Tracking media coverage.
Composer and pianist Michael Levinas, the son (and heir and exclusive legal holder of the moral rights to his father’s works) of French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, has publicly protested Lithuania’s naming an institute in Kaunas for his father. See his op-ed in Le Figaro (21 Dec. 2021) [in English]) and his interview in Actualité Juive (13 Jan. 2022) [in English]). Initial coverage by JTA (19 Jan.) does not mention Michael Levinas’s protest, but unusually, the protest has been covered in some detail by Lithuanian mainstream media’s Lrt.lt (9 Jan., updated 17 Jan. 2022) which reported on the refusal of the French Embassy in Vilnius to send any representation to the center’s opening ceremony in Dec. 2021. A report also appeared on the website of the official Lithuanian Jewish Community (10 Jan.). However, a second local Kaunas community posting on 12 Jan. was alone cited by the European Jewish Congress website as an uncontroversial news item.
“Question on everybody’s mind”:
Will the Levinas Center leaders, staff, sponsors and visitors politely ask, with dignity, that the city of Kaunas now, in its year as “Capital of European Culture” rapidly remove state-sponsored shrines to the local murderers of Levinas’s family and the other 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas? Or will the Levinas Center become one of the “Useful Jewish Idiot (UJI) addresses” that are used to cover for current Kaunas policies of glorification of Nazi perpetrators, while providing handsome photo-ops, lavish hospitality and generous amenities to visiting foreign Jewish dignitaries who maintain studious silence on current policies of honoring Holocaust collaborators in the public space (in some cases, a very short walk from the new “Levinas Center”).
Levinas for veterinarians?
Posted in 'Levinas Center' in Kaunas, "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Collaborators Glorified, France, Kaunas, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Emmanuel Levinas, Kaunas Capital of European Culture 2022, Levinas Center in Kaunas, Michael Levinas
Defending History’s Belgian correspondent Roland Binet has translated the 21 Dec. 2021 op-ed published in Le Figaro by Michael Levinas entitled “Pourquoi je suis opposé à l’inauguration, à Kaunas, en Lituanie, d’un centre qui porte le nom d’Emmanuel Levinas”. Michael Levinas has agreed to allow Defending History to publish his Le Figaro opinion piece in full, in English, and has approved Roland Binet’s translation, which follows. Michaël Levinas is a French pianist and composer of renown. He has this year been appointed Vice-President of the French Academy of Fine Arts, has taught at the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance and has been made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
Why am I Opposed to the Inauguration in Kaunas, Lithuania, of a Center that Bears the Name of Emmanuel Levinas
By Michaël Levinas
Following the publication on FigaroVox of Salomon Malka’s text entitled “Lithuania celebrates the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas” Michael Levinas asked us to publish his reaction to this information. Michaël Levinas, a pianist, is honorary professor at the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris, as well as a member of the Academy of Fine Arts. He is the son of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas.
It was through an article signed by Salomon Malka in FigaroVox that I was informed of the inauguration of an Emmanuel Levinas center in Kaunas, which took place on December 6 within the setting of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Thus, it is through the press alone that I, as the exclusive holder of the moral rights, and responsible for the use of my father’s name when it concerns his work, learned of this ceremony which honored a major French personality. A noteworthy fact: it was held only in the presence of the Embassy of Israel, and in the absence of the Embassy of France in Lithuania and the Embassy of Lithuania in France, and this, in defiance of the reservations that I had publicly expressed as a son regarding the use of my father’s name, Emmanuel Levinas, in a historically tragic context.
PARIS—The French Jewish journal Actualité Juive published in its print edition a full-page interview (as PDF) with the eminent French composer and pianist Michaël Levinas, concerning his protest at a new center in Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas (once Kovno, Yiddish Kóvne), being named for his late father, the great French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995). An authorized translation is available. Coinciding with the European Union’s naming of Kaunas as “Capital of European Culture” for 2022 and the city’s refusal to remove even one of the many street names, shrines, plaques and monuments to local Nazi collaborators who helped ensure the massacre of nearly all the city’s Jewish residents in 1941, and who participated in the unleashing of the Holocaust in Lithuania even before the arrival of the first German soldiers in late late 1941, the composer’s powerful moral protest represents a singular voice of justice, reason and moral courage to date.
The composer’s stance stands in marked contrast with many others, including artists, assorted academics and a wide range of Western wannabees, who are accepting funding, honors, junkets, invites, and photo-ops with “important people” in return for an unspoken assurance of silence in face of the city’s refusal to take down a single shrine to the local perpetrators of the Holocaust.
The following is a PDF of Michaël Levinas’s interview in the print edition of Actualité Juive of 13 January 2022:
Posted in 'Levinas Center' in Kaunas, "Jewish" Events as Cover?, France, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Michael Levinas, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Emmanuel Levinas, Holocaust in Lithuania, Kaunas Capital of European Culture, Michael Levinas
The following open Letter of Concern appears on the Academia.edu page of Professor Tarik Cyril Amar and others.
To the Organizers of the Symposium “The Holocaust in Ukraine. New Perspectives on the Evils of the 20th Century,” Paris, March 9-11, 2017:
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, France, Free Speech & Democracy, History, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ukraine
Tagged Double Genocide revisionism, Holocaust conference in Paris, Holocaust in Ukraine, Jan Gross, Tarik Cyril Amar, Ukrainian Holocaust, Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Volodymyr Viatrovych
by Simon Malkes (Paris)
I was born in 1927 in the city whose official name was then Wilno, Poland (historically Vilna, today’s Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania). When I was fourteen, the Nazis took over the city, began murdering its Jewish population and set up the Vilna Ghetto. My own survival is due to my having been taken as a teenage repairman of German military vehicles at the plant known as HKP (Heereskraftfahrpark or Army Motor Vehicle Repair Park) on Subotsh Street (today’s Subačiaus). That one enterprise was under the directorship of Major Karl Plagge (1897–1957), a righteous gentile who did everything he could to protect as many Jewish workers as possible from the huge murder machine. Famously, shortly before the Nazi flight from the Soviet army in the summer of 1944, he gave a coded warning to his workers about a need for imminent escape.
Posted in Books, France, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views
Tagged HKP Camp, Holocaust memoirs, Major Karl Plagge, Simon Malkes, The Righteous of the Wehrmacht
PARIS—According to a mass emailing underway this week, Yahad-in-Unum, based in Paris, is inviting the public to a symposium on the Lithuanian Holocaust on Tuesday 3 May at 5 PM at 9 rue Mahler (Room 107).The event is organized by Yahad-in-Unum with unspecified Lithuanian partners and including a video link with a team in Lithuania.
Re: Conference on the Lithuanian Holocaust scheduled for this week in Vilnius
The newest Lithuanian “Double Genocide Industry” outreach to the French speaking academic world of Holocaust and World War II studies, this week’s conference in Vilnius, combines a number of truly outstanding scholars and papers with a political agenda of finding Francophone legitimization for Baltic Holocaust revisionism. The French component includes outstanding personalities from Mémorial de la Shoah, from Institut d’Histoire du Temps présent, and from the French Embassy in Lithuania. The strategy has recently evolved following a protracted collapse of US/UK/Israeli confidence in both the “Red-Brown Commission” (page) and the “Genocide Center” (page), both of which have been extensively exposed in recent months. Participants from Lithuania include one of the Double Genocide movement’s main “attack dogs” who makes fine hay of smearing local Lithuanian truth tellers as stooges of Moscow or useful idiots, especially when attempting to discredit honest multi-sided conferences (e.g. last April’s Vilnius conference).
Will the European Commission and the Claims Conference ever see the light on how their generosity is abused by Baltic nationalist Holocaust revisionism?
Posted in Double Genocide, EU, Events, France, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Claims Conference, Conference on Jewish Material Claims, European Commission + Holocaust, French Embassy in Vilnius, Genocide Center Vilnius, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust Studies in France, Institut d’Histoire du Temps présent, International Comission for the Evaluation, Mémorial de la Shoah, Red-Brown Commission
O P I N I O N
by Christian Bonneville
Leffond, France, 5 July 2015
Hon. Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania
Monsieur le Maire,
- Convention and Congress Center
- Conversion of the Sport Palace Center along the Neris at the Piramónt Location
Congratulations on your election and your determination to develop the cohesion and the attractiveness of the city to be enriched with new facilities and services including a new Conference and Congress Center.
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, France, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius
Tagged Cemetery in Snipiskes (Shinipishok), Christian Bonneville, Jewish cemetery at Piramont (Snipiskes, Remigijus Šimašius
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized steps taken by the Latvian delegation to UNESCO which effectively cancelled an exhibition about the Holocaust in Latvia scheduled to open this coming Sunday at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
In a statement issued here by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called the action by the Latvians “an outrageous and ultimately futile attempt to hide the extensive Latvian collaboration with the Nazis in perpetrating Holocaust crimes” and urged UNESCO officials to consider steps to enable the exhibition, titled “Stolen Childhood: Holocaust Victims Seen by Child Inmates of the Salaspils Nazi Concentration Camp,” to be shown to the public.
According to Zuroff:
“This step by the Latvians is part of a systematic effort by the Baltic countries to hide the truth about the extensive collaboration with the Nazis of Balts in the implementation of the Final Solution in their native countries, as well as in Poland and Belarus. Instead of complaining that the exhibition risked damaging her country’s reputation, Latvia’s chief delegate to UNESCO should have welcomed an effort to expose the wartime collaboration of so many Latvians as part of an honest confrontation with her country’s bloody Holocaust past.”
For more information: 972-50-721-4156
www.operationlastchance.org or www.wiesenthal.com
Posted in Efraim Zuroff, EU, Events, France, Free Speech & Democracy, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust in Latvia, Holocaust Obfuscation in the Baltics, Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel Office, UNESCO + Holocaust Denial
O P I N I O N
by Didier Bertin
From the very beginning, the source of our problems is to be found in an inaccurate narrative of World War II that is rather widespread here in France. This can be explained in part by France’s position as a de facto ally of the Axis at first, starting from the time of Petain’s surrender to Hitler’s forces in 1940. It was rather late in the war that a substantial segment of society in the country per se (as opposed to the heroic resisters who had joined the Allies outside surrendered France’s borders) became a stalwart ally of the United States and Great Britain, at a time when that was by a confluence of circumstances most convenient for all three countries.
The following is the text provided by the office of Simon Malkes (Paris) of the speech he delivered at a conference held at the Lithuanian parliament on 22 September 2013, as part of the series of events of the Fourth International Litvak Congress in Vilnius, Lithuania. Mr. Malkes, a Vilna native and survivor of the Vilna Ghetto, is president of the ORT school network.
Simon Malkes (right) speaks to an old friend on Gedimino Boulevard in central Vilnius, after his speech at a session of the Fourth International Litvak Congress held at the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas).
My name is Simon Malkes. I am a French citizen, living in Paris since 1952. I am a rare survivor, among the less than one percent of Vilna Jewry. I survived thanks to the German officer Karl Plagge who managed the HKP automobile works camp in Vilnius between 1941 and 1944. In 2005, I succeeded to obtain from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem the Righteous Among the Nations title, posthumously, for Karl Plagge.
O P I N I O N
by Didier Bertin
An excerpt from Didier Bertin’s longer work dated 20 July 2012, Planetary Geopolitics and Economics Today, republished here with the author’s permission. The author heads the Society for the Promotion of a European Human Rights Model in France.
The Declarations of Prague of 3 June 2008 and of the European Parliament of 23 September 2008 and their consequences
The contents of the Declaration of Prague of 3 June 2008 and the European Parliament of 23 September 2008, whose target was to take stock of the suffering experienced by the peoples under communist regimes, finally took an ideological and partisan rightist turn.
The progressive parties could have reacted with their own statement rejecting the ideological and revisionist considerations, which focus both on an anti-communist hatred and contempt for Nazi victims and their liberators.
The Society for the Promotion of the European Human Rights Model, based in France, today published on its website a statement of protest concerning the decision by the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research to host Lithuania’s foreign minister as ‘guest of honor’ at a 22 September 2011 event to commemorate the Vilna Ghetto.
The statement, signed by the society’s president, Didier Bertin, begins with the following text:
BNS reported today that the Vilnius-based ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have written in no uncertain terms to the president and other major officials of Lithuania to express concern over the growing manifestations of antisemitism.
Two of the signatories confirmed privately to Defending History that the initiative had come from British ambassador HE Simon Butt, who also drafted the letter. Ambassador Butt had in 2008 organized a letter in moral support of Dr. Rachel Margolis, a walk through the Vilna Ghetto with Ms. Fania Brantsovsky, and had, together with other senior Western diplomats stationed in Vilnius, visited the decaying Jewish partisan fort in the forest.
“Spurious attempts are made to equate the uniquely evil genocide of the Jews with Soviet crimes against Lithuania, which, though great in magnitude, cannot be regarded as equivalent in either their intention or result.”
Excerpt from a letter to the president of Lithuania from the ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, 25 November 2010
Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Ambassador Simon Butt, Double Genocide, Estonia, EU, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), France, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., News & Views, Norway, Poland, Politics of Memory, Sweden, Symbology, United Kingdom, United States
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).