Evaldas Balčiūnas

Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Summer’s Strange Media Circus



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In the midst of this past summer’s heatwave here in Lithuania, Delfi.lt, one of the most popular news portals in the land, exploded with discussions on commemorations and memorials for Nazi collaborators in our country. Rimvydas Valatka, a  columnist for the portal and  signatory of the Declaration of Independence, started it all with his article of 26 July. The “current events background” was the recent removal of the controversial Soviet-era statues of soldiers on Vilnius’s Green Bridge. Valatka, a veteran of Lithuanian journalism with the rarefied street-cred of a Declaration of Independence signatory, appealed for removal of the memorial plaque for Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika (“Generolas Vėtra”) from a central Vilnius library building, and wrote about a petition for its removal signed by a group of intellectuals and public figures, and addressed to the mayor of Vilnius as well as to the director of the relevant library (Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), where the plaque hangs prominently in the heart of Lithuania’s capital.


The stone honoring Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika tops the lot on the facade of the Genocide Museum on Gedimino Boulevard in the Lithuanian capital, a stone’s throw from the nation’s parliament. When are we going to stop glorifying those who helped annihilate Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust? When is this going to come down?


Continue reading

Posted in Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Summer’s Strange Media Circus

What’s The Story With the Mass Grave Uncovered near Šiauliai (Shavl)?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Last week, there was a flurry of reports in the Lithuanian media about human skeletons and personal effects turning up during routine roadworks at Pročiūnai in the region of Šiauliai (in Jewish history: Shavl). Reports and gory pictures appeared among other places in 15min.lt; Etaplius.lt; Skrastas.lt and Snaujienos.lt. I myself, a concerned resident of Šiauliai, commented on the subject on my own blog (here and here). Various articles published contained theorizations about the buried here being victims of Soviet crimes or even equally of Nazi and Soviet crimes.

Monday 13 July. It is probably correct to say that the international scandal was set alight when the “routine” BNS (Baltic News Service) report appeared in English in the Lithuania Tribune (amalgamated with English Delfi). The archaeologist placed in charge by the local government of the investigation of the human remains, Audronė Šapaitė, is quoted in the article as presenting the following certain conclusions. Excerpts follow:

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on What’s The Story With the Mass Grave Uncovered near Šiauliai (Shavl)?

Evaldas Balčiūnas at Vilnius County Court Next Monday 15 June 2015


VILNIUS THIS MONDAY:

FRIENDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, FREE SPEECH AND DEFENDING HISTORY INVITED TO COME OBSERVE  /  SUPPORT OUR WRITER

Evaldas Balčiūnas

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Evaldas Balčiūnas at Vilnius County Court Next Monday 15 June 2015

Defending History Team at Vilnius County Court to Support Evaldas Balčiūnas



VILNIUS—At yet another frivolous-case hearing this morning, four supporters of Defending History author Evaldas Balčiūnas turned out to provide moral support. Balčiūnas is a major critic of public shrines, street names and monuments that honor Holocaust perpetrators, as well as an active opponent of neo-Nazi marches and activities, especially those with tacit support from elements of government.

Continue reading

Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Defending History Team at Vilnius County Court to Support Evaldas Balčiūnas

New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

When I wrote several years ago (Lithuanian; English) about the monument erected to Juozas Barzda at Iešnalis Lake, I thought it must have been some sort of misunderstanding.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians

February 16th 2015 in Kaunas…



E Y E W I T N E S S   A C C O U N T   /   O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

February 16th in Kaunas. The Kaunas municipal administration was asked by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s  Efraim Zuroff and Defending History’s editor Dovid Katz not to allow this march for a number of reasons. The Kaunas municipality saw no problem and allowed the march to go ahead. As in earlier years, a Defending History team observed the march. The Kaunas Antifa organization decided not to hold a protest this year, so I was at liberty to be present as part of the DefendingHistory team.

Continue reading

Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Kaunas, Lithuania, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on February 16th 2015 in Kaunas…

A Second Political Case



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 ◊

My Monday  morning began with confusion. Usually the first thing I do on a Monday morning is prepare a work-report on the week gone by, but the police called me Friday, August 29, 2014, and later delivered a summons ordering me to appear at nine o’clock on September first at the office of Ovidijus Brazys, police investigator with the criminal police department of the Šiauliai municipal police commissariat, in room 312 at Purienų street no. 48, Šiauliai.

Continue reading

Posted in Aleksandras Bosas, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas | Comments Off on A Second Political Case

Our Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Interrogated for Articles Opposing Glorification of Nazi Collaborators and Current Neo-Nazism



M E M O I R   /   O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Note: This memoir continues the narrative started in the author’s earlier accounts of 22 May 2014, of 4 July, and of 9 July. See also our report of 22 May with image and translation of the actual summons. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles on Holocaust collaborators who are glorified in state-funded public settings can be found (in reverse chronological order) in the DH sections Evaldas Balčiūnas and Collaborators Glorified. See also sections on Free Speech and Human Rights. Other Lithuanian citizens disturbed by police for opposing state honors for Holocaust collaborators include Saulius Beržinis, Aleksandras Bosas, and Giedrius Grabauskas. This memoir was translated by Geoff Vasil and the final version approved by the author.


My wife told me that the police who delivered the summons on the afternoon of July 8th 2014 carried a large A4 format photograph of me. The police had serious plans… If I hadn’t told my wife to accept the summons, I might have been subject to an operation to locate or even arrest me. It was possible to laugh, but I needed to find transportation. I didn’t want to take my car. There and back entailed five hours of driving. It would be exhausting, and the experience could be expected to throw me off balance during the interrogation.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Opinion, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Our Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Interrogated for Articles Opposing Glorification of Nazi Collaborators and Current Neo-Nazism

Aleksandras Bosas (1951-2014)



O B I T U A R Y

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

nuotr2

Aleksandras Bosas (1951 — 2014). Photo: Sandrauga.

Aleksandras Bosas, a respected Lithuanian poet, died unexpectedly on July 24, 2014. The wider Defending History  community extends deepest condolences to the family and friends of our suddenly departed colleague, who is survived by his wife, Natalija, three sons and a daughter.

We have lost a courageously active literary voice against fascism and against the contemporary attempts at high levels to glorify fascism via posthumous honors for collaborators and local perpetrators of the Lithuanian Holocaust.

At the beginning of 2014 his book of poems dedicated to commemorating the Holocaust in Lithuania appeared. It is called Iš ten sugrįžtantiems (“For Those Who Returned from There”).

Continue reading

Posted in Aleksandras Bosas, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Legacy of 23 June 1941, News & Views, Obituaries, Opinion | Comments Off on Aleksandras Bosas (1951-2014)

DH Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas is Again Harassed by Police in Lithuania



by Evaldas Balčiūnas

For background on the summons the author received from the police, in consequence of his articles on the Holocaust in Defending History and other publications, please see earlier reports here and here. This comment has been translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil, and the final version approved by the author.

Evaldas-Balciunas-on-Vilniaus-gatve narrowed

Evaldas Balčiūnas

Yesterday, on July 8, 2014, I was the subject of much telephone attention from the police. This time it was from Šiauliai. They called, they got angry when I told them not to give my address out to whoever may answer first. They asked strange things. A female voice was asking what the door code was, while a male voice was interested in whether I was home at the time…

If anything was missing from this vision of absurdity, it was a warning over giving false testimony, and the question of where I keep my house keys and money… In order to ease the tension somewhat, I called the general emergency number, 112, and complained of telephone scam artists impersonating the police. They took my report, but less than an hour later kindlycalled back to inform me that it was really police officers who had called. It seems these sorts of scam artists have a license from the state to practice this sort of thing. I attempted to tell the man who called that the police are not allowed to present me a summons, accuse me of something or even question me by telephone, so why don’t they follow the normal and accustomed practice and actually send a summons to my officially registered private residential address?

Continue reading

Posted in EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on DH Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas is Again Harassed by Police in Lithuania

Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas Again Disturbed by Police at his Workplace



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

For background on the summons the author received from the police, in consequence of his articles on the Holocaust in Defending History and other publications, please see earlier reports here and here. This comment has been translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil, and the final version approved by the author.

Today, Friday, July 4th, 2014, a woman phoned me at my place of work, introduced herself as a police officer, and asked if my name is Evaldas.

Continue reading

Posted in EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas Again Disturbed by Police at his Workplace

The Politics of History



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil. Final version approved by the author.

 

Much has been said about recent history policy in Lithuania. What this means, different speakers understand differently. It probably isn’t wise to dwell long on the concept. Let’s just say “history policy” is the interpretation of historical events provided by state institutions and officials.

SEE SECTION ON

FREE SPEECH

The truth is specific. I will give one example of how this appears in our and neighboring states and how that illuminates the history of our state.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Politics of History

Statement of Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas on Summons from Police



My name is Evaldas Balčiūnas and I write for Defending History, in addition to various Lithuanian web journals. On May 14, 2014, I was contacted by local Lithuanian police investigator Reda Šimkutė by telephone at a number which is not registered in my name. She said she needed to “carry out inquiries” about me.

I asked her what the nature of the matter was. She refused to answer, so I suggested she follow normal procedure and send me what they call “an invitation” (in other words a summons) to come to an interrogation at the police department.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Statement of Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas on Summons from Police

DH Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas is Investigated by Lithuanian Police



Summons Issued

Statement by Evaldas BalčiūnasDH section on Free Speech

stamp in Balciunas harassment case May 2014

He is author of a series of bold articles about state sanitization and glorification of Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators

Newest investigation follows recent police and prosecutorial harassment of Giedrius Grabauskas and Saulius Beržinis

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on DH Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas is Investigated by Lithuanian Police

Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Adolfas Ramanauskas Vanagas was a well-known post-war partisan commander. Here’s what the Center for the Study of the Genocide of the Residents of Lithuania has to say about him on their website:

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai

Sergijus Staniškis Litas: Who’s Hiding the 1941 Gaps in His Biography — and Why?



O P I N I O N   /   P O L I T I C S  O F  M E M O R Y   /   C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Authorized translation from the Lithuanian original by Geoff Vasil.


Today Sergijus Staniškis Litas is presented as a noble partisan commander who concentrated his unusual skills on battling the occupiers. At least that’s how the writers of the Lithuanian Center for the Study of Genocide and Resistance present him on their webpage at http://www.genocid.lt/datos/stanisk.htm.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Sergijus Staniškis Litas: Who’s Hiding the 1941 Gaps in His Biography — and Why?

A Decision to Not (!) Regard Holocaust Rescuers as Heroes of the Nation



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Authorized translation from Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil


 

This week the Lithuanian government resolved not to grant so-called hero’s pensions to surviving rescuers of Jews.

The decision is an odd one and raises doubts concerning the values to which this government claims to adhere. Although truth be told, this isn’t the first instance of unseemly conduct showing disrespect to hundreds of thousands of people murdered just because they were Jewish and towards those Lithuanians who attempted to save those scheduled for execution.

Continue reading

Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A Decision to Not (!) Regard Holocaust Rescuers as Heroes of the Nation

Where did the Money for a Monument to 1941 “Patriots” Come from? Why the Uncritical Reconstruction and Glorification Now?


 


O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Defending History reported earlier on the attempt to restore a monument in Obeliai (Abél in Yiddish), a town in northeastern Lithuania, not far from the Latvian border.

It is an unpleasant story and one that is still developing. Although seven decades have passed since the mass murder of the Jews of Abél, some people think that everyone has forgotten who carried out that mass murder.

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rákishok (Rokiškis) | Comments Off on Where did the Money for a Monument to 1941 “Patriots” Come from? Why the Uncritical Reconstruction and Glorification Now?

The “Humanity” of the Rewriters of History



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

An abstract, sometimes called a summary, is a short explanation of the salient parts of an article or book. Abstracts are useful for surveying a large body of literature on a given topic, and aid in selecting specific works for a fuller reading. This selection very much depends on the honesty of the person doing the selecting.

I am interested in Holocaust research. I use the internet and search engines, and often they point to the webpage of the Lithuanian government sponsored Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania, known for short as the Genocide Center. Its own website has many summaries for this topic. These abstracts often have a strange tone.

Continue reading

Posted in Double Genocide, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The “Humanity” of the Rewriters of History

The Unwritten Biography of Jonas Žemaitis: A Tale of Twists and Turns



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

The modern Republic of Lithuania has been creating a cult of the partisans. Statues are built to memorialize them. There are commemorative plaques and streets are named after them, as well as schools. One of the most prominent to be hallowed by the cult is Jonas Žemaitis, also called Vytautas, Luke, Matthew, the Silent and general as well as president. His biography is a tapestry of events and adventures. One could write an adventure novel about them, except that… Žemaitis isn’t necessarily a hero.

Zemaitis Military Academy

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Double Genocide, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Jonas Žemaitis, News & Views, Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Unwritten Biography of Jonas Žemaitis: A Tale of Twists and Turns