Tag Archives: Yivo

Yivo’s Newest One-Sided “Lithuanian-Jewish Event” on Thursday 5 Sept.



OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  | YIDDISH AFFAIRS

NEW YORK—The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, founded in Vilna (then Wilno, Poland) in 1925 as the world’s premier Yiddish-in-Yiddish academic institute, has, to the consternation of many of its life-long supporters and participating scholars, in recent years been (temporarily, its long-time supporters hope) “hijacked” by a few elite circles in the Lithuanian government who are determined to exploit Judaic, and especially the now-weak branch of Yiddish studies as a tool to cover for policies of rewriting the history of the Holocaust in a far-right East European nationalist spirit, as well as state programs of glorification of alleged Holocaust collaborators. The best known cry of protest came  several years ago from Vilna-born Holocaust survivor and lifelong resident, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

וואָס וואָלטן טאַקע טראַכטן מאַקס ווײַנרײַך, זלמן רייזען און דינה אַבראַמאָוויטש וועגן די נײַע צילן פון ניו⸗יאָרקער ייוואָ?

Even as ever more circles in today’s free, democratic, and delightful Lithuania have come to understand the Jewish, Litvak and Holocaust issues in a spirit of friendship and partnership, New York’s Yivo continues to function as a political arm of the Holocaust revisionists’ “International Commission on the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” (Yivo’s director even joined the commission), and a small “Jewish manipulation unit” in the Foreign Ministry, neither of which reflect so much of what is really going on. For a month now, the headline of Defending History has honored Vilnius’s mayor for boldly taking down two long-standing, and contemptible, public space memorials for Holocaust collaborators.

Still, yet again, Yivo has opted to exclude all other voices, while enabling the ongoing shenanigans of nationalist manipulation which recently resulted in the NY Yivo director’s being awarded the Cross for the Knight of the Order  for Merits to Lithuaniafrom the Lithuanian government, even as Holocaust survivors and their families continue to be betrayed in a way that would make Yivo’s founders twist in their graves.

As for teaching of the living Yiddish language, literature and culture, not a penny of the millions raised by Yivo has gone into the smallest class. Conversely, Yiddish teaching and study continue in the city despite the campaigns of personal  exclusion and defamation by those enabled and directed by Yivo.

Defending History has been following events since 2011, when a gala event on the Vilna Ghetto invited as guest of honor a foreign minister called out for his overt antisemitism by the Jewish community, through recent weeks, when the director of Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, was duly awarded his knighthood. Never once has Yivo invited to New York the Vilna Ghetto Holocaust survivors Rachel Margolis and Fania Brantsovsky, whose families have still not  received apologies for the state-run campaigns to characterize them as war criminals in the history books and on the web, in virtue of their having survived the Holocaust by joining with the anti-Nazi partisans who were the only force in Lithuania seriously fighting the Nazis during the genocide.

This Thursday’s event, cosponsored by the Lithuanian consulate in New York, follows the usual pattern (scroll through the history for examples) of having one genuine Lithuanian hero who has stood up for the truth and has little idea that (or how) he is being manipulated. This time it is the great Lithuanian-American  humanist, writer and professor Tomas Venclova. The Yivo program lists the title of his September 5th talk as virtually identical with his 2015 publication in Defending History: “Lithuanians and Jews: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t over the last Forty Years?” It was based on a Vilnius conference paper he read, on a podium he shared with Defending History staff, whom he entrusted with the translation to English (see also his DH section, also the DH editor’s lecture at the same conference).

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Nida Degutiene’s Litvak-Israeli Cookbook Featured at NY’s Lithuanian Consulate in Cooperation with Yivo



OPINION   |   EVENTS   |   BOOKS   |   YIVO’S “LITHUANIAN PR” AGENDA

A TASTE OF ISRAELNEW YORK—Tomorrow’s daytime event featuring Nida Degutiene’s new book, A Taste of Israel: From Classic Litvak to Modern Israel (Penguin Random House South Africa 2016) is a joint production of the Consulate General of Lithuania in New York City and the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. It will be held at the Consulate General’s offices at 420 Fifth Avenue at 12:30 PM on Monday 16 January 2017. Defending History recommends the event to our readers in the New York City area and we recommend Ms. Degutiene’s excellent book (available from many outlets including Amazon).

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Shock of 2012: 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister Reburied with Full Honors



Compiled by Dovid Katz

EU/NATO Ally Honors Holocaust Collaborator; Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Protest; 3 US Congressmen Write to Prime Minister

Remains of 1941 fascist leader  Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) met by honor guard at Vilnius Airport on 17 May 2012 and reburied in Kaunas’s Church of the Resurrection on the 20th, as city’s mayor dismisses criticism.

Office of the prime minister, who signed off on government funding (€8,700 / US $11,000)defends reburial & honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet “prime minister” who personally signed the protocols confirming Nazi orders for (1) “all means” against Jews (but avoiding executions in public); (2)  setting up a concentration camp for Lithuanian Jews [euphemism for the carnage underway at the Seventh Fort]; (3) all Kaunas Jews to be herded into a ghetto within 4 weeks (English here).

SEE ALSO:

Collaborators Glorified section

Previous sanitization program

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Simon Wiesenthal Center Laments Yivo’s Betrayals of Jewish Causes for the Sake of Lithuanian State PR



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

reprinted with the author’s permission from today’s Times of Israel


 

This week, one of the more shameful events in Lithuanian-Jewish relations since the Baltic republic regained independence in 1991 will be hosted in New York by the once-venerable Yivo Institute. Under the heading “Reclaiming the Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today,” the Yiddish research institute will host Markas Zingeris, whom it describes as a “Lithuanian-Jewish poet and writer,” to speak about relations between Jews and Lithuanians since the fall of Communism.

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Efraim Zuroff Comments on Facebook on Next Tuesday’s Zingeris Event at Yivo in New York City


Efraim Zuroff, the Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter and author, today posted the following message on his Facebook page. It is reproduced here with the permission of Dr. Zuroff, who is director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel office and its Operation Last Chance. For more on the alleged US embassy (Vilnius) blackballing of Dr. Zuroff from an international 2011 summer program in Vilnius see here. Background to the Yivo event: see Milan Chersonski’s article.


  • This is a call for action to those in the NYC area. This coming Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM, YIVO is hosting an evening at the Center for Jewish History at 15 West 16th St. entitled “Reclaiming The Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today.” The problem is that the featured guests are all supporters of the Lithuanian government’s efforts to promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes and are minimizing the huge role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews. Anyone able to go and confront Markas Zingeris, the Lithuanian PM’s advisor on genocide, and former US ambassador to Lithuania Anne Derse whose embassy blackballed my participation in a seminar on Lithuanian Jewish history at the request of the Lithuanian authorities, will be doing a big mitzva!!!

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An Open Letter to Yale History Professor Timothy Snyder



 O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

NOTE: This is an authorized republication of today’s letter, which first appeared in the online Algemeiner Journal. [Update: It then appeared in the AJ’s print edition on 25 May, pp. 2, 4, 5.]


 

Dear Tim,

Greetings, and sorry we missed each other in Vilnius this time. I write in the context of our ongoing and respectful conversation, which started in the Guardian (thanks to Matt Seaton, and prominently including Efraim Zuroff) back in 2010 (IIIIIIIV); continuing through our meeting at Yale, the Aftermath Conference in Melbourne, Australia, in 2011 (thanks to Mark Baker, and with participation of Jan Gross and Patrick Desbois), and more recently, via my review of your book Bloodlands (along with Alexander Prusin’s The Lands Between), in East European Jewish Affairs.

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Was Rachel Margolis Honored (or Mentioned) at the “Vilna Ghetto Experience” Yivo Event Sponsored by the Lithuanian Government?


The Yivo concert mounted in memory of the Vilna Ghetto was held on 22 September, a date near the September 23rd anniversary of its liquidation (in 1943). Survivors questioned find it unconscionable that the Yivo evening could not also be utilized as a forum for polite, constructive and appropriate protest at the Lithuanian government’s targeting precisely of Vilna Ghetto survivors (among other Holocaust survivors) for kangaroo ‘war crimes investigations’ that have drawn international protest.

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Director of Yivo Sends Circular to Staff, Taking on the Role of Manhattan Office of Lithuanian Government’s PR Department; Calls Holocaust Survivors ‘Helpless’ and ‘Ageing’


The executive director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research in New York circulated the following set of documents in an email sent to the entire staff of Yivo today. This circular statement has come after Paul Berger’s 7 September article in the Forward, the public letter from the last association of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors in Israel, and a public letter to Yivo’s academic advisory council from a French human rights association. The ‘attack on Yivo by Dovid Katz’, as it is acrimoniously called here, is the op-ed in DefendingHistory.com on the subject. More information and links on the various issues on the front page of DefendingHistory.com. This journal has made a series of proposals for genuine resolution of Lithuanian-Jewish issues.

[Update: On 15 September 2011 Yossi Melman released his direct reply to the attack on him in the circulated memo reproduced below.]


From: Jonathan Brent

Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 10:05 AM

To: YIVO Staff

Subject: Melamed Issue in Lithuania

Dear Staff,

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Holocaust Survivors from Lithuania Protest Yivo’s Decision to Honor the Foreign Minister of Lithuania at Vilna Ghetto Commemoration


The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, one of the world’s last active organizations of Holocaust survivors from Lithuania, today released to the media (by fax) its letter of protest to the executive director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research concerning Yivo’s recent decision to have the Lithuanian foreign minister as ‘guest of honor’ at its 22 September event to commemorate the Vilna Ghetto. The association’s letter notes that its members are ‘nearly all Holocaust survivors ourselves’.

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Society for the European Human Rights Model Publishes its Letter to CJH’s Academic Council


The Society for the Promotion of the European Human Rights Model, based in France, today published its public letter to the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History, of which the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research is a constituent component.

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Society for the European Human Rights Model in France Protests Yivo’s Decision to Honor Lithuanian Foreign Minister at Vilna Ghetto Commemoration


The Society for the Promotion of the European Human Rights Model, based in France, today published on its website a statement of protest concerning the decision by the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research to host Lithuania’s foreign minister as ‘guest of honor’ at a 22 September 2011 event to commemorate the Vilna Ghetto.

The statement, signed by the society’s president, Didier Bertin, begins with the following text:

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Et tu, Yivo? Holocaust Survivors Jolted by Plan for Lithuanian Foreign Minister to be ‘Guest of Honor’ at Vilna Ghetto Commemoration



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

When you have loved an institution all your life — and written over decades about its impact on the history of ideas — it becomes a responsibility, even when painful, to try to dissuade it from making a serious error that would put in jeopardy its integrity.

The Lithuanian foreign minister, who has to date not apologized publicly for his widely reported antisemitic outburst in October 2010, has been named by the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research as its ‘guest of honor’ at a concert on 22 September 2011. The remnant Jewish community of Lithuania is small and fragile. Nevertheless it responded robustly, less than a year ago, to the foreign minister’s comments and proceeded to publish its response in English, Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish.

Yivo’s website enumerates the joint sponsorship for the 22 September 2011 event by ‘the Embassy Series in cooperation with the Lithuanian Consulate and the Lithuanian Delegation to the United Nations’. The event is being held to commemorate the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto on 23 September 1943.

Perpetrators glorified

In 2011 — to mark the 70th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion, and  to the chagrin of Holocaust survivors internationally — the Lithuanian government has invested in a series of events honoring the local perpetrators who began to kill Jewish neighbors in dozens of towns before the Germans even arrived (a reading list on the history is available here). The ‘logic’ has been that they were actually rebelling against Soviet rule, though it is not disputed by historians that the Soviets were obviously fleeing the Nazi invasion.

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