Author Archives: Defending History

Wollongong, Australia is a Long Way from Kaunas, Lithuania: Discovering a Holocaust Collaborator Among Us



LITHUANIA  |  HISTORY  |  KAUNAS  |  MUSEUMS

by Michael Samaras

Michael Samaras at the Wollongong Art Gallery in Australia

Wollongong, an Australian city located about 80 kilometres south of Sydney, is a long way from Lithuania’s Kaunas, which probably made it attractive to Bronius Sredersas. He arrived in 1950, having fled Lithuania ahead of the Red Army in 1944. For the next 25 years Sredersas, one of more than 100,000 displaced persons to settle in Australia, worked in Wollongong’s steelworks. He led an unobtrusive life and acquired an anglicised nickname, “Bob”. He never married and didn’t waste his money. Instead, he saved his pay, frequented auction houses and with a canny eye built a substantial art collection.

In 1976, Sredersas shocked the citizens of his adopted city by presenting his art collection to them. For an industrial city like Wollongong, which didn’t even have an art gallery, this gift was a sensation. It triggered the establishment of the Wollongong Art Gallery which has since grown into a major regional cultural institution.

Sredersas was widely celebrated in the media and an exhibition space within the new gallery was named in his honor. After his death in 1982, his memory was preserved with eminent persons giving lectures in his memory. The gallery erected a plaque and hosted the Sredersas Dinner as a fundraising social event.

In 2018, the gallery staged a major exhibition celebrating Sredersas. Titled “The Gift”, the exhibition included a recreation of his home, a display of the artworks, a video, and a symposium on his life and benefaction.

Publicity for the exhibition included mention that in Lithuania, Sredersas had been a policeman. While I was aware of Sredersas’ life as a steelworker in Australia, his prior career as a policeman was new to me. I knew though that the Nazis had relied on local collaborators, formed into police battalions, to carry out the Holocaust in Lithuania. I was appalled at the possibility that Wollongong, my home town, might be honoring a Holocaust perpetrator and decided to see if I could find out more.

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Posted in Australia, History, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wollongong, Australia is a Long Way from Kaunas, Lithuania: Discovering a Holocaust Collaborator Among Us

Rabbinic Specialist on Divorce Survived Warsaw Ghetto, Went on to Rebuild Jewish Life in Fürth, Germany



BOOKS

by Yizhak Ahren

Moshe Nathan Rosenfeld: The Rav of Fürth. The Legacy and Legend of Rav Dovid Kahane Spiro. London 2021, 696 pp., £25.00/ $35.00 + postage. Orders directly from: mnrosenfeld@gmail.com

Rabbi Dovid Kahana Spiro (1901-1970) was a very pious and learned man who cofounded the Jewish community in Fürth after the Holocaust. He worked there for twenty-five years as a community rabbi and helped numerous people in need. The Firter Rov (Fürther Rav) was buried in the Har Hamenuchos Cemetery in Jerusalem. A picture of his tombstone can be found in Moshe Rosenfeld’s recently published book on Rabbi Spiro. The book’s thirteen chapters cover in great detail the origins of  the family Spiro, their pre-war life in Poland, the Warsaw Ghetto, survival, rebuilding, dialogue with a bishop, divorce cases and much more.

The author, who now lives in London, grew up in Fürth and practically from birth had a close relationship with Rabbi Spiro, who lived next door. Rosenfeld’s mother was the rabbi’s cousin, and his father became his right-hand man. The author frankly admits that he should have asked a thousand questions at the time, but didn’t. And therefore there are many answers that he honestly does not know today. Nevertheless, with a vast amount of work and love, he  managed to collect a wealth of material and to publish this extensive work. The history of the Spiro family, that lived in Poland, is presented in great detail.Continue reading

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Papers by Professor Michael Shafir (1944-2022)



Please send additions and corrections to info@defendinghistory.com. Thank you.

Between Denial and “Comparative Trivialization”: Holocaust Negationism in Post-Communist East Central Europe

The Nature of Postcommunist Antisemitism in East Central Europe: Ideology’s Backdoor Return

Conceptualizing Hungarian Negationism in Comparative Perspective: Deflection and Obfuscation

Political Antisemitism in Romania: Hard Data and its Soft Underbelly

A Present Chiaroscuro: Review of Himka & Michlich (eds), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: the Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe

Questions and Answers on the Holocaust-Gulag “Comparative Martyrology”

Einmal mehr zu einer Vergangenheit, die nicht vergeht

 


Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, Michael Shafir (1944-2022), News & Views | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Papers by Professor Michael Shafir (1944-2022)

Defenders of Truth of the East European Holocaust Mourn Sudden Death of Professor Michael Shafir



We mourn the sudden and untimely death of our dear colleague, mentor and teacher

PROFESSOR MICHAEL SHAFIR

(4 January 1944 – 9 November  2022)

PHOTO: CAROLE LEMEE

The entire Defending History community mourns the  untimely sudden death of the great Holocaust historian, who was in recent months putting final touches on the manuscript of his new book on the East European revisionist campaign, and its many Western and Jewish nochsheppers. Inspired by Randolph L. Braham (1922-2018), among others, Professor Shafir’s papers covering the whole swath of East European governments’ huge investments to “fix” the Holocaust made him the pioneer of the academic and intellectual resistance to state-sponsored Double Genocide revisionism. May his completed book and all his other writings soon be made accessible to scholars and the public alike. His works will live on and in time come to be recognized for their successful exposure of the vast and elaborately financed efforts to obfuscate the Holocaust. For an introduction, please read some of his seminal papers in the field.

Michael Shafir section in DefendingHistory.com

Under construction:

Papers by Michael Shafir


Posted in Double Genocide, History, Hungary, Lithuania, Michael Shafir (1944-2022), News & Views, Obituaries | Tagged | Comments Off on Defenders of Truth of the East European Holocaust Mourn Sudden Death of Professor Michael Shafir

The Defending History Community’s Statement on Putin’s Barbaric Assault on Ukraine (and the Free World)


[UPDATE — STATEMENT ORIGINALLY ISSUED ON 25 FEB. 2022]

The Defending History community joins in calling for immediate restoration of peace and security for all the people of Ukraine, condemning unequivocally the savage and barbaric invasion — and rain of death and destruction — by a neighboring big power, led by our century’s most dangerous and deranged warmonger dictator.

As a small gesture of spiritual solidarity, our Yiddish Studies team has constructed a modest new collection of videos of Ukraine’s last Yiddish speaking survivors. Ukraine alone spans every modern dialect of the language.

Posted in News & Views, Ukraine | Comments Off on The Defending History Community’s Statement on Putin’s Barbaric Assault on Ukraine (and the Free World)

Will Second Opinions be Heard at Yale-Fortunoff Nov. 9 Event featuring Professors Dieckmann & Snyder?



Will Second Opinions be Heard at Yale-Fortunoff Nov. 9 Event?

Hopefully, families of Connecticut area Holocaust survivors will be included at the event, 5 PM at Luce Hall (room 202)

More on history of the Lithuanian gov. financed “Red-Brown Commission” of which the Yale-Fortunoff speakers are long-standing members

Two truly gifted and prolific scholars are featured on Nov. 9. But both have been extensively instrumentalized by the Lithuanian government for years. Both are veteran members (one for 25 years?) of the state-sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” that has been the engine for Holocaust revisionism in the spirit of Double Genocide and the Prague Declaration in the European Parliament. The commission has caused Holocaust survivors huge pain from day one. The other was brought to Vilnius a decade ago to help cover for (and deflect from) the reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister. Please attend and ask both about the Lithuanian government’s vast “history fixing industry” coming clean on:

(a) the thousands of Jews murdered by Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) butchers before the first Germans arrived or took over and the state effort to “cancel” this “little fact” from the historical record and narrative;

(b) the state’s current glorification of Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators via street names, plaques, sculptures, and museums;

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Posted in Double Genocide, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States | Comments Off on Will Second Opinions be Heard at Yale-Fortunoff Nov. 9 Event featuring Professors Dieckmann & Snyder?

Will ‘Jewish’, ‘Litvak’ & ‘Yiddish’ Parts of ‘Kaunas 2022 Capital of European Culture’ Festivities Include Calls for Removal of Kaunas’s Hurtful Public Shrines to Holocaust Collaborators?


[LAST UPDATE]

OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF PERPETRATORS & COLLABORATORS  | ‘JEWISH’ EVENTS AS DEFLECTION  | KAUNAS CITY DECISIONS OVER THE YEARS

KAUNAS—The last Holocaust survivors in this city that gave birth to the Lithuanian Holocaust on 23 June 1941 (before the first German soldiers arrived, later that week) are in pain to learn that their government is now investing in foreigner-rich “Jewish” and “Litvak” and “Yiddish” events as part of gala PR for this year’s Kaunas 2022 “Capital of European Culture” program — without also removing the city’s shrines to the most infamous collaborators and perpetrators of the genocide. The Defending History community congratulates Kaunas on the European year of honor, while urging its foreign participants and honorees to politely and with dignity call  (publicly!) for Kaunas to kindly remove its prominent state-sponsored public-space shrines, monuments and memorials to major local Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators. By speaking out, with dignity and publicly, they would be successfully countering the moral taint of ipso facto being used as “Useful Jewish Idiots” (known as “UJIs”) to cover for the ongoing failure to remove even one such shrine and thereby participating actively (and having been forewarned) in the current (East European based) incarnation of Holocaust revisionism and denial (covered up with lavish “Jewish events”). By failing to do so, they would bring moral taint upon themselves for all time, while deeply offending the legacy of the victims and survivors, and more broadly, the rights of minorities everywhere to life without genocide.

The Kaunas region even has a state school named for an alleged killer at the June 1941 Lietukis Garage Massacre, one about which the British Parliament weighed in.

Kaunas 2022 tourist sites include a state-university sculpture and lecture hall (!) named for the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) who signed papers sending groups of Jews from Kaunas (in Yiddish Kóvne) to a nearby murder site and the rest to ghetto incarceration; a street named for brutal Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika (see his granddaughter’s courageous new book); a school named for J. Lukša, implicated in some of the most barbaric Kaunas atrocities before the Nazis arrived (including the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky; even the British Parliament weighed in on that one); a street and plaques for “theoretician and cheerleader of ethnic cleansing and genocide” K.  Škirpa; a street for Holocaust collaborator Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas; and more (see map with links to photos, and more street names). While some foreign Jewish glory and photo-op seekers have failed the basic test of moral integrity, Lithuania’s own intrepid ethicist, Evaldas Balčiūnas, has stepped up for a decade with a series of detailed articles on state glorification of Holocaust collaborators (and, far from a fun-trip, poster, and photo-op,  he has paid a big price).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Kaunas, News & Views | Tagged | Comments Off on Will ‘Jewish’, ‘Litvak’ & ‘Yiddish’ Parts of ‘Kaunas 2022 Capital of European Culture’ Festivities Include Calls for Removal of Kaunas’s Hurtful Public Shrines to Holocaust Collaborators?

Defending the History of: Yiddish at Oxford



OPINION  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

Under the leadership of the visionary founder of modern Jewish studies at Oxford University, Dr. David Patterson (1922–2005), the academic research and teaching institution which he created became for around two decades a major world center of Yiddish studies. That institution was the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies (since renamed the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies). Indeed, it was Yiddish in the last quarter of the twentieth century that catapulted the Centre from just another sleepy Hebrew studies unit to a world-class center in advanced studies, including successful doctoral programs that provided a generation of (today’s) professors, and seminal publications in English and Yiddish that will be there for centuries to come. The kind of thing that the current twenty-first century incarnation of the same institution might well look back on with pride and even some nostalgia.

Among today’s scholars, educators, authors and personalities in the wider arts who were attracted to come and study Yiddish by our team, enabled at each stage by Dr. Patterson (in an array of settings ranging from weekly classes through summer courses to doctoral programs) at the Centre between the 1970s and 1990s are Prof. Marion Aptroot, Dr. Helen Beer, Prof. James Dingley, Prof. Jennifer Dowling, Prof. Gennady Estraikh, Mr. Elliot Gertel, Prof. Christopher Hutton, Dr. Devra Kay, Prof. Dov-Ber Kerler, Ms. Miri Koral, Dr. Holger Nath, Prof. Ritchie Robertson, Ms. Elinor Robinson, Mr. David Schneider, Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro, Prof. Astrid Starck, Dr. Heather Valencia, Prof. Nina Warnke, Mr. Tim Whewell, among many others.

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Yet Again, Naive Foreigners in Awe of Annual PR Show by ‘Red-Brown Commission’ (and its Director who Supports ‘War Crime Investigations’ of Holocaust Survivors)



OPINION  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION  |  MR. RAČINSKAS ON THE HOLOCAUST  |  LITHUANIA  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—With nearly all local Holocaust Survivors now gone, or effectively out of public circulation, Lithuania’s “Red-Brown Commission,” a major European engine for the downgrade of the Holocaust via far-right “Double Genocide” history revisionism  is again in the forefront of PR efforts to bowl over naive foreign visitors and delegations to this city, particularly on September 23rd each year, with “moving Holocaust elegies.” For Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the very choice of Sept. 23 (day of the 1943 liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto by the Germans, two years after the murder of the majority of Lithuanian Jews in hundreds of towns across the land) was seen as a decoy. The day each of them had etched in the heart in perpetuity was June 23rd, when in 1941, violence against Jews broke out in hundreds of locations, with murder documented in around forty — before the first German forces arrived or managed to set up their authority. It was the day when six hundred years of peaceful, harmonious coexistence turned overnight, under Hitlerist propaganda, to dehumanization, humiliation, plunder, rape, injury and murder. To this day, an industrial grade revisionist industry continues to obfuscate or outright deny the history of the First Week (i.e. the last week of June 1941). Indeed, June 23rd is  celebrated by far-right government historians each year as the date of a supposed “uprising” against the Soviets  by the white-armbanded Jew killers who did not “rebel” until the Soviets fled in disarray from Hitler’s invasion, when they began to murder Jewish neighbors across the land unleashing the Lithuanian Holocaust, in which 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry perished. In 2020, Dr. Arunas Bubnys, the chief historian of the second “Holocaust entity financed by the state,” the Genocide Center, celebrated  the “holiday ” alongside banners of two major Holocaust collaborators. He was rewarded a year later with directorship of the Center.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas and the State-Sponsored "International Commission" (ICECNSORL) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Yet Again, Naive Foreigners in Awe of Annual PR Show by ‘Red-Brown Commission’ (and its Director who Supports ‘War Crime Investigations’ of Holocaust Survivors)

Rachel Kostanian’s Inspiring Life Story (and Message) Now on German Wikipedia



RACHEL KOSTANIAN  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

Vilnius Cinderella Comes to the Ball (belatedly, and in Berlin)

German Wikipedia’s new entry tells the tale of Lituhania’s Rachel (Rokhl, Rochel) Kostanian, who for decades led a one-woman campaign in Vilnius for truth about the Holocaust, standing up to some very powerful forces. She was a co-founder and long time director of The Green House in Vilnius. Photo: Rachel in Berlin with Thomas Pfanne, former German cultural attaché in Lithuania, after she was honored by the president of Germany. See Defending History’s Rachel Kostanian section.

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Rachel Kostanian | Comments Off on Rachel Kostanian’s Inspiring Life Story (and Message) Now on German Wikipedia

Russian Warship, Go F**k Yourself! (Tale of an Overdue Vilnius Cultural Version)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH STUDIES FOR HISTORICAL REVISIONISM  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  | YIVO IN LITHUANIA  | MEDIA WATCH  | FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND JUDAIC STUDIES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  | NOREIKA GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

 Look what you can see standing right by Vilnius’s Cathedral Square: The Soviet “Sports Palace” ruin that symbolizes not only antisemitism but also: Soviet/Russian Empire spiritual and political domination of Lithuania’s free spirit. High time to be rid of this carbuncle on the beautiful face of modern Vilnius?

The first phase of the eradication of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in Shnípishok — modern Šnipiškės — and of the people buried there, started back in 1830, contemporaneous with an uprising against the Russian Empire. The November Uprising, as it is now known, started with the will to resist the czarist government’s plans to send the army of Poland — at the time an autonomous kingdom within the Russian Empire — to Belgium and France, as well as with the dreams of restoring Polish independence. In 1831, seeing that the uprising for independence would soon take over Vilna, the Russian Imperial government expropriated a section  of the Jewish cemetery by the bank of the Viliya (now Neris), and established an artillery citadel to keep the freedom-loving city at all times in the crosshairs of its cannon barrels. But even after the establishment of the citadel, more than three quarters of the actual graves (and their stoness or mini-mausoleums, oyhólim) remained untouched. This legendary cemetery is a Litvak pantheon, a monument to the civilization of Lithuanian Jewry. So it is meaningful that its first phase of destruction got underway just as the Russian imperial government’s project to enhance its military presence in Vilna, by making sure that the city’s inhabitants live in constant fear.

A small section of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt. The Soviet Sport Palace was built in its heart. All stones and inscriptions were trashed but thousands of graves survive on all four sides of the building, now an eyesore in the heart of modern Vilnius.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Russian Warship, Go F**k Yourself! (Tale of an Overdue Vilnius Cultural Version)

Discourse on the Baltic States: What About the Painful Missing Link?



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  BELGIUM

by Roland Binet  (De Panne, Belgium)

My attention was recently caught by an article in a Flemish-language newspaper here in Belgium (“Living in fear of the Russian bear” in De Standaard of 5 September 2022), where the author writes that he had studied in 2005 at the University of Vilnius. The article speaks eloquently — and accurately — about the loss of freedom that came upon the people of Lithuania when the USSR invaded and occupied (for the long haul) Lithuania in 1940. It speaks of the many people deported to Siberia by the NKVD, it speaks warmly of the postwar fight of the Forest Brothers, and it speaks openly about the current fear that Putin’s Russian Federation might try again to incorporate their country into their revanchist program, a fear the author calls “Potsdam II.”

There is, however, disturbingly, quite a stupendous missing link in this abridged history of Lithuania in the twentieth century. Where had the quarter million Jews (the figure on the eve of the Holocaust) of the country disappeared to “overnight” (as centuries go), during that fateful century? Had there ever been a Jewish minority in Lithuania at all? When I looked at the author’s pedigree, I understood why the Jews had not played any role of significance in his biased dialectical discourse. Joren Vermeersch is a historian (of sorts) and an accomplished author. He is also a representative (stand-in, as we call it) for the Belgian House of Representatives, for the “N-VA.” This is the nationalist Flemish party that has its historical roots in the collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. The party that has systematically fought for an amnesty for Nazi collaborators. The party in which the grandparents or parents of some of the present actual leaders had been condemned by the Belgian State for collaboration with the enemy. Nobody is guilty of sins of their ancestors, but when there is a pattern of such pedigree being considered a great plus for current leadership, and that pedigree is subtly glorified rather than disowned, we have a current moral problem that merits discussion in the public square.Continue reading

Posted in Belgium, History, News & Views, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Discourse on the Baltic States: What About the Painful Missing Link?

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  | THE 2022 LEVINAS AFFAIR OF 2022

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 midpoint of the city’s co-reign rapidly approaches, it is necessary, albeit sad, to have to note that 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.

See Lev Golinkin’s updated 2022 catalogue in the Forward of public space shrines to Nazi collaborators worldwide

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. See Defending History’s media tracker page for background and updates.

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Posted in 'Levinas Center' in Kaunas, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Jonas Žemaitis, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Updates on Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year Without (So Far) Removing a Single Shrine to Local Holocaust Collaborators

In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)


[LAST UPDATE]

by Dovid Katz

Compilation of articles, documentaries, videos, and photos. Plus: from the saga of 2008

See Defending History’s Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky Section

Note: This page is a work in progress. A number of older documents, articles, photographs, and recordings remain to be digitized, catalogued, and posted.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)

Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’



Reports in Baltic Times and Delfi

For over a decade Defending History has exposed the far-right”Double Genocide” history-revisionist, Holocaust-obfuscating agenda of the “Prague Platform of European Memory and Conscience” which has repeatedly covered for East European efforts to glorify Nazi collaborators and perpetrators

“Putin’s criminal and barbaric invasion must be countered to the hilt and we must rally unfettered to the cause of Ukraine’s freedom. But for far-right double-genocider revisionists in the Eastern E.U. to take advantage of it for Holocaust obfuscation is just plain wrong.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff is first to respond (in Times of Israel blogs)

Will Western leaders — and institutions dedicated to the history of the Holocaust and leaders in Holocaust education and commemoration — speak out and subject the “Prague Platform” to some long overdue scrutiny, and warn the European Commission about this “new initiative”? European citizens’ hard-earned euros continue to flow to the revisionists whose “unholy bible” is still the Prague Declaration of 2008… Defending History is proud to have helped provide the European parliamentary response, the Seventy Years Declaration

Defending History’s statement on the war in Ukraine

When Ottawa Citizen and The New York Times broke taboo on wartime discussion of East European state-sponsored Holocaust obfuscation

But what is the “Prague Platform”?


 

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Double Genocide, Estonia, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’

The Nine Lives of Dónal Denham



BOOKS  |  IRELAND  |  NORWAY

 

by Steinar Gil

 

My good friend and colleague for two and a half years in Vilnius, Dónal Denham, has written a book with the title Nine Lives: The Reflections of a Dedicated Diplomat. The book is an interesting, fascinating read about an eventful career in the service of Ireland at home and abroad, enriched by an excellent selection of photos that add life and substance to the text. The author also draws a vivid picture of his early formative years in Ireland and England and student years at Trinity College. He writes warmly about his family, not avoiding the pain of personal losses, exacerbated by separation and distance. Diplomats from all countries would subscribe to his tribute to his wife Siobhan (“without whom nothing worthwhile would have happened to me”) who “as an unpaid ‘trailing spouse’ was a treasure beyond measure, largely unrecognized by officialdom.”

So, which are Dónal Denham’s nine diplomatic lives?

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Posted in Ambassador Steinar Gil, Books, Ireland, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Norway | Comments Off on The Nine Lives of Dónal Denham

President Zelensky Dismisses Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany after Shameful Public Bandera Worship



UKRAINE  |  GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS—The New York Times reports today that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed his country’s ambassador to Germany after the ambassador’s worshipful antics glorifying the World War II Hitlerist, fascist figure Stepan Bandera, who was the leader of groups that murdered hundreds of thousands of Polish and Jewish civilians in Ukraine.

See G. Rossolinski-Liebe’s authoritative study of Bandera’s Hitlerist history and the racist, fascist leader’s inspiration of hundreds of thousands of murders of Polish and Jewish civilians. See also Erika Solomon’s update in the New York Times.

Defending History was ahead of the curve. See from earlier years our Bandera section and some of Dr. Rossolinski-Liebe’s earlier writings in Defending History; DH’s Collaborators Glorified section for the wider context of the issue in contemporary Eastern Europe (more details on Sections page).

 

Posted in News & Views, Ukraine | Comments Off on President Zelensky Dismisses Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany after Shameful Public Bandera Worship

‘Morbid Memorandum’ (of AJC+LJC+GWF+Vilnius Mayor) Says Jews in Lithuania ‘Dying Out Altogether’ — While Allocating Millions for New ‘Community Center’ Building on Sacred ‘Great Synagogue Square’



OPINION | VILNA GREAT SYNAGOGUE  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

 

VILNIUS—In the days following publication by Defending History of a report reacting to press releases about a (secret?) “memorandum” signed by the heads of the official “Lithuanian Jewish community” (LJC), the head of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the “Good Will Foundation” (GWF) and the Mayor of Vilnius, a number of conscience-stricken employees at LJC have been sending around copies of various versions of the memorandum, signed on 25 May, during the recent “Fifth Litvak Congress” here in Vilnius.

Update of 13 June 2022: One day following publication of this report, the “Good Will Foundation” published the signed English memorandum, using the wording “is now dying out altogether” to refer to today’s Jewish community in Lithuania, its hopes, and its dreams.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Morbid Memorandum’ (of AJC+LJC+GWF+Vilnius Mayor) Says Jews in Lithuania ‘Dying Out Altogether’ — While Allocating Millions for New ‘Community Center’ Building on Sacred ‘Great Synagogue Square’

Evaldas Balčiūnas recenzuoja Arūno Bubnio knygą „Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje“



KNYGOS

Evaldas Balčiūnas

Arūnas Bubnys, Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje. Vilnius: Margi raštai, 2021

Dar vienas Tarptautinės komisijos okupacinių režimų nusikaltimams Lietuvoje įvertinti leidinys. Lig šiol šios komisijos leistos knygos buvo akademiškos ir skaitytojų vertinamos. Be to, jos būdavo leidžiamos ne tik lietuvių, bet ir anglų kalba. Ši – kitokia. Išleista tik lietuviškai. Jei anksčiau leistose monografijose, be kita ko, būdavo komisijos patvirtintos išvados, tai šioje knygoje tokių išvadų nėra. Kiek teiravausi – komisijos mokslininkai šio leidinio tarpusavyje neaptarinėjo…

Bet apie viską nuo pradžių.

Knygos apimama geografija gana plati. Daugiau ar mažiau minimos 23 apskritys ir 140 miestelių. Tai tikrai daug, bet krinta į akis, kad aprašyti miesteliai pagal apskritis pasiskirstę labai netolygiai. Pvz., Šilutės apskrityje prabėgomis minimos kelios stovyklos ir atskirų žydų likimai, bet nėra aprašyto nė vieno miestelio. Iš Marijampolės apskrities aprašytas tik pačios Marijampolės žydų likimas. Gausiausia miestelių aprašymų iš Šiaulių (15) ir Alytaus (12) apskričių. Suprantama, autorius ir taip atliko didelį darbą – lig šiol neturėjome tokio išsamaus aprašymo. Žudynių geografijos prasme platesnis yra „Holokausto Lietuvoje atlasas“, kuriame paminėtos visos didesnės žudynių vietos. Tačiau tame aprašyme nekeliamas klausimas, kas gi atsitiko su atskirų miestelių žydų bendruomenėmis. Mano nuomone, Bubnio knygoje trūksta paaiškinimo, kodėl viskas taip fragmentiška. Skaitydami apie Šiaulių apskritį, galime rasti vieną iš galimų paaiškinimų:

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Posted in History, Lithuania | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Evaldas Balčiūnas recenzuoja Arūno Bubnio knygą „Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje“

Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again: Secret Memorandum on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Courtyard



OPINION | VILNA GREAT SYNAGOGUE

by Dovid Katz

It has not been easy for our embattled team to keep Defending History going for over a dozen years now, based here in Vilnius. But as with other small but committed projects committed to speaking out for historic justice whomever it will please or displease, misconceptions can flourish. For example, this journal has indeed opposed the misuse of millions of Lithuanian citizens’ hard earned tax euros for campaigns to “equalize” for new generations (and today’s West) Nazi and Soviet crimes (the “Red-Brown” Commission); to target Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance by smearing them as “war criminals” (state prosecutors); to establish as European heroes brutal participants in the Holocaust (the Genocide Center and Museum); efforts by government bodies (foreign ministry under some governments) to insist on European Union cave-in to the revised Baltic far-right historiography (note the Prague Declaration and DH’s response: the Seventy Years Declaration received personally a decade ago by the president of the European Parliament).

UPDATE OF 7 JUNE 2022:

A senior employee of the official ‘Lithuanian Jewish Community’ has asserted to DH that the secret memorandum contains the line: ‘After World War II, the Jewish community in Vilnius and Lithuania declined significantly and is now dying out altogether’ (thereby sentencing, over the signature of the mayor, the official community head, and a major figure from the American Jewish Committee) our small but creative, dynamic, variegated and life-loving Vilna community to imminent and utter demise)…

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again: Secret Memorandum on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Courtyard