Topics Include: Double Genocide, Holocaust Revisionism, the Lithuanian Holocaust, the Prague Declaration, the Seventy Years Declaration and the Campaign against Jewish Partisan Veterans
by Alex Ryvchin
The following is the text of the opening address delivered today by Alex Ryvchin, public affairs director at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, at the memorial and monument unveiling commemorating the victims of Babi Yar near Kiev, Ukraine.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the co-hosts of this event, Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Sydney Jewish Museum and the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants, I want to welcome you here today and to thank you for giving up your time to honour the victims of the Babi Yar Massacre.
“Today in the very places where these massacres took place, there are attempts to revise or deny the history of the Holocaust. War criminals are being rehabilitated into great patriots.”
O P I N I O N
by Danny Ben-Moshe (Melbourne)
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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The film features exclusive commentary by historians Efraim Zuroff and Konrad Kwiet; Survivors Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky and Dobke Yonis; Vilnius activists: former Green House Holocaust museum director Rachel Kostanian and former Vilnius University Yiddish professor Dovid Katz; European parliamentarians Denis MacShane, John Mann, Martin Schulz, Gert Weisskirchen; Sensational responses from Lithuanian government officials including red-brown commission boss Ronaldas Račinskas and the prosecutor, Rimvydas Valentukevičius, who “investigates” Holocaust survivors (none of whom were ever charged with anything or received a public apology); MEP Vytautas Landsbergis later withheld permission for inclusion of his own taped interview…
Executive Director of “Red-Brown Commission” Doubts Lithuanian Jews were Killed “on a Racial Basis” Before Arrival of German Forces in 1941
O P I N I O N
A number of viewers of the new Australian documentary film Rewriting History have submitted to DefendingHistory near-identical transcripts of a statement on camera, made to the film’s producers, by the executive director 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,” the state-sponsored body has long been opposed by Holocaust survivors and educators. The commission is responsible for Holocaust education in Lithuania, but has also taken an active political role in promoting the 2008 Prague Declaration and various details of alleged “equality” of Nazi and Soviet crimes. The commission’s website features the Prague Declaration in both English and Lithuanian.
The commission’s executive director, Ronaldas Račinskas, is quoted as saying on camera that his commission does not support “Double Genocide” but that he does support the 2008 Prague Declaration (though he concedes there are passages to be “discussed”). The problem is that the Prague Declaration is the primary document of the Double Genocide movement in Europe.
See also: Mr. Račinskas’s 2011 speech in the Lithuanian parliament; Critiques of his commission; 2015 Update: His call for investigations of Holocaust survivors who joined up with the anti-Nazi partisans.
Mr. Račinskas goes on to say, according to the transcripts provided of his Rewriting History interview:
FROM THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER:
The Simon Wiesenthal Center harshly criticized this morning’s decision by the Australian High Court to block the extradition to Hungary for war crimes of suspected Nazi collaborator Charles (Karoly) Zentai.
“Today is a sad day for Australia, and for justice, but most of all for the Nazis’ victims, their families and those who empathize with their suffering. Our sympathies today are with the Balazs family, whose brother Peter was the victim of Zentai and his accomplices, and who tried to see justice achieved in this case, but were thwarted by the Australian authorities.”
— Efraim Zuroff
How the Zingeris-Račinskas Red-Brown Commission “Gently” Pushed Along the Conversion of Holocaust Studies into Double Genocide Studies
O P I N I O N
by Rachel Croucher (Melbourne)
Although not seeking to deny the Holocaust, the ultimate consequence of the movement to redefine genocide is the equalization of National Socialist and Soviet crimes. The characterization of Soviet crimes as genocide is a misrepresentation that hinders authentic remembrance of the Holocaust in Lithuania by helping to obscure the extent and nature of Lithuanian complicity in the killings of the local Jewish population.
The idea that the crimes of Hitler and successive Soviet regimes are in fact equal has been a growing force behind public discourse on the Holocaust since the formulation of the national Holocaust and Genocide Education Program at the sixth meeting of The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania in June 2002.
The Holocaust Obfuscation movement suffered a severe blow today with the public resignation from the Lithuanian government’s red-brown commission of Professor Konrad Kwiet, a major international scholar of the Lithuanian Holocaust. The resignation had been announced verbally at the recent ‘Aftermath’ conference held in Melbourne at the Australian Centre for the Study of Jewish Civilisation.
The international conference Aftermath: The Politics of Memory concluded this evening with a final keynote speech by Shoah Foundation director and Beth Shalom founder Dr. Stephen Smith who made repeated reference to the growing problem of Holocaust Obfuscation. His central point was the need for the history of the Holocaust to sensitize humanity, and indeed, western governments, to the need to care in real time about any subsequent genocide.
O P I N I O N
by Rachel Croucher
I have read and re-read the chapter entitled “Final Solution” in Timothy Snyder’s major new book, Bloodlands (Basic Books 2010), in an attempt to garner further insight into events surrounding the genocide of the Jews in Eastern Europe for a dissertation on contemporary Holocaust remembrance precisely in the countries of these so-called Bloodlands, and with emphasis upon Lithuania. I had hoped that the chapter would expand my knowledge on the specifics of and motivations for the disturbingly high levels of local participation in the actual mass-murdering (far beyond just collaboration) in these countries.