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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”).

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, 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

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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:

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Yad Vashem Awards Three Rescuers (Posthumously) in Žagarė (Zháger), Northern Lithuania



E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Žagarė (known in Yiddish as Zháger), Lithuania, always brings a warm feeling. It is a small, multicultural town. While Jews long accounted for half the population, unfortunately they are only a memory now. Germans, Latvians, Roma and Lithuanians continue to live here. There was room enough for everyone up until 1941.

I had the opportunity today to visit Žagarė to honor those who sought to insure that Žagarė would continue to have enough space for everyone. I traveled to a ceremony to honor Edvardas Levinskas (1893-1975), Terese Levinskienė (1903-1949) and Lilija Vilandaitė (1900-1948), posthumous recipients of the Righteous Among the Nations, or Righteous Gentile, award, conferred by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

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Evaldas Balčiūnas Remembers February 16th 2013 March in Central Kaunas



 

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

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Editor’s note: This adapted translation from the Lithuanian original, by Geoff Vasil, has been approved by the author.

 

On February 16 I visited Kaunas. I heard the neo-Nazis would try to desecrate the nation’s freedom, for which people of the country of all ethnicities had struggled. Sadly, the neo-Nazis are now shouting loudly: “Lithuania for Lithuanians…”

One of the organizers of the march boasted the vanguard of the march would be carrying a portrait of Ambrazevičius.

It’s worth recalling what sort of person he was. In 1941 Ambrazevičius led the Provisional Government formed by the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front), the Provisional Government which called Lithuanian policemen to serve the Nazis, set up a concentration camp (at the Seventh Fort, where it all ended in the murder of several thousand Jews), and even while realizing the Nazis no longer needed their service, this gang went on to promulgate the “Regulations on the Situation of the Jews,” which legally deprived their neighbors of human rights, while on the ground armed people were already murdering Jews throughout Lithuania.

The author and his friends and colleagues who constituted the small “anti-fascist zone” at the March 16th neo-Nazi parade in Kaunas, Lithuania on the occasion of the nation’s independence day.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Evaldas Balčiūnas Remembers February 16th 2013 March in Central Kaunas

When the Politicians Run the Conferences on — History



O P I N I O N   A N D   E Y E W I T N E S S    R E P O R T

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

A conference called “United Europe, United History” took place at the Lithuanian parliament on November 15th  and 16th. The conference organizers and speakers repeatedly spoke of upcoming changes in the government (16 November was the first day the newly elected parliament assembled), and conference organizer and “Red-Brown Commission” chairman Emanuelis Zingeris even tried, unsuccessfully, to explain the poll results as the bad influence of the long Soviet occupation on the mentality of the people… (It was probably a good thing he didn’t call for a an international tribunal to provide compensation for the losses suffered by his party).

But one thing at a time.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas | Comments Off on When the Politicians Run the Conferences on — History

Juozas Šibaila, Another “Hero” with a Suppressed Biography


 


O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Following the Lithuanian parliament’s recognition of the February 16, 1949 declaration of the Council of the Union of the Struggle for Lithuanian Freedom as an act with the force of law, there was a natural interest in questions about who the partisans who signed that declaration were. It would seem the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania would be the organization to present the most comprehensive biographies for these people.

Unfortunately that’s not the case.

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