Responses to a State Campaign against Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Anti-Nazi Resistance

See also: Blaming the Victims

3 April 2008Resolution of the Board of Directors of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.

6 April 2008Professor Dov Levin of Jerusalem protests, returning his own earlier award to the president of Lithuania.

15 April 2008Professor Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University: ‘The Holocaust and contemporary antisemitism in Lithuania’.

30 April 2008.  The Embassy of the United States in Lithuania issues a certificate of appreciation, signed by Ambassador John A. Cloud, to Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky; presented by political officer Joseph Boski at a luncheon organized by the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.

3 June 2008.  The Embassy of Ireland in Lithuania issues a certificate of lifetime achievement to Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, signed by Ambassador Dónal Denham, who presented the award at a reception at the ambassador’s residence. Linas Vildziunas, Dovid Katz and Vytautas Toleikis celebrate. Ambassador Denham’s speech concluded with the words: ‘Fania is one brave woman! You are a beautiful person, a special person, an inspiration to us all.’

Photo: Ambassador Dónal Denham (courtesy Embassy of Ireland, Vilnius).

11 June 2008‘Persecution of former Jewish partisans in Lithuania’ on Vilna Stories by Dr Michael Good.

19 June 2008Open Letter of the Jewish Community of Lithuania and the Union of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners.

20 July 2008Washington Times op-ed by Dan Mariaschin, of B’nai B’rith International.

1 August 2008United States congressmen Howard Berman, Paul Hodes and Robert Wexler protest the actions of the Lithuanian government.

19 August 2008Open Letter from students and faculty of the summer program in Yiddish language and literature at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University (text by Elliott Palevsky, director of the  cultural program).

20 August 2008Jewish Week op-ed by Mark Weitzman (director of government affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center USA): ‘Capital of culture or injustice?’

21 August 2008Economist article [by Edward Lucas]: ‘Prosecution and persecution: Lithuania must stop blaming the victims’; alternate link; 2nd alternate link.

25 August 2008.  Letter to Dr Rachel Margolis from nine NATO embassies in Vilnius.

27 August 2008.  Lecture and walking tour of the Vilna Ghetto, led by Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, attended by ambassadors / chargés d’affaires of fifteen NATO nations: Austria, Britain, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, USA.

1 September 2008Open Letter of the Jewish Community of Lithuania and the Union of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners.

4 September 2008Question to the German parliament by a group of members.

10 September 2008.  ‘Lithuanian-Jewish relations: paper justice’ by Valdas Vasiliauskas on  English translation.

25 September 2008Response of UK MP Denis MacShane: excerpt from p 33 of his Globalising Hatred. The New Antisemitism (see Recent Books → 2008 → MacShane).

‘The rise of nationalist antisemitic politics can be seen in Lithuania. Jews who escaped to join the anti-Nazi partisans in Lithuania in the Second World War are now being accused by Lithuanian antisemites of taking part in war crimes. 95% of Lithuania’s 200,000 Jews who lived in the country before the Russian occupation in 1939 and the Nazi invasion of 1941 were killed by Germans and their Lithuanian collaborators. Lithuanian Jews who survived the Holocaust are now in their eighties, but such is the antisemitism coming back to life in some quarters of nationalist politics in the Baltic state, that it has been possible to open investigations that put Jews on the same level as their executioners.’

— Denis Macshane, member of the UK parliament, in his Globalising Hatred. The New Antisemitism, p. 33.

September 2008‘Investigating Jewish partisans in Lithuania: the protest of a veteran Jewish partisan’ by Sara Ginaite in Jewish Currents.

“Prosecutors can easily turn into agents of injustice if they begin campaigns on ethnic or political grounds that have little to do with the work of identifying specific crimes and seeking to bring to a fair trial their alleged perpetrators. I invite the general prosecutor to put everything into its rightful context and not pursue a policy that appears to be based on ethnic targeting. The first step is to stop and ask: Why now, in 2008, schedule the pre-trial investigation of the circumstances of the event in Koniuchy, instead of examining the murder of 74,500 Lithuanian citizens during Soviet rule — and, yes, into the issue of who took part in the murder of two hundred thousand Jewish citizens of Lithuania during the Holocaust? Any request for bringing to justice the Nazi war criminals and the Soviet oppressors and killers is described as ‘too late.’ Strangely, however, it has just become not too late to use the Lithuanian justice system to discredit those who fought against the Nazis.

“How can one not be humiliated by this selective justice, which is, in practice, directed exclusively toward the few surviving Jewish partisans? Investigation of the Koniuchy case is not justice. It is a manipulation of justice, with the goal of forming a negative image of the Jewish partisans and of Holocaust survivors generally.

“A state prosecutor need not allow himself to become the instrument of some Lithuanian factions who support the idea of collective guilt and collective responsibility. But it looks as if the prosecutor has surrendered to pressure and has begun this useless investigation knowing perfectly well that he is not going to charge any concrete person with any concrete alleged crime.”

— Professor Sara Ginaite

October-December 2008.  ‘Bitter pill of history’ by Milan Chersonski in Jerusalem of Lithuania, 143-144 (7-8), p 7.

15 March 2009Holocaust Council of Metro West issues a Woman of Valor award to Dr Rachel Margolis.

7 April 2009Letter to Dr Rachel Margolis from the chairman, president and executive director of NCSJ.

9 April 2009Keene State College in New Hampshire honors Dr Rachel Margolis.

16 April 2009Letter to Dr Rachel Margolis from the National Director of ADL.

19 June 2009Lord Janner of Braunstone issues a certificate of appreciation to Dr Rachel Margolis, delivered at the Dr Rachel Margolis event chaired at Leivick House in Tel Aviv by its director, composer Daniel Galay. The keynote speaker was Israeli ambassador to Latvia and Lithuania, Chen Ivri Apter, who awarded Dr Margolis a certificate of merit from his embassy. Tel Aviv school children who study Yiddish with Hannah Pollin-Galay presented a cultural program of song, and a gift of flowers to Dr Margolis. Other speakers included professors Israel Bartal, Dov Levin (Jerusalem) and Dovid Katz (Vilnius). Dr Margolis addresses the audience. After the event. Dr Margolis with Ambassador Apter. Photos by Leyzer Burko. Leivick House report on the event.

23 September 2009.  Faina Kukliansky, chairwoman of the Vilnius Jewish Community, and legal advisor to the Jewish Community of Lithuania, speaking at the annual September 23 commemoration a Ponar (Paneriai), cites prosecutors’ attempts to mischaracterize the status of Jewish anti-Nazi partisan veterans Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky and Rachel Margolis; comments cited in column 5 of the report by Milan Chersonski, editor of the Jewish community’s Jerusalem of Lithuania (Fall 2009 issue).

28 October 2009 (I).  Germany’s ambassador to Lithuania, Hans-Peter Annen, presents Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (known as the Federal Cross of Merit) at the German embassy in Vilnius. The Order was signed by the president of Germany, Horst Koehler, in Berlin, on 21 September 2009. Fania with the Order; with Ambassador Annen. Fania, wearing the medal, celebrates with Jewish Community chairman Dr Shimon Alperovich, German ambassador Hans Peter Annen, and Professor Dovid Katz.

28 October 2009 (II).  Meanwhile, in Rechovot, Israel, Dr Rachel Margolis celebrates her 88th birthday. Greetings arrived (among others) from the ambassadors of France and Norway in Vilnius, and from the Israeli Embassy in Riga (which covers Latvia and Lithuania).

26 November 2009.  At the initiative of HE Steinar Gil, ambassador of Norway to Lithuania, a group of Vilnius-based ambassadors and chargés d’affaires — from Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Russia — participate in a walking tour of the Vilna Ghetto led by Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 87, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Translation was provided by the institute’s director of research, Professor Dovid Katz. While on Zemaitijos gatve (the former Strashun Street), the group stood for a photo outside the building that housed the Ghetto Library. More images: 1 (center: ambassador Steinar Gil and Mrs Turi Gil); 2 (center: French ambassador Francois Laumonier); 3. The walk was preceded by a discussion at the Jewish Community of Lithuania, where Ms Brantsovsky outlined the Holocaust history of the city. The group was addressed by Norwegian ambassador HE Steinar GilDr Shimon Alperovich, chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania; Mr Simon Gurevich, its executive director; and Professor Katz.

3 December 2009 [released to the media by the Margolis family on 27 January 2010].  United States congressmen Shelley Berkley, Howard Berman (chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee), Paul Hodes, James Moran, and Robert Wexler (chairman, House Subcommittee on Europe) protest the Lithuanian government’s defamation and persecution of Holocaust Survivors Dr Rachel Margolis and Ms Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky.

26 January 2010Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, responds to the Arad accusations plus plans to replace Holocaust Remembrance Day with a mixed red-brown memorial day.

7 October 2010‘Nazi crimes have been downgraded in Lithuania’ in the Canadian Jewish News by Esther Goldberg.

5 May 2011.  ‘Three years later. Neither charged nor cleared’ on

7 July 2011.  Israeli Ambassador to Latvia and Lithuania HE Nati Tamir presented to Fania Brantsovsky a letter and gift from Avner Shalev, director of Yad Vashem.  Report under 7 July in the Bulletin of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, with thanks to DCM Liat Wexelman.

20 October 2012.  Tel Aviv’s Leivick House releases for the June 2009 video of the late Ambassador Chen Ivri Apter’s speech on Yitzhak Arad, Fania Brantsovsky and Rachel Maroglis.

2013. Monica Lowenberg’s petition on

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