Tag Archives: Freedom of speech in the Baltics

On the (Ab)use of Law to “Fix” Holocaust History



OPINION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  FREE SPEECH  |  STATES’ MANIPULATION OF HISTORY

by Dovid Katz

This comment appeared in Mémoires en Jeu (Memory at Stake), no. 9, (2010).

In recent years, a number of eastern EU and NATO member states (plus Ukraine) have been constructing components of their official(and protected-by-law) national narratives on heroes who were collaborators, or even perpetrators in the Holocaust on the grounds that they were “anti-Soviet heroes.”1 These countries indeed had to face two Soviet occupations (1939/1940–41 and 1944/45–1991), and the occupation by Nazi Germany (1941-1944/5). The “liberating” state was also the author of major crimes such as repressions, deportations, forced labor and executions, and the statutes of post-Soviet Europe lacked a text on the crimes of communism. The ensuing moral problem is as follows: while these States would have legitimate heroes who struggled for freedom against dictatorial Soviet domination, they also honor those who participated in the Holocaust and even criminalize criticism against them.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Estonia, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform", State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on On the (Ab)use of Law to “Fix” Holocaust History

Defending History Team at Vilnius County Court to Support Evaldas Balčiūnas



VILNIUS—At yet another frivolous-case hearing this morning, four supporters of Defending History author Evaldas Balčiūnas turned out to provide moral support. Balčiūnas is a major critic of public shrines, street names and monuments that honor Holocaust perpetrators, as well as an active opponent of neo-Nazi marches and activities, especially those with tacit support from elements of government.

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Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Defending History Team at Vilnius County Court to Support Evaldas Balčiūnas

Is the Vilnius Police Criminal Division Harassing a Veteran Holocaust Researcher?


A bemused Vilnius film director finds a letter from the police department’s criminal investigations unit concerning his work in Holocaust Studies. Saulius Beržinis is founder and director of the Independent Holocaust Archive of Lithuania, housed in a bucolic setting on the outskirts of Vilnius.

VILNIUS—Defending History confirmed today that renowned documentary film maker and Holocaust researcher Saulius Beržinis, founding director of the Independent Holocaust Archive of Lithuania (IHAL), has been the latest recipient of a letter from police on account of his work documenting the alleged Nazi collaboration of various Lithuanian “1941 freedom fighters” who allegedly collaborated with the Nazi regime and in the murder of their civilian Jewish-citizen neighbors in the days, weeks and months following 22 June 1941. The letter demands he turn over a “list” of criminals which it was never his, nor the Archives’ intention, to produce or comment upon. Over the years, the Holocaust specialist has won the confidence of groups worldwide for his willingness to seek out and tell the unvarnished truth, among them the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.

The March 19th letter to IHAL’s director, letterheaded “Vilnius District Senior Police Commission, Vilnius City First Police Commission, Police Criminal Division” is reproduced below (followed by translation into English).

Saulius Beržinis has been collecting testimonies on the Holocaust for a quarter of a  century. He is known internationally for his singular achievement of  interviewing on camera actual admitted killers (some are in the film Lovely Faces of the Killers, 2002), and his extensive documentation work with survivors and witnesses. He has partnered over the years with BBC, The United States Holocaust Museum, the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania, Yad Vashem, and other international bodies, in addition to dozens of Holocaust survivors. His Holocaust documentaries include Farewell Jerusalem of Lithuania (1994), Yudel’s Unwritten Diary (2004), The Road to Treblinka (1997). Most recently, his film on the Holocaust in Jurbarkas (Yúrberik) became controversial for daring to name the killers of the town’s Jewish citizens in 1941 (see reviews by Milan Chersonski and Geoff Vasil).

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Film, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Is the Vilnius Police Criminal Division Harassing a Veteran Holocaust Researcher?