Author Archives: Defending History

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


[UPDATED / ORIGINAL REPORT 3 MARCH 2020]

COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   KAUNAS MARCHES EU  |  OPINION 

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

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Subtext to June 25th Vilnius Event: Vanagaite & Dieckmann vs. Vanagaite & Zuroff? Hope is for Full Openness on June 1941 and LAF Killers (and Hitler’s Puppet Local Gov.)



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  BOOKS  | JUNE 23rd  | SURVIVORS REMEMBER “THE FIRST WEEK”  |  BACKGROUND

VILNIUS—As ever, debates on the Holocaust in Lithuania take on their own drama, a drama never far from the ongoing alleged revisionism by Baltic governments, not least about the outbreak of local violence, plunder and murder of defenseless Jewish citizens by local “patriots” still glorified as “anti-Soviet heroes” for their unleashing of the Holocaust locally in the first days following the launch of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. In the Baltics as in (western) Ukraine, thousands of Jews were victimized and killed before the first German soldiers set foot on, or set up their administration in the territories. Far from fleeing some local “rebellion” as mendaciously claimed by state museums and commissions, the Soviet army was fleeing Hitler’s invasion — the largest invasion in human history.

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Posted in Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Subtext to June 25th Vilnius Event: Vanagaite & Dieckmann vs. Vanagaite & Zuroff? Hope is for Full Openness on June 1941 and LAF Killers (and Hitler’s Puppet Local Gov.)

‘New Book’ by Holocaust Killer H. Cukurs Hits Latvia’s Bookstores



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

June 2020. I go to buy some food in the supermarket near where I live. Passing by the display-stand of the “Jānis Roze” bookstore featuring its proud new titles I was shocked to see My flight to Japan (Mans lidojums uz Japānu) by Herberts Cukurs (pronounced [tsú-kurs]). The book was just published, not by some private publisher, but by the Latvian Museum of Aviation in Spilve. Description of the new title on the website Janisroze.lv presents Herberts Cukurs as “the aviator, traveler and man of courage.” No mention of his involvement in the Holocaust.

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Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on ‘New Book’ by Holocaust Killer H. Cukurs Hits Latvia’s Bookstores

Respect Cemeteries in Siberia but also Vilnius



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Respect Cemeteries (Gerbkime kapines) is a group of individuals in Lithuania who are working together to keep our country from operating a convention center at the Vilnius Sports Palace on top of the oldest Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. We are focusing on this crisis as the most vital issue to address in fostering Lithuanian and Litvak friendship.

Our approach is to embrace and explore the value of respecting all cemeteries with special attention to Lithuanian points of view. Arkadij Kurliandchik, an elected member of the board of the Vilnius Jewish Community, advises that we won’t be heard in Lithuania if we portray the fate of the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery as a Jewish special interest issue. Instead, if we care about our general humanity, and if we appreciate Lithuanian issues, then we hope to discover the righteous Lithuanians who will argue with us against cynical Lithuanian politicians and developers, and against their ally, the official Lithuanian Jewish Community.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Respect Cemeteries in Siberia but also Vilnius

Historic Petition on Vilnius Cemetery Reaches 50,000 Mark



CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The international petition launched by Ruta Bloshtein, a native and resident of Vilnius, has today reached the 50,000 signature mark. People of diverse background and many countries are among the signatories. Opponents of the disturbing idea to site a convention center in the heart of the old Jewish cemetery  (with extant graves, albeit not stones, on all four sides), has been resolutely opposed by rabbis in Lithuania in recent years, including, in alphabetical order, chief rabbi of nine years’ standing Chaim Burshtein (who was  fired in 2015 for speaking out); Rabbi S. J. Feffer  (a Gaon of Vilna scholar who has been based in Vilnius for decades, and  issued edicts in Hebrew and English); Rabbi Kalev Krelin, now based in Riga, who was one of the first to sign Ms. Bloshtein’s petition, along with Chabad rabbi Sholom-Ber Krinsky, who has lived in the city for over a quarter century with his family and is now official rabbi of the one functioning synagogue. Only partly in jest, Vilnius residents say this is the first time these rabbis have agreed on much of anything.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Historic Petition on Vilnius Cemetery Reaches 50,000 Mark

German Translation of 2016 Paper on Double Genocide Now Online



VILNIUS—Two scholars in Germany have made available a working German translation of Dovid Katz’s 2016 paper, “Is East European ‘Double Genocide’ Revisionism Reaching Museums?” The new German version is available online in PDF format. The paper, published in Journal of Holocaust Research, was dedicated to the memory of Lithuanian scholar Prof. Leonidas Donskis (1962–2016), who contributed on multiple occasions to Defending History.

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How to Honor Gaon of Vilna in Style?





Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How to Honor Gaon of Vilna in Style?

Virus-Shmirus: Vilnius Yiddish Class Celebrates 20th Session (Safely via Skype)



YIDDISH STUDIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  JULIUS NORWILLA

Julius Norwilla (standing end of table) with his class of Elementary/Intermediate Yiddish at Vilnius’s Jewish Cultural and Information Center (JCIC) in the Old Town, under auspices of the Vilnius Jewish Community in March 2020. On 24 March, with a pandemic upending life in the Lithuanian capital (as everywhere), the students and teacher decided to continue online via skype and have not missed a week. Standing at left is Rima Kazlauskaite, administrator at JCIC.

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UCL’s ‘Hebrew Studies’: Again Betraying Jewish (and Allied World War II) History?



UCL  |  UK  |  UK SECTION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  EVENTS  | HISTORY IN HANDS OF FOREIGN MINISTRIES  | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY

27-29 May:

“Litvak Days in London”: Another Deeply One-Sided PR Stunt Masquerading as a Fair & Balanced Dialogue? 

UCL revives offensive-to-survivors role of serving as embassy’s PR unit (“no second opinions allowed at this conference”). In 2011 it provided the “academic cover” for insinuating Baltic Holocaust revisionism into UK mainstream. In 2012, it would not grant a Holocaust survivor five minutes to express another view. Now he’s gone.

See the history in chronological order.

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Posted in Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on UCL’s ‘Hebrew Studies’: Again Betraying Jewish (and Allied World War II) History?

Do the Bones of Old Vilna Jewry Still Lie at Piramónt Cemetery?



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

VILNIUS—A recent social media campaign has been spreading the message that there are no longer human remains at the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius, the capital of democratic EU and NATO member Lithuania. Of course within the Jewish faith the sanctity of Jewish cemeteries remains in situ despite earth disruptions. “There is no such thing as a former Jewish cemetery,” Lithuania’s last chief rabbi, Chaim Burshtein, pointed out, before being fired in 2015 for expressing his opposition to “the convention center in the cemetery.”

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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), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Do the Bones of Old Vilna Jewry Still Lie at Piramónt Cemetery?

A “Lurid Display” (& Video) of Mock Euro Notes at Vilnius’s Old Jewish Cemetery


UPDATES TO 4 MAY ENCLOSED IN [ ]

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

VILNIUS—According to a report [full translation here] and photo spread in today’s Lrytas.lt (rapidly picked up on other major portals), a multitude of chairs, each with a mock 1000 euro banknote taped on, were on display today on the still unbuilt part of the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, directly on top of thousands of extant graves covered by concrete slabs from the Soviet era. This is reported as a demonstration coordinated by the National Tourism Business Association (NTVA), the Lithuanian Tourism Association (LTA), and the Lithuanian Hotel and Restaurant Association (LVRA). The NTVA also published a “video of the demo” on Facebook. The video carries one line of text which reads, in translation: “By this action of empty chairs, the tourism industry reminds the state about the unemployed Palace of Sports.”

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A “Lurid Display” (& Video) of Mock Euro Notes at Vilnius’s Old Jewish Cemetery

Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder


[last updated]


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THE LATEST

Reviews of Bloodlands

Reviews of Black Earth

Instrumentalization?

2012   2013   2014   2015   2016

This journal holds leading historian Professor Timothy Snyder (Yale University) in the highest esteem, and trusts that this select list of reviews taking issue with aspects of Bloodlands of direct concern to DefendingHistory.com will not be taken amiss. It does not include reviews which have engaged in personal attack or pursued grudges, or which focus on other issues.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Australia, Books, Double Genocide, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder

Former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Calls on Present FM to Renounce View & Support State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS  |  JONAS NOREIKA  | DOUBLE GENOCIDE   |  FOREIGN MINISTRIES MANIPULATING HISTORY?  | ANTISEMITISM  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—A former foreign minister and current MP, Audronius Ažubalis, today published, in partnership with a younger right-wing MP, a public appeal (on the main news portal Delfi.lt), to the current foreign minister to revoke his 2019 agreement with the Western consensus that Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika should not be the object of state-sponsored glorification in a NATO or EU member state.

Mr. Ažubalis, a stalwart of the right-wing Homeland Union and Christian Democratic party, has a long history “with the Jews and the Holocaust.” In 2010, all 21 members of the board of the Jewish Community of Lithuania signed an official protest at the then foreign minister’s antisemitic remarks. Then, in 2012, when eight bold Lithuanian parliamentarians (six MPs and two MEPs) signed the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD), in opposition to the 2008 Prague Declaration that is the “constitution” of the Double Genocide movement, the then foreign minister issued his infamous remark about the only difference between Hitler and Stalin being the length of their moustaches. He rapidly accused the eight Lithuanian parliamentarians (all Social Democrats) of being Putinist lackeys.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Calls on Present FM to Renounce View & Support State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Simon Gurevich, Elected Head of Vilnius Jewish Community, Reaffirms Jewish Stance on Old Vilna Cemetery



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

VILNIUS—Today’s edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung carries Judith Leister’s article (in German) on issues arising during the current official Lithuanian government celebrations of the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Gaon of Vilna, Elijah ben Solomon Zalman (Eylyóhu ben Shlóyme-Zálmen, 1720–1797).

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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), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Simon Gurevich, Elected Head of Vilnius Jewish Community, Reaffirms Jewish Stance on Old Vilna Cemetery

Is Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery Really Best Way to Jumpstart Post Covid-19 Economy?



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

VILNIUS—The major news portal Delfi.lt reported this morning on the economic recovery plan for jumpstarting the Lithuanian economy in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. After reporting on the doldrums of the construction industry, the article cites at length Mantas Miseliūnas, a top specialist on the role of commercial property in the economy. No opposing views are cited. The article, which does not mention the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, the current litigation, the international petition, and the massive international protest, informs readers of an idyllic panacea to the economic downturn wrought by Covid-19:

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Is Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery Really Best Way to Jumpstart Post Covid-19 Economy?

A Vilnius Building for Danse Macabre?



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

by Julius Norwilla

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

We return to the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramont (Šnipiškės). Back on December 19, 2019, the Lithuanian State Property Bank (Turto Bankas) announced an agreement with a tiny number of non-representative self-interested Jewish organizations for the development of the Vilnius Congress Center in the old Palace of Sports building surrounded by thousands of still extant Jewish graves going back to the 15th century (remember, graves and tombstones are two different things; the Soviets stole all the stones, and they keep turning up all around town). See Defending History’s report on the Dec. 2019 events here in Vilnius.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Vilnius Building for Danse Macabre?

‘Weekly of Vilnius’ Is Again Only Vilnius Publication to Give Both Sides of Story



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  NOREIKA  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Once again, The Weekly of Vilnius, considered by some to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news-and-analysis publication, was the only major media outlet here to “give both sides of the story” on the recent court judgment of Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court’s 1 April decision in effect proclaiming that Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika is a national hero, unblemished by his involvement in the ghettoization, pillaging and destruction of thousands of his fellow citizens who were Jewish. Various state institutions, most notoriously the far-right Genocide Research Center, continue to spend lavishly on the glorification of Holocaust collaborators. See Defending History’s report, which includes links to other media coverage in Lithuanian and English.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on ‘Weekly of Vilnius’ Is Again Only Vilnius Publication to Give Both Sides of Story

Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court Reconfirms ‘National Hero’ Status of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



THE NOREIKA DEBATE FROM 2012 ONWARD  |  COLLABORATGORS GLORIFIED   |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—Coronavirus or not, Vilnius’s Supreme Administrative Court yesterday issued its dismissal of the appeal against an earlier court ruling that effectively codified in Lithuanian law the conclusion that Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika is indeed a national hero. The Noreika saga reached the English speaking world in 2012, when Evaldas Balčiūnas’s article appeared in Defending History. Mr. Balčiūnas followed up with articles on other perpetrators glorified by the state, and was harassed by years of kangaroo prosecutions (scroll down to May 2014, further articles following). Thereafter, challenges were mounted both here and abroad  to state-sponsored glorification, in a NATO/EU state, of a proven Holocaust collaborator. These  have included Californian-resident wealth adviser Grant Gochin, Vilnius-resident Lithuanian-American scholar Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, who curates a website on the subject, and, most sensationally, Noreika’s own American-born grandsaughter, the Chicago-based author and educator Silvia Foti, whose 2018 article in Salon led to international media coverage and work on a feature film project.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court Reconfirms ‘National Hero’ Status of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

The West Once Again Silent as Latvia Glorifies its Waffen SS


[UPDATED. FIRST PUBLICATION 14 FEB. 2020 UNDER TITLE ‘WILL THE WEST REMAIN SILENT AS LATVIA PREPAREDS TO GLORIFY ITS WARTIME WAFFEN SS?’]


OPINION  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg

Since 1998, former Latvian SS have each and every year on the 16th of March been marching in the capital city of Riga to commemorate their fallen colleagues whom they perceive as war heroes. The marches have over the years increased in alarming numbers and have even been publicly condoned by Latvian officials. In the heart of NATO in Riga, more than 2,500 people, amongst them Latvian politicians, have been known to annually pay tribute to Latvians who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in Waffen SS detachments during World War II.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on The West Once Again Silent as Latvia Glorifies its Waffen SS

Eyewitness Report: March 11th Far Right March & Rally in Central Vilnius



MARCHES SECTION  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Julius Norwilla

The Totenkopf flag, with the “Lithuanian swastika” upper right, has featured each year. Swastikas were legalized by Lithuanian courts in 2010. Photo: Julius Norwilla.

VILNIUS—It was Wednesday March 11th at around 4 PM. The procession of the “nationalists” began, as usual,  in the heart of the Lithuanian capital, with authorities’ permission, at the city’s medieval Cathedral Square. It made its way up the central boulevard, Gedimino, up to Lukiškės Square, a stone’s throw from the nation’s Seimas, or parliament.

Only Defending History came out to monitor the march. . .

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Racism | Comments Off on Eyewitness Report: March 11th Far Right March & Rally in Central Vilnius