Author Archives: Defending History

DH Editor on Simple Ethics of ‘Kaunas Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS  |  KAUNAS

by Dovid Katz

This comment is adapted from the author’s Facebook post of 3 Dec. 2021.
As someone who has enjoyed many visits to Kaunas, and enjoyed meeting its wonderful, warm, tolerant people for three decades now, I’m the first not to ever blame them for the city’s (and national) authorities having made it the city with the most public-space monuments to local Holocaust participants/partners/collaborators of any in the world, including street names, plaques, busts, bas-reliefs and more for the likes of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika, Holocaust-era ethnic cleansing theoretician K. Škirpa, and the head of Hitler’s Nazi puppet government J. Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis (even the “liberal” Vytautas Magnus university has a lecture hall and bas-relief glorifying him!).

It all strikes outsiders as a kind of bizarre circus macabre of a celebration of those whose first order of business was the butchering of the city’s 30,000 citizens who were Jewish, a celebration of Nazism and the Holocaust. It is a true friend of Kaunas who would now publicly call for the removal of these shameful street names and monuments. And, when folks accept lavish invites, ego-trips and honors in “Capital of European Culture” programs, we only ask that they speak out publicly, with dignity, calling for the removal of public-space state-sponsored shrines to the local “white-armbander” Hitlerists who launched the Lithuanian Holocaust in Kaunas on 23 June 1941, before the first German soldiers arrived. If they do, they acquit themselves with honor. If they don’t and allow their use as “foreign Jews” to further betray the victims of the Holocaust and the simple historic truth, for a mess of lentils, they shall duly go done in the darkest alleys of Jewish and European history as Useful Jewish Idiots (so-called “UJIs”) — at best.

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French Composer and Pianist Michael Levinas, Son of Philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, Explains Opposition to Wanton Use of Father’s Name in Kaunas’s New ‘Levinas Center’



 OPINION  |  USE OF ‘JEWISH PROJECTS’ TO DEFLECT FROM HOLOCAUST OBFUSCATION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |   ANNUAL KAUNAS MARCHES  |  FRANCE

PARIS—The French Jewish journal Actualité Juive  published in its print edition a full-page interview with the eminent French composer and pianist Michaël Levinas, concerning his protest at a new center in Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas (once Kovno, Yiddish Kóvne), being named for his late father, the great French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995). Coinciding with the European Union’s naming of Kaunas as “Capital of European Culture” for 2022 and the city’s refusal to remove even one of the many street names, shrines, plaques and monuments to local Nazi collaborators who helped ensure the massacre of nearly all the city’s Jewish residents in 1941, and who participated in the unleashing of the Holocaust in Lithuania even before the arrival of the first German soldiers in late late 1941, the composer’s powerful moral protest represents a singular voice of justice, reason and moral courage to date.

The composer’s stance stands in marked  contrast with many others, including artists, assorted academics and a wide range of Western wannabees, who are accepting funding, honors, junkets, invites, and photo-ops with “important people” in return for an unspoken assurance of silence in face of the city’s refusal to take down a single shrine to the local perpetrators of the Holocaust.

The following is a PDF of Michaël Levinas’s interview in the print edition of Actualité Juive of 13 January 2022:

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Updates on Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year Without (So Far) Removing a Single Shrine to Local Holocaust Collaborators


[latest update]

OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

Congratulations to the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, once known also as Kovno (in Yiddish forever: Kóvne) on its selection as Europe’s “Capital of European Culture” in 2022, sharing the title with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg. But as  the start of the city’s co-reign arrived on new year’s eve, not a single public-space glorification of local Holocaust collaborators had been removed. Zero. No city on the planet has as many monuments to local partners in the genocide of that city’s Jews. The 30,000 Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews) of Kaunas were brutally murdered, and the city played the primary role in the launch of the Lithuanian genocide on 23 June 1941, before the arrival of the first German forces. Thousands were murdered before the Germans arrived and/or set up their administration.

Lithuanian government authorities have  reportedly invested large sums to lure “Useful Jewish Idiots” from the UK, US, Israel, and further afield to participate in “cultural events” intended to obfuscate and deflect from the primary issue: Why are the enablers of the slaughter of Kovno Jewry still honored by street names, plaques and university lecture halls and statues in the city? Local Jewish leaders who have dared to speak up have rapidly been smeared as “Putinists” for daring to criticize the far right’s hold over national history policy (and indeed, the need for such a policy to start with).

But in the waning days of 2021, a “waterfall of truth” began to cascade from an unanticipated quarter. Michael Levinas, son of the celebrated Lithuanian-Jewish born French philosopher Emanuel Levinas, forbade authorities to name a fancy new institute after his father. This was kept under wraps until his 21 Dec.  Le Figaro opinion piece broke the  story, and it was duly reported in Lithuania by LRT.lt yesterday.

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Two Years Later: Lithuania’s Defense Ministry Still Flaunts Website Homage to Hitlerist Theoretician of Ethnic Cleansing of Jews


[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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Books in the Debate 2021


[updated]

see also: BOOKS SECTION


Silvia Foti: The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal

See the author’s major op-eds in the New York Times (27 Jan. 2021 [as PDF]), Wall Street Journal (26 Aug. 2021 [as PDF] & Lou Gerber’s 7 Sept.WSJ letter [as PDF]; EU Today (2 Sept. 2021 [as PDF]); author’s BBC Hard Talk interview with Stephen Sackur (15 April 2021); 17 Sept. 2021 report in Spiegel; Seminar at Harvard University’s Davis Center; Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (23 Jan. 2022)

Reports in Algemeiner.com; Gil Skorwid and Patrick Smith on NBC NewsGrant Arthur Gochin in Jewish JournalRichard s. Hirschhaut at American Jewish Committee

Reviews of Foti’s The Nazi’s Granddaughter: Bettina Berch in Jewish Book Council; Liz Mineo in the Harvard Gazette; in the National Book Review.

Background on author’s website.   Spanish edition

When you visit Vilnius, Kaunas and other Lithuanian citizens, be sure to ask the powers that be to remove city-center shrines to brutal Holocaust collaborators that mar this beautiful European country.

most prominently: a marble slab gazing upon the main boulevard (Gedimino) and a bas-relief with plaque on the front of the National Library of the Sciences:

See also a selection of street names and public-space shrines across Lithuania and DH’s Collaborators Glorified section. Also: Noreika section.

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Editor’s Comments on Defending History Persons of the Year 2022


[UPDATE]


OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  LITHUANIA

by Dovid Katz

Note: An earlier version of this comment appeared on Dovid Katz’s personal Facebook page on 31 Dec. 

Each year on New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight (Vilnius time), our Defending History community publishes its Person(s) of the Year, in most years, and this year once again, chosen from among the most inspirational and eternal of Lithuania’s 20th century heroes: the amazing people who risked everything, starting with themselves and their children and families, to just save a Jewish neighbor and fellow citizen who was targeted for death by the Nazis and their local collaborationists and lackeys. Most years, and this year again, we are fortunate to have an authoritative summary of the achievements of the folks we are honoring prepared for the Persons of the Year series by Danutė Selčinskaja, longtime director of the Project for Commemoration of Rescuers of Jews at the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History in Vilnius. With brevity, authority and humanity, Danutė tells the tale of our 2022 Persons of the Year: Tadas Pocius and Barbora Urbonavičiūtė-Pocienė; Antanas Volskis and Stanislava Volskienė;Leonas Vaidotas and  Stanislava Vaidotienė — all of the tiny speck of a village Karalgiris… All simple people of the land whose heart and soul stood entire heavens and firmaments above so many with education, jobs, money, authority, and all the rest.

See Defending History’s Persons of the Year

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2022 Persons of the Year: Tadas Pocius & Barbora Urbonavičiūtė-Pocienė; Antanas Volskis & Stanislava Volskienė; Leonas Vaidotas & Stanislava Vaidotienė — in a village called Karalgiris



PERSON OF THE YEAR SERIES  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  HISTORY

by Danutė Selčinskaja

Berl Kagan (Kahan)

Eminent scholar, author, and Holocaust survivor Berl Kagan, often known as Berl Kahn (1908-1993)  renowned in his pre-war Lithuania youth as a scholar, lecturer and editor  (of the newspaper Dos Vort), worked after the war in New York at the Yivo (Yiddish Scientific Institute, later Yivo Institute for Jewish Research) from 1954, is widely known for his concise encyclopedia of Jewish towns in prewar independent Lithuania, the final volume of the encyclopedia of Yiddish literature plus a volume of addenda, and numerous other works that are regularly consulted in our second decade of the twenty-first century. Fewer people, perhaps, are aware of his much more deeply personal work, A Yid in Vald (A Jew in the Forest), his Holocaust memoir.

While hiding from the Nazis and their local henchmen in the Lithuanian forests, he felt the need to record what he, his wife Raya, and his wife’s sister Nechama had to endure in the Kovno Ghetto and, from 1943, hiding in the barn of the inspirationally courageous peasant Tadas Pocius (known to friends as Tadeush) in Karalgiris village and, later, in the woods outside the Pocius family’s farm. Since there was no paper to write on, Kagan would write in between the lines of a paperback that he carried with him. In 1955, based on these clandestine records, Kagan published A Yid in Vald. After his death, his daughters Ada Kagan and Miriam Kagan Lieber ensured that the book would appear in English translation A Jew in the Woods.

Defending History’s Person of the Year series

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Painful Setback for Vilnius’s Standing in the West: Square is Named for a Brutal 1941 LAF Holocaust Collaborator



Photo: Baltics.news

City Council Opens Brand New Square Named for Alleged 1941 Holocaust Murderer Juozas Lukša (“Daumantas”) in spite of pleas and testimony from the (late) last Holocaust Survivors who provided evidence.  Macabre note: A few city council members told us off the record that placing the square away from the city center or old town represents “a grand compromise with the Jews”… Some have cited far-right demands for the square to be opposite the Jewish Community building.

See Defending History’s chronology of the 2021 debate, including links to Alex Faitelson’s book, British Parliament members’ 2012 early day motion, and 2021 calls from World Jewish Congress’s Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and (very unusually) the American Jewish Committee. See essays by Defending History’s Dovid Katz and Evaldas Balčiūnas.

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A Simple Victory for Decency and European Values in Zedelgem, Belgium: Waffen SS Monument is Coming Down



ZEDELGEM  |  BELGIUM  |  EU  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

The city council of Zedelgem, Belgium decided on December 3rd that the pro-Nazi Latvian “Beehive” monument, commemorating Latvia’s Hitlerist Waffen SS, will be removed. Three years ago, in a somewhat insidious and perverse manner, PR savvy reps of Riga’s “Occupation Museum” convinced the municipal council of Zedelgem in West-Flanders, Belgium, to allow them to unveil a monument honoring their wish for de facto whitewashing and heroizing of the 12,000 Latvian Waffen SS Legionnaires who had been detained in in a British detention camp in that town in 1945/1946. Indeed, the president of the board of directors of the Occupation Museum of Riga – a well-known Holocaust revisionist institution – and members of Dagavas Vanagi (an organization of former Latvian Waffen SS) were present for the monument’s festive launch. That event was primarily covered by the Flemish speaking press without any mention of possible issues, without in fact anybody asking any question of how it might have been possible that a Flemish town had allowed the construction of a monument in honor of former members of the Waffen SS, a Nazist organization whose members swore loyalty to Adolf Hitler, and who fought against the freedom of Belgium, and, in effect, all of Europe.

Nothing much happened until the beginning of 2021. The first person who reacted and tried to do something about what he perceived as a Nazi monument was Wilfred Burie, founder of the website The Belgians Remember Them which lists all known  4,000 or so  flying personnel of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force who came down on Belgian soil during the war and states what happened to them. Through his intervention, a Belgian Minister of State, André Flahaut, officially questioned the Belgian Minister of Justice, but to no avail.  My article on the subject appeared here in Defending History on March 8th. Later articles critical of the existence of what was called a Nazi or pro-Nazi monument in Zedelgem were published by local and international Jewish organizations and by the French-speaking press in Belgium. Then, on May 20, Michel Bouffioux published in Paris Match Belgique, a well-researched and eloquent lengthy article on this abomination; he kindly mentioned Wilfred Burie and myself for having raised the alarm in online publications. Then, later, thanks to the intervention of Flemish writer and painter Jan Vanriet who contacted Flemish journalists, a series of articles were published in Flemish-speaking newspapers, including some by mainstream American journalist Lev Golinkin, who is also a successful author. Some Flemish historians in Belgium started to state, tentatively at first, that this monument had to be removed. That it was a source of shame for Flanders. Which it is.

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Chronology: 2021 Dedicated to Glorifying Juozas Lukša (Daumantas), Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities


[LAST UPDATE]

JUMP TO MOST RECENT: On 23 Nov. 2021, Vilnius inaugurated a square named for the alleged 1941 Holocaust perpetrator

YAKOV FAITELSON; LAURENCE WEINBAUM; FAINA KUKLIANSKY & ANDREW BAKER; DOVID KATZ; BRITISH PARLIAMENT MOTION

23 June 2020: “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: 2020  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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Finally, a “Feminine Government” for Lithuania



OPINION  |  WOMEN’S RIGHTS  |  FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Finally, a “feminine government” for Lithuania. Having won the 2020 election, the right-wing parties formed a “feminine” government, led by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, with liberal Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen taking the chair of the Speaker of the Seimas. One could be tempted to see this as a victory for liberalism and feminism in the Baltics, since the Social Democrats, who were in the majority for several terms, would either include no women in their government or at best, entrust to them one or two ministries of lesser importance.

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Elena Rimdžiūtė: Video of Christian Witness to the Holocaust in Šeduva, in Northern Lithuania



VILNIUS—The Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive (LYVA), a Defending History affiliated project, providing hundreds of Yiddish language video interviews in the “Lithuanian lands” (today’s Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, eastern Ukraine and northeastern Poland), conducted from 1990 to 2020 has just released a Holocaust-history extract from a longer interview, conducted in May 2000 in Šeduva, northern Lithuania, with the town’s last Yiddish speaker, the Christian Lithuanian native of the town, the late Elena Rimdžiūtė. As is evident from the clip, the interviewer, Dovid Katz, was focused on Elena’s Yiddish folksongs, and the Holocaust arises, at first tangentially, when Elena speaks of her friends who are no more.

See DH’s Šeduva section

The clip on Youtube is accompanied by a draft English translation (in the “Description Box”). This remarkable woman’s honesty, integrity, and desire to Just Tell it Straight, makes for a striking contrast with the current Baltic academic establishment’s claptrap about Prague Declarations, equivalence of totalitarian regimes, tale of two Holocausts, and fairy tales about the “uprising against the Soviets” celebrated in Vilnius’s Genocide Museum (recently renamed), and promoted by the state-sponsored Genocide Center and numerous public shrines to local Holocaust murderers of 1941.

Here is Ms. Rimdžiūtė’s genuine Šeduva Yiddish rendition of the beloved song, where a girl explains that she wants neither new clothes from the tailor nor shoes from the shoemaker but expresses her sadness that all the other girls have boys (altered in the final stanza to ‘get married’). The clip is followed by a draft English translation concluding with a transcription of song in Šeduva Yiddish.

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Over In Zedelgem, Town in Belgium where Latvian Waffen SS Veterans Feel Most at Home



OPINION  |  ZEDELGEM  |  BELGIUM  |  EU  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

Zedelgem, a quiet Flemish town in West Flanders, was occupied by the Nazis between May 1940 and September 1944. During World War I it had also been under German yoke for over four years.

Now, 74 years after the end of the the Second World War, former Latvian Waffen SS men, who wore the same barbarians’ uniform as the occupiers of Zedelgem during the occupation, who fought for the same ideals and were condemned by the same Nuremberg Trials of 1945/1946 as members of a criminal organization, now, more than seven decades  after Waffen SS men being freed from an Allied POW camp situated in Zedelgem, these former Latvian SS men and their current far-right, neo-Nazi and Hitler-sympathetic admirers have convinced Flemish officials — many report more than a little impetus to call them morons, plain and simple — in and in the region of modern Zedelgem to enable them to  erect a monument to “Liberty” in their memory. A monument to Liberty! The very Liberty they had denied the 100,000 Jews killed in their native country and the dozens of thousands of innocent Soviet citizens of an array of nationalities and religious they killed while fighting in the USSR, near Leningrad and at other fierce, lethal battles. They wore the same barbarians’ uniforms as the Nazi occupiers of Belgium and Zedelgem. They all fought for the Führer to whom they had sworn a common oath of loyalty. They too fought for the same ideals as the Führer.

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The Holocaust in Šeduva, a Town in Northern Lithuania



ŠEDUVA  |  HISTORY  |  MUSEUMS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Just like each and every other town in Lithuania, Šeduva (Sheduva) has as the most barbarous episode of it history the Lithuanian Holocaust. It is not easy to tell this story. There are many narratives that contradict each other, with many omitted or unclear episodes. The omissions can be partly explained by the current policy of historical memory in Lithuania, as well as by the authority of some organizations that thsemlves took active part in these horrible events. Narratives that are unfavorable to them are denied, downplayed, or classified as “information warfare” (in other words: “Russia”). I have previously written about the difficulty in asssessing assorted narratives here.

The summary version of of the Šeduva Jews’ massacre that I recounted includes these critical dates:

June 25, 1941: The Nazis occupy Šeduva.

July 22, 1941: Šeduva’s Jews are driven into the town’s ghetto established to incarcerate its Jewish citizens.

August 25t, 1941: The city’s 665 Jews are  murdered in Liaudiškiai forest. But a few of the Jewish families of volunteers (veterans) of Lithuania’s War of Independence in 1918 are “allowed” to live, under the condition that they abandon their Jewishness and get baptized. The residents of Šeduva and its vicinity observe the public baptism at the church. A couple of weeks later those baptized are driven to Panevėžys and also shot dead, like all their unbaptized brethren who were not “saved by baptism” for having volunteered over two decades earlier to fight in the nation’s War of Independence. The only one who survived was Ms. S. Nolienė, who was hidden by the priest M. Karosas.

The shooters  shared amongst themselves the Jews’ property. In their testimony they claimed not to know the names of the Jews they shot, but they recall in exquisite detail the property they got for their work and which Jews had owned. The Germans actually bickered over the Jews’ valuables. The record contains Šiauliai Gebeitskomissar Gewecke’s complaint “To the Reich Commissar for Ostland” where he complains that “A Captain Stasys Senulis, residing in Schadow, Ponnewesch district, appeared today at the office of the Regional Commissariat in Schaulen, stating that he had been ordered by SS Colonel Jaeger to seize all silver and gold articles of Jewish ownership” (pages 517-518 ).

This time, I will try to tell the story of those responsible for this tragedy.

Yes, the massacre was initiated by the Nazi occupiers. However, many Lithuanians readily took an active part in it.

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Roma in Lithuania: When a Lavishly Financed Program has a 4-5% Success Rate, and Half the Inmates in Nation’s Only Women’s Prison are Roma



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  WOMEN’S RIGHTS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

 

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Back in 2017, I tried to acquaint the outside world, in Defending History, with some  issues concerning the “Roma Integration Program” that was initiated by the Lithuanian Government and Vilnius Municipality in 2016. I noted that the main goal of the program was to raze the Roma settlement in Kirtimai to the ground and remove the Roma that used to live there, resettling them in scattered different places through Vilnius County.

Several years have passed. We can see how this Program has impacted Roma living conditions.

“Around half of the inmates in Lithuania’s only women’s prison are Roma women—while there are only a bit more than two thousand Roma in Lithuania, less than one percent of Lithuania’s estimated population of 2,795,000 for 2021.”

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Open Letter to (1) Archimenai; (2) Institute of Design & Restoration; (3) Sigitas Kuncevičius; (4) Vilnius Architecture Studio



Archimenai

Institute of Design & Restoration

Sigitas Kuncevičius

Vilnius Architecture Studio

Dear Colleagues

Most regrettably, and we hope with no foreknowledge on your part, the state property bank Turto Bankas mentions you all by name in a public post dated 23 September, the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto by the Nazis and their collaborators. According to this shameful report (whichh does not even botgher to mention the Jewish cemetery or the London-based paid vassals), you have personally agreed to participate in works to restore the miserable Soviet ruin that was once the Sports Palace, and that sits in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės) surrounded on all four sides by extant graves. As you know this would not be happening if it were thousands of Christian Lithuanian graves going back a half millennium and including great heroes of the people. The years-long saga has attracted massive international and local protest as well as a petition signed by, as of today, 53,678 people. Turto Bankas’s prominent participation in a day of shame has made it into the annals of Lithuanian Jewish history. By contrast, a talented young Lithuanian artist has shown us all the stark contrast between the two visions for Vilnius. Courageous Lithuanian intellectuals have spoken out with dignity and passion, including Julius Norvila and Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Their successful work has been recognized in international media.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Open Letter to (1) Archimenai; (2) Institute of Design & Restoration; (3) Sigitas Kuncevičius; (4) Vilnius Architecture Studio

Updates & Aftermath to Lithuanian Gov’s Cancellation of Vilnius “Convention Center in the Cemetery”


[latest update]

Congratulations (16 Aug 2021) to Lithuania’s gov on cancelling convention center

Ben Cohen in The Algemeiner

HISTORY OF THE LAST 7 YEARS

JUMP TO MOST RECENT…

16 AUG 2021—Defending History reports on the Lithuanian government’s cancellation of the “convention center in the cemetery” citing Alfa.lt and BNS and derivitate media reports. Congratulations are offered on the historic turnabout.

17 AUG 2021—The official state-sponsored “Lithuanian Jewish Community,” in a shock to many Jewish people, reported the news with this headline: “Almost Half Million Euros Wasted on Palace of Sports Reconstruction Project” (as PDF)

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Updates & Aftermath to Lithuanian Gov’s Cancellation of Vilnius “Convention Center in the Cemetery”

Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  JUOZAS LUKŠA DEBATES

VILNIUS—Two days before tomorrow’s government-sponsored international “academic” conference (on September 10) that glorifies alleged 1941 Holocaust perpetrator Juozas Lukša (without a single paper devoted to the issue of his Kaunas 1941 Holocaust participation), the foreign minister led a high-end Holocaust remembrance ceremony (yesterday, 8 Sept.) bewailing the calamity of the Holocaust and its scale in Lithuania. That ceremony dated the onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust to the first week of September, when the Nazis set up the Vilna Ghetto, and others.

As ever, curious acrobatics seen to be in play in choice of the date to deflect attention from 23 June 1941, the day the barbarity and slaughter were initiated in dozens of Lithuanian towns before arrival of the first German soldiers. June 23rd is the day the Holocaust in Lithuania started according to all Holocaust survivors interviewed over the last thirty years, and it has been particularly painful for them that Vilnius has a street called “June 23rd Street.”

Eyewitness accounts of Lukša’s Kaunas deeds were assembled by Alex Faitelson and Joseph Melamed  regarding the Lietukis Garage Massacre in that last week of June 1941. An early day 2011 motion in the British Parliament cited eyewitnesses to his alleged participation in the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky in Kaunas, also in June 1941 (for more citations see Defending History’s initial report on the Lithuanian parliament’s decision last year to dedicate 2021 to Lukša’s memory). Last week’s Lukša events have included inauguration of a major new monument with an address by the prime minister.

Statements painfully protesting the Lithuanian parliament’s decision to name 2021 for this infamous alleged participant in the Kaunas atrocities of June 1941 have been issued by Faina Kukliansky, head of the official Jewish Community of Lithuania, jointly with Rabbi Andrew Baker, head of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C. The Jewish Community went on (very unusually) to bitterly critique the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” on the glorification of Lukša. Other voices of dismay have come from Dr. Laurence Weinbaum of the World Jewish Congress who edits its prestigious academic j0urnal Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Yakov Faitelson, who recounts his late father’s being honored for telling the truth by the late Lithuanian president and statesman Algirdas Brazauskas.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Double Games, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators

My Letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the Shameful Latvian Waffen SS Monument Plonked in Belgium



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  BELGIUM  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HISTORY  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

Carbuncle in the heart of the EU?  Monument in Belgium glorifies  Latvian Waffen SS who fought for Hitler

 

Note: for background on the monument to Latvian SS war criminals in Zeldelgem, Belgium, please see DH’s Zedelgem section, and for Latvia more generally, Roland Binet’s contributions and DH’s  Latvia section.

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Flemish historian Pieter Lagrou had this to say in an exchange of correspondence pertaining to the quandary of what to do with that monument in Zedelgem glorifying Latvian Hitlerist Waffen SS men. It so happens that he is the one whose official opinion in this matter will be asked on how to further proceed with the “Latvian Beehive” as the pro-Nazi monument on Belgium soil is known:

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Posted in Belgium, Collaborators Glorified, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet, Zedelgem in Belgium | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on My Letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the Shameful Latvian Waffen SS Monument Plonked in Belgium

Congratulations Pour in to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on 16 Aug. Cancellation of Vilnius Convention Center in the Cemetery (“CCC”)



Agudath Israel of America leads the way (18 Aug. statement; 25 Aug.  Jewish Tribune)

Deans of three top Lithuanian yeshivas, all named for cities in Lithuania, congratulate PM

Lithuania’s prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė “just did the right thing” (Getty Images)

During mid-August lull, many were caught unaware (reports in DHDH UpdatesAlgemeiner JournalJTA)

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Congratulations Pour in to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on 16 Aug. Cancellation of Vilnius Convention Center in the Cemetery (“CCC”)