History

In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)


[LAST UPDATE]

by Dovid Katz

Compilation of articles, documentaries, videos, and photos. Plus: from the saga of 2008

See Defending History’s Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky Section

Note: This page is a work in progress. A number of older documents, articles, photographs, and recordings remain to be digitized, catalogued, and posted.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)

Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’



Reports in Baltic Times and Delfi

For over a decade Defending History has exposed the far-right”Double Genocide” history-revisionist, Holocaust-obfuscating agenda of the “Prague Platform of European Memory and Conscience” which has repeatedly covered for East European efforts to glorify Nazi collaborators and perpetrators

“Putin’s criminal and barbaric invasion must be countered to the hilt and we must rally unfettered to the cause of Ukraine’s freedom. But for far-right double-genocider revisionists in the Eastern E.U. to take advantage of it for Holocaust obfuscation is just plain wrong.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff is first to respond (in Times of Israel blogs)

Will Western leaders — and institutions dedicated to the history of the Holocaust and leaders in Holocaust education and commemoration — speak out and subject the “Prague Platform” to some long overdue scrutiny, and warn the European Commission about this “new initiative”? European citizens’ hard-earned euros continue to flow to the revisionists whose “unholy bible” is still the Prague Declaration of 2008… Defending History is proud to have helped provide the European parliamentary response, the Seventy Years Declaration

Defending History’s statement on the war in Ukraine

When Ottawa Citizen and The New York Times broke taboo on wartime discussion of East European state-sponsored Holocaust obfuscation

But what is the “Prague Platform”?


 

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Double Genocide, Estonia, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’

Evaldas Balčiūnas recenzuoja Arūno Bubnio knygą „Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje“



KNYGOS

Evaldas Balčiūnas

Arūnas Bubnys, Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje. Vilnius: Margi raštai, 2021

Dar vienas Tarptautinės komisijos okupacinių režimų nusikaltimams Lietuvoje įvertinti leidinys. Lig šiol šios komisijos leistos knygos buvo akademiškos ir skaitytojų vertinamos. Be to, jos būdavo leidžiamos ne tik lietuvių, bet ir anglų kalba. Ši – kitokia. Išleista tik lietuviškai. Jei anksčiau leistose monografijose, be kita ko, būdavo komisijos patvirtintos išvados, tai šioje knygoje tokių išvadų nėra. Kiek teiravausi – komisijos mokslininkai šio leidinio tarpusavyje neaptarinėjo…

Bet apie viską nuo pradžių.

Knygos apimama geografija gana plati. Daugiau ar mažiau minimos 23 apskritys ir 140 miestelių. Tai tikrai daug, bet krinta į akis, kad aprašyti miesteliai pagal apskritis pasiskirstę labai netolygiai. Pvz., Šilutės apskrityje prabėgomis minimos kelios stovyklos ir atskirų žydų likimai, bet nėra aprašyto nė vieno miestelio. Iš Marijampolės apskrities aprašytas tik pačios Marijampolės žydų likimas. Gausiausia miestelių aprašymų iš Šiaulių (15) ir Alytaus (12) apskričių. Suprantama, autorius ir taip atliko didelį darbą – lig šiol neturėjome tokio išsamaus aprašymo. Žudynių geografijos prasme platesnis yra „Holokausto Lietuvoje atlasas“, kuriame paminėtos visos didesnės žudynių vietos. Tačiau tame aprašyme nekeliamas klausimas, kas gi atsitiko su atskirų miestelių žydų bendruomenėmis. Mano nuomone, Bubnio knygoje trūksta paaiškinimo, kodėl viskas taip fragmentiška. Skaitydami apie Šiaulių apskritį, galime rasti vieną iš galimų paaiškinimų:

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Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, State-Defamed Jewish World War II Partisan Hero, Turns 100 Today



BLAMING THE VICTIMS  |  FANIA BRANTSOVSKY SECTION  |  HISTORY  |   EVENTS  |  YIDDISH CULTURE LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

 

The following is a paste-in of today’s Facebook post by Dovid Katz marking Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky’s 100th birthday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The original, along with its Comments section is on FB, accompanied by a modest selection of photographs of Fania, and of Fania with Dovid and others over the years.

Clockwise from upper left: Fania is at far left in family photo from 1932 or 1933 in front of her father’s shop on Vilna’s Zavalna St. (today Pylimo in Vilnius); Fania showing visitors the underground bunkers where she lived while fighting the Nazis in the Jewish partisan fort in the forest (now sinking into the ground, Fania’s last wish is that it be restored and preserved for posterity); Fania and fellow partisan veteran Chasia Langbord Shpanerflig sing the partisan hymn at a May 9th memorial; Fania bring honored at a banquet at the residence of the Irish ambassador to Lithuania, HE Dónal Denham in a pushback against state attempts to prosecute and defame her and other veterans of the Jewish partisans with ambassadors from Norway, Austria, France, the UK and other Western nations joining in; Fania in the Vilna Ghetto (1941-1943); with Dovid enjoying looking at some old Vilna Yiddish books together.

HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY TO DEAR FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY (FANIA BRANCOVSKAJA)

Today, May 22nd 2022, is Fania’s 100th. It has been a privilege to know her and work closely with her for some thirty years. A graduate of Vilna’s remarkable secular Yiddish school built by the legendary Sofia Markovna Gurevitsh, she went on to suffer loss of her entire family in the Holocaust. Her own incarceration in the Vilna Ghetto lasted from the Ghetto’s first day to its last, when she escaped to join the Jewish partisans with whom she fought heroically in the forests of Lithuania against the Nazis, based in the wooden underground bunkers at the “Jewish fort” outside Vilnius, which Fania dreams to this day will be restored and preserved for future generations to remember the Holocaust and the Jewish resistance (it is at present literally sinking into the earth). To come together to make this happen would be Fania’s most cherished 100th birthday present. (Alas efforts to date have faded with various organizations’ timidity, but may that now rapidly change!).

For a summary of the story of the Last Jewish Fort, please see Defending History’s report.

Please try to imagine the mental cruelty Holocaust survivor Fania (who lost her entire family, herself survived by joining the anti-Nazi resistance, becoming a hero of the free world) has had to endure from a major state-sponsored commission in an EU member state. This has been covered in a major documentary film (alternate link). See also recent ultranationalists’ defamation of Fania

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Comments Off on Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, State-Defamed Jewish World War II Partisan Hero, Turns 100 Today

Books in the Debate 2022 — With Latest on Silvia Foti’s “Nazi’s Granddaughter”


[updated]

see also: BOOKS SECTION


Evaldas Balčiūnas reviews Vilnius Genocide Center chief’s new book on the Lithuanian Holocaust; in German translation


Silvia Foti: The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal

UPDATE OF MAY 2022:

Sylvia Foti’s major new book is widely available in English and Lithuanian, among other languages. QUESTION: Why is the center of Vilnius still blighted by an upgraded plaque & bas-relief  (right) and a central boulevard marble slab glorifying Hitler collaborator Jonas Noreika, who masterminded the death of thousands of Jews, and touted his unadulterated hate for Jewish fellow citizens in a prewar book? Why do  Western diplomats, and most visiting American, British and Israeli Jewish dignitaries feel obliged to avoid even the most polite critique of these prominent carbuncles on the face of the European Union? Surely, a true friend of Lithuania would want the best for Lithuania and its international stature, even if a small far-right “history rewriting elite” might feel offended.

Kitos Knygos Books published Lithuanian edition of Silvia Foti’s book; she appeared in Vilnius to launch it at the Feb. 2022 Vilnius Book Fair

See the author’s major op-eds in the New York Times (27 Jan. 2021 [as PDF]), Wall Street Journal (26 Aug. 2021 [as PDF] & Lou Gerber’s 7 Sept.WSJ letter [as PDF]; EU Today (2 Sept. 2021 [as PDF]); author’s BBC Hard Talk interview with Stephen Sackur (15 April 2021); 17 Sept. 2021 report in Spiegel;

Events include: Seminar at Harvard University’s Davis Center; Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (23 Jan. 2022); Palos Heights (Ill.) Public Library (10 May 2022)

Related reports in Algemeiner.com; Andrew Higgins in The New York Times; Gil Skorwid and Patrick Smith on NBC NewsGrant Arthur Gochin in Jewish JournalRichard S. Hirschhaut at American Jewish Committee

Reviews of Foti’s The Nazi’s Granddaughter: Bettina Berch in Jewish Book Council; Liz Mineo in the Harvard Gazette; in the National Book Review.

Background on author’s website.   Spanish edition

When you visit Vilnius, Kaunas and other Lithuanian citizens, be sure to ask the powers that be to remove city-center shrines to brutal Holocaust collaborators that mar this beautiful European country.

See also a selection of street names and public-space shrines across Lithuania and DH’s Collaborators Glorified section. Also: Noreika section.

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Dr. Bubnys’s New Book on the Lithuanian Holocaust: More Obfuscation and Far-Right History-Spin to Minimize Local Participation?



Opinion | Books | Dr. Bubnys & Official State Holocaust Research in Lithuania | Red-Brown Commission | Genocide Center | Politics of Memory | Lithuania | History

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Prolific historian, director of the state’s Genocide Center, and far-right activist. On 23 June 2020, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys addressed an ultranationalist rally celebrating the 79th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion (and onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust), flanked by large posters of Jonas Noreika and Kazys Škirpa, two major collaborators in various phases of the genocide of Lithuanian Jewry (96.4% were killed). In his speech he taunted the (silent) DH observers on hand. See reports here and here, and DH’s section on Dr. Bubnys’s work and positions over the years.

Arūnas Bubnys’s book The Holocaust in the Lithuanian Provinces (Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje, Margi raštai, Vilnius, 2021) is another publication of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania (ICECNSORL). Up until now, books published by the Commission were academically written and appreciated by a sophisticated readership. Moreover, they were always published in both Lithuanian and English. This book is different. It is available only in Lithuanian. Previously published monographs would also include Commission-approved conclusions; this book has no such thing. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Commission’s academics did not discuss the book among themselves before its publication. But let’s start at the beginning.

The book is geographically quite extensive: 23 counties and 140 towns are cited. This is really a lot, but it is also quite obvious that the coverage of towns in different counties is unequal. When it comes to Šilutė county in western Lithuania, for example, several camps and fates of individual Jews are mentioned in passing, but no single town is described. For the Marijampolė county, only the fate of the Jews of Marijampolė itself is presented.  Šiauliai xounty (15 towns) and Alytus County (12 towns) are the most extensively covered.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Books, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Bubnys’s New Book on the Lithuanian Holocaust: More Obfuscation and Far-Right History-Spin to Minimize Local Participation?

27 Months Later: Lithuania’s Defense Ministry Still Flaunts Website Homage to Hitlerist Theoretician of Ethnic Cleansing of Jews


[UPDATED / ORIGINAL REPORT 3 MARCH 2020]

COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   KAUNAS MARCHES EU  |  OPINION 

Believe it or not, the Defense Ministry still flaunts its magazine cover glorifying Lithuania’s major  1941 “Holocaust advocate” on its website with no editorial comment or disclaimer from the defense minister (as PDF). Who was K. Škirpa?

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 27 Months Later: Lithuania’s Defense Ministry Still Flaunts Website Homage to Hitlerist Theoretician of Ethnic Cleansing of Jews

Thanks to Danutė Selčinskaja and Stanislovas Stasiulis, We found Families who Saved My Parents During the Lithuanian Holocaust



Lithuania  |  History  |  Persons of the Year  |  Litvak Affairs

 

By Miriam Kagan (Kahn) Lieber (New York)

 ◊

My family was delighted to learn that Defending History 2022 Persons of the Year are the inspirationally courageous Lithuanians who risked all to save my parents and a small group of their friends from certain death in Kovno by hiding them in the forests near their rural homes.  This is our amazing tale of discovery, in brief.

In the summer of 2019, my cousin traveled to Lithuania to visit the country where much of our family originated, home to my parents, Berl and Raya Kagan, and aunt, Nechama Ilman Himmel. It was our good fortune that he met Stanislovas Stasiulis of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, who introduced us to his colleague Danutė Selčinskaja, long time head of the museum‘s department for discovering, recording and acknowledging Rescuers of Holocaust-era Lithuania.

Danutė knew the story of six heroic Lithuanian peasants from the hamlet of Karalgiris who rescued eight Jews from the Kovno Ghetto. She was very familiar with the story that had been published in post-war newspapers in Lithuania and in the book, Unarmed Fighters (Ir be ginklo kariai), but despite several attempts, lacked the documentation to confirm the accuracy of the story.

She was not yet familiar with my father’s diary, published in 1955 in Yiddish in New York by the Congress for Jewish Culture, entitled A yid in vald (A Jew in the Woods). The entries in the diary would confirm what was written in several post-war publications about this rescue, including the first names of each of the rescuers. She, along with Stanislovas, quickly grasped the historical value of the published Yiddish diary as it provided an in-depth picture of the rescuers of the Holocaust period in Lithuania. And due to Danutė‘s hard work and dedication she brought to fruition the long overdue recognition of these righteous Lithuanians this past September.

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The Holocaust in Šeduva, a Town in Northern Lithuania



ŠEDUVA  |  HISTORY  |  MUSEUMS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Just like each and every other town in Lithuania, Šeduva (Sheduva) has as the most barbarous episode of it history the Lithuanian Holocaust. It is not easy to tell this story. There are many narratives that contradict each other, with many omitted or unclear episodes. The omissions can be partly explained by the current policy of historical memory in Lithuania, as well as by the authority of some organizations that thsemlves took active part in these horrible events. Narratives that are unfavorable to them are denied, downplayed, or classified as “information warfare” (in other words: “Russia”). I have previously written about the difficulty in asssessing assorted narratives here.

The summary version of of the Šeduva Jews’ massacre that I recounted includes these critical dates:

June 25, 1941: The Nazis occupy Šeduva.

July 22, 1941: Šeduva’s Jews are driven into the town’s ghetto established to incarcerate its Jewish citizens.

August 25t, 1941: The city’s 665 Jews are  murdered in Liaudiškiai forest. But a few of the Jewish families of volunteers (veterans) of Lithuania’s War of Independence in 1918 are “allowed” to live, under the condition that they abandon their Jewishness and get baptized. The residents of Šeduva and its vicinity observe the public baptism at the church. A couple of weeks later those baptized are driven to Panevėžys and also shot dead, like all their unbaptized brethren who were not “saved by baptism” for having volunteered over two decades earlier to fight in the nation’s War of Independence. The only one who survived was Ms. S. Nolienė, who was hidden by the priest M. Karosas.

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Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its Secretly-Financed, Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Holocaust in Šeduva, a Town in Northern Lithuania

2022 Persons of the Year: Tadas Pocius & Barbora Urbonavičiūtė-Pocienė; Antanas Volskis & Stanislava Volskienė; Leonas Vaidotas & Stanislava Vaidotienė — in a village called Karalgiris



PERSON OF THE YEAR SERIES  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  HISTORY

by Danutė Selčinskaja

Berl Kagan (Kahan)

Eminent scholar, author, and Holocaust survivor Berl Kagan, often known as Berl Kahn (1908-1993)  renowned in his pre-war Lithuania youth as a scholar, lecturer and editor  (of the newspaper Dos Vort), worked after the war in New York at the Yivo (Yiddish Scientific Institute, later Yivo Institute for Jewish Research) from 1954, is widely known for his concise encyclopedia of Jewish towns in prewar independent Lithuania, the final volume of the encyclopedia of Yiddish literature plus a volume of addenda, and numerous other works that are regularly consulted in our second decade of the twenty-first century. Fewer people, perhaps, are aware of his much more deeply personal work, A Yid in Vald (A Jew in the Forest), his Holocaust memoir.

While hiding from the Nazis and their local henchmen in the Lithuanian forests, he felt the need to record what he, his wife Raya, and his wife’s sister Nechama had to endure in the Kovno Ghetto and, from 1943, hiding in the barn of the inspirationally courageous peasant Tadas Pocius (known to friends as Tadeush) in Karalgiris village and, later, in the woods outside the Pocius family’s farm. Since there was no paper to write on, Kagan would write in between the lines of a paperback that he carried with him. In 1955, based on these clandestine records, Kagan published A Yid in Vald. After his death, his daughters Ada Kagan and Miriam Kagan Lieber ensured that the book would appear in English translation A Jew in the Woods.

Defending History’s Person of the Year series

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Posted in Danutė Selčinskaja, Defending History's Person of the Year, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2022 Persons of the Year: Tadas Pocius & Barbora Urbonavičiūtė-Pocienė; Antanas Volskis & Stanislava Volskienė; Leonas Vaidotas & Stanislava Vaidotienė — in a village called Karalgiris

Elena Rimdžiūtė: Video of Christian Witness to the Holocaust in Šeduva, in Northern Lithuania



VILNIUS—The Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive (LYVA), a Defending History affiliated project, providing hundreds of Yiddish language video interviews in the “Lithuanian lands” (today’s Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, eastern Ukraine and northeastern Poland), conducted from 1990 to 2020 has just released a Holocaust-history extract from a longer interview, conducted in May 2000 in Šeduva, northern Lithuania, with the town’s last Yiddish speaker, the Christian Lithuanian native of the town, the late Elena Rimdžiūtė. As is evident from the clip, the interviewer, Dovid Katz, was focused on Elena’s Yiddish folksongs, and the Holocaust arises, at first tangentially, when Elena speaks of her friends who are no more.

See DH’s Šeduva section

The clip on Youtube is accompanied by a draft English translation (in the “Description Box”). This remarkable woman’s honesty, integrity, and desire to Just Tell it Straight, makes for a striking contrast with the current Baltic academic establishment’s claptrap about Prague Declarations, equivalence of totalitarian regimes, tale of two Holocausts, and fairy tales about the “uprising against the Soviets” celebrated in Vilnius’s Genocide Museum (recently renamed), and promoted by the state-sponsored Genocide Center and numerous public shrines to local Holocaust murderers of 1941.

Here is Ms. Rimdžiūtė’s genuine Šeduva Yiddish rendition of the beloved song, where a girl explains that she wants neither new clothes from the tailor nor shoes from the shoemaker but expresses her sadness that all the other girls have boys (altered in the final stanza to ‘get married’). The clip is followed by a draft English translation concluding with a transcription of song in Šeduva Yiddish.

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Posted in Documents, Film, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its Secretly-Financed, Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Elena Rimdžiūtė: Video of Christian Witness to the Holocaust in Šeduva, in Northern Lithuania

Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  JUOZAS LUKŠA DEBATES

VILNIUS—Two days before tomorrow’s government-sponsored international “academic” conference (on September 10) that glorifies alleged 1941 Holocaust perpetrator Juozas Lukša (without a single paper devoted to the issue of his Kaunas 1941 Holocaust participation), the foreign minister led a high-end Holocaust remembrance ceremony (yesterday, 8 Sept.) bewailing the calamity of the Holocaust and its scale in Lithuania. That ceremony dated the onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust to the first week of September, when the Nazis set up the Vilna Ghetto, and others.

As ever, curious acrobatics seen to be in play in choice of the date to deflect attention from 23 June 1941, the day the barbarity and slaughter were initiated in dozens of Lithuanian towns before arrival of the first German soldiers. June 23rd is the day the Holocaust in Lithuania started according to all Holocaust survivors interviewed over the last thirty years, and it has been particularly painful for them that Vilnius has a street called “June 23rd Street.”

Eyewitness accounts of Lukša’s Kaunas deeds were assembled by Alex Faitelson and Joseph Melamed  regarding the Lietukis Garage Massacre in that last week of June 1941. An early day 2011 motion in the British Parliament cited eyewitnesses to his alleged participation in the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky in Kaunas, also in June 1941 (for more citations see Defending History’s initial report on the Lithuanian parliament’s decision last year to dedicate 2021 to Lukša’s memory). Last week’s Lukša events have included inauguration of a major new monument with an address by the prime minister.

Statements painfully protesting the Lithuanian parliament’s decision to name 2021 for this infamous alleged participant in the Kaunas atrocities of June 1941 have been issued by Faina Kukliansky, head of the official Jewish Community of Lithuania, jointly with Rabbi Andrew Baker, head of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C. The Jewish Community went on (very unusually) to bitterly critique the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” on the glorification of Lukša. Other voices of dismay have come from Dr. Laurence Weinbaum of the World Jewish Congress who edits its prestigious academic j0urnal Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Yakov Faitelson, who recounts his late father’s being honored for telling the truth by the late Lithuanian president and statesman Algirdas Brazauskas.

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Posted in American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Double Games, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators

Chronicle of the Lithuanian Government’s Campaign to Blame Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Resistance


UPDATED MARCH 2017. See also (older, not updated) Responses page.

2006    2007    2008    2009    2010    2011

2012    2013    2014    2015    2016    2017

 


PREFACE

The campaign of defamation by Lithuanian state prosecutors and allied elites (particularly in the Genocide Center and the antisemitic right-wing press) has resulted in a number of cherished Holocaust Survivors being smeared as “war criminals” without a single charge ever having been leveled against anybody. Launched in 2006, the campaign, abusing tools such as “pre-trial investigations” and leaks to the media, have sought to brand as “war criminals” the heroes of the war against Hitler. It grew in 2011 with the addition of equally perverse  “libel charges,” launched with fanfare when Interpol (!) was sent to disturb in Tel Aviv the elected head of the last active group of Litvak Holocaust survivors in the world. Then, in 2013, the state’s “red-brown commission” defamed one of Vilnius’s last survivors on equally perverse grounds, all the while putting on “Holocaust events” for naive Western audiences, usually funded by the (unknowing) Lithuanian taxpayer, in venues  including LondonNew YorkToronto, and Vilnius.

A single public letter from the president could fix it all. Instantly.

The campaign of defamation results in permanent calumny in historians’ worksWikipedia, and elsewhere (see below) that is more than a grave injustice to the Holocaust survivors targeted (and their families). It is a deliberate ultranationalist falsification of history in the spirit of the wider campaign to find fault with the victims and make heroes of the perpetrators. These are components of the movement to obfuscate the issues, and downgrade the Holocaust in the spirit of the Double Genocide movement and its central document, the 2008 Prague Declaration.

All but one of the accused survivors — most in their late eighties or nineties — were still alive (as of February 2016). Dr. Rachel Margolis passed away on 6 July 2015, having failed to fulfill her final wish of one last trip to her native Vilna. A single public letter of apology from the president or prime minister of Lithuania, accompanied by an apology from the state prosecutors, would be the minimal gesture of good will needed to repair the damage. Public defamation can only be (partly) repaired by public apology. Dr. Yitzhak Arad died in May 2021.

Moreover, the state has a splendid last chance to end its relationship with its own Holocaust survivors, after a 700 year history in Lithuania, on a rather higher note than police coming to look for aged women veterans of the heroic Jewish resistance in the forests of Lithuania.

During his own tenure before these events, Lithuania’s eminent late president (later prime minister) Algirdas Brazauskas, a champion of confronting historical truth with courage and dignity, awarded certificates of honor to the selfsame Jewish partisan veterans for the selfsame service in helping to liberate Lithuania from Nazism. . .


2006

22 April 2006.  Article in Respublika accuses Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Holocaust survivor, resistance hero, veteran of the Israeli war of independence and long-time director of Yad Vashem, of being a war criminal on the basis of misquoted, decontextualized passages in his own 1979 book, The Partisan. [ADDENDUM of April 2014: One of the chief stone-throwers (final section) is A. Anušauskas, who is today a member of the state’s commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes. In 2006 he was “scientific editor” at the Genocide Center. Since 2008 he has been a member of parliament where he was for some years chair of the Committee on National Security and Defense.]

 

2007

10 September 2007.  Prosecutors in Lithuania confirm that their investigation of Holocaust survivor, anti-Nazi resistance hero and former director of Yad Vashem Dr. Yitzhak Arad, on suspicion of “crimes against humanity” had been initiated in May 2006. The “investigation” was based on an article in the antisemitic daily Respublika (22 April 2006), in which the special prosecutor and head of the Genocide Center are extensively quoted. In June 2006 the daily triumphantly proclaimed that prosecutors were acting on its earlier article. English summary. See below at 25 September 2008 for “conclusion” of the investigation and the 2010 report of the “Lithuanian Human Rights Association” . . . In 2014, ongoing defamation evident from Wikipedia entry.

2008

29 January 2008.  Article in the daily Lietuvos aidas that called on prosecutors to investigate Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky and Dr Rachel Margolis. English translation.

6 April 2008.  Professor Dov Levin of Jerusalem protests, returning his own earlier award to the president of Lithuania.

30 April 2008.  The Embassy of the United States in Lithuania issues a certificate of appreciation, signed by Ambassador John A. Cloud, to Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky; presented by political officer Joseph Boski at a luncheon organized by the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Comments Off on Chronicle of the Lithuanian Government’s Campaign to Blame Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Resistance

Video Released of Marius Ivaškevičius’s Interview with Dovid Katz



VILNIUS—Famed Lithuanian playwright Marius Ivaškevičius interviewed Dovid Katz as his Vilnius apartment on 20 March 2017 as part of the filming for Tzvi Kritzer’s documtentary “The Last Sunday in August” about the slaughter of the Jews of Malát (today: Molėtai) Lithuania. The much more general interview offers sweeping discourse on the Lithuanian Holocaust and its legacies, and sundry difficult related issues. There was a cameo appearance  by  the film’s producer Tzvi Kritzer. The footage released  is unedited but not complete. Unfortunately, the beginning, with Marius’s detailed opening statement and set of questions, is missing from this footage. The documentary, released in 2018, is on youtube.

Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Video Released of Marius Ivaškevičius’s Interview with Dovid Katz

Yitzhak Arad, World War II Partisan Hero, Veteran of Israel’s War of Independence, Former Leader of Yad Vashem, Dies at 94



Yitzhak Arad (1926-2021)

Yitzhak Arad (originally Rudnitzky), a native of Svintsyán (Švenčionys, Lithuania, some 90 km north of Vilnius) passed away peacefully in Tel Aviv on Thursday. He was laid to rest Friday at Kibbutz Einat near Tel Aviv. His dramatic career included fighting the Nazis as a bold partisan in the forests of Lithuania, fighting with equal heroism in the air and ground forces that won Israel’s war of independence, rising to brigadier general, becoming a major Holocaust scholar and author, serving as director general of Yad Vashem for two decades (1972-1993), and, in the twenty-first century, becoming the first of a series of Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance to be publicly accused by Lithuanian prosecutors of “war crimes” (with not a shred of evidence) as part of a massive campaign of Holocaust revisionism and inversion emanating from the state and its lavishly sponsored “genocide center” and “red-brown” commission as well and numerous elite operatives in the media, academia and literature.

The Holocaust revisionist who started the campaign against Arad in 2006 (in an infamous interview in the antisemitic Respublika  representing the state’s “Genocide Center“) is today the nation’s Minister of Defense (!). It was, it turned out, the opening salvo in a years’ long saga that came to include Dr. Rachel Margolis (1921-2015), Ms. Fania Brantsovsky (1922- ), and other heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance regarded as “war criminals” by the far-right revisionist history units financed by East European states and their centers, professors, press maestros and operatives on an industrial scale.

Arad was the first Jewish partisan veteran to be libeled (in 2006) by kangaroo prosecutions of Lithuania’s “history fixing” units  in the effort to revise Holocaust history. One major component of the multilayered effort, epitomized by Lithuania’s state-sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” and its Genocide Research Center, has entailed painting Holocaust victims who survived by joining the resistance as perpetrators and perpetrators (particularly of the atrocities of 1941) as victims. Follow the ins-and-outs in Defending History.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Double Genocide, History, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Yitzhak Arad, World War II Partisan Hero, Veteran of Israel’s War of Independence, Former Leader of Yad Vashem, Dies at 94

Suddenly, Strong Statements from the Long-Silent: Holocaust Posturing or Sincere Outrage?



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  LITHUANIA

by Dovid Katz

The decision announced by leaders of the three major universities in Lithuania, and of its History Institute, to belatedly break off ties with the antisemitic, ultranationalist, far-right, history-revisionist “Genocide Center,” a state-sponsored institution, is both “better than nothing” and “better late than never.” For over a dozen years now, Defending History has documented the Center’s role in spewing antisemitism, while underpinning ultraright Nazi-sympathetic nationalism and Holocaust obfuscation and denial wrapped up in pseudo-historical research; a similar record has been kept of its obedient showcase of fake history to the outside world, the “Genocide Museum”). The shocking wall of skittish silence on the part of professors, diplomats, and political leaders has been apparent not only within Lithuania, but also from some Holocaust, history and international (particularly American-based) Jewish organizations whose leaders covet the local medals, honors, photo-ops and junkets that give them that certain godlike ego-boost that is only to be had, it seems, east of the former Iron Curtain.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Suddenly, Strong Statements from the Long-Silent: Holocaust Posturing or Sincere Outrage?

Battles over History Unleashed on Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021



On 27 January, Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021:

Silvia Foti in the New York Times on her Grandfather Jonas Noreika

Lev Golinkin in the Forward on the Proliferation of Statues and Monuments Glorifying Nazi Collaborators and — their Export to the US, Canada and Other Western Nations

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Posted in Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Battles over History Unleashed on Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021

Monuments to Nazi Collaborators in Eastern Europe and — Recent ‘Exports’ to the West


[UPDATED]

ArmeniaEstoniaLatviaLithuaniaMacedonia.  Slovakia.  Ukraine

Our take? The export of East European Holocaust revisionism is best exposed and countered now, before it becomes the pillar of the twenty-first century’s incarnations of Holocaust denial: Double Genocide, Holocaust Obfuscation, and glorification of the perpetrators as being (simultaneously) “heroes”…

This page was developed with the generous help of Lev Golinkin whose 26 January 2021 project in the Forward supersedes this page (see particularly his Lithuania section).

JUMP TO:

Latvia → Belgium

Lithuania → USA

Ukraine → Canada

Ukraine → USA

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Double Genocide, EU, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Zedelgem in Belgium | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Monuments to Nazi Collaborators in Eastern Europe and — Recent ‘Exports’ to the West

Why The First Week of the Lithuanian Holocaust is Historically Unique. Whom to Honor on the 80th Anniversary?



by Dovid Katz

For years now, Defending History has, on the first of January each year, named the newborn year in honor of Lithuanian Holocaust-era Rescuers, or Righteous of the Nations as they are also known (tsadíkey úmes ho-óylem in Yiddish). In 2020 — Antanas Zubrys and Dr. Matilda Zubrienė; in 2019 — Jonas Paulavičius; in 2018 — Malvina Šokelytė Valeikienė. That is a tradition we hope to resume next year. But 2021, the eightieth anniversary of 1941, calls for something more focused, not least when some governmental bodies have chosen, shockingly, to use the anniversary to glorify the perpetrators rather than commemorate the victims and honor those who helped a neighbor to escape the rapidly closing death vise in the last week of June 1941.

By and large, the 916 Rescuers recognized by Yad Vashem (and a somewhat larger number if those recognized by Lithuanian institutions and assorted survivor families are added) are people who risked their own and their families’ lives to hide (and feed, sustain, care for and guard) a Jew or Jews for an extended period, risking it all for weeks, months or years, until the fall of the Nazi regime at the hands of the USSR — then in alliance with the United States, Great Britain and the other Allies — in July of 1944 (there were no American or British forces in Eastern Europe…). As an old adage, variously attributed, goes: One fascist with an automatic weapon could murder hundreds of trapped innocent civilians in some moments, but to save one person took years of heart-wrenching, inspirationally courageous effort by entire families and networks of incredibly good people. In the Baltics, the courage had to be greater than most other places, because they were regarded as traitors to their own nationalist leaders, not only to the occupying Nazi forces. And frankly, because things are different when much or most of the actual killing is done by willing locals idolized by the nationalists of the day.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Defending History's Person of the Year, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why The First Week of the Lithuanian Holocaust is Historically Unique. Whom to Honor on the 80th Anniversary?

Defending History’s Year (2020) Honoring Antanas Zubrys and Dr. Matilda Zubrienė Comes to Close



Antanas Zubrys and Dr. Matilda Zubrienė

VILNIUS—As 2020 draws to its close in the Lithuanian capital, the Defending History community pays renewed respect to the inspiring Antanas Zubrys and Dr. Matilda Zubrienė whose epic of heroism in just doing the right thing in the face of Nazi rule was recounted on these pages one year ago tonight by Danutė Selčinskaja, chief of the department for Righteous of the Nations at the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania. Let us never forget the true heroes of Holocaust-era Eastern Europe, whose bravery had to be “even greater” when genocide of a local minority was being confounded with loyalty to the nation’s purported “nationalist leaders.”

Posted in Defending History's Person of the Year, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on Defending History’s Year (2020) Honoring Antanas Zubrys and Dr. Matilda Zubrienė Comes to Close