Video clip of the neo-Nazi march on the capital’s central boulevard. The march featured chants of ‘Juden raus’ and a song including ‘Take a stick and kill that little Jew’. Marchers boasted the ‘Lithuanian swastika’ (with added lines). There were also anti-Russian and anti-Polish chants. Second clip comprising the somber, dignified response of the chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania plus more material from the march, including the apparent amusement of onlooking police.
These videos appear thanks to the bold Lietuvos rytas journalist Lukas Pileckas. Photo by Vidmantas Balkunas. Leading politicians failed to condemn the march for over a week, when foreign pressures forced statements.
[Update of 20 March 2008: The Jerusalem Post today published a report on the protest lodged by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, with the Lithuanian ambassador in Israel. PDF here.]
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Human Rights, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Swastikas in Lithuania, Vilnius
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Lukas Pileckas, neo-Nazi march in Vilnius
O P I N I O N
by Leonidas Donskis
This English version of the essay (the original Lithuanian text appeared in Lietuvos aidas, 28 November 2008) first appeared in the English edition of Jerusalem of Lithuania (Oct-Dec 2008, PDF here) and is republished here with the author’s and editor’s permission.
I have already written that we live in a period of not only monetary inflation, but of concept and value inflation as well. In our time oaths have become worthless, while formerly a person who broke one lost not only all of his own power, but the capacity to represent his values and to participate in the public sphere as well. Nothing, other than his own person and his private life, remained. He no longer had the right to speak on behalf of either his group, his nation, or his society.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Double Genocide, Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Leonidas Donskis, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged concept inflation, criminalization of debate in Lithuania, definition of genocide, Double Genocide, Genocide Research Center Vilnius, Holocaust in Lithuania, Leonidas Donskis
After human rights advocate and journalist Andrius Navickas lodged a protest against the publication of the antisemitic and homophobic cartoon, a caricature of his face and body was inserted into the ‘Jews and Gays control the world’ cartoon and published on the front page of Vakaro zinios. It appeared along with the article ‘What is the Gay Manifesto?’ English translation.
After the intrepid journalist and human rights advocate Andrius Navickas (see Bold Citizens) protested to the press commission about the front page cartoon of the Jew and the Gay controlling the world, a caricature of his head and body was inserted in both figures on the front page of a mass circulation newspaper. This had the effect of deterring others in the public arena who might have wished to make their opinions known about the proliferation of 1930s style hate materials appearing on the front page of mass circulation newspapers.
also marked Dr Rachel Margolis’s 88th birthday. Dr Margolis, anti-Nazi partisan veteran, historian and biologist, lives in Rechovot, and feels unable to return to Vilnius because of the situation. Birthday greetings at Responses (→ 28 Oct 2009, II). [Added Sept 2010: See now the later report of 27 January 2010 on the letter sent by five senior members of the United States Congress to the prime minister of Lithuania concerning Dr Margolis and the other Holocaust Survivors defamed by the far right’s ‘Double Genocide’ industry in the Baltics.]
…Antisemitic Tirade Follows in Vilnius
Antisemitic reaction on Lithuania’s main news portal came within minutes of the German embassy’s press release announcing its award to anti-Nazi Jewish partisan veteran Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. The award is the president’s Federal Cross of Merit. It was presented to her by Germany’s ambassador to Lithuania Hans-Peter Annen in a ceremony at his embassy in Vilnius. Details at Responses (→ 28 Oct 2009). [May 2010: Disturbingly, neither Fania’s award nor the antisemitic barrage against her has been mentioned to this day on the VYI website.]
English translation of the report on the Baltic internet portal Delfi, including the remarks of a ruling-party member of parliament. It appeared with this caricature of the 87 year old Holocaust survivor who had just been honored by Germany’s president. Posted comments that threatened her with violence have now been removed. More details at Blaming the Victims (→ 28 Oct 2009). Daiva Repečkaitė and Milan Chersonski reply.
At the initiative of Norway’s ambassador to Lithuania HE Steinar Gil, a group of ambassadors and chiefs of mission defied persistent rain to go on a historical walking tour of the Vilna Ghetto, where Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 87, librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, recounted the history of the city’s anti-Nazi resistance. They represented the embassies of Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Russia. Britain, Canada and the United States had participated on a previous date.
The walk was preceded by a meeting at the Jewish Community of Lithuania addressed by Norwegian ambassador HE Steinar Gil, JCL chairman Dr Shimon Alperovich, executive director Mr Simon Gurevich, and Professor Dovid Katz of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. The event is perceived as a meaningful response to the campaign of defamation targeting Jewish veterans of the anti-Nazi resistance (see below at 28 October 2009). Report at: Responses (→ 26 Nov 2009).
by Leonidas Donskis
This essay first appeared in Transitions on Line on 10 October 2008, with the following editor’s note: “Lithuanian authorities in late September closed their two-year investigation into the wartime partisan activities of Yitzhak Arad, a Lithuanian-born Israeli historian and a former head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, reportedly on the urging of the European Union and the United States. Prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to link Arad to possible war crimes committed by Soviet partisans during a 1944 fight with German forces that left many Lithuanian civilians dead. The authorities are still considering whether to put two Lithuanian Jewish women, Fania Brantsovskaya (Brantsovsky) and Rachel Margolis, on the witness stand in connection with the killings.”
It is republished here with Professor Donskis’s permission. For a history of the issue, see our page on the subject of Holocaust survivors defamed by prosecutors.
A disturbing tendency has recently appeared in Lithuania. In the words of the eminent scholar of Yiddish Dovid Katz, this tendency may best be described as the “Holocaust Obfuscation movement.” Its essence lies in subversion of the logic and evidence of the Holocaust, whitewashing or at least selectively reading the history of the Second World War and drastically shifting the roles of victims and evil-doers.
Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Double Genocide, Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Human Rights, Leonidas Donskis, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad
Tagged Donskis + antisemitism in Lithuania, Dovid Katz, Fania Brantsovskaya, Fania Brantsovsky, Holocaust in Lithuania, Jewish partisans in Lithuania, Leonidas Donskis, Rachel Margolis, Transitions on Line, Yitzhak Arad
Algirdas Brazauskas (1932-2010), visionary first elected president and later prime minister of free Lithuania died today in Vilnius. In each of his land’s highest offices he proved himself a leader in the grand spirit of the multicultural Grand Duchy of Lithuania who will be properly appreciated long after our time.
From the start of Lithuania’s new history as a proud democratic nation, Algirdas Brazauskas understood that it did no good for his country that war criminals had been rehabilitated by ultranationalist officials.
He paid tribute to Jewish partisan veterans for helping to free Lithuania from Nazi tyranny. As president, he honored Prof Dov Levin. As prime minister, he issued a certificate of recognition to Dr Rachel Margolis.
President Brazauskas’s historic speech to the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on 1 March 1995 will never be forgotten (full text here). But in modern Litvak collective memory, there is perhaps one incident, that took place one day before, that will be remembered even more. The Lithuanian delegation was met by a picket line of Holocaust survivors near Yad Vashem. One elderly survivor, Y. Brosh, whose entire family was murdered at Ponar, made his feelings known robustly. Like the other survivors who protested, he was wearing a yellow star on his jacket. President Brazauskas went over to to the man, hugged him and kissed him.
Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, News & Views, Obituaries, United States, Vilnius Yiddish Institute
Tagged Algirdas Brazauskas, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Holocaust in Lithuania, Rachel Margolis
Pamėnkalnio 12, Vilnius
Note: See also our report on the October 2010 re-opening of the Green House following extensive renovations. Black and white photos below are ©Richard Schofield.
Rachel Kostanian, the courageous director, valiantly keeps alive one of the rare local bastions of public integrity on the Holocaust in Lithuania, having constantly to fend off obstacles. Read Esther Goldberg Gilbert’s portrait in the special Jewish New Year’s supplement on great Jewish women of the ages in the Canadian Jewish News (8 Sept 2010). A follow-up article on Rachel Kostanian’s epic struggle for truth in Holocaust history appeared a month later (7 Oct 2010).
Joseph Levinson of Vilnius, born in March 1917 — an anti-Nazi war veteran, founding figure of Vilnius’s ‘Green House’, historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust, and author of The Book of Sorrow (Vilnius 1997) and The Shoah in Lithuania (English edition: Vilnius 2006) — was honored in London’s Central Synagogue at a splendid event on Wednesday evening 1 September 2010. Details here.
Elegantly chaired by the synagogue’s Rabbi Barry Marcus, a scion of luminous Lithuanian rabbis, himself born in South Africa, it included speeches by Iain Duncan Smith (‘IDS’), Britain’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and the Israeli ambassador to the UK, HE Ron Prosor. The Central Synagogue’s hall was packed. [Added 20 September 2010: See the 2 Sept report in The Jewish News, and Simon Round’s interview with Mr Levinson in The Jewish Chronicle.]
O P I N I O N
I will admit that when I read political analyst Kęstutis Girnius’s comments on the Lithuanian Provisional Government and the Lithuanian Activist Front, and about the supposedly low level of academic research and documentation of these phenomena, I found myself in a state of disbelief that a person whom I consider one of the most sober-minded and most insightful of our political commentators could write this. Without citing his earlier statements on radio and in publications on this topic, here is the link to Kęstutis Girnius’s latest commentary [English translation]:
Under the leadership of Yidish lebt (‘Yiddish Lives’), a group uniting non-Jewish and Jewish enthusiasts and students of Yiddish language, literature and culture in Warsaw, a peaceful counter-demonstration is being planned in response to the neo-Nazi march slated to take place on November 11th, Polish Independence Day. More details here. Image of the Yiddish group’s poster:Continue reading
photo courtesy Bogna Eliza Pawlisz
O P I N I O N
by Nida Vasiliauskaitė
I read Kęstutis Girnius’s and Leonidas Donskis’s essays on this more than once and can’t get rid of some strange impressions. Even if I pretended that I knew nothing about the Provisional Government, the LAF and that historical period in general, and my only source of information were these two texts addressed to each other, they would suffice to start to make clear some things not just about the past, but also about its intimate connection with the present. How this is being talked about here and now is not less important than that (and the things connected with that) which actually happened.
Journalist, editor and human rights champion Andrius Navickas was awarded this year’s Person of Tolerance award in a ceremony in Kaunas today. The annual award, founded by Open Society Lithuania’s founding director Dr Irena Veisaitė, goes to a personality who actively and courageously fought for tolerance in Lithuanian society.
Andrius Navickas (left), editor of Bernardinai, accepts the Person of Tolerance award from MEP Professor Leonidas Donskis at a ceremony in Kaunas on 5 February 2011. Image: N. Povilaitis / Lrytas.lt
O P I N I O N
by Nida Vasiliauskaitė
There is a view that pro-fascist tendencies in Lithuania are nothing more than a bubble blown by the New Left, an informal intellectual and political movement (not a party), that it is a case of “Communist slander” aimed at peaceful and likeable patriots: those who simply love their Homeland, are proud of it and who—unlike the angry folks from the New Left who are “attacking” good people for no reason at all—do not seek enemies (and do not find them), degrade nobody and are a threat to nobody.
No, for them everyone is a friend. (How different they are from, for example, Nida Vasiliauskaitė, who, as they will tell you, “hates everyone” simply and purely at her own whim and out of bad will, or because she has been “paid” by all the comrades of “Brussels” and “Moscow” banded together. They emphasize that which unites, not that which divides…)
Five hundred and ninety-five Lithuanian citizens today published their public letter to the president, the parliament and the government of Lithuania, and to the Vilnius City Council. The letter condemns the ‘march of the extreme right and the spread of hatred in public’. The document appears on the Demos website in English (an earlier Lithuanian version appeared on Peticijos.lt here).