and the charge that the assembled 300 or so Vilnius Jews were “mainly Russian speakers calling themselves Jews, with only a minority of people with Litvak blood” (see our report which led to JTA’s coverage, and the essays by Professor Pinchos Fridberg and by Leonas Kaplanas). This was a proverbial gift of the gods to the local antisemitic establishment here that revels in delegitimizing the country’s living Jews while embracing a de-Judaized ersatz “Litvak heritage” for PR, with some help from a tiny elite of privileged “court Jews” who themselves at times, it seems, become conduits for antisemitic invective against the local Jewish community. Prof. Fridberg has pointed out that a subsequent vague and unclear “apology” posted failed to disclose the author(s) of the offending text, and never even appeared in the Russian-language section of the website. Is the author of the offending text still employed by the official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community”? Why is his or her identity a secret?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Human Rights, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Pick Up Hate Materials from… (Hijacked?) Official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” Website

Dr. Jerrold A. Zoloto’s Open Letter to Ms. Kukliansky



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Jerrold A. Zoloto, PhD

The following Open Letter appeared today on Dr. Zoloto’s public Facebook page and is reposted in Defending History with the author’s permission.

We have watched in horror the events leading up to and concluding with your “election” as the leader of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Having grown up in the world’s greatest democracy, it appalls me to see how you have ruthlessly and illegally managed to maintain your power base.

I am a proud Litvak, but you would not consider me a Litvak because I do not fit your definition of a Litvak. My mother was a Litvak and my father was a Jew born in Zhitomir. I grew up with my grandmother who was born in Kaunas. My grandfather was also from Kaunas, though he had died before I was born. Yiddish and Russian were spoken in my home as I grew up. You have disenfranchised Litvaks whose native language was not Lithuanian or whose parents were not both Litvaks or who was not born and raised in Lithuania. Your rhetoric on this subject is dangerously close to that of the Nazis who tried to destroy us. Within that concept of yours, you remind me of a Kapo who will do anything to her own people to ensure her own survival.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Jerrold A. Zoloto’s Open Letter to Ms. Kukliansky

Young Vilnius Jews Converge on Jewish Community Center to Protest Rigged Election



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Defending History Staff

VILNIUS—In one of the most remarkable events in post-Soviet Jewish Lithuania, around a hundred Jewish residents of this city, most of them from younger generations, came today to the Pylimo 4 headquarters of the “official” Jewish community to monitor the quadrennial elections for chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania which they believed to be rigged. First, the rules had been changed right in the middle of the campaign, on 19 April, disenfranchising the small Jewish population of Lithuania by reducing to one vote each Jewish community and abandoning the long-standing formula of 1 vote for 100 persons which gave a voice to actual Jewish people (while retaining one, two or even three votes for various oligarchs from NGOs and other organizations, associations, and entities, including a not-yet built museum in a town with no Jews). That meant that the 2,200 or so Jews of Vilnius would have one vote rather than around 22.

UPDATES OF 29 MAY:

Vilnius District Court today nullified the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s decision to eliminate proportional representation and reduce the electoral weight of Vilnius Jewry to one vote. It offered temporary relief with a right to appeal within seven days. Net moral effect of the decision is to delegitimize the “re-coronation” of the incumbent chairperson.

Also: The “Good Will Foundation” released its latest allocation figures of funds deriving from the communal religious properties of the annihilated Jewish communities. Incredibly, it contains money for the state-sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” that is dedicated to the 2008 Prague Declaration

Second, the fifteen representatives which the newly elected Vilnius Jewish Community Board designated to attend the election conference were not admitted to the conference. Last Wednesday evening, the VJC elected Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) its chairperson. He is the challenger candidate for the national chairpersonship position.

Third, a massive multi-layered security presence (guards in the building wore at least three kinds of fancy uniforms, police and security cars graced the sidewalk outside) added both bad will and farce to a day that will invariably go down in Vilna Jewish history on a number of counts. The Vilnius Jewish Community’s report on the day’s events (in Lithuanian) is available on its Facebook page.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Chabad in Vilnius, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Young Vilnius Jews Converge on Jewish Community Center to Protest Rigged Election

S’brent, Bríderlakh, S’brent (It’s Burning, Dear Brothers, it’s Burning)


 


OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Leon Kaplan

Last night, Wednesday the 24th of May 2017, I came home from a long (three-and-a-half-hour) but wonderful gathering. It was the Vilnius Jewish Community’s conference, a democratic, well-organized and well-attended election for the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) as well as for its new board. When I got home I decided to listen to a disk of Yiddish songs by the late Nechama Lifschitz, a disk that her daughter Roza Litay gave me as a gift during a visit at her apartment in Tel Aviv. Around twelve midnight, while listening to songs of our “singing soul” I opened my Facebook page and could not believe my eyes when I saw the link to an article on the official website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) that presumed to cover the evening I had myself attended. It had a big picture not of any of the personalities of the evening, but of the chairperson, Faina Kukliansky standing next to a car and making a V for Victory sign like a victorious general gleeful over the destruction of an array of enemies.

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Posted in Leon Kaplan, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Russian Speakers' Personal Status | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on S’brent, Bríderlakh, S’brent (It’s Burning, Dear Brothers, it’s Burning)

Gurevich Explains How Kukliansky, Levin, Žakas, and Kanovich Control 40% of Votes in “Kangaroo Election”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), candidate for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, today issued a statement on his public Facebook page inviting members of the community to participate in the electoral conference for chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community, to be held this Wednesday evening 24 May 2014 6 PM (18:00) at the Karolina Hotel in Vilnius. His statement, in Lithuanian, reminds readers that the recent attempts to cancel the conference (whose date was democratically voted on by a clear majority of Vilnius Jewish Community Board members) would result in the application of the “new rules” decided on in the middle of the current campaign that would effectively disenfranchise 2,200 Vilnius Jews by recounting their votes from the present 22 or so (via the longstanding formula of 100 people = one vote) to one vote, while each of the elite power brokers in the chairperson’s circle (not all of whom live in Lithuania) would in effect have the votes to decide the entire future of the Jewish community, resulting in a tragic undermining of the future of the actual living Jewish people in Lithuania. To make matters worse, various of these “machers” have two or three votes each.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Shádov (Šeduva), Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gurevich Explains How Kukliansky, Levin, Žakas, and Kanovich Control 40% of Votes in “Kangaroo Election”

Has Anti-Lithuanian Political Operative Infiltrated Official Jewish Community to Sow Turmoil?



Geoff Vasil (Vilnius)

GEOFF VASIL: Heart, soul, brains and conscience of today’s official “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community”?

VILNIUS—The author of a “Pravda” style invective (see below) absurdly accusing Lithuania (!) of troublemaking in the 2014 conflict in Ukraine is now a major figure in the office of the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, leading to some security concerns about infiltration of political elements in small, vulnerable East European Jewish communities. These may include persons with no Jewish background or loyalty who are experienced “gun-for-hire journalists” who flip their convictions on a dime depending on who is paying them. The results can be tragic with astute sowing of concocted (and needless) interpersonal feuds within weak and fragile remnant Jewish communities that “have enough problems of their own” just surviving in the post-Holocaust post-Soviet environment.

SEE UPDATE

According to sources in Ms. Kukliansky’s office, the author of today’s personal attack against this journal’s editor is the same Mr. Geoff Vasil, author of the piece below, and formerly, for years, a dedicated correspondent on Holocaust obfuscation and neo-Nazi monitoring at DefendingHistory.com (where nothing remotely pro-Putin is ever considered for publication; DH’s stance on the sacrosanct NATO mission to secure Lithuania’s security in perpetuity has been made clear on multiple occasions; authors’ uncovered Putinist advocacy results in severance from Defending History).

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Arkadijus Vinokuras: Chairperson’s Henchman-Spoiler or Independent Candidate?



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Arkadijus Vinokuras, the highly talented and successful Lithuanian Jewish author, journalist, and comedian, has today jumped into the fray of the official Jewish Community’s elections for the post of chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community. In contrast to Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), who declared his candidacy at the start of the election season and whose candidacy has (as of the time of this posting) not even been reported on the official community website, Mr. Vinokuras’s effort comes one week before the scheduled May 24th Vilnius Jewish Community conference, and has been announced with respect and a fine photograph on the website today (the same moment it came out on his own Facebook page). But that is not the main reason his candidacy is thought by many in the community, on first reaction, to be in the service of chairperson Faina Kukliansky, whose democratic terms as chief of both the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) and the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) ran out last month.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Arkadijus Vinokuras: Chairperson’s Henchman-Spoiler or Independent Candidate?

Lithuanian Jews Dismayed at New Attempt to Crush Democracy



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Coming hard on the heels of the mid-campaign rule-change of 19 April that effectively disenfranchised over 2,000 Vilnius Jews, by “recounting” their collective vote as one vote instead of over 20 (via the long-established formula of 100 persons = one vote), the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, on 4 May placed an announcement on the Lithuanian-language page of the official community website (followed by the Russian section), Lzb.lt, cancelling the widely announced 24 May 2017 conference of the Vilnius Jewish Community decided upon by a clear majority vote of its Council (15 of 21 active members), for which the large hall of Hotel Karolina had already been booked. This was followed on 5 May by an English language version complete with “Red-Ink Warnings from the Leader” which seems to inaccurately report that the planned 24 May conference was an “arbitrary” act of “one” Council of the Vilnius Jewish Community member, presumably referring to her opponent in the race, Simonas Gurevičius.

UPDATES TO 12 MAY 2017: 

8 May 2017: Vilnius Jewish Community board member Simon Ceitlin posts a notice on his Facebook page confirming that the 24 May event at Hotel Karolina will proceed as announced.

10 May 2017: Simonas Gurevičius posts refutation of official Community website notice and confirms that the 24 May meeting, decided by all present at the most recent Vilnius Jewish Community board meeting, will proceed.

12 May 2017: Faina Kukliansky reposts announcement on community website assuring readers that the meeting will not occur.

 

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jews Dismayed at New Attempt to Crush Democracy

Simóntshik Launches Campaign for Leadership of Lithuanian Jewish Community



VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  LITHUANIA

Simóntshik (Shimen Gurevich) addressing a Vilnius conference

VILNIUS—Thirty-something Simonas Gurevičius (Yiddish — Shímen Gurévitsh, English — Simon Gurevich), who was from his earliest teens a Jewish camp counselor, head of the Jewish Students Union in his college years, and then, for years until spring 2015 executive director of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, this morning effectively announced his candidacy for the Community’s chairpersonship in a brief Lithuanian-language Facebook post (reproduced below). Universally known, with love and warmth, to Lithuanian Jews and to many non-Jewish friends who follow Jewish affairs as just Simóntshik, he is a native speaker of Yiddish (very rare for young people here outside the family of Chabad Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky), as well as Lithuanian and Russian, with practiced command of English and growing sophistication in Hebrew, both ancient and modern.

Is the mantle of Litvak leadership passing on to a new generation?

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Simóntshik Launches Campaign for Leadership of Lithuanian Jewish Community