Tag Archives: human rights in Lithuania

“Weekly of Vilnius” Provides Exclusive English Language Coverage of the Vanagaitė Saga



FREE SPEECH  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUSThe Weekly of Vilnius, sometimes considered to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, today released its weekly issue which contains a highly documented summary of many of the sides in the debate over author and PR specialist Ruta Vanagaitė’s comments concerning state plans to name 2018 for someone who led a pro-Nazi militia during the early days of the Lithuanian Holocaust in 1941, but who is being honored for his postwar service in the anti-Soviet resistance. Defending History has published its own take along with a much more limited summary of the debate which readers may consult for comparison and helping “complete the picture” as best as it can be in English. Note that selections of Lithuanian articles on the subject from the major news portal Delfi.lt, and from BNS (Baltic News Service), in both cases generally representing government and “nationalist establishment” positions, are available in English translation on the English Delfi.lt (Lithuania Tribune) site (search “Vanagaitė” for rapid reference).

With the permission of the publishers of The Weekly of Vilnius, we are reproducing the pages relating to the Vanagaitė saga from this week’s issue. In the spirit of classic journalism, The Weekly of Vilnius has no online edition (only an online description page) and is available weekly by emailed PDF or hard copy to its elite circle of subscribers, known to include embassies, government agencies, captains of industry, politicians, academics and relevant libraries, and think tanks. It is edited by the distinguished economist and journalist Mr. Nehro Khalil. The Weekly of Vilnius now has a Facebook page.

A PDF facsimile of today’s Weekly of Vilnius report follows. Please use the arrows in the upper left hand corner to turn pages in either direction.

THE WEEKLY OF VILNIUS - ISSUE No. 265 - Week in Review - November 6, 2017
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on “Weekly of Vilnius” Provides Exclusive English Language Coverage of the Vanagaitė Saga

A “Vilnius Model” for Roma Integration?



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

In April of 2016, the Vilnius City Municipality announced the launching of its Roma Integration Program, or “Vilnius (Kirtimai) Roma Tabor Community Social Integration Program for 2016-2019.” The municipality’s plans were widely discussed in the media, which in its own turn, came up with sensational headlines like “Program of Roma Integration and Tabor Eradication To Be Approved.” A curious fact: Roma representatives did not take part in the negotiation process for this major 700,000 euro project. They were not invited to even observe a single meeting. As ever, Roma are being “integrated” behind their own backs.

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Kaunas, Lithuania: Run-Up to the February 16th 2017 Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day



Kaunas Mayor & City Council Deciding

whether to again allow neo-nazis sporting banners adulating Holocaust collaborators to take over the city center on Lithuania’s cherished February 16th Independence Day next week

PREVIOUS YEARS IN KAUNAS     IN VILNIUS     IN RIGA     DH SECTION

Banner from last year’s takeover of central Kaunas on Feb. 16th: Same again?

From left: Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, under the banner translating “We know our nation’s heroes”.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Dovid Katz, Human Rights, Israel, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas, Lithuania: Run-Up to the February 16th 2017 Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day

DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators



FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  BOLD CITIZENS

VILNIUS—The latest in a long line of court appearance demanded by summons of Defending History author Evaldas Balčiūnas, will be held this Monday, 13 June, at 1:30 PM (13:30) at Vilnius County Court at Laisves Prospektas 79A, courtroom 019.   

COME SUPPORT EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS MONDAY 13 JUNE 2016, 1:30 PM (13:30), VILNIUS COUNTY COURT, LAISVĖS PROSPEKTAS 79A, ROOM 019

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators

Neo-Nazi Alleged to Work in Lithuanian Economy Ministry Didn’t Like DH’s Report on Vilnius Conference



VILNIUS—The pseudonymous neo-Nazi blogger “Zeppelinus,” long alleged to be the alias of a high official in the Ministry of the Economy (DH still awaits a reply to our open letter of 2013 to the relevant minister), is notorious for his racist, antisemitic, and homophobic images that continue to needlessly damage Lithuania’s good name (sampling at end of article). This web journal’s editor has long been one of his many photoshop and  photofake targets, naturally a source of pride for any and all within Vilnius’s bona fide human rights community. As some Lithuanian human rights activists put it, “If you didn’t make it into Zeppelinus’s sicko gallery, you’re not really doing enough for human rights in this country.”

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Police Prevent Kaunas Jewish Guide Chaim Bargman from Attending Annual Memorial for the Annihilated Jews of Ukmergė (Vilkomir)



VILNIUS—Chaim Bargman, Jewish guide in Kaunas, asked today in Vilnius that DefendingHistory.com record a statement in Yiddish from him on an incident that occurred on 6 September (video here). Bargman, a beloved guide and genealogist for international Jewish-interest tourists in the Kaunas (Kovno) area for decades, was immortalized in the late Dan Jacobson’s Heshel’s Kingdom (1998). September 6th was the date of this year’s annual commemoration ceremony for the murdered Jews of Ukmergė (Yiddish: Vílkomir) held at the nearby mass grave, where, according to the Lithuanian Holocaust Atlas, between 6,358 and 10,000 Jews from the region were humiliated and murdered. There was massive local collaboration as well as large-scale local participation in the slaughter of one of Lithuania’s most famous Jewish communities over many centuries. Disturbingly, for many, a town square in the heart of Ukmergė has a monument dedicating it to the memory of a notorious Holocaust perpetrator.

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Posted in Chaim Bargman, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Police Prevent Kaunas Jewish Guide Chaim Bargman from Attending Annual Memorial for the Annihilated Jews of Ukmergė (Vilkomir)

Purveyor of Racist, Misogynist, Antisemitic, Homophobic, Nazist “Art” is Alleged to Work in Lithuania’s Economy Ministry



VILNIUS—Defending History has still had no reply to its open letter of August 2013 to the Minister of the Economy, asking him to look into multiple media reports that the pseudonymous “Zeppelinus,” Lithuania’s best-known purveyor of hate-popart on the internet is indeed a senior civil servant in his own ministry. The issue came to the fore once again in recent weeks with his “appeal” to the head of the Jewish community, and his latest production following a recent controversial conference (conference report).

The following are samples of his “art” in the service of racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism alongside glorification of Nazism. Samples can readily be found for other prejudices, including anti-Polish and anti-Russian hate. Hopefully human rights organizations will continue to counter such materials, first and foremost by establishing, in partnership with law enforcement, the identity of the purveyor of the hate materials, and the answer to the question about alleged continued high employment in a government ministry. An earlier smaller sampling with full translation is available here. Full disclosure: This journal’s editor has on occasion been a target of Mr. Zeppelinus, too.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, UŽGAVĖNĖS (SHROVETIDE), Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Purveyor of Racist, Misogynist, Antisemitic, Homophobic, Nazist “Art” is Alleged to Work in Lithuania’s Economy Ministry

Member of Red-Brown Commission and Trasher of Yiddish Dissidents is Appointed to Council of Europe’s “Commission against Racism and Intolerance” (ECRI)



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Waves of shock laced with the “actual” human rights community’s usual black humor undulated through the different struggling branches of that community this week as the Council of Europe announced the appointment of one of the most multiply-titled intellectuals of modern Lithuania (or Europe), Prof. Dr. S. Liekis, as a new member of the Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (CARI). Professor Liekis is professor at Vilnius University, Romeris University, Vytautas Magnus University, and a crack member of the government’s red-brown commission, formally known by its somewhat Orwellian name, The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. The local term “actual human rights” community in Lithuania refers to those who monitor and publicly post on issues, as opposed to those on endless government and EU budgets who are sometimes accused of covering up issues and shirking from anything that is not nationalist PR meant for naive Westerners.


One immediate opportunity presents itself. CARI and the Council of Europe could quickly make clear their view of the Lithuanian government’s decision to allow an SS banner with a swastika to be foisted at the nation’s Parliament (the Seimas) for over an hour on the nation’s hallowed independence day, 11 March 2015. Reports on the day, which funded human rights organizations here generally failed to monitor, in Defending History and on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania.


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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Double Games, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, Opinion, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Member of Red-Brown Commission and Trasher of Yiddish Dissidents is Appointed to Council of Europe’s “Commission against Racism and Intolerance” (ECRI)

Lithuanian Parliamentarian Threatens Violence against LGBT Rights Leader, Accuses Him of “Speaking with an Accent”



H U M A N   R I G H T S   /   L G B T   R I G H T S

by Lithuanian LGBT Rights Organization / LGL

Reposted from the LGL site with permission

On January 18th, 2015, a member of the Lithuanian Parliament (the Seimas), Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas publicly warned the Board Chair of the national LGBT human rights association LGL that the organization is “playing with fire” and that its activities might result in a “black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response” similar to what “happened in Paris.” The statement by the MP was issued as a response to the organization’s humorous suggestion to store 10-litas notes as LGBT souvenirs in the wake of the switchover to the euro on 1 January 2015.

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“Prophet Amos Awards” for Seven Human Rights Heroes in Lithuania (2014-2015)



O P I N I O N

by Defending History Staff

On the occasion of the Jewish new year, 5775 (Sept. 2014 — Sept. 2015), starting this Wednesday evening 24 September at sundown, Defending History has announced seven symbolic (non-material) awards to individuals of extraordinary individual achievement in the field of human rights and tolerance in Lithuania. By “individual achievement” we refer to people who stood up, spoke out, and rose to the moral imperative of saying what needed to be said in the spirit of the prophets who felt an inner voice compelling their rising up, rather than in the context of a job or position at an NGO or other institution. These two genres are harmoniously complementary, and in no way demeaning to each other.

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Statement of Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas on Summons from Police



My name is Evaldas Balčiūnas and I write for Defending History, in addition to various Lithuanian web journals. On May 14, 2014, I was contacted by local Lithuanian police investigator Reda Šimkutė by telephone at a number which is not registered in my name. She said she needed to “carry out inquiries” about me.

I asked her what the nature of the matter was. She refused to answer, so I suggested she follow normal procedure and send me what they call “an invitation” (in other words a summons) to come to an interrogation at the police department.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Statement of Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas on Summons from Police

Human Rights in Eastern Europe


HUMAN RIGHTS SECTION

Antisemitism

Christian-Jewish Issues

Dignity of the Dead; Old Vilna Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)PonárCemeteries & Mass Graves

Free Speech

Glorification of Nazi Collaborators is Further Violation of the Victims

Holocaust Survivor Rights

Human Rights Section

LGBT Rights

Litvak Rights

Media Watch

Neo-Nazi Marches; Kaunas Marches; Vilnius Marches; Riga Marches

Racism

Roma Rights

Russian Speakers’ Personal Status

State-Enabled Pro-Fascist Events

Women’s Rights

CITIZENS WHO SPEAK UP

Prophet Amos Awards for 2014-2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

Giedrius Grabauskas on Freedom of Speech



O P I N I O N

Note: For our readers’ interest, we provide an English translation (by Geoff Vasil) of Giedrius Grabauskas’s article, “Kodel paminama žodžio laisvė?” that appeared on 6 January 2014 in Akcentai.info at: http://www.akcentai.info/271-kodel-paminama-zodzio-laisve.html.

As in all signed articles, the opinions are those of the author.

The final part of the opinion piece, starting here, deals with issues that Defending History focuses in on, including the glorification of Holocaust collaborators, campaigns from high places against those who dissent, and the related implications for human rights and democracy in NATO and the EU.

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Lithuanian MP’s Gay-Bashing Hits New Low of Adolescent Unseemliness and Social Immaturity


VILNIUS — Observers of the sometimes eerie human rights scene here thought they had seen it all, or most of it, but an elected parliamentarian’s latest stunt was seen as a new setback for Lithuania’s image even by conservatives on social issues.

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Open Letter to Evaldas Gustas, new Minister for the Economy in Lithuania



O P I N I O N

SAMPLE IMAGES

Background:

Original 2 May 2013 report; Person identified by the media submits 13 May 2013 complaint to the Press Commission [draft English translation], citing Anarchija.ltBalsas.ltKaunoŽinios.lt, Lrytas.lt as well as DefendingHistory.com. He does not deny the identification but disputes the characterization of his work as in harmony with neo-Nazism.

23 July update: Zeppelinus greets Baltic Pride with a new hate image.

Dear Mr. Gustas,

Congratulations on your recent appointment as Economy Minister. May your tenure be blessed with success, wisdom and good fortune for all of Lithuania’s citizens.

We address you on the advent of your tenure on a human rights matter rather than an economic question. We feel certain you would agree that there is a demonstrable correlation between the long-term successful economies of the world and free and open democratic societies that reject all forms of state-supported fascism, racism, antisemitism, homophobia and other forms of hate and exclusionism directed at segments of the population.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Dovid Katz, EU, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Russian Speakers' Personal Status | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Open Letter to Evaldas Gustas, new Minister for the Economy in Lithuania

When Past is Not Even Past



O P I N I O N

by Mikhail Iossel

This comment is a response to the statement recently published by the Lithuanian Human Rights Association (LHRA).

What’s genuinely sad, with regard to the pathetic document in question — among other things of similar revealing character, to be sure — is the realization that none of those self-sufficient, accomplished, educated, and supposedly respectable people, the LHRA leadership, are likely to exist in a vacuum. They are surrounded by the concentric circles of friends, colleagues, students… fellow human-rights (!) activists — presumably, at least to some significant extent, sharing their views on those vile and treacherous, kinless-cosmopolite Jews’ international conspiracy to humiliate Lithuania by, you know, constantly guilt-tripping and browbeating the poor little innocent freedom-loving country into remembering and finishing the unpleasant business of accounting for this one, admittedly unfortunate, event of past long gone.

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