Dovid Katz

See also:
https://defendinghistory.com/the-editor
www.dovidkatz.net

London CPJCE Spokesman Proclaims a Soviet Ruin in Vilnius to be Lithuania’s “Tower of London” and its “Statue of Liberty”



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

MORE ON THE CPJCE. OUR OPEN LETTER TO THEM. Exposés by WikileaksJerusalem PostJTA, and DH.

UPDATE: THIS ARTICLE WAS REPUBLISHED IN THE FIVE TOWNS JEWISH TIMES

In a remarkable interview cited today in the highly respected Five Towns Jewish Times, an Orthodox publication based in Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, and Hewlett, all in Nassau County, Queens, New York, Rabbi Abraham Ginsberg, the PR specialist for the London-based CPJCE (“Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe”) is quoted as explaining why, in his estimation, the Lithuanian state feels the burning national-priority need to build a convention center and annex in the heart of Vilna’s historic Jewish cemetery that dates to the 15th century and continues to hold the remains of thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens whose families duly bought their plots over the centuries:

“I asked the rabbi why we are accepting the fact that this excavation and construction that will potentially unearth more bones and destroy many more graves must go forward.

“The rabbi explained that the location is important to Lithuanians because it was in this stadium now in disrepair and rotting that the Lithuanians declared their independence in the aftermath of the collapse of Communism in 1990. ‘This location is Lithuania’s London Tower and Statue of Liberty; they are not letting it go anytime soon,’ Rabbi Ginsberg said.

“He’s a little upset at the American rabbis who met with the Lithuanian ambassador in Washington last week.”

Excerpt from Larry Gordon’s report, “A Grave Matter in Vilna”  in the Five Towns Jewish Times, 23 February 2017

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chabad in Vilnius, CPJCE (London), Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on London CPJCE Spokesman Proclaims a Soviet Ruin in Vilnius to be Lithuania’s “Tower of London” and its “Statue of Liberty”

A Year & One Month Since US Commission on Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA) “Reported to Satmar Rebba” in Monroe, N.Y.



“US COMMISSION FOR AMERICAN HERITAGE ABROAD”  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—Today marks one calendar year-and-a-month since “Admas Kodesh,” the American affiliate of the London “grave trading unit” called CPJCE (Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe) boasted on Twitter that Herbert Block, a prominent member of the State Department linked Commission for Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA), came to Monroe, New York to “report to the Satmar Rebba”… Thirteen months later, there has still not been a single public word from the taxpayer-funded commission urging the Lithuanian government to move its convention center project away from the old Jewish cemetery, as now called for by a petition signed by 38,000 people including, in its first moments online in December, the official chief rabbi of Lithuania. The “Admas Kodesh” group had previously, in August 2015, posted triumphant photo-ops with the commission’s chairperson, Ms. Lesley Weiss. Earlier that month, they posted photos of USCPAHA’s Jules Fleischer thanking (!) the Lithuanian Consul General in New York for preserving the cemetery. The same “Admas Kodesh” group so dear to the US taxpayer-funded USPACAHA regularly attacks major Jewish scholars with whom it disagrees, particularly on the Vilna cemetery. One infamous July 2016 tweet refers to the esteemed Professor Bernard Fryshman, who played a major role in the US Congress’s passing of a 2014 law on preservation of cemeteries of minorities, as “Lying Professor Bernard Fryshman” for holding a different point of view on CPJCE / Admas Kodesh role in the Vilnius scandal.

See earlier summary of USCPAHA’s Vilnius cemetery record and DH’s USCPAHA section (best to scroll to bottom and peruse chronologically)

TWEET FROM 20 JAN. 2016: “STATE DEPT COMMISSION’S MR. HERBERT BLOCK REPORTING TO SATMAR REBBA” Mr. Block brought his sons along for the photo-op. One of those pictured is Mr. Gary Schlesinger, author of defamatory tweets (see sample, bottom of page) against Professor Bernard Fryshman and others who have opposed desecrating the old Vilna Jewish cemetery.

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Dovid Katz, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Year & One Month Since US Commission on Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA) “Reported to Satmar Rebba” in Monroe, N.Y.

Neo-Nazis, Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & Spewing Racism, Again Gifted Center of Kaunas on Lithuania’s Cherished Feb 16th Independence Day


[Last media link update: 26 Feb. 2017]

Defending History Monitors Kaunas Neo-Nazi March on Lithuania’s Feb. 16th Independence Day

OUR REPORT ON THE RUN-UP TO THE MARCH

Media coverage of the march: JTA; History News NetworkTimes of Israel (French edition); BNS / Delfi.lt; Bernardinai.ltAlkas.lt; Diena.lt; Kaunaskasvyksta.ltKauno.diena.lt15min.lt; tv3.lt;  Novaya Gazeta; Antisemitism.org.ilIzrus.co.il; EinNews.com; CBS8.comWFMJ.comFox8Live; TodayInTheNews.comOfficial Lithuanian Jewish Community response; TelAvivTimes.com

The five-person Defending History team was the only human rights monitor  this year. “We came to remember the 30,000 murdered Jews of Kaunas on the independence day that they too patriotically marked with love every year. It is shocking that yet again the mayor and city council have gifted the center of the city, including Liberty Boulevard and the plaza of the historic presidential palace, on the cherished independence day, to the neo-nazis who so damage the name of modern, tolerant, democratic Lithuania.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis, Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & Spewing Racism, Again Gifted Center of Kaunas on Lithuania’s Cherished Feb 16th Independence Day

Kaunas, Lithuania: Run-Up to the February 16th 2017 Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day



Kaunas Mayor & City Council Deciding

whether to again allow neo-nazis sporting banners adulating Holocaust collaborators to take over the city center on Lithuania’s cherished February 16th Independence Day next week

PREVIOUS YEARS IN KAUNAS     IN VILNIUS     IN RIGA     DH SECTION

Banner from last year’s takeover of central Kaunas on Feb. 16th: Same again?

From left: Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, under the banner translating “We know our nation’s heroes”.

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A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  MUSEUMS

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

VILNIUS—The Litvak world, internationally fragmented and weak, yet so vibrant and creative, has been cheered by news reports of the new shtetl museum to rise in the near future in Shádev, a Lithuanian town of many centuries of Jewish heritage where a great rabbinic personality, Reb Móyshe Ha-Góyle (“Moses the Exile”, Méyshe Ha-Géyle in deep Litvish pronunciation, Moshé Ha-Golé in Israeli Hebrew) thrived in the fifteenth century.

A good shtetl museum here will be a blessing to the Litvak, European Jewish, Yiddish and shtetl heritage internationally. It will be a blessing to modern, democratic Lithuania. To this day, the basket of idols of the contemporary Jewish market downplays the magnitude of Yiddish language, literature, and culture, shtetl culture and heritage, and the magnificent East European Jewish legacy more generally. News media have gone with reports by AFP and by JTA, and there is more on the project’s website.

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Posted in Arts, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Shádov (Šeduva) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)

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

Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl



 

OPINION  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  COMMEMORATIONS FOR DESTROYED COMMUNITIES

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in ISGAP Flashpoint:

The words “antisemitism in the shtetl” might evoke recollections of Fiddler on the Roof, a touch of family lore “from the old country” way back when, or for those familiar with modern Yiddish literature, a scene from this or that writer. Baffling as it may sound, however, it a substantial contemporary topic in the study of antisemitism, and, perhaps even more surprisingly, part of a phenomenon with implications for the future, given the vast number of cities, towns and villages in the world with a rich Jewish history but no living Jews, where potent anti-Jewish feeling (as well as pro-Jewish feeling) can be observed. As noted back in Flashpoint 21, antisemitism in Eastern Europe is very different from its much better known Western and Middle East incarnations.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Norway, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl

Is Eastern European “Double Genocide” Revisionism Reaching Museums?



HISTORY  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  MUSEUMS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Dovid Katz

This paper appeared today in Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, published by Taylor and Francis.

ABSTRACT: In contrast to twentieth-century Holocaust Denial, the most recent assault on the narrative of the genocide of European Jewry has emanated from a sophisticated revisionist model known as Double Genocide, codified in the 2008 Prague Declaration. Positing “equality” of Nazi and Soviet crimes, the paradigm’s corollaries sometimes include attempts to rehabilitate perpetrators and discredit survivors. Emanating from pro-Western governments and elites in Eastern Europe in countries with records of high collaboration, the movement has reached out widely to the Holocaust Studies establishment as well as Jewish institutions. It occasionally enjoys the political support of major Western countries in the context of East-West politics, or in the case of Israel, attempts to garner (eastern) European Union support. The empirical effects to date have included demonstrable impact on museums, memorials and exhibits in Eastern Europe and beyond.

The demise of twentieth-century-style Holocaust denial in mainstream Western society is aptly symbolized by David Irving’s loss to Deborah Lipstadt in the London High Court in 2000. But around the same time, a new and more irksome method of writing the Holocaust out of history was emerging under the radar, this time without necessarily denying any of the historical events or a single death. Particularly in Eastern Europe, it was being forged with state funding and more subtle powers of persuasion in academia, the media, the arts and international diplomacy.

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When “Putin” Becomes an Excuse for Hitler-Glorification



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

A recent Washington Post editorial rightfully takes Russia and China to task for persecuting those who dare challenge the state’s distortions of history. In the case of Russia, there is mention of the disgraceful prosecution of a citizen for pointing out that the September 1939 dismemberment of Poland was a joint venture of Germany and the USSR codified by the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. But wait a minute.

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Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius



OPINION  |  COMMEMORATION OF DESTROYED COMMUNITIES  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  IDENTITY-THEFT LITVAK INDUSTRY

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—For close to three decades, Vilnius has been the only city in the world with municipally sponsored public plaques and signs that regularly include Yiddish. Symbologically for a small, weak, stateless, threatened and “threat-to-nobody” language in this part of the world, it was an equally important statement of respect for the language, literature and culture of the murdered Jewish people of the city that Yiddish sometimes came first, “on top,” and always so when it was a question between Yiddish and modern Israeli Hebrew.

For the first time in thirty years, Yiddish has been denied primacy of place among the Jewish languages of the city. The new sign starts with an Israeli Hebrew version used by nobody in pre-Holocaust Vilna.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius

Editor’s Comment on a Yad Vashem Group Visiting Lithuania



The following comment appeared on Facebook today:

YAD VASHEM’S “political department” and the group that visited Lithuania last week:

Thanks to both members of the group who quietly reached out to the Defending History team for a meeting. As you saw, nothing but good comes from relaxed, pleasurable, respectful and frank exchange of ideas and knowledge, over a cup of coffee. It was sad that the group was (again) hermetically sealed from “The Second Opinion” here in Vilnius (and those Holocaust survivors who hold such opinions), as if Israeli citizens cannot be trusted to cope with a rich tapestry of opposing views when they visit Eastern Europe. (That various “Yiddish” institutions gleefully, at times, play the role of gatekeeper of ideas here is another issue.) For background on the issues from our team’s perspective, please see:
https://defendinghistory.com/…/political-pressure-on-yad-vas…
https://defendinghistory.com/israel-debates/43340
https://defendinghistory.com/blaming-the-victims
https://defendinghistory.com/category/israel

Over the years some amazing Israeli heroes of truth and courage have indeed spoken out.

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Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Dovid Katz

Editor’s note: Reprint from The Times of Israel, where this op-ed appeared on 13 December 2015.


Back in 2009, a rancorous dispute over the old Vilna Jewish cemetery was ostensibly solved. Two new buildings, despite worldwide protests, would be allowed to remain, and in return, no more land would be pilfered from the cemetery at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The burial ground goes back to the late fifteenth century, at least. After the Holocaust, with virtually no descendants left to worry about, Soviet authorities helped themselves to the gravestones for use in building projects, but left many thousands of graves intact. A galaxy of eminent European rabbinic scholars and authors were buried there. But once the 2009 “Peace of Piramónt” was brokered (with help from Western embassies here), emotions cooled as all sides got on with their lives.

skeltas-3 black background lite

Future symbol for a capital city in the European Union? by VULOVAK / DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Citizenship, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

As Lithuania’s President Visits Israel



O P I N I O N

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Posted in Dovid Katz, Events, Human Rights, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on As Lithuania’s President Visits Israel

Impressions of the 11 October 2015 Memorial Program in Svintsyán (Švenčionys)



VILNIUS—The following is an informal report on today’s Jewish memorial events in the Svintsyán (Švenčionys) region, posted by Dovid Katz on his Facebook page:
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New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues



E V E N T S   /   O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

For many years, international visitors to Rokiškis (in Yiddish: Rákishok, or less formally: Rákeshik), in northeastern Lithuania, have remarked that the town’s central area seemed to preserve little (or no) trace or commemoration of its erstwhile Jewish population, though a large monument now graces the entrance to the old Jewish cemetery outside town. Before the Holocaust, this town was home to around 3,500 Jews (some 40% of the total population, and the overwhelming majority in its central area). Luckily, a short film of pre-Holocaust Jewish Rákishok survives (from 1937), and is available on Youtube. Thanks to Polish film maker Tomek Wisniewski for circulating the link in recent days. 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Rákishok (Rokiškis), Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Jewish Monument in Rokiškis (Rákeshik), Lithuania, Commemorates 3 Synagogues

Double Genocide Discourse Now Standard for the New York Times?



O P I N I O N     /     M E D I A   W A T C H

VILNIUS—Naturally the New York Times cannot publish or even post very many of the Letters to the Editor that it receives. But when a dozen or so reactions from different parts of the world to a single article are all discarded, it is perhaps worth someone posting a submitted letter elsewhere for the record. This is especially true where there is a larger concern. In this case, it is the paper’s imposition, in recent years, of a wall of silence about the Holocaust Obfuscation, World War II revisionism and far-right historiography peddled by East European countries. These are, as it happens, the same countries who are in today’s geopolitics America’s and the West’s most reliable European allies in the New Cold War against the authoritarian, revanchist Putin regime.

The Times’ policy has sometimes extended to misrepresenting the East European far right’s history revisionism as accepted fact by publishing multiple op-eds from only one side of the argument. When the Times did (obliquely) cover the Seventy Years Declaration in early 2012, its reporter, tightly controlled by the State Department, would not mention the declaration by name, would not meet any of the government’s critics to hear their views, confused the two declarations in contest, and quoted a famous Brandeis professor without mentioning he was in town to receive a medal from the Lithuanian president for helping the state’s PR.

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Lithuanian Translation of Dovid Katz’s 17 April 2015 Vilnius Conference Lecture


O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Note: This text is the Lithuanian translation, provided by the Being a Jew project, of the written text of a lecture from the 17 April 2015 conference on the Holocaust in Lithuania organized by Rūta Vanagaitė. The original English is here.

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Twelve Issues in the Preservation of Lithuania’s Material Jewish Heritage (2015)



O P I N I O N

Note: Inspired by a Lithuanian government announcement (reported also on Delfi) of a new state-sponsored commission on these issues, and on the eve of its first international meeting in early May 2015, this list, the opinion of DH’s editor (who has benefited from discussions with specialists and the Holocaust survivor community in Lithuania), is offered in the spirit of a contribution to the debate on what is now most urgent in this field — what is morally pressing and unpostponable, and, also, what is, in general, not currently being dealt with by existing agencies, NGOs, projects and individuals. A proposed “urgent” list is ipso facto not an omnibus listing of issues, or of specific projects that are doing good work in their own areas; it is a list of what is “acute” rather than what is “chronic.” For more information, please consult Samuel D. Gruber’s outstanding website. See also our lists of external and on-site resources (including our Agranovski and Levinson sections). Hopefully, a comprehensive listing of issues — including these — will soon appear on the new commission’s own site.

UPDATE OF 1 JUNE 2015:  “THE THIRTEENTH ISSUE”

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Dovid Katz’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015



 

O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The following is the written version of Dovid Katz’s presentation at the International Conference on Holocaust Education organized by Rūta Vanagaitė as part of a Europe for Citizens project, held at Vilnius City Hall on 17 April 2015. Conference program. Conference’s final press release. Project website.

Politics, Policy, and Lithuanian Holocaust Discourse

 

Good afternoon. Sincerest thanks to everyone who made today possible, above all to dear Rūta Vanagaitė for successfully bringing together folks from many sides of today’s issues here in Vilnius for the first time in the twenty-first century, in the fine spirit of openness and tolerance that is particularly important, now, when politics and current events can easily deflate freedom of opinion on history, the progress of civil discourse, and the dignity of education.

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No Cover-Up at Auschwitz!



 

O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The following text is the original draft, submitted on 20 January 2015 at the invitation of the London Jewish Chronicle. An edited version (processed with all courtesies to the author) appeared in the JC on 22 January. This version is posted here simply to emphasize the author’s belief that ceremonies at Auschwitz that do not address the current massive campaign by eastern EU states to downgrade and obfuscate the Holocaust are unwittingly part of a cover-up of the very unique historical phenomena they are meant to accurately preservce and pass on. The related issue of whether Russia’s leaders will be invited to the ceremonies has been analyzed in recent pieces by Efraim Zuroff and Pinchos Fridberg.


 

No Cover-Up at Auschwitz!

 
The heralded 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz approaches, amidst a grand oblivion to what is happening before our very eyes to the actual history of the Holocaust. If we fail to speak out about the irksome issues too, the pomp and circumstance ipso facto morph into an unsavoury cover-up.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, 70 Years Declaration, Dovid Katz, EU, Events, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on No Cover-Up at Auschwitz!