“Jewish” Events as Cover?

Has “In Geveb” Done it Again?



OPINION | YIDDISH AFFAIRS | MEDIA WATCH | YIDDISH AS EAST EUROPEAN POLITICAL TOY

VILNIUS—Yet again, “The Editors” (which editors?) of the lofty online academic Yiddish studies journal “In geveb” have omitted mention of Defending History and of publications by any of its editors or contributors (except for occasional unsigned disparaging remarks on papers published, unbecoming of academic discourse). The context this time is a bibliography-style list of articles and opinion pieces that have appeared online concerning Yivo’s tragic recent decision to fire its entire library staff. The one omission in the list of articles? Defending History’s response to Yivo’s actions, titled: “Chelm or New York? Yivo Fires All its Librarians, While Investing ‘Fortune’ in PR for Lithuanian Government’s Jewish Politics.”  Hopefully, it was an oversight.

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Chelm or New York? Yivo Fires All its Librarians, While Investing “Fortune” in PR for Lithuanian Government’s “Jewish Politics”



OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  | YIDDISH AFFAIRS

by Dovid Katz

The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, founded here in 1925, in historic Vilna (then Wilno, Poland; in Yiddish forever Vílne) as the world’s premier Yiddish-in-Yiddish academic institute, has, to the consternation of many of its life-long supporters and participating scholars, in recent years been (temporarily, to be sure) “hijacked” to serve as the prime unit  (with the AJC a close second) for Jewish PR. Not “general” Jewish PR but specifically on behalf of certain circles in the Lithuanian government determined to revise Holocaust history (and “sell” the revisions to American Jews particularly), while covering for the use of major Jewish cemeteries for building projects, all the while projecting adulation of “Litvak and Yiddish culture.”

Two of the best-known protests from Holocaust survivors  in Vilnius came from Milan Chersonski, longtime editor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s quadrilingual newspaper, and Vilna-born physicist Professor Pinchos Fridberg. More pain was expressed in responses from the Leyzer Ran Family in New York, and the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel.

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Ad-hoc International Group Issues Protest on Lithuanian Gov’s “Vilna Gaon Coin”



VILNIUS—An ad-hoc group of rabbis, lawyers and Jewish communal leaders, mostly from the United States, today issued a  statement of protest calling the new “Vilna Gaon coin” issued by the Lithuanian government a “rare display of cynicism.” Their press release:

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory), When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ad-hoc International Group Issues Protest on Lithuanian Gov’s “Vilna Gaon Coin”

How does One Hurt and Humiliate a Person (or a People)?



OPINION

by Ruta Bloshtein

The author is a native of Vilnius hailing from centuries of Litvaks, who has worked for years in the Judaica department of Lithuania’s Martynas Mažvydas National Library. She is a prominent member of Vilnius’s small Orthodox Jewish community. She is the author of the international petition to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. English translations of some of her writings are available online. For more on the 10 euro “Gaon coin” referred to, see its DH section. The views reflected in this article are strictly Ms. Bloshtein’s. The Lithuanian original of this article appeared in 7md (PDF of print version).

How does one hurt and humiliate a person (or a people)?

By Actions.

2020 has been declared “The Year of the Vilna Gaon and the Jewish Heritage.” Sounds solemn? It only sounds so. Empty pots make the most noise. What are these words based on? On plans to build a convention center on Jewish graves? On the remains of the Vilna Gaon’s family members and tens of thousands of other Jews. How does that sound? Like a mockery of the close to 50,000 Jews and Non-Jews from around the world who signed the protest petition. How does that sound? Like laughing at the sorrow of the venerable rabbis, of the great leaders of Lithuanian-tradition yeshivas. How does that sound? Like a rape of the very spirit, of the religious and moral norms of the entire nation.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory), When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How does One Hurt and Humiliate a Person (or a People)?

When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

[UPDATE OF 27 NOV: See now the same author’s follow-up article of 22 Nov. including links to the known responses and debates up to that date. See now Ruta Bloshtein’s short essay in DH].

Many in the local Lithuanian Jewish and the international Litvak communities have responded with some shock to the news that the Lithuanian government’s official “Year of the Gaon of Vilna and Jewish Heritage” has been launched by a handsome, shiny 10 Euro Coin that plonks a symbol beloved in recent years of neo-Nazis (and prominently used in their new projects) onto a Jewish Menorah. The symbolism strikes some as evoking the idea that the largely vanished Lithuanian Jews and their language make for one of the “cute Jewish toys” for the ultranationalist camp to exploit in its PR outreach to unwitting foreigners.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory), When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?

Curious History of a Yiddish Professorship at Vilnius University & its “Vilnius Yiddish Institute”


LAST UPDATE



YIDDISH AND JUDAIC STUDIES MANIPULATED FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  | VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE  |  BORNS JEWISH STUDIES PROGRAM AT INDIANA UNIVERSITY  |  RICHARD MAULLIN

Its Prehistory (1990-1999), History (1999-2010) and Posthistory (2010-2018) from the Year of Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence Onward

CAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES STILL WRITE INDIVIDUALS OUT OF HISTORY IN POST-SOVIET SPACE? DO VILNIUS UNIVERSITY’S DEANS AND RECTOR APPROVE OF THE PRACTICE? CAN A PAST PROFESSOR WITH A PERFECT RECORD OVER 11 YEARS (NO COMPLAINTS, NO INCIDENTS) BE WRITTEN OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY’S HISTORY AND DEFAMED IN THE UNIVERSITY’S NAME ON ORDERS OF SOMEONE AT THE “INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE EVALUATION OF THE CRIMES OF THE NAZI AND SOVIET REGIMES IN LITHUANIA” (THE “RED-BROWN COMMISSION“)?

A “for the record” page in progress, developed in response to repeated public statements by the current director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, a member of the state-sponsored Commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes, claiming that Defending History’s editor (a) was never a professor at the university, (b) if he was an elementary Yiddish alphabet teacher paid by some surfers in California, he got fired for not turning up to work. Further documents are being processed for inclusion in the bizarre but curiously telling chapter of the history of Yiddish Studies in the 21st century. The political manipulation (ranging from West European far-left to East European far-right) of Yiddish-less “Yiddish” is a theme in the final chapter of Yiddish and Power (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) by the Yiddishist in question, Dovid Katz.

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Yivo’s Newest One-Sided “Lithuanian-Jewish Event” on Thursday 5 Sept.



OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  | YIDDISH AFFAIRS

NEW YORK—The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, founded in Vilna (then Wilno, Poland) in 1925 as the world’s premier Yiddish-in-Yiddish academic institute, has, to the consternation of many of its life-long supporters and participating scholars, in recent years been (temporarily, its long-time supporters hope) “hijacked” by a few elite circles in the Lithuanian government who are determined to exploit Judaic, and especially the now-weak branch of Yiddish studies as a tool to cover for policies of rewriting the history of the Holocaust in a far-right East European nationalist spirit, as well as state programs of glorification of alleged Holocaust collaborators. The best known cry of protest came  several years ago from Vilna-born Holocaust survivor and lifelong resident, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

וואָס וואָלטן טאַקע טראַכטן מאַקס ווײַנרײַך, זלמן רייזען און דינה אַבראַמאָוויטש וועגן די נײַע צילן פון ניו⸗יאָרקער ייוואָ?

Even as ever more circles in today’s free, democratic, and delightful Lithuania have come to understand the Jewish, Litvak and Holocaust issues in a spirit of friendship and partnership, New York’s Yivo continues to function as a political arm of the Holocaust revisionists’ “International Commission on the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” (Yivo’s director even joined the commission), and a small “Jewish manipulation unit” in the Foreign Ministry, neither of which reflect so much of what is really going on. For a month now, the headline of Defending History has honored Vilnius’s mayor for boldly taking down two long-standing, and contemptible, public space memorials for Holocaust collaborators.

Still, yet again, Yivo has opted to exclude all other voices, while enabling the ongoing shenanigans of nationalist manipulation which recently resulted in the NY Yivo director’s being awarded the Cross for the Knight of the Order  for Merits to Lithuaniafrom the Lithuanian government, even as Holocaust survivors and their families continue to be betrayed in a way that would make Yivo’s founders twist in their graves.

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Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators; A Roskies-Fishman Conference for Neat Cover?


[updated 29 August 2019]


Twenty years after Joe Melamed named Noreika & Škirpa as Holocaust collaborators in Crime & Punishment. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Skirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of “Noreika Plaque” in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Protest Mayor’s Actions and Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

Media coverage: AFPAJ,  AP/WAPOA7BBCBS,  EJCIHJNS,   JTA,  TOI 

Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators; A Roskies-Fishman Conference for Neat Cover?

Summer Glut of Lithuanian Gov. Awards for (Alleged) “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Holocaust Revisionism



OPINION  |  AWARDS FOR WESTERN AND JEWISH ENABLERS  | BACKGROUND TO EAST EUROPEAN HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH HOLOCAUST HISTORY FOR POLITICAL GAIN | DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH, JUDAIC, HEBRAIC & YIDDISH STUDIES  |  UPS AND DOWNS OF ISRAELI POLICY  |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY SAGA  |  YIVO MANIPULATED

More Lithuanian Government Glories & Medals for Alleged “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Baltic Holocaust Revisionism

♦ To the outgoing Israeli ambassador, HE Amir Maimon, after he posed with a portrait of an alleged Nazi collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) in support of the collaborator’s glorification. Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas has reported for years on the collaborator, who is also featured on the front banner of neo-Nazi torchlit parades. The Wiesenthal Center had spoken out in good time.

♦ To the “fudged election” government-backed head of the state-supported Jewish community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, after she granted “legitimacy” to the erection of a statue in Chicago to the same alleged Nazi collaborator, the first on American soil. The same monument was soundly rejected a year earlier by the democratically elected town council of New Britain, Connecticut. Head of the Jewish Agency now calling for monument’s urgent removal.

♦ To the current head of New York’s Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, after a decade of intimate collusion in Holocaust obfuscation, glib betrayal of Holocaust victims and survivors and defamation of Yiddish scholars who disagree with far-right instrumentalization of this fragile language and literature and are loyal to the survivors and their families. See the plea by Vilnius’s last Vilna-born survivor, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

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Once Again, Sophomoric and Substandard Journalism at the Yiddish Forward



OPINION  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE (VYI)  |  “YIDDISH” AS COVER FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM IN EASTERN EUROPE  |  MEDIA WATCH

by Dovid Katz

Over many years, the jaundiced personal attacks by the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) on colleagues in the field of Yiddish who may hold different opinions, or are just not part of the “Yugntruf” or “Sovetish Heimland” cliques that took over the paper at the turn of the century, have been a cause for concern. For that matter, not the only cause for concern at the many millions of dollars squandered that could have built a genuine revival of Yiddish-in-Yiddish culture among younger generations worldwide that has instead gone on these two clubs and their very specific agendas. I have myself over the years been the object of a number of attacks, for the most part published without the name of the author, in the worst traditions of a yellow press. On one occasion, back in 2011, when “Mr. Jacob London of Oxford” wrote about the Vilnius-based issues of Yiddish studies in the city and its abuse by far-right elements intent on rewriting history in the spirit of East European ultranationalism, we responded on these pages with a piece entitled “Has the Forward Association Abandoned Elementary Ethics?” that was, naturally, signed by its author.

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Lithuanian Foreign Ministry’s Annual “Litvak Days” in Some Deep London Fog



OPINION  |  UCL MANIPULATED  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  UK  |  JEWISH EVENTS AS COVER  |  USEFUL JEWISH IDIOTS (UJIs)  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

LONDON—It’s that time of year again. The “Litvak” and “Yiddish” grandees of University College London’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and various cohorts from near and far, queue up to bask in the pot-of-lentil glories offered for their repeated championing of state PR, even when it entailed betrayal of the interests and causes of Holocaust survivors, the actual Litvak legacy, and bona fide Yiddish language and culture. The roster from previous years includes the 2011 conference intended to “fix” the narrative of the Holocaust in the direction of Double Genocide, which resulted in a major protest that included, to her (and the department’s) great credit, the then head-of-department (For the Economist’s coverage see here and here; more media). The record also includes the 2012 refusal of conference organizers to allow a Holocaust survivor five minutes to read a polite statement of concern.

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Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?



OPINION  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Beware of any academic conference hosted by a nation’s parliament. This isn’t about Lithuania, the Baltics, or Eastern Europe. It’s about the intellectual independence and academic integrity of bona fide academic conclaves anywhere. There are elementary questions. Was there a public call for papers? Was there an academic committee established to select those papers by the most competent specialists on the actual topic of the conference? An academic committee that would guard against the petty jealousies, politics of revenge and personal exclusions, as well as larger political correctnesses or state-sponsored-agency attempts to predetermine the proceedings or (ab)use them for governmental PR? Is the conference a free tribune for the exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect? One where scholars of opposing views can thrash it out, robustly and publicly — without the loss of interpersonal respect — to yield positive results for the area of human enquiry to which the conference was dedicated in the first place. One of the ironies is that Vilnius is nowadays host to some of the world’s best (and most academically free) conferences in an array of fields, both in the humanities and the sciences. That Soviet-style rigging should survive in the case of Judaic studies, of all things, will itself be studied one day.

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Kerler’s 9 August Lecture on “Yiddish: A Language in Contact Within and Without” Open to Public



VILNIUS—Professor Dov-Ber Kerler, deeply involved in the 2010 purge of Vilnius Yiddish Institute staff (including his own former doctoral supervisor at Oxford) for having disagreed with some Lithuanian government policies on the Holocaust, and in an alleged ongoing effort to obfuscate the history of Yiddish studies at Oxford and Vilnius, will be lecturing this Wednesday, 9 August 2017, at the new Judaica Research Center at Lithuania’s National Library in Vilnius. He is the head of the leading American Yiddish graduate studies program, that currently produces more Yiddish Studies doctorates than any other, at the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University at Bloomington. The topic of the lecture is “Yiddish: A Language in Contact Within and Without” on which Prof. Kerler has carried out pioneering research for decades. The event is open to the public free of charge. The lecture is underwritten by the government’s Ministry of Culture. More details are available on the Center’s Facebook page. Professor Kerler is also a specialist on Ethics in Yiddish Studies. He was honored for his efforts by a popular t-shirt in Lithuania.

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Scholars Issue Public Letter on Ukrainian Holocaust Revisionist Participation in 9-11 March 2017 Paris Conference



UKRAINE  |   FRANCE   |   DOUBLE GENOCIDE REVISIONISM   |  DOUBLE GAMES

 ◊

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:

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When the Picture and the Headline Tell Opposite Stories



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE   |   LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

Full credit to the Forward’s Paul Berger, who has, as ever, sought to be meticulously fair in his new article on some aspects of contemporary Lithuanian Jewish life. This “addendum” goes in a sense more to the wider issues encountered when Western journalists cover stories in the “slightly exotic east,” here in Eastern Europe, on ground zero of the Holocaust, where Jewish communities are ipso facto remnant communities, and where certain larger trends can at times be in play.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Chabad in Vilnius, Dovid Katz, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, United States, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When the Picture and the Headline Tell Opposite Stories

Nida Degutiene’s Litvak-Israeli Cookbook Featured at NY’s Lithuanian Consulate in Cooperation with Yivo



OPINION   |   EVENTS   |   BOOKS   |   YIVO’S “LITHUANIAN PR” AGENDA

A TASTE OF ISRAELNEW YORK—Tomorrow’s daytime event featuring Nida Degutiene’s new book, A Taste of Israel: From Classic Litvak to Modern Israel (Penguin Random House South Africa 2016) is a joint production of the Consulate General of Lithuania in New York City and the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. It will be held at the Consulate General’s offices at 420 Fifth Avenue at 12:30 PM on Monday 16 January 2017. Defending History recommends the event to our readers in the New York City area and we recommend Ms. Degutiene’s excellent book (available from many outlets including Amazon).

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In Reply to Summertime Yiddishists in Vilnius



VILNIUSThe following Facebook post, on the page of DH’s editor, issued today, is republished below. For context and a fuller picture, see DH’s recent report on the manipulation of Yiddish by the state’s commission reponsible for promoting the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament and beyond.

Image may contain: shoes, text and one or more people

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When Yiddish is a Prop for Holocaust Revisionism



NEWS, VIEWS, QUIPS AND SHMIPS FROM SUMMER 2016

Yiddish summer course again features American author Ellen Cassedy as lecturer on Holocaust topics; her 2012 book, part-funded by the Tides Foundation (a Soros beneficiary), was launched by the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington DC.

But will students be informed of critical reviews of the book (e.g. by Allan Nadler, Olga Zabludoff, Efraim Zuroff, Dovid Katz) or about the peaceful protest that awaited her at London University?

Will organizers invite, for balance, Ruta Vanagaite and Efraim Zuroff to discuss their 2016 book (recently featured in Newsweek)?

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Prof. Sarunas Liekis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When Yiddish is a Prop for Holocaust Revisionism

“Prague Platform” Ensnares “European Shoah Legacy Institute” in Double Genocide



Prague Platform” and Slovak government announce partnership with the “European Shoah Legacy Institute” (!) in organizing:

EU Competition for a New Red-Brown, Mix-n-Match Memorial in Brussels; Students Aged 16-21 Eligible

CAMPAIGN TO EXPORT DOUBLE GENOCIDE FROM EAST EUROPEAN NATIONALISTS TO THE WIDER EU?

Will the red-equals-brown street-shows of Eastern Europe now be exported to Brussels under cover of a “Jewish” organization dedicated to Holocaust justice?

“Guidelines” include the requirement that “the memorial must be inclusive of the victims of National Socialism, Fascism and Communism”

LONG RECORD OF USE OF JEWISH, YIDDISH, OR HOLOCAUST PROJECTS AS A KIND OF PR COVER FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM

ALSO: EU funded “Prague Platform” exhibit that spews Double Genocide revisionism of the Holocaust arrives in Budapest; More on the “Platform” and the exhibit that circles the globe (courtesy of EU taxpayers) to underpin Eastern European far-right revisionism; Still, Platform’s director insists that nobody is erecting monuments for Nazi collaborators — Unaware of news from Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine?   More

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