Evaldas Balčiūnas

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.

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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

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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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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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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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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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

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

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

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.

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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

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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

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:

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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?


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Posted in Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", 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

Šeduva  (Shádov):  The Memorial Events of Friday 9 October 2015



E V E N T S   /   O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

On Friday 9 October 2015, the Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund Society presented the results of their work on the project Lost Shtetl. There were, taken together, over two hundred visitors on the day. They included pupils of Vilnius’s Sholem Aleichem school and of the Šeduva high school, representatives of the Jewish community of Šiauliai (Shavl), Lithuanian Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky, the mayors of nearby towns, a deputy minister of foreign affairs, and ambassadors or embassy representatives of many countries, including the Netherlands, Japan, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine.

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DH Correspondent Evaldas Balčiūnas in Vilnius Court This Tuesday 17 Nov. 2015



FRIENDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, FREE SPEECH AND DEFENDING HISTORY INVITED TO COME AND OFFER MORAL SUPPORT TO OUR VETERAN CORRESPONDENT

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, 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 | Comments Off on DH Correspondent Evaldas Balčiūnas in Vilnius Court This Tuesday 17 Nov. 2015

Evaldas Balčiūnas Back in Vilnius Court on 21 January 2016



COME AND SUPPORT DH STAFF WRITER EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS (WHO ALERTED ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD TO NOREIKA MONUMENTS IN 2012). HE IS REPEATEDLY LUGGED INTO COURT FOR HIS ARTICLES  PROTESTING GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST PERPETRATORS AND NEO-NAZI MARCHES.

EVALDAS

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, 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 Evaldas Balčiūnas Back in Vilnius Court on 21 January 2016

DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators



FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  BOLD CITIZENS

VILNIUS—The latest in a long line of court appearance demanded by summons of Defending History author Evaldas Balčiūnas, will be held this Monday, 13 June, at 1:30 PM (13:30) at Vilnius County Court at Laisves Prospektas 79A, courtroom 019.   

COME SUPPORT EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS MONDAY 13 JUNE 2016, 1:30 PM (13:30), VILNIUS COUNTY COURT, LAISVĖS PROSPEKTAS 79A, ROOM 019

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, 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 | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on DH Writer Lugged into Court Again for Critique of State Honors for Holocaust Collaborators

Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’



22 July 2016 Defending History Eyewitness Report

VERDICT IN: EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS NOT GUILTY (AFTER 4 YEARS OF HARASSMENT AND A DOZEN 450 KM ROUND TRIPS FROM HOME — BUT COURT ALLOWS FAR RIGHT “PLAINTIFF” 20 DAYS TO APPEAL)

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Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, 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 Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’

Instead of Removing Honors for Holocaust Collaborators, New Petition is Launched to Ask for Yet Another



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In a 2012 article in Defending History, I asked why Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika is made into a “national hero” here in Lithuania, one honored by street names and public plaques. Since then protests have come, among others, from a somewhat obscured  petition by Lithuanian intellectuals,  an appeal from journalist and Declaration of Independence signatory Rimvydas Valatka, Lithuania’s official Jewish community, Grant Gochin, a South African born author resident in the United States, and others. These appeals, all from 2015, were crowned by a rare protest by Jewish students at a Noreika shrine in central Vilnius (see Defending History’s guide for English readers to the links in the 2015 debate).

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Sad Error of Naming 2018 for Someone who “Just” Led a Pro-Nazi “Partisan Squad” in Lithuania in June and July of 1941



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

The national scandal unleashed by the Lithuanian Rūta Vanagaitė and the Jewish Efraim Zuroff via their statements about Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, is gradually losing momentum. The Seimas (parliament) went right ahead and declared the incoming year, 2018, to be The Year of Ramanauskas-Vanagas. That is sad. Three years ago, I wrote about this person’s activities in Druskininkai in 1941. Society back then was silent about it. It was only the desire of some politicians to glorify this personage that led to the aforementioned Lithuanian and Jewish commentators to talk about him. They spoke loudly and an antisemitic bubble burst. Vanagaitė’s statement had some inaccuracies. The very statement was taken as an insult by the mainstream. Public details about Zuroff’s statement were scarce. My 2014 article was among those details.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Sad Error of Naming 2018 for Someone who “Just” Led a Pro-Nazi “Partisan Squad” in Lithuania in June and July of 1941

Museum of The Lost Truth: A Lithuanian Drama



OPINION  |  MUSEUMS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Evaldas Balčiūnas informed the English speaking world of a series of state honors for alleged Holocaust collaborators, starting with Jonas Noreika back in 2012. He paid a hefty personal price for it (scroll down his DH section to 2014). 

PREAMBLE

The Lost Shtetl is a massive, holistic project to reclaim the Lithuanian Jewish heritage of Šeduva (Shádeve, older Shádev). Plans include a multimillion euro state-of-the-art museum complex scheduled to open in 2020 that is slated to become an international tourist attraction. Now is an excellent time for public comment and observers’ contemplation.

“The Lost Shtetl” will not be a generic community of faceless Litvaks. It will make tangible the lives of real individuals. But will we learn about the real individuals from the town and its region who destroyed them? Their names and faces? Or will we simply tuck them away into the phrase: “The Nazis and their local collaborators murdered 664 Šeduva Jews in Liaudiškiai forest”?

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Shádov (Šeduva) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Museum of The Lost Truth: A Lithuanian Drama