Latest News


Is Latvia Really Trying to Shut Down Riga’s Famous Outdoor Holocaust Museum?

Petition is Launched

Yakov Faitelson Calls on the Lithuanian Parliament to Reconsider Decision to Name 2021 in Honor of Alleged Participant in Kaunas Atrocities of June 1941

Participation of honoree witnessed in both Kaunas Garage Massacre and the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky. See chronology of the 2020 debate. Faitelson joins protests by Defending History, Dr. Laurence Weinbaum (World Jewish Congress),  Rabbi Andrew Baker (American Jewish Committee) and Ms. Faina Kukliansky (head of official Jewish Community of Lithuania).


“Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery”

♦ Prof. Josifas Parasonis of Vilnius, professor of building sciences uses science, common sense and humanity to come to a simple conclusion

♦ Julius Norwilla, head of Committee for Piramónt, exposes huge budget hole being made to put convention center project on top of the cemetery

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, editor of Respect Cemeteries, calls on readers to write to Lithuanian parliament’s budget masters by Nov. 10th deadline

♦ Next Vilnius District Court Hearing on Fate of the Cemetery is on November 24th

Eyewitness reports on recent hearings:

1 October Vilnius hearing;  6 Oct. hearing;

Earlier report on stance of European Foundation for Human Rights. Reports in Algemeiner Journal and Jerusalem Post.

Defending History was there…


Trending in Defending…

Does the president’s PR team really want big banners of Holocaust collaborators at his rallies?



Defending History’s 12th year gets underway. . .

Founded on 6 Sept. 2009. Emailed circulars and reports from 2008-2009 were then uploaded making for a record starting in 2008, A dozen years of posts provide a unique record.

ON OUR PAGES

10 years ago.  7 years ago.  5 years ago.  3 years ago.

Contributions in the United States are now fully tax-deductible via the new nonprofit Preserving Yiddish and Defending History.


Making Heroes out of Holocaust Collaborators: Spreading to the West?

Does Vilnius Really Need ‘Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery’?

Will an EU Member Parliament Really Name 2021 for Alleged Participant in 1941 Kaunas Atrocities?

Tragic Fate of Inspirationally Brave Lithuanian Rescuers

Lithuanian Jewish Commmunity: ‘Concern’ over Appointment of Genocide Center Deputy Head who Specializes in Whitewashing Holocaust Crimes of 1941 Hitlerist LAF and Nazi Puppet Provisional Gov.

US contributions for defending history are now tax-deductible


″The Power of the Ancient Hebrew Letters”

Arkady Kurliandchik and Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas lead a group in partnership with the Vilnius Jewish Community, in placing stones with Hebrew letters painted  in the traditional gold paint (used to highlight lettering in old Lithuanian Jewish / Litvak gravestones) at the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės / Shnípeshok), site of the abandoned Soviet sports palace and a planned national convention center. Thousands of graves are still there all around the building. The new gold-lettered Jewish stones were variously placed to mark out the approximate perimeter of the cemetery.

Stone lettering and photos: Andrius Kulikauskas

 

Vilnius Jewish Community’s Pre-Tíshebov Event at the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery on 29 July. More on the event: Andrius Kulikauskas

Recent News:

Vilnius City Council rushes through decision for convention center with annex in heart of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery.  Julius Norwilla reports from VilniusRabbi Elchonon Baron reacts from Jerusalem (video).

MERVYN SMITH MEMORIAL LECTURES

Series of webinars by Dovid Katz on Litvaks, Yiddish, the Lithuanian Holocaust (and the contemporary debates)


July 2020

Stinging Pain for Lithuanian Jews & Holocaust Survivor Families More Widely, as Seimas Names 2021 for Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities

Editor’s take. Chronology of events and publications. WJC’s Dr. Laurence Weinbaum in the Jewish Chronicle. Rare protest from AJC with LJC. But Wiesenthal Center strangely silent for first time


6 July 2020

The Defending History community wishes all our readers in Lithuania

A HAPPY CROWNING OF MINDAUGAS DAY

celebrating the Lithuanian king’s crowning in 1253. A wonderful modern holiday for all the peoples of Lithuania, and the world, and especially those with roots in the Grand Duchy…


26 June 2020

European Jewish Congress Reports on Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition to Save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from Convention Center Project:  51,000 Have Signed to Date 

Local, international opposition growing by the day


25 June 2020

LJC’s Video of Dieckmann-Vanagaite 25 June Book Launch

THE BACKGROUND. RECENT BOOKS IN THE DEBATE


23 June 2020

Chief Historian of State Sponsored  Genocide Center is Key Speaker at Events Glorifying June 23rd; Evening Event under Banner of Two Holocaust Collaborators

Defending History was there to monitor the events. Julius Norwilla’s photo gallery.

Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, chief historian at the state-sponsored Genocide Center in Vilnius and long-time member of the state-sponsored “International Historical Commission” proudly appears under the banner of two heinous Holocaust collaborators, J.  Noreika and K. Škirpa, at an event glorifying the day, 23 June 1941, that murder and mayhem broke out against the country’s defenseless Jewish citizens.

Škirpa with Hitler in Berlin


23 June 2020

Remembering June 23rd 1941: Why Would Anyone in the EU Want to Celebrate the Outbreak of the Baltic Holocaust under Guise of “Rebellion”?

Outbreak of mass murder, injury, pillage and humiliation of  defenseless Jewish neighbors by  the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) and others before arrival of first Nazi forces. Soviet forces were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa — not the local Hitler allies. The real heroes of the day are Lithuanians (and Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians and others) who risked everything to just do the right thing and save a neighbor from these Hitlerist organizations…

Defending History’s section on June 23rd events & issues in previous years. Background on the history. New English edition of Leyb Koniuchowsky’s compendium of testimonies now available online.

Online town hall on European Holocaust Denial is organized in the US. All welcome

Here in Vilnius: Lithuanian parliament (Seimas) schedules 10:30 AM (Vilnius time) press conference. Fears rising that this will be yet another effort to glorify June 23rd and the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust at the hands of the LAF, provisional gov. and assorted other local Hitler allies. Speakers include members of Seimas, Genocide Center and Red-Brown Commission…

Far Right Will Honor Nazi Collaborators on 23rd at 6 PM in central Vilnius. Defending History will be there to monitor the event


Late Spring 2020

Who’s Gonna Welcome Folks to a Convention Center in the Middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?

Dramatic Developments for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Still Slated to Become Vilnius Convention Center

Petition by Ruta Bloshtein, Vilnius native and resident, reaches 51,000 signatures. Defending History reports. Bloshtein’s articles.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo receives multifaith plea from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim leaders and key human rights organizations.

Two new websites launched: Save Vilna (US and Israel) and Respect the Cemetery (Vilnius); Both efforts entail Christian-Jewish (& Lithuanian-Litvak) alliance. Vilnius project announces 14 June public event. Latest report by Andrius Kulikauskas.

Elected chairman of Vilnius Jewish Community, representing vast majority of Lithuania’s Jews, reaffirms VJC’s firm opposition to desecration of the cemetery.

UCSJ joins the endeavor from Washington DC.

Defending History has been on the case for “five long years” and helped inspire international opposition to a convention center that would never be sited in an old cemetery of the majority religion population. See the latest.


TThe Latest


BOOKS IN THE DEBATE


June-July 2020

Will the Lithuanian Defense Ministry add a “health warning” to its page glorifying a Nazi collaborator?

Lithuania’s Defense Ministry magazine glorifies Nazi collaborator and Holocaust cheerleader Kazys Škirpa on its front cover and in a massive article. See reactions from the Lithuanian Jewish Community and G. Gochin’s Times of Israel blog, and Defending HistorySEE OUR REPORT.

Incredibly, the Defense Ministry still flaunts the cover on its website (as PDF).


May 2020

Tale of the “Euronote Vilnius Cemetery”: See DH, JTA, AJ

Disturbing video produced by a national tourism agency


May Day in Vilnius: Three major tourism federations united to finance the covering of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery with empty chairs with symbolic 1000-euro notes pasted on (directly above extant graves), symbolizing the economic loss from not rushing ahead with a convention center in the middle of the cemetery.  The 500 year old cemetery, where thousands of citizens of Vilnius lie buried is not mentioned.

Real or photoshopped?

____

Solidarity with Minorities in Time of Pandemic?

Some use period for further glorification of Holocaust collaborators; Some tout postcrisis economic renewal from  “Convention Center in the Cemetery” Project in Vilnius

Former foreign minister calls on present FM to renounce views and support state glorification of brutal Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika (after supreme administrative court confirmed during national lockdown the “hero status” of the same collaborator). 

Also: Defense Ministry still adds no disclaimer to its page glorifying Nazi collaborator.

Meanwhile:

“You can’t make this up”: Major economist headlines construction sector revival via Jewish cemetery’s desecration as panacea for Covid-19 doldrums. Then, major national tourism units unite to place a thousand chairs with symbolic euro-notes on top of Vilnius Jewish graves.

Judith Leister reports in Neue Zürcher ZeitungJulius Norwilla in DH.

_____


 

For news in Lithuanian, see VieningaLietuva.com

5 YEARS AGO IN DH


March 2020

BALTIC FAR RIGHT’S “MARCHING SEASON” AGAIN GLORIFIES HITLER’S COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS + KAUNAS ON 16 FEB: DH eyewitness report on 16 February march in Vilnius. Organizers again targeted DH staff; 16 Feb in central Kaunas.

VILNIUS 11 MARCH: DH’s report on the run-up.  DH’s eyewitness report of the event.

RIGA 16 MARCH:  West silent as central Riga again gifted for worship of Latvia’s wrtime Waffen SS on Monday March 16th;  Coronavirus ban on rallies results in individuals laying wreaths for Waffen SS at city center’s Liberty Monument


February-March 2020

Linas Vildžiūnas, Lithuania’s Leading Humanist, For Decades Key Educator (and Truth Teller) about the Holocaust, Wins Donskis Award for Tolerance


16 February 2020

Defending History Alone Monitored Torchlit Vilnius Old Town Far-Right March that Glorified Nazi Collaborators J. Noreika and K. Škirpa


9 February 2020

Doyen of Litvak Rabbis Signs Impassioned Decree on Saving Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from “Convention Center in the Cemetery” Project


BOOKS IN THE DISCUSSION

Alexander Gendler: Khurbm: 1914-1922

Leyb Koniuchowsky & Jonathan Boyarin: The Lithuanian Slaughter of its Jews: Testimonies of 121 Survivors of the Holocaust in Lithuania

Dan Rabinowitz: The Lost Library

Ruta Vanagaite & Efraim Zuroff: Our People: Discovering Lithuania’s Hidden Holocaust

Ruta Vanagaite & Christoph Dieckmann: How Did It Happen? (Our People, Part II. Understanding the Holocaust in Lithuania)



January 2020

Far Right Again Granted Central Vilnius on Feb. 16 Independence Day

They plan to glorify Nazi collaborators ŠkirpaNoreika and Brazaitis

Scene from their 2018 march in the heart of Vilnius (featuring on front banner six Nazi collaborators)…

2018 march in central Vilnius. Photo © DefendingHistory.com

 


January 2020

European Foundation for Human Rights: Progress in Case for Equal Minority Rights for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

For the first time a member of the Lithuanian parliament challenges the wisdom of glorifying (and reconstructing) an ugly Soviet dump that was built on Jewish bones of the centuries. See  Kęstutis Masiulis’s new piece in the Lithuanian media. Also, progress in the Vilnius court case is reported in the media, citing comments from Prof. Josif Parasonis. In the report, Turto Bankas (the state’s “property bank”) falsifies history, claiming the unsightly Soviet ruin is outside the cemetery. In fact, the American Embassy confirmed years ago (see point  5) that it “The Sports Palace property indisputably rests in the middle” of the historic cemetery.

Don’t the people of Lithuania (and Europe) deserve a sparkling new and morally clean Vilnius convention center rather than a Soviet-era structure surrounded by five centuries of Jewish graves?


Clemens Heni in Times of Israel on recent Yad Vashem furore

Matt Rubenstein iThe Battleground EU“Changing the Historical Record” 

David Pugliese in the Ottawa Citizen on East European Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators

Julius Norwilla in Vilnius’s 7MD on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Clemens Heni in Times of Israel on dissident thinkers in Germany

Anna Shternshis in Canadian Jews News on Yivo Librarian Debacle (see also DH’s take; list of items approved by “In geveb”)


23 January 2020

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

Late Jan. 2020 meeting follows “day of shame” in Vilnius in Dec. 2019, and “hateful libel” against Orthodox Vilnius Jewish woman (Jan. 2020) who launched the international petition; Prof. Shnayer Leiman’s response.


23 January 2020

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

PEACEFUL DEMO PLANNED AT LITHUANIAN EMBASSY IN TEL AVIV ON FRIDAY 24 JAN, 11 AMFBHEBREW POSTER

SEE DEFENDING HISTORY’S TAKE

 


13 January 2020

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


10 January 2020

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

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


2 January 2020

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


1 January 2020

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

Antanas Zubrys and Matilda Zubrienė

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

Updated Litvak One-Stop Shop for 2020

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

“7 Kingdoms of the Litvaks” is free online


19 December 2019

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

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


December 2019

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

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


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

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


Nov.-Dec. 2019

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

Defending History has followed the saga for three years

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

Vilnius’s Jewish satirist Motke Chabad shares his own perspective

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

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

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

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

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


Autumn 2019

AP on Streets Newly Named in Kiev for Nazi Collaborators

Clemens Heni in Portal for Political Science

Justin Ward in Medium on History Revisionism in Hungary

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

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

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

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


23 Sept. 2019

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

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

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

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


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

Reports in National Post and Ottawa Citizen

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


23 September 2019

Monday September 23 in Vilnius

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

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


Sept. 2019

A Decade of Defending History

Defending History marks its 10th anniversary in Sept. 2019

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

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

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

PLEASE SUPPORT DH’S CONTINUED PUBLICATION


9 Sept. 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


August 2019

Bravo to Hizzoner Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius


Sam Sokol in JTA

Jillian Deutsch in Politico

Deutsche Welle

Vilna Jewish Cemetery Petition Hits 46,000 Mark

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

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

Prof. Pinchos Fridberg  ©DefendingHistory.com

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

Polish government glorifies unit that fought for the Nazis

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


9 Aug. 2019

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

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

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

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

Media coverage: AFPAJ,  AP/WAPOA7BBCBS,  EJCIHJNS,   JTA,  TOI 

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

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

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

___

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

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

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

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

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


1 August 2019

“It Pays to Defend History”

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

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

Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius

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

Lithuanian author & ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas

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

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

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

Marble Noreika stone continues to mar capital’s central boulevard

NEXT QUESTION:

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


24 July 2019

Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Vote is  20 to 16

Defending History brought the issue to the international community in 2010

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

Report by JTA

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

Škirpa is in the middle (Berlin, 1941)

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

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


July 2019

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

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

LEV GOLINKIN IN THE WASHINGTON POST

EFRAIM ZUROFF IN THE JERUSALEM POST

ROBERT ROZETT IN ISRAEL JOURNAL OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

GRANT GOCHIN IN THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

IVAN KATCHANOVSKI ON UKRAINE’S UPA & OUP  


June-July 2019

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


June 2019

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

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

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

FOLLOW THE SEVEN YEAR NOREIKA SAGA IN DEFENDING HISTORY


23 June 2019

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

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

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

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


16 June 2019

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

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

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

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


June 2019

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

_______

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


May-June 2019

A Sad Story for Chicago and Lithuania

that is ‘not going away’

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

In Vilnius, Defending History staff get more death threats

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

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

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

UPDATES: HOW THE “OFFICIAL JEWISH COMMUNITY” WAS USED AND ABUSED

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA

WAS THE US EMBASSY AGAIN DRAGGED INTO THINGS THAT DON’T REFLECT AMERICAN VALUES?

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

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

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

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

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

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


3 May 2019

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

HUNDREDS OF JEWISH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS PROTEST OUTSIDE LITHUANIAN CONSULATE IN NEW YORK CITY

TRACK THE SEVEN-YEAR OLD NOREIKA SAGA HERE

DEFENDING HISTORY’S SECTION ON COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED


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

PDF OF NEW STATEMENT

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

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

INCREDIBLY, M. K. ČIURLIONIS HOUSE & MUSEUM ARE PARTNERING

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.

MORE IN DEFENDING HISTORY

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

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

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

Ruta Bloshtein’s petition approaches 46,000

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

SEE MORE


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  

HOW DOES A  JEWISH CITIZEN OF LITHUANIA FEEL ABOUT IT?


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

NEWS RELEASE FROM EUROPEAN FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

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

Defending History’s comment:

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

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

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


8 April 2019

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

Dovid Katz interviewed by Stan Tomas (video)

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


3 April 2019

Eyewitness Report: A Verdict is Read in a Vilnius Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◊◊

SEE FULL REPORT


26 March 2019

Vilnius Court’s Verdict Awaited on Wednesday March 27th

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

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

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

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

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

BACKGROUND

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


25 March 2019

Michael Mostyn in the Toronto Sun

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

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


20 March 2019

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

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

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

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


16 March 2019

AROUND 1000 TAKE PART IN 16 MARCH CENTRAL RIGA PARADE GLORIFYING LATVIA’S WARTIME NAZI WAFFEN SS

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

Detail from the day

Petition against annual event approaches 7,000 signatures

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

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


13 March 2019

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

Is it Washington DC’s most corrupt federal agency?

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

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

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

BACKGROUND:

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


8 March 2019

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

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

Defending History was there. Our take:

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

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

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

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

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

Background: Run-up to eve of the trial

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

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

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

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


March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Vilnius: LRT TV interviews Dovid Katz


20 February 2019

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.

Photo gallery of the event

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

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

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

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

and

A Short History Lesson:

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


30 January 2019

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

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

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

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

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


27 January 2019

Holocaust Remembrance Week 2019

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

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

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


26 January 2019

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė:

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


ON OUR PAGES 7 YEARS AGO.    5 YEARS AGO.    3 YEARS AGO.


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.


OLDER FRONT PAGE POSTS

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Person of the Year 2014


Pinchos Fridberg Defends HistoryProfessor Pinchos Fridberg, a Vilnius Holocaust Survivor, Stands Up to Powerful Forces with Singular Courage

The debate in English translation ◊ Danny Ben-Moshe in Jerusalem Report ◊ Which government commission continues to defame this Holocaust survivor? ◊ Appeal to commissioners ◊ DH’s Pinchos Fridberg section


Memory Lane in PDFs . . .

2008: Dana Gloger in the Jewish Chronicle; Arne Bengtsson in Baltic Worlds; 2009: Raphael Ahren in Haaretz; Avi Friedman in Mishpacha; 2010: Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post; Esther Goldberg in Canadian Jewish News; Cindy Mindell in the Jewish Ledger; 2011: Dovid Katz in JHC; 2012: Efraim Zuroff in Haaretz; Dovid Katz in London Jewish News; 2013: Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report


NEARLY A YEAR LATER, STILL NO APOLOGY!

Red-Brown Commission Continues to Call one of the Last Vilna Holocaust Survivors a “Liar” on its own Website  ♦  Background

 Is Commission out of commission?

 

NEW DOCUMENTARY FILM RELEASED

Richard BloomRichard Bloom’s Defending Holocaust History, a new documentary on “Double Genocide” Holocaust revisionism, focusing on Lithuania and Latvia, was released this month by Richard Bloom Productions.


Defending History Brings Real (But Not Enough) Results…

After 7 Years of Silence, Part of Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission” Expresses “Sorrow and Anger” at “Unwarranted Attacks” on Yitzhak Arad

Yitzhak Arad

Yitzhak Arad

First Real Gesture Brings Praise; But No Mention of Prosecutors’ “Kangaroo War Crimes Investigation” or Urgent Need for Apology from Prosecutor and Political Leaders to Halt Ongoing Defamation of Dr. Arad — a Holocaust Survivor, Resistance Hero in the Struggle against Nazism, Veteran of Israel’s War of Independence and then General, Major Scholar of the Holocaust, Head of Yad Vashem for Over Two Decades (1972-1993)

His The Holocaust in the Soviet Union is a (2010) National Jewish Book Award winner

BACKGROUND

OUT OF COMMISSION?

PDF OF THE LETTER (dated 14 Oct; see our 11 Oct open letter appealing to commissioners’ conscience); Letter signed by all members except A. Bubnys, J. Brent, N. Naimark, J. Rainer, T. Snyder, F. Thom

Commission announces two separate sub-commissions, as in 1998 (PDF). Comment by Milan Chersonski (2008); by Rachel Kostanian (2013)

COMMISSION APPEARS TO BE HOPELESSLY SPLIT: AMONG THOSE WHO DID NOT SIGN IS THE COMMISSION’S REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE GENOCIDE CENTER (WHERE THE “INVESTIGATION” OF DR. ARAD WAS STARTED AND NEVER DISOWNED). HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS DISMAYED AT ATTEMPTED LEGITIMIZATION OF THE ANTISEMITIC GENOCIDE CENTER.


Ongoing defamation extends to prosecutors’ website, Wikipedia, new publications, and mass media; souvenir envelope on sale for years at Vilnius’s main post office; even a “human rights association”


No mention of other defamed Holocaust survivors, including Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Tel Aviv attorney Joseph Melamed, Dr. Rachel MargolisProfessor Pinchos Fridberg who continues to be defamed on the commission’s own website

YITZHAK ARAD’S 2012 PAPER ON HOLOCAUST OBFUSCATION AND THE PART PLAYED BY VILNIUS-BASED COMMISSION

No mention of the Prague Declaration that continues to feature on commission’s website as “truth” while Seventy Years Declaration is unmentioned; Eight courageous Lithuanian parliamentarians signed SYD, defying the commission; MP Andriukaitis’s bold 2012 reply to a right-wing minister’s broadside


RELATED: section on the commission; page; Holocaust survivors from Lithuania protest commission’s renewal in Israel and the US; Joe Melamed’s letter;  Pinchos Fridberg section

Heads of Zingeris-Racinskas commission

Are (right-wing) politicians running the show? Image: International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania


RESIGNATIONS TO DATE FROM THE COMMISSION AND ASSOCIATED BODIES:

Sir Martin Gilbert and professors Gershon GreenbergKonrad Kwiet, and Dov Levin


Efraim Zuroff Slams New Attempt by Vilnius Genocide Center to Massage the Numbers — and Ethics — of the Local Perpetrators

MAARIV REPORTS

Evaldas Balčiūnas: A tale of inspiring courage in challenging the Genocide Center

Background: Page on Genocide Center and its texts in Genocide Museum and Gruto Parkas

See also DH sections:  Perpetrators Glorified; Double Genocide

Related: Chersonski replies to Aleksandravičius


Red-Brown Exhibit Opened in Berlin

REVIEW OF ITS RECENT STINT IN VILNIUS


One-Sided Vilna Ghetto Roadshow in Berlin?

(27-29 Oct)

CINDERELLA NOT INVITED TO THE BALL?  Her 92nd birthday was 28 Oct, in the middle of the conference.

Dr. Rachel Margolis, Vilna native, Vilna Ghetto survivor, heroic resistance fighter against the Nazis, co-founder of the Green House Holocaust museum in Vilnius, who rediscovered and published long lost diary of eyewitness to the Ponár massacres, defamed by Lithuanian state prosecutors, is not on the list of speakers in Berlin.

FROM RECENT YEARS: CHEN IVRI APTER, GORDON BROWN, US CONGRESSMEN, LORD JANNERBACKGROUND. FACT SHEET. RACHEL ON VIDEO. THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS.

Rachel Margolis of Vilnius


Meanwhile, in Rehovot, Rachel Margolis prepared to celebrate her 92nd birthday (Monday 28 Oct). PHOTO: HADAS PARUSH


RIGHT WING POLITICS IN PLAY AT BERLIN VILNA GHETTO CONFERENCE: The event is hosted by a Conservative Party (Christian Democratic Union) linked foundation that is itself part of the Centre for European Studies, a think tank affiliated with the right wing EPP that is itself an engine of red-brown Double Genocide politics in Europe. Chief of red-brown commission in town for the event.

QUESTION: Will there be any mention of the ghetto survivors defamed for posterity (in the absence of formal apologies) by branches of the Lithuanian government? The other painful issues including Double Genocide? Dr. Rachel Margolis rediscovered and published the diary of Kazimierz Sakowicz. More.

TRIBUTES ON FACEBOOK: RACHEL MARGOLIS’S BIRTHDAY

Rachel Margolis with Joseph Melamed (Oct 28th 2011 in Rehovot)

Dr. Rachel Margolis at her home in Rehovot, Israel, visited by Joseph Melamed, president of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, who was himself visited by agents of Interpol in 2011 on instructions from Lithuanian prosecutors.

Friends in Berlin may consider politely asking officials for official public apologies to the defamed Holocaust survivors, including:

Dr. Yitzhak Arad

Ms. Fania Brantsovsky

Professor Pinchos Fridberg

Dr. Rachel Margolis

Attorney Joseph Melamed

For summaries of some painful issues that need to be addressed in pursuit of reconciliation and mutual understanding, please see Monica Lowenberg’s petition, and Defending History’s proposed solutions.


 

Quote of the Month

BRITISH MP JOHN MANN

John Mann MP


“It is an industrial rewriting of history in Eastern Europe to excuse mass murders carried out on behalf of the Nazis.”

UK MP John Mann, October 2013

READ MORE

 

An Appeal to Conscience

of the German, Israeli and US members of the renewed state-financed “Red-Brown Commission”:

ARE YOU REALLY COMFORTABLE WITH THE COMMISSION’S

(1) continued public support for the 2008 Prague Declaration, and continued failure to mention the existence of the Seventy Years Declaration? (background)

(2) continued defamation of beloved Vilnius Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg? (background)

(3) continued failure to publicly condemn the antisemitic prosecutorial defamation of Holocaust survivor and scholar Dr. Yitzhak Arad, a founding member of your own commission? Of Holocaust survivor and scholar Dr. Rachel Margolis? (background)

READ MORE

Dr. Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), Valiant Chair of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (1992 to Early 2013) Turns 85!

TRIBUTES ON FACEBOOK.  ALPEROVICH ON: DOUBLE GENOCIDE;  A FOREIGN MINISTER’S ANTISEMITIC TIRADE; STATE HONORS FOR HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS, THE LAF & 1941 NAZI PUPPET GOV’T;  POLICY OF HONORING BOTH PERPETRATORS AND VICTIMS;  DEFAMATION OF JEWISH ANTI-NAZI PARTISAN HEROES (AND RED-BROWN COMMISSION’S SILENCE);  DISNEYLAND GHETTO PROJECTS.


History of Defending History…

2013: Bernard Dichek in The Jerusalem Report. Danny Ben-Moshe’s film Rewriting History2010:  Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service2010: Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post. 2009: Rafael Aaren in Haaretz. 2008: Arne Bengtsson in Baltic Worlds.


Selection of Essays on the Issues 

Yitzhak AradYehuda BauerDanny Ben-MosheGordon BrownAbraham CooperPinchos FridbergSir Martin GilbertClemens HeniDovid KatzJohn MannJonathan FreedlandLord JannerLeigh PhillipsLeyzer Ran FamilyTessa RajakHeidemarie UhlEfraim ZuroffVoices of Holocaust survivors.

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YOUR COUNTRY

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BOOKS / ARTS

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FILM & VIDEO

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CEMETERIES

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2014 Brussels Focus


Should the EU Really be Plowing Your Taxes into a “Platform” for  Double Genocide, Holocaust Obfuscation & the Prague Declaration? Their latest conflicts herehere & here.

Reconciliation of Histories” is Orwellian Doublespeak

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Real Progress


World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) “Fully Endorses” the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD)

Danny Ben-Moshe’s documentary in the USA; Richard Bloom’s on Youtube

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Person of the Year: Pinchos Fridberg

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Joseph Levinson: Website Launched

Levinson-2013

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Featured Interview: Roza Levitaite

Roza Levitaite Feb 2014

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Defending History Honors


BOLD CITIZENS WHO STAND UP FOR HISTORIC DIGNITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN LITHUANIA (AND ANYWHERE!)


 

When they’re afraid to publish in Balbíreshok, just bring it here…

Olga Zabludoff’s Open Letter to South African Litvaks, too hot for the South African Jewish Report, now appears here


Professor Karen Sutton’s Essential Book on the Lithuanian Holocaust

AVAILABLE AGAIN


RECENT BOOKS:

David Bankier’s Holocaust Testimonials from Provincial Lithuania.  Efraim Zuroff’s review.

Grant Arthur Gochin’s Malice, Murder, and Manipulation: One Man’s Quest for Truth.

Keith Morgan’s Ruta’s Closet.  Interview with the author.

Books Reviewed.  Film and Theatre.  Video and Radio.

 


 

 

Holocaust Survivors Protest Red-Brown Commission’s Vilnius Relaunch

Commission’s renewal comes with new defamation of Dr. Yitzhak Arad, former director of Yad Vashem. major scholar, and Holocaust survivor

DANNY BEN-MOSHE IN JERUSALEM REPORT

ON JEWISH COMMUNITY’S SITE. IN RUSSIAN: DH; LZBObzor.lt; Reporter; Shofar7.com

Yitzhak Arad’s paper covering the Commission’s role, government obfuscation of the Holocaust and the history of the Holocaust in Lithuanian sources

Commission’s website features the Prague Declaration and promotes Double Genocide; its chairman urged his country to adopt PD. Website defames Vilnius Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg for having corrected an error. Still no public condemnation of the defamation of its own founding member Yitzhak Arad (or of Dr. Rachel Margolis and Joseph Melamed)

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND COMMENT BY HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS

PAGE, CRITIQUES AND SECTION ON THE COMMISSION. Recent PR event in Vilnius

Renewed Red-Brown Commissionfunded by government, has members from the Genocide Center, the parliamentary state security committee, scholars who have tried to mitigate the Nazi loyalties and Holocaust collaboration of the 1941 Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and Provisional Government, and, shockingly for Holocaust survivors (and under political pressure) — Yad Vashem

Resignations from the Commission (& associated bodies) on principle include Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Sir Martin Gilbert, Professor Gershon Greenberg, Professor Konrad Kwiet, Prof. Dov Levin

Commission Executive Director gives a very different spiel to Lithuanian audiences

Are the Commission’s academic members aware of the body’s entanglement in the political imbroglio over demands for Russian compensation? Is the East European Holocaust being instrumentalized in a contemporary geopolitical context?


 

De-Obfuscating a Complicated Story into its Simple Core:

2013: Bernard Dichek in The Jerusalem Report. 2012: Efraim Zuroff in Haaretz. 2011: Danny Ben-Moshe’s film Rewriting History. 2010:  Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service2010: Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post. 2010: Dovid Katz in the Guardian. 2009: Rafael Aaren in Haaretz. 2008: Arne Bengtsson in Baltic Worlds.

Survivors, Scholars and Public Figures Speak Out:

See: Yitzhak Arad  ◊  Yehuda Bauer  ◊ Danny Ben-Moshe  ◊  Gordon Brown  ◊  Abraham Cooper  ◊  Pinchos Fridberg  ◊  Sir Martin Gilbert  ◊  Clemens Heni  ◊  John Mann  ◊  Jonathan Freedland  ◊  Lord Janner  ◊  Leigh Phillips  ◊  Leyzer Ran Family  ◊  Tessa Rajak  ◊  Heidemarie Uhl  ◊  Efraim Zuroff  ◊  More voices of Holocaust Survivors

AS

“Double Genocide” Lands in the United States of America

BY STEALTH BOMBER OUT OF THE EAST, UNDER THE RADAR

One of the demands of the 2008 Prague Declaration is “approved” by the US

Are US officials aware of the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration response?

What is “Double Genocide”?

                                                                                            by Irina Izhogina


Holocaust Survivors from Lithuania Propose a Simple Honesty Test for Gala Sutzkever Events in Vilnius

Sutzkever in Vilna (Wilno, Vilnius)

Avrom Sutzkever as a young poet inVilna (from Defending History archive)

SEE ALSO:

TRANSLATION PRIZE SAGA;  OPINIONS OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS; THE PATTERN OF DOUBLE GAMES; 2012 SLSer SADDENED THAT MILAN CHERSONSKI WAS DROPPED FROM FACULTY. WAS HIS MESSAGE  UNACCEPTABLE? SEE MILAN CHERSONSKI SECTION.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?


 

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: REWRITING HISTORY COMING ON WEEKEND OF 3-4 AUGUST 2013

UK: GLASGOW, LEEDS, LIVERPOOL, LONDON, MANCHESTER, NEWCASTLE IN JULY 2013

A DOZEN SYNAGOGUES SCREEN DANNY BEN-MOSHE’S REWRITING HISTORY

United Synagogue of Great Britain Signs the Seventy Years Declaration

Film’s website  ◊  Reviews  ◊  Seventy Years Declaration (SYD)  ◊  SYD debates   ◊  SYD text  ◊  in European languages  ◊  Danny Ben-Moshe


A European Battle for Memory — and for Human Rights

The Debate in: AustraliaCanadaEUIsraelSouth AfricaUKUSA

London screenings of the documentary film Rewriting History

Litvak tourism, exotic tourism and dark tourism

Racism, antisemitism and homophobia in high places: Zeppelinus is key official at the Economy MinistryDoesn’t like our editor

Antisemitism and Honors for Holocaust collaborators

Red-Brown Commission blues

———

Evaldas Balčiūnas on Holocaust perpetrators made into “heroes”

Milan Chersonski on young Lithuanian anti-fascists who speak up against the glorification of Holocaust perpetrators

Aleksanders Feigmanis on an unmarked Holocaust grave in Riga

Leena Hietanen on Germany’s president who is getting into bed with Estonian Holocaust revisionists

Dovid Katz in Hope not Hate on glorification of Nazi war criminals by an EU/NATO government and the same country’s neo-Nazis

Geoff Vasil on sophisticated attempts to sanitize Holocaust perpetrators

Lina Žigelytė on the neo-Nazis’ hatred of feminists

Efraim Zuroff in The Times of Israel on a Latvian celebration of the anniversary of… the 1941 Nazi invasion


Explore Defending History

What it’s all abut.  Articles.  Authors.  Countries.  Sections.  Opinion.  Books.  Film.  Litvak Culture,  Litvak Studies (& map).  Litvak Tourism (Dark Tourism too).  Lithuanian Holocaust Studies (& map with shtetl list).  Human Rights & LGBT issues.  Antisemitism.  Local citizens who stand up.  More

ISSUES INCLUDE: Double Genocide” & “Red-Brown Commission”; “Prague Declaration” (response: Seventy Years Declaration);   “heroization” of collaboratorsaccusations against survivors;  criminalization of debate;  More


German and Estonian Presidents in Photo-op at “Double Genocide” Shrine in Tallinn

LEENA HIETANEN REPORTS FROM TALLINN

Tallinn photo-op with red-brown backdrop: Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves (left) with German president Joachim Gauck (Postimees—Erik Peinar). The modernist sculptural salute to red-brown equivalence, in the heart of an EU capital, showcases the curious supposed equality of the perpetrators and the liberators of Auschwitz. More red-brown iconography here.


A Vilnius Library with an Agenda?

Wyman Brent’s prophecy fulfilled?

Official invitation of the “Vilnius Jewish Public Library” to recent event glorifying the “Red-Brown Commission” without a single critic of the commission included in the panel.  Geoff Vasil’s eyewitness report The evening of elite Red-Brown Commission worship  featured two top Commission operatives.

Previous event at “Jewish Library” included featured speaker from the antisemitic Genocide Center who the previous week (in the mainstream Lithuanian media) publicly belittled the Holocaust history of “Israeli [he means: Jewish] scholars” in his attempt to sanitize the LAF/PG 1941 killers of Lithuanian Jewry. English translation of his interview; Geoff Vasil replied in Defending History.

See section on the Library

But where were all these “Jewish culture loving dignitaries” when over a thousand neo-Nazis, some sporting swastikas, marched passed the library’s entrance on the nation’s independence day?

IS THE “JEWISH” LIBRARY STILL COURTING NAIVE FOREIGNERS AND ‘USEFUL JEWISH IDIOTS’ IN ZINGERIAN RED-BROWN CAMPAIGN?

———

From the Red-Brown Commission’s website:

Commission’s executive director calls beloved Vilnius Holocaust survivor a “liar” on Commission’s website;  Exec director’s performance in Rigaat Seimas (for a different audience…); in Rewriting History

Background on the “Red-Brown Commission”


 

Vilnius: Would a “Jewish Museum” Graywash the Holocaust?

RELATED: DARK TOURISM (FOCUSED ON THE ADULATION FOR HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS THAT LEADS TO SANITIZATION AND GLORIFICATION);  WHAT WERE THE INTENTIONS OF THE LITHUANIAN ACTIVIST FRONT (LAF) BEFORE WAR BROKE OUT? MORE. 2011 EVENTS TO HONOR THEM

SEE ARTICLES BY EVALDAS BALCIUNAS AND MILAN CHERSONSKI

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Litvak & Yiddish


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Jerusalem of Lithuania


Tribute to Milan Chersonski: a dozen years as editor of Lithuania’s last Jewish newspaper

logo of Jerusalem of Lithuania newspaper

VIDEO TRIBUTE HERE

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Zeppelinus


Official at Economy Ministry is Still Hard at Work on Antisemitic-Racist-Homophobic “Economics”

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Lithuanian Anti-Fascist Group Mounts Protest in Kaunas Against Glorification of 1941 LAF Killers on Anniversary of the Day the Killing Started

Courageous Antifa Lietuva banner reads: “Real heroes rescued people instead of killing them. Remember the victims of the Holocaust”

Milan Chersonski was there. His report on the event. His take: “Let the world know that not everyone in Lithuania tolerates the distortion of history.” 

Milan Chersonski (second from right) is not the only one in town taking pictures of the banner and the handful of demonstrators. Police photographed anti-fascist participants and asked names and addresses (as last February).

The group of courageous demonstrators at the Lietukis Garage memorial, in a city-center courtyard in Kaunas

Milan Chersonski walks with the small group of Antifa Lietuva demonstrators who marched the same route though Kaunas old town that throngs of neo-Nazis take each year on February 16th. This year the neo-Nazis’ banner had honored the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister on whose watch the  Lithuanian Holocaust began.

MORE IMAGES HERE

 Antifa Lietuva’s report on the event; on Facebook

MEANWHILE, GENOCIDE CENTER’S MEMBER OF GOV’S RENEWED “RED-BROWN COMMISSION” WAS BUSY SANITIZING THE LAF (AND DISMISSING THE  HISTORIC EVIDENCE OF “ISRAELI” SCHOLARS) IN NATIONAL MEDIASome of the sources.

Could there really be a “June 23rd Street” in Vilnius?

Background: Evaldas BalčiūnasMilan ChersonskiSection on collaborators glorifiedHonors for collaborators in public spaces.  Reburial of 2012.  Historical readings.  More on June 1941.

INTERNATIONAL PETITION

Milan Chersonski (Vilnius):

Rehabilitation of the Past as a Tool in Modern Politics

Kazys Skirpa Street in Kaunas

Street name in Kaunas for the head of the “Lithuanian Activist Front” (in Berlin) whose hateful radio addresses incited mobs to mass murder.

The lecture hall at Vytautas Magnus University named for the actual Nazi puppet prime minister Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) who signed papers confirming German orders for sending the Jews of his city (KAUNAS) to a concentration camp, and for incarcerating all the rest in the ghetto. The 2012 reburial saga.

Leena Hietanen (Tallinn) on the bestseller novel Purge:

Double Genocide: A Literary Jackpot?

Cover of the Novel 'purge'

Background: Sections on Double Genocide and Collaborators GlorifiedYitzhak Arad’s paper on the academic evolution of the revisionist paradigm; Efraim Zuroff’s “The Equivalency Canard”; articles by Danny Ben-Moshe and Dovid Katz.
SEE ALSO: Books

Litvak Holocaust Survivors: Betrayed Again?

State-sponsored “red-brown commission” in Vilnius posts new list of members

Commission has caused concern among survivors themselves: Yitzhak Arad, Pinchos Fridberg, Dov Levin, Joseph Melamed, Basheva Ran. A decade and a half of issues.

Still no apology to commission’s former (& founding) member Yitzhak Arad after massive state-sponsored defamation

In 2013, Commission defames Vilnius survivor Pinchos Fridberg on its website, and uses conference in Riga to attack Defending History. Commission member from the Genocide Center uses 23 June 2013 in newest attempt to whitewash 1941 LAF collaborators and perpetrators, in defiance of the history. Accidental omission? His entry on Commission members’ list (with no hint of “completely separate subcommissions”) omits the “detail” that he is director of the “Genocide and Resistance Research Department” at the Genocide Center… 

MORE HERE


 FILM

Screening tour of Rewriting History in the UK (London July 10th 2013), presented by Danny Ben-Moshe. RELATED: US tour.

Documentary films by Richard Bloom (USA) and Christian Carlsen (Germany), both scheduled for release on 23 Sept 2013. SEE ALSO: Film listings and Film & Theatre section.


 The Clock is Ticking…

A Time for Loyalty to Litvak (and All) Holocaust Survivors

TO EVERY THING THERE IS A TIME UNDER THE SUN…


A Need for De-Obfuscation?

Newest Word for Holocaust Revisionism in Eurospeak? “ISTME” (pronounced Is-it-me?) comes under “Science and Technology”!

Is the EU Again Being Bamboozled with “Double Genocide”? Are fine scholars again unwittingly instrumentalized for DG?

More red-equals-brown movement dissemination, now via “Science and Technology”? Orwellian concoctions to downgrade the Holocaust and stifle debate include: “Reconciliation of European Histories”, “Platform of European Memory”, “principle of non-discrimination of victimhood” and now, under “European cooperation in science and technology” (!) a brand new “Euro-classic”: In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe (ISTME)

Will it be a fair and balanced conference in Cracow on 16-18 Sept. 2013? Will there be critical papers on the Prague Declaration (and SYD), Double Genocide? state-sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators (in CroatiaHungaryLatviaLithuaniaUkraine)? arbitrary redefinition of genocide? attempts to incriminate survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance? “red-brown” laws restricting free speech in Hungary and Lithuania?

RELATED: Was Montero instrumentalized in 2011When the EU “just said No”  (2010) [background]; EU section.


Shrines for Nazis, in the EU

ambrazeviciusInternational Petition Tops 750 Mark; Progress Seen, as Organizers of Kaunas “Religious Heritage” Conference Reported to Seek Alternative Venue; Vytautas Magnus University Continues to Honor City’s 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister who Presided over Initiation of the Lithuanian Holocaust

He was honored by the central government too in a fiasco including Kaunas’s university. Its leading historian told the press that reburying the fascist underlines “the drama of Lithuanian history” and lamented that administrators were “afraid of getting hit over the head by the Jews with a club.” The city’s Jewish population, once over 30,000, is now several hundred, close to statistical zero.

Defending History urges people of conscience politely to refrain from entering the building until the shrines are removed.

Kaunas June July 1941

What was going on in Kaunas (Kovno) during the tenure of the June-August 1941 “Provisional Government”? Here, white-armbanders loyal to the gov take women citizens to humiliation and death because they are Jewish…

Related: Evaldas Balčiūnas on a military academy named for someone with Nazi-era biographical gaps…..

zemaitis military academy

28-30 May 2013

Fireworks in Jerusalem

Times of Israel coverage by Raphael Ahren. Comment by: Abraham FoxmanClemens Heni, Robert Wistrich, Efraim ZuroffMore debate.

27-28 May 2013

Fireworks in Riga

On the Watch, In Real Time

DEFENDING HISTORY MONITORS THE EAST EUROPEAN EXPORT OF REVISIONIST HOLOCAUST HISTORY, ATTEMPTS AT GLORIFICATION OF LOCAL COLLABORATORS, AND THE ACCOMPANYING RACISM, ANTISEMITISM AND HOMOPHOBIA

CHECKING ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE:

AustraliaCanadaEUIsraelSouth AfricaUKUSA

DEFENDING HISTORY SUPPORTS HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, RESISTANCE HEROES AGAINST NAZISM, EAST EUROPEAN JEWISH COMMUNITIES, YIDDISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE; WITH EMPHASIS ON THE LITVAK CULTURE, LEGACY, HISTORY AND FUTURE

MISSION    MEDIA    NEWS    LITVAK CULTURE & TOURISM

Rewriting History    More documentaries    SYD    Donate    Facebook    Neo-Nazis target DefendingHistory.com    But many courageous citizens stand up with courage


22 May 2013

Admirers, in Vilnius, say ‘Happy Birthday’ on Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky’s 91st

Veteran of the Vilna Jewish partisans, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky answers questions from an international audience that came to celebrate her 91st birthday (at the Jewish Community of Lithuania, in the room dedicated to veterans of the Jewish resistance against the Nazis). She was one of the victims, in recent years, of local prosecutors’ kangaroo “war crimes investigations” against Lithuanian Jews who survived the Holocaust precisely because they joined the anti-Nazi resistance.

Brantsovsky set the tone for public resistance early on, in May 2008, in Jerusalem Post interview, concurrent with the Wiesenthal Center’s letter to the then Lithuanian ambassador in Israel, and followed by the Jewish community’s own protest. The campaign of defamation has extended to some of the last Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, including Dr. Yitzhak AradProf. Sara GinaiteDr. Rachel Margolis, and attorney Joseph Melamed, head of the world’s last active associations of Litvak survivors. There has been massive international reaction including the Australian made documentary film Rewriting Historyand the American Defending Holocaust History (scheduled for 23 Sept 2013 release).

HELP SAVE THE FOREST FORT WHERE FANIA YOCHELES AND ANOTHER 100 JEWISH SURVIVORS OF THE VILNA GHETTO FOUGHT THE NAZIS

There is still time for Lithuania’s government to end the six hundred year pre-Holocaust sharing of space in the spirit of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on the happier note of reconciliation via public apologies to the defamed Jewish partisans (who continue to be defamed in new publications, e.g. “Intermarium” and on Wikipedia etc).

14-15 May 2013

Another EU Supported Lopsided “Double Genocide” Conference, This Time — in Warsaw, Courtesy of the Red-Brown “Platform”

Not one presentation on EU states’ glorification of local Holocaust perpetrators (including street names and reburials of Nazi collaborators; commemorations in EstoniaHungaryLatviaLithuania); criminalization of debateHolocaust ObfuscationDouble Genocide; distortionist “genocide museums” and “genocide centers”; state accusations against survivorsfailure to seriously prosecute Nazi war criminals and the need for study of underlying narrative-revising motives; red-brown commission’s campaign against a courageous Holocaust survivor in 2013; issues with the Prague Declaration; the Seventy Years Declaration.

Survivor circles express quiet regret that DC’s Holocaust Museum (USHMM) unwittingly supports revisionist agenda by legitimizing, via simple participation, another Double Genocide event in Europe. At earlier events, USHMM was one of an array of “useful Western legitimizers” but this time around it is the only one.

9 May 2013

Jewish Community of Lithuania Honors Veterans of the War Against Hitler

Jewish children lead each of the surviving Jewish veterans of World War II to the rapturous welcome of a huge crowd at the Jewish Community of Lithuania’s headquarters in central Vilnius.

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Exposé in Lithuania


Three Major Lithuanian Sites Claim that Neo-Nazi Internet Figure “Zeppelinus,” a Hater of Poles, Jews, Roma, Russians, Blacks and Gays is actually…

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Efraim Zuroff on Baltic antisemitism

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Monica Lowenberg in London Jewish News

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Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report

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Seventy Years Declaration


Seventy Years Declaration (image)

Didier Bertin Launches Seventy Years Declaration (SYD) in France; MP Marietta  Karamanli is most recent signatory
SYD IN 13 LANGUAGES; SYD SECTION; SYD’S LAUNCH & MEDIA
Question: But what was so wrong with the “Prague Declaration”?
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Events in April & May 2013


ISGAP Seminars

♦ April 10th & 18th: Berlin “Red-Brown” Seminars

♦ April 16th: Washington DC Premiere of Rewriting History

♦ April 18th:  Richmond, Virginia Premiere of Rewriting History

♦ April 28th: Los Angeles Premiere of Rewriting History

♦ Riga Conference on Holocaust Issues (Shamir Foundation)

♦ Global Forum on Combating Antisemitism (Jerusalem)

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Riga


Annual Glorification of Latvia’s Hitler-Serving Waffen SSInternational Petition

Waffen SS Riga

Opinion: R. BRODSKYLATVIA’S UK AMBASSADORMONICA LOWENBERG

JOËL RUBINFELD’S NEWSLETTER ON EVENTS OF MARCH 16TH

Reports: APDelfiFoxJ. Kaža; Jewish News — JNS.orgReutersRIART (video2); Times of IsraelWashington PostYNetVideo of wreath layingYahoo.  Gallery of imagesMore media. WWN media list.
 ◊

MARINA SOLODKIN’S DEATH AND HER LAST PUBLIC STATEMENT


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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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On Lithuanian Holocaust Issues…


A MAJOR NEW PAPER BY YITZHAK ARAD

BEFORE NATO/EU ACCESSION  &  AFTERWARDS

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Explore Defending History…


By Author. By Section: •BooksExotic TourismHistoryFascists Glorified? •Litvak AffairsSeventy Years Declaration (TEXT) •Film & Theatre  •Politics of Memory

By Country: •CanadaEstoniaHungaryIsraelLatviaSouth AfricaUkraineUK •USA

For Lithuanian-Jewish (Litvak) study & tourism.

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Ukrainian Holocaust-Revisionist Museum Seeks Legitimacy with Well-Oiled North American Tour; Dr. Rudling Protests


1: Ultranationalists sponsor a North American lecture tour for a Lviv-based museum director. Harvard University (18 Oct) and a meeting with Canada’s prime minister (19 Oct) included.
2: Lund University (Sweden) historian Dr. Per Anders Rudling protests.

Dr. Per Anders Rudling

3: Canadian organizations complain to the vice-chancellor in Sweden about Dr. Rudling.
4: Exclusive: Per Anders Rudling in DefendingHistory
5: Scholars issue open letter
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2012: Voices of Courage


Lithuanian Citizens Spoke Out

Eight Signatories of SYD: MEPs Justas Paleckis, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė; MPs Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Justinas Karosas, Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė, Julius Sabatauskas, Algirdas Sysas, Birutė Vėsaitė
Dr. Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius)
MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis2, 3, 4
MPs V.P. Andriukaitis and A. Sysas
Algis Davidavičius

MEP Leonidas Donskis: 1 & 2

Dr. Darius Udrys
Documentary films by: Saulius Beržinis; Alicija Žukauskaitė
Nine demonstrators at the opening of Vilnius University’s exhibit for an antisemitic and homophobic artist
plus many Lithuanian-citizen signatories of Olga Zabludoff’s petition against the capital’s neo-Nazi march, Krystyna Anna Steiger’s against memorials to Nazi collaborators, and Monica Lowenberg’s calling on the Lithuanian government to take simple and honorable steps
plus DefendingHistory regulars Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, Geoff Vasil
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2012: SYD is Here to Stay


The Seventy Years Declaration (SYD)

Europe’s first parliamentary response to the Prague Declaration of 2008

An end to the “Prague Process” era of unchallenged Double Genocide and Holocaust Obfuscation spin

Text of the Declaration: in English ◊ in Finnish ◊ in French ◊ in German ◊ in Lithuanian ◊ in Russian ◊ in Polish ◊ in Yiddish

Presented to the President of the European Parliament; video clip

Early debates & coverage

Just Released:

Website ◊ Reviews ◊ YouTube

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2013 on Wrong Note in Capitals of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania


WARSAW:  Statue of “Praying Hitler” is unveiled in the Warsaw Ghetto. Reports in the Guardian, Daily Mail, Huffington Post.

——

KIEV: Eleonora Groisman, president of the Ukrainian Independent Council of Jewish Women, speaks out on renewed antisemitism coming from nationalist party. Meantime, nationalists celebrate memory of the fascist Bandera.

——

VILNIUS: Plans underway for annual neo-Nazi march on nation’s independence day. Olga Zabludoff relaunches international petition.


2012 — Quite a Year for Defending History

Brussels, January 20th:

The Seventy Years Declaration, the first serious EU level challenge to the 2008 Prague Declaration, was signed by 71 EU parliamentarians. Never again would the Double Genocide “Prague Process” be sold as undisputed “truth” in the European conversation. Spirited debate ensued.

Aftermath:

Lithuanian foreign minister berates his eight countrymen (all Social Democrats) who signed the SYD, and makes infamous “moustache remark” about Hitler and Stalin. MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis (now minister of health) replied powerfully. So did UK MP and author Denis MacShane. Andres Spokoiny’s tribute to MP Andriukaitis.

MP (& health minister) Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis

Vilnius, January 27th:

President of Lithuania honors Brandeis professor Antony Polonsky for “the promotion of Lithuania’s name in the world.” Issues  include the definition of “genocide,” the Prague Declaration, the Rachel Margolis case, and instrumentalization in an international campaign of government PR.


Tallinn, February 14th:

Estonia’s parliament passes the infamous “Valentine Day’s Law” that paves the way for official state glorification of the country’s Waffen SS.

On 28 August 1942, the anniversary of Tallinn’s capture a year earlier by Nazi forces, Estonian General Commissar SA-Obergruppenführer Karl Siegmund Litzmann announced that the German higher authorities had authorized formation of the Estonian Legion that would operate under the Waffen-SS.


Kaunas, February 16th:

Neo-Nazi march, complete with legalized “Lithuanian swastikas” covers all of central Kaunas on the nation’s February independence day, is addressed by supportive members of parliament.


Tel Aviv, March 5th:

Holocaust survivors, most in their late 80s, lead a picket line at the Dan Panorama in Tel Aviv as a group of wealthy South African Jews of Litvak descent honor the foreign minister who had insulted the Jewish community and Holocaust survivors on various occasions.


Vilnius, March 11th:

Neo-Nazi march, complete with legalized “Lithuanian swastikas” covers all of the central boulevard of the capital city, Vilnius, on the nation’s March 11th independence day. Right-wing members of parliament were on hand to support the neo-Nazis.


Strasbourg, March 14th:

Seventy Years Declaration is presented to Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament.


Riga, March 16th:

The annual parade and ceremony to h0nor Latvia’s Waffen SS again goes forward in central Riga with massive support from the central government.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff (center), director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, is one of the leaders of a dignified protest that included placing a wreath for the victims of the Holocaust on a day dedicated to honoring local pro-Nazi forces.


Vilnius & Kaunas in May:

Lithuanian government invests tens of thousands of litas to repatriate, rebury with full honors amidst glittering events the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who personally signed confirmation of the orders for all the Jewish citizens of his city (Kovno/Kaunas) to be herded into a ghetto within four weeks. American embassy issues shamefully “balanced” statement at the glorification of the Nazi PM, as if Nazism merits a “balanced diplomatic nuancing” in the 21st century (but in September three congressmen issued a morally solid letter of protest). Powerful responses came from Liberal MEP Leonidas Donskis, from Social Democratic MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, and the Jewish Community of Lithuania.

The most unbelievable image of 2012: An EU/NATO partner government invests in glorification of its 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.


Zhager (Žagarė), July 13th:

A partnership between a local Lithuanian businessmen, members of the municipality, and foreigners of Litvak origin team up to produce Lithuania’s first and only (?) town center plaque that tells the simple truth about the fate of the town’s Jewish population.


Vilnius, August:

Lithuanian president signs order for renewal and enlargement of the Zingeris-Racinskas “Red-Brown Commission”; in return for various diplomatic favors, Israeli and American support provides cover. A public statement and protest letter were issued by the last association in Israel of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors.


Tel Aviv, September:

The untimely death of former Israeli ambassador to Latvia and Lithuania, HE Chen Ivri Apter, is followed by Leivick House’s release of 2009 video from the Tel Aviv event to honor defamed Holocaust survivor, resistance hero and historian Dr. Rachel Margolis, during which the ambassador powerfully addressed the Double Genocide movement head on.


Sydney & Melbourne, September:

Documentary film Rewriting History (Marc Radomsky and Danny Ben-Moshe) is released in Australia. The story of Defending History is one of its central themes…


Vilnius, September 24th:

Jailhouse Rock: Israeli dignitaries play to the hilt the Zingerian roles assigned to them for the latest Jewish farce in town: The Menachem Begin plaque on the jailhouse wall.


Vilnius, September 27th:

Nine young protesters picket the opening of an exhibit at Vilnius University of the artwork of a racist, antisemitic, homophobic envelope designer.


Lund, Lviv & Canada, October:

Dr. Per Anders Rudling of Lund University, Sweden, leads the international effort to expose the lecture tour arranged by Ukrainian-Canadian nationalists for the head of a museum that obfuscates the Holocaust in Lviv. Dr. Rudling attacked by the nationalists, supported by fellow academics. In the meantime, blanket silence over the appearance of the Holocaust distorter at Harvard, and the (uninformed) praise by the Canadian prime minister.

Dr. Per Anders Rudling


Vilnius, November:

Major red-brown conference in Vilnius with the outgoing prime minister as headline speaker. Pre-eventevent; Evaldas Balčiūnas; Pinchos FridbergGeoff Vasil.


London, December:

Knighted professor (see January 27th above) organizes a second UCL conference in London. Ninety year old Holocaust survivor leads simultaneous protest at the Lithuainan embassy in London.


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The Waffen SS in Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine



Campaigns underway to glorify the Waffen SS in 3 countries — for both domestic and international consumption

Estonia (Estonia section)

Latvia (Latvia sectionUK connection; Monica Lowenberg’s petition)

Ukraine (Ukraine sectionCanada connection; Canada section)

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Loss of Loyal Friends


Ambassador Chen Ivri Apter

Prof. S. S. Prawer

Prof. Harry Shukman

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Menachem Begin


JAILHOUSE ROCK AT VILNIUS PRISON

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Glorifying a Nazi Puppet of 1941


in 2012!

CONGRESSMEN SPEAK OUT

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Litvak Corner


TourismMap of Jewish LithuaniaLitvak HeritageExotic TourismDark Tourism. Litvak Forum. Holocaust mapEfraim Zuroff on 3 new books.

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Petitions in Progress


Krystyna Steiger on LithuaniaMonica Lowenberg on Latvia ◊ and on Lithuania ◊ Olga Zabludoff on Nazi marches in central Vilnius

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Far and Wide


Hollande on French collaboration; but Lithuanian FM wants Double Genocide to feature in EU presidency
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(Real) Litvak Forum


 Petition
 זשאַגער (Zhager) by Rod Freedman; by Sara Manobla; by Rose Zwi; by DH.com
 Bankier’s last book
 Cassedy reviewed by Allan Nadler; by Efraim Zuroff; by Olga Zabludoff; by Dovid Katz
 אחשוורוש מעדאַלן
 Forward’s Paul Berger on “Sunflower Litvaks” (PDF)
Reply to Economist
 Berzhinis’s film
 Landsbergis
 Račinskas brand of “Holocaust studies”
 In London Jewish News
 “Moderate Litvaks”
 Dictionary

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MEP Donskis


When the news came out, he issued a bold statement within minutes
Then he wrote an essay that could outlive all the rest
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Baltics


Estonia: Valentine’s Day Law
Latvia: Waffen SS
Lithuania: Nazi ‘PM’ Honored. UN on swastikas.
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Hungary


State honors collaborator:  Elie Wiesel & Knesset Speaker Rivlin react

Romania

Obfuscator is appointed minister

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Litvak Tourism


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Jewish Lithuania


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Holocaust Survivors Picket TA ‘Gala’ Where South African Bigwigs Honor Lithuanian Right-Wing Politician


Kovno Ghetto Survivor and Resistance Hero Joe Melamed, 87, Leads March 5th 2012 Picket Line Against “Sellout Gala” at the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama

MORE IMAGES

Lithuanian Foreign Minister and Brothers Zingeris are Greeted by Protesting Holocaust Survivors

A FIRST-TIME PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LEYVIK HOUSE YIDDISH CULTURE CENTER, THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL OFFICE AND THE ASSOCIATION OF LITHUANIAN JEWS IN ISRAEL

Report on YNET.  The Times of Israel.  15min.lt.  Itongadol.com.  Agencia Judia.  Forverts (Yiddish Forward).    Background.  More.

Holocaust survivors Shlomo Cheskov (left, from Shavl/Šiauliai), and Joseph Melamed (from Kovno/Kaunas) at the Tel Aviv demonstration. Mr. Cheskov’s sign says (in Yiddish) “With our partisan heroes, against neo-Nazism. We are here!” Mr. Melamed’s (in Hebrew) addressed to the South African businessmen diners at the gala dinner: “Dear Diners! Where is your conscience? Your solidarity with Holocaust survivors and resistance fighters and partisans?” Photo: Bella Bryks-Klein.

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Seventy Years Declaration Joins the European Conversation on 20 January 2012


The Seventy Years Declaration

Solemnly commemorates the Holocaust and reaffirms human rights of all people. Opposes the Prague Declaration and ‘Double Genocide’ politics. Rejects glorification of the Waffen SS of Estonia and Latvia and the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF).

Lithuania’s foreign minister’s “moustache response” came within minutes of SYD’s release.

 ———

TEXT AND LIST OF FOUNDING SIGNATORIES

PRESENTED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

UPDATE: DOCUMENTARY FILM RELEASED

SYD TEXT IN BELARUSIAN; ENGLISHFRENCH;  GERMAN;  LITHUANIAN;  POLISHRUSSIAN; SPANISHYIDDISHLIST OF UK SIGNATORIES;  LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ATTACKS SIGNATORIES WITHIN MINUTES

MEDIA COVERAGE

 ———

Danny Ben-Moshe launches SYD in the Jerusalem PostSYD published. Lithuanian Foreign Minister responds in minutes with infamous “moustache comparison” of Hitler and Stalin, later attacks Lithuanian parliamentarians who signed. UK MP Denis MacShane congratulates the Lithuanian Eight who signed. Vytenis Andriukaitis, signatory of nation’s Declaration of Independence, replies to FM. Roger Cohen in the New York Times. Gang-up on Lithuanian radio panelAJForwardHaaretzJC.

British parliamentarian tells Lithuanian signatories of the 70 Years Declaration:

“I know it must be lonely to take a stand on such a controversial subject but wanted to write to you to say you are not alone and every decent British and European citizen stands with you.”

— UK MP Denis MacShane

DefendingHistory.com congratulates the Lithuanian parliamentarians among the founding 70 signatories of the Seventy Years Declaration for their courage, integrity, love of all their country’s peoples, and genuine commitment to European values:

Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, MP

Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, MEP

Justinas Karosas, MP

Justas Paleckis, MEP

Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė, MP

Julius Sabatauskas, MP

Algirdas Sysas, MP

Birutė Vėsaitė, MP

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Social Democrats Stood Up


Boldly defying the right wing government’s Holocaust politics, a number of leading Lithuanian Social Democrats have stood up with courage. Six MPs and two MEPs signed the SYD. They were attacked by the current foreign minister in his “moustache reply” and an article (and in a “cooked” radio panel).

MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, the SD foreign affairs spokesman, replied robustly. UK MP Denis MacShane sent personal letters to each of the signatories. Then, two Social Democratic MPs issued a statement in the Seimas protesting the state’s honoring of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.

MP Andriukaitis challenged the foreign minister on the floor of the Seimas.

OTHER BOLD CITIZENS SPEAK OUT

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Admirers Celebrate


90th Birthday of Dr. Rachel Margolis

Tel Aviv attorney Joe Melamed, head of the Association of Lithuanian Jews, celebrating Dr. Rachel Margolis’s 90th birthday in Rechovot

Left her safe haven with righteous Christians to join her family in the Vilna Ghetto. Joined the Jewish underground anti-Nazi resistance. Witness to creation of the Yiddish Partisan Hymn.

Escaped to join the partisans and fought valiantly against the Nazis in the forests of Lithuania. The only one in her family to survive the Holocaust.

Volunteered for the short-lived Jewish museum after the war.

Dedicated half a century to Biology at Vilnius University.

Helped establish the Green House Holocaust exhibit. Rediscovered, deciphered and published Kazimierz Sakowicz’s diary of Ponár. Author of a remarkable memoir. Beloved guide, lecturer and teacher on Jewish Vilna and the Holocaust.

Target of a campaign of defamation by Vilnius prosecutors, the “Lithuanian Human Rights Association” and other far-right Holocaust-revisionist elites.

Afraid to return to her beloved Vilna for one last visit. Lithuanian government refuses to reach out to her, while prosecutors repeat threats on kangaroo ‘war crimes investigation’ (most recently for the record in the 2012 documentary ‘Rewriting History’)

VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL MARGOLIS: 1 and 2

MORE INFORMATION AND TRIBUTES:

RACHEL MARGOLIS FACT SHEET ♦ FORMER UK PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN ♦ 5 MEMBERS OF THE US CONGRESS ♦ ACADEMIC STUDIES PRESS ♦ KEENE STATE COLLEGE ♦ SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE ♦ LORD JANNER OF BRAUNSTONE ♦  LATE LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER ALGIRDAS BRAZAUSKAS ♦ ISRAELI AMBASSADOR CHEN IVRI APTER ♦ ADL DIRECTOR ABRAHAM FOXMAN ♦ NCSJ ♦ METRO WEST HOLOCAUST COUNCIL ♦ LEIVICK HOUSE TEL AVIV ♦ JEWISH CHRONICLE ♦ ALGEMEINER JOURNAL (& 2) ♦ RACHEL MARGOLIS.COM

OCTOBER 2012 UPDATE: VIDEO RELEASED OF THE LATE AMBASSADOR CHEN IVRI APTER’S 2009 SPEECH AT LEIVICK HOUSE, TEL AVIV

Coverage in DefendingHistory.com:

OVERVIEWS HERE & HERE;  7 MAY 2008;  19 JUNE 200928 OCTOBER 2009;  27 JANUARY 2010;  28 OCTOBER 2010;  3 JANUARY 2011;  5 MAY 2011;  28 AUGUST 2011;  23 SEPTEMBER 2011.

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A Shock for Survivors and Visitors to the Lithuanian Capital


New ‘Holocaust Room’ in the Cellar of Vilnius’s State Sponsored Genocide Museum Sanitizes the Local Fascists who Unleashed the Genocide of Lithuanian Jewry

 

 Culmination of a year of government events glorifying the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and other Hitlerist groups that initiated (and whose members became the backbone of) the annihilation of the country’s Jewish minority

LAF leaflets set out plans for genocide prior to the German invasion. Historians on the 1941 campaign of mass murderSurvivors testifyMapRecent nationalist glorification. Now, the new Holocaust Room in the cellar of a major state museum in an EU capital has this to say:

Year to commemorate the perpetrators ran parallel with a year to commemorate the Holocaust, too; One in a series of ‘dual tracks’ to satisfy at once the antisemitic, Holocaust-revisionist Far Right and foreign Jewish groups

PR: ‘Fake Litvak’ initiatives (Identity Theft) & Double Games
 ♦

ANTISEMITIC EXHIBITS IN MAIN HALL OF GENOCIDE MUSEUM DISPLAYED AS BEFORE, WITH NO CURATORIAL COMMENT

 ♦
MEANWHILE, IN WASHINGTON DC, NEW JEWISH ‘SUNFLOWER’ GROUP MANIPULATED BY LITHUANIAN EMBASSY TO DISTORT AND TRIVIALIZE THE 1941 GENOCIDE OF THE JEWISH POPULATION AS ‘FREEDOM FROM THE SOVIETS’  AND — ‘AT THE PERIL OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY’; RESPONSE HERE.
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Believe it or not. . .


Vilnius Prosecutors Launch Campaign against Another Holocaust Survivor, 86, this time via — Interpol!

Joe Melamed

Joe Melamed in his Tel Aviv office

At Lithuanian prosecutors’ demand, Israeli Interpol liaison officers speak with Mr. Melamed about the ‘accusations’

Report in Haaretz by Yossi Melman

Yad Vashem withdraws invitations to visiting minster and resident ambassador for Vilna Ghetto commemoration; Coverage in Haaretz by Yossi Melman; Associated Press (→ CBS News, Fox, MSNBC, Washington Post, YahooNews etc); JTA (→ WJC, JJ, Juedische.at, etc); Mishpacha

Three British MPs file Early Day Motion 2161 to protest the Lithuanian government’s action

DefendingHistory.com reports here and here

  Geoff Vasil in the Jewish Chronicle

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A Moral Epidemic??


Local Nazi Collaborators & Holocaust Perpetrators Honored in Parts of Eastern Europe

IS THIS REALLY HOW THEY SHOULD NOW BE RECYCLED BY ‘NEW EUROPE’?

Croatia

Estonia

Hungary

Latvia

Lithuania

Romania

Ukraine

EFRAIM ZUROFF IN HAARETZ 

DefendingHistory.com section on the glorification of Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators in Eastern Europe

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When a Major Scholar’s Book is Abused by East European Nationalists


Vilnius book event for the Lithuanian edition is held at the Foreign Ministry with a disturbing speech by the director of the History Institute

East European nationalists are abusing the book

Select critiques of Bloodlands

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May 5th 2012 made it 4 Years since Police Came Looking for Two Women Holocaust Survivors



REPORT ON THE THREE YEAR MARK STILL HOLDS


Holocaust Survivors:

Not Charged — Not Cleared

With non-stop defamation: Lithuanian ‘Human Rights’ [!] Association calls for  ‘sentencing’ of named ‘citizens of Jewish nationality’ for ‘organizing a massive slaughter’; Document is here; Comment herehere.

UNITED STATES CONGRESSMEN STILL WAITING FOR A MEANINGFUL REPLY

FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN HONORS DR RACHEL MARGOLIS

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Estonia (back in 2011): Hitler’s Invasion Celebrated (Box Coverage to 8 July 2011)


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1000 Neo-Nazi Marchers Fill Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s Independence Day; They are Addressed by Two Members of Parliament


Marcher sports a designer swastika on her handbag at the March 11th 2012 neo-Nazi march on Gedimino Prospect in the heart of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

———

EYEWITNESS REPORT & IMAGES

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Courageous Achievements


Brussels — Valiant members of parliament and the European Parliament from Latvia, Lithuania and other East European Countries sign the Seventy Years Declaration

Kaunas — Daiva Čepauskaitė’s new play: ‘Day and Night’

Šiauliai — Evaldas Balčiūnas is translating the memoir of a Jewish woman partisan of the Vilna Ghetto

Vilnius — Social Democratic MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis boldly responds to the latest Holocaust-related article by the foreign minister of Lithuania

Vilnius — In the face of untoward pressure over many years, Rachel Kostanian has maintained steadfast historical accuracy in the Green House Holocaust department of the State Jewish Museum; Esther Goldberg’s reports I & II

Vilnius — Books and a documentary of lasting value produced by the House of Memory, led by Linas Vildžiūnas, Vaidotas Reivytis and others; projects curtailed by the government’s ‘red-brown establishment’ monopolizing resources

Vilnius — Saulius Beržinis’s Kopa Studios producing series of uniquely spin-free documentaries on the Holocaust

Riga — Rabbi Menachem Barkahan’s New Holocaust Museum

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Latvian President Blesses Waffen SS March in Riga; Council of Europe’s Racism Unit Condemns Event; 1500 Turn Out


The president of Latvia endorsed this year’s Waffen SS march, “bowing his head” to his nation’s Waffen SS.  Latvia’s ambassador to the UK defended the march.  Council of Europe condemns the event.  UK MP John Mann.  UK Parliament Early Day Motion 2866. 1500 Turn Out.

———

A wreath for Holocaust survivors was covered by the Waffen SS logo by the event’s organizers. Two anti-Nazi activists exposed the wreath again for a short time, before they were removed by police.

———

Foreign protesters included Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Jerusalem), Joel Rubinfeld of the European Jewish Parliament (Brussels), Monica Lowenberg, creator of the anti-march international petition (London).

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EYEWITNESS REPORT & IMAGES.  2ND REPORT.  MEDIA COVERAGE.

Posted in Boxes, Celebrations of Fascism, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, Racism, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Latvian President Blesses Waffen SS March in Riga; Council of Europe’s Racism Unit Condemns Event; 1500 Turn Out

Ukraine: Fascists, Collaborators, Perpetrators — Honored


DETAILS HERE

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Roundup


Select Debates, Essays, Broadcasts, Appreciation

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New Documentary Film


Rewriting History (Marc Radomsky & Danny Ben-Moshe) challenges East European governments’ “Double Genocide” politics and the 2008 “Prague Declaration

The film highlights the 2012 arrival of the Seventy Years Declaration at the European Parliament, where it was received by EP president Martin Schulz

Promo on YouTubeWebsite; at Classic Cinemas; Facebook

Reviews by the Critics 

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Latvia (back in 2011): 2,500 Turn Out to Hail Country’s Waffen-SS


Increased Turnout for This Year’s Waffen-SS March in Riga

DETAILS HERE AND HERE

COMMENT HERE AND HERE

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PLANS TO HONOR HOLOCAUST MASS MURDERER AND RE-INTER  HIS REMAINS IN RIGA

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Story of a Little Roma Boy in Modern Vilnius



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  HUMAN RIGHTS

 

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vitia, a little Roma boy, looks out the window of his poor red house in Kirtimai, on the outskirts of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital

 

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

I thought for a long time about what to report about the situation of the Lithuanian Roma — about their lives today. And I decided to yell you about the little Roma boy called Vitia. Because, by telling his story I will also tell about the painful part of many Roma here in Lithuania in the final months of 2020.

But first a little background.

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When Symbol Adored by Neo-Nazis is Plonked on a “Gaon of Vilna Coin”: Selling at $1500 a Pop on Ebay



SYMBOLOGY  |  THE TEN-EURO “GAON COIN”  |  ABUSE OF JEWISH PROJECTS  |  THE “FAKE LITVAK” INDUSTRY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

Would Folks Outside Lithuania Suspect that New “Gaon of Vilna” Coin Seeks to Kosherize an Ultranationalist Symbol Beloved of Antisemitic Far Right?

Holocaust Survivors and their families in Lithuania are shocked. Rabbis and others protest.

See DH’S section on the new “far-right icon held up by the hollowed-out menorah”

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Posted in Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When Symbol Adored by Neo-Nazis is Plonked on a “Gaon of Vilna Coin”: Selling at $1500 a Pop on Ebay

Who in Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament) Represents Your Shtetl?



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  LATEST NEWS ON CEMETERY   |  PETITION

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Here is a list of 259 shtetls, large and small Lithuanian Jewish communities, which were located within what are now the boundaries of modern day Lithuania (many Litvaks hail from classical Lithuanian lands now in neighboring states, see map). Each row provides the Lithuanian name of the city or town, the Yiddish name in Latin letters and Hebrew letters, possibly with variant spellings, following Dovid Katz’s provisional online list (linked to a map),  and also the name of the current representative in Seimas, Lithuania’s parliament, a link to their web page, and finally, their official email address.

Seimas is the Lithuanian parliament. Its members serve four year terms. Half of them are elected through nationwide party slates and the other half represent electoral districts. The district boundaries can change with each election. The list below shows the representatives elected in the October 2020 election. See Seimas’s own English language page for photos of each, and each member’s political affiliation.

Lithuanians and Litvaks from around the world have many good reasons to write to the members in Seimas representing their ancestral homelands. These members can act on issues of local heritage and also speak out on matters of national policy. Indeed, many national issues are well pursued by building relationships with members of Seimas in districts throughout Lithuania. This is certainly the case with defending the old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery in Piramónt-Šnipiškės.

Members of Seimas or their assistants can also be helpful in making contacts with local authorities such as mayors and aldermen.

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New Lithuanian Parliament Deadline Looms (Nov. 24), Email Campaign Ramping Up



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO ‘CONVENTION CENTER IN THE CEMETERY’ PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION

by Andrius Kulikauskas

A heartfelt thank you for all who responded to our urgent call to write the Budget and Finance Committee of Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament), which met on November 11, 2020. The Committee acknowledged that it received recommendations from 54 groups and individuals to not finance the reconstruction of the Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace Building Complex, which the Soviets built in the center of the historic Jewish cemetery at Piramónt-Šnipiškės. The Committee neither approved nor rejected this proposal but simply passed it on to the Lithuanian government.

At this stage in the budget process, we urge concerned readers to send a second email to the Seimas leadership, as described below, before the Seimas’s crucial session on November 24, 2020.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on New Lithuanian Parliament Deadline Looms (Nov. 24), Email Campaign Ramping Up

Chronology of 2020 Debate on Seimas Decision to Name 2021 for Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities


[LAST UPDATE]

JUMP TO  MOST RECENT

23 June: “Setting the stage”: After the longtime ultranationalist head of the “Genocide Center” is replaced by a meek looking “member of the Tatar community” in attempt to repair the disastrous image of an EU/NATO democracy financing a Nazi-whitewash ethnic-purity-inclined institute paid for by the state, the chief historian of the Center (a longtime member of the state’s “red-brown commission”) delivers a fiery June 23rd speech proudly flanked by huge images of two proven Holocaust collaborators, J. Noreika and K. Škirpa.  Defending History was on the scene and reports.

29 June:  In response to media reports, Dovid Katz presents a case against the official state naming of the  upcoming year 2021 for June 1941 LAF activist Juozas Lukša, invoking the publications of Alex FaitelsonJoseph Melamed and a British parliamentary motion. Cnaan Liphshiz reports in JTA (also in Jerusalem PostTimes of IsraelEuropean Jewish Congress).

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Dramatic Developments in Case of the “Convention Center Project” in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery


[last update]


JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION; TO DH SECTION


November 2020:

Next Vilnius court hearing: 24 November (Laisvės Prospect 79A, room 205 [check updates]; case no. e2-625-918/2020). On 12 Nov, Lithuanian parliament member Kestutis Masiulis proposed that state funding not be allocated reconstruction of the old Sports Palace, on grounds that within a few years it would again become inadequate, given the huge parking and other needs. His formal amendment to the budget is available online.

October 2020:

Media reports on the previous hearings (of 1 and 6 Oct.): Defending History (1 Oct.), Algemeiner Journal (2 Oct.), SaveVilna.org (4 Oct.) Jerusalem Post (5 Oct); Defending History (6. Oct); Kapines.org (6. Oct); also earlier report on European Foundation for Human Rights involvement.

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dramatic Developments in Case of the “Convention Center Project” in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s Glorification of Nazi Collaborator K. Škirpa Still on Website


[UPDATED / ORIGINAL REPORT 3 MARCH 2020]

COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   KAUNAS MARCHES EU  |  OPINION 

Believe it or not, the Defense Ministry still flaunts its magazine cover glorifying Lithuania’s major  1941 “Holocaust advocate” on its website with no editorial comment or disclaimer from the defense minister (as PDF). Who was K. Škirpa?

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Is the Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace on the Old Jewish Cemetery?



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO ‘CONVENTION CENTER IN THE CEMETERY’ PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION

by Josifas Parasonis

Iconic roof of the dereleict Soviet sports palace in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. Graphic by  D. Umbrasas / Lrt.lt. In the original publication.

Vilnius’s historical and literary sources confirm that there are a number of burial sites in the city, mostly near Christian and Orthodox churches. Larger cemeteries, including Rasos, Antakalnis (soldiers), Bernardines, Orthodox (Liepkalnis), Jewish cemeteries (Piramont / Snipiskes and Zarétshe / Olandų), Evangelicals (Kalinauskas) and others. The legal regulation of Vilnius city cemeteries started only in the second half of the eighteenth century, when cemeteries near Christian and Orthodox churches were full to capacity (burials ceased in 1865) and separate parishes began burials outside the city.

1487-1830

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Is the Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace on the Old Jewish Cemetery?

Email Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament) to Respect the Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO ‘CONVENTION CENTER IN THE CEMETERY’ PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION

by Andrius Kulikauskas

As readers of Defending History know from Julius Norwilla’s recent article, this week is the rare and perfect opportunity for our concerns about the fate of the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt to be heard by Lithuania‘s Seimas.

The Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) is approving a package of investments that it will be making in 2021-2023 to pump Lithuania‘s economy as it battles the pandemic. Among the 49 billion euros of expenditures is a line item of 27 million euros for reconstruction of the Vilnius Sports and Congress Building Complex Project. (See page 3 here and page 84 here). In other words, this is money that will fund the endless desecration of the oldest Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Email Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament) to Respect the Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

Books in the Debate 2020


[updated]


Christoph Dieckmann & Ruta Vanagaite: How Did It Happen? (Our People. Part II. Understanding the Holocaust in Lithuania)Available for online order.

Book launch in Vilnius on 25 June 2020 (LJC video). DH opinion piece on background. Reviews by Silvia Foti (Times of Israel), Aušra Maldeikienė (Literaturairmenas.lt); Linas Vildžiūnas (Lrt.lt; 7md.lt).

Silvia Foti: Tears of Discovery. How I Learned My Grandfather was a Nazi War Criminal (in press)

Background on author’s website. In her latest blog, the author again fails to credit Evaldas Balčiūnas for revealing, in 2012, the Noreika history (and  thereafter that of  other glorified perpetrators)  to the English speaking world, for which he was persecuted by police and prosecutors for years (see his section, scroll down to  May 2014). References to the recent glorification of Noreika and Skirpa by a prominent scholar the Genocide Center and “Red-Brown Commission” on 23 June 2020 don’t cite Defending History’s eyewitness report in Vilnius. 

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Lithuania’s 2021 National Budget has Over Ten Million Euros Earmarked for ‘Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery’. November 10th is Last Day for Public Comments on Budget



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Julius Norwilla

VILNIUS—Lithuania’s parliament (the Seimas) has published the provisional state budget for 2021, along with a timetable specifying that the final date for protests, submissions, and comments from outside organizations (non-governmental and presumably including religious and human rights groups) is the 10th of November.

The budget links to the Ministry of Finance page where the project to erect the new national convention center (not mentioned: in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery), is explicitly cited in a list of other projects that do in fact enhance our nation’s economy:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Lithuania’s 2021 National Budget has Over Ten Million Euros Earmarked for ‘Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery’. November 10th is Last Day for Public Comments on Budget

Yakov Faitelson Calls on Lithuania’s Parliament to Reconsider Naming 2021 to Glorify Alleged Participant in 1941 Kaunas Atrocities



OPINION  |  CHRONOLOGY OF THE 2020-2021 LUKŠA DEBATE  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  | LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Yakov Faitelson

Editor’s note: Following the Lithuanian parliament’s decision last June to name the year 2021 for an alleged participant in the Kaunas (Kovno) atrocities of June 1941, rapid protest ensued from Defending History, and in rapid succession, the official Jewish Community of Lithuania in partnership with the American Jewish Committee, and Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, executive director of the World Jewish Congress Israel and director of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations. See Evaldas Balčiūnas’s summary, and DH’s chronology of the debate, which also provides additional sources on the alleged activities of the honoree, Juozas Lukša, including the UK parliamentary statement on his alleged participation in the 1941 Kaunas beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky. Note that the Lithuanian parliament named 2020 for the Gaon of Vilna, and minted a controversial coin to mark that. Before that, the year 2019 had been named for a leader of a murderous Hitlerist militia of 1941.

I respectfully call on members of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas), to read pp. 33-34 in my father’s book, The Truth and Nothing But the Truth (Gefen Publishing, Jerusalem & New York 2006), and to reconsider the tragically misguided proposal to name 2021 for Juozas Lukša (Luksha), a participant in atrocities committed against the peaceful Jewish citizens of Kaunas (Kovno) in the last week of June 1941, when massive local violence broke out before the invading German army had set up its authority.

I would like to emphasize that in his books, my father Alex (Alter-Henoch) Faitelson (1923–2010) provided a meticulously researched description of those tragic events of the Lithuanian Holocaust. As a professional auditor who worked for a major Israeli bank for over twenty-five years, he adhered to very strict rules also in his studies of the Holocaust. He repeatedly encountered and tested — corroborating or rejecting — details of testimonies of his former comrades in the anti-fascist struggle and Holocaust survivors more generally. In the same book, he included chapters “Forgery, Communist Style” (chapter 20), “The Tricks of Memory” (21), and “Everyone’s a Hero” (22), titles that speak for themselves to anyone in the field. In fact, these are part of a larger five-chapter section called Legends and Fables.

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Rewriting of History in Brussels at a Strange New Museum: “House of European History”



OPINION  |    MUSEUMS  |  PRAGUE PLATFORM  |  EU  |  BELGIUM

by Tord Björk

 

The Nazis wanted to exterminate a race and Karl Marx wanted to exterminate a social class. Our  guide at the House of European History museum (HEH) in Brussels is twisting her tongue as she tries to solve the task of simultaneously explaining that Communism and Nazism are the same thing, and yet, somehow not. Visually, the impression of the museum’s exhibition is overwhelmingly slanted toward the notion that they are fully, inexorably and inherently equivalent.

Towering above us in the ideologically most intense part of the museum are huge video screens tilted towards the visitor. These screens, on four islands in the room, are so large that in spite of the hall being generously spacious, they fill up the room. The spectator can feel small in their shadow. On the screens the masses march in honor of the dictator, people are violently oppressed and the imagery makes this museum’s point very clearly: the interwar period was marked by the very same conflict as that after the war until the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin wall fell. That single conflict that is posited as God’s-honest-truth-fact is between Western democracy and (any kind of) totalitarianism. The technically impressive format is meticulously balanced: two huge screens each for the horrific methods of Communism and Nazism. The similarity is indeed visually striking. Stalin and Hitler—in that order— are omnipresent in the midst of terror. As a climax, the hammer and the sickle are projected at the same time as the swastika in meticulously equal format.

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Is Latvia Really Trying to Shut Down Riga’s Famous Outdoor Holocaust Museum?



LATVIA  |  MUSEUMS 

RIGA—According to various media reports, including JTA and the Algemeiner, plans are afoot to force the closure of the Museum of the Riga Ghetto and the Latvian Holocaust, whose opening Defending History covered a decade ago. The beloved outdoor museum is one of the very few museums in Latvia to provide an accurate historic view of the Holocaust and large scale individualized commemoration of its victims in Latvia. The role of local collaborators and the antisemitic nationalist establishment in Latvia in 1941 is amply documented by facsimiles of newspapers and documents of the times, all with full translation. On the commemoration front, there is a permanent outdoor exhibit with virtually all c. 70,000 names of the Riga Ghetto’s victims inscribed. It is a unique institution, for the Baltics and far beyond.

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Eyewitness Report of 6 Oct. 2020 Vilnius District Court Hearing on Old Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—There were three observers present at this morning’s Vilnius County Court hearing in the case over the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípeshok / Šnipiškės district): Ruta Bloshtein (author of the international petition that has garnered 52,000 signatures), Edmundas Kulikauskas who has appeared at a number of “Gerbkime kapines” (Respect Cemeteries) events supporting the cemetery’s preservation, and Arkady Kurliandchik, elected board member of the Vilnius Jewish Community.

“Defending History was there”

The attorneys for Turto Bankas expressed their impatience and dissatisfaction with the case’s continuation, which they pointed out further postpones the onset of building works on site. The judge, for her part, was concerned about the apostillary status of the affidavits received as well as an original of the classic prewar map of the cemetery appended by scholar Joseph Klausner to his 1935 book on the subject. At last week’s hearing, reported on in DH and the Algemeiner Journal, star witness Prof. Josif Parasonis, one of Lithuania’s major specialists in building sciences and a cofounder of the current Vilnius Jewish Community, pointed out that the Historical Institute in Vilnius had, in its report, carelessly superimposed the Klausner map on modern maps, falsely leaving the Sports Palace building outside the cemetery, and, Prof. Parasonis pointed out to the judge, serving to place many of the historic graves, ridiculously, right in the middle of the nearby river (the Neris, known also as the Viliya).

The judge, who also called for the plaintiffs to present proof of their descendance from persons buried in the cemetery, adjourned the hearing to 24 November.

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Vilnius’s Future Monument to the Righteous Holocaust Rescuers belongs on Gedimino Prospect



OPINION

Seven years ago, this journal’s opinion section cheered the decision to finally, for the first time, honor one of the real Lithuanian heroes of the Holocaust era, the Rescuers, also known as Righteous of the Nations, in Vilnius. While praising the decision to so honor the inspirational Ona Šimaitė (1894–1970), Defending History lamented the decision to do so out in a suburb just north of the city. The name of our editorial in 2013 was “Vilnius Street Name Proposed for Rescuer Out in Boondocks; But Please Remove Nazi Collaborators from City Center!”

As ever, the Defending History community was pleased to play the role of catalyst while much more powerful and wealthy forces eventually came around to taking up the cause. In the end a streetlet was named for Šimaitė at the technical “edge” of the city center, not very traversed, but progress nonetheless.

Naturally, Defending History was there to report on the street name’s unveiling in 2015.

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Eyewitness Report of 1 Oct. 2020 Vilnius District Court Hearing on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Julius Norwilla

The author is chairperson of the Vilnius Committee for Preservation of Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Cemetery. A selection of his English articles is available here.

Coronavirus-era court hearings are necessarily small in attendance, but that doesn’t take away from their potential historic import. Our small Defending History team, as usual, monitored today’s hearing at Vilnius District Court in the case brought by over a hundred descendants of people buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Shnípeshok, today’s Šnipiškės district in modern Vilnius, capital of Lithuania). They are asking for their family’s burial grounds, purchased in freehold perpetuity, to be defiled and humiliated by erection of a new national convention center based in the current Soviet ruin of Sporto Rumai (“The Sports Palace”) with construction of a large annex from the start. The case if part of a wider movement, local and international, calling on the Lithuanian government to move the convention center project away from the Old Jewish Cemetery to a new and morally clean venue. Issues of human and equal eights have arisen. This would never be the fate of a Lithuanian or Christian cemetery, as pointed out by the European Foundation for Human Rights which has taken an on-the-record interest in the case.

Turning to today’s hearing, the legal question under consideration was the request by the plaintiffs (the 100+ descendants) for the court to stop the planned imminent construction work on the site, or, in legal terminology, “termination of activities which creates a real threat of damage in the future” (Lith. “dėl uždraudimo atlikti veiksmus, sukeliančius realią grėsmę žalos padarymo ateityje galimybę”). It is case no. e2-625-918/2020.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Events, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Eyewitness Report of 1 Oct. 2020 Vilnius District Court Hearing on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Large Poster of J. Noreika and K. Škirpa, Major Holocaust Collaborators, at Lithuanian President’s Public Event



GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS 

VILNIUS—The official website of the President of Lithuania,  Gitanas Nausėda, features a report and picture gallery of his speech on 20 September at the unveiling of a major monument, in the northwestern Lithuanian village Kryžkalnis, to postwar Lithuanian partisans who fought against the Soviet occupation of the country after World War II. As with other such events, the inclusion in the proceedings of honors for those who were recycled 1941 Holocaust collaborators turns what would be a uniting event celebrating freedom into an event that doubles as glorification also of the perpetrators and collaborators in the Lithuanian Holocaust, all of whom were  in some sense ipso facto “anti-Soviet” (working for a Nazi victory).

Added arrows show the Noreika-Škirpa banner and the president speaking to the crowd at the inauguration of a new monument in northwestern Lithuania on 20 Sept. 2020. Original photo, by Robertas Dačkus is from Office of the President of Lithuania. Source.

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Conference of European Rabbis (CER) Strips London Grave-Trading “CPJCE” of Rights to Meddle Further in Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



 OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO ‘CONVENTION CENTER IN THE CEMETERY’ PROJECT | LONDON’S “CPJCE”  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—As Jewish communities worldwide continue to prepare during the pandemic for the Jewish New Year (and roughly three weeks of high holidays) that gets underway on Friday evening, the action on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery has been revving up to a high pitch on a number of fronts. The question revolves around the vast pain caused by government plans to site a national convention center and annex in the heart of the old Vilna cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnipishok / Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius).

Conference of European Rabbis Takes Action

In a tweet today, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, for close to a decade president of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), confirmed that the body today formally banned the controversial London-based, Satmar-hasidic (“Aaronite sect” branch) from further involvement in the fate of the Old Vilna Cemetery.

Orthodox Jewish media earlier reported on the background to this development, the London CPJCE’s refusal to honor a formal invitation to come before a rabbinical court to explain their bizarre Vilnius activities in near-rapturous fervent favor of the cemetery’s utter desecration.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Conference of European Rabbis (CER) Strips London Grave-Trading “CPJCE” of Rights to Meddle Further in Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery