Litvak World Shocked by New “Year of Gaon” 10 Euro Coin that Plonks a Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis onto a Jewish Menorah
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.
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
George N. Tzogopoulos at Begin-Sadat Center on Israel’s Role; See DH’s Israel Page
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.lt; LRT evening news (from timecode 4:56). European Foundation for Human Rights
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
Day of Prayer and Respectful Challenge to Spare Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės) from Plans to Site a Convention Center in its Heart
A Decade of Defending History
Defending History marks its 10th anniversary in Sept. 2019
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”
Vilnius mayor calls plaque “illegal”; Faina Kukliansky issues powerful statement of protest; BNS; 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. Noreika; Collaborators Glorified; the 2019 midsummer events that presaged the latest events.
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
See Pinchos Fridberg section; DH’s 2012 take on Landsbergis. Meanwhile, 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).
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
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 glorified; Noreika 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
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.
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
Vote is 20 to 16
See Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s classic 2015 Defending History paper on Škirpa; Vilnius City Council efforts by Mark Harold
Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Ruta Kaplinskaya concerned by report that new street name will be accompanied by new plaque glorifying Škirpa yet again
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.
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
More Lithuanian Government Glories & Medals for “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Baltic Holocaust Revisionism
California Resident Grant Gochin Appeals Vilnius Court Ruling that Whitewashed Notorious Holocaust Collaborator Jonas Noreika
IHRA weighs in. More 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:
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.
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)
UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for monument to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”
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; Grayzone; Independent; Simon Wiesenthal Center; Telegraph. And—Defending History’s take.
On Ramanauskas’s Holocaust-era role see courageous, pioneering articles of Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas in 2014, 2017 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 2014, 2017 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
28 April 2019
EUROPEAN FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS PROTESTS EU FUNDING FOR VILNIUS MUSIC JAMBOREE ON WEEKEND OF 27-28 APRIL IN THE HEART OF CITY’S OLD JEWISH CEMETERY
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
DEFENDING HISTORY MONITORING TEAM WAS ON THE SCENE FROM 12 TO 3 PM ON 28 APRIL 2019
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).
Overviews by Shnayer Leiman, Juris Kaža, Michael 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.
LATEST CHAPTER IN A SAGA OF SEVEN YEARS
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
REPORTS IN ENGLISH DELFI (LITHUANIA TRIBUNE); IN THE ALGEMEINER (NY); BNS/LRT; THE JERUSALEM POST
UPDATE OF 24 APRIL: EUROPEAN UNION FINANCES MUSIC FESTIVAL ON CEMETERY GROUNDS THIS WEEKEND
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
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
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
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.
JTA report is picked up by some Israeli papers but not one major American media outlet, general or Jewish… Why is that?
26 March 2019
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
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
AROUND 1000 TAKE PART IN 16 MARCH CENTRAL RIGA PARADE GLORIFYING LATVIA’S WARTIME NAZI WAFFEN SS
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
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
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; LRT; Delfi; 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 Service, Chicago Tribune, JTA. 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.
UTTER SILENCE FROM THE GOV. FUNDED “RED-BROWN COMMISSION” (ONE OF WHOSE MEMBERS IS ACTIVELY SOLICITING 10,000 EUROS IN CROWDFUNDING FOR NEW BOOK ON LITHUANIAN HOLOCAUST; CROWDFUNDING PAGE)
WILL THE AMERICAN, BRITISH, CANADIAN, FRENCH, GERMAN, IRISH, ISRAELI, NORWEGIAN & SWEDISH EMBASSIES (AMONG OTHERS) AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS BE SENDING OBSERVERS TO THE TRIAL ON TUESDAY?
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
Lev Golinkin in The Nation on Ukraine’s issues with adulation of fascism and Holocaust collaborators
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
Julius Norwilla attends meeting of Lithuania’s state property bank that plans convention center in heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery
20 February 2019
VILNIUS ALERT WED. 20 FEB. 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
SPECIAL SESSION IN HONOR OF THE NEW BILINGUAL YIDDISH-LITHUANIAN EDITION OF THE LATE AARON GARON’S ESSAYS ON JEWISH VILNA EDITED BY LINAS VILDŽIŪNAS, WHO WILL BE ATTENDING THE EVENT, ALONG WITH THE AUTHOR’S CHILDREN, TAMARA AND EVGENY GARON.
6 to 7:30 PM AT THE VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY, MESINIU 3 IN VILNIUS OLD TOWN. ALL ARE WELCOME!
16 February 2019
“IT PAYS TO DEFEND HISTORY”
“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
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.
Coverage of the report in Politico.eu; Grant Arthur Gochin’s blog in The Times of Israel.
26 January 2019
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.
21 January 2018
Jewish Gravestones Used as Main Steps to Vilnius’s Central Reformed Evangelical Church are Finally Returned to Jewish Cemetery
5 years after Defending History’s 2013 report brought the issue to international attention
15 January 2019
Defending History was there. Read our full report. Get acquainted with the extraordinary background. Ofer Aderet in Haarets.
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.
Evaldas Balčiūnas, who first brought the case of Jonas Noreika to the English speaking world back in 2012, now reflects on his “7 years with Noreika”
To mark the case being brought to court, Identity Films re-releases 2012 documentary free online; Richard Bloom Productions re-releases its own 2013 documentary
From Near and Far
Columbia University’s Prof. Tarik Cyril Amar returns medal to city of Lviv after it names 2019 for Bandera
Defending History names its Person of the Year for 2019: a man who volunteered to defend the new Republic of Lithuania 100 years ago and went on during the Holocaust to save 16 people; read about life and death of Jonas Paulavičius
Ruta Bloshtein issues challenge to US taxpayer funded commission (“USCPAHA”) that is supposed to preserve foreign minority cemeteries; her international petition reaches the 45,000 signature mark
New York’s Daily News covers the “Save the Cemetery” movement led by Dov Fried; Israel’s interior minister weighs in
Sam Sokol’s new paper on Israeli policy toward Holocaust history appears in Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs. 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 and the Israel Chronicle page.
13 January 2019
Come and Join the Defending History team that will monitor the major Holocaust history trial scheduled in Vilnius for the 15th of January 2019
Almost 7 years after Evaldas Balčiūnas brought the case of Jonas Noreika to the English speaking world. Balčiūnas, for whom the Noreika saga but was one of many instances of his country glorifying Holocaust collaborators, wrote a series of articles that led to years of prosecution and police harassment (see his DH section, scroll down to May 2014 for the saga of the legal proceedings against him). Evaldas, who contributed research to the current trial, will be on hand at the January 15th event in central Vilnius. Come and meet Evaldas.
TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2019 AT 10 AM AT VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT, ŽYGIMANTŲ ST. 2 IN CENTRAL VILNIUS
In advance of the trial, Identity Films has made its 2012 documentary, Rewriting History, available free online.
Richard Bloom Productions has released a revised version of its 2013 documentary, Defending Holocaust History.
13 December 2019
See reports on HE Ambassador Joel Lion’s public stance in: The Times of Israel & Kyiv Post. A “day and night contrast” with embassy in Lithuania? Just different ambassadors, or a different Foreign Ministry policy?
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 for the record of its radical shifts of position over the last decade.
12 December 2019
Don’t Lithuanian citizens deserve a sparkling new convention center where they will be welcomed by leaders of the arts, entertainment, industry and statecraft, not by the ghosts of the thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens who lie buried on all four sides, in the city’s Old Jewish Cemetery, where their families purchased their burial plots in perpetuity?
Or, you can try the English version, but with the classic Litvak Yiddish ironic intonation:
This is what you call a convention center ?!?
◊5 December 2018
to our readers who celebrate Hanukkah
Everyone welcome at a lecture by DH editor Prof. Dovid Katz on
hosted by the Vilnius Jewish Community, this Thursday 6 Dec. 2018 at 6 PM at the Jewish Cultural and Information Center at Mėsinių 3 in Vilnius Old Town.
21 November 2018
“USCPAHA”, funded by US taxpayers to preserve and protect threatened cemeteries abroad, has for years allegedly colluded with those seeking to site a national convention center complex in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery. Now they are being taken to court. Updates. International petition.
20 November 2018
Riga’s Rabbi Kalev Krelin Courageously Documents Prominent Swastikas at Latvia’s Independence Day Festivities
18 November 2018
11 November 2018
Poland’s 100th Anniversary Celebration in Central Warsaw is Ruined by Far Right Government’s Decision to Include (and Flaunt) Neo-Nazis and Assorted Bigots
Foreign neo-Nazis turned up. European leaders stayed away.
But the day had its heroes; Warsaw mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz’s attempt to ban the neo-Nazi march on independence day in the capital’s center brought honor to Warsaw and its historic legacy of standing up to fascism
Reports in the Guardian; Haaretz; Hope Not Hate; European Interest; New York Times; Wall Street Journal
5 November 2018
Lithuania’s State Sponsored “Genocide Center” Goes to Court to Defend Legacy of Notorious Holocaust Collaborator
1 November 2018
Member of Lithuanian Gov’s “Red-Brown Commission” Teams Up with Ruta Vanagaite, Best-Selling Author, in Crowdfunding Campaign for a New Book
21 October 2018
How did Lithuania’s Foreign Minister End Up Together with Defending History’s Editor in Hit Job by Nation’s Top Neo-Nazi Blogger?
“By doing the right thing, and calling for the removal of a central Vilnius plaque that honors a brutal Nazi collaborator”
See also selection of the racist, homophobic, and misogynist output of a Baltic nation’s far-right blogger who is said to be an official in the Economy Ministry
10 October 2018
Vilnius Says Farewell to
5 October 2018
Evaldas Balčiūnas, Bold Lithuanian Author Who Exposed Slew of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators, Releases Outline of New Play on Museum in Sheduva
30 September 2018
28 September 2018
Topics covered in the interview include East European glorification of Holocaust collaborators, criminalization and delegitimization of dissent, investment in the rise and export of “Double Genocide” Holocaust revisionism and the failure of the US and its allies to stand up for Western values in the current geopolitical context.
26 September 2018
Ukraine’s State-Sponsored “Azov Battalion” Posts Fascist Inspired Images on Its Own Website
Will NATO, US and Ukraine’s Genuine Friends Publicly Comment?
23 September 2018
Lithuania’s Sept. 23rd Holocaust Remembrance Day, Marked by Annual Ponár Ceremony and Pope Francis’s Visit to Vilnius Old Town Ghetto Memorial
22 September 2018
Andrius Kulikauskas asks:
21 September 2018
“Please ask for a reprieve for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. A better site can be found for a sparkling new national convention center that the people of Vilnius so deserve. This is about equal human rights. A five-hundred year old Christian cemetery where thousands lie buried would not be the choice for siting a convention center.”
ALSO IN THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
The Choice at Hand?
On issues raised in the article:
State glorification of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika. More street names. More glorification. See Evaldas Balciunas section (scroll to May 2014 for start of the legal action against him for pleading with the state to stop honoring Noreika and multiple other Holocaust perpetrators). Have state agencies targeted other “Holocaust dissidents” for reprisals?
Cast in stone? Glorified among honorable martyrs on the outside wall of the Genocide Museum, on capital’s main boulevard
Is the Noreika saga a freshly exposed tip of the vast Double Genocide movement that glorifies collaborators and defames survivors in the interests of “equalizing” Nazi and Soviet crimes? View of the executive director of Lithuania’s lavishly sponsored state commission on the subject. Summary of Double Genocide. Critique by former Yad Vashem director Yitzhak Arad.
Can we accept at face value Netanyahu’s praises for Lithuanian gov. Holocaust policies? See Israel page. Did Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania define a lowpoint in the history of Israeli diplomacy?
Times article features Vilna born Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg. See DH’s Fridberg section, and his 2014 Person of the Year citation. He has been the subject of personal attack by the state’s “red-brown commission”. In the Jewish world he is perhaps best known for his heartfelt plea in Yiddish, begging the director of New York’s YIVO to disentangle YIVO from the commission and Holocaust revisionism (English translation). At the height of the Rachel Margolis saga, YIVO would not reach out to her, while heaping honors on a gov. official whom the local Jewish community formally accused of antisemitism. Prof. Fridberg was also one of the first members of the Lithuanian Jewish community to publicly protest plans to plonk a national convention center in the middle of the old Jewish cemetery. Today there is an international petition signed by 44,400. Photo: Defending History.
8 September 2018
A plot line familiar across Eastern Europe: State investment in Holocaust commemoration, education, research (plus Jewish, Judaic and Yiddish PR toys), all in the spirit of far-right nationalist history revisionism bent on “equalizing” Nazi and Soviet crimes (and glorifying Nazi collaborators as “anti-Soviet heroes” in the process). For background see: on Holocaust museums in the region; on recent history of Holocaust studies in Lithuania.
On linkage of the specific East European brand of antisemitism to the Double Genocide movement, see new papers by Michael Shafir and Dovid Katz.
The European “Double Genocide Debate” continues to be framed by the 2008 Prague Declaration (PD) and the response: the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration (SYD).
6 September 2018
To our Readers who Celebrate the Jewish New Year (5779)
אַ געזונט געבענטשט יאָר און אַ גמר חתימה טובה!
Jewish New Year’s gift from Kaunas artist and caricaturist Vulovakas:
By Vulovakas of Kaunas. Lithuanian text. Yiddish text.
1 September 2018
Michael Shafir: “The Nature of Postcommunist Antisemitism in East Central Europe: Ideology’s Backdoor Return”
Dovid Katz: “The Baltic Movement to Obfuscate the Holocaust” and “Primary Holocaust Inversion and East European Antisemitism” (+ more papers)
26 August 2018
Ben Cohen’s Coverage in Algemeiner.com Cites Three Defending History Suggestions for the “Lithuanian-Israeli Moral Agenda”
(1) Call for letters of apology for three Israeli citizens defamed for posterity by Vilnius prosecutors: Yitzhak Arad (b. 1926) and Rachel Margolis (1921–2015) and Joseph Melamed (1924–2017). All three fought with the Jewish partisans against the Nazis. Two of the three were decorated heroes of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
(3) Call for moving national convention center project away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (international petition tops 44,000).
Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff, writing in Jerusalem Post, critiques Israel’s ambassador in Lithuania for helping state honor an alleged Holocaust collaborator (DH background here). Op-ed also notes employment difficulties imposed on author Ruta Vanagaite for telling historic truth (DH background on others who have suffered state’s wrath for speaking out). Zuroff goes on to tell JTA that Netanyahu’s praise for Lithuanian gov’s Holocaust policies is “sickening”; in the Jewish Press; also cited by Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post; video interview on World Israel News.
SEE TIMES OF ISRAEL REPORT; SECOND REPORT; JTA; JERUSALEM POST; SEE DH’S ISRAEL CHRONICLE PAGE.
IN THE NEWS:
Lev Golinkin in the Forward on US & Western Jewish leaders’ failure to speak out with moral clarity on East European state adulation of Nazi collaborators and attempts at revisionism via laws that criminalize free speech & Western narrative of World War II
European Reporter swallows Double Genocide & Holocaust Envy; 23rd August can be the day for remembering Communist crimes without the far right’s “equals sign”. Again, the “Prague Platform” is at work
3 August 2018
Leaders of Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Finally Join Call for Removal of Vilnius City Center Plaque Honoring a Brutal Holocaust Perpetrator
Six Years after Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 plea on the pages of Defending History, Lithuanian Jewish Community finally calls on government to remove plaque glorifying Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika. Recent courageous essay by Noreika’s granddaughter, Silvia Foti, apparently played key role. JTA report. Andrius Kulikauskas reports on Grant Gochin’s appeal to Vilnius’s “Genocide Center” and the center’s response.
But beloved Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg notes that “taking down one plaque” is not the solution (See also: Pinchos Fridberg section).
As “reward” for his years of pleading with the Lithuanian gov. to stop glorifying Nazi collaborators, DH staff writer Evaldas Balčiūnas was harassed by police, prosecutors and far-right “plaintiffs” for years. See his DH section. Please scroll down to May 2014 to follow the ins-and-outs of the case.
Jada Yuan in the New York Times cites Defending History’s work on the Vilnius museum that changed its name but continues to glorify 1941 Holocaust collaborators
Council of Europe on neo-fascism in Croatia; Wiesenthal Center exposes inclusion of pro-fascist singer in Croatian football team celebration; Efraim Zuroff follows up with tale of two recent events in Croatia, also critiques Israeli Air Force show in Croatia as “shameful episode”
Sam Sokol in the Jewish Chronicle on glorification of Nazi war criminals in Ukraine; Issue cited in Washington Post coverage of Facebook Holocaust Denial scandal; Arutz Sheva reports: Ukraine’s president announces new official army greetings based on practice of World War II Hitlerist militias.
Late July 2018
Inspired and courageous essay by Silvia Foti, granddaughter of Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika;
Herbert Block breaks silence; Paul Packer, head of US Gov’s taxpayer-funded commission on “Heritage Abroad” concludes visit to Vilnius — statement awaited. Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas warns of business consequences for “cemetery convention center” while prime minister’s office refuses to receive Ruta Bloshtein, Vilnius-born, Vilnius-resident author of petition. Meanwhile, London’s “CPJCE Grave-Dealing Rabbis” under “Serious Incident” investigation over Vilnius at the UK’s Charity Commission. Discovery of 2015 video is shock to many.
Lev Golinkin in Foreign Policy on Ukraine’s “approved” fascist chants (covered also by Haaretz); Its Parliament honors Nazi collaborators; But info missing from their English web page
Andrew Srulevitch of ADL slams Nazi slogans in state-approved Lviv parade
Canadian B’nai Brith appeals to Prime Minister Trudeau to stand up to Latvian glorification of Nazi collaborators; National Post reports; Hill Times asks if PM raised these issues in Riga
Rafał Pankowski in Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs on
Cnaan Liphshiz in JTA:
The Rights of Minority Cemeteries to be Left in Peace are Human Rights
All the more so in post-Holocaust era Eastern Europe where there are no descendants to stand up
But, in “a story for George Orwell,” greedy commercial buildings are going up in one cemetery after another, with the blessings (and boasts of “success”) from wheeler-dealer rabbis and community leaders who “negotiate a memorial to the cemetery” and some ersatz stamp of “Jewish approval” (sometimes complete with sham “reburial-of-bones” ceremonies and PR declaration of “success”). Often this takes place with collusion from London’s CPJCE and the US taxpayer funded USCPAHA whose members sometimes claim to be “pressured by the State Department’s policy of Our East European Allies Never Make Mistakes”. The scandal-ridden agency is sometimes called Washington’s most corrupt federal entity.
This month’s state of affairs at the famous Gwarna Jewish Cemetery in Wroclaw, in western Poland, where the new Best Western hotel nears completion. The last on-site issue is the land adjacent to the hotel: restored cemetery or still more exhumations with sham blessings? (parent chain and local operators). Who’d choose to stay in this hotel? And where in all this is Poland’s National Heritage Law?
This is what they call “saving Jewish Cemeteries in Europe”?
The Defending History community congratulates Agnieszka Jablonska, a Judaic Studies scholar in Wroclaw, Poland, on her courageous reply to the official chief rabbi’s disappointing response to her earlier historic article in Tablet on the fate of the Gwarna Cemetery now nearing completion as a station-side Best Western chain hotel.
See Defending History’s August 2017 report on the Gwarna Cemetery situation, a follow-up providing first publication of Ms. Jablonska’s full report in DH, and her Tablet essay.
It is important to investigate whether or not the Poland issues over the years are related to the allegedly corrupt London based “CPJCE” who were caught red-handed in a Wikileaks cable demanding secret payments for “supervision” in Vilnius, Lithuania, resulting in building and commercialization (Wikileaks, 2015 reports in JTA, JP, ToI, DH). They are now under investigation by the UK Charity Commission. International petition on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery (44,000 signatures), worldwide opposition, recently discovered video.
23 June 2018
With “extraordinary insensitivity” Vilnius Municipality again endorses Old Town motorcycle gala to celebrate June 23rd, day the Lithuanian Holocaust broke out (initiated by the LAF “heroes” being celebrated)
See Section on June 23rd; LAF; Their leaflets before the war; Videos of survivor memories of the week of 23 June 1941; Glorification of the LAF; of collaborators in Eastern Europe
The Defending History community continues to salute Dr. Valentinas Brandišauskas for his classic rebuttal of A. Liekis’s attempts to glorify the LAF and make its massacres into the basis for a national holiday
21 June 2018
Pleading for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery
Defending History authors Ruta Bloshtein and Julius Norwilla flank Vilnius’s Rabbi S. J. Feffer, a leading international specialist on the Gaon of Vilna, after a Vilnius City Hall meeting at which they presented the international petition (44,000 signatures), Lithuanian translations of major articles, and a roster of opposition. They also informed officials that the one group of allegedly corrupt London rabbis (the CPJCE) who “gleefully ‘sold’ other people’s graves to the prime minister” was now under investigation, precisely over Vilnius, by the UK Charity Commission’s Serious Incident office.
EASTERN EUROPE GRAPPLES WITH FAR-RIGHT HISTORY REVISIONISM AND THREATS TO FREE SPEECH
LATVIA: Canadian military magazine Esprit de Corps (On Target) replies to Latvian ambassador’s acrobatics on worship of Waffen SS (see Scott Taylor’s earlier article. From archives: Monica Lowenberg takes on Latvian ambassador in London in 2012 and in 2013).
LITHUANIA: Joanna Plucinska in Politico on Lithuania’s proposed new law banning “harmful” books; Chronicle of a 10 year assault on freedom of speech on Holocaust history.
POLAND: Rafal Pankowski, in BICSA’s annual Robert Wistrich Lecture in Berlin, analyzes antisemitism in Poland in 2018.
UKRAINE: Josh Cohen in Kyiv Post: Ukraine’s far-right violence is not Russian propaganda” (see his earlier report); Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty on state funding for neo-Nazis under banner of “patriotic education” (Also in Human Rights). Human Rights Watch addresses government. FreedomHouse.org on how far-right extremism threatens Ukrainian democracy. Also: new debate in Canada on monument to fascist leader, and, over welcome for alleged far-right leader by the Scottish Parliament.
“Not Just About Eastern Europe”
See the export of efforts to rewrite history to Belgium, Canada, Israel, South Africa, UK, USA, and many other countries
Meantime, Prague Declaration efforts are being revived in the European Parliament in 2018. In 2012, Defending History was proud to co-author the Seventy Years Declaration, boldly signed by eight Lithuanian parliamentarians.
Latest 2018 harbinger of “Double Genocide” revisionism personally attacks authors Efraim Zuroff and Ruta Vanagaite, while offering saccharin red-brown PR at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. She is assistant to a member of parliament who was formerly deputy chairman of the now-defunct “National Democrats Party” (Neo-Nazis).
FROM OUR TEAM IN VILNIUS:
Sources in London: Solicitors instructed by international group whose ancestors are buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to take legal action against the CPJCE with “court action to be announced by the end of July 2018”
Dramatic Youtube video: Shocking scene of CPJCE-ers allegedly coming to “sell” the prime minister of Lithuania the old Vilna Jewish cemetery as grounds for a new convention center. International opposition to the convention center project is mounting by the day. Ruta Bloshtein’s international petition tops 43,500 signatures. Her latest update
Jewish Chronicle: Ruta Vanagaite honored in Brussels by Conference of European Rabbis for telling the simple truth about the Lithuanian Holocaust (only to have her books effectively banned in Lithuania: after Oct. 2017 diatribe by major politician, publisher pulled all her books from bookstore and internet sales)
JTA on the Lithuanian Jewish community’s valiant call for democracy and honest elections. Eyewitness report on 28 May 2018 demonstration
Vilnius Marks Birthdays of Three of its Extraordinary Jewish Figures:
LEV GOLINKIN IN THE FORWARD ON SHOCKING ANTISEMITISM IN UKRAINE; HIS INTERVIEW WITH ABC’S JOHN BATCHELOR; MORE FROM UKRAINE
Did London “CPJCE” Rabbis Come to Vilnius to “Permit” A Convention Center in the Heart of City’s Old Jewish Cemetery in Defiance of All Major Rabbis on the Planet (Plus Those in Vilnius…)
The incredible story. When their spokesman “explained” to the media that a derelict, hated, Soviet-era ruin now on the cemetery is the “Tower of London and Statue of Liberty” to the Lithuanian people. Why this zealous attachment to desecration of a sacred Jewish cemetery in Vilna? What does the rest of the world think? Ms. Ruta Bloshtein, a religious Jewish woman in Vilnius started a petition. It’s now approaching 44,000 signatures. See her LATEST UPDATE (MAY 2018).
The London CPJCE has since been exposed by Wikileaks, and in reports in the Jerusalem Post, JTA, and Times of Israel, for taking secret payments for their clandestine, acquiescent agreement. What happened to transparency? Most recently, the elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community has spoken out forcefully in the New York Times.
London CPJCE Rabbis, including Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, come to offer gleeful permissions for a new convention center and massive annex in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery in April 2015. On the video, they meet with the nation’s then prime minister who cannot contain his own glee (and who told the press how surprised he was that it was “so easy”). The three resident Vilnius rabbis in town that day were not even informed of the meeting; the country’s then chief rabbi was then fired for daring to disagree with the Londoners’ “permission”. All other rabbis on the planet, including the greatest yeshiva heads in the Lithuanian tradition, have begged the government to move the convention center elsewhere and restore the medieval Jewish cemetery where thousands still lie buried.
US Jewish Leaders Outspoken on Mideast, but Shrink from Discussing East European Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial◊
City Council of New Britain, Connecticut Passes Resolution Cancelling Plans for Monument Honoring Alleged Nazi Collaborator; The Timeline◊
From Vilnius, Ruta Bloshtein updates her 43,000 petition signers on the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, calling on signers to contact the Charities Commission in the UK. If it were a non-Jewish cemetery, the government would not be building a national convention center over the remains of thousands of Vilna citizens whose families purchased their final resting places in perpetuity.
“Amazing Berliners” Open their Homes First Weekend in May to Remember “Those who Once Lived Here” (FT Report)
Hopes Rising that East European Cities will Follow
57 US Congressman Condemn Holocaust Distortion in Ukraine and Poland & Laws Criminalizing Free Speech on Topic
DH’s Report; PDF of the Letter; Sam Sokol in Open Democracy; Dovid Katz in Jewish Currents: “But Poland’s law is not the worst”; JTA report cites Defending History’s decade of work documenting East European governmental distortion of history.
OUR ISSUES IN THE NEWS
Montreal’s Holocaust Museum postpones exhibit on heroic Polish resistance hero Jan Karski in wake of current Polish issues
Three Nazi flags hoisted on Vilnius bridges on Hitler’s April 20 birthday; Official Jewish community reacts
Rabbi Dan Fink of Boise, Idaho, year after visit to Lithuania, still shocked at behavior of local Catholic Church during the Holocaust; Yitzhak Arad’s historical summary
Dovid Katz’s take on Vilnius’s “Genocide Museum” in Tablet; Recent New York Times news report on museum’s continuing capacity for shocking visitors to Lithuania’s capital
JTA on opposition to Riga’s annual Waffen SS glorification march, including, this year, one Riga woman’s inspiring vigil to remember Holocaust victims; But article omits many years of effective work by one London woman, whose international petition (and blog) reached thousands; she dialogued with Latvia’s embassy in London, and the UK Foreign Ministry leading to notable revelations regarding actual policies of EU/NATO states toward East European glorification of Nazi collaborators.
Brussels, and firm of eminent London architects roped into new “red=brown” Double Genocide project sponsored by East European far right’s “Prague Platform”?
HOPEFULLY THEY WILL LOOK AT EXACTLY WHAT’S BEHIND THIS PROJECT AND JUST SAY NO
“It Always Pays to Stand Up and Defend History”
Elected Leaders of New Britain, Connecticut Cancel Lithuanian Gov. Project to Plonk a Monument to an Alleged 1941 Holocaust Collaborator on Public Land
“MAJOR SUCCESS” IN EFFORTS TO HALT THE EXPORT OF “DOUBLE GENOCIDE” HISTORY REVISIONISM TO THE WEST
Hero of the saga is City Council alderman Professor Aram Ayalon. His petition and active contacts with colleagues internationally brought rapid results
Chronicle of a saga: DH’s section on New Britain.
Major documents include essays by a leading Lithuanian ethicist, Evaldas Balčiūnas (2014 and 2017) on the alleged 1941 perpetrator for whom a massive monument was slated for a “separate square” right near New Britain’s beloved Museum of American Art. Most council members were not even aware of the secretive plan, while proposed Lithuanian government financing was guaranteed, even as inquirers were told it was a local church that was the sponsor. The project was managed by the Lithuanian Consulate in New York.
Justin Dorsey at the New Britain mayor’s office: “There will be no monument recognizing this individual.”
1 April 2018
New York Times covers history debates that rage on in Eastern Europe; Haaretz publishes Hebrew translation; Targum Shlishi reposts its recent report; Oxford Review of Books interviews DH editor. In Germany’s Jungle World.
Will New Britain, Connecticut really allow a public monument to an alleged Nazi collaborator? City Council member Professor Aram Ayalon launches petition; Latest. Will Mayor Erin E. Stewart break her silence with some rapid words of simple moral clarity? This is even worse than Charlottesville: It’s about putting up a new monument for an alleged Nazi collaborator on public land in Connecticut. Where’s leadership? See DH’s new section on New Britain, Connecticut. This is not a “Lithuanian-Jewish issue”; One of Lithuania’s leading ethicists, Evaldas Balčiūnas leads the way for people of good will in his 2014 and 2017 essays on the figure for whom the New Britain monument is planned.
42,500 sign petition by Ruta Bloshtein of Vilnius, begging Lithuanian government to move national convention center project away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery; Please consider signing!
FROM THE LAST DECADE:
Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian (2009); Avi Friedman in Mishpacha, Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post, Mark Ames in The Nation, and Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service (2010); Cindy Mindell in the Jewish Ledger (2011); Danny Ben-Moshe in his film Rewriting History (2012); Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report (2013); Richard Bloom in his film Defending Holocaust History (2014); Daniel Brook in Slate (2015); Larry Yudelson in Jewish Standard (2016); Rod Nordland in The New York Times (2018)
Poland has been rightly criticized for a 2018 law criminalizing free speech about the Holocaust but other countries have passed rather worse laws, including Hungary (2010), Lithuania (2010), Estonia (2012), Latvia (2014) and Ukraine (2015). People have lost their employment and been pursued by authorities, via prosecutors or just campaigns of defamation, for speaking out. April 3rd update: Lithuania’s economy minister (!) proposes law banning books on history the government doesn’t like.
Did the Israeli Foreign Ministry really decide to compromise Holocaust history or was this a fluke of one hapless embassy?
Will New York’s YIVO Institute finally stop legitimizing Lithuanian Double Genocide industry’s far right Red-Brown Commission which just held a conference honoring an alleged Holocaust collaborator?
Honoring Lithuania’s 100th Birthday
With an exhibit on nation’s interwar harmonious multiculturalism, and celebration of one of the 1918 independence war’s great heroes. Some of Lithuania’s most inspiring truth tellers today are DH regulars, including Evaldas Balciunas, Andrius Kulikauskas, and Julius Norwilla. Many more over the years.
Defending History was the only human rights group in Lithuania to monitor the recent neo-Nazi marches in central Vilnius, on nation’s 16 February and 11 March independence days. We do it every year.
What is it all about? The grand debate over Holocaust history and its “European declarations”: The Prague Declaration and Defending History’s response — Seventy Years Declaration (SYD)
Are famous Jewish personalities from the West becoming fellow travelers of the new Holocaust revisionism when blinded by medals, honors, photo-ops with politicians, junkets, and grants?
Will Indiana University’s Borns Jewish Studies Program in Bloomington forever prop up a hijacked Yiddish institute in faraway Vilnius that serves to promote Holocaust revisionism?
29 March 2018
DH NEWS FEED
Vilnius goodwill: Rabbi S. J. Feffer, a leading campaigner for saving Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, invites “the whole city — people of any religion and none” to his free Passover séyder, Friday 30 March 8:30 PM at the Narutis Hotel in Vilnius. “No tickets, no registration, just come!”
Paul Simon interviews Dovid Katz on Double Genocide, history revisionism, and Germany’s “quiet role”
Vilnius: Simon Gurevich (Gurevičius), elected leader of Vilnius Jewish Community, blasts fake-election ersatz LJC leaders, calls for rapid new & transparent elections
27 March 2018 marked the fourth yórtsayt (death anniversary) of
Dr. Shimon Alperovich
Visionary leader of the Jewish Community of Lithuania who treated every human being with the highest respect and dignity. He also spoke out with integrity, courage and moral clarity on Jewish values, Holocaust revisionism, Double Genocide, the campaign to defame Jewish partisan heroes, and state projects to glorify the collaborators.
11 March 2018
Celebrating Lithuania’s independence and success and also, as each year, monitoring the neo-Nazi march for which the center of Vilnius is gifted (on this of all days). See our eyewitness report. Defending History’s reports from the last decade of marches marches in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Riga.
New voices rise up on the humiliation, destruction and commercialization of East European Jewish cemeteries: Israel’s chief rabbi and rabbi of nation’s holy sites plead with Lithuanian president on the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės). And, from Wroclaw, Poland, the voice of a young Polish scholar, Angieszka Jablonska documents similar events , in DH, and now in Tablet magazine in the US. The days of the London-based “CPJCE” representing themselves as saving these cemeteries are coming to an end. Jewish cemeteries on ground zero of the Holocaust must, as a matter of human rights, be treated with the same dignity as Christian and other burial sites.
It’s Baltic Marching Season Time…
The Defending History community protests the annual “Baltic Marching Season” in which states and major cities gift their most prestigious city centers for pro-Nazi marches that brim with racism and ethnic hatred, sometimes on cherished national holidays. Where are the local voices of dissent? The lavishly financed human rights monitoring organizations? Western voices? A media that reports?
28 February – March 2018
TO OUR READERS WHO CELEBRATE PURIM:
A HAPPY PURIM! (28 Feb — 1 March 2018)
WELCOME TO A NEW TRANSLATION OF THE BOOK OF ESTHER INTO LITHUANIAN YIDDISH… AND TO A DIALECT MAP OF THE NAME FOR THE BELOVED PURIM PASTRY RECALLED BY THE LAST YIDDISH SPEAKING HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS IN NORTHEASTERN EUROPE
16 February 2018
Dovid Katz on “Double Genocide” (in Jewish Currents), and the Manipulation of Holocaust Studies in Lithuania (in Dapim)
Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA) in the Jerusalem Post & Times of Israel
Israel Knesset Member Ksenia Svetlova in the Jerusalem Post; Also: All-time lowpoint of Israeli diplomacy? See DH’s Israel Chronicle page and Israel Section
Evaldas Balčiūnas in Defending History (and the follow-on debate about New Britain, Connecticut)
SOME “LOCAL” QUESTIONS FOR HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, 27 JANUARY 2018:
Does the city of New Britain, Connecticut really want to erect a monument for the same alleged collaborator?
Will the city of Kaunas, named Capital of European Culture for 2022, take rapid action to move away from city center the annual Feb. 16th independence day neo-Nazi parade that often glorifies actual local collaborators? Announcement of this year’s Feb 16th event.
So far, less than morally solid reactions from the American Jewish Committee and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; silence from ADL etc. Soon to be rectified?
BRAVO TO LIEBE GEFT: Breaking with American Jewish organizations’ timidity, Liebe Geft, head of the Wiesenthal Center’s Tolerance Museum in Los Angeles, critiques the Prague Declaration’s support for “Double Genocide” revisionism in run-up to Toronto conference to be held on 27-28 Jan. 2018; More on the (2008) Prague Declaration and Defending History’s response, the (2012) Seventy Years Declaration. What is Double Genocide? Has it been snuck into some Holocaust educational programs and museums? Our editor’s take. Danny Ben-Moshe’s documentary film Rewriting History.
NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT: Does this town really need a brand-new monument glorifying an alleged Holocaust collaborator?
CHIEF RABBI OF ISRAEL calls on president of Lithuania to cancel project of a convention center atop thousands of Jewish graves in Vilnius. International opposition continues to mount. Because of the Holocaust, these people have no descendants or relatives to protect their paid-for final resting place. Because of ongoing bias, Jewish burial sites in Eastern Europe are not treated with the same respect as others.
A ONCE-IN-A-CENTURY OPPORTUNITY FOR KAUNAS (Kovno, Kóvne), Lithuania’s 2nd city, which has been named “Capital of European Culture” for 2022. Hopefully, the city’s leaders will act rapidly to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January and to scrap the city center’s February 16th independence day neo-Nazi march starting this year, while taking down street signs and a Vytautas Magnus University lecture hall name that actually glorify Holocaust collaborators. In the meantime, the city’s tiny religious Jewish community has produced a medallion in Yiddish to honor the 200th anniversary of the birth of the city’s famed Rabbi Yitskhok Elkhonon Spector.
15-22 January 2018
Our Team Joins with Human Rights Advocates Everywhere to Celebrate
Martin Luther King Week 2018
1 January 2018
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 TO ALL OUR READERS!
31 December 2017
Evaldas Balčiūnas asks:
Is it Really a Good Idea for Politicians to Name 2018 in Honor of Someone who Led a Pro-Nazi Squad during the Outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust in June-July 1941?
In a country with a grand thousand year legacy of innumerable true heroes, including those who established the modern democratic state in 1918? On the centenary of that incredible achievement? Editor’s take. DH’s centenary tribute. [JANUARY 2018 UPDATE: DH’s 2018 PERSON OF THE YEAR.]
28 December 2017
Democratically Elected Vilnius Jewish Community’s Council Calls for Clean, Fresh Elections for National Community’s Leadership
The democratically elected 21-member Council of the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) calls for new, free and fair elections for Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) leadership positions (English text here). The call follows the 21 Dec 2017 court ruling invalidating last spring’s “kangaroo elections” in which the thousands of living Jewish people were disenfranchised and replaced by a roomful of “board members”. More background.
UPDATES TO 29 DEC: JTA report appearing also in Arutz Sheva, The Times of Israel, Times of Israel in French, Forward; see also: Isra.com
ALSO: Latest “Good Will Foundation” figures show New York’s Edward Blank Yivo Digitization Project again muscling in on the last assets intended for Lithuania’s current Jewish people from the plundered religious properties of the annihilated religious communities (as PDF). Has the community been polled on this or other major allocations? State’s “Red-Brown Commission” continues to boast of Yivo’s membership and support for gov. Holocaust policies. See Vilna Holocaust survivor’s heartfelt plea to director of Yivo. Is Edward Blank aware of what’s going on?
19 December 2017
What’s the Moral Legacy of those People “Behind” the Scattered Gravestones of Vilna?
Professor Sid Leiman tells the story of Vilnius citizen Abba-Menachem Kremerman, who died at 15 in 1939, and — the story of what happened to his gravestone in late 2017. The bizarre results of Vilnius authorities’ decision last month to dump 1000 Jewish gravestones from one cemetery onto the territory of another to deflect attention from international shock at plans for a national convention center in the “recipient” cemetery’s heart (with photos by Julius Norwilla)
11 December 2017
US Government Rep Agrees with Defending History on Need for National Convention Center Project to be Moved Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery
Head of the Committee on the Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery for the US government’s Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA), Herbert Block (left) with Defending History editor Dovid Katz after two Vilnius meetings in mid December 2017 resulted in full agreement on the need for the national convention center project to be moved away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės). See report. Meanwhile, international consensus comes into focus with growing support within Lithuania, including its Jewish community.
In the News in Dec. 2017
Israeli Foreign Ministry crosses “red Holocaust line” and offers PR support for Lithuanian parliament’s decision to name 2018 for alleged Holocaust collaborator; Weekly of Vilnius comments; Israeli ambassador’s Vilnius antics end in major fiasco
In major interview with Frankfurter Rundschau, Clemens Heni explains the part of Holocaust relativization in current European antisemitism; Notes vintage of the 2008 Prague Declaration
Danny Ben-Moshe’s documentary film Rewriting History on the Double Genocide movement and the ensuing conflicts and adventures in Lithuania and the European Union now available online for the first time
Vilnius District Court rules that official (gov. sponsored) “Lithuanian Jewish Community” elections of May 2017 were rigged; chairperson seems to cling to power on a dubious legal basis amid growing calls for clean new elections
Masha Gessen interviews Ruta Vanagaite in the New Yorker. PEN America protests ban on her books. Follow the saga (in English) with Defending History
8 December 2017
Josh Cohen’s Eyewitness Report: Vanagaite-Zuroff Event at Washington’s Wilson Center: Lithuanian Ambassador Publicly Accuses Vanagaite of Putinist Collusion
Meanwhile, in Vilnius, state sponsored Red-Brown Commission chief Ronaldas Račinskas attacks Vanagaite’s book and speaking tour (“lies about Lithuania’s past and present”). In 2008, he started purge of Yiddish institute, now “led” by fellow Red-Brown Commission member. In 2013 he defamed prominent Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg as “liar” for having corrected an error. Commission chief’s “classic” video formulation of Double Genocide in connection with defamed Jewish partisan veteran Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky. His denial of early LAF violence against Lithuanian Jewry in June 1941.
In November 2017
Wall of “Mainstream Media Hush-Up” for East European Glorification of Nazi Collaborators Begins to Crumble
Newsweek, following History News Network, exposes the BBC’s peddling of fake history of Ukrainian ultranationalism; for background see Josh Cohen in Foreign Policy in 2016
LA Times on America’s disturbing UN vote concerning condemnation of Nazi glorification; also in the Independent; for background see Dovid Katz in Times of Israel in 2014
The National Interest on Lithuania’s persecution of Ruta Vanagaite and other recent East European episodes; PEN America’s public protest; for background see Defending History’s take
Ottawa Citizen on Ukrainian pro-Nazi monuments in Canada; see Defending History’s Canada section
In the Late 2017 Battle of Ideas
Chona Leibovich (Leibovič), proud member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, writes with inspiring courage on the Nazi legacy of many “national-hero partisans” in Lithuania in major news portal Delfi.lt
Dovid Katz in Dapim on the extraordinary recent history of Holocaust studies in Lithuania (PDF of proof only)
Alexandra Kudukis interviews Grant Gochin in I am Lietuva (International Lithuanian Federation) on the damage Lithuania’s leaders inflict on the country by glorifying Holocaust collaborators via monuments, street names, and state accolades while deflecting questions with the trope that critics are “Russian lackeys”
Clemens Heni in The Times of Israel on the shocking new tendency of some Jewish groups to tolerate or support the American Alt Right and the European Far Right
Julius Norwilla in DH on the latest farcical attempt to “memorialize” the old Vilna Jewish cemetery by shlepping some gravestones there for a “monument” — as lame diversion for plan underway to plonk a sparkling national convention center surrounded by thousands of Vilna Jewish graves
Andrius Kulikauskas in DH: Celebrations of the centenary of semiotician Algirdas Julius Greimas can include also a thought for his victims
NEW SECTIONS IN LITHUANIAN AND IN RUSSIAN; NEW YIDDISH SECTION ON JEWISH CULTURE IN INTERWAR LITHUANIA IS LAUNCHED (SUPPLEMENT TO VILNA YIDDISH MINI-MUSEUM PROJECT)
FROM NEAR AND FAR IN NOV. 2017
Berlin: A European journal on antisemitism that does not fear to tackle the East European Holocaust Obfuscation movement
Tel Aviv: Joe Melamed’s Shlóyshim came and went. But which of the Israeli “Litvak organizations” will be hosting a public event? Will the Israeli Embassy in Vilnius utter a solitary word, or is Melamed in the “Dov Levin” category? the Rachel Margolis category? Where is the Vilnius Israeli embassy’s loyalty to its own citizens?
Washington DC: Efraim Zuroff and Ruta Vanagaite will speak on 7 Dec. on “The Holocaust & Historical Memory Wars in Lithuania” at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute. Some background here, and here
Harvard: Harvard University releases catalogue of the Leyzer Ran Collection on old Jewish Vilna; Also: Dec 11th lecture by Efraim Zuroff and Ruta Vanagaite
Kiev: Senior Ukraine official hints at antisemitic violence if Jewish citizens disagree about glorification of alleged war criminals; Meanwhile, Minister for Infrastracture announces plan to actually build “the Road to Bandera”
Mariampole (Lithuania; Yiddish—Maryámpl, Márnpol): Day-long event to introduce people to Lithuanian Jewish culture on 28 Nov.
2 November 2017
Trending in October 2017
First shot fired in bizarre new battle for European history. Far-right “Prague Platform” (funded by EU taxpayers) charges that Brussels “House of European History” Plan has “Neo-Marxist message”
In Riga, Latvia, court punishes an anti-Nazi demonstrator for his placard showing Nazi violence of 1941; he was a counter-demonstrator at this year’s Waffen-SS march. Now also in Jewish Currents (NY). See Latvia and Riga’s Waffen SS marches sections.
Ukraine’s President Proshenko abuses Holocaust photo on Twitter; Svoboda regional leader threatens Jewish citizens who may disagree with public honors for Ukrainian pogrom-meisters; Meantime, Infrastructure Minister announces plans for actually building a “Road to Bandera”…
Ukrainian city, Kalush, names street in honor of Waffen-SS Hauptsturmführer; Bold citizen challenges the decision in court; JTA report; Also: WJC decries new monument in Vinnitsa for pogrom-meister Petliura
Radio Free Europe reports up to 20,000 participated in October 14th march in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev to glorify the UPA, a major fascist group that collaborated in the Holocaust; Nazi salutes documented
Israeli ambassador to Ukraine speaks out on repeated state honoring of major antisemitic figures. See Ukraine section.
Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), elected head of Vilnius Jewish Community, calls on school in Šiauliai (Shavl) to reject a plan for it to be renamed in honor of Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika. Reports in Lithuanian and Russian.
Lithuania’s prime minister says convention center on old Jewish cemetery will “lift” nation’s capital
Linas Vildžiūnas, a leading intellectual in Lithuania, reviews Rūta Vanagaitė’s book on the Holocaust — his review now in English translation
Professor Josifas Parisonas on need for democracy in Lithuanian Jewish Community. See Lithuania section.
Clemens Heni in Times of Israel on the specificity of antisemitism in light of “post-colonial studies”
29 October 2017
יוסף (יאָסקע) מלמד ז″ל
Greatest of the Litvak Champions, Joe Melamed, Dies at 93 in Tel Aviv. Litvak world in mourning as his inspiring life comes into sharper focus, not least his robust and courageous activism over his last decade. Update: Images from the last years.
21 October 2017
Photo © DefendingHistory.com
NEW SECTIONS: “SYMBOLOGY”; ARTICLES IN LITHUANIAN ON THE OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY; plus NEW COUNTRY SECTIONS: IRELAND; NORWAY
27 September 2017
Vilnius screening of The Last Sunday in August, major new documentary film on the Holocaust in Lithuania, focused on Malát (Molėtai) in eastern Lithuania, is so far ignored by mainstream media and the “Double Genocide Industry”. To date: not one media outlet has published a review. The film documents the murder of all 2,000 Jews of the shtetl in one day (29 August 1941), entirely by enthusiastic, volunteer local murderers working for the German Nazi occupiers of their own country, who killed all of their own neighbors who were Jewish. There was not a single rescuer in the town (but there were incredibly brave Righteous in the surrounding countryside). It also documents those inspiringly courageous Lithuanian citizens today who are determined to tell the simple truth. Defending History calls on the film’s producers to make it very rapidly widely available. The film’s historic narrative and moral message are a precise opposite of the state-sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes of Lithuania” (“red-brown commission”) that specializes in spewing moral confusion and doubletalk.
Well-intentioned postage stamp honoring Litvaks goes disastrously wrong, incorporating a nationalist symbol which Holocaust survivors and Lithuanian Jews associate with Nazi and neo-Nazi usage, from the Holocaust to the present day. It also insults the nation’s proud Yiddish heritage. Hopefully the Postal Service and the government will now do the right thing and rapidly withdraw it from circulation. It is causing wholly unnecessary pain all around.
QUESTION OF THE MONTH: Is there a renewed initiative to talk EU Commission President Juncker into embracing Eastern Europe’s “Double Genocide Industry” mantra about all of Europe needing to accept a “unified history” = the claim that Prague Declaration Holocaust revisionism is the one acceptable history (as per the criminalization of dissent in some East European countries)?
BACKGROUND: The 2008 Tallinn proclamation and UK MP John Mann’s Response in the House of Commons; On the 2008 Prague Declaration; The 2012 Seventy Years Declaration; Sample attempt to (ab)use the “United Europe United History” slogan; Criminalization of dissenting views in Eastern Europe (Latvia; Lithuania; Ukraine). Fate of an earlier attempt to manipulate the EU into “legislating” history as per eastern states’ demands.
19 September 2017
All welcome at this Sunday’s Vilnius showing of the new film The Last Sunday in August about Malát (Molėtai). 24 September 2017 at 6 PM at the Ozas Multi Cinema, Ozo 18, Vilnius 08009. Admission free but pre-registration required (phone or SMS: +3706 718-6202 or +3706 153-9950). For background see DH’s Malát section. Trailer for the film.
Would Ukraine really want to compromise its international integrity by naming “Stepan Bandera University” in Lviv? More on Stepan Bandera, head of groups that murdered hundreds of thousands of civilian Jews and Poles in the Hitler era. DH recommends G. Rossolinski-Liebe’s indispensable book.
All welcome at opening of the Nechama Lifschitz Exhibit at the Tolerance Center (Naugarduko 10/2, Vilnius, +3705 231-2357) at 6 PM on 25 September 2017
8 September 2017
“COURAGEOUS STEP”; DEFENDING HISTORY SAYS: CONGRATULATIONS!
2 September 2017
אַ ליכטיקן געבאָרנטאָג, טײַערער מילאַן!
Holocaust flight survivor. Powerful essayist and masterful editor. For 20 years he directed the Vilnius Yiddish Folk Theater. Then, for a dozen years he edited Jerusalem of Lithuania, the Jewish community’s quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper (with each issue produced in four separate editions). Beloved writer at DefendingHistory.com. Champion for Jewish and human rights causes, freedom of speech, and a just and fair society for all. Vilnius says: Happy Birthday, Milan!
1 September 2017
TRENDING AT DEFENDING
23 August 2017
8 East European Countries Issue New Call for Double Genocide, Demanding “Equal” Status for Nazi and Soviet Crimes
Call comes from the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, & Slovakia
EU Taxpayer Financed “Prague Platform” Plays Key Role in the Ongoing Orchestration. Meanwhile, “Platform” boasts that its new competition for a mix-n-match red-brown memorial is “under the High Patronage of the European Parliament”. It’s “Bible” is the 2008 Prague Declaration (PD). Defending History working with 71 Euro-parliamentarians (including eight very courageous Lithuanian legislators) countered with the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration (SYD); its text in European languages.
Defending History’s comment: “Instead of simply highlighting the legitimate need to recognize, condemn, study and memorialize Communist crimes, as a distinct issue, the injection of “equality” by eight (only East European!) countries, once again underscores the far-right ultranationalist drive to obfuscate and downgrade the Holocaust by way of “Prague Declaration” style ruses to invoke a bogus equivalence between Nazism and Communism. One of the prime motives is to write the massive local collaboration (and in some countries active participation) in the Holocaust out of history, while finding cunning ways to glorify local Holocaust collaborators as “heroes”. It is high time for the West, once again, to Just Say No.”
More on Double Genocide: Shimon Alperovich, Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Yitzhak Arad, Evaldas Balciunas, Yehuda Bauer, Danny Ben-Moshe, Milan Chersonski, Leonidas Donskis, Jonathan Freedland, Pinchos Fridberg, Clemens Heni, Dovid Katz, Rachel Kostanian, Denis MacShane, John Mann, Efraim Zuroff
12 US Congressmen Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery
After publication by Defending History, rapid response comes from president of Lithuania, foreign minister, advisor to PM, and others. They refer to “permissions” from the markedly controversial London rabbis of the “CPJCE” exposed by Wikileaks, Jerusalem Post, JTA, and DH (no mention of the overwhelming international and local opposition or 40,000 petition signatories); also from the “official” Jewish community whose leadership allegedly rigged elections last spring to stay in power; no mention in politicians’ statements of gov. consulting also with the democratically elected 21 members of the Vilnius Jewish Community’s Council. But Vilnius broadcast media went to Vilnius community’s leader too. Professor Sid (Shnayer) Leiman (New York) responds to the president of Lithuania. Petition author Ruta Bloshtein (Vilnius) responds.
International media coverage — JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), Times of Israel (French edition), Hamodia, Five Towns Jewish Times, (2), Professor Sid Leiman responds to Lithuania’s president.
Baltic media coverage (in Lithuanian, English, Polish, Russian) — 15min.lt, Baltnews.lt, BNS via Lithuania Tribune (2), Delfi.lt, eajc.org, Kurier.lt, LJC, LNK (at: 13:40), LRT.lt/mediateka, Lzinios.lt, NovayaGazeta.ee, Obzor.lt, TV3.lt, Weekly of Vilnius, Wilnoteka.lt; Ruta Bloshtein’s petition update.
International petition passes 40,000 signature mark. Pleas from around the world continue to mount.
NATO Must Stand For Western Values
Our take? Putin’s shameful “Zapad 17” military exercise demo, in regions bordering the eastern democratic lands of NATO and the EU, intended to intimidate their peaceful populations, needs to be exposed for what it is and countered with stalwart determination. That makes it all the more critical for NATO (and the EU) not to succumb to regional far-right, ultranationalist, chauvinist, Holocaust-revisionist, and antisemitic forces in the course of the proceedings. Indeed, when NATO has a lapse in upholding Western ideals, principles and causes, especially those for which the Allies fought during World War II and the Holocaust, it is incumbent upon genuine friends of NATO to point it out sharp and clear. This latest episode also impacts the principle that citizens of Eastern NATO countries deserve the same standards of freedom of speech and democracy as all others. It is, moreover, incumbent on US embassies in the Baltics, particularly in Vilnius, to stop defaming (as “Russian lackeys”) those (including US citizens these embassies exist to represent!) who stand up to far-right Holocaust revisionism and work for human rights in the region.
NATO has issued a new film extolling the Baltic postwar “Forest Brothers” with no mention of the “problem” that many (or most) were recycled Hitlerist forces, that most of their targets for murder were civilians, and that most harbored Nazi views of racial purity and hatred of their nations’ minorities. The film’s official description misleadingly implies that these “Brothers” were generally or equally comprised of people from “both sides of the war” and includes no mention of the related 21st century issues of glorification of Nazi collaborators in Eastern Europe (or the 1950s glee taken by the “Brothers” in the Holocaust). In Vilnius, a city official was just fired for daring to question whether the “Brothers” were right to murder those who worked in state collective farms. While “Forest Brother” relics are preserved as national shrines (courtesy of EU budgets), the last surviving anti-Nazi base of Jewish partisans who fled the Vilna Ghetto is being left to sink right into the earth.
More on the alarming changes in recent years in US State Department policy: section; page; via Yivo; the neocon movement; and the DC Holocaust Museum (USHMM); DH’s USA page and section. Related: The allegedly most corrupt federal agency in Washington is the taxpayer-funded “US Commission for the Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad” (USCPAHA) which has in recent years colluded with forces entangled in destruction of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. But in July 2017, twelve US congressmen defiantly wrote a powerful letter to the president of Lithuania.
Non-Jewish Lithuanian citizens are starting to take the lead in the campaign to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from plans to plonk a convention center in its center, where people would revel, cheer, drink at bars and flush toilets surrounded by thousands of Vilna Jews buried there from the 15th to the 19th centuries (a fate that would never befall a Christian cemetery in today’s EU). This poster, produced in July 2017 by Julius Norwilla, includes a quote from philosopher Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, and the visualization created by a young Vilnius artist.
See more on international opposition; a summary of the saga; views of a major scholar on the cemetery’s history; a recent short film; the international petition that is approaching 40,000 signatures; full translation of the new poster; English version of the poster. The new Yiddish version. DH section on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery.
Josh Cohen in Reuters: Will President Trump Confront Ukraine’s Leaders on Naming of Streets for Holocaust Collaborators?
Cohen’s major op-ed is a response to the recent naming of yet another boulevard in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, for a Holocaust collaborator
“The common denominator here is state-sponsored inversion of history for the purposes of today’s ultra-nationalist, far-right politics: Glorify the Holocaust’s collaborators, defame the victims, survivors and heroes, and you’re heading for the bogus Double Genocide (with its attendant yearned-for obfuscation of the Holocaust)” — Dovid Katz
Major conceptual expansion of Lithuanian prosecutors’ decade-old campaign against Jewish partisan veterans and Holocaust survivors who speak out
State-sponsored and elite-endorsed messaging extols the “heroism” of actual World War II perpetrators and ethnic cleansers as well as increasingly overt “East-European style antisemitism”. But the campaign, masquerading as history, patriotism, political science, mainstream media, and even Holocaust studies, is enabled by the current geopolitical backdrop and a Western tendency to silently “give them all a pass”.
See: Josh Cohen in Foreign Policy (2 May 2016); Semen Doroshenko in (Ukrainian website) Politnavigator (26 Feb. 2017); Andreas Umland in New Eastern Europe (7 March 2017); Sam Sokol in the London Jewish Chronicle (9 March 2017); Report in JTA (27 March 2017); Eduard Dolinsky in the New York Times (11 April 2017).
Ukraine elites’ recent statements on matter of race and history: See former MP’s statement; opening of disturbing monument at Babi Yar.
Free speech in Ukraine? See Josh Cohen in Foreign Policy on laws criminalizing opposing points of view; DH’s section on similar laws & free-speech infractions throughout Eastern Europe; DH’s Ukraine section.
Fracas at Paris conference: Group of scholars asks Paris conference to exclude cheerleader for local Ukrainian collaborators; History News Network; JTA’s report; Jerusalem Post article by Per Anders Rudling and Efraim Zuroff.
Earlier: See Dovid Katz in Times of Israel, ConsortiumNews.com, Jewish Currents; DH’s media tracker for the 2014-2015 Maidan Revolution period.
Lithuanian National Library Opens New Center Named for Wartime Advocate of Ethnic Cleansing of Nation’s Jewish Minority. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Eyewitness Report.
Does the National Library’s inclusion and celebration of a center named for an “ethnic cleansing advocate” (during the Lithuanian Holocaust) derive “legitimacy” from its neighbor, the Judaic Studies Center opened less then one month ago to universal acclaim, on the same floor, by New York’s Yivo and the National Library’s leadership?
Yivo has won back a lot of credibility by now building Jewish studies in Lithuania in cooperation with the National Library and other academic institutions instead of the Red-Brown Commission and Holocaust revisionist agencies as in past years (see Yivo section, scroll to bottom to review chronologically; the 2015 letter from Vilna born Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, 2012 participation in a conference set up to camouflage the concurrent reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister). Has the Holocaust revisionist establishment nevertheless found a way yet again to abuse the Yivo board’s good will and enlist the Yivo brand in attempts to kosherize “by juxtaposition” the glorification of Holocaust collaborators and cheerleaders? Hopefully Yivo’s leaders will this time speak out rapidly with moral clarity and ensure the new center does not remain under the same roof as its neighbor that exists to sanitize the Holocaust’s local supporters. What would Chaikel Lunski, Zelig-Hirsh Kalmanovitsh, Zalmen Reyzen, Tsemakh Shabad, and Max Weinreich have said?
Trending in Defending
A Vilnius Visualization Artist Offers Starting Point for Restoration of City’s Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)
SEE ALSO: NEW AMERICAN SHORT FILM ON FATE OF OLD JEWISH CEMETERY IN VILNIUS, LITHUANIA, WITH PROF. SHNAYER LEIMAN & MALCOLM HOENLEIN
Cemetery as site for new national convention center? Are “compromised” Western organizations also involved? US taxpayer-funded “USCPAHA” and London’s “CPJCE” with their NY “Admas Kodesh”; International petition; Opposition to date…
Molėtai (Malát), town in northeastern Lithuania: Town church commissioning bas-relief of wartime priest who organized the shooting squad that murdered 100% of the town’s Jews? Paul Alster in The Times of Israel
When East European Governments Make Heroes out of Holocaust Collaborators; in Ukraine (+ Twitter); Vilnius Battle over two Major Collaborators
Bitter new campaign against Holocaust survivor and anti-Nazi resistance hero Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, who turns 95 on 22 May; Ronaldas Račinskas, director of state’s “red-brown” commission explains (in documentary film) why he thinks the state must investigate veterans of the anti-Nazi partisans (late head of the Jewish Community noted years ago that it only ever happens to Jewish partisans)
Jewish Life in Vilnius is Not Boring; Vilna Yiddish Reading Circle Starts new session on Wednesday 17 May 2017, 6 PM. All welcome!
Vilnius University goes for PR bonanza by offering historical “memory diplomas” for students prevented by war from finishing their degrees. But it quickly emerged that the exceptions to the “generous proposal” include Jewish students who survived because they heroically fought the Nazis either as Jewish partisans or in the Soviet army (allied during the Holocaust years with the United States and Great Britain). Details here. JTA report.◊
17 Organizations in Lithuania Sign Petition in Favor of Central Vilnius Street Name Glorifying Holocaust Promoter K. Škirpa
Among the 17 is Sąjūdis (Vilnius & Kaunas), whose honorary national chairman is Prof. V. Landsbergis, and whose national council includes MP Emanuelis Zingeris. Will Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius in his reply stand up for what’s right?
Background to the Vilnius street-naming debate. More street names. Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas documents Škirpa’s calls for the ethnic cleansing of Lithuania’s Jewish citizens during World War II.
RELATED: Incredible and incredibly sad stance on the alleged Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika: Chief Adviser to the president of Lithuania replies (6 Feb. 2017, to a query from Grant Gochin) on Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika “explaining” why it’s okay for him to be a national hero — this, in a country where 96.4% percent of the Jewish minority was murdered. See Evaldas Balčiūnas’s introductory article on Noreika’s Holocaust role; his summary of the summer 2015 petition and debates; protest by the Lithuanian Union of Jewish Students; 2016 call by Jewish Community of Lithuania. Samples of public shrines for Noreika.
29 March London Jewish Chronicle article on glorification of both Skirpa and Noreika in Lithuania; Defending History page and section on regional worship of collaborators and perpetrators.
NEW SECTION: A DECADE OF STATE-SPONSORED DEFAMATION AND HARASSMENT OF LITHUANIA’S LAST HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS; SUMMARY TRACKING PAGE HERE
Far Right in Lithuania (with Help from Gov. Agency!) Launches Spring 2017 Campaign Against 95 Year Old Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Lithuania’s Oldest Holocaust Survivor, and Hero of the Anti-Nazi Partisans
Defending History’s Call over the Years for a Gracious State Apology to All Five Defamed Holocaust Survivors
BUT STATE-SPONSORED “RED-BROWN” COMMISSION CONTINUES TO DEFAME SURVIVOR IN THE CONTEXT OF PROMOTING DOUBLE GENOCIDE REVISIONISM UNDER COVER OF “HOLOCAUST EDUCATION”
Campaign Featured at March 11th 2017 Independence Day “Witch Hunt” Protocol Declaimed for Cameras in Forecourt of President’s Palace; The far-right, pro-fascist state-financed “Genocide Center” (page; section) issued a new document on Brantsovsky that declares her not to have been “present” at Kaniūkai, but rather “just” at Jurkonys and Krūminiai, and to have married a “murderer” of Kaniūkai (her late husband), so the “Nationalist Union” rejects all that as far too weak. Is the whole discussion what it is that the “patriots” had to celebrate on their nation’s cherished Independence Day in the forecourt of the presidential palace? The late Leonidas Donskis on the campaign against Jewish partisan veterans: “Intoxicated with hatred against the vanishing Lithuanian Jews.” Is this how national patriots want to say farewell to the last 95 year old scions of the obliterated Litvak civilization after 700 years of coexistence in this land? Our own appeal to newly elected Pres. Grybauskaitė in May 2009.
Effort to Rewrite Holocaust History by Blaming the Victims in the Spirit of “Double Genocide” to Enter 12th Year Next Month; Early International Responses; Comment by Dr. Shimon Alperovich; US Congressmen Berman, Hodes, Wexler; US Congressmen Berkley, Berman, Hodes, Moran, Wexler; Former UK PM Gordon Brown; Milan Chersonski; Prof. Leonidas Donskis; Abraham Foxman (ADL); Sir Martin Gilbert; Edward Lucas in the Economist; Dovid Katz; UK MP Denis MacShane
21 March 2017
Vilnius Author of Petition to Save Old Jewish Cemetery and Head of Kaunas Synagogue Deliver Petition (and its 39,000 Signatures) to Lithuanian Government. On Facebook.
16 March 2017
Protest Outside Latvian Embassy in Berlin; Speeches by Volker Beck and Monica Lowenberg
Reports by JTA, World Jewish Congress, London Express
Baltic Times and BNS “coverage” mentions only Russian opposition to the marches, ignoring Jewish community, the Holocaust and the de facto celebration of genocidal racism; from the run-up
Monica Lowenberg’s blog documents government, church and elite society’s support for honoring the Waffen SS
PREVIOUS YEARS IN RIGA IN VILNIUS IN KAUNAS DH SECTION; ALSO: SECTIONS ON LATVIA & ARTICLES BY MONICA LOWENBERG, ALEKSANDRS FEIGMANIS, ALEKSANDRS KUZMIN
Can Small East European Jewish Communities Maintain their Independence in the Face of Government Interests?
11 March 2017
Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Independence Day Parade; Detour to President’s Palace for a Statement Smearing Vilna Ghetto Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95
16 February 2017
Petition, launched by Vilnius’s Ruta Bloshtein, is thought to be largest Litvak endeavor since the Holocaust
February 2017 updates: London CPJCE, unmasked by Wikileaks for asking payments in connection with the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, now announces that the hated Soviet ruin on the cemetery’s premises is for Lithuanians the “Tower of London and the Statue of Liberty” (!); The “shameful” role of a U.S. federal agency that’s supposed to protect Jewish cemeteries abroad; Lithuanian ambassador in Washington now says his government is “reviewing the situation” (JTA); in The Times of Israel; Report on U.S. rabbis’ meeting with the ambassador (JP Updates); TheYeshivaWorld.com; Baltimore Jewish Life; Brooklyn Daily Eagle
PROF. SHNAYER LEIMAN IN MATZAV; YAIR ROSENBERG IN TABLET; YANIV POHORYLES IN YNET; RABBI YONAH BOOKSTEIN IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL AND THE HUFFINGTON POST; IN IZRUS; DR. YVETTE ALT MILLER IN AISH.COM; RABBI PINI DUNNER IN ALGEMEINER.COM; LJC LAY LEADER’S RESPONSE (WEBSITE DOESN’T MENTION PETITION’S EXISTENCE)
RIVA POMERANTZ IN AMI-LIVING; SONIA ZHURAVLYOVA IN THE JEWISH CHRONICLE & DH’S REPLY TO RABBI HERSCHEL GLUCK; IN JEWISH HERITAGE EUROPE; MEP ANTANAS GUOGA IN DELFI.LT / LITHUANIA TRIBUNE; BNS; PRANCIŠKUS VAIŠVILA IN DELFI.LT; TURTO BANKAS; RABBI S.J. FEFFER; 5 FEB DH UPDATE
Lithuania’s senior rabbis, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky and Rabbi Kalev Krelin, were among the early signatories, followed by a statement by Rabbi S. J. Feffer. The previous chief rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein was publicly dismissed in 2015 for having accepted the unanimous view of top Lithuanian-tradition rabbis worldwide.
Lo Tishkach Jewish Cemeteries Initative gets off the fence and supports Bloshtein’s petition; But silence from the board of “Maceva” and moral (and issue) confusion from “Jewish Heritage Europe” … Latest price tag for the corruption-tinged project is 34 million euros.
The Satmar organization in Monroe, N.Y., affiliated to the London-based CPJCE, boasts that the State Department’s rep from the US taxpayer funded Commission for Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA) is “reporting to Satmar Rebba” (meaning Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum; the competing contender for the throne, Rabbi Yekusiel Zalman Teitelbaum, by contrast, personally co-signed a rabbinic ban on defiling the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, joining the world’s Litvak rabbis). The CPJCE allegedly extracts large secretive payments for its permissions and supervisions, as per Wikileaks, reported in the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, and Defending History.
CONTINUED PUBLIC SILENCE FROM THE US TAXPAYER FUNDED “COMMISSION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF AMERICA’S HERITAGE ABROAD” (USCPAHA) WHICH HAS ALLEGED CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST TIES WITH LITHUANIAN GOV. ENTITIES AND THE “AARON” BRANCH OF SATMAR HASIDIM IMPLICATED IN THE VILNA CEMETERY SCANDAL. COLOR CODED KEY.
ALSO: See the petition to stop the diversion of government restitution funds deriving from the religious properties of the annihilated Jewish population to the whims of a tiny circle of elites and foreign ministries. Please allocate fairly for the survival and growth of Lithuania’s fragile Jewish community. Background in JTA and Defending History. Latest developments.
1 January 2017
Will the West maintain its silence on Ukraine’s ongoing glorification of major Holocaust collaborators? What about Western values? Will media coverage again be limited to “Jewish” and “Russian” publications? Background from 2014. Last July, a Kiev street was officially renamed for Stepan Bandera.
1 January 2017
As 2017 gets underway, Defending History is proud to honor three Vilnius personalities, all from its Orthodox Jewish community this year, who have stood up for cherished principles against powerful forces. In all cases, the principles defended pertain not only to Jewish affairs but to human rights more generally. Their courage and determination can serve as an example to all who defend human rights and history, even when it is inconvenient and draws the ire of power-invested (often state-related) institutions. The three are Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, Ms. Ruta Bloshtein, and Rabbi Kalev Krelin. More here. See from previous years the Prophet Amos Human Rights Awards and the 2014 Person of the Year.
28 December 2016
3 December 2016
PROF. DOV LEVIN
Kaunas (Kovno) 1925 — Jerusalem 2016
His life. Author of The Litvaks, the Lithuania volume of Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities (Pinkas Hakehillot), and numerous books and studies. In Defending History. Returning his award from the Lithuanian government in solidarity with Yitzhak Arad (2008). Protesting a “one-sided Holocaust conference” in Jerusalem (2009). Photo: speaking at Leivick House Tel Aviv event for Dr. Rachel Margolis (2009). Editor’s comment.
In 2000, Dov Levin’s Trumpa žydų istorija Lietuvoje (A Short History of the Jews of Lithuania) appeared in Vilnius in the translation of Jonas Morkus, published with the assistance of the Israeli Embassy in the Baltics (then in Riga). But today’s Israeli Embassy in Lithuania (in Vilnius) has yet to release a statement on the death of the last great historian of Lithuanian Jewry of the Holocaust survivor generation. Levin was a citizen of Israel from the day of its establishment. He was a veteran of both the Jewish partisans in the forests of Lithuania and the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. After the war, he lived all his life in Jerusalem where he was professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Related: section on Israel related issues.
End-of-Year Honesty-of-History and Antisemitism Issues Await Public Word from Mayor of Vilnius:
(1) Will he issue a public statement responding to Jewish community chair Faina Kukliansky’s Nov. 11th letter on plaque glorifying Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika? One year ago, Vilnius Jewish students protested. There is also a Noreika inscription on capital’s central boulevard. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article. Balčiūnas section.
(2) Will the mayor support City Councillor Mark Harold’s proposal to rename for inspirationally brave Lithuanian rescuers the Vilnius street currently named for Nazi collaborator Kazys Škirpa? Live report on the 29 Nov. “surreal” debate in the capital’s Old Town Hall. Jewish Community Chair Faina Kukliansky also weighed in with a strong letter concerning the city’s continued honoring of Škirpa with a street name. In September she spoke out about three major collaborators who are still widely glorified by street names and plaques.
(3) Will he speak out on convention center project in heart of city’s old Jewish cemetery (the plan has attracted international opposition)? Recent appeals to him on both shrines for collaborators and planned convention center in heart of old Vilna Jewish cemetery.
29 November 2016
In Vilnius, City Council Holds “Surreal” Public Debate on 29 Nov. on Street Name Honoring a Nazi Collaborator; But Will the Mayor (Who Did Not Attend) Ever Speak Out with Moral Clarity?
Reports on Vilnius Jewish Public Library panel & views of Marius Ivaškevičius, Tomas Kajokas, Rūta Vanagaitė, Jurgita Verbickienė, Irena Veisaitė, Efraim Zuroff and others: Library’s Facebook page; Lzinios.lt. Comments to Lzinios.lt article refer to Jewish partisans who have still not received an apology for defamation from state agencies, resulting in ongoing abuse for Holocaust Obfuscation in de facto public discourse (as well as permanent historical defamation). Announced panel included no member of Lithuania’s living Jewish community. Also: Vanagaitė exposes a Vilnius-region Holocaust mass grave now for sale. In 15min.lt
JERUSALEM: CNAAN LIPHSHIZ ON UKRAINIAN JEWRY’S RESPONSE TO GOV. WORSHIP OF HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR STEPAN BANDERA (in JTA)
NEW YORK: VANAGAITE AND ZUROFF IN JOINT APPEARANCE IN TEANECK, NJ; VANAGAITE IS 2016 WINNER OF THE L.A. SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER’S COVETED “WOMAN OF VALOR” AWARD; BACKGROUND
READERS IN THE VILNIUS AREA
VILNA YIDDISH LITERARY CIRCLE TO READ FROM CHAIM GRADE (1910-1982)
EVERYONE WELCOME! Next Session Wednesday 30 November 2016, 6 PM at the Jewish Cultural and Information Center, Mėsinių Street 3 in the Old Town. Always with a sharp lens for Lithuanian Yiddish language and culture.
Opinions on History: Now by Diktat of Right-Wing Nationalist Governments at NATO’s Eastern Flank? Where are the Free Speech Monitors at OSCE, NATO, EU, UNESCO, etc?
Parliaments of Poland and Ukraine pass Law stating that World War II a result (solely?) of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; Reaction of Vladimir Golstein; Coincidental discovery of documents leading to different conclusions published by the right-of-center Telegraph in London. More on recent developments in Poland and Ukraine.
Holocaust Obfuscation (and deflection of blame from the actual perpetrators) not far from the surface? Law follows years of criminalization of dissent to aspects of Double Genocide, maxing out at two years of imprisonment in Lithuania, three in Hungary, five in Latvia, and ten in Ukraine. The explanation for such laws…
THE LATE LEONIDAS DONSKIS (1962—2016) ON CRIMINALIZATION OF DEBATE AND HIS ESSAYS ON RELATED TOPICS
NEWS AND VIEWS
Andreas Umland in Foreign Policy on Ukraine’s Glorification of Nazi Collaborators; Sam Sokol in JNS.org on Ukrainian Jewish Leader who Dared to Challenge his Government’s Glorification of Collaborators; in ISGAP’s Flashpoint on Butchering History in Ukraine
Piece by Piece, the Holocaust is Being Downgraded in Europe by East European Manipulation of European Union Institutions
“European Shoah Legacy Institute” Legitimizes Double Genocide Politics of “Prague Platform” by Joining in Organizing Competition for Designs for a Mix-and-Match Red-Brown Monument in Brussels
Prague Platform Continues to Support the 2008 Prague Declaration, the primary document of 21st century East European nationalist driven Holocaust revisionism. See the Europarliamentary response: The Seventy Years Declaration (in 15 languages).
EARLIER REPORT (WHEN COMPETITION WAS ANNOUNCED). Winners and celebration banquet now seem to be flaunted on website of Prague Platform but suppressed on the website of the “Shoah Legacy Institute” . . .
The “Shoah Legacy Institute” is located in Prague. All of the winners of the “Pan European” [!] Competition are from the Czech and Slovak Republics.
SEE DEFENDING HISTORY SECTIONS ON THE PRAGUE DECLARATION, THE PRAGUE “PLATFORM” AND THE DOUBLE GENOCIDE MOVEMENT.
Meanwhile, the Prague Platform’s mix-and-match revisionist exhibition on Nazi and Soviet crimes was on display in Canada in Aug. and Sept. 2016, as usual “under the radar” of criticism and scrutiny.
LATEST ON THE NATIONAL CONGRESS CENTER PLANNED FOR HEART OF THE OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY
(1) Rabbi Tzvi Rotberg, head of major Litvak yeshiva in Israel, issues statement condemning Congress Center plans for the old Jewish cemetery, adding new voice to the international opposition.
(2) Rimvydas Valatka blasts massive corruption in “renovation” of old Soviet Sports Palace; Calls for building National Congress Center elsewhere (without mentioning the Old Jewish Cemetery there or International Opposition). Editor-in-chief of Lrytas.lt, he is a signatory of Lithuania’s 1990 Declaration of Independence.
(3) New wave of publicity on Jewish gravestones found all over Vilnius (following mayor’s “Yiddish sign” campaign), a diversion when accompanied by utter failure to condemn (or even mention) plans for new National Congress Center on top of thousands of Jewish graves where thousands will clap, cheer and urinate over remains of Vilnius citizens buried there for over half a millennium.
(4) Lithuanian Foreign Ministry source tells DH that “our Israeli ambassador” [i.e. in Vilnius] helped organize Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged Nov. 2015 blessing for desecration of the cemetery where his own ancestors lie buried. More background to the tale of power, antisemitism (Christian cemeteries don’t get this treatment), greed, photo-op glory, and collusion against the moral force of the thousands of graves honorably purchased over 500 years by Jewish citizens of Vilnius. Israeli embassy invited to clarify its involvement (if any), and above all, to clarify PM Netanyahu’s position. See Israel issues.
GOOD WILL SOLUTION:
Preserve the old Jewish cemetery as a cemetery cum memorial park to which pilfered Jewish gravestones from all over town can be brought to stand in dignity. See essays by Julius Norwilla and Sid Leiman. Move the congress center project to a venue where it will be a pride to all the peoples of Lithuania and Europe.
Last year, a group of the world’s greatest Litvak rabbis came to beg the Vilnius mayor (and other officials) to move the Congress Center project. They still have no answer… The mayor’s colorful record on Jewish affairs.
See the essays by Ruta Bloshtein, Chaim Burshtein [it got him fired], Milan Chersonski, Pinchos Fridberg, Bernard Fryshman, Dovid Katz, Andrius Kulikauskas, Sid Leiman, Michael Maass and dozens of others.
International Opposition. Paper Trail. Defending History Section.
Utter silence from organizations devoted specifically to preservation of Jewish cemeteries, including the donor funded NGO “Maceva” and the United States taxpayer funded “Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (USCPAHA) which has been deeply implicated in the machinations of the Satmar rabbis who bless the “Vilnius convention center on the cemetery”… See section on the USCPAHA and the London-based CPJCE. The cave-in by Asra Kadisha. The London CPJCE rabbis who “provide permissions” in effect for $$$ were exposed by Wikileaks, Jerusalem Post, JTA, and DH.
Will the mayor (and president and prime minister) speak out on city’s street names and plaques that honor Holocaust collaborators? City streets and plaques glorify Škirpa, Noreika and the LAF’s “June insurrection”…
DEFENDING HISTORY WAS THERE
Annual Sept. 23 Official Commemoration Ceremony at the Ponár (Paneriai) Mass Murder Site Outside Vilnius, Lithuania
Dramatic Shift: Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Faina Kukliansky Calls for Removal of Street Names and Memorials for Holocaust Collaborators, Boldly Citing Juozas Krikštaponis, Jonas Noreika, and Kazys Škirpa; Sharp Contrast with Last Year’s Failed Event
The Defending History Community Mourns our Colleague
13 August 1962 — 21 September 2016
HIS WORK IN DEFENDING HISTORY INCLUDES ESSAYS ON:
♦ The campaign against Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi Soviet partisans and its implications
♦ Response to proposals to “reevaluate” the Hitlerist LAF and Provisional Government collaborators of 1941
♦ Response to the reburial with full honors of 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister; Public letter on effects of the reburial and the participation of Vytautas Magnus University
See also his famous essay on Antisemitism in Lithuania
DEFENDING HISTORY COVERAGE OF PROFESSOR DONSKIS INCLUDES
♦ Nida Vasiliauskaitė on Donskis’ reply to Girnius over attempts to rehabilitate the 1941 LAF and the Provisional Government
Julius Norwilla’s take on the recent major event on 29 August 2016 marking the 75th anniversary of the massacre of the town’s 2,000 Jewish inhabitants (not one was rescued).
Speeches at the event by Tsvi-Hirsh Kritzer (the project’s initiator) and Leon Kaplan.
Don Snyder in the Forward (NY) exposes the new threat to freedom of speech and research on Holocaust history in Poland. See more on recent developments in Poland; Poland section.
But Western media has largely ignored the deterioration of free speech on Holocaust issues in much of Eastern Europe. See Free Speech section; the long saga of police and prosecutorial harassment of Evaldas Balčiūnas in Lithuania; and the introduction of “Double Genocide” laws criminalizing, in effect, the Western narrative of World War II, with punishments of up to 2 years imprisonment in Lithuania (2010), 3 years in Hungary (2010), 5 years in Latvia (2014), 10 years in Ukraine (2015); but no specific prison sentences mentioned in Estonia’s “Valentine’s Day Law” (2012) …
In some cases, neocon politics preclude even mild critiques of policies of NATO allies in Eastern Europe. In others, there are also budgets for providing honors to presumably useful foreigners from the West who cover for disturbing policies and sometimes become entangled in campaigns in efforts against local scholars, activists, and journalists who dare dissent. For geopolitical reasons, there are occasionally issues concerning the US State Department (more here; US section; page), the British Foreign Office (see also Monica Lowenberg section, DH section); the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and others. Israel (and its embassy in Vilnius) continue to fail to ask for state apologies for the three Israeli citizens defamed for posterity.
Dozens of Scholars of Polish Jewish History Sign a Bold and Historic Open Letter on Polish Government’s Distortions of History on Jedwabne and Kielce
Suspense rising on ultimate decision of master Brandeis scholar Antony Polonsky, who some think may have been manipulated by Lithuanian state honors in that country’s Holocaust politics. Some of those who signed the bold and forthright document re Poland have themselves sung a different tune on the Baltics after subsidies from Lithuanian gov. agencies
Will there finally be discussion on why so many Western and Israeli scholars don’t speak up on vastly more state-sponsored Holocaust obfuscation, history fixing, and actual glorification of collaborators in the Baltics and Ukraine? Do free speech and frank discussion end at Poland’s eastern borders?
A. Feigmanis on high government officials who think adulation of the Waffen SS is good for the country (and Jewish organizations that won’t speak up); A. Kuzmin asks whether the EU, OSCE and Council of Europe will comment on Latvia’s still-unrepealed “1998 Declaration” on the Waffen SS. See DH’s Latvia section.
Milan Chersonski Turns 79 (2 Sept): Happy Birthday! Milan’s section in DH. Tribute to his dozen years (1999-2011) of editing Jerusalem of Lithuania.
Defending History Turns 7 (6 Sept)
From our first issue. Five Years Ago. Three Years Ago. The Seventy Years Declaration (SYD) of 2012 (& on its own website).
David Hirsch in Engage and Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian (2009); Avi Friedman in Mishpacha, Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post, Mark Ames in The Nation, and Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service (2010); Cindy Mindell in the Jewish Ledger and Peter Jukes in Motley Moose (2011); Danny Ben-Moshe in his film Rewriting History (2012); Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report (2013); Richard Bloom in his film Defending Holocaust History (2014); Daniel Brook in Slate (2015); Larry Yudelson in the Jewish Standard (2016)
Autumn 2016 Discourse over “Historic Soul” of Central Vilnius
Will Vilnius Mayor & Lithuania’s PM & President Issue Morally Clear Statements on Two Sites Visible from Grand Dukes’ Medieval Hill?
THERE ARE FIVE JEWISH FORMS OF THE FABLED CITY’S NAME: ווילנא, ווילנע, ווילנה, וילנה, ווילניוס
(1) Changing the name of a city center street that glorifies a Nazi collaborator who enthusiastically supported the removal of his country’s Jewish citizens?
FOR MORE BACKGROUND ON KAZYS ŠKIRPA (CENTER) SEE DH ARTICLES BY ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS, EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS, AND MILAN CHERSONSKI. PROF. T. SNYDER’S BLOODLANDS: “Škirpa used this suffering in his radio broadcasts to spur mobs to murder. Some 2,500 Jews […]” … (p. 192)
RECENT PROTESTS INCLUDE: MARK HAROLD (SPLINTER) OF VILNIUS CITY COUNCIL; SERGEY KANOVICH IN THE LITHUANIA TRIBUNE
One of the Škirpa signs is right on the Museum of Applied Arts building. But is this what the museum wants to be known for? Could its directors join efforts to replace the name with one that brings pride and inclusiveness to modern Vilnius?
READ MORE; MORE STREET NAMES & SHRINES FOR COLLABORATORS; WITHIN VILNIUS; THE 2012 REBURIAL WITH FULL HONORS OF 1941 NAZI PUPPET PM; COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED SECTION
(2) Will elected officials speak out in favor of moving the new National Congress Center project away from the old Jewish cemetery where thousands of Vilnius citizens were buried from the 15th to the 19th century?
READ MORE; INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION; THE PAPER TRAIL; DH SECTION; LATEST PLANS ON WEBSITE OF “TURTO BANKAS” AND THEIR SUMMER 2016 PDF
Will organizations that exist to protect Jewish cemeteries speak out now, howsoever mildly, as “bulldozer time” comes upon us? The US taxpayer funded USCPAHA? The privately funded Maceva? Asra Kadisha? Lo Tishkach? HFPJC? The London CPJCE rabbis allegedly caught red-handed on Wikileaks?
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA:
24 JULY 2016 JTA REPORT BY CNAAN LIPSHIZ ON KAUNAS KILLING SITE USED NOW TO CELEBRATE WEDDINGS; 26 JULY REACTION FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LITHUANIA; 26 JULY REPORT IN TRANSITIONS ON LINE; 5 AUG. REPLY FROM KAUNAS MUNICIPALITY; 9 AUG. JTA REACTION.
20 JULY 2016 TABLET REPORT BY JARED MCBRIDE ON THE GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST PERPETRATORS IN UKRAINE
22 July 2016 Defending History Eyewitness Report
VERDICT IN: EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS NOT GUILTY (AFTER 4 YEARS OF HARASSMENT AND A DOZEN 450 KM ROUND TRIPS FROM HOME — BUT COURT ALLOWS FAR RIGHT “PLAINTIFF” 20 DAYS TO APPEAL)
Vilnius DH team came 0ut to support Evaldas Balčiūnas, on Friday, 22 July 2016 at Vilnius County Court.
Related: Glorification of collaborators in Eastern Europe; public shrines in Lithuania; Evaldas Balčiūnas in DH
22 July 2016
14 July 2016
i24 report. Background in DH on British-born city council member, Mark Harold Splinter, who proposed the change (his statement in English). Samples from elsewhere in Lithuania. Wider issue in Eastern Europe. Within “Double Genocide” theory.
15 July 2016
Architects Publish Three Visualizations for National Convention Center Planned for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Where Thousands Still Lie Buried
But critics warn that property magnates, politicians, and their foreign Jewish shmendriks will be haunted for generations by a rather different visualization…
Vulovak / DefendingHistory.com
A few of the luminous Jewish scholars buried on site are enumerated by Professor Sid Leiman; Professor Leiman’s essay on the current convention center project; the mounting international opposition.
Meanwhile, Prof. Bernard Fryshman, Inspirer of US Congress Law Protecting Minorities’ Cemeteries, Critiques Pliant London Rabbis and US Gov’s “Commission to Protect American Heritage Abroad” on Failure to Oppose Planned Convention Center in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery
JULY 2016: Vilnius-based Rabbi Samuel Jacob Feffer pleads with Lithuanian political icons Emanuelis Zingeris (left) and Vytautas Landsbergis, both signatories of the the nation’s declaration of independence, to come out against the deeply hurtful “national convention center in the old Vilna Jewish cemetery” project. PHOTO: JULIUS NORWILLA.
Vilnius mayor’s PR machine tries to cover “the Jewish cemetery affair” with photo-ops on removal of the small Soviet-era electric power station made of Jewish gravestones, after his “Yiddish offensive” of “ludicrous” multilingual signs — all in the absence, to this day, of a word of polite public reply to the great Litvak rabbis who came to beg him to stand up against the project for a national convention center where thousands will cheer, sing and use toilets over a half millennium of Vilna Jewish graves. Does he really want that to be his defining image for history? Does he care about what the convention center project is doing to his city’s reputation? “The ghosts who will haunt his honor the mayor are not those from the electro-power station.”
Will organizations that exist to protect Jewish cemeteries speak out now, howsoever mildly, as “bulldozer time” comes upon us? Maceva? Asra Kadisha? Lo Tishkach? USCPAHA [/inDH]? HFPJC? CPJCE [/in DH]? EU?
RELATED: AND WHICH ORGANIZATIONS ARE SPEAKING OUT FOR PRESERVATION OF THE BALTICS’ LAST UNDERGROUND JEWISH PARTISAN BASE?
VISITORS TO VILNIUS, LITHUANIA:
NEXT YIDDISH READING CIRCLE: MONDAY EVENING 25 JULY 2016 AT 6 PM AT THE JEWISH CULTURAL CENTER, MESINIU STREET 3, OLD TOWN. ALL WELCOME.
11 July 2016
Kaunas Court Affirms Sentence of Two Years “Restricted Freedom” for “Facilitation of Genocide” by Former KGB Officer for Arresting Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in 1956
SEE OBZOR REPORT THAT CITES BNS; REPORTS CONFIRMED BY LITHUANIAN COURT OF APPEAL AND TIESOS.LT; HOLOCAUST ASPECTS REPORTED BY ISRAELI RUSSIAN LANGUAGE NEWS PORTAL IZRUS
Western Mainstream Media Fails to Mention that East European Allies of the West are Investing in Glorification of Hitler’s Local Collaborators
Huffington Post Piece on Stepan Bandera Worship in Ukraine Omits his Orgnaization’s Responsibility for Hundreds of Thousands of Murders of Poles and Jews; Major New Historical Book on Bandera Still Goes Unmentioned
Even Prodigious Newsweek Story on Vanagaite-Zuroff Book Omits the Issue of State Glorification (Street Names, Plaques, Memorials) for Nazi Collaborators; Article Gives Red-Brown Commission PR Cover; No Mention of Prague Declaration or the State Campaign against Holocaust Survivors who Resisted
The Conceptual War over History at the Core of Current Discourse in “Battle of the Declarations”: 2008 Prague Declaration that put “Double Genocide” on the Map and the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration that Punctured its PR Tank
SEE MORE ON: DOUBLE GENOCIDE, THE SEVENTY YEARS DECLARATION, GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS AND THE PARALLEL CAMPAIGN AGAINST HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS WHO RESISTED
LATE JUNE / EARLY JULY 2016
Defending History Brings Results
Five years ago in 2011, on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust on 23 June 1941 and the following days — nationalist murderers killed thousands of Jewish neighbors before the first German forces arrived or assumed control — the state sponsored an array of activities honoring the “rebels” (an historic nonsense, the Soviet occupying forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, the largest in human history, not the local Jew-killers). That sham was followed a year later by the reburial with full honors of the Nazi puppet prime minister. This year, celebrations have been limited to fringe ultranationalist groups with the government maintaining its distance (there was a regrettable parliamentary document last Nov. proposed by some right-wing MPs, but it was largely ignored). Congratulations to Lithuania’s leaders on this progress toward historic truth during this week’s 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust that left 96.4% of its Jewish residents dead. See our proposed seven solutions to the issues remaining.
Vilnius’s “British City Council member” calls for removal of city’s shrines for Nazi collaborators; Philosopher Andrius Kulikauskas writes an open letter to Archbishop on Jewish issues
Will anyone stand up to the London-based CPJCE (“Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe”) that allegedly earns $$$ from the desecration of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery? See: Opposition to date; Paper trail; DH section; CPJCE section; Attempts to ensnare the young new rabbi in Vilnius? GeoBaltic’s latest survey including 1944 aerial photos. Latest: Discoveries of major 1935 rabbinic documents from Vilna and from Tel Aviv
Josh Cohen in Foreign Policy on Ukraine’s project to “fix” Holocaust history; Former president of Ukrainian World Congress attacks the author personally, while accusing “the Jews” in the Ukraine famine of 1932-1933; more; New paper on genocidal nationalism; older Ukraine page
Two startling, brave new books by descendants of Holocaust perpetrators:
Linas Vildžiūnas reviews Rūta Vanagaitė’s new book on the Lithuanian Holocaust (written with Efraim Zuroff); Vanagaitė responds to establishment’s far-right barrage; Dramatic Lithuanian debate. Barbara Sofer in the Jerusalem Post; Cnaan Liphshiz in JTA; Paul Alster in Jerusalem Report; More in English
J.P. O’Malley in Times of Israel on Rita Gabis’s new book; Reviews in the New Yorker, Kirkus Reviews; New York Journal of Books; more. Author interviewed on CSPAN and NY Times Closeup series (timecode 25:28)
Efraim Zuroff in the Jerusalem Post on glorification of collaborators in Croatia and beyond; More in OLC
Dovid Katz in Novaya Gazeta (Baltics) on the campaign in Eastern Europe to revise history; in GIA; ToI; J-CUR; CN; AJ; JRB; TAB; Guardian; IT; JC; DH; More
Lithuania’s chief neo-Nazi blogger, “Zeppelinus” (said to be a high official in the Economy Ministry) now asks gov. to expel Defending History editor in retaliation for (!) Israel’s expulsion of a Lithuanian citizen; Zeppo has long public record of racism, misogyny, antisemitism and homophobia, and long disapproves of DH’s editor…
Dr. Craig Wight’s (University of Plymouth) critique of museums that deal with “genocide” in Lithuania (from a philosopher’s standpoint); Our editor’s (rather less philosophical) summary (timecodes 1:48, 6:23). . .
4 June 2016
Vilnius Mass Grave Features Swastika and “Juden Raus” that are “Discreetly Engraved” at the Top
At the site, Naujaneriai, 1,767 Lithuanian Jewish citizens were murdered by Special Squad, local police & white-armbander “partisans” on 24 Sept. 1941
Discovery by Julius Norwilla indicates it’s from before cement was dry…
29 May 2016
“Double Genociders” Export Far Right’s Holocaust Revisionism Westward
“Prague Platform” along with Slovak government boast cover of the “European Shoah Legacy Institute” (!) in announcing:
EU Competition (for Students Aged 16-21) for a New Red-Brown, Mix-n-Match Jumble Memorial in Brussels
Will the red-equals-brown street-shows of Eastern Europe now be exported to Brussels under cover of a “Jewish” organization dedicated to Holocaust justice?
“Guidelines” include the requirement that “the memorial must be inclusive of the victims of National Socialism, Fascism and Communism”
“BATTLE OF THE DECLARATIONS”: PRAGUE DECLARATION (2008) vs. SEVENTY YEARS DECLARATION (2012) [in 15 European languages]
LONG RECORD OF USE OF JEWISH, YIDDISH, OR HOLOCAUST PROJECTS AS A KIND OF PR COVER FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM
ALSO: EU funded “Prague Platform” exhibit that spews Double Genocide revisionism of the Holocaust arrives in Budapest; More on the “Platform” and the exhibit that circles the globe (courtesy of EU taxpayers) to underpin Eastern European far-right revisionism; Still, Platform’s director insists that nobody is erecting monuments for Nazi collaborators — Unaware of news from Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine? More…
Background: The “Prague Declaration” and the Double Genocide movement…
3 May 2016
Colleagues in Paris and Vilnius
Event in Paris on the Lithuanian Holocaust on Tuesday 3 May at 5 PM at 9 rue Mahler (Room 107). Organized by Yahad-in-Unum with unspecified Lithuanian partners and including a video link with a team in Lithuania…
QUESTIONS: The questions that people are asking in the absence of a detailed public program on thbe organization’s website: Is Yahad-in-Unum co-organizing the event with any of the many bold Lithuanian intellectuals who have given so very much to the cause of simple Holocaust truth-telling, or will it be abused for revisionist PR in the hands of the “Red-Brown Commission” and the “Genocide Center”? Have the organizers invited (for example) Chaim Bargman, Saulius Beržinis, Dr. Valentinas Brandišauskas, Milan Chersonski, Professor Pinchos Fridberg, Rachel Kostanian, Andrius Kulikauskas, Professor L. Truska, Rūta Vanagaitė?
22 April 2016
Réyze Levit (Roza Levitaitė)
Proud member of Lithuania’s Jewish community who boldly stood up to tell the truth about history revisionism and the rise of ever more Jewless “PR Jewish institutions”… Her 2014 interview with us.
15 April 2016
Kaunas native (Holocaust Survivor in NY) records eyewitness account of unspeakable barbarism of 17, 18, & 19 year old “LAF white-armbander freedom fighters” in late June 1941. But state-sponsored museums, street names and events continue to glorify the Holocaust perpetrators in an elaborate double game (that is often underpinned/camouflaged by the exploitation of gullible Westerners).
More videographed eyewitness testimony, and works of historians. But executive director of a state-sponsored “red-brown commission” tries to deny local fascists’ murder rampage in June 1941, while supporting prosecution of Jewish partisan heroes who escaped the Vilna Ghetto…
30 March 2016
Aftermath of the Baltic Neo-Nazi Marching Season:
MONICA LOWENBERG IN HOPE NOT HATE CALLS ON BRITAIN’S FOREIGN MINISTRY TO STOP COVERING FOR EAST EUROPEAN GLORIFICATION OF NAZISM; RESPONSE OF UK’S MINISTER FOR EUROPE, AND OF THE LATVIAN AMBASSADOR IN LONDON
DOVID KATZ IN GLOBAL INDEPENDENT ANALYTICS ANALYZES THE WEST’S WALL OF SILENCE [translated into French]; FOLLOW-UP AT ISGAP
11 March 2016
Defending History Monitors 9th Annual Neo-Nazi March in Central Vilnius on Nation’s 11th March Independence Day
Fascist and White Power Symbols, Placards Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators, and Antisemitic Caricatures are Flaunted on Route from Central Cathedral to House of Parliament
STILL NO COMMENT FROM MAYOR’S OFFICE? FROM ISRAELI EMBASSY? MEANWHILE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR IN PHOTO-OP GUSH FEST WITH KAUNAS OFFICIALS, BUT NO PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE EARLIER 16 FEBRUARY 2016 EVENT IN KAUNAS THAT GLORIFIED FIVE HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS IN THE CITY CENTER. KOVNO SURVIVOR QUOTED FROM GENESIS 4: 10 —
קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן הָאֲדָמָה
Eyewitness Reports by
Defending History Monitors the Marches:
Will Western and Israeli Embassies & International Orgs Condemn Ongoing Granting of the Centers of Capital Cities for Admirers of Hitler’s “Accomplishment” in the Region?
RUN UP TO MARCH 16 WAFFEN SS CITY CENTER FEST IN RIGA:
UK MP GARETH THOMAS WRITES TO LATVIAN AMBASSADOR AND TO BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE
MONICA LOWENBERG: BLOGSPOT, INTERNATIONAL PETITION & IN DH; SAM SOKOL IN THE JERUSALEM POST
MEANWHILE, RULING PARTY LATVIAN MP TELLS MEDIA THAT “CLEVER JEWS” ARE “UNDERMINING HIS NATION’S SECURITY”
PARLIAMENTARIANS WERE SLATED FOR THIS YEAR’S WAFFEN SS FEST ON MARCH 16TH IN THE LATVIAN CAPITAL; BUT LAST MINUTE CLIMBDOWN BY NATIONAL ALLIANCE REVERSES DECISION
NEO-NAZI MARCH ON INDEPENDENCE DAY, MARCH 11TH, FROM CATHEDRAL SQUARE UP CITY’S MAIN BOULEVARD TO THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT
Will the popular new young and dashing mayor speak out? Will he ever find them another day and place (not the city center on independence day!) and defend the international dignity of Vilnius? Defending History has followed his colorful record on Jewish issues.
WILL THE CITY OF GEDIMINAS BE DEFILED EACH YEAR AS ITS 700TH YEAR APPROACHES?
RESPONSE OF NATION’S TOP NEO-NAZI BLOGGER “ZEPPELINUS” (WHO IS ALLEGED TO BE A HIGH OFFICIAL AT THE MINISTRY OF THE ECONOMY) PHOTO MONTAGE OF HIS “WORKS”
3 March 2016
Vilnius Prosecutors Who Have Publicly Named “Investigated Holocaust Survivors” for a Decade, Now Fail to Release The List of Alleged Local Holocaust Perpetrators
28 February 2016
Sam Sokol in the Jerusalem Post on Plan to Name Yet Another Lithuanian Street for a Holocaust Perpetrator
Travesty planned for the town Malát (Molėtai), in eastern Lithuania. Jewish descendants from abroad planning a major memorial event in August 2016. A checkered recent history of on-site ceremonies: Occasionally, town authorities seek foreign Jewish investment/PR while continuing to glorify collaborators (and actual murderers) and failing to plaque even mention of the actual local Jewish history (and genocide) in town centers (while “letting the foreign Jews do what they like out in the forest at the mass grave sites”).
Does the Central Government Lead by Example? The State’s 2012 Reburial of Hitler’s 1941 Puppet Prime Minister in Kaunas
17 February 2016
EXCLUSIVE: Sound Track of the Efraim Zuroff — Rūta Vanagaitė Book Presentation in Vilnius (Dr. Zuroff’s comments are in English)
PHOTO OF 17 FEB. 2016 BOOK PRESENTATION IN VILNIUS: JULIUS NORWILLA
Convention Center Project on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery in Disarray; The Opposition to Date; The Paper Trail
Račinskas’s Red-Brown Commission Announces Triumphant Revival on March 17-19 (his concept of “Holocaust Studies”). Observers ask: Will the Israeli Embassy in Vilnius again provide cover and betray Israeli citizens (Yitzhak Arad, Rachel Margolis (1921-2015) and Joseph Melamed)? Appeal to the conscience of commission members. A dilemma that faces the Israeli Foreign Ministry in March 2016. See: Israel page and section.
READERS IN CALIFORNIA: We are lecturing at UCLA 17-20 April 2016. To book lectures, seminars, meetings in the days just before or after, please contact us at: info<at>defendinghistory.com. LIST OF TOPICS.
16 February 2016
Kaunas Authorities Again Granted City Center on February 16th Independence Day to Far-Right Nationalist March
Kaunas Event Glorified Six Nazi Collaborators
Reports by Tablet, JTA, Jerusalem Post. Defending History’s 9 years of monitoring Vilnius and Kaunas marches. Chronicle of Kaunas marches.
This year’s theme was a front-of-march We Know Our Nation’s Heroes banner featuring six figures who share the following unsettling common denominator: all were alleged Nazi collaborators and/or Holocaust perpetrators (from left): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas Noreika, Povilas Plechavičius, Kazys Škirpa, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis. It is as if the marchers are celebrating the murder of the 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas, the more than 95% of the over 200,000 strong Lithuanian Jewish population on the eve of the Holocaust, and the resulting “cleansing” of Lithuania’s Jewish minority.
“We, (Jews) will turn Europe into mixture of Asian people — Negroes, ruled by Jews…” — R. Coudenhove-Kalergi, “Father” of European Union. NO TO THE ISLAMIZATION OF LITHUANIA!