Tag Archives: Grant Gochin

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VIDEO: Major Litvak Rabbis in Israel and American Christian Evangelist Meet with Lithuania’s Ambassador to Israel to Plea for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery 

Late Jan. 2020 meeting follows previous month’s “Day of Shame” in Vilnius in Dec. 2019

23 January 2020

JTA on Scandal Emanating from Lithuanian Parliamentarian Gumuliauskas’s Proposed Bill to “Fix” Holocaust History



13 January 2020

Defending History Joins Lithuania in Mourning the Fourteen Unarmed Pro-Independence Protesters Murdered by Soviet Forces on 13 Jan. 1991 

10 January 2020

from Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s post in BNS and Vakarų Ekspresas

LRT’s “Panorama” runs report on the Soviet sports palace building (timecode: 21:25—25:20), envisaging “hundreds of millions of euros” and “a bag of gold”

2 January 2020

Israeli and Polish Ambassadors to Ukraine Issue Joint Letter Protesting New State Glorification of Holocaust Perpetrators (T.O.I. report by Sam Sokol)

1 January 2020

Antanas Zubrys and Dr. Matilda Zubrienė: Defending History’s Persons of the Year (2020)

Antanas Zubrys and Matilda Zubrienė

A Lithuanian hero of the War of Independence in 1920, one hundred years ago, who went on in 1941, with his wife, to risk their lives and their families and  just do the right thing and save innocent neighbors from the racial genocide underway and supported by their own nation’s “nationalist leaders”… “Someone has to honor Lithuania’s real World War II heroes.” See background on current practice by some East European governments to honor Nazi collaborators (e.g. Lithuanian parliament’s 2018 decision; DH section). See DH’s Person of the Year awards for 201420152018, and 2019.

Updated Litvak One-Stop Shop for 2020

Year of 300th Birthday of the Gaon of Vilna: novel critical approach of Andrius Kulikauskas’s brand new website on calendar of events. Our editor’s papers & articles.

“7 Kingdoms of the Litvaks” is free online

19 December 2019

A “Day of Shame” in Post-Holocaust East European Jewish History?

The upshot? The state owned property bank claims “Jewish support” for “the convention center in the old Jewish cemetery” via the alleged collusion of some London rabbis from the “CPJCE” and the head of the government sponsored Jewish community… But what about the opinion of all the others?

December 2019

Lithuania, a Genuine, Robust Democracy, Continues to Struggle with Free Speech when it Comes to the Holocaust

See Efraim Zuroff in the Jerusalem PostArkadijus Vinokuras in Times of IsraelInstances from the past decade monitored by DH; Section on free speech and democracy. Dovid Katz’s new paper on the (ab)use of law to “fix history” in the Baltics.

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas founds major new initiative dedicated to Lithuanian-Jewish friendship and sense of common purpose for future of the Grand Duchy heritage by way of open, free and respectful dialogue and inspiring new projects

Program of 16 Dec. Bar Ilan Univeristy conference on Zuroff-Vanagaite book on the Lithuanian Holocaust; Conference report & photos

Nov.-Dec. 2019

Litvak World Shocked by New “Year of Gaon” 10 Euro Coin that Plonks a Symbol Beloved of Far Right onto a Mutilated Jewish Menorah

Defending History has followed the saga for three years

Ruta Bloshtein in Lithuanian in 7md (6 Dec.2019) [PDF of print edition]

Vilnius’s Jewish satirist Motke Chabad shares his own perspective

Ruta Bloshtein (2 Dec.) and Ben Cohen (28 Nov.) in the Algemeiner Journal

Dovid Katz (15 Nov. and 22 Nov.) and Ruta Bloshtein (26 Nov.) in DH

Grant Gochin in The Times of Israel on other painful issues evoked by “Year of Gaon” plans (also on LJC website); See DH’s Seven Simple Solutions on Lithuanian-Jewish issues

More coverage by Algemeiner JournalArutz ShevaEnlace JudíoHaaretzIsrael National NewsJewish ChronicleJTAYNetYNetEspanol, Times of Israel (ToI French edition)

Is it perhaps an opportune moment for the government to abandon plans for a convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, where hundreds of the Gaon’s ancestors and descendants still lie buried? International petition continues to grow.

Autumn 2019

AP on Streets Newly Named in Kiev for Nazi Collaborators

Clemens Heni in Portal for Political Science

Justin Ward in Medium on History Revisionism in Hungary

Andrius Kulikauskas in Bernardinai on Vilnius Jewish Cemetery Saga; Chief Rabbi of South Africa Weighs In; But NY Yivo stages PR event for government’s positions only

Aleksandr Kuzmin in DH on Latvian Defense Minister’s Glorification of Waffen-SS; Jewish Voice on History of Latvian Holocaust

Cnaan Liphshiz in Times of Israel (French) on Holocaust Museums 

George N. Tzogopoulos at Begin-Sadat Center on Israel’s Role; See DH’s Israel Page

23 Sept. 2019

International Coverage of Vilnius’s Day of Prayer, Plea & Protest for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s keynote address; Report (+ photo gallery) in Lithuania’s 15min.ltLRT evening news (from timecode 4:56). European Foundation for Human Rights

Letter from South Africa’s chief rabbi to Lithuania’s president

London CPJCE “Jewish grave traders” are called to face charges at the Jerusalem rabbinical court. In London, a “Serious Incident” report is filed with the United Kingdom’s Charity Commission. Background on CPJCE’s Vilnius outrage. The video.

Canadian Govt. Officials “Duped” into Participating in Honors for Ukraine’s OUN / UPA Hitler Collaborators

Reports in National Post and Ottawa Citizen

Defending History’s Take: “Canada, a bastion of enlightened liberalism in today’s world, has blundered into a moral mouse-trap. Hopefully its highest leaders will now rapidly correct the error and join all those around the world who condemn the Nazis and their collaborators’ rampages of ethnic-based mass murder and genocide in World War II era Eastern Europe.”

23 September 2019

Monday September 23 in Vilnius

Day of Prayer and Respectful Challenge to Spare Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės) from Plans to Site a Convention Center in its Heart

Sign Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition       See the International Support       DH Section

Sept. 2019

A Decade of Defending History

Defending History marks its 10th anniversary in Sept. 2019

9 years ago7 years ago.  5 years ago3 years ago.

Come and browse old issues; first post; mission statement; Samples of coverage over the years by Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post; Arne Bengtsson in Baltic World; Daniel Brook in Slate; Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report; Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian; Avi Friedman in Mishpacha; Cindy Mindell in the Jewish Ledger; Rod Nordland in the New York Times; Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service. 

Documentary films: Danny Ben-Moshe’s Rewriting History; Richard Bloom’s Defending Holocaust History


9 Sept. 2019

Vilnius is Shamed by Brand New Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Holocaust Collaborator

Calls for government to rapidly “do the right thing: take it down”

Thursday 5 September:  Crowd glorifying Holocaust collaborator screams “Noreika” as new plaque is affixed on public space in central Vilnius. Photo: J. Stecevičius/LRT

Reports in Delfi.lt;   Lrt.lt;   15min.lt

Vilnius mayor calls plaque “illegal”Faina Kukliansky issues powerful statement of protestBNS; Baltic Times reports that sciences library is quite happy with its new plaque; JTA report

So far, a wall of public  silence from the “Yiddish-loving culture minister“, from  Yivo, and from the Western and Israeli embassies in Lithuania

Defending History’s take: “A very sad day for Lithuania and its proud ages-old  tradition of Grand Duchy tolerance and its current record as a successful democracy. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaque honoring Noreika, seven years after Evaldas Balciunas brought the issue to the English speaking world, and one month after Vilnius’s bold mayor boldly had the plaque removed, a mob of antisemites who celebrate the Holocaust’s perpetrators have put up an even shinier plaque, rapidly declared to be illegal by the mayor. The text of the new plaque is rather worse from the viewpoint of historic honesty, by referring to Noreika’s imprisonment by the Nazis at one point (the phenomenon of “Holocaust envy”), as if that makes a hero of a brutal Holocaust collaborator. Lithuania’s great people deserve better! Hopefully, the nation’s highest powers will remove the plaque without further delay, in the name of the rule of law, the nation’s standing, and basic human decency. See DH’s sections on:  J. NoreikaCollaborators Glorified; the 2019 midsummer events that presaged the latest events.  

August 2019

Bravo to Hizzoner Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius

Sam Sokol in JTA

Jillian Deutsch in Politico

Deutsche Welle

Vilna Jewish Cemetery Petition Hits 46,000 Mark

Lithuanian Jewish Community Reports on State Investigation of “Red-Brown Commission” Chief (background; video)

Vilna-born Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg’s “enormous courage” in challenging “perpetrator whitewashing” by nationalist icon V. Landsbergis

Prof. Pinchos Fridberg  ©DefendingHistory.com

See Pinchos Fridberg section; DH’s 2012 take on LandsbergisMeanwhile, controversial official head of gov. sponsored Jewish community, eminent attorney Ms. Faina Kukliansky, wins acclaim for (finally) standing up to Landsbergis, after he used crude anti-Jewish ethnic slur on FB; Baltic Times features a rude reply with no pretense of evenhanded journalism. EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis speaks out (see DH’s Andriukaitis section, and his classic statements on the Seventy Years Declaration and the reburial of wartime Nazi puppet prime minister in 2012).

Polish government glorifies unit that fought for the Nazis

Prominent Vilnius historian publishes article in mainstream media complaining that too many “foreign Jews” have been included in the state-sponsored history commission

9 Aug. 2019

Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Škirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of Noreika Plaque in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

At Aug. 7 central Vilnius rally in support of continued glorification of Holocaust collaborators. Sign at left: “Stop Judaeophile vandalism”. Poster at right asks if it is still Lithuania or already the Northern Jerusalem…


Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

Baltic Times gives big-time coverage to Landsbergis’s attack on official Jewish community leader Kukliansky. Will they provide equal space for the community’s response?

Aug. 7 rally demanded restoration of public space plaques and street names that glorify Holocaust collaborators held at Mindaugas Monument; Baltic Times’s “shamefully one-sided” report in far right spirit of trivializing glorification of Holocaust perpetrators


Poster advertising Aug. 7th rally blasts mayor who took action against glorification of collaborators, shows Jewish and gay pride symbols as the culprits

Photoshopped version of painting by F. Reshetnikov depicts several boys observing what seems like a Jewish-LGBT event from around the corner. Text at top reads “Škirpa and Vėtra [Noreika] are heroes of Lithuania”. The lower text depicts a rooster (“gaidys” in Lithuanian, used as a homophobic slur) and is labeled “Šimašius”, i.e., the current Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius who recently led efforts to remove public glorification of two Holocaust collaborators.  Text at bottom: “Let’s defend the heroes of Lithuania! Rally under the Mayor’s windows, by the monument of King Mindaugas. August 7 (Wed.), from 18:00 to 19:30.”

Question: Will the Roskies & Fishman “Yiddish PR conference” financed to deflect attention from the painful issues, publish a morally clear statement of protest (and support for the Jewish community)? Do conference participants appreciate concerns they are being used as “useful Jewish idiots” (UJIs) in the wider effort to rewrite Holocaust history and cover for blatant antisemitism?

Are they aware of the systematic exclusion from their conference of all the local Jewish scholars in this field who have expressed disagreement with the glorification of Holocaust collaborators (including Holocaust survivors who have written about Jewish Vilna)? Will they consider signing Ruta Bloshtein’s petition on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery?

BACKGROUND: See DH sections on collaborators glorifiedNoreika saga; Ramanauskas saga; seven Lithuanian-Jewish issues that could be easily resolved; academic background. the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD). signed by 71 European parliamentarians including eight valiant Lithuanian MPs and MEPs.

1 August 2019

“It Pays to Defend History”

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Orders Removal of Memorial Plaque for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

According to reports, city’s removal squad came 4 AM on 27 July; see now: the nationalist backlash (2); new president falls back on “more discussions needed” ignoring years of such discussions.  JTA report. Vilnius prosecutors considering challenges to mayor’s action. Vilnius’s Prof. Pinchos Fridberg takes the battle  over glorifying Hitler collaborators right to Vytautas Landsbergis. Meanwhile, Conservative Party’s Landsbergis Jr. hits back and official Jewish community exposes antisemitic slur on his FB page.

Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius

A seven year saga since Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas brought the Noreika case to the English speaking world in 2012

Lithuanian author & ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas

For years Mr. Balčiūnas was hounded by police, prosecutors and kangaroo hearings (scroll down to May 2014)

Over the years, Defending History’s campaign won support from the Simon Wiesenthal Center; the Rambam Mesivta High School that staged a peaceful demonstration at Lithuania’s consulate in New York; Noreika’s granddaughter, American author Silvia Foti; and Californian Litvak scion Grant Gochin, who took Vilnius’s “Genocide Center” to court. The GC’s public statement revealed its true view on the Holocaust. Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas is curator of online Captain Noreika Museum.

Follow the mayor’s impressive personal trajectory on these issues over the years

Marble Noreika stone continues to mar capital’s central boulevard


The mayor will hopefully soon speak out on fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, slated to become a convention center, that would damage Vilnius’s brand for generations  to come. Vilnius native Ruta Bloshtein’s petition now has over 46,000 signatures from every part of the world.

24 July 2019

Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Vote is  20 to 16

Defending History brought the issue to the international community in 2010

See Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s classic 2015 Defending History paper on Škirpa; Vilnius City Council efforts by Mark Harold

Report by JTA

Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Ruta Kaplinskaya concerned by report that new street name will be accompanied by new plaque glorifying Škirpa yet again

Škirpa is in the middle (Berlin, 1941)

Changing toxic street names that glorify Hitler collaborators is high on the list of the very easy things Lithuania needs to do to achieve justice on the irksome history issues that will just not go away. See DH’s seven solutions compiled with the help of the late Dr. Shimon Alperovich.

But what about Škirpa Street in Kaunas, which is slated to be “Capital of European Culture” in 2022?

July 2019

Ukraine’s Constitutional Court Affirms “Red Equals Brown” Law

Radio Free Europe (Radio Liberty) report fails to inform readers of the Double Genocide issues and abuse of history to further far-right Holocaust revisionism that includes glorification of Holocaust collaborators






June-July 2019

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

June 2019

California Resident Grant Gochin Appeals Vilnius Court Ruling that Whitewashed Notorious Holocaust Collaborator Jonas Noreika

IHRA weighs inMore reaction.  For first time (?), Lithuanian TV presents both sides.

The Question: Will an EU/NATO democracy continue to sink government funds into  glorification of Holocaust collaborators? Don’t the Lithuanian people have higher values and causes into which to invest their hard-earned taxpayer money?


23 June 2019

Kaunas (Slated to be 2022 “Capital of European Culture”)  Hosts Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23 “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941

In Vilnius, the parliament (Seimas) hosts a one-sided conference on the LAF (Lithuanian Ativist Front) Hitlerist militias that unleashed violence on Jewish neighbors before German forces even arrived.

Meanwhile, a naive article in National Review accepts the distorted history of Vilnius’s “Genocide Museum” (see our critique of the museum), that calls the Hitlerist  “Lithuanian Activist Front” (LAF)’s outbreak of violence against Jewish neighbors a  rebellion against the Soviets. The brutal Soviet occupation forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion (the largest in human history), not the LAF Jew-killers.

These killers didn’t fire a single shot against the Soviets when they were in power. You can’t “rebel” against someone who is in panic running away from someone else. . . The Holocaust is being rewritten by the East European far right (in part to make heroes out of the Eastern European collaborators) even as leaders of major Jewish organization in the US and elsewhere remain silent.

16 June 2019

The Good Old Pattern Continues in Biržai (Birzh), Northern Lithuania:

A magnificent new memorial to thousands of Holocaust victims at the mass grave in the forest.

Honors, medals and photo-ops for the foreign donors and enablers.

The official museum in the city center continues to honor Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators as “national heroes”, an issue not mentioned at any of the public events.

June 2019

State Glorification for Chaplain of a Holocaust-era Mass Murder Unit;  Simon Wiesenthal Center Speaks Out


Chone Leibovich of Vilnius Jewish Community appeals to National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry (scroll down for English)

May-June 2019

A Sad Story for Chicago and Lithuania

that is ‘not going away’

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

In Vilnius, Defending History staff get more death threats

First monument on American soil glorifying a wartime Nazi collaborator who is also a prime icon for his country’s neo-Nazis today was inaugurated last month (May 4) in the presence of the visiting Lithuanian foreign minister

LATEST MEDIA: Algemeiner; BBC; GrayzoneIndependent; Simon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph. And—Defending History’s take.

On Ramanauskas’s Holocaust-era role see courageous, pioneering articles of Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas in 20142017 and his latest that has just appeared. For years after starting his series of articles “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” Balčiūnas was hounded by prosecutors and police (scroll to May 2014).




Beyond the debates over Ramanauskas’s role in the early days of the Lithuanian Holocaust, he is today  a major icon for Neo-Nazi parades and events.

From left to right on the neo-Nazis’ “We know our national heroes” banner (torchlit neo-Nazi parade of Feb. 2018): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis

Latest far-right death threats  against DH editor appear on Facebook (as PDF; transl.). They were apparently instigated by the  neo-Nazis’ top blogger in Lithuania, “Zeppelinus”  (PDF; part transl.) who is said to work in the Ministry of the Economy. These threats came in response to DH’s opinion that Lithuania’s interests are not best served by a monument in Chicago to an alleged Holocaust collaborator who is also a prime icon for today’s neo-Nazi parades here. Samples of Zeppelinus’s racist, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic output of hate. Some of his earlier “artwork” on DH editor. 

This monument, honoring Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), who boasted in his memoirs of leading an LAF unit of fascist Hiterlist militia during the first weeks of the Holocaust (June-July 1941) in southeastern Lithuania, was overwhelmingly rejected for placement on public land by New Britian, Connecticut one year ago.  But on Saturday, 4 May  it was inaugurated by Lithuania’s foreign minister on the private property of the Lithuanian World Center in Chicago, Illinois. The English news release casually omits the reference to the Holocaust  issues cited in the original BNS Lithuanian report

On the legacy of Ramanauskas, see Evaldas Balčiūnas (in 20142017 and 2019); Efraim Zuroff and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Dovid Katz. Defending History documented the entire 2017-2018 New Britain, Conn. saga. Sampling of survivor testimony on “what it was that the LAF was doing” in the last week of June 1941.  SEE DEFENDING HISTORY’S SECTION ON ADOLFAS RAMANAUSKAS.

Defending History’s take: “The people of Chicago, and its proud Lithuanian and Litvak communities, should not have foisted on them a monument glorifying an alleged Holocaust collaborator who led a Hitlerist militia in the early days of the Holocaust, a monument that was overwhelmingly rejected by the New Britain, Connecticut city council one year ago. And, most certainly not without a free, public and transparent process of dialogue and consultation including Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as scholars and institutions representing a diversity of opinions. A one-year moratorium is called for to enable such a process to proceed with dignity.”

3 May 2019

Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika in Lithuania




28 April 2019



As addendum to EFHR’s  case filed; international opposition; petition reaching 46,000 mark

Recent coverage in the Algemeiner Journal; English Delfi.lt (Lithuania Tribune); Jerusalem Post;


Protest letter from Julius Norwilla, chairman of the Vilnius Committee for Preservation of Piramont (Snipiskes) Cemetery to the Director of the Čiurlionis House and Museum


Thousands (in groups of 25) were misinformed by guides’  prepared text assurance that convention center is with permission of “European Jewish Community in 2016” (!). Soviet kitsch was praised effusively in latest ruse to turn hated Soviet dump into “a national treasure”. Rabbi S. J. Feffer confronts one of the groups with a heartfelt speech of protest informing visitors of the “wanton theft of our forefathers’ graves” and blessing those who will help stop the travesty from moving forward.


Meanwhile in London, a Serious Incident Report has been filed with the UK’s national Charity Commission requesting an investigation of the role of the CPJCE in the destruction of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery.

Unique study in body language: “blockbuster video” of London CPJCE staff allegedly morally selling other people’s graves against the rulings of all the rabbis of Vilnius and of the planet.  In fact, when the then chief rabbi of Lithuania, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, spoke up in 2015, he was fired for expressing his views. Views of Rabbi S.J. Feffer (leading Litvak religious authority in the country) and Rabbi S.B. Krinsky (official rabbi of the synagogue / Chabad Lithuania).

The Wikileaks cable that just will not go away (jump to end of point 8)

Ruta Bloshtein’s petition approaches 46,000

Overviews by  Shnayer Leiman, Juris KažaMichael Maass, Dovid Katz, and Vilna-born Holocaust survivor Pinchos Fridberg; Statements by elected head of Vilnius Jewish Community Simon Gurevich


24 April 2019

Granddaughter of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika, the American author and educator Silvia Foti launches a bold international petition calling on Lithuania’s gov. to stop glorifying him.



23 April 2019

“The rights of minority cemeteries are human rights”

Legal Action Underway on Attempts to Pilfer Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery for National Convention Center




8 April 2019

Vilnius Plaque Glorifying Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika is Smashed by Maverick Candidate for the European Parliament, Attorney Stanislavas Tomas

All on film, streamed live Monday morning 8 April 2019, from candidate’s bilingual statements through to his calling the police and their eventual arrival to make the arrest


(plaque smashing at 14:30; English segments at 04:10; 22:40)

Defending History’s comment:

“We unequivocally condemn violent acts against any property. Plaques can and will be replaced, and acts of property violence are totally illegal, inherently unethical, and utterly counterproductive to the noble cause of ridding Europe of glorification of Nazism. There needs to be dignified, peaceful and lawful civic and international pressure for the removal of all state-sponsored, public-space glorification of Holocaust collaborators, not least in Lithuania where some 96% of the Jewish population was massacred with massive local collaboration and participation. The real heroes are the amazing Lithuanians who risked everything in 1941 to just save a neighbor and we pray for the day when plaques and streets for them will abound across the land. See our own Person of the Year for 2018 and 2019.”

On Jonas Noreika’s Holocaust activities, see Evaldas Balčiūnas and Andrius Kulikauskas

Samples of other monuments and street names glorifying Holocaust collaborators.  DH section on glorification of collaborators. The major Noreika monument in Vilnius is actually the engraved marble stone on the city’s central Gedimino Boulevard outside the Genocide Museum:

8 April 2019

Andrius Kulikauskas calls on Lithuanian Parliament to Stand Up to State-Sponsored Genocide Center’s Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators

Dovid Katz interviewed by Stan Tomas (video)

World Jewish Congress Replies to Vilnius Genocide Center; Stops Short of Mentioning Government’s Financing of Street Names and Honors for Holocaust Perpetrators; Official Jewish Community Breaks Long Silence on GC’s Antisemitism

3 April 2019

Eyewitness Report: A Verdict is Read in a Vilnius Court

Case was over the state’s glorification of a cruel Holocaust collaborator and purveyor of racial hate. First time a court in an EU/NATO country ruled in favor of the government glorifying Holocaust collaborators with street names and majestic public plaques, reducing the Holocaust to a detail not worthy of interfering with its perpetrators’ “heroism”…

Verdict came down on 27 March. Since then: utter silence from the US, UK and Israeli embassies in Vilnius, and from the “Red-Brown” Commission (which has affiliations with the Genocide Center) and its foreign members representing Yivo and the American Jewish Committee. But on April 3rd, the World Jewish Congress issued a major statement, to some extent avoiding the current issue of state glorification of Holocaust perpetrators via street names and plaques.

At 1 PM on Wed. March 27th, a Vilnius Administrative Court judge read out the court’s ruling dismissing the query of US resident Grant Gochin over Lithuania’s state glorification of Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika, active during the Holocaust in the region where Gochin lost around 100 relatives. The court said Mr. Gochin had no material interest, ruled that the state-sponsored Genocide Center had answered his query completely, without bias, and without abuse of power, in effect further enshrining in law an EU/NATO state’s glorification of Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators via the financing of ultranationalist and far-right history centers and departments determined to preserve the national hero status of Holocaust collaborators. Whenever government or municipal officials are asked about the numerous street names and plaques honoring collaborators, the invariable answer is that it is all in fact a matter for the experts at the Genocide Center.

Mr. Gochin’s academic specialist, Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas was on hand along with attorney Rokas Rudzinskas. Of the Genocide Center’s staff, only historian Dr. Arūnas Bubnys turned up, sitting in the small gallery surrounded in part by first and second generation Holocaust survivors who turned out to hear the verdict that the Western embassies, human rights organization and official (state-sponsored) Jewish community thought not worth sending an official representative to hear. By contrast the local Vilnius Jewish Community had two observers on hand.

UPDATES: Genocide Center releases statement; official Jewish community issues reply.

JTA report is picked up by some Israeli papers but not one major American media outlet, general or Jewish… Why is that?

A moment before the courtroom clock strikes 1 PM: Genocide Center’s chief historian Dr. Arūnas Bubnys (front row third from right) was the only GC official to come and hear the verdict.



26 March 2019

Vilnius Court’s Verdict Awaited on Wednesday March 27th

Public welcome at the reading of the verdict at 1 PM at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, Žygimantų 2 in the city center

Will a court in an EU/NATO country uphold a far-right Holocaust-obfuscating institution’s decision to make a national hero of a documented Holocaust collaborator?

See: Background. Report on 15 Jan. Report on 5 March.

Meanwhile, Bizarre Decision from EU Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is in Spirit of Far Right’s “Double Genocide” Revisionism

“The New Holocaust Denial is based on a postmodernist mush that confounds victims and perpetrators and tries to write the Holocaust out of history (without denying a single death) via an array of ruses emanating from Eastern Europe’s ultranationalist New Far Right.”


DH’s take. Report on 15 Jan. hearing. Report on 5 March hearing. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article that brought Noreika to the attention of the English speaking world. Balčiūnas’s DH section.

25 March 2019

Michael Mostyn in the Toronto Sun

Reports on pro-Nazi marches in Vilnius and Riga; Canada condemns Riga’s Waffen SS celebration

English original of part of Lithuanian TV’s interview with Dovid Katz

20 March 2019

Vilnius Jewish Community Invites People of All Backgrounds to Purim Celebration with Traditional Reading of the Book of Esther

Wednesday evening, 20 March, at 7 PM, at the Vilnius Jewish Community & Jewish Cultural and Information Center at Mesiniu 3 in Vilnius Old Town

VJC’s additional family event features the traditional costume party competition on Thursday evening 21st

Just for Litvaks: Translation of the Book of Esther into Lithuanian Yiddish

16 March 2019


DPA;  HaaretzJerusaem Post;  Jüdisches Forum (video)Times of Israel

Detail from the day

Petition against annual event approaches 7,000 signatures

Background: Monica Lowenberg’s blog; DH coverage of previous years’ marches; Lowenberg’s articles in DH; Latvia section. Can people peacefully protest this march? A disturbing court ruling 

Latvian participant in last month’s torchlight march in Vilnius on 16 Feb.

13 March 2019

More Double Dealing by US Taxpayer Supported “Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad” (USCPAHA)?

Is it Washington DC’s most corrupt federal agency?

Are they really in cahoots with the allegedly corrupt bodies (CPJCE in London, “Admas Kodesh” or “AK” in NY) who gave “permission” for a convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery against the views of all other rabbis and ethicists? The NY branch (AK) has published crude personal invective against scholars who hold other opinions, including Prof. Bernard Fryshman (who has now taken USCPAHA to the courts).

VIDEO: Herbert Block’s formal new presentation to a major rabbi cites only USCPAHA’s partnership with these two bodies. No mention of the international petition (which he himself signed…) or the vast international opposition.

Tale of two videos: The CPJCE with the prime minister of Lithuania, and USCPAHA’s Herbert Block explaining his commission’s work to the rabbi in Israel . . . See also earlier Admas Kodesh photo gallery of USCPAHA “reporting to Satmar Rebba in Monroe”… (Note: Leader of the opposing Satmar dynasty has himself condemned the convention center project in Vilnius).


The basic story (DH’s section). International opposition to date. The USCPAHA. The CPJCE.

8 March 2019

After ‘Hearing Both Sides’ at Trial of March  5th, Vilnius Court Sets Verdict for 27th

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, moments before his historic address before the Vilnius court on state-funded Genocide Center’s policy of glorifying Holocaust collaborators. The center’s “decisions” are cited by high officials as “justification” for street names, university hall plaques and other public-space state-funded glorifications of Holocaust collaborators. Around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry was massacred in the Holocaust.

Defending History was there. Our take:

Andrius Kulikauskas will go down in history not only as the hero of the day but as the true patriot of Lithuania whose love for his country is not infected by Holocaust obfuscation and the glorification of Holocaust perpetrators but by a pursuit of simple historic truth. By contrast, the Genocide Center’s shameful performance illustrated, as ever, why the government should not be using taxpayer or EU funds for a far-right ultranationalist Holocaust-obfuscating entity that disparages the freedom of Lithuanian citizens to have diverse opinions (by dictating fake history as per the Soviet playbook) and continues to damage Lithuania’s name in the world (East European democracies need state glorification of Holocaust collaborators like a hole in the head).

Evaldas Balčiūnas, whose 2012 article brought the case to international attention, was in attendance. Icing on the cake was the Genocide Center’s demand that the videographer leave at the outset. So much for government sponsorship of an open and transparent operation. There were close to 20 observers, mostly Vilnius Jewish personalities there in an individual capacity, including Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, who figured in a New York Times article on the subject last September. Elected Vilnius Jewish Community head Simon Gurevich, committed elsewhere, nevertheless made two brief appearances to show moral support for those who stand up to glorification of collaborators and to the community members in attendance. The VJC hosted Dr. Kulikauskas on Jan 14th.

“It had the air of a 21st century Lithuanian version of America’s Scopes Monkey Trial.”

Eyewitness reports and opinions by Evaldas Balčiūnas and Gershon Taic (Geršonas Taicas)

Finally, reports began to appear in mainstream Lithuanian media: BNS/Diena.lt; LRTDelfi; Alkas.lt; Arkadijus Vinokuras in Delfi.lt. Official information on the court’s website.

Background: Run-up to eve of the trial

California Financial Planner Takes Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” to Court on March 5th for Enabling Gov. Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

   Proceedings are open to the public (Tuesday March 5th, 10 AM at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in central Vilnius). Media to date includes the BBC World ServiceChicago TribuneJTA. The plaintiff is California wealth advisor Grant Arthur Gochin whose family lost around 100 relatives in the Holocaust in the area where Noreika operated. He will be represented in Vilnius by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, author of the Query that launched the case. He has a compelling letter of support from Noreika’s granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti. See Ms. Foti’s remarkable 2018 essay in Salon, and the recent takes by Grant Gochin, Dovid Katz, Andrius Kulikauskas, and Efraim Zuroff.

  The case of J. Noreika was brought to the English speaking world in 2012 by journalist and ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas of Šiauliai (Shavl), Lithuania, as part of a series of articles asking why his government honors alleged Holocaust collaborators. He was “rewarded” with years of prosecutorial and police harassment and kangaroo trials. Please scroll down to May 2014 in DH’s Balčiūnas section. In some opinions, Lithuania is a totally free-speech country with the marked exception of Holocaust history.



BACKGROUND: Collaborators glorified; street names and university lecture halls; the Genocide Center in Vilnius; the Genocide Museum; academic background to the “Double Genocide” movement for Holocaust revisionism

March 2019

Lev Golinkin in The Nation on Ukraine’s issues with adulation of fascism and Holocaust collaborators

David Pugliese in the Ottawa Citizen on Latvian and Ukrainian projects to revise history

Petition against Waffen SS March on March 16th in Riga; Background: Monica Lowenberg’s blog; DH coverage of previous years’ marches; Lowenberg’s articles in DH; Can people peacefully protest this march? A disturbing court ruling in 2017

Euronews report on far right’s march in central Tallinn, Estonia

Julius Norwilla attends meeting of Lithuania’s state property bank that plans convention center in heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vilnius: LRT TV interviews Dovid Katz

20 February 2019


Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Legendary Jewish Partisan who Fought the Nazis in the Forests of Lithuania, Currently Major Yiddish Culture Educator, Will be Guest of Honor at Today’s Yiddish Reading Circle

Fania Brantsovsky (left) with the late Dr. Rokhl Margolis (1921-2015) in Vilnius in 2007


Photo gallery of the event


16 February 2019


“Once again, it becomes clear how Defending History is the true friend of Lithuania and other democratic states in the Eastern EU that need glorification of Holocaust collaborators like a hole in the head”

DH’s Vilnius monitors, observing the event for a decade, report on “significant progress”: For the first time in many years, the far-right February 16 march, though at times noxious (e.g. when a group reveled in a “Noreika plaque photo-op”), had no visible banners glorifying local Holocaust collaborators and no visible swastikas on flags, and no organized chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians). By contrast, a few Latvian visitors wore jackets emblazoned with “Waffen SS”. At its conclusion, two of the march’s organizers approached our team for a civil discussion which turned to the participation of “non-Catholic & non-ethnic Lithuanians” in the war of independence leading to the rise of the democratic interwar Lithuanian Republic on 16 Feb. 1918.

Vilnius Authorities Again Gifting Capital’s Storied Old Town for Far-Right March on Cherished Independence Day

Are they celebrating the Holocaust and the massacre of Lithuanian Jewry?

Last year’s neo-Nazi event featured front banner glorifying a series of local Holocaust collaborators; it was addressed by a high Catholic Church official and “honored guest” neo-Nazis from abroad

2018 lead banner: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE”. The “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941. PHOTO: © DEFENDING HISTORY.

Come and join Defending History’s monitoring team. Event scheduled to start Saturday 16 February 6 PM at Aušros Vartų. Facebook details; website.

See Defending History’s decade-long eyewitness coverage of far-right marches in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Riga.


A Short History Lesson:

All of interwar Lithuania’s 239 Jewish communities (massacred in 1941) cherished and celebrated February 16th with heart and soul. They were proud Lithuanian citizens. It was also their Independence Day. See the 2013 letter from the late Joe Melamed, longtime elected leader of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, and any of countless records and pictures. Here, a photo (with bilingual Hebrew and Lithuanian handwritten captions) of the Jews of Dorbyán (Darbėnai) celebrating February 16th 1928, the tenth anniversary of independence:

30 January 2019

AP Report on Netanyahu Government’s Alleged “Sale of Holocaust History” in Eastern Europe is carried by New York Times, Washington Post, & Israel’s Haaretz & YNet

See Israel Chronicle summary page; Israel section; Sam Sokol’s new paper.

Related: Matti Friedman’s New York Times op-ed on the politicization of Yad Vashem. Cf. Danny Ben-Moshe’s earlier op-ed in Jerusalem Report. See Defending History’s Yad Vashem section.

Highpoints of Israeli diplomacy on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe: Ambassador Chen Ivri Apter in 2009; Ambassador Joel Lion in 2018.

Lowpoint: Ambassador Amir Maimon in 2017 (his performance made it into the academic literature before he was even transferred to his next posting).

27 January 2019

Holocaust Remembrance Week 2019

In recent times, the greatest threat to Holocaust Remembrance Day is the Double Genocide Holocaust revisionist movement whose “constitution” is the 2008 Prague Declaration. Defending History is proud to have taken part in the Europarliamentary response, the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration. The relevance of all this to Holocaust Remembrance Day was made crystal clear nine years ago by Yehuda Bauer on the pages of the Jerusalem Post. See also the essay by Holocaust survivor and scholar, and former director of Yad Vashem, Dr. Yitzhak Arad,  in Defending History. Identity Films has just made available free online its 2012 documentary Rewriting History. Richard Bloom Productions has done the same for its 2013 film, Defending Holocaust History.

William Echikson’s new report on how European countries are treating their Holocaust history

Coverage of the report in Politico.eu; Grant Arthur Gochin’s blog in The Times of Israel.

26 January 2019

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė:

Why do Authorities Choose to Evict Roma in the Middle of the Baltic Winter?


24 January 2019

“The rights of minority cemeteries to be left in peace are human rights”

Two Visualizations of a Convention Center in the Middle of Vilna’s  Old Jewish Cemetery

I: Lithuania’s State Bank (“Turto Bankas”) triumphantly issues its latest visualization for a national convention center  in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves. The huge new annex is “artfully” obscured (at the back).

2: Defending History issues its reply visualization. The people of Vilnius deserve a sparkling new convention center that will be a pride to all peoples everywhere, where they will be greeted by leaders of the arts, culture, music, politics, not by the tens of thousands of ghosts of the Jews of Vilna whose families purchased their burial plots in perpetuity. Join the 45,000 people who have signed Ruta Bloshtein’s international petition.


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American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika


VILNIUS—Author Silvia Foti, the American granddaughter of the notorious Lithuanian Holocaust collaborator, Jonas Noreika, has been described as “exceptionally courageous” for publicly telling the truth about her grandfather, whom far-right elements in the Lithuanian government and its “history fixing agencies” continue to revere with street names, plaques and state-contrived history. That rewriting of history has a “higher purpose” — to downgrade the Holocaust and beyond whitewashing, to recast the local perpetrators as “heroes” (because they were “anti-Soviet,” a description that could match close to 100% of the East European Holocaust murderers). He is only one of a series of collaborators in the destruction of around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry (among the highest proportions in Holocaust-era Europe) who are regarded as “national heroes” in tandem with the vast, and lavishly state-financed, campaign to rewrite World War II as “two equal genocides,” thereby, according to some, seeking to  write the Holocaust out of history as unique event here — without denying a single death.

This week, Ms. Foti launched an international petition boldly entitled  “Remove all honors awarded to my grandfather Jonas Noreika.” In some ways, it is a follow-up to an earlier petition, launched some years ago by London-based Monica Lowenberg.


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Court will Read Out Noreika Verdict Wednesday 27th at 1 PM in Historic Holocaust History Trial

VILNIUS—On March 27, Wednesday, at 1 PM here in Vilnius, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court will be reading its verdict on  the case filed by California resident Grant Gochin calling on  the state-sponsored Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center, widely known as the Genocide Center, to revise its evaluation of Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika as a hero who is worthy of state honors. Hundreds of documents have been produced demonstrating beyond all doubt his participation in the Lithuanian Holocaust (see sample document). One of the case’s sensations was the powerful and historic statement condemning Noreik’a crimes produced by his granddaughter, the American educator and author Silvia Foti.

The public and the press are welcome to attend the conclusion of this historic trial at Žygimantų Street 2 in central Vilnius.


DH’s take. Report on 15 Jan. hearing. Report on 5 March hearing. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article that brought Noreika to the attention of the English speaking world. Balčiūnas’s DH section.

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After ‘Hearing Both Sides’ at Trial of March  5th, Vilnius Court Sets Verdict for 27th



Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, moments before his historic address before the Vilnius court on state-funded Genocide Center’s policy of glorifying Holocaust collaborators. The center’s “decisions” are cited by high officials as “justification” for street names, university hall plaques and other public-space state-funded glorifications of Holocaust collaborators. Around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry was massacred in the Holocaust.

Defending History was there. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s report here. Editor’s take:

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Run-Up to Vilnius Trial on March 5th



California Financial Planner Takes Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” to Court on March 5th for Enabling Gov. Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

   Proceedings are open to the public (Tuesday March 5th, 10 AM at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in central Vilnius). Media to date includes the BBC World ServiceChicago TribuneJTA. The plaintiff is California wealth advisor Grant Arthur Gochin whose family lost around 100 relatives in the Holocaust in the area where Noreika operated. He will be represented in Vilnius by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, author of the Query that launched the case. He has a compelling letter of support from Noreika’s granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti. See Ms. Foti’s remarkable 2018 essay in Salon, and the recent takes by Grant Gochin, Dovid Katz, Andrius Kulikauskas, and Efraim Zuroff.

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Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika


by Andrius Kulikauskas

On February 14, BBC World Service Outlook presented a 23 minute conversation with Silvia Foti and Grant Gochin about Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika. Silvia Foti, born in Chicago, is the granddaughter of Noreika, and Grant Gochin, born in South Africa, and resident in California, is related to a hundred of his victims in the Šiauliai region. The radio show, “The truth about my ‘hero’ grandfather”, reached about 75 million listeners, a well-informed 1% of humanity.

Global interest is growing as Lithuania’s Genocide Center chooses to defend in court its refusal to reconsider its estimation of Jonas Noreika. In a similar spirit, on February 5, the State Security Department together with the Defense Ministry’s Intelligence and Counterintelligence Department warned in their 2019 National Threat Assessment Report to the Seimas: “Russian officials and subordinate propagandists seek to shape the attitude that only Nazi collaborators and Holocaust-complicit criminals supported the resistance against the Soviet occupation. To compromise the Lithuanian resistance the Kremlin cynically manipulates the Holocaust tragedy to achieve the goals of its history policy.”

See also: Defending History’s take. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s series of articles which brought this issue to the English speaking world starting in 2012. Prof. Pinchos Fridberg’s position that the Noreika issue cannot be about one single plaque in the sea of national glorification. DH’s section on Collaborators Glorified. Illustrations of a number of street names and state plaques that glorify alleged Holocaust collaborators. 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Holocaust collaborator prime minister. More. DH Editor’s academic papers on the wider historical and intellectual background.

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Noreika Trial Adjourned to March 5th after State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Tells Panel of Judges it Needs Time to Study the Papers (that it has been familiar with for decades)


Defending History was there. See Background and DH’s take on the trial.

THE PLAINTIFFS’ TABLE: Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, longtime contributing writer at DH (left) represented absent American plaintiff Grant Gochin at the hearing on state honors for Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika, whose case was first brought to the English speaking world in 2012  by Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was also in attendance.  At right is attorney Rokas Rudzinskas. PHOTO © Defending History 2019.

VILNIUS—As the long-awaited trial opened this morning, the Genocide Center’s official and two lawyers explained to the three-judge panel that they need a lot of time to study so many documents, including some less-than-perfect printouts, hence an adjournment would be required. The next hearing was set for 5 March. In fact, the Genocide Center has for many  years been familiar with the documents demonstrating Jonas Noreika’s brutal Holocaust collaboration (and has for years tried to say that they prove “only” ethnic cleansing, expulsion, isolation and ghettoization, humiliation, and plunder of all the region’s citizens who were Jewish).

Just seven people came to observe (three of them from DH’s team, nobody from abroad). There was no local media coverage as of now. US, UK, Israeli embassies sent no observers. Efforts to “muzzle the whole thing” seem to have been effective.

Update of 19 Jan: media blackout at the national and local level here has continued unbroken as of today (except for “Putin-propagandist” pseudo-media)

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Holocaust History Trial Slated for 15 January in Vilnius



As trials of alleged criminals come to an end, is the era of ‘history on trial’ getting underway?


Holocaust perpetrator: glorified in marble on the central boulevard of an EU capital?

On January 15th, 2019, at 10 AM, a momentous historic court case will unfold in Vilnius, Lithuania, scheduled to start at the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in the heart of the capital. Challenged by a call for removal of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika from the pantheon of national heroes (including street names, memorials and an inscribed stone block on the capital’s central boulevard), the state-sponsored “Genocide Center”, a bastion of far-right extremism that, in the opinion of many, does grave damage to the image of modern democratic Lithuania, will be defending Noreika using the hard-earned tax euros of the nation’s noble citizens. See the remarkable 2018 Salon magazine essay by Noreika’s granddaughter, American author and educator Silvia Foti; DH report by Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas on the action brought by Grant Gochin. Documents include the original query (15 June), Genocide Center’s response (19 July), Mr. Gochin’s legal complaint (10 August) and the Genocide Center’s response (1 Oct.).

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My Seven Long Years with Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”)


by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Editor’s note: Seven years ago,  journalist, researcher and ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was born, raised and continues to live in Lithuania, began his remarkable series of articles on state “heroes” who were alleged Holocaust collaborators (or perpetrators) with his 2012 essay on Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”), published in Lithuanian and the same year, in English in Defending History. As a result, Mr.  Balčiūnas (bal-CHOO-nass) was subjected to years of legal harassment and persecution by prosecutors, police, and assorted far-right “plaintiffs” (please scroll down to 22 May 2014 in the Balčiūnas section to follow the saga). The Defending History community is proud to have stood by Evaldas at each of the kangaroo trial hearings in Vilnius, and is delighted that all these years later, talented American campaigners with wherewithal have taken up the cause to major good effect, and have now brought the Noreika matter to the Vilnius courts (see report on 15th January  hearing). We hope that our American friends and colleagues will see their way clear to fully crediting Evaldas Balčiūnas’s work (and noting its consequences for him) on the various new websites and blogs established, including, for starters, the excellent online Captain Jonas Noreika Museum.

The first time I heard of Jonas Noreika was back in 1993. I was chatting with Petras Dargis in the editorial room of the newspaper where I worked, here in Šiauliai, northwestern Lithuania, when a man of short stature came in. He started to scold one of the reporters for his article on Jonas Noreika. These were the times — right after the Soviet system’s collapse — when various colleagues and friends were going through the deepest corners of their memory, looking for all sorts of bits and pieces of their past struggles and sufferings.

This was particularly the case when that which was perceived by some as “their battles” or perhaps even their “glorious episodes” amounted to extraordinary suffering for others. First, Noreika’s comrades came to the editorial office and told of glorious episodes of the (so-called) Uprising of June 1941, incarceration in Stutthof, and the post-war legend of General Vėtra (Noreika’s famous nom-de-guerre which translates: General Storm). The journalist published the story, referring to respectable historical sources.

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Regional Lithuanian Monthly Publishes Noreika Query at Heart of Upcoming 15 Jan. Vilnius Holocaust Trial


by Andrius Kulikauskas

Žemaičių Saulutė (“Samogitians’ Sun”) is an esteemed regional cultural monthly newspaper based in Plungė, Lithuania. It is shattering the silence about Lithuania’s state-sanctioned hero Jonas Noreika’s leadership in the Holocaust in Samogitia. It will print, in eight installments, Grant Gochin’s query to the Genocide Center, which asks, how can the Republic of Lithuania honor Jonas Noreika as an anti-Soviet hero when it acknowledges him as a Holocaust perpetrator?

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Is Yad Vashem Legitimizing Vilnius “Genocide Center”?


 Under Pressure of Israeli Foreign Ministry?

Vilnius Genocide Center: “Legitimized” by 19 Nov. Yad Vashem Conference in Jerusalem?

Its chief historian Dr. A. Bubnys is a major speaker; See DH review of his book on the Vilna Ghetto and report on Jewish community’s response to his publication on the Shavl (Šiauliai) Ghetto. Are pliant “Jewish academics” being flown in and wheeled out to provide cover for the newest chapters in Holocaust revisionism? These include East European state glorification of collaborators and denial of the outbreak of mass violence by the LAF and other “nationalist heroes” against Jewish neighbors before the onset of German administration in the last week of June 1941.

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Vilnius “Genocide Center” Defends Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator


Lithuania’s State Sponsored “Genocide Center” Goes to Court to Defend Legacy of Notorious Holocaust Collaborator

The Question: Does a vibrant and successful EU/NATO democracy really need expensive far-right history “fixing” units that adore Nazi collaborators,  stifle free debate of history and ethics, promote ultranationalism, and do untold damage to the country?

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Documents from a Curious History of a Yiddish Professorship at Vilnius University

Its Prehistory (1990-1999), History (1999-2010) and Posthistory (2010-2018) from the Year of Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence Onward


A “for the record” page in progress, developed in response to repeated public statements by the current director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, a member of the state-sponsored Commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes, claiming that Defending History’s editor (a) was never a professor at the university, (b) if he was an elementary Yiddish alphabet teacher paid by some surfers in California, he got fired for not turning up to work. Further documents are being processed for inclusion in the bizarre but curiously telling chapter of the history of Yiddish Studies in the 21st century. The political manipulation (ranging from West European far-left to East European far-right) of Yiddish-less “Yiddish” is a theme in the final chapter of Yiddish and Power (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) by the Yiddishist in question, Dovid Katz.


Dovid Katz’s visit to Lithuania (Dec. 1990) results in an agreement between Vilnius and Oxford universities, reported in the New York Times in April 1991. Among the first Vilnius students to benefit from scholarships for Oxford one-year programs and summer courses are S. Liekis, V. Davoliute, T. Balkelis, and others who went on to academic prominence in Lithuania and internationally.


Dovid Katz leaves his visiting professorship at Yale University (1998-1999, with invitations to stay on in various capacities) to accept Vilnius University’s invitation to take up a new professorship in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, and to serve as founding director of the university’s Center for Stateless Cultures. Takes up the new post in Vilnius on 1 September 1999.

Bumblauskas to Katz 1998



Baltic Times report of 30 March 2000 on the Center for Stateless Cultures at Vilnius University, by Darius James Ross.

Baltic Times report of 20 July 2000 on the Yiddish summer program at Vilnius University.


Report (see 2nd item) in the journal Lietuvos Istorijos studijos, published by the Faculty of History at Vilnius University.

Presentation to the Habilitation committee considering the advancement of Dr. Sarunas Liekis at Vilnius University, June 2005.  After the Habilitation, there were boasts that the candidate had wrongfully told the committee that the referee (who had to be from an outside university), was employed at Manchester University [?!]. There are calls for this Habilitation procedure to be investigated thoroughly.

October 2005 entry in the Vilnius Yiddish Institute’s newsletter:

contents of 2005 newsletter



Letter from Professor Alfredas Bumblauskas, Faculty of History, Vilnius University  (7 February 2006), in English translation, followed by a facsimile of the Lithuanian original:

  • Professor Dr. A. BUMBLAUSKAS
  • Vice-Dean of the Faculty of History, Vilnius University
  • Vilnius University
  • History Faculty
  • University Street  7
  • Vilnius 01513,  Lithuania 
  • February 7, 2006
  • I have known Professor Dovid Katz since 1998. Between 1999 and 2001 D. Katz founded and headed the Center for Judaic Studies and Studies of Cultural Communities at Vilnius University. At the current time he works at Vilnius University, where he is director of research at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute and teaches.
  • I have extraordinary esteem for this exceptional specialist in Yiddish language, culture and literature who has achieved global recognition in academic circles, and whose work ensures the high quality and excellence of the Judaic Studies program at Vilnius University.
  • I attest that over eight years of working together with Professor D. Katz, I have come to know him not just as a great scholar and a real expert in his field, but also as an especially dutiful and scrupulous person and colleague who has sought only the highest of standards in his work and in his professional relationships.
  • Sincerely,
  • A. Bumblauskas


2006 Nostrification certificate of professor’s original University of London doctorate (confirming the 2005 Lithuanian Academic Council’s  nostrification enabled to enable certification as examiner for Dr. Liekis’s progression to the habilitation process):

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18 September 2006 official Vilnius University course description for “Lithuanian Jewish Civilization” in the Faculty of History. As of 1 April 2015 on Vilnius University’s website.

18 September 2006 official Vilnius University course description for “History and Culture of East-Central European Jewry before 1939” in the Faculty of History. As of 1 April 2015 on Vilnius University’s website.


2008 Vilnius University summary of a 2006 project of nine of the university’s academics. As of 1 April 2015, online at Vilnius University’s website (scroll to: 2006).

On 30 March 2008, Prof. Katz alerts the Vilnius Yiddish Institute’s board to a series of issues, including defamation and/or attempted prosecution of Jewish partisans (including the VYI’s own librarian), the campaign of Holocaust Obfuscation, and the disturbing then-brand-new phenomenon of a neo-Nazi march, replete with shouts of Juden raus! being allowed to take over the central boulevard of Vilnius on Lithuania’s March 11th independence day. The memo was titled “Can a Yiddish Tree Grow in Vilnius (in a Time of Holocaust Obfuscation)?”

In April 2008, the memo is somehow leaked to the state-sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” and the VYI’s executive director, Prof. S. Liekis insists on a meeting with the commission’s executive director whom he introduces as his cousin and shooting-range partner, Mr. Ronaldas Racinskas. During the meeting, Mr. Racinskas threatens Prof. Katz, resulting in a formal letter of notification on 21 April 2018 to the American Embassy’s political officer Joe Boski. At Prof. Katz’s recommendation, the American Embassy shows support for the defamed [at that point in the media only] Jewish partisans by awarding Fania Brantsovsky a certificate of achievement on 30 April 2008. Less than a week later…

On 7 May 2008, Prof. Katz alerts his colleagues to the news that police had two days earlier come looking for the institute’s librarian, a veteran of the Jewish partisan resistance against the Nazis. In subsequent weeks, he works closely with Western ambassadors to counter the campaign against Jewish partisans, one prominent result being Irish Ambassador Donal Denham’s 3 June 2009 reception for the accused Jewish partisan, attended by most of the Western diplomatic community.

During the 2008 Vilnius summer course, to which Prof. D. Katz recommended his former doctoral student (at Oxford), Prof. D.B. Kerler of Indiana University (whom he recommended for that position) to become a teacher, the former doctoral supervisor published a tribute, in Yiddish, to the achievements of his former pupil who was now teaching a summer at Vilnius. The former doctoral candidate was meanwhile being recruited to betray his own teacher and participate in his disemployment in return for glorious summer and conference escapes from Bloomington, Indiana.


Professor Steven Lawson (Rutgers University) publishes his essay in History News Network on 25 January 2009.

Dovid Katz publishes first two op-eds on Holocaust revisionism and persecution of Jewish partisan veterans, in the Jewish Chronicle (London) on 21 May 2009, and in the Irish Times (Dublin) on 30 May 2009. VYI’s executive director sends the VYI’s lecturer in Yiddish folklore to explain to Prof. Katz that these articles are scandalous and make it impossible for him to stay on in Vilnius, that he would do well to leave himself at once. The same day, another long-time VYI staff member tells him she heard from director S. Liekis that  “a lot of money would be spent” along with honors and prizes to flip against him his own longtime friends and students, including D.B. Kerler of Indiana University and Prof. A. Polonsky of Brandeis. Her advice: “Don’t start up with the state or you’ll never work again.”

Six NATO ambassadors, from Canada, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States,  write to the chairman of the board of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute about the plan afoot to dismiss the Yiddish professor for having spoken out in defense of Holocaust survivors accused of “war crimes” and published articles opposing the far right’s Holocaust revisionism, 8 June 2009.

Letter from ADL’s national director Abraham H. Foxman, 30 July 2009.

Letter from the ambassador of the State of Israel Latvia and Lithuania, HE Chen Ivri Apter, to the board of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, 11 August 2009.

During the 2009 summer course, groups of students wishing to hear a lecture from Prof. Katz are told that it is impossible (at the summer course he had founded and brought to Vilnius). As a result a series of lectures on Yiddish studies and Holocaust obfuscation are held in private apartments throughout the course, noted in following months by Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian, and in two student memoirs, by Josh Markovitz and Michael Cohen.

The “quiet” winter 2009-2010 endeavor between certain professors at Vilnius University and at Indiana University (Bloomington) to rid the VYI of its own Yiddish professor curiously uses the title “Professor” for all the professors named, including several of Dovid Katz’s own students, but strips him of it. The plot was abandoned when troubled by pangs of conscience or fears of scandal, one Bloomington professor (no longer there) leaked the document causing collapse of the project, intended by Bloomington Yiddish staff to provide a “summer palace” escape from boring  US campus life. More background here.

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO: In the summer of 2009, the official summer course program distributed eliminated Prof. Katz’s name from the institute’s staff ( in the absence of any notification or incident). By the summer of 2010, when a university institute was being converted to a de facto summer program only, there was need for just two academic Yiddish Studies specialists to be listed (from that summer’s official leaflet).

On 4 November, 2009 Vilnius summer course participants Josh Markowitz publishes his personal memoir “August Hidden in Lithuania” in UCLA’s The Bruin Standard. The Comments section contained an apparently coordinated massive array of personal attacks against Prof. Dovid Katz led by California “historian” and “emperor of Africa” Grant Arthur Gochin, who had previously been on Maullin’s “Board” of the “Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute” where he tried to arrange a PR conference for the Lithuanian government that was cancelled after intervention from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The same day, Prof. Liekis boasted to colleagues at the institute: “Dovid Katz will never work in Yiddish academia again, let him clean the streets here, and his old friend Kerler will be the real professor of Yiddish here. Four weeks a year is enough for this Yiddish, we are very busy.”

In response, Zane Buzby, director of the Survivor Mitzvah Project (Los Angeles) releases text of her letter of 6 November 2009 confirming resignation from the Vilnius Yiddish Institute’s board.

Professor Sidney Rosenfeld’s letter of resignation from the board of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University, 11 November 2009. In later years, Prof. Rosenfeld became one of the donors to Defending History.

BNS / Delfi report of 18 December 2009 on a controversy concerning remarks by a senior Lithuanian diplomat.


Michael Cohen’s essay after attending the 2009 summer program in Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.

Professor Daniela Mantovan (Heidelberg) reports on 7 March 2010 on the result of her suggestion to Professor Dov-Ber Kerler to draft a petition to the rector of Vilnius University concerning the planned dismissal of his own former supervisor for having stood up for Holocaust survivors and opposed Holocaust obfuscation in his non-university time. This was the same period when Prof. Kerler was appointed de facto joint academic director of the program, replacing his one-time teacher who was being disemployed. With the VYI “director” in effect becoming dean of the faculty of diplomacy (!) at a university in Kaunas, the VYI was being quietly transitioned to “just a summer course” with no serious academic Yiddish studies during the academic year (no replacement Yiddish professor has been appointed to date). The upshot was that the Indiana summer-is-fun professor was used from start to finish to displace and “replace” his own former teacher, in addition to his own full-time position in faraway Bloomington. In addition to titles and junkets and the grand power to provide summers in Vilnius, the royal treatment included a glorified image on t-shirts dedicated to “Lithuania” and “Vilnius” (along with another of Prof. Katz’s former students, Estonian and Baltic nationalist A. Verschik).


Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian, 14 September 2010.

Wendy Robbins’ BBC Radio feature “Heart and Soul” covers the events in Vilnius.

Vilnius University list of doctoral theses defended and the doctoral student’s supervisors. As of 1 April 2015 on Vilnius University’s website.


Joshua Markovitz’s 30 November 2011 account of a conference in Israel at which the director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute assured the assembled scholars that Dovid Katz had never worked at the university, just taught Yiddish there for a Californian organization.

By then, all reference to Professor Dovid Katz was removed from academic staff pages, including pages citing historic faculty and staff … A Soviet style removal of intellectual dissidents from university records? Did someone hastily neglect to readjust the layout after the brushout?

Around the same time, the long-time executive director, historian Prof. S. Liekis, whom Prof. Katz brought from the Soros Foundation to the Yiddish Institute in 2001, began presenting himself to the media as the Yiddish Studies Professor at Vilnius University, e.g. to the Economist (10 February 2011). [Try having a Yiddish conversation with him, or doesn’t it all matter — it’s “only Yiddish”?]


In 2012, Prof. Liekis was rewarded with membership in the state-funded “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania.” Upon his appointment to the state-sponsored commission, he explained to the media his conception of its purpose, without however mentioning the role to be played by Yiddish Studies. This turn of events was a painful shock for those who invested in him as a future Judaic Studies academic leader free of the government’s Double Genocide industry.

In Fall 2012, the last organization of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors in the United States included (a) the “part-timization” and (b) purging of the one Yiddish professor at the one Yiddish institute in its report on issues in Lithuania.


Reviews of Danny Ben-Moshe’s documentary, Rewriting History (2012) which covers the dismissal of Vilnius University’s last Jewish (and only Yiddish) professor.

A 19 November 2013 report on Vilnius Yiddish Institute director telling hundreds in a Philadelphia audience that Dovid Katz was never a professor at Vilnius University.

On 6 December 2013 Dr. Maria Krupoves wrote to explain her shock at the ongoing campaign of defamation against her former teacher, and to confirm the resignation of her husband, VYI board member Dr. Danny Berg (1949-2015), from the board. For an appreciation of Dr. Berg’s life and work, see here.


Winter 2015: A 24 February 2015 Jewish Telegraphic Agency article by Cnaan Lipshiz (widely republished, e.g. Jewish Chronicle, Times of Israel) quotes Vilnius Yiddish Institute director and red-brown commission member Prof. Dr. Sarunas Liekis: “Mr. Katz is prone to conspiracy theories. The truth is he hardly showed up for work from 2007 to 2010.” The reporter also informed us that he was assured that “Katz was never a professor here, it’s all made up,” echoing a similar statement made to an audience of hundreds in Philadelphia during a 2011 American tour. [This page resulted from the reporter’s request for evidence of the professorship ever having existed following the brotherly sounding words of the Yiddish institute director.] Do the director’s statements reflect the standards, ethos, goals and principles of Vilnius University and its Yiddish institute?

June 2015: Richard Maullin, chairman of the board of the Los Angeles based “Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute” is at long last rewarded for covering for the dismissal of “his” institute’s one Yiddish professor and its becoming a base for nationalist and antisemitic revisionism of the Holocaust narrative (in the interim, the entire board had resigned in protest. The reward? S. Liekis, with his superior ties to the top echelons of Lithuanian political society, arranged for the Foreign Minister of Lithuania (!) to personally come and deliver the Diplomatic Gold Star of the Republic of Lithuania to Mr. Maullin in his California home. A year earlier, Maullin was elected elected chair of the California Independent System Operator Board of Governors.


Spring 2015: Professor Michael Shafir writes (in his paper “Conceptualizing Hungarian Negationism in Comparative Perspective: Deflection and Obfuscation” p. 266):

“Meanwhile, a new concept has emerged in professional literature: Holocaust Obfuscation. We owe it to Dovid Katz, a Yiddish literature scholar who had returned to Lithuania, the land of his forefathers, where he was shocked to witness how the Holocaust was transmogrified to serve the purposes of post-Communist political and intellectual elites.5 For the time being, Katz has paid the price of his audacity not only by being dismissed from the Vilnius University, but also by being described by academic collaborationist colleagues as an ‘activist rather than a scholar.'”

5 Dovid Katz, “On three definitions: Genocide, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Obfuscation.” In Leonidas Donskis (ed.), A Litmus Test Case of Modernity. Examining Modern Sensibilities and the Public Domain in the Baltic States at the Turn of the Century, Bern: Peter Lang, 2009, p.259-277, as well as his “Prague’s Declaration of Disgrace,” The Jewish Chronicle, 22 May 2009, http://www.thejc.com/comment/comment/prague’s-declaration-disgrace; “Halting Holocaust Obfuscation”, The Guardian, 8 January 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/08/holocaust-baltic-lithuania-latvia; “The Seventy Years Declaration and the Simple Truth”, The Algemeiner, 2 February 2012, http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/02/03/the-seventy-years-declaration-and-the-simple-truth/.

Summer 2015: Facebook comment by Kristina Sulikienė: “Thank, you, Dovid Katz. I know you since 1999 when we met at Kerry’s [American poet and educator Kerry Shawn Keys]. Later you became “valstybes priešas”. For me you always will remain true professor. And true professor never lies. That is why I try to act the same way.”


Summer 2016: Vilnius University’s Vilnius Yiddish Institute website is purged again, to remove the name “Dovid Katz” from older “historical posts” about the past. There is an associated rewriting of the history of Yiddish studies at both Vilnius and Oxford. But the brushers-out of their target’s name from history is accomplished without the necessary English editing skills, resulting in some strange sentences…


Some July 2016 Soviet-style air-brushing out of history by Yiddish professors S. Liekis and D. Kerler. But where is the follow-up English editing to clean up the text?  Another take on the history of the Yiddish program at Oxford


The Yiddish institute’s summer course boasts a handsomely revamped website with sophisticated new graphics. But the telltale formulation on the primary page, the summer course information page (other pages are dedicated to PR for Prof. Liekis’s “managed foreign and domestic Jewish academics” whether or not connected to Yiddish), dutifully maintains the 2016 wording on the course’s origins in Oxford: “was founded by at Oxford in 1982” . . .

2017 The first Yiddish cen_ - http___judaicvilnius.com_



Prof. Liekis closes down the Yiddish institute and the summer program in Yiddish (with no public appeals for funding to keep the summer program going, and turning down funding offered from a major foundation in Vilnius), removes the website even as a historic site (replacing it with a disrespectful “definition of Yiddish”), and, instead of donating the library to the National Library (by 2019 an international hub of Judaic studies with materials available to scholars), puts them in secret storage  without informing the many donors of the fate of their own  precious books over the years, people who trusted Prof. Liekis with “Yiddish in Vilnius”. Nevertheless, significant parts of the institute’s history can be gleaned from preserved earlier versions of its website.

So much for the nationalist (and Holocaust revisionist) establishment’s “love of Yiddish” in Eastern Europe. . .

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