A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?

For a summary of the history of this issue, please see Defending History’s page “Blaming the Victims? State Agencies & Other Elites Defame Holocaust Survivors” which is at:
https://defendinghistory.com/blaming-the-victims

* * *

Dr. Rachel Margolis Dies in Rehovot; Didn’t Get to See Her Native Vilna One Last Time



רחל מאַרגאָליס (מַרְגָלִית) ז″ל

Rachel Margolis

Vilna, 28 October 1921  —  Rehovot, 6 July 2015


About Rachel Margolis: Shimon AlperovichAlgirdas Brazauskas, Gordon Brown, Abraham Foxman, Steinar Gil, Martin Gilbert, Chen Ivri Apter, Dovid Katz (Y), Francois Laumonier, NCSJGeoff Vasil. UK House of Lords, 5 US Congressmen, 9 Western ambassadors in Vilnius.

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SLS’s 2015 Sutzkever Prize: Yiddish Poetry Serving Right-Wing East European Politics?



O P I N I O N

The bizarre saga of the Montreal-based Summer Literary Seminars (SLS) “Jewish Lithuania Sutzkever Prize” continues apace with ever-increasing disrespect toward Abraham Sutzkever and his fellow Jewish partisans who helped liberate Lithuania from the Nazis, and ever more political entanglement with current geopolitical instrumentalization of Yiddish and Jewish causes in Eastern Europe in the context of East-West tensions.

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Double Genocide in Action? Victims and Perpetrators Interchangeable



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Ronaldas Račinskas, executive director of the Lithuanian-government financed “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania,” widely known for brevity as the “Red-Brown Commission,” has revealed — on camera, to the producers of the documentary film Liza Ruft — his thoughts about the “war crimes investigation” into Fania Brantsovsky. The video clip of his statement was released today on Youtube.

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Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015



O P I N I O N

by Tomas Venclova

The following text is the authorized English translation of Professor Venclova’s address at a conference on Holocaust issues, organized by Rūta Vanagaitė, held at Vilnius City Hall on 17 April 2015. The original Lithuanian text. Video of Tomas Venclova speaking. Conference program. Conference’s final press release.

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Member of Red-Brown Commission and Trasher of Yiddish Dissidents is Appointed to Council of Europe’s “Commission against Racism and Intolerance” (ECRI)



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Waves of shock laced with the “actual” human rights community’s usual black humor undulated through the different struggling branches of that community this week as the Council of Europe announced the appointment of one of the most multiply-titled intellectuals of modern Lithuania (or Europe), Prof. Dr. S. Liekis, as a new member of the Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (CARI). Professor Liekis is professor at Vilnius University, Romeris University, Vytautas Magnus University, and a crack member of the government’s red-brown commission, formally known by its somewhat Orwellian name, The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. The local term “actual human rights” community in Lithuania refers to those who monitor and publicly post on issues, as opposed to those on endless government and EU budgets who are sometimes accused of covering up issues and shirking from anything that is not nationalist PR meant for naive Westerners.


One immediate opportunity presents itself. CARI and the Council of Europe could quickly make clear their view of the Lithuanian government’s decision to allow an SS banner with a swastika to be foisted at the nation’s Parliament (the Seimas) for over an hour on the nation’s hallowed independence day, 11 March 2015. Reports on the day, which funded human rights organizations here generally failed to monitor, in Defending History and on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania.


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In English Translation: V. Brandišauskas’s Classic Review of A. Liekis



D O C U M E N T S   /   B O O K S   /   H I S T O R Y

The following is an English translation of a book review by Valentinas Brandišauskas of Algimantas Liekis’s Lietuvos laikinoji vyriausybė (1941 06 22–08 05) that appeared in the Lithuanian publication Genocidas ir Rezistencija No. 8, 2000, and is posted online


Review: A Doubtful Selection of “Frontists,” or, about One More in a Series of A. Liekis’s “Monographs”: Lietuvos laikinoji vyriausybë (1941 06 22–08 05) [Provisional Government of Lithuania, June 22—August 5, 1941], Vilnius, 2000, 428 pp.

 ◊

The negative predictions have been fulfilled, unfortunately, even beyond expectations. That’s what can be said about a news item that appeared in the Lithuanian exile community’s monthly Akiračiai regarding preparations by Lithuanian historian Algimatas Liekis, who did some work at the Lithuanian Studies Research and Studies Center in Chicago, to write a book about the June Uprising of 1941 and the Provisional Government (PG). Recalling the historian’s past (“during the Soviet era […] he was the komsorg [Communist Youth Party minder] in the Soviet navy, Party secretary of the History Institute of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic…”) and doubting his reputation as an academic, it was said that “Frontist successors” to the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) had invited Liekis

“to write a book that would help the Lithuanian parliament push through the legislation needed to ‘legalize’ the Provisional Government and to proclaim the day of the uprising a national holiday.”

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How Did Lithuanians Wrong Litvaks?



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Iwill speak about painful things, and so I understand if some of you won’t want to listen and will step out.

It is most important that we empathize with the victims of the Holocaust, and yet we must also empathize with the perpetrators if we wish to understand what happened and who was responsible for what. Litvaks outside of Lithuania feel hurt that Lithuanians shirk responsibility for the Holocaust.

I won’t be indifferent. I am a deliberate Lithuanian. I was born in the diaspora. I chose to be Lithuanian. Is the Lithuanian worldview harmful? I must investigate.

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The Bubnys Event at the 2015 Jewish Community Auschwitz Commemoration



E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T   /   O P I N I O N

by Julius Norwilla

This year much of the world commemorates the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. The day of its liberation, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. To mark the day this year, on the 26th of January, the Jewish Community of Lithuania organized three events, as reported in Defending History.

The final event of the day was the book launch for The Šiauliai Ghetto featuring as sole announced speaker its author, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Department of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania; for a critical view of the Genocide Center, as it is known for short, see Defending History’s page and news section on the institution.

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In Europe, a New Public Curtain of Revisionism, Oblivion and Antisemitism



O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

 ◊

Isee two new important social and political trends now that have a direct bearing, first on the memory of what happened in Europe and the USSR during the Holocaust and other massacres and, secondly, on the life of the Jews presently living in Europe.

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Five Years of Defending History Dot Com



F

ive years have elapsed since this journal was founded as Holocaust in the Baltics on 6 Sept. 2009, in memory of Professor Meir Shub (1924-2009). Outside coverage includes David Hirsch in Engage and Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian (2009); Avi Friedman in Mishpacha, Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post, Mark Ames in The Nation, and Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service (2010); Cindy Mindell in the Jewish Ledger and Peter Jukes in Motley Moose (2011); Danny Ben-Moshe in his film Rewriting History (2012); Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report (2013); Richard Bloom in his film Defending Holocaust History (2014).

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Waiting for Apologies . . .



Five Holocaust Survivors have Endured Years of State-Sponsored Defamation

Accused of “war crimes” or of speaking out freely on Holocaust issues (accusations of “libel” against nationalist heroes and state-sponsored educators)

Four of them, in their late 80s or 90s, are heroic veterans of the anti-Nazi war effort who escaped the Vilna, Kovno or Svintsyán Ghetto to join up with the partisans in the forests of Lithuania. All their families perished in the Lithuanian Holocaust.

combo

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Welcome in Vilnius for Former Norwegian Ambassador Steinar Gil


 

STEINAR$20GIL

Dr. Steinar Gil

Dozens of residents of Vilnius came to an evening this week to honor the visit of former Norwegian ambassador to Lithuania HE Steinar Gil (stationed in the Lithuanian capital from 2006 to 2011) and his wife Turi. Ambassador Gil played a legendary role in a number of human rights battles over the years.

Among those in attendance were Jewish veteran of the anti-Nazi partisans, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, who recently celebrated her 92nd birthday, and Milan Chersonski, long-time editor (1999-2011) of the Jewish community’s newspaper Jerusalem of Lithuania. There were representatives (ambassadors or consuls) from seven foreign embassies and a number of prominent personalities from the arts, media, business, and academia.

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Is the Vilnius Police Criminal Division Harassing a Veteran Holocaust Researcher?


VILNIUS—Defending History confirmed today that renowned documentary film maker and Holocaust researcher Saulius Beržinis, founding director of the Independent Holocaust Archive of Lithuania (IHAL), has been the latest recipient of a letter from police on account of his work documenting the alleged Nazi collaboration of various Lithuanian “1941 freedom fighters” who allegedly collaborated with the Nazi regime and in the murder of their civilian Jewish-citizen neighbors in the days, weeks and months following 22 June 1941. The letter demands he turn over a “list” of criminals which it was never his, nor the Archives’ intention, to produce or comment upon. Over the years, the Holocaust specialist has won the confidence of groups worldwide for his willingness to seek out and tell the unvarnished truth, among them the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.

The March 19th letter to IHAL’s director, letterheaded “Vilnius District Senior Police Commission, Vilnius City First Police Commission, Police Criminal Division” is reproduced below (followed by translation into English).

Saulius Beržinis has been collecting testimonies on the Holocaust for a quarter of a  century. He is known internationally for his singular achievement of  interviewing on camera actual admitted killers (some are in the film Lovely Faces of the Killers, 2002), and his extensive documentation work with survivors and witnesses. He has partnered over the years with BBC, The United States Holocaust Museum, the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania, Yad Vashem, and other international bodies, in addition to dozens of Holocaust survivors. His Holocaust documentaries include Farewell Jerusalem of Lithuania (1994), Yudel’s Unwritten Diary (2004), The Road to Treblinka (1997). Most recently, his film on the Holocaust in Jurbarkas (Yúrberik) became controversial for daring to name the killers of the town’s Jewish citizens in 1941 (see reviews by Milan Chersonski and Geoff Vasil).

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Person of the Year 2014


Pinchos Fridberg Defends HistoryProfessor Pinchos Fridberg, a Vilnius Holocaust Survivor, Stands Up to Powerful Forces with Singular Courage

The debate in English translation ◊ Danny Ben-Moshe in Jerusalem Report ◊ Which government commission continues to defame this Holocaust survivor? ◊ Appeal to commissioners ◊ DH’s Pinchos Fridberg section


Memory Lane in PDFs . . .

2008: Dana Gloger in the Jewish Chronicle; Arne Bengtsson in Baltic Worlds; 2009: Raphael Ahren in Haaretz; Avi Friedman in Mishpacha; 2010: Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post; Esther Goldberg in Canadian Jewish News; Cindy Mindell in the Jewish Ledger; 2011: Dovid Katz in JHC; 2012: Efraim Zuroff in Haaretz; Dovid Katz in London Jewish News; 2013: Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report


NEARLY A YEAR LATER, STILL NO APOLOGY!

Red-Brown Commission Continues to Call one of the Last Vilna Holocaust Survivors a “Liar” on its own Website  ♦  Background

 Is Commission out of commission?

 

NEW DOCUMENTARY FILM RELEASED

Richard BloomRichard Bloom’s Defending Holocaust History, a new documentary on “Double Genocide” Holocaust revisionism, focusing on Lithuania and Latvia, was released this month by Richard Bloom Productions.


Defending History Brings Real (But Not Enough) Results…

After 7 Years of Silence, Part of Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission” Expresses “Sorrow and Anger” at “Unwarranted Attacks” on Yitzhak Arad

Yitzhak Arad

Yitzhak Arad

First Real Gesture Brings Praise; But No Mention of Prosecutors’ “Kangaroo War Crimes Investigation” or Urgent Need for Apology from Prosecutor and Political Leaders to Halt Ongoing Defamation of Dr. Arad — a Holocaust Survivor, Resistance Hero in the Struggle against Nazism, Veteran of Israel’s War of Independence and then General, Major Scholar of the Holocaust, Head of Yad Vashem for Over Two Decades (1972-1993)

His The Holocaust in the Soviet Union is a (2010) National Jewish Book Award winner

BACKGROUND

OUT OF COMMISSION?

PDF OF THE LETTER (dated 14 Oct; see our 11 Oct open letter appealing to commissioners’ conscience); Letter signed by all members except A. Bubnys, J. Brent, N. Naimark, J. Rainer, T. Snyder, F. Thom

Commission announces two separate sub-commissions, as in 1998 (PDF). Comment by Milan Chersonski (2008); by Rachel Kostanian (2013)

COMMISSION APPEARS TO BE HOPELESSLY SPLIT: AMONG THOSE WHO DID NOT SIGN IS THE COMMISSION’S REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE GENOCIDE CENTER (WHERE THE “INVESTIGATION” OF DR. ARAD WAS STARTED AND NEVER DISOWNED). HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS DISMAYED AT ATTEMPTED LEGITIMIZATION OF THE ANTISEMITIC GENOCIDE CENTER.


Ongoing defamation extends to prosecutors’ website, Wikipedia, new publications, and mass media; souvenir envelope on sale for years at Vilnius’s main post office; even a “human rights association”


No mention of other defamed Holocaust survivors, including Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Tel Aviv attorney Joseph Melamed, Dr. Rachel MargolisProfessor Pinchos Fridberg who continues to be defamed on the commission’s own website

YITZHAK ARAD’S 2012 PAPER ON HOLOCAUST OBFUSCATION AND THE PART PLAYED BY VILNIUS-BASED COMMISSION

No mention of the Prague Declaration that continues to feature on commission’s website as “truth” while Seventy Years Declaration is unmentioned; Eight courageous Lithuanian parliamentarians signed SYD, defying the commission; MP Andriukaitis’s bold 2012 reply to a right-wing minister’s broadside


RELATED: section on the commission; page; Holocaust survivors from Lithuania protest commission’s renewal in Israel and the US; Joe Melamed’s letter;  Pinchos Fridberg section

Heads of Zingeris-Racinskas commission

Are (right-wing) politicians running the show? Image: International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania


RESIGNATIONS TO DATE FROM THE COMMISSION AND ASSOCIATED BODIES:

Sir Martin Gilbert and professors Gershon GreenbergKonrad Kwiet, and Dov Levin


Efraim Zuroff Slams New Attempt by Vilnius Genocide Center to Massage the Numbers — and Ethics — of the Local Perpetrators

MAARIV REPORTS

Evaldas Balčiūnas: A tale of inspiring courage in challenging the Genocide Center

Background: Page on Genocide Center and its texts in Genocide Museum and Gruto Parkas

See also DH sections:  Perpetrators Glorified; Double Genocide

Related: Chersonski replies to Aleksandravičius


Red-Brown Exhibit Opened in Berlin

REVIEW OF ITS RECENT STINT IN VILNIUS


One-Sided Vilna Ghetto Roadshow in Berlin?

(27-29 Oct)

CINDERELLA NOT INVITED TO THE BALL?  Her 92nd birthday was 28 Oct, in the middle of the conference.

Dr. Rachel Margolis, Vilna native, Vilna Ghetto survivor, heroic resistance fighter against the Nazis, co-founder of the Green House Holocaust museum in Vilnius, who rediscovered and published long lost diary of eyewitness to the Ponár massacres, defamed by Lithuanian state prosecutors, is not on the list of speakers in Berlin.

FROM RECENT YEARS: CHEN IVRI APTER, GORDON BROWN, US CONGRESSMEN, LORD JANNERBACKGROUND. FACT SHEET. RACHEL ON VIDEO. THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS.

Rachel Margolis of Vilnius


Meanwhile, in Rehovot, Rachel Margolis prepared to celebrate her 92nd birthday (Monday 28 Oct). PHOTO: HADAS PARUSH


RIGHT WING POLITICS IN PLAY AT BERLIN VILNA GHETTO CONFERENCE: The event is hosted by a Conservative Party (Christian Democratic Union) linked foundation that is itself part of the Centre for European Studies, a think tank affiliated with the right wing EPP that is itself an engine of red-brown Double Genocide politics in Europe. Chief of red-brown commission in town for the event.

QUESTION: Will there be any mention of the ghetto survivors defamed for posterity (in the absence of formal apologies) by branches of the Lithuanian government? The other painful issues including Double Genocide? Dr. Rachel Margolis rediscovered and published the diary of Kazimierz Sakowicz. More.

TRIBUTES ON FACEBOOK: RACHEL MARGOLIS’S BIRTHDAY

Rachel Margolis with Joseph Melamed (Oct 28th 2011 in Rehovot)

Dr. Rachel Margolis at her home in Rehovot, Israel, visited by Joseph Melamed, president of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, who was himself visited by agents of Interpol in 2011 on instructions from Lithuanian prosecutors.

Friends in Berlin may consider politely asking officials for official public apologies to the defamed Holocaust survivors, including:

Dr. Yitzhak Arad

Ms. Fania Brantsovsky

Professor Pinchos Fridberg

Dr. Rachel Margolis

Attorney Joseph Melamed

For summaries of some painful issues that need to be addressed in pursuit of reconciliation and mutual understanding, please see Monica Lowenberg’s petition, and Defending History’s proposed solutions.


 

Quote of the Month

BRITISH MP JOHN MANN

John Mann MP


“It is an industrial rewriting of history in Eastern Europe to excuse mass murders carried out on behalf of the Nazis.”

UK MP John Mann, October 2013

READ MORE

 

An Appeal to Conscience

of the German, Israeli and US members of the renewed state-financed “Red-Brown Commission”:

ARE YOU REALLY COMFORTABLE WITH THE COMMISSION’S

(1) continued public support for the 2008 Prague Declaration, and continued failure to mention the existence of the Seventy Years Declaration? (background)

(2) continued defamation of beloved Vilnius Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg? (background)

(3) continued failure to publicly condemn the antisemitic prosecutorial defamation of Holocaust survivor and scholar Dr. Yitzhak Arad, a founding member of your own commission? Of Holocaust survivor and scholar Dr. Rachel Margolis? (background)

READ MORE

Dr. Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), Valiant Chair of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (1992 to Early 2013) Turns 85!

TRIBUTES ON FACEBOOK.  ALPEROVICH ON: DOUBLE GENOCIDE;  A FOREIGN MINISTER’S ANTISEMITIC TIRADE; STATE HONORS FOR HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS, THE LAF & 1941 NAZI PUPPET GOV’T;  POLICY OF HONORING BOTH PERPETRATORS AND VICTIMS;  DEFAMATION OF JEWISH ANTI-NAZI PARTISAN HEROES (AND RED-BROWN COMMISSION’S SILENCE);  DISNEYLAND GHETTO PROJECTS.


History of Defending History…

2013: Bernard Dichek in The Jerusalem Report. Danny Ben-Moshe’s film Rewriting History2010:  Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service2010: Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post. 2009: Rafael Aaren in Haaretz. 2008: Arne Bengtsson in Baltic Worlds.


Selection of Essays on the Issues 

Yitzhak AradYehuda BauerDanny Ben-MosheGordon BrownAbraham CooperPinchos FridbergSir Martin GilbertClemens HeniDovid KatzJohn MannJonathan FreedlandLord JannerLeigh PhillipsLeyzer Ran FamilyTessa RajakHeidemarie UhlEfraim ZuroffVoices of Holocaust survivors.

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How Has Post-Soviet Lithuania Used Holocaust Remembrance to Project a “New” European Identity?



O P I N I O N

by Rachel Croucher  (Melbourne, Australia)

 

Lithuania declared its restoration of independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on March 11, 1990. The country then began to immediately seek closer ties with established Western European institutions as a means to consolidate its national and economic security. After centuries of subjugation at the hands of various foreign powers, this need for national and economic security was seen as being of primary and urgent concern to the fledgling democracy. This race to join as many Western European institutions as possible was also a way to prove to the rest of the world that Lithuania was now in practice a true European country, part of the post-1945 Western European order. The sentiment behind this is best expressed by Czech-born and naturalized French writer Milan Kundera when he stated in 1989 that

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Red-Brown Commission Member Takes Katz-Bashing Campaign to Litvak Culture Fest in Philadephia; LA Next?



O P I N I O N

A senior historian and his government’s “master fixer for foreign Jewish academics,” Professor Sarunas Liekis told an audience of hundreds in Philadelphia last Sunday that Dovid Katz had never been a professor of Yiddish at Vilnius University, and had been discontinued in 2010 by the American Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (led by Richard Maullin of Los Angeles) for not having turned up for class for several years (!).

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Former BNS Chief Artūras Račas Lets Loose Again on Fridberg, Kanovičius, Pancerovas, Zuroff…



The following is a translation of an October 2, 2013 piece published by former Baltic News Service chief Artūras Račas on his blog. For context, see some of Mr. Račas’s previous work on Holocaust related issues, e.g. his comments on state investigations of Holocaust survivors who became anti-Nazi partisans (2008) and on Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Dr. Efraim Zuroff (2013); see also Prof. Fridberg’s reply.


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Part of the Red-Brown Commission Writes to Yitzhak Arad



Defending History Brings Real (But Not Enough) Results…

After 7 Years of Silence, Part of Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission” Expresses “Sorrow and Anger” at “Unwarranted Attacks” on Yitzhak Arad

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An Old Jew From Vilna Writes a Letter to Moshe Rabeinu


 


O P I N I O N

by Pinchos Fridberg

 

Some facts

In 1998 the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” was established by Lithuanian presidential decree.

The commission is directed in tandem by Emanuelis Zingeris and Ronaldas Račinskas. The former is the commission’s chairman and a Conservative MP in the Lithuanian Seimas, while the latter is the commission’s executive director. The Lithuanian Jewish Community has no representation on the commission.

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Yad Vashem and the “Two Genocides”



O P I N I O N

by Danny Ben-Moshe  (Melbourne)

This op-ed was first published in Jerusalem Report in August 2013.


I remember my first visit to Yad Vashem as a 16-year-old visitor to Jerusalem. It had a profound, and indeed formative, effect on me. I left there with a badge clipped to my lapel inscribed with the motto, zakhor, the Hebrew word for remember.

Yet for all its splendid work, Yad Vashem whose formal title is The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, I am sorry to say, is now dramatically failing both the martyrs and heroes of the country where the percentage of the Jewish community annihilated in the Holocaust was higher than anywhere else in Europe – Lithuania.

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