Cemeteries and Mass Graves

On the Piramónt / Šnipiškės cemetery debate, please see:
DH SECTION: https://defendinghistory.com/category/jewish-cemetery-piramont-snipiskes-shnipishok
BACKGROUND: https://defendinghistory.com/?p=74456
PAPER TRAIL: https://defendinghistory.com/?p=73510
OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER: https://defendinghistory.com/?p=75558


An early draft of
CULTURAL DICTIONARY OF LITHUANIAN JEWISH GRAVESTONES is posted at:
https://defendinghistory.com/the-language-of-litvak-gravestones-a-dictionary-by-dovid-katz

See the JOSEPH LEVINSON website at:
www.JosephLevinson.com

Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Scholar (and Descendant) of Gaon of Vilna, Condemns Project to Defile Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery — Cites Ensnaring of Conference of European Rabbis (CER) & Bnei Brak’s Beth Din



 OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE CPJCE | THE USCPAHA | THE CER (CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS) | THE GWF (GOOD WILL FOUNDATION)CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

Rabbi S. J. Feffer

VILNIUSRabbi S. J. Feffer, a part-of-the-year resident in Vilnius for some three decades, is best known locally for his free-of-charge (and no-tickets-needed) Passover seders and other holidays, always open to Vilneans of all backgrounds. His events are considered to be forums of intercommunity friendship and harmony, characterized by authentic Litvak Jewish Orthodox practice with equally warm welcome to folks of any and all persuasions. He is also known as an independent voice for Jewish heritage preservation, and against corruption in high places. Internationally, the rabbi, a descendant of close family of the Gaon of Vilna, is best known as part of the editing team for dozens of published volumes containing the works of the Gaon (Elijah of Vilna, 1720-1797).

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Rabbi S. J. Feffer, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Scholar (and Descendant) of Gaon of Vilna, Condemns Project to Defile Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery — Cites Ensnaring of Conference of European Rabbis (CER) & Bnei Brak’s Beth Din

Major Jewish Religious Publication, ‘Yated Ne’eman’, Calls for Campaign Against Latest Government Plan for Multipurpose Museum in the Middle of Sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



 OPINION | 2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS? | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The major Jewish Orthodox publication Yated Ne’eman featured a full page eve-of-Passover protest today against the most recent Lithuanian government plans to desecrate the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok/Šnipiškės district) by retaining, remodeling and converting a huge and widely hated Soviet dump plonked in the middle of the cemetery into a modern de facto museum commemorating an array of Jewish, Lithuanian and general historical issues. Religious Jews, secular humanists, and human rights activists for whom the rights of the deceased to lie in peace are indeed human rights, all continue to argue that the cemetery belongs to those buried in it. Thousands are still buried in this cemetery in plots purchased in perpetuity by their families over around half a millennium.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Comments Off on Major Jewish Religious Publication, ‘Yated Ne’eman’, Calls for Campaign Against Latest Government Plan for Multipurpose Museum in the Middle of Sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Updates from Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



 OPINION2023-2024 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | WHO ARE THE MEMBERS?OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE”  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | HUMAN RIGHTS

Letter of Moral Capitulation” from Three Rabbinic Organizations?

Tale of Two Visions — for Lithuania’s most sacred Jewish site, the Old Vilna Cemetery, where many thousands still lie buried

Continue reading

Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Comments Off on Updates from Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

Historic Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman Clarify Need to Dismantle Soviet Eyesore & Restore Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRSHUMAN RIGHTS

The office of Professor Sid Leiman, a member of the Commission (or “Working Group”) established in 2023 to advise Lithuania’s prime minister on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, today followed up on yesterday’s release of his Nov. 2023 letters (to fellow Commission members and to the prime minister of Lithuania) with a further release, below, of (1) an excerpt from his Oct. 2023 paper presented to the Commission, and (2) his statement issued today confirming his view that the Commission’s final report of Feb. 2024 fails to rise to the occasion.  Defending History’s take.


(1) Excerpt from Prof. Leiman’s 22 Oct. 2023 paper circulated to members of the commission:

 

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Historic Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman Clarify Need to Dismantle Soviet Eyesore & Restore Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Two Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman, To Date Only Member of Commission on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Resist ‘Directed Foregone Conclusion’



DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

The office of Professor Sid Leiman, a member of the Commission (or “Working Group”) established in 2023 to advise Lithuania’s prime minister on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, today released for the public record two statements, both of 28 November 2023. One is his letter to Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, which itself forwarded to the PM his earlier letter of the same date to fellow Commission members. The two attachments, one in Hebrew and one in English, were both published at the time by Defending History. They are the Hebrew and the English version of the call by four leading heads of Lithuanian heritage yeshivas around the world. In short order, a fifth head of a Lithuanian yeshiva wrote separately for the record.


Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Comments Off on Two Statements by Prof. Sid Leiman, To Date Only Member of Commission on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Resist ‘Directed Foregone Conclusion’

A ‘Shameful’ Public Letter by Five Vilnius Architects: Would They Be Saying This About a Christian Lithuanian Cemetery of 500 Years’ Vintage?



DOCUMENTS | OPINION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Five eminent Vilnius architects have released to the public domain a letter to the mayor of Vilnius expressing their passionate views on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok section, today’s Šnipiškės in beautiful, modern Vilnius). Many thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens still lie buried in the cemetery, though the Soviets pilfered all the gravestones and constructed the hated “Sports Palace” (long a derelict, dangerous ruin) in its center, followed by construction of “the two green buildings” under Lithuanian sovereignty early in the twenty-first century.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A ‘Shameful’ Public Letter by Five Vilnius Architects: Would They Be Saying This About a Christian Lithuanian Cemetery of 500 Years’ Vintage?

Rabbi Elchonon Baron Adds Powerful Voice to International Appeals to ‘Working Group’ to Abandon Refurbishment of Hated Soviet Ruin and Restore the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS | OPINION2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRSHUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Shortly before yesterday’s meeting in Vilnius of the Lithuanian prime minister’s Working Group (commission) on the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramont in the Shnípishok district (today’s Snipiskes section of modern Vilnius), the commission’s members received the text of the rabbinic edict signed by four of the world’s greatest Lithuanian-tradition (Litvak, Litvish) heads of yeshivas around the world, making clear that no museum, memorial center or other functional building may ever be set up or operate on hallowed Jewish cemetery grounds.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi Elchonon Baron Adds Powerful Voice to International Appeals to ‘Working Group’ to Abandon Refurbishment of Hated Soviet Ruin and Restore the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Four Leading Lithuanian-tradition (Litvak, Litvish) Heads of Yeshivas in U.S. and Israel Issue Edict on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—On the eve of today’s scheduled meeting here of the international “Working Group” or commission assembled by the prime minister of Lithuania’s office, comprising distinguished international figures, to determine the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in Shnípishok (in the Šnipiškės district of this thriving EU capital), four of the world’s leading Heads of Lithuanian Yeshivas together issued an edict making clear the status of the cemetery in Jewish law. For reference and background, see annotated minutes of the last Working Group meeting, and, in reverse chronological order, other very recent developments.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Comments Off on Four Leading Lithuanian-tradition (Litvak, Litvish) Heads of Yeshivas in U.S. and Israel Issue Edict on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Julius Norwilla’s Final Appeal to the Members of the ‘Working Group’ asked to Help Determine Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

D

ear eminent members of the Prime Minister’s Working Group assembling this week in Vilnius to carry forth your deliberations on the future of the sacred Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, Yiddish Šnipiškės):

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Julius Norwilla’s Final Appeal to the Members of the ‘Working Group’ asked to Help Determine Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

A Masterclass in Orwellian Discourse: The Vilnius Cemetery Commission Minutes of 26 October 2023



OPINION | DOCUMENTS | 2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERY | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERSCEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

by Dovid Katz

This week’s release of the official minutes, in Lithuanian and in English, of the 26 October 2023 meeting of the current international “Working Group” (list of members) established to advise on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok district, today’s Šnipiškės) contain some passages, in the view of this journal, worthy of George Orwell. Here are some samples from the official English language text (the entirety of which appears below, and is available in PDF format). Each quote in bold text is followed by some commentary.

“The objective is to honour and commemorate the centuries-long history of Lithuanian Jews and the Šnipiškės cemetery.”

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on A Masterclass in Orwellian Discourse: The Vilnius Cemetery Commission Minutes of 26 October 2023

Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Citing ‘Morally Despicable Plan to turn the Shnipishok Cemetery into a Museum’ Tells the World: ‘I will Not Remain Silent’



OPINION | DOCUMENTS2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERYOLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTERCEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHABAD IN VILNIUS

VILNIUS—In a 1 Nov. 2023 statement circulating widely among Lithuanian officials as well as local and international Jewish leaders, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, head of the Lithuanian-tradition Yeshiva Ahavas Torah Baranovich, based in Jerusalem, writing in the capacity of rabbinical emissary to Lithuania representing the Council of Torah Sages of the US and Canada, challenges the extended closure of Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue at 69 Pylimo Street as point of departure for his critique of some of the government’s Jewish policies (including its supply of tens of millions of euros in “restitution” to the alleged control of a tiny number of government-indebted individuals, one of them representing the American Jewish Committee or AJC). The new statement is a follow-up to his publicly released letter to the prime minister and speaker of the Seimas (parliament) of 24 Sept. 2023. Rabbi Baron’s late father was the legendary Litvak head-of-yeshiva Rabbi Aryeh Leib Baron.

The issue of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is the focus of one passage in the just-released statement.

“[…] (like the morally despicable plan to turn the Shnipishok cemetery into a museum)? I will not remain silent, no matter how many groups and people the Lithuanian government manages to pay off and silence through their well-paid proxies.”

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chabad in Vilnius, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Citing ‘Morally Despicable Plan to turn the Shnipishok Cemetery into a Museum’ Tells the World: ‘I will Not Remain Silent’

Ruta Bloshtein, Author of Successful Petition, Calls on Jewish Orthodox Members of ‘Cemetery Commission’ to Stand Up for Preservation and Restoration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | VILNIUS | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS

Ruta Bloshtein

VILNIUSRuta Bloshtein, author of the Change.org petition that garnered over 50,000 signatures and played a major role in the internationally praised 2021 cancellation by Lithuania’s prime minister of the project to turn the Soviet-era “Sports Palace” (Sporto rumai) ruin into a national congress center, today released for publication her 25 October letter to the Jewish Orthodox members appointed — in an apparent effort to confer legitimacy — to the current “working group” (commission) established, many believe, to rubber stamp a  state (and Turto Bankas) project to renovate (rather than demolish) the Soviet eyesore that sits in the middle of the cemetery. Without even mentioning the view that hated Soviet ruin should be removed, official commission minutes include an array of future conference-center, museum, memorial and other public space aspirations, including business (and builders’) interests’ visuals, but not including a hint of the extant visuals in support of cemetery preservation and restoration.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein, Author of Successful Petition, Calls on Jewish Orthodox Members of ‘Cemetery Commission’ to Stand Up for Preservation and Restoration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)



DOCUMENTS | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—In view of diverse characterizations circulating regarding the content of the judgment on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Snípishok/Šnipiškės district), handed down by Litvak Jewry’s highest international rabbinic authority, on 9 February 2020 (14 Shvat 5780), signed also by the late and revered Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (1928-2022) of blessed memory, Defending History is providing the original documents of the certified English translation released by the court, as well as the Hebrew original. This was followed below by the Conference of European Rabbis’ solemn repudiation of any role for the London-based CPJCE, issued on 29 Sept. 2020, after years of documentation of allegedly corrupt activities in the alleged de facto sale of East European cemeteries with which they have no historic ties of any kind.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Comments Off on Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)

Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?



OPINION | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

Like my fellow campaigners, over the years, in opposition to the project to plonk a national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (via refurbishment of a hated Soviet “Sports Palace” dump that should have long ago been demolished), I felt nothing but relief and the need to express congratulations back in the summer of 2021 when our prime minister wisely cancelled the project. Over two years later, there is again fear, among Jews, Lithuanians, and many around the world who respect the right of the dead to lie in peace (verily a part of Human Rights), even when they are members of a minority. When the buried belong to a nation’s ethnic majority, there are usual no serious efforts to situate conference centers surrounded by subterranean graves (even when the above-ground gravestones have long disappeared).

Jump to:

Other Soviet structures in Vilnius: “landmark status” withdrawn & rapidly knocked down

Members of the latest (& current) international commission

Saga of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?

Furore over the ‘Baron Memorandum’ to Lithuania’s Prime Minister and Speaker of Seimas


[LAST UPDATE: 15 OCT.]

DOCUMENTS | OPINION | HUMAN RIGHTS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTERCEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | CHABAD IN VILNIUS

First, the documents.

All these recent documents, circulated by now to hundreds (if not thousands) of recipients, whether by direct email blast or by multiple forwards of such blasts (by their own authors’ offices and supporters), are, needless to say, now in the public domain, and form part of an important record for the issues of today, and for the chronicles of history.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Furore over the ‘Baron Memorandum’ to Lithuania’s Prime Minister and Speaker of Seimas

Will Working Group Have Courage to Just Say No to New Wave of Building & Profit from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery? And — a Tale of Two Green Buildings



OPINION | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER

Is this what “Jewish cemetery restoration in Holocaust-stricken Europe” looks like? For details of the results here of new builds and refurbishments on Jewish cemeteries, click on the image. As the buildings on the cemetery were going up, there was a long parade of government (and builders’) assurances that the dignity of the cemetery would never be violated there. Photo by William Pahl for DefendingHistory.com

by Dovid Katz

On the 4th of May this year, Defending History published the official document issued by the Office of the Prime Minister of Lithuania announcing the members appointed to the latest commission (“Working Group”) on the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the historic Shnípishok district, today’s Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius). In the accompanying Opinion piece, the DH community expressed the view that “Never before has a state commission been empaneled on such a ‘Water is wet’ question. Of course the capital’s last Soviet eyesore (and symbol of brutal foreign domination) should be demolished and the 500 year old Vilna Jewish Cemetery restored. […] The argument that it can’t be touched because its preservation status is sacred and immutable to the end of time is an insult to modern democratic Lithuania and all who hold her dear.”

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Will Working Group Have Courage to Just Say No to New Wave of Building & Profit from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery? And — a Tale of Two Green Buildings

New Public Model of 19th Century Vilna Features Czar’s Military Base, Omits Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIESLITVAK AFFAIRS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

Model of 19th century Vilna: Russian citadel — there. Old Jewish cemetery — not there. Just empty moonscape.

VILNIUS—Last month, the major Baltic news service BNS reported that a dynamic new outdoor exhibition, called “Pavilion: Vilnius 200 Years Ago” would open at the National Museum of Lithuania. Indeed, a handsome new webpage on the museum’s website gives more detail.

A model (“maquette”) of the city two hundred years ago is now to be enjoyed at the foot of Gediminas’s Hill, in the square right in front of the museum. The scale model is based on Imperial Russia’s 1830s plans for the development of the city after the suppression of the 1830 uprising, known as the November Uprising.

But instead of the half-millennium old Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (at Piramónt, in the district right across the river called Šnipiškės, Yiddish Shnípeshok), on the right bank of the Neris River (the Viliya), in front of Gediminas’s castle mount, there is a disproportionately large citadel. The huge cemetery and its numerous mini-housletsare not marked at all. The citadel of the imperial Russian army is the largest and perhaps the most prominent object in the entire layout.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on New Public Model of 19th Century Vilna Features Czar’s Military Base, Omits Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Announces Members of New Commission on Fate of Hated Soviet Ruin in Heart of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER

VILNIUS—The office of the Lithuanian prime minister today released the list of members of its new commission (The Working Group) to advise on the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė was highly praised by Defending History for her bold and historic August 2021 cancellation of the “convention center in the Jewish cemetery” project that had been causing Lithuania’s stature so much unnecessary damage (see Šimonytė section). It had been supported by corrupt politicians, money-hungry builders and contractors, a corrupt group of London “grave sellers” (the CPJCE), and an array of “Useful Jewish Idiots” who have repeatedly betrayed the living remnants of Lithuanian Jewry over decades, via what some describe as an acquired addiction to honors, photo-ops, grants, junkets, medals, translations of their writings, and assorted other catnip products. One of them was even a JTS-based veteran of a 2007-2008 commission who helped provide “American Jewish cover” for the “two green buildings” (combined residence and business) on the cemetery site that are surrounded by graves on all four sides to this day (more exactly: he was brought in after construction of the first to help smooth the way for the second; he did utter some general sentiments of protest in a New York Yiddish newspaper but refused the editor’s permission for his piece to appear in the paper’s English supplement “because I’m going to be there soon in an important government group”).

Missing from the commission (the PM’s advisors really missed an opportunity here) are the three Lithuanian-citizen, Lithuania-resident heroes of the story who steadfast work over years saved their country from the future humiliation of an American president refusing to set foot in a “convention center in the Jewish cemetery” — Ruta Bloshtein (author of the international petition), Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, and Julius Norwilla.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Prime Minister Announces Members of New Commission on Fate of Hated Soviet Ruin in Heart of Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery

Please Email Lithuania’s Prime Minister to Do Away with the Soviet Building Desecrating Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

In 2020, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė struck funding and thereby ended plans to convert the Vilnius Sports and Concert Palace into a congress center. The Soviets had desecrated the heart of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės) by constructing and utilizing this building there. 53,000 people signed Ruta Bloshtein’s petition asking Lithuania’s leaders not to desecrate it further. Many people from around the world wrote letters which convinced the Prime Minister to strike funding.

Continue reading

Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Please Email Lithuania’s Prime Minister to Do Away with the Soviet Building Desecrating Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery

But Who Will Now Tend to the Fate of the Vilnius Sports Palace?


 


OPINION  | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

What is there now and what could be restored: Clockwise from top left: The Soviet eyesore today; three details from paintings by Alfred Holler (1888–1954) at the current exhibit ‘Outsiders Look at Vilnius’ at the National Art Gallery in Vilnius. Photos: Andrius Kulikauskas.

Continue reading

Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on But Who Will Now Tend to the Fate of the Vilnius Sports Palace?