Author Archives: Defending History

We Honor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 102nd Birthday in Vilnius



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.

Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky: “My last wish is that the Jewish Partisan Fort, where we lived, loved and fought the Nazis in the forests of Lithuania, be preserved and restored so future generations will know of our resistance against genocide, and so we honor all those who fell fighting for the freedom of all of us.”

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Events, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on We Honor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 102nd Birthday in Vilnius

Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Scholar (and Descendant) of Gaon of Vilna, Condemns Project to Defile Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery — Cites Ensnaring of Conference of European Rabbis (CER) & Bnei Brak’s Beth Din



 OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE CPJCE  | THE USCPAHA | THE CER (CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS) |  THE GWF (GOOD WILL FOUNDATION)CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

Rabbi S. J. Feffer

VILNIUSRabbi S. J. Feffer, a part-of-the-year resident in Vilnius for some three decades, is best known locally for his free-of-charge (and no-tickets-needed) Passover seders and other holidays, always open to Vilneans of all backgrounds. His events are considered to be forums of intercommunity friendship and harmony, characterized by authentic Litvak Jewish Orthodox practice with equally warm welcome to folks of any and all persuasions. He is also known as an independent voice for Jewish heritage preservation, and against corruption in high places. Internationally, the rabbi, a descendant of close family of the Gaon of Vilna, is best known as part of the editing team for dozens of published volumes containing the works of the Gaon (Elijah of Vilna, 1720-1797).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Rabbi S. J. Feffer, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Scholar (and Descendant) of Gaon of Vilna, Condemns Project to Defile Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery — Cites Ensnaring of Conference of European Rabbis (CER) & Bnei Brak’s Beth Din

Builders’ Curtain Down, Scaffolding Still Up, at Vilnius Science Library’s Facade: Will the Gov. Step in to ‘Just Say No’ to Plaque Glorifying a Collaborator in Genocide of Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust?



OPINION | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | INS AND OUTS OF THE NOREIKA PLAQUE IN CENTRAL VILNIUSNOREIKA SAGA | U.S.A.

Will the government of Lithuania, a proud, successful and delightful member of the European Union and NATO, stand up and state clearly that the Vilnius city-center plaque glorifying J. Noreika, a brutal Holocaust collaborator, removed a year ago in the run-up to July’s NATO conference (pretext: “renovations of the facade”), will not be put back?

“A state’s moral decisions are vital in determining the path for the future”

The builders’ sheets have come down. The scaffolding is still up. When the plaque was removed for renovations, Delfi.lt reported one year ago that the director of the National Library of Sciences, whose Noreika facade has damaged Lithuania’s standing, gave the plaque to a far-right, pro-fascist youth group “for safekeeping” while assuring the public that “the sign will be put back when the renovation works are completed.” Sources in the government have told Defending History that the plan of the far right is to replicate the “success of 2019” when removal of the plaque was followed by a far-right Nazi-sympathizing group coming by one night with a crowd to put it up (in that instance —to put up a bigger and better plaque with bas relief of the Holocaust collaborator), after which “nobody in the government or municipality would dare defy their fait accompli.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, United States | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Builders’ Curtain Down, Scaffolding Still Up, at Vilnius Science Library’s Facade: Will the Gov. Step in to ‘Just Say No’ to Plaque Glorifying a Collaborator in Genocide of Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust?

From Warsaw to Rumbula (near Riga) and Ponár (near Vilna): A Personal Journey



MEMOIRSOPINION  |  HISTORY  |  BELGIUM

by Roland Binet  (De Panne, Belgium)

Until the age of seventeen I did not know at all that there were Jews. Following from that, I had moreover never heard anything of what happened to the Jews during World War II. My awakening came one evening in the fall of 1962.

I saw Frédéric Rossif’s documentary on the Warsaw Ghetto, Le Temps du Ghetto (‘The Time of the Ghetto’). I came away devastated, particularly shocked by the scenes of the starving children begging in the streets and by the “morning collection” of nude bodies picked up from the pavements and streets of Warsaw and transported by wheelbarrows and carts to a mass grave where the bodies were dumped without any respect. The images were at once revolting and unforgettable.

Screenshot from my ‘first shock’: Frédéric Rossif’s documentary on the Warsaw Ghetto, Le Temps du Ghetto (‘The Time of the Ghetto’)

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Posted in Belgium, History, Memoirs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on From Warsaw to Rumbula (near Riga) and Ponár (near Vilna): A Personal Journey

“Museum of the Lost Shtetl” (or “Lost Truth”?) Forces Removal of Saulius Beržinis’s 5 Minute Youtube Trailer



OPINION | FILM | BOLD CITIZENS | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVA | MUSEUM OF THE LOST SHTETL

Five Minutes & Six Seconds:

The Satanic Verses of Sheduva, Lithuania?

Our take:

Shame on the directors, donors, and staff of the “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” in the town of Sheduva, Lithuania, that has just had the five minute and six second  trailer to Saulius Beržinis’s classic Holocaust documentary on Sheduva removed from Youtube:

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” (or “Lost Truth”?) Forces Removal of Saulius Beržinis’s 5 Minute Youtube Trailer

Yom HaShoah 2024: Please can you spend five minutes and six seconds to watch something?



OPINION | COMMEMORATIONS | EVENTS | SHEDUVA & ITS NEW MUSEUM

by Dovid Katz

[UPDATE OF 10 MAY 2024: YOUTUBE FILM TRAILER REMOVED BY “MUSEUM OF THE LOST SHTETL”]

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Museums, News & Views, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Yom HaShoah 2024: Please can you spend five minutes and six seconds to watch something?

Did Sheduva ‘Lost Shtetl Museum’ Block Release of Saulius Beržinis’s Film on Fate of Town’s Jewry (‘Catch & Kill’)?


[LATEST UPDATE; ORIGINAL PUBLICATION 27 APRIL 2023]

OPINION|FILM|BOLD CITIZENS|SAULIUS BERŽINIS|SHEDUVA | MUSEUM OF THE LOST SHTETL

Partial chronology of recent events in the life and times of modern Lithuania’s first major Holocaust truth teller, documentary film maker

Saulius Beržinis

JUMP TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

JUMP TO UPDATES

DEFENDING HISTORY’S BERŽINIS SECTION

What is it all about? Allegedly, a major gang-up was for years underway against Vilnius’s beloved documentarian Saulius Beržinis who was perhaps the first to tell the truth about the Holocaust in Lithuania. His 2018 Rogatchi Humanist of the Year Award was presented the following year in a Vilnius ceremony that included the ambassadors of Finland, Norway and the United States. Back in 2004 he was Lithuania’s Person of Tolerance, and American journalist Ben Smith, in a 2001 feature article in the Forward, chronicled his earlier work including his sensational 1990s filmed interviews with actual Holocaust perpetrators.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Did Sheduva ‘Lost Shtetl Museum’ Block Release of Saulius Beržinis’s Film on Fate of Town’s Jewry (‘Catch & Kill’)?

Rwandan Genocide Remembrance Deserves Better than Being Lassoed into Baltic Holocaust Obfuscation Politics



OPINION | VILNIUS’S GENOCIDE CENTER | VILNIUS’S GENOCIDE MUSEUMTUSKULĖNAI PEACE PARKGLORIFYING COLLABORATORS | DOUBLE GENOCIDE | EVENTS

by Dovid Katz

Published reports today provided details and images of the solemn, significant, and meaningful April 24th commemoration ceremony remembering the victims of the Rwanda Genocide of the Tutsi. The commemoration event was organized by a partnership that included Vilnius’s Genocide Center and the Embassy of Rwanda. Among the participants was the ambassador of Rwanda, HE Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, resident in the Hague, whose remit includes also Lithuania.

The Defending History community avidly supports remembrance of the Rwandan Genocide, and all genocides.

The problem here in Vilnius is that such events are often subtly (or not so subtly) part of a program to legitimize and cover up for systematic and institutional downgrade, relativization and obfuscation of the Holocaust — the genocide that happened “right here” and resulted in the massacre of around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry, one of the highest rates in Europe. Even more painfully, the same efforts usually extend to the (ab)use of vast budgets and corralled academic knowhow to find ways and means to perpetuate state-sponsored glorification of actual Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators, or, in the more public arena, to invest fortunes in Judaic, Yiddish and (indeed) Holocaust events to cover up for, and deflect from the same.

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Posted in "Tuskulėnai Peace Park", Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rwandan Genocide Remembrance Deserves Better than Being Lassoed into Baltic Holocaust Obfuscation Politics

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


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

Renewing our call of 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 medievally barbaric invasion — and rain of death and destruction with mass murder and terrorization of a peaceful civilian population — by the neighboring big power, the Russian Federation, led by our century’s most dangerous and deranged warmonger dictator. Ukraine’s victory will be the victory of the free and democratic world everywhere, as will the fall of the Putinist regime of dictatorship, brutality, invasion, and mass murder of civilians.

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

Major Jewish Religious Publication, ‘Yated Ne’eman’, Calls for Campaign Against Latest Government Plan for Multipurpose Museum in the Middle of Sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



 OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The major Jewish Orthodox publication Yated Ne’eman featured a full page eve-of-Passover protest today against the most recent Lithuanian government plans to desecrate the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok/Šnipiškės district) by retaining, remodeling and converting a huge and widely hated Soviet dump plonked in the middle of the cemetery into a modern de facto museum commemorating an array of Jewish, Lithuanian and general historical issues. Religious Jews, secular humanists, and human rights activists for whom the rights of the deceased to lie in peace are indeed human rights, all continue to argue that the cemetery belongs to those buried in it. Thousands are still buried in this cemetery in plots purchased in perpetuity by their families over around half a millennium.

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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, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Comments Off on Major Jewish Religious Publication, ‘Yated Ne’eman’, Calls for Campaign Against Latest Government Plan for Multipurpose Museum in the Middle of Sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vilnius Jewish Community: Everyone is Welcome (Admission: Free) at Rabbi S.J. Feffer’s Public Passover Séyder



Vilnius Jewish Community invites people of all faiths and backgrounds to Rabbi Samuel Jacob Feffer’s Open & Free Passover Seyder, celebrating the Jewish festival of freedom

this Monday, 22 April, 9 PM to late, at the

Narutis Hotel, Pilies g. 24 (ground floor, hall at end of corridor)

Everyone is welcome! Admission free! No tickets! More information at Facebook page of the Vilnius Jewish Community . . .

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Posted in News & Views | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community: Everyone is Welcome (Admission: Free) at Rabbi S.J. Feffer’s Public Passover Séyder

Updates from Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



 OPINION2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS?OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

Letter of Moral Capitulation” from Three Rabbinic Organizations?

Tale of Two Visions — for Lithuania’s most sacred Jewish site, the Old Vilna Cemetery, where many thousands still lie buried

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Comments Off on Updates from Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

Historic Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman Clarify Need to Dismantle Soviet Eyesore & Restore Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRSHUMAN RIGHTS

The office of Professor Sid Leiman, a member of the Commission (or “Working Group”) established in 2023 to advise Lithuania’s prime minister on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, today followed up on yesterday’s release of his Nov. 2023 letters (to fellow Commission members and to the prime minister of Lithuania) with a further release, below, of (1) an excerpt from his Oct. 2023 paper presented to the Commission, and (2) his statement issued today confirming his view that the Commission’s final report of Feb. 2024 fails to rise to the occasion.  Defending History’s take.


(1) Excerpt from Prof. Leiman’s 22 Oct. 2023 paper circulated to members of the commission:

 

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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), The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Historic Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman Clarify Need to Dismantle Soviet Eyesore & Restore Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Two Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman, To Date Only Member of Commission on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Resist ‘Directed Foregone Conclusion’



DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

The office of Professor Sid Leiman, a member of the Commission (or “Working Group”) established in 2023 to advise Lithuania’s prime minister on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, today released for the public record two statements, both of 28 November 2023. One is his letter to Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, which itself forwarded to the PM his earlier letter of the same date to fellow Commission members. The two attachments, one in Hebrew and one in English, were both published at the time by Defending History. They are the Hebrew and the English version of the call by four leading heads of Lithuanian heritage yeshivas around the world. In short order, a fifth head of a Lithuanian yeshiva wrote separately for the record.


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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Comments Off on Two Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman, To Date Only Member of Commission on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Resist ‘Directed Foregone Conclusion’

Welcoming Springtime in Vilnius with Ever More Repairs at Library of Sciences



 J. NOREIKA | NOREIKA PLAQUE IN CENTRAL VILNIUS | COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

Ides of March 2024:

BUT STILL NO ANNOUNCED DECISION ON FUTURE OF CENTRAL VILNIUS SHRINE TO HITLER COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA. A SHRINE WITH A RECENT STORIED HISTORY. ONE OF A NUMBER OF PUBLIC-SPACE SHRINES IN VILNIUS GLORIFYING LOCAL HOLOCAUST PERPETRATORS.

Ever more antics to avoid having to permanently remove plaque glorifying the Nazi collaborator (or just to delay announcing any decision)? National Library of Sciences in central Vilnius on the eve of the Ides of March 2024. Defending History photos by William Adan Pahl.

Critics ask: Is it all to avoid making the bold decision to leave the plaque and bas relief of Noreika away from the building’s facade and right on the junkpile of Hitlerist paraphernalia — where it justly belongs?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Welcoming Springtime in Vilnius with Ever More Repairs at Library of Sciences

Lithuanian Gov. Sponsored ‘Working Group’ (Commission) on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Issues ‘Final Report’



 DOCUMENTS | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Sources in the Lithuanian prime minister’s office today released to Defending History and other publications the text of the final report of the new “Working Group” established to advise on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in the Shnípishok district of Vilna, today’s Šnipiškės district in modern Vilnius. The text is available as PDF, and follows here. Please use the handles in the upper left hand corner to turn pages.

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Posted in News & Views | Comments Off on Lithuanian Gov. Sponsored ‘Working Group’ (Commission) on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery Issues ‘Final Report’

Seimas’s ‘Official Antisemite’ Announces Run to be Lithuania’s President. . .



Lithuanian parliament’s ‘proud antisemite’ announces run for president.

Defending History was first to analyze his statements for Holocaust-based context

 The ‘pioneering’ hatemonger is arguably the first elected official in Eastern Europe to synthesize local far-right Holocaust revisionism and inversion with third-world style hatred of Israel

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Seimas’s ‘Official Antisemite’ Announces Run to be Lithuania’s President. . .

Vilnius Winter Mystery: When the Curtain Comes Down — Noreika or No Noreika?



 J. NOREIKA | NOREIKA PLAQUE IN CENTRAL VILNIUSCOLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

  • Vilnius winter mystery: When the curtain comes down — Noreika or No Noreika? Have they gone over the top to bury the Noreika Question at Vilnius’s Library of Sciences? In freezing  midwinter days, a city, and concerned observers internationally, wonder whether the brutal Holocaust perpetrator’s glory plaque is gone forever as Vilnius comes to embrace Western sensibilities, or whether a powerful clique of far-right antisemitic Holocaust-revisionist officials, academics and operatives will again stand in the way of Lithuania’s progress. Across the river, visible to the right of the Noreika Plaque Curtain are the “two green buildings” erected right on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery earlier this century in a drive to obliterate the storied cemetery, a drive that has now grown to include refurbishment (instead of demolition) of  a hated Soviet ruin in its center. DefendingHistory.com photo by William Adan Pahl.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Winter Mystery: When the Curtain Comes Down — Noreika or No Noreika?

New American Ambassador in Vilnius, HE Kara McDonald, Makes History Rapidly



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | NOREIKA SAGA | JUOZAS KRIKSTAPONIS  MONUMENTU.S.A.

America’s new ambassador in Vilnius, HE Kara McDonald, makes a dramatic entrance that will go down in history, citing  glorified Holocaust perpetrators Krikštaponis and Noreika by name, in first major interview:

“I will continue to speak out strongly against the glorification of individuals who are known and documented to have participated in the Holocaust. This is part of the definition of antisemitism.”

New US ambassador in Vilnius HE Kara McDonald

THE INTERVIEW ON BNS/LRT

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on New American Ambassador in Vilnius, HE Kara McDonald, Makes History Rapidly

DH’s 2024 Person of the Year: Julius Norwilla



PERSON OF THE YEAR  |  LITHUANIA  |  JULIUS NORWILLA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  | HUMAN RIGHTS  |  HISTORY

The journey of Julius Norwilla (Norvila) comprises the dynamic persona of: a child in Soviet-era Kaunas; a young intellectual dissident (of religious persuasion) in the waning days of the Soviet Union; theology student at Tallinn and Oxford; Protestant pastor in Vilnius; champion of all the minority people and cultures in Lithuania; love of the Lithuanian Jewish heritage and standing up against state efforts to manipulate that heritage and its history; intense study of Yiddish; combating Holocaust obfuscation and public worship of Holocaust participants (including peaceful, dignified protest at, and photo documentation of, each neo-Nazi march over many years); central figure in the movement to preserve Jewish cemeteries and mass graves; beloved teacher; and — through it all a rare paragon of personal steadfastness, loyalty, and integrity, equally unshakeable by offers of largesse, mammon, and career glories from one side or — by threats of personal and career destruction from the other. Such incentives sometimes come into play in the context of campaigns of defamation and personal destruction of colleagues; here is a human being who would never touch such tactics with a bargepole. Verily, such steadfastness and integrity is a rarefied trait when it comes to painful Jewish issues and history in the Baltics. All in the face of major powers and forces in a part of the world where respect for free speech and diversity of views continues to be a work in progress or, not infrequently, a public relations illusion. For close to a decade: author at Defending History.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Defending History's Person of the Year, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Persons of the Year | Tagged , , | Comments Off on DH’s 2024 Person of the Year: Julius Norwilla