Dovid Katz

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

Prague’s Declaration of Disgrace. A European attempt to equate Communism with Nazism will falsify history.



O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Reprinted from the Jewish Chronicle (London), 21 May 2009


Not many have heard about the Prague Declaration, which is currently making the rounds at the European Parliament. Proclaimed last June in Prague (but cooked up in the Baltics), its innocuous theme is “European Conscience and Communism”. Now who would oppose that? The heinous crimes of Communist regimes clearly merit full exposure. Victims deserve recognition. When the grand jamboree of freedom, fun and prosperity got under way for us lucky westerners in 1945, entire nations ceded to Stalin were condemned to totalitarian rule.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Prague’s Declaration of Disgrace. A European attempt to equate Communism with Nazism will falsify history.

Letter to the Editor (Response to Clifford J. Levy’s report)



Letter to the Editor of the New York Times [not published; subsequently entered into the record on HITB for  the date of submission]:

Human Rights — and Holocaust Obfuscation — in the Baltic States

To The Editor:

Clifford J. Levy’s fine report (Aug 16 [print edition]) on the humiliations suffered by native-born Estonians whose mother tongue is Russian is particularly important because Estonia is a member of NATO and the European Union, and its human rights policies are therefore automatically a matter for the collective conscience of these alliances and their individual members.

There is just one painful point on which the report accepts uncritically an Estonian (and generally a Baltic) ‘Excuse for Genocide’ that is verily inexcusable. “Before Estonia was seized by the Soviets in 1940, its population was largely ethnic Estonian; resentment was strong enough that many sided with the Germans when Hitler invaded in 1941.”

Actually, the demographic-balance threatening influx of Russian speakers from other Soviet republics came after World War II. But in any case, the idea that the Soviet occupation somehow justifies (or even explains) the Estonian Hitlerists’ (and Lithuanian and Latvian fascists’) gleeful mass murder of the women, children and men of their Jewish minority (making way, in the Baltics, for the highest percentages of Jews slaughtered in all of Holocaust-era Europe) is sheer nonsense. It is one of many ruses underway in the eastern reaches of the European Union to sanitize and obfuscate the Holocaust. Journalists must be sensitized to its box of semantic tricks.

Dovid Katz

Posted in Dovid Katz, Latvia, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Letter to the Editor (Response to Clifford J. Levy’s report)

Mindaugas Peleckis interviews Dovid Katz



  • O P I N I O N
  • Questions from Mindaugas Peleckis and answers from  Dovid Katz (Text of documents sent by email on 21 August 2010).
  • [Update: This interview resulted in the article published in Čikagos aidas on 16 Dec 2010. The unabridged text was posted on this page on 23 Dec 2010, by agreement of the interviewer and the interviewee.]

1.  I would like to talk to you about Jewish-Lithuanian relationships. You’ve published the wonderful book  ‘Lithuanian Jewish Culture’, which sheds light on many things concerning Jewish life in Lithuania and around it. What do you think about when Lithuanians became, so to say, antisemitic? In  the 19th and 20th centuries? Or earlier?

Continue reading

Posted in Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Mindaugas Peleckis interviews Dovid Katz

Mr Lidington is right, but there is more to it



O P I N I O N

[Note: A revised version of this comment appeared on Alfa.lt.]

by Dovid Katz

David Lidington, Britain’s Minister for Europe, has praised the recent Lithuanian parliament vote on a (lamentably ambiguous) draft of a bill to deal with restitution of looted Jewish communal property [Details here.] In his statement, he goes on to say: “Passage of the law will bring credit to Lithuania as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). I hope that the draft will now advance successfully through its remaining stages.” [The minister’s statement is reported here; it was triumphantly reported in the Lithuanian media.]

Continue reading

Posted in Dovid Katz, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, News & Views, Opinion, United Kingdom, UŽGAVĖNĖS (SHROVETIDE) | Comments Off on Mr Lidington is right, but there is more to it

When a ‘Human Rights Association’ accepts and repeats the antisemitic canards in town



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

ORIGINAL DOCUMENT HERE

“Also, it has been started to require the sentence of the citizens of the Jewish nationality ― Yitzhak Arad, Fania Brantsovsky and Rachel Margolis, as these citizens (former Soviet guerrillas) have organized the massive slaughter of civilians in Kaniūkai Village, Lithuania (killing 38 civilians) on 29 January 1944. Attention should be paid to the fact that the very Y. Arad has departed to Israel.”  — from the statement just published by the Lithuanian Human Rights Association (LHRA), signed by ten of its leading experts and approved by its committee.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Israel, News & Views, Opinion, UŽGAVĖNĖS (SHROVETIDE) | Comments Off on When a ‘Human Rights Association’ accepts and repeats the antisemitic canards in town

Reply to Rokas Grajauskas: Condemnation of Communism Does Not Require Submission to Double Genocide, Holocaust Obfuscation, or the Recent Deterioration in Civil Society and Free Speech in Lithuania


 


O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

NOTE: This reply to the Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review paper by Rokas Grajauskas first appeared on the website of LFPR (direct link here).

Rokas Grajauskas cites me in his recent article on these pages as invoking the notion Holocaust Obfuscation (a term I proposed at a London seminar in February 2008, then formally in 2009) to refer to “the efforts of the post-Communist countries to revive the memory of Stalin’s crimes.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The web journal I edit, DefendingHistory.com, although dedicated primarily to the battle against trivialization of the Holocaust and the concomitant racism and antisemitism of the new Far Right in Eastern Europe, contains a page on Soviet crimes, where I wholeheartedly embrace such Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly resolutions as 1096 (1996) and 1481 (2006), which wisely and rightly condemn Soviet crimes. It is vital that the full extent of these crimes be documented, the victims honored, the subject properly taught in international curricula, museums and memorializing institutions established, and justice pursued to the full extent of law. It is every bit as vital that Western commitment to Baltic security and independence remain unwavering, what with a huge unpredictable neighbor “with a certain past” (and unclear future) situated to the immediate east.

Continue reading

Posted in Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Hungary, Lithuania, Opinion, Politics of Memory, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reply to Rokas Grajauskas: Condemnation of Communism Does Not Require Submission to Double Genocide, Holocaust Obfuscation, or the Recent Deterioration in Civil Society and Free Speech in Lithuania

Has the Forward Association abandoned Elementary Ethics?



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

On February 25th, the Yiddish Forverts in New York published a defamatory ad-hominem attack on this journal’s editor.

The article was signed by ‘Jacob London (Oxford)’, the pseudonym of Sovetish Heymland veteran Gennady Estraikh who was secretary to the Soviet magazine’s editor Aaron Vergelis for many years. Now, a resident of New York, he is listed as the paper’s editor for its ‘European Bureau’. It is quite shocking for many readers that the paper’s editor-in-chief, Boris Sandler, himself a Sovetish Heymland veteran, allows for the paper’s abuse for fake-name, fake-place vicious attack on colleagues in the field of Yiddish Studies.

Continue reading

Posted in Dovid Katz, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Has the Forward Association abandoned Elementary Ethics?

In Delirium of Obfuscation: First Day of the Lithuanian Parliament’s Conference on the 70th Anniversary of Hitler’s Attack on the USSR



by Dovid Katz

Today was Day 1 of the Lithuanian parliament’s two-day ‘International Conference: The Beginning of the Soviet-German War in the Baltic States in 1941 — 29-30 June 2011, Vilnius’.  It is being held as part of a series of events to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Nazi War against the Soviet Union, unleashed on 22 June 1941.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Comments Off on In Delirium of Obfuscation: First Day of the Lithuanian Parliament’s Conference on the 70th Anniversary of Hitler’s Attack on the USSR

The Denial that is Part of Holocaust Obfuscation: Second Day of the Lithuanian Parliament’s Conference



by Dovid Katz

The Lithuanian Holocaust broke out in the week of 22 June 1941, when the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union; it is the week when, in many locations, so-called ‘patriots’ and ‘rebels’ in large numbers began to humiliate, plunder, injure and slaughter Jewish neighbors before the first Germans ever arrived. At the conference held yesterday and today in the country’s parliament, this was the Elephant in the Room that reared its head now and again, no matter how hard the political and academic planners worked to ensure that it would disappear in a program dedicated to virtually every other conceivable aspect (translation of original program here; final printed English version of the program here).

SEE ALSO:

Report on the first day of the conference.

Full translation of Mr. Racinskas’s speech.

The plot thickens. These are the very ‘patriots’ and ‘rebels’ who are being honored this week by major state institutions, and to no small degree, at this very conference. As if their launch of the Holocaust, which went on under German rule, and with their continued massive voluntary participation, is either some kind of uncorroborated slander, or, as if this is some very tiny detail in an otherwise glorious campaign of rebellion against Soviet forces (with no mention that the USSR’s troops were actually fleeing the German invasion, not their ‘rebellion’).

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas and the State-Sponsored "International Commission" (ICECNSORL) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Denial that is Part of Holocaust Obfuscation: Second Day of the Lithuanian Parliament’s Conference

A Speech Never Spoken at Plungyán (Plungė)



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

An imaginary speech, not delivered by any of the high government officials who addressed the commemoration at the mass murder site of the Jews of Plungyán (Plungė) on 17 July 2011.


My dear friends, it is precisely because I am a proud official of the government of independent, democratic, Lithuania, and I love my country, that I am able to speak here today openly, on the seventieth anniversary of the murder of the Jews of Plungė  — Plungyán, as they proudly called it in the Yiddish that rang through its streets for so many centuries.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Plungyán (Plungė), Politics of Memory, South Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Speech Never Spoken at Plungyán (Plungė)

A Scholar’s Apt Warning on Ultranationalist Abuse of History and Historians



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

There is actually a larger issue, and a constructive lesson, that emerges from Alexander Gogun’s reply to Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe’s critique of an earlier article co-authored by Gogun, that had appeared on a Ukrainian nationalist website that tends to glorify various Nazi-collaborationist nationalist groups and underplay or ignore their participation in genocide. Tellingly, that issue does not even relate to differences of opinion on any one point of fact, interpretation or analysis. Historians and academics will naturally disagree and from time to time and hasten to correct each other on this or that detail.

Continue reading

Posted in Dovid Katz, History, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on A Scholar’s Apt Warning on Ultranationalist Abuse of History and Historians

Et tu, Yivo? Holocaust Survivors Jolted by Plan for Lithuanian Foreign Minister to be ‘Guest of Honor’ at Vilna Ghetto Commemoration



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

When you have loved an institution all your life — and written over decades about its impact on the history of ideas — it becomes a responsibility, even when painful, to try to dissuade it from making a serious error that would put in jeopardy its integrity.

The Lithuanian foreign minister, who has to date not apologized publicly for his widely reported antisemitic outburst in October 2010, has been named by the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research as its ‘guest of honor’ at a concert on 22 September 2011. The remnant Jewish community of Lithuania is small and fragile. Nevertheless it responded robustly, less than a year ago, to the foreign minister’s comments and proceeded to publish its response in English, Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish.

Yivo’s website enumerates the joint sponsorship for the 22 September 2011 event by ‘the Embassy Series in cooperation with the Lithuanian Consulate and the Lithuanian Delegation to the United Nations’. The event is being held to commemorate the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto on 23 September 1943.

Perpetrators glorified

In 2011 — to mark the 70th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion, and  to the chagrin of Holocaust survivors internationally — the Lithuanian government has invested in a series of events honoring the local perpetrators who began to kill Jewish neighbors in dozens of towns before the Germans even arrived (a reading list on the history is available here). The ‘logic’ has been that they were actually rebelling against Soviet rule, though it is not disputed by historians that the Soviets were obviously fleeing the Nazi invasion.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Dovid Katz, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, United Nations, United States, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Et tu, Yivo? Holocaust Survivors Jolted by Plan for Lithuanian Foreign Minister to be ‘Guest of Honor’ at Vilna Ghetto Commemoration

Dovid Katz Reviews Timothy Snyder’s ‘Bloodlands’ & Alexander Prusin’s ‘Lands Between’



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

Not for the first time, two fine historians have published in the same year their very different syntheses for the wider public, on the same topic, and based largely on known published sources, both having long proven their mettle as master researchers in previous publications rooted in archives and primary documents.

On this occasion the resulting contrast is unusually startling. One of these books, Alexander Prusin’s The Lands Between, is a meticulously balanced and historically authoritative, but conventional and somewhat lacklustre history that will appeal to lecturers looking for a solid textbook on twentieth-century East European history and, of course, history buffs ever fascinated by the Second World War.

Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, by contrast, is the work of a literary master who has what it takes to write a thriller. Deservedly, his book has captured the imagination of vast numbers of readers and pundits alike. It is also the work of a humanistic thinker who does not beat around the bush and has – very justifiably – made wilful state mass murder his topic, leading him to grapple with murder en masse, a forever captivating topic, all the more so within the Hitler–Stalin complex of issues that continue to fascinate, daunt and rebound potently in today’s geopolitics.

Yet Snyder’s Bloodlands suffers from some cardinal biases that are all the more regrettable in such a masterly and popular work. First, though, it is prudent to briefly cover the book’s scope and at least a few of its highly consequential virtues.

READ MORE IN EAST EUROPEAN JEWISH AFFAIRS

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Dovid Katz, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Dovid Katz Reviews Timothy Snyder’s ‘Bloodlands’ & Alexander Prusin’s ‘Lands Between’

Open Debate, Open Society, and Secret Societies



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Last Thursday, 3 November, an article I’d submitted to the Jerusalem Post for consideration appeared on the op-ed page (PDF of the print edition here). In democratic societies, sending an opinion piece to a respectable publication, signing it with one’s real name, and opening it (and oneself) to further open debate and discussion are rather standard. As usual, I linked to the article on my Facebook page, expecting some to agree and some to disagree, moving debate forward.

But a number of Facebook Friends who did not react on my page, or any other open forum, did for some reason find it appropriate to join a kind of witch hunt against the article and its author on a page of a “Secret Group” called Lietuva be neonacizmo (Lithuania Without Neo-Nazism), located at: www.facebook.com/groups/135816956486382.

 

The original discussion of 3 and 4 November 2011 is available here. A full English translation is appended below and is also available as PDF.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Russian Speakers' Personal Status | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Open Debate, Open Society, and Secret Societies

Old Stones Speak to Young Pupils: Jewish Gravestones in the Walls of a Vilnius School Yard



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield)

 

The Lazdynai Middle School in Vilnius, built in the early 1970s, has an admirable reputation, inter alia for an excellent trilingual policy enabling Polish and Russian to flourish alongside the national language, Lithuanian, in a spirit of multicultural respect and harmony so fitting for the city’s history.

Updates to May 2013:

Return visit to the Stones of Lazdynai

Updates to 15 December 2011

Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art and Monuments

Facebook discussion thread

Work in Progress: A Cultural Dictionary of Lithuanian Jewish Gravestones

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Old Stones Speak to Young Pupils: Jewish Gravestones in the Walls of a Vilnius School Yard

Lithuanian Ministry of Defense Honors ‘Lithuanian Activist Front’ (LAF) Nazi Collaborators (announced without comment on ‘Bernardinai’)



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The campaign to distort World War II history in the direction of East European far-right models and to glorify local Nazi collaborators and perpetrators continues apace.

Bernardinai.lt, usually a bastion of tolerance and resistance against racism and ultranationalism, today published without comment a press release from the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense verbatim, about yesterday’s ministry activities honoring the Nazi-collaborating Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), on the occasion of an anniversary of the killing of some of its leaders and members by Soviet forces.

The article is here.  A full English translation is here.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Ministry of Defense Honors ‘Lithuanian Activist Front’ (LAF) Nazi Collaborators (announced without comment on ‘Bernardinai’)

A Reconstructed Shtetl — Minus its Jewish Component



by Dovid Katz

Rúmshishok (informally: Rúmseshik), some twelve miles from Kaunas (Kovno), was a beloved Lithuanian shtetl where Lithuanians, Jews and others lived together for many centuries in peace (the town goes back to the fourteenth century). The massacre of the town’s Jews during the Holocaust was close to complete (outlines of the history here and here). According to the new Lithuanian Holocaust Atlas, the perpetrators were comprised of “white armbanders” from the town plus “Lithuanian self-defense unit troops” from Kaunas.

Now Rumšiškės in modern Lithuania, the town is internationally known for its neighboring extensive open air museum of the Lithuanian provinces, including town, hamlet and rural settings, all meticulously reconstructed.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chaim Bargman, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, History, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Reconstructed Shtetl — Minus its Jewish Component

The Seventy Years Declaration



The Seventy Years Declaration

on the Anniversary of the Final Solution Conference at Wannsee


 

On this the 70th anniversary of the formal adoption by the Nazi leadership of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem” we the undersigned

Continue reading

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Seventy Years Declaration

300 Neo-Nazis March through the Center of Kaunas on Lithuanian Independence Day; They are Addressed by Members of Parliament



E Y E W I T N E S S    R E P O R T  /  O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

With attention focused on the government-permission-granted central Vilnius neo-Nazi march slated for Lithuania’s March 11th independence day — now the subject of an international petition on Change.org — there was minimal foreign interest in today’s independence day neo-Nazi march and demonstration in central Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city. The March 11th independence day marks the date in 1990 when Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union. Today’s holiday is on the date of the 1918 declaration of independence which heralded the rise of the modern Lithuanian state in the twentieth century. Both dates are revered by the country’s diverse minorities and factions. They represent freedom from oppression and foreign domination, and celebrate the building of a free and democratic state.

But in recent years, both dates have been hijacked by neo-Nazi groups in the heart of the country’s major cities, with the support of some members of parliament and leading political figures. There is, moreover, the proverbial blind eye of much or most of the elite classes, which serves as a contributing catalyst.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, LGBT Rights, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 300 Neo-Nazis March through the Center of Kaunas on Lithuanian Independence Day; They are Addressed by Members of Parliament

March 11th: A Grand Opportunity for the Lithuanian Human Rights Community — and the People of Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

When three of us from the DefendingHistory.com community headed out from Vilnius on February 16th to confront the neo-Nazi march in central Kaunas, we were sure we would be joined by dozens, or more, true lovers of Lithuania  —  folks who cannot remain silent that perverted political leadership allows today’s neo-Nazis to achieve free reign in the center of a great city in the middle of the nation’s cherished independence day. Folks who cannot let the glorification of stylized swastikas (including the “Lithuanian swastika“), and white armbands (celebrating the LAF Holocaust perpetrators of 1941) go unchallenged in the country with the largest rate of murder of its civilian Jewish population in all Holocaust-era Europe. Folks who want to send at least some modicum of support to today’s minorities. And a message to the world that the neo-Nazis do not represent Lithuanian society.

It was a shock to find in Kaunas on February 16th, that the somewhat quixotic DefendingHistory.com threesome would find itself the only visible anti-Nazi presence during the march and the rally that followed.

Continue reading

Posted in "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", Celebrations of Fascism, Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Media Watch, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on March 11th: A Grand Opportunity for the Lithuanian Human Rights Community — and the People of Vilnius