Legacy of 23 June 1941

Последняя книга поэта А.Босаса



МНЕНИЕ

Милан Херсонский

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Вянваре прошлого, 2014-го года из печати вышла новая книга стихов литовского поэта, публициста, члена Международной  ассоциации «Литва без  нацизма»  Александраса Босаса под названием «IŠ  TEN SUGRĮŽTANTIEMS. Apie ŠOA RIMTAI IR SU IRONIJA» («ТЕМ, КТО ВОЗВРАЩАЕТСЯ ОТТУДА. О ШОА СЕРЬЁЗНО И С ИРОНИЕЙ». yyyyyyyДалее «Тем, кто возвращается оттуда» – М.Х.).  А.Босас  стал первым в истории литовской литературы поэтом, который не только обратился к самой болезненной и негласно табуированной теме в истории Литвы – к теме Шоа, – но и посвятил ей не одно и не несколько стихотворений, а всю третью, к сожалению, последнюю книгу. В ней поэт не шопотом и не намёками, а «во весь голос» открыто и откровенно заявил о своём отношении к трагедии Шоа и так называемого «окончательного решения еврейского вопроса».

В годы нацистской оккупации германские нацисты при активной добровольной помощи весьма значительного количества организованных и вооружённых местных гражданских лиц, вступивших в военизированные подразделения полиции, уничтожили почти всю еврейскую общину, которая до Второй мировой войны была самой знаменитой и высокоразвитой общиной всемирной еврейской диаспоры в первой половине ХХ века. Евреи представляли в Литве  самое многочисленное национальное меньшинство населения. Еврейская община жила в мире и согласии с местным литовским, польским, русским населением, с другими национальными группами.

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How Did Lithuanians Wrong Litvaks?



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Iwill speak about painful things, and so I understand if some of you won’t want to listen and will step out.

It is most important that we empathize with the victims of the Holocaust, and yet we must also empathize with the perpetrators if we wish to understand what happened and who was responsible for what. Litvaks outside of Lithuania feel hurt that Lithuanians shirk responsibility for the Holocaust.

I won’t be indifferent. I am a deliberate Lithuanian. I was born in the diaspora. I chose to be Lithuanian. Is the Lithuanian worldview harmful? I must investigate.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Andrius Kulikauskas, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on How Did Lithuanians Wrong Litvaks?

Aleksandras Bosas (1951-2014)



O B I T U A R Y

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

nuotr2

Aleksandras Bosas (1951 — 2014). Photo: Sandrauga.

Aleksandras Bosas, a respected Lithuanian poet, died unexpectedly on July 24, 2014. The wider Defending History  community extends deepest condolences to the family and friends of our suddenly departed colleague, who is survived by his wife, Natalija, three sons and a daughter.

We have lost a courageously active literary voice against fascism and against the contemporary attempts at high levels to glorify fascism via posthumous honors for collaborators and local perpetrators of the Lithuanian Holocaust.

At the beginning of 2014 his book of poems dedicated to commemorating the Holocaust in Lithuania appeared. It is called Iš ten sugrįžtantiems (“For Those Who Returned from There”).

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Tourists Shocked at Monuments and Street Names for Holocaust Collaborators


Increasing numbers of summer tourists, in the spirit of “dark tourism” (and, in an EU/NATO country, a spirit of incredulity) are seeking out street names, public plaques, university lecture halls and other monuments to both collaborators and actual perpetrators of the Lithuanian Holocaust.

Some find the following sections helpful to locating specific sites:

(1) Anthology of street names and honors for killers and collaborators in Lithuania.

(2) Section on events and memorials for collaborators and perpetrators in various parts of Eastern Europe.

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Milan Chersonski Reports on the Antifa Lietuva Event in Kaunas on 23 June 2013



МНЕНИЕ

Милан Херсонский


Шествие под лозунгом

«ФАЛЬСИФИКАЦИИ ИСТОРИИ – НЕТ!»

В соответствии с законом о памятных днях Литовской Республики, 23-е июня провозглашено национальной памятной датой – днём Июньского восстания 1941-го года. Как известно, уничтожение Еврейской общины Литвы началось в тот же день, что и восстание. Continue reading

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June 23rd: Lithuanian Anti-Fascist Group Mounts Protest in Kaunas Against Glorification of 1941 LAF Killers


Courageous Antifa Lietuva banner reads: “Real heroes rescued people instead of killing them. Remember the victims of the Holocaust”

Milan Chersonski was there. His report on the event. His take: “Let the world know that not everyone in Lithuania tolerates the distortion of history.” 

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Rehabilitation of the Past as a Tool in Today’s Politics



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski in Riga May 27 2013

Milan Chersonski reads his paper at the Riga conference, 27 May 2013

The following is the authorized English version of the paper read by Milan Chersonski in Riga on 27 May 2013 at the Second International Conference on Holocaust Museums and Memorial Places in Post-Communist Countries

Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which in Soviet times was the USSR’s only Yiddish amateur theater company.

See also the Milan Chersonski section of Defending History.


I

In Eastern European countries occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II there was a phenomenon called “collaborationism”: the cooperation of individuals and organizations with the Nazi occupation regime. In the modern historiography of these countries, events of that fateful time are often presented not by historians, but primarily by right-wing or extreme right-wing politicians, who continue today to convince the public that the collaboration was in fact nothing but a form of struggle for independence, and a kind of resistance to the Nazi regime.

Sometimes this approach to the evaluation of historical events is called whitewashing. The purpose of this manipulative activity is clear: to absolve the erstwhile Nazi collaborators and pro-Nazi national organizations from the responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed during the Nazi occupation, and their countries from responsibility for Nazi crimes.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Milan Chersonski (1937-2021), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Rehabilitation of the Past as a Tool in Today’s Politics

Landsbergis. Then and Now.



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

Vytautas Landsbergis is one of the giants of the late twentieth century. Along with Poland’s Lech Wałęsa and then-Czechoslovakia’s Václav Havel, Landsbergis led his people from foreign domination to freedom and democracy. Nothing these gentlemen might later on have said or done to their own legacies, particularly in the subsequent century, can detract from their singular achievements in contributing to the downfall of the Soviet Union and the freedom of the subjugated nations on its western periphery.

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On the Recent Amateur Treatments of the Role of the Provisional Government of 1941 in the Mass Media



O P I N I O N

by Shimon Alperovich

Authorized translation from Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil of the 26 June 2012 statement issued by Dr. Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. Posted on the community’s website at: http://www.lzb.lt/en/home/691-recent.html. According to sources in the community, Dr. Alperovich wrote this in response to an article on Delfi.lt by Vidmantas Valiušaitis called “Why are Historians Afraid of the Facts?” (Lithuanian text here), and when Delfi allegedly declined to publish Dr. Alperovich’s response,  the community placed it on its own webpage and elsewhere.


Recently there has been an increasing number of internet articles by amateur, non-professional authors without training in history expressing approval for the actions of the 1941 Provisional Government of Lithuania toward the Jews of Lithuania, without regard for the antisemitic actions of that government in the context of the mass murder of the Jews of Lithuania already underway at that time.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community earlier provided an assessment of the Lithuanian Activist Front and the Provisional Government.

It is saddening that the authors of these texts choose to ignore the conclusions of professional historians as well as the findings of the special commission established by decree of former president Valdas Adamkus and operating under the Lithuanian government, which clearly and categorically judges the actions of the LAF and PG thus:

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Shimon Alperovich (1928 – 2014) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on On the Recent Amateur Treatments of the Role of the Provisional Government of 1941 in the Mass Media

A Heroic Narrative in Violation of Good Conscience


 


O P I N I O N

by Leonidas Donskis

 

The ceremonial reburial of the head of the Lithuanian Provisional Government (PG), Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, which recently took place, and the tension and details associated with it, said more about Lithuania today than all the news and commentary over the past twenty years put together.

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Statement in the Lithuanian Parliament by MPs Vytenis Andriukaitis and Algirdas Sysas



O P I N I O N

by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis and Algirdas Sysas

The following is a translation of the statement submitted to the Lithuanian parliament (the Seimas) on 17 May 2012 by MPs Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis and Algirdas Sysas. The original is available here.


MPs Andriukaitis and Sysas in the Seimas (foreground). Photo courtesy Image Archive of the Seimas.

Several days ago we received an invitation to a ceremony for the reburial of the remains of Juozas Brazaitis Ambrazevičius (1903–1974) in the churchyard of the Kaunas Church of the Resurrection of Christ. A booklet was included with the invitation recounting the life and deeds of Juozas Brazaitis Ambrazevičius. It included his academic and pedagogical activity and his participation in the anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resistance. It also presented an excerpt from a letter by Joshua Eilberg, chairman of the Immigration, Citizenship and International Law Sub-Committee of the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives, saying that an investigation into the Juozas Brazaitis Ambrazevičius’s collaboration with the Nazis during World War II had been stopped.

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The History of Three “Lithuanian Freedom Army” (LFA) Colonels Who Served the Nazis



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

I will begin with a recent document I found while collecting information about the Lithuanian Freedom Army (LFA), an organization formed during World War II which present-day historians are attempting to portray as an organizer of the anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resistance in Lithuania.

On 31 October 2002, President Valdas Adamkus issued decree no. 1965 titled “On Promoting Volunteer Soldiers to the Rank of Colonel”  which gave the rank of colonel to three “members of the armed resistance: volunteer soldiers and soldiers of Lithuania’s pre-war military,” namely, Tauras military district chief Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas (posthumously); Vytautas military district chief Vincas Kaulinis-Miškinis (posthumously); and Vytis military district chief Jonas Krištaponis (also posthumously). Five years later the president noticed he had made a mistake regarding one surname and on 5 January 2007, issued decree no. 1K-849 to correct the mistake, replacing Jonas Krištaponis with Juozas Krikštaponis (aka Krištaponis).

Regarding the anti-Soviet resistance, there really isn’t any argument: most of the LFA fighters heroically fought against the occupiers and died in that struggle.

Regarding the anti-Nazi resistance, however, many doubts are raised. These doubts arise because of the LFA’s position on the mass murder of Jews.

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Thinking About Those Anniversaries of 2011. . .



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

On 21 September 2010, that year’s annual commemorative event was held in the forest of Ponár (Paneriai) at the monument to the seventy thousand Jews who were murdered there and whose remains were then burned at the site.  Shortly before the ceremony’s conclusion it was announced that the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) had decided to declare the year 2011 the “Year of Commemorating Lithuanian Residents who Became Victims of Holocaust.” The parliament’s move came as a complete surprise to the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC). The country’s Jewish community had appealed neither to the president of Lithuania nor to the parliament with any such request.

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Glorification of Local Holocaust Perpetrators in Lithuania



Note: This page, last updated on 18 April 2012, covers some of the more recent and/or still-standing state-sponsored events and memorials honoring the LAF and other Holocaust perpetrators as “heroes” of Lithuania.

See also the COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED section

SPRING-SUMMER 2012 UPDATE:

STATE HONORS FOR THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PRIME MINISTER


Vilnius: In an EU capital, in 2011, state-sponsored adulation of the local collaborators and participants in the Holocaust; key event is addressed by a former head of state, on the 70th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion

PARLIAMENT-SUPPORTED DOCUMENTARY FILM GLORIFIES 1941 ‘LITHUANIAN ACTIVIST FRONT’ (LAF) FASCIST MURDERERS & COLLABORATIONIST PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT (PG) ON 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OUTBREAK OF THE LITHUANIAN HOLOCAUST

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The Lingering Legacy of Nazism



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which in Soviet times was the USSR’s only Yiddish amateur theater company. The views he expresses in DefendingHistory.com are as always his own. Authorized translation from the Russian original by DefendingHistory.com.


 

The twentieth of January 2012 made it precisely seventy years from the day when a conference of ministries and agencies of Hitler’s Germany was held at the Marlier Villa by Lake Wannsee. It went down in history as the Wannsee Conference. Nazi officials in a business-like manner in ice blood, discussed the problems of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, the euphemism for genocide of the Jews in Europe.

Fulfillment of the Wannsee Conference decisions, which became directives, continued until the last days of the Nazi state. Not even the approach of the Red Army in the east or the successful landing of the anti-Hitler coalition in the west resulted in German leaders abandoning the project to annihilate the Jewish people. In the face of a string of crushing defeats, acute shortages of transport, ammunition, fuel and even food, the Nazis went on sending Jews to their death with a maniacal consistency.

But it would be a very serious mistake to think that the Wannsee Conference directives per se played the main role in the Final Solution of the Jewish Question here in Lithuania. In this part of the world the Nazis and their many accomplices had been quick to rob and massacre the majority of the Jewish population by December 1941. Before the Wannsee Conference.

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Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Milan Chersonski (1937-2021), Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Lingering Legacy of Nazism

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.

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‘Day and Night’ is an Epoch-Making Play for Modern Lithuania



O P I N I O N / R E V I E W

by Birutė Ušinskaitė

Cover of playbill

It was just another rainy and not overly cold evening in early December of the year 2011, but the play I was privileged to see at the Kaunas Chamber Theatre, Day and Night, proved to me, a proud Vilnius native and resident, that not all that is bold and brilliant originates in our capital.

For the first time in modern Lithuanian history, in my experience at any rate, a Lithuanian play on the Holocaust did not try to deflect attention ― or responsibility ― to the Germans or to some pseudo-objective forces of society, or to stick to some “kosher” theme like the dilemmas of Gens and the Judenrat in the Vilna Ghetto in order to avoid talking about what is frankly the main point for our country: the voluntary participation of many of our countrymen in the mass murder of the Jewish citizens of our own country, in some cases before the Nazis even arrived.

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



by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

NOTE: This review appeared today in East European Jewish Affairs under the title “Detonation of the Holocaust in 1941: A Tale of Two Books” (proof as PDF).

*

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 o 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 lackluster 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 willful 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.

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The Brand New HOLOCAUST Cubicle in the BASEMENT of the City Center GENOCIDE Museum in Vilnius


Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield).  Text by Dovid Katz. From a visit on 18 November 2011.


Which is worse?

Genocide Museum on ground zero of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe that does not mention the Holocaust,

Or

One that, more than a year after being exposed in this journal in the summer of 2010, and a confluence of international pressures, has added, in October 2011, a single solitary cell in the basement, unannounced on the main floor, that distorts the Lithuanian Holocaust and actually glorifies (as ‘rebels’) the local killers who unleashed the Holocaust in the country, while failing to mention their Holocaust role in an exhibit on the Holocaust?

You decide. . .   

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A ‘Documentary Film’ Tries to Establish the Legend of the ‘Uprising of the Enslaved’



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski

Milan Chersonski at the Lithuanian Parliament. From 1979 to 1999 Chersonski directed the Yiddish Amateur Theater in Vilnius, Lithuania. He worked in various capacities at the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper Jerusalem of Lithuania, publication of The Jewish Community of Lithuania, from its founding in 1989 until the paper was closed in 2011. He was its editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2011. He is now a senior analyst at DefendingHistory.com and contributes to various publications.

On September 28th 2010, the Parliament of Lithuania announced that 2011 would be the Year of Commemoration of Battles for Freedom and Great Losses. This mysterious name of some sort of anniversary appeared exactly a week after the  same year, 2011, was declared the Year of Commemorating the Genocide of Lithuanian Jews. The Jewish Community of Lithuania reacted without delay to the ‘dual track’, apartheidized commemorations.

Now which “battles for freedom” are they talking about in the resolution? What sort of great losses? The resolution does not say specifically. Yes, Lithuanians valiantly rebelled for freedom in 1794, and in 1831, as well as in 1863, and then there were serious demonstrations on behalf of freedom in 1904-1905, and then there were the battles from 1918 to 1920 for the independence and borders of the newly founded state.

But it is impossible to understand exactly which events and which dates they now had in mind from the text of Lithuanian parliamentary resolution no. XI-1038 of September 28th 2010. And this is probably no accident, as shown by the subsequent actions of the Lithuanian government and leading organizations here.

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