Tag Archives: Genocide Center Vilnius

Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES

VILNIUS—This year’s March 11th independence day march here last month was again granted the route of highest prestige, from Cathedral Square, up the whole of the capital’s main thoroughfare, Gedimino Boulevard, and ending at Parliament Square. Defending History’s eyewitness report recounted this year’s “detour” to the presidential palace for the bizarre ceremony of attacking Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja), 95 next month, one of the Jewish partisans subjected to defamation by the state’s campaign of Holocaust revisionism that has included a “blame the victims” components that started eleven years ago.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST (ONLY JEWISH) VETERANS OF THE ANTI-NAZI PARTISANS; RENEWED 2017 CAMPAIGN AGAINST FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY

 

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Documents, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day

State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Issues Document that is “2017’s Jew-Witch Hunt” Against 95 Year Old Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—The following (text below) is a translation from Lithuanian of the 2 March 2017 letter from the state-sponsored Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania (widely known as the Genocide Center) to a nationalist group that put on this year’s March 11th Independence Day neo-Nazi march, with authorities’ permission, in the center of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. The group had complained about Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaite, having granted an award on February 16th to Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, soon to turn 95, for her work in the field of Holocaust education. The president’s office had referred the complaint to the Genocide Center which issued this letter (facsimile of the original below). The correspondence was then read out at a bizarre ceremony that some observers thought bore the hallmarks of a 2017 “Jew-witch hunt” when the Independence day festivities announced a detour to the presidential palace to read out the various letters and condemn Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, who is the only one of her family to survive the Holocaust precisely because she escaped the Vilna Ghetto in September 1943 and joined up with the anti-Nazi Soviet partisans, the only force seriously challenging Hitler’s rule of Lithuania.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Documents, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Issues Document that is “2017’s Jew-Witch Hunt” Against 95 Year Old Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky

Vilnius Prosecutor Skirts Key Question: Will the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators be Made Public?



LITHUANIA | POLITICS OF MEMORY | GENOCIDE CENTER | OPINION

by Dovid Katz

 

VILNIUS—An array of local observers, speaking as usual off the record here, declared themselves “in shock” over the official response to the Jewish Community released by Prosecutor General Rimvydas Valentukevičius yesterday, dealing with widespread requests that the state’s Genocide Center — with which his Prosecutor General’s office has closely cooperated on Holocaust issues for many years — release the list of around two thousand names of alleged Holocaust murderers that it recently announced it had compiled, drawing international press attention. Over the years, the Center has been critiqued by the Wiesenthal Center and by various authors in Defending History for its alleged history-distorting antics; Evaldas Balčiūnas and Andrius Kulikauskas are among the boldest challengers of the Center’s moral integrity. (See also DH’s page on the Genocide Center, and on the museum which it directs in central Vilnius.)

The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel has long maintained an estimate of 23,000 local perpetrators involved in the killing. Thousands were listed on the Association’s website until June 2009 when the Israeli Foreign Ministry, under pressure from Lithuanian counterparts, itself harshly pressured the Association’s then chairperson to remove the list from its website. But it continues to circulate widely both on the internet and its fuller form is preserved in Joseph Melamed’s 1999 book, Crime and Punishment (Tel Aviv 1999), where the lists of alleged killers are organized by region and town.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Prosecutor Skirts Key Question: Will the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators be Made Public?

Wiesenthal Center Praises Lithuanian Jewish Community Call to Publish List of Local Holocaust Perpetrators



LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

JERUSALEMThe Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised the call issued late last week in Vilnius by the Lithuanian Jewish community to the official state Genocide and Resistance Research Center to publish its list of 2,055 Lithuanians whom it alleges participated in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. In a statement issued here by its chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who also is responsible for Eastern European Affairs, the Center noted the importance of the call by community president Faina Kukliansky to finally reveal the names on the list which was originally compiled in 2012, but has hitherto never been made public. Of particular importance was the community’s call upon the Genocide Center to verify whether any of the persons on the list were still alive, how many of them had been granted rehabilitations and whether any of these persons had received decorations from the Lithuanian government (for their anti-Soviet activities).

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Efraim Zuroff, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Praises Lithuanian Jewish Community Call to Publish List of Local Holocaust Perpetrators

Lithuanian Jewish Community Shocked by Cave-In of Titular Head to Genocide Center’s Holocaust Obfuscation



POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GENOCIDE CENTER | LITHUANIA  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

The following 5 February 2016 Jewish Telegraphic Agency news item has appeared widely in international Jewish media, including the Forward, Haaretz, Jewish Journal, and the Ottowa Jewish Bulletin.

JTA—The leader of Lithuania’s Jewish community supported a proposal to delay publishing the names of suspected Holocaust perpetrators out of concern for their families’ reputation and privacy. Faina Kukliansky, a former prosecutor and president of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, made this assertion following discussions in Lithuania on publishing a list of 1,000 names that historians from the state-owned Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania have spent years compiling. The center’s director, Terese Birute Burauskaite, said on Tuesday that her institution would publish the list this year in a book, but later said it would transfer the list to state prosecutors instead. “I have it complete,” she said of the list, “but how will the families [of those named] react if this violates their rights, if their guilt is not proven? I will convey it to the prosecutors.” Burauskaite said she transferred a list with 2,055 names to the government in 2012, but it was neither published nor used in criminal investigations. The center then eliminated more than 1,000 names from that list.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Faina Kukliansky, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jewish Community Shocked by Cave-In of Titular Head to Genocide Center’s Holocaust Obfuscation

An Open Letter to Holocaust Scholars and Educators in the Francophone World



OPINION  |  FRANCE  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

Dear Colleagues:

Re: Conference on the Lithuanian Holocaust scheduled for this week in Vilnius

The newest Lithuanian “Double Genocide Industry” outreach to the French speaking academic world of Holocaust and World War II studies, this week’s conference in Vilnius, combines a number of truly outstanding scholars and papers with a political agenda of finding Francophone legitimization for Baltic Holocaust revisionism. The French component includes outstanding personalities from Mémorial de la Shoah, from Institut d’Histoire du Temps présent, and from the French Embassy in Lithuania. The strategy has recently evolved following a protracted collapse of US/UK/Israeli confidence in both the “Red-Brown Commission” (page)  and the “Genocide Center” (page), both of which have been extensively exposed in recent months. Participants from Lithuania include one of the Double Genocide movement’s main “attack dogs” who makes fine hay of smearing local Lithuanian truth tellers as stooges of Moscow or useful idiots, especially when attempting to discredit honest multi-sided conferences (e.g. last April’s Vilnius conference).

Will the European Commission and the Claims Conference ever see the light on how their generosity is abused by Baltic nationalist Holocaust revisionism?

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Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D   /   G E N O C I D E    C E N T E R

by Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

“I am a former Lithuanian soldier myself and have a personal remark to make. Nobody will ever force me to wear the uniform of another country’s armed forces, because I am a Lithuanian patriot. I will not wear the uniform of Russia or of Mozambique.”

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

One of the main Lithuanian dailies Lietuvos žinios (Lithuanian News) reported in an article on 24 November 2015  that the council of the celebrated Sajūdis organization (famed for its role in resisting the USSR and helping to achieve Lithuanian independence), had now, in 2015, decided to apply to prosecutors to take legal action over an article that had appeared in the 13 October 2015 edition of Laisvas laikraštis (Free Newspaper).

Sajūdis “decided” that the author  had violated the law because he mentioned that Lithuanian postwar militants Vytautas Žemaitis, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra), Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas and others might have been personally involved in Holocaust atrocities. [Editor’s note: See articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas on the alleged Holocaust involvement of Žemaitis, Noreika, and Baltūsis -Žvejas.]

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sweden | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?

Double Genocide Discourse Now Standard for the New York Times?



O P I N I O N     /     M E D I A   W A T C H

VILNIUS—Naturally the New York Times cannot publish or even post very many of the Letters to the Editor that it receives. But when a dozen or so reactions from different parts of the world to a single article are all discarded, it is perhaps worth someone posting a submitted letter elsewhere for the record. This is especially true where there is a larger concern. In this case, it is the paper’s imposition, in recent years, of a wall of silence about the Holocaust Obfuscation, World War II revisionism and far-right historiography peddled by East European countries. These are, as it happens, the same countries who are in today’s geopolitics America’s and the West’s most reliable European allies in the New Cold War against the authoritarian, revanchist Putin regime.

The Times’ policy has sometimes extended to misrepresenting the East European far right’s history revisionism as accepted fact by publishing multiple op-eds from only one side of the argument. When the Times did (obliquely) cover the Seventy Years Declaration in early 2012, its reporter, tightly controlled by the State Department, would not mention the declaration by name, would not meet any of the government’s critics to hear their views, confused the two declarations in contest, and quoted a famous Brandeis professor without mentioning he was in town to receive a medal from the Lithuanian president for helping the state’s PR.

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The Bubnys Event at the 2015 Jewish Community Auschwitz Commemoration



E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T   /   O P I N I O N

by Julius Norwilla

This year much of the world commemorates the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. The day of its liberation, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. To mark the day this year, on the 26th of January, the Jewish Community of Lithuania organized three events, as reported in Defending History.

The final event of the day was the book launch for The Šiauliai Ghetto featuring as sole announced speaker its author, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Department of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania; for a critical view of the Genocide Center, as it is known for short, see Defending History’s page and news section on the institution.

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Three Holocaust Remembrance Day Events in Vilnius on 26 January 2015



O P I N I O N

For some reason held on 26 January, a day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, three events were announced together in a flyer posted by the Jewish Community of Lithuania and disseminated by other interested organizations in Vilnius.

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Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Adolfas Ramanauskas Vanagas was a well-known post-war partisan commander. Here’s what the Center for the Study of the Genocide of the Residents of Lithuania has to say about him on their website:

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai

Vilnius Genocide Center Releases a New Graywash on the Vilna Ghetto



B O O K S    /    O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The unfortunate and wasteful campaign of Holocaust obfuscation waged by certain East European state institutions continues apace. The level of investment continues to strike outsiders as puzzling, given current economic and cultural issues and the younger population’s clear focus on the future and a better life for all in the new and multicultural European Union. Here in Lithuania, the first victims of the government’s (rather Soviet-style) “genocide industry” are the hard-working people of the country who deserve more judicious disbursement of their nation’s resources. The state-sponsored Genocide Center has just released three simultaneous editions (English, Lithuanian and Russian) of a new book on the Vilna Ghetto by historian Arūnas Bubnys, its own “director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Department.”

 Dr. Bubnys is also a member of the state-sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known for short as the “red-brown commission”). He was one of a minority of members of the Commission who refused to sign the (in the opinion of some, inadequate) letter of 14 October 2013 to Dr. Yitzhak Arad.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Books, Double Games, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Genocide Center Releases a New Graywash on the Vilna Ghetto

Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s Speech at the Annual Memorial for Lithuanian Holocaust Victims



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

Authorized English translation of Dr. Zuroff’s speech at the annual commemoration event held by the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, received from the Israel Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Hebrew original is here.


Good evening,

Attorney Yosef Melamed asked me to update you regarding the recent events which have taken place since the last memorial event a year ago, concerning the attempts by the Lithuanian government to distort the history of the Holocaust and to minimize or deny the participation of many Lithuanians in the murder of Jews, not only in Lithuania but also beyond its borders.

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Chief Lithuanian Bureaucrat/Historian Rehabilitates Nation’s Quislings, Again



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

In an interview posted on the Delfi website on June 21, 2013, Lithuanian government historian Arūnas Bubnys, head of department for the Orwellian- or even Kafkaesque-sounding Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania, once again lent support to the pro-Nazi Lithuanian Quisling government that seized power on June 23, 1941.

The interview, titled “Lithuanian Historian: June Uprising was Rehabilitation for Shameful Surrender to Soviets,” is available here. An English translation is provided here.

What follows is my commentary on that interview.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Chief Lithuanian Bureaucrat/Historian Rehabilitates Nation’s Quislings, Again

MP Vytenis Andriukaitis: Open Letter to Genocide Center “Chief Specialist” Ričardas Čekutis



O P I N I O N

by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis

Authorized translation from the Lithuanian original that appeared on Balsas.lt on 5 April 2012.


 

Yesterday, April 4, my colleague Petras Auštrevičius sent me a fragment of some internet correspondence between you, Ričardas Čekutis, and Morta Vidūnaitė. You, commenting upon the conversation, expressed this thought:

“But a nationalist [or “ethnic”] state, Morta, is one where government, i.e., sovereignty, belongs to the [ethnic] nation, which is what is written in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. Not to some sort of ‘citizens’ but to the [ethnic] Lithuanian people. This is also the principle of the supremacy of national law over all transnational formations, such as the EU, into which we were shoved through deceit and forgeries.

“In a nationalist [ethnic] state, for example, characters such as Auštrevičius, Andriukaitis and Karosas would be shot without hesitation, and that would be right, for treason. Well, you’ll see, very soon…”

I wouldn’t want to argue with your thought that they would shoot us, because an opinion is an opinion. But this sentence that “well, you will see, very soon,” understood rather clearly from the context that we will see some shootings has a very different meaning. But more about that a bit later.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches, Vytenis Andriukaitis | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on MP Vytenis Andriukaitis: Open Letter to Genocide Center “Chief Specialist” Ričardas Čekutis

Leading News Portal Delfi.lt publishes article by Genocide Center ‘specialist’ who was one of the leaders of the recent Neo-Nazi march


Ričardas Čekutis, ‘specialist’ at the state-sponsored Genocide Center in central Vilnius (center, with megaphone) was one of the leaders of the neo-Nazi march on March 11th.  Photo: Anarchija.lt.

Lithuania’s mainstream news portal, Delfi.lt, today published an article (English here) by Ričardas Čekutis, a ‘chief specialist’ at the state-sponsored Genocide Center in central Vilnius. Mr Čekutis was one of the leaders of the neo-Nazi march held on the Lithuanian capital’s main boulevard on March 11th, with a permit from city authorities and the participation of a member of parliament. Eyewitness report here. Afterwards, he embarked on a public antisemitic campaign, in addition to defending the neo-Nazi march in an earlier Delfi.lt article. He proudly displayed a homophobic symbol when he ran for office in municipal elections.

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Genocide Research Center’s ‘Chief Public Relations Specialist’ Steps Up Antisemitic Campaign


Ričardas Čekutis, the Chief Public Relations Specialist at the state-funded Genocide Research Center who was a leader of the March 11th 2011 neo-Nazi march on the main boulevard of the Lithuanian capital, and was formerly a top parliamentary aide to a Liberal (!) MP, gave a further ‘charming interview’ on April 24th  to Diena.lt.

SEE EARLIER REPORT

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, Human Rights, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Genocide Research Center’s ‘Chief Public Relations Specialist’ Steps Up Antisemitic Campaign

The Genocide Center



“Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania”

13 August 2010


O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Images by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield)

Didžioji Street 17/1, Vilnius

 

UPDATES:

A ‘chief specialist’ of the Genocide Center participated in the March 2011 (and 2012 and 2013) neo-Nazi parades, and then went on to make antisemitic statements to the press.  His July 2011 article in the mainstream media. As of Summer 2012, he is still a ‘chief specialist’ at the Center.

A revelatory gem from the Genocide Center’s website:

“Remembering the parallel with homicide, it could be said, that one may cut off all four of a person’s limbs and he or she will still be alive, but it is enough to cut off the one and only head to send him or her to another dimension. The Jewish example clearly indicates that this is also true about genocide. Although an impressive percentage of the Jews were killed by the Nazis, their ethnic group survived, established its own extremely national state and continuously grew stronger. Therefore, although a huge percentage of killed group members may indicate the cruelty of the oppressor, more complicated methods are needed to estimate the real results of genocide for the group as the entity.”

SEE ALSO:

DH SECTION ON THE GENOCIDE CENTER

Individual pages of DefendingHistory.com are dedicated to unraveling various aspects of the revisionist history campaign now underway in Europe. It is not always easy to disentangle the interlocking components. They include: trying to replace the history of the Holocaust with a new model of ‘Two Equal Genocides’ (Soviet and Nazi) in resolutions before the European parliament; the establishment of state-sponsored commissions to carry out the campaigns to get this done, even while convincing western organizations that the ‘new’ Holocaust studies incorporated within this paradigm are legitimate.

The Genocide Center is responsible for the historical misrepresentations and antisemitic exhibits at the Genocide Museum (and its new “Holocaust room”) in central Vilnius, and at Gruto Parkas near Druskininkai.

But there is also the disturbing issue of discrepancy between the ‘for export’ versions and what is on offer domestically on the ground. At major institutions in certain East European capitals, the impression is given that there was in fact only one genocide in Eastern Europe, and that it was the Soviet one, a notion frequently accompanied by antisemitic mischaracterizations of Soviet crimes as largely or primarily Jewish.

This is particularly evident at the Museum of Genocide Victims on the main boulevard of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, and at the Gruto Parkas (Lenin Statue Park) tourist complex near Druskininkai.  Features common to both include (a) diminution or elimination of the Holocaust from the history formally presented to the public and tourists; (b) open antisemitism and disdain for Holocaust victims, survivors and anti-Nazi resistance fighters, and (c) a pro-fascist ambiance that extends, unbelievably, to glorification of perpetrators of genocide as long as they were in someone’s sense ‘anti-Soviet’. On this last point, see now the valiant July 2010 essay by Lithuanian author and humanist Tomas Venclova, and the courageous statement issued in September 2010 by the Jewish Community of Lithuania.

Does the Genocide Center attempt to whitewash Nazi war criminals (instead of investigating their crimes)?

Two further distressing aspects have come into play in recent years, in a way wholly unanticipated. First, the efforts to criminalize and prosecute Holocaust Survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance. Second, the introduction of new laws to criminalize opinions that differ from the new ‘Truth’ about history that states in the region (not only Lithuania!) are attempting to legislate. It has taken time for news of these sometimes opaque developments to adequately filter through, but at last, there is growing awareness and opposition in Western democratic and Jewish circles to the targeting of survivors, to the state commissions, and to the European Parliament campaign to ‘equalize’ Nazi and Soviet crimes. None of these Western responses try to diminish the genuine need to educate the West about the horrendous Soviet crimes and occupation from which the nations of Eastern Europe suffered so much.

The vexed issue of motives is sometimes linked to contemporary regional antisemitism (which in 2010 included judicial decisions in favor of swastika displays). Sometimes, it is seen to be an ultranationalist attempt to obfuscate and relativize the huge voluntary participation by ‘anti-Soviet patriots’ in the actual murder of virtually the entire Jewish population in LithuaniaLatvia and Estonia. Some (certainly not all) of the revisionist efforts here in Lithuania have been coordinated from one control center in central Vilnius: the state-sponsored Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania. Housed in a handsome building in Vilnius’s prestigious Old Town  (website here), it is the provider of historic information and texts for display to both the Genocide Museum and Gruto Parkas (where its texts stand as state’s historic fact despite the park’s privatization). It has its own ‘Special Investigations Department‘ and works closely with prosecutors and with parliament. Various politicians have held high positions in the Genocide Center.

Question of the Month:

The Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania reports on its website on the work of its Special Investigations Department.

Question: Does this department have any connection to the ongoing and shameful ‘investigations’ of Jewish Holocaust Survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance and are heroes of the free world?



History has its ironies, and an old building its secrets. It so happens that the Genocide Center’s headquarters stands at the site of one of the gates of the (‘small’) Vilna Ghetto, located in the medieval Jewish Quarter area, moments from the Gaon of Vilna’s place of residence. These winding streelets constituted an epicenter of East European Jewish civilization for centuries. But inside this ghetto gate, set up in September 1941, thousands of the city’s Jewish citizens were incarcerated in preparation for genocide in a matter of weeks (distinct from the ‘large’ ghetto that was liquidated two years later, in 1943).

We are at the corner of Didžioji (Yiddish Breyte gas; ‘Broad Street’) and the narrow winding Stiklių Street (Yiddish Glezer gesl; ‘Glazier Street’). In fact, the gate to the ghetto was affixed right to this building’s wall. The angle in the wall marks the spot. The people outside the gate were free. Those on the inside were slated for genocide because they were Jewish. But this ‘detail’ is not mentioned on the building of this research center dedicated to — genocide in Lithuania. The precise spot is visible on the Yiddish map from Vilna Ghetto times, where the thick black line is the ghetto boundary. Most of the building (lower right hand corner of the map) borders the last yards of free Vilna at this gate, with the final portion, from the kink in the wall to the end, flush against the start of the Vilna Ghetto area. Below it, a zoom-in of the building itself.


The kink in the wall marks the spot. The ghetto gate was affixed to the wall of this building (it is thought) right at or very near the angled meeting of the two sections. Incarceration for genocide to one side. Freedom of the ‘superior’ races on the other. A spot that seems, very sadly, not to be deemed worthy of historic marking by the building’s present occupants: the Genocide and Resistance Research Center.


The plot thickens. The building now housing the Genocide Center is pivotal in the historic narrative of the Vilna Ghetto. It is where the Nazis staged the ‘Great Provocation’ of 31 August 1941 — the alleged shooting of a German soldier — that was used as the pretext for the immediate murder of around eight thousand Jewish citizens, followed within a week by the herding of all the city’s Jews into the two ghettos in early September. It is the building from which an alleged shooter was dragged and beaten. Herman Kruk wrote in his diary:

‘On the corner of [Wielka = Didžioji, Breyte gas] and Glezer Streets, a shot was heard. They say a German was wounded. Soon there was a commotion, and someone pointed to a Jew from a house on that corner of Glezer and Wielka Streets, as the one who must have shot the German. People soon appeared there; the Jew was beaten horribly, everything was thrown out of his house, and a pogrom against Jewish property spread over Glezer and Jatkowa Streets. This did not finish the game. At night, they started driving the tenants out of their apartments. This goes on today, too.’ [excerpt of entry for Tuesday, 2 September 1941]

from: Herman Kruk, The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Edited and introduced by Benjamin Harshav. Translated by Barbara Harshav. Yivo and Yale University Press: New Haven & London 2002, p. 83.

Immediately following the alleged shooting of a German soldier on Glezer Street on Sunday 31 August 1941, and the accusation against a Jewish resident of the building that is today the Genocide Center, some eight thousand Jews were arrested, taken to Lukishki Prison and from there to Ponar (Paneriai) and murdered. Within a week the ‘retaliatory measures’ included the incarceration of all the city’s Jews in the first (large) and second (small) ghettos. This trilingual notice (German, Lithuanian, Polish) released by the Gestapo on Monday 1 September 1941 announced collective responsibility of the Jewish people for the shooting. Genocide of Vilna’s Jewry was underway. Image from Leyzer Ran, Jerusalem of Lithuania, NY 1974, vol. II, p. 432). By permission of Professor Faye Ran (NY).


The abrupt murder of eight thousand citizens leads to stacks of ownerless property in town. The Gestapo rapidly followed up with this public order (Nr. 4 on 1 Sept. 1941), this time in German and Lithuanian, ordering the ‘registration’ of the abandoned Jewish property in Vilna. Image from Leyzer Ran, Jerusalem of Lithuania, NY 1974, vol. II, p. 432). By permission of Professor Faye Ran (NY).


What then is today’s message of the Genocide Center to the outside world? After many protests, a single title containing the word Holocaust (a booklet by a local historian) was finally added to the pantheon of weighty tomes, nearly all of them on Soviet crimes. The horrific crimes of the communist regime obviously need to be exposed and studied, but not as a ruse for distorting or deleting the Holocaust, and not under the spurious title of Genocide in an establishment dedicated to that very topic, here at ground zero of the East European Holocaust. Bizarrely, this is an establishment that seems to want to downgrade the genocide that actually took place in the country. Below, the publications on display in the center’s windows.


An image of this corner (start of Glezer gesl) from before the war, from Leyzer Ran’s Jerusalem of Lithuania (NY 1974, vol. I, p. 68). By permission of Professor Faye Ran (New York City).


Then and now: Juxtaposition of the prewar image with the same spot today (© R. Schofield).

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