VILNIUS—Various officials of the Lithuanian government’s Genocide Research Center, its Genocide Museum, and its “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” (known for short as the “Red-Brown Commission”) are rather gleeful this week at the latest master PR coup for the long hard road to “soft core” Western legitimization of East European Holocaust revisionism. One of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars, and the activist who did more than any other to bring to an end the era of classical 20th Century Holocaust Denial, Professor Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University, has been attracted to headline a “one-sided Holocaust conference in a Baltic capital” where the naive foreign star’s eminence may help provide cover for ongoing policies. The conference program has just been released in PDF format with, as usual, the star’s appearance artfully sandwiched between much else.
The “ham sandwich” model for political conferences made to look like pure, open, intellectually balanced academic conclaves?
Posted in History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Deborah Lipstadt, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust in Lithuania, International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes, Red-Brown Commission, Vilnius Holocaust conferences
The team at Defending History has witnessed quite a lot in Eastern Europe over the last decade when it comes to Holocaust obfuscation and its related ills, including glorification of actual Holocaust collaborators, defamation of Holocaust survivors who joined the resistance, and a progressive chipping away at Western norms of free speech and tolerance. It is almost as if the Western powers don’t care whether folks in the “Eastern EU” have the same rights of expression as others.
During these last few weeks, an unusually intensive convergence of events has been noticed here in Vilnius. To bring our loyal readers up to speed we thought it might be useful to summarize what’s been happening on the Lithuanian Holocaust obfuscation and history rewriting front. Links to articles are included for those interested in reading more.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Adolfas Ramanauskas, Connecticut, Defending History (Vilnius), Dovid Katz, Efraim Zuroff, Erin E. Stewart, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Obfuscation, New Britain, Prof. Aram Ayalon
This paper appeared today in Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, published by Taylor and Francis.
ABSTRACT: In contrast to twentieth-century Holocaust Denial, the most recent assault on the narrative of the genocide of European Jewry has emanated from a sophisticated revisionist model known as Double Genocide, codified in the 2008 Prague Declaration. Positing “equality” of Nazi and Soviet crimes, the paradigm’s corollaries sometimes include attempts to rehabilitate perpetrators and discredit survivors. Emanating from pro-Western governments and elites in Eastern Europe in countries with records of high collaboration, the movement has reached out widely to the Holocaust Studies establishment as well as Jewish institutions. It occasionally enjoys the political support of major Western countries in the context of East-West politics, or in the case of Israel, attempts to garner (eastern) European Union support. The empirical effects to date have included demonstrable impact on museums, memorials and exhibits in Eastern Europe and beyond.
The demise of twentieth-century-style Holocaust denial in mainstream Western society is aptly symbolized by David Irving’s loss to Deborah Lipstadt in the London High Court in 2000. But around the same time, a new and more irksome method of writing the Holocaust out of history was emerging under the radar, this time without necessarily denying any of the historical events or a single death. Particularly in Eastern Europe, it was being forged with state funding and more subtle powers of persuasion in academia, the media, the arts and international diplomacy.
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Genocide Museum Vilnius, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust museums, Holocaust Revisionism, Prague Declaration, Seventy Years Declaration
VILNIUS—Yet again, the “Vilnius Jewish Public Library,” housed in exquisite city-center premises in a courtyard off the capital’s central Gedimino Boulevard, has been the base for a Holocaust-obfuscating event featuring stars of the state’s “Red-Brown Commission” who are dispatched far and wide to deny the existence of the state-sponsored “Double Genocide” campaign, to mitigate the campaign against Holocaust survivors, the efforts to glorify local collaborators, and to obscure entirely the Second Opinion expressed in the Seventy Years Declaration. Incredibly, the roster of invited speakers did not include Ms. Rūta Vanagaitė, author of Mūsiškiai, the new best-selling book on the Holocaust that has in effect revolutionized the country’s coming to terms with its Holocaust-era past. What is the “Jewish” Library afraid of?
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Double Genocide, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust Obfuscation, Musiskai, Prof. Saulius Suziedelis, Ruta Vanagaite, Seventy Years Declaration, Vilnius Jewish Public Library
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.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Faina Kukliansky, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Faina Kukliansky, Genocide Center Vilnius, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Obfuscation in Lithuania, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Ruta Vanagaite
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized steps taken by the Latvian delegation to UNESCO which effectively cancelled an exhibition about the Holocaust in Latvia scheduled to open this coming Sunday at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
In a statement issued here by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called the action by the Latvians “an outrageous and ultimately futile attempt to hide the extensive Latvian collaboration with the Nazis in perpetrating Holocaust crimes” and urged UNESCO officials to consider steps to enable the exhibition, titled “Stolen Childhood: Holocaust Victims Seen by Child Inmates of the Salaspils Nazi Concentration Camp,” to be shown to the public.
According to Zuroff:
“This step by the Latvians is part of a systematic effort by the Baltic countries to hide the truth about the extensive collaboration with the Nazis of Balts in the implementation of the Final Solution in their native countries, as well as in Poland and Belarus. Instead of complaining that the exhibition risked damaging her country’s reputation, Latvia’s chief delegate to UNESCO should have welcomed an effort to expose the wartime collaboration of so many Latvians as part of an honest confrontation with her country’s bloody Holocaust past.”
For more information: 972-50-721-4156
www.operationlastchance.org or www.wiesenthal.com
Posted in Efraim Zuroff, EU, Events, France, Free Speech & Democracy, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust in Latvia, Holocaust Obfuscation in the Baltics, Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel Office, UNESCO + Holocaust Denial
O P I N I O N
by Michael Shafir (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
1. Approximately when did the drive to equate the Holocaust and the sufferings endured by people under Communist regimes start?
It is very difficult to pinpoint an exact date. In the West, a number of Sovietologists have long driven attention to the fact that the horrible crimes perpetuated by Stalin and his henchmen in East Central Europe deserved the attention and the opprobrium that Nazism met with after the Second World War. Due to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous book Gulag, these crimes soon began to be referred to under the synthetic name of that book. The collapse of the Communist regimes in the region in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 intensified that drive, which also found an impulse in the once popular (but later criticized) “totalitarian model.” That model was now revived, finding support particularly in the eastern part of Europe that had suffered under Soviet domination. Western historians were (and still are) quite divided over this issue. For example, Robert Conquest, who produced several important books on Stalinist crimes, was reluctant to place the Holocaust and the Gulag on the same footing. On the other hand, Stéphane Courtois, who edited and contributed to the Black Book of Communism, not only embraced the comparison, but insisted on
Posted in Croatia, Double Genocide, History, Michael Shafir, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United Nations
Tagged Double Genocide, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Obfuscation, Michael Shafir, Nazi and Soviet crimes, Prague Declaration (2008)
by Leena Hietanen (Tallinn)
Germany’s president, Joachim Gauck, welcomed intensified cooperation between Estonian and German historians in the cause of continuing the search for Communist crimes in both Soviet Estonia and East Germany. He posed for photographs alongside Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves with a backdrop of the iconic red-equals-brown Hollywoodesque “set” welcoming visitors to the nation’s Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn.
Photo of the two presidents with red-brown-equals-sign backdrop at the Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn: Postimees (Erik Peinar). More red-brown iconography here.
Posted in Double Genocide, Estonia, EU, Germany, Leena Hietanen, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform"
Tagged Double Genocide in Estonia and Germany, German-Estonian relations, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust in Estonia, Joachim Gauck on Jewish and Holocaust issues, Leena Hietanen, Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Jewish and Holocaust issues
Lithuania’s major daily newspaper, Lietuvos rytas — Lrytas.lt — made some local journalistic history today with an extensive article by Dovilė Tuskenytė on the dangerous mainstreaming of neo-Nazism in the country that succeeded in its principal interview in eliciting the unvarnished tone of the movement. The article’s title in translation: ‘Lithuanian Neo-Nazis, who use paganism for cover, work in state institutions and claim the swastika is only a historical symbol’. There was general agreement in the human rights community that the article represented an important advance and that its author is to be congratulated. An English translation is available here.
The article is accompanied by a series of 23 photographs making very clear the nature of ‘national patriots’ involved in neo-Nazi activity, as well as the intent of the ‘recycled pagan symbols’ used nowadays by neo-Nazi groups. It follows the recent Delfi.lt article exposing government financial support for such groups.
Ms. Tuskenytė’s article contains an interview with the state-sponsored Genocide Center’s Ričardas Čekutis, who continues to be listed as a ‘chief specialist’ by the Center, some five months after serving as one of the organizers and leaders of a neo-Nazi march through the center of the nation’s capital, Vilnius on 11 March. His statements to Ms. Tuskenytė include the following:
“Čekutis says that the world visions of the EU and Adolf Hitler are identical. Čekutis agrees with neo-Nazis on another issue: that there was no Holocaust. The Lithuanian Nationalist Center chairman says that the victims from all countries in World War II need to be counted, and that most of them lost the same amount of people as the Jews who were murdered. He also explains that the figure of victims in the millions is nothing more than a myth created for contemporary Jews to receive different kinds of compensation from different countries.”
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Racism, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches
Tagged Emanuelis Zingeris, Holocaust Denial, International Commission for the Evlauation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, Nazi infiltration in Lithuanian state organizations, neo-Nazis Lithuania, neo-Nazism in Lithuania, Red-Brown Commission Vilnius, Ricardas Cekutis, Ronaldas Racinskas