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

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Lithuania Propaganda Agency is On The Road Again



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

This opinion piece and eyewitness report by Geoff Vasil relates to the July 10th event in honor of the Red-Brown Commission held at the Vilnius Jewish Public Library. See related reports on the library’s instrumentalization as a PR platform for the Commission and the more or less contemporaneous announcement of the Commission’s resumed activities, in the absence of apologies to Yitzhak Arad, Pinchos Fridberg, and the other accused Holocaust survivors.


Attendees at the July 10, 2013 event to honor the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” were treated to speeches and plentiful Katz-bashing by (from right) Ronaldas Račinskas, Saulius Sužiedėlis and Ilya Lempertas.

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Holocaust Survivors from Lithuania Issue Statement on Sutzkever Prize in Vilnius


On the 15 July 2013 centenary of the birth of the illustrious Yiddish poet of Vilna, Abraham Sutzkever (1913–2010), the last active association of Holocaust survivors from Lithuania released the statement below (also available as PDF). It urges organizers, participants, judges and prize winners to avoid being instrumentalized as cover-up props for Holocaust obfuscation. It proposes that they simply issue public statements calling for written public apologies from the Lithuanian government to the defamed Jewish partisans who knew Sutzkever well from the forests of Lithuania and dozens of years of contact in survivor circles. See the related debate on this year’s Sutzkever Prize.

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Isn’t it Time for the Author of the Myth to Apologize?



O P I N I O N

by Pinchos Fridberg (Vilnius)

Editor’s note: This article was first published by Professor Fridberg in Russian in Мы здесь. The following translation, by Ludmila Makedonskaya, was commissioned by Defending History, and it appears with Professor Fridberg’s permission, and with Defending History’s sole responsibility for the translation. The original  text is authoritative in any instance of doubt or nuance.

Dear Editor,

On December 13th, 2012, the portal Zman.com published my article (in Russian) “Instead of the Truth About the Holocaust — Myths About Saving Jews.” It was republished by a number of websites including Newswe.com. I sent a picture and added one important phrase specifically for your site. The fundamental point: the article was republished (in Russian and in English) by the official site of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC).

Instead of an immediate public apology for providing unreliable information and closing the matter, they started looking for a way to discredit me personally. You will ask why? My answer is because the article ends with three not very convenient questions. I should pay tribute to the Lithuanian journalist Račas who did not remain in the background, but answered very straightforwardly and simply:

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A Counter-Question to Lithuanian Journalist Artūras Račas



O P I N I O N

by Pinchos Fridberg


Editor’s note [with updates to 3 March 2013]:

On his personal blog, Artūras Račas, director of Baltic News Service (BNS), attacked the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, as well as the prominent Vilnius-born, and currently Vilnius-resident Holocaust survivor and retired professor of radio physics, Dr. Pinchos Fridberg. A full English translation of Mr. Račas’s article is included in Defending History’s coverage of the sensational outburst by the head of Lithuania’s major news agency.

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Tolerance Education? State-Sponsored Commission Uses its Website to Call Holocaust Survivor a “Liar” & to Demand “Apology from Jewish Community”



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

commission's attack on survivor

Somebody’s idea of “tolerance education”? Extract from the official website of the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known for short as the “red-brown commission”)

Educators, diplomats, historians and journalists thought they had seen it all when it came to Holocaust-in-Lithuania issues in recent times. But an online attack by the state sponsored “history commission” on a local Holocaust survivor, Professor Pinchos Fridberg, who is deeply involved in honoring righteous Lithuanians who saved a Jewish neighbor, because he expressed his views against distortion of the Holocaust? That is a bit much even for here.

UPDATE of 21 February 2014:

One year later: Defamation continues on Commission website;

See Chronology of a Debate and what Pinchos Fridberg actually said…

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Request for an Apology for Disrespect toward Rescuers of Jews and Holocaust Victims



O P I N I O N  /  R E P L Y  /  D E B A T E

by Janina Bucevičė (Telšiai)

I am submitting this reply in view of the article which for several weeks is being kept in the first page of Lithuanian Jewish Community website (www.lzb.lt/en/) “Instead of Truth about the Holocaust – Myths about Saving Jews” written by Pinchos Fridberg. In this article the author mentions the conference organized by me for teachers and students to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of Telšiai ghetto annihilation on the 12th of October, 2011. During the conference Jadvyga Stulpinaitė, who is a daughter of Jew rescuers, shared her memories about her parents and neighbors saving Jews in the Telšiai region and Žemaičių Kalvarija district.

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Artūras Račas, editor-in-chief of Baltic News Service (BNS), Attacks Holocaust Survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and SWC Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff



The following is a translation of the 10 February blog of Artūras Račas, editor-in-chief of Baltic News Service (BNS). Only embedded links (marked by underlining) have been added, along with editorial editions enclosed in square brackets [ ], enabling readers to better follow Mr. Račas’s attacks on Holocaust survivor Professor Pinchos Fridberg and Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel office.

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Head of Baltic News Service (BNS) Tweets Against Efraim Zuroff and Pinchos Fridberg


Artūras Račas, head of Baltic News Service (BNS), the main news agency in the Baltics, in a tweet today heaped scorn on Vilnius Holocaust survivor Professor Pinchos Fridberg and on the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The tweet  is reproduced below and links to the tweeter’s article, which is also available in English translation [updates: Prof. Fridberg’s replylater report].

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Yitzhak Arad’s Paper



The Holocaust in Lithuania, and Its Obfuscation, in Lithuanian Sources

by Yitzhak Arad

 

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction

Lithuanian Nationalism and Antisemitism Prior to the Holocaust

The First Soviet Occupation of Lithuania, 15 June 1940 – 22 June 1941 

 The Lithuanian Activist Front: Antisemitic Incitement

The German Invasion and the Organization of an “Independent” Lithuanian Government

The Period of Pogroms: Late June to Mid July 1941

The Lithuanian Press at the Time of the Pogroms: A Source of Incitement

The Lithuanian Provisional Government: Anti-Jewish Legislation

Systematic Mass Murder: German Design and Command, Lithuanian Perpetration (late July–November 1941)

Lithuanian Police Battalions and Their Role in the Murder of the Jews

The Lithuanian Catholic Church and the Holocaust

The Rewriting of Holocaust History and the Double Genocide Thesis — “The Jewish Holocaust and the Lithuanian Holocaust”

Anti-Soviet Guerilla Warfare in Lithuania

The Prague Declaration of June 2008 and the European Parliament Resolution of April 2009

Conclusion

Notes

 

Introduction

In Lithuania, as in other places in Europe conquered by Nazi Germany, a thorough and comprehensive inquiry into the tragic events that occurred compels consideration of three factors:

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Tel Aviv’s Leivick House Releases 2009 Video of Ambassador Chen Ivri Apter


Israel’s Ambassador Chen Ivri Apter presenting Dr. Rachel Margolis with a certificate of merit at Leivick House in Tel Aviv. Dr. Margolis is seen wearing the medals won for her bravery fighting against the Nazis in the forests of Lithuania during the Holocaust. Her entire family perished.

Leivick House, one of Israel’s (and the world’s) last Yiddish-in-Yiddish cultural institutions, has released a video clip of the June 2009 visit to its Dov Hoz Street headquarters in central Tel Aviv by Israel’s then ambassador to Latvia and Lithuania, the late Chen Ivri Apter, at an event to honor Dr. Rachel Margolis. It is posted on YouTube (partial English translation here). The event itself was reported in DefendingHistory and the Leivick House website, among other venues.

Dr. Margolis, due to celebrate her 91st birthday next week, is a Vilna Ghetto survivor and anti-Nazi resistance hero who has been targeted by Lithuanian prosecutors, in effect according to some for “the crime of surviving.” Tributes to Dr. Margolis have come from around the world, including former UK prime minister Gordon Brown in 2011.

Ambassador Ivri Apter died last month at the age of 54 after a long battle with cancer that friends always said he never allowed to cloud his love of life and the day ahead.

His short speech at Leivick House is thought likely to go down in history for its courage and forthrightness at a time when his nation’s foreign policy was noticeably starting to tilt in a contrary direction. The Tel Aviv event was organized jointly by DefendingHistory.com and Leivick House.

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Is this Really What You Want To Do, Mr. Executive Director of Yivo?



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which in Soviet times was the USSR’s only Yiddish amateur theater company. The views he expresses in DefendingHistory are his own. This is an authorized English version (updated by the author) by Ludmilla Makedonskaya (Los Angeles). Russian original.
Photo: Milan Chersonski at this desk at the Jewish Community of Lithuania (image © 2012 Jurgita Kunigiškytė). Milan Chersonski section.

Dear Mr. Jonathan Brent,

A little over a year ago, on 12 September 2011, I wrote my first open letter to you. I wrote that it is inappropriate to hold an event commemorating the Jews of Vilna who were victims of genocide together with the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Audronis Ažubalis on the premises of Yivo. If you did not then find time to read my letter, you can find it now online.

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Yad Vashem Shocks Holocaust Survivors by Rejoining Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission”


Holocaust survivors from Lithuania, and their families and advocates, are reporting feelings of “shock and betrayal” at “unbelievable reports” that Yad Vashem might again be lending legitimacy to the Lithuanian government sponsored “red-brown commission.” These accounts derive from a BNS (Baltic News Service) report today that appeared in various Lithuanian media, including Alfa.lt (full translation below), reporting that the president herself signed the decree today for substantial new state investment in the commission.

The Vilnius and Jerusalem rumor mills are equally putting out the word that there had been pressure from the Israeli foreign ministry, itself pressured by the Lithuanian foreign ministry for Holocaust-revising gestures in line with the current Baltic state policy often referred to as “Double Genocide.”

UPDATES: 29 Aug 201231 Aug31 Aug(b)31 Aug(c); 3 Sept; 3 Sept(b) [Holocaust survivors’ statement]; 3 Sept(c) [Survivors’ letter to head of Yad Vashem]; 3 Sept(d) [in English translation].

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An Open Letter to Yale History Professor Timothy Snyder



 O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

NOTE: This is an authorized republication of today’s letter, which first appeared in the online Algemeiner Journal. [Update: It then appeared in the AJ’s print edition on 25 May, pp. 2, 4, 5.]


 

Dear Tim,

Greetings, and sorry we missed each other in Vilnius this time. I write in the context of our ongoing and respectful conversation, which started in the Guardian (thanks to Matt Seaton, and prominently including Efraim Zuroff) back in 2010 (IIIIIIIV); continuing through our meeting at Yale, the Aftermath Conference in Melbourne, Australia, in 2011 (thanks to Mark Baker, and with participation of Jan Gross and Patrick Desbois), and more recently, via my review of your book Bloodlands (along with Alexander Prusin’s The Lands Between), in East European Jewish Affairs.

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Holocaust Survivors Picket TA ‘Gala’ Where South African Bigwigs Honor Lithuanian Right-Wing Politician


Kovno Ghetto Survivor and Resistance Hero Joe Melamed, 87, Leads March 5th 2012 Picket Line Against “Sellout Gala” at the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama

MORE IMAGES

Lithuanian Foreign Minister and Brothers Zingeris are Greeted by Protesting Holocaust Survivors

A FIRST-TIME PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LEYVIK HOUSE YIDDISH CULTURE CENTER, THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL OFFICE AND THE ASSOCIATION OF LITHUANIAN JEWS IN ISRAEL

Report on YNET.  The Times of Israel.  15min.lt.  Itongadol.com.  Agencia Judia.  Forverts (Yiddish Forward).    Background.  More.

Holocaust survivors Shlomo Cheskov (left, from Shavl/Šiauliai), and Joseph Melamed (from Kovno/Kaunas) at the Tel Aviv demonstration. Mr. Cheskov’s sign says (in Yiddish) “With our partisan heroes, against neo-Nazism. We are here!” Mr. Melamed’s (in Hebrew) addressed to the South African businessmen diners at the gala dinner: “Dear Diners! Where is your conscience? Your solidarity with Holocaust survivors and resistance fighters and partisans?” Photo: Bella Bryks-Klein.

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Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors Protest Tel Aviv “Gala”


Kovno Ghetto Survivor and Resistance Hero Joe Melamed, 87, Leads March 5th 2012 Picket Line Against “Sellout Gala” at the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama

Lithuanian Foreign Minister and Brothers Zingeris are Greeted by Protesting Holocaust Survivors

A FIRST-TIME PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LEYVIK HOUSE YIDDISH CULTURE CENTERTHE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL OFFICE AND THE ASSOCIATION OF LITHUANIAN JEWS IN ISRAEL

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Joe Melamed, Head of Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, calls on ‘Real Litvaks’ to Stay Away from Tel Aviv ‘Gala Sham’ on March 5th


Developments have started moving quickly in the ill-starred project to host the current foreign minister of Lithuania as “guest of honor” at a Tel Aviv “gala” at the Dan Panorama Hotel on March 5th.

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Antony Polonsky Returns to Brandeis ‘Knighted’ by Lithuanian President’s Cross of the Officer of the Order — for helping the Baltic State’s Holocaust PR Campaign



C O M M E N T

With the president: Professor Antony Polonsky wearing the Cross of the Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. Photo: Džoja Barysaitė

VILNIUS—Professor Antony Polonsky of Brandeis University, one of the world’s most accomplished scholars of Polish-Jewish history and the long time editor of the seminal Polish Jewish history series Polin, was at the Lithuanian president’s palace today to receive from her excellency the prestigious Cross of the Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. The award, pinned on his chest by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, was not for a lifetime of sterling work on Polish Jewish history, but it seemed, for several years’ staunch and perhaps somewhat naive loyalty to the public relations program of the current government of Lithuania, organized by the local Holocaust revisionism elite’s alleged top handler of “important foreign Jews,” Prof. S.arunas Liekis. The presidential press release, reported in English by Baltic News Service (BNS), put it this way:

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Yivo and Lithuania: Rolling summary coverage to 9 Nov 2011



Will Yivo Capitulate to East European ‘State Looting’ of its Archives in Vilnius? Provide Name as Cover for Holocaust Obfuscation & Antisemitism?Continue reading

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Head of History Institute, Speaking at ‘Bloodlands’ Event at the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, Excoriates Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Anti-Nazi Partisans


Delfi.lt journalist Eglė Samoškaitė reported today on this week’s book event for the Lithuanian language edition of Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, held at the Foreign Ministry and with the participation of some leading historians and heads of institutions in the country. A full English translation of Ms. Samoškaitė’s article is available here.

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Was Rachel Margolis Honored (or Mentioned) at the “Vilna Ghetto Experience” Yivo Event Sponsored by the Lithuanian Government?


The Yivo concert mounted in memory of the Vilna Ghetto was held on 22 September, a date near the September 23rd anniversary of its liquidation (in 1943). Survivors questioned find it unconscionable that the Yivo evening could not also be utilized as a forum for polite, constructive and appropriate protest at the Lithuanian government’s targeting precisely of Vilna Ghetto survivors (among other Holocaust survivors) for kangaroo ‘war crimes investigations’ that have drawn international protest.

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