Legacy of 23 June 1941

Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office today issued a press release (text below), including a quote from its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, calling on Visvaldas Matijošaitis, the mayor of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second city, to ban weddings and other celebrations from the now privatized parts of the historic Seventh Fort, where thousands of Kaunas Jews were humiliated, tortured and murdered starting with the first week of the Lithuanian Holocaust in late June 1941.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Efraim Zuroff, Human Rights, Kaunas, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics

Dov Levin (1925 — 2016)



PROF. DOV LEVIN

Kaunas (Kovno) 1925 — Jerusalem 2016

His life. Author of The Litvaks, the Lithuania volume of Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities (Pinkas Hakehillot), and numerous books and studies. In Defending History. Returning his award from the Lithuanian government in solidarity with Yitzhak Arad (2008). Protesting a “one-sided Holocaust conference” in Jerusalem (2009). Photo: speaking at Leivick House Tel Aviv event for Dr. Rachel Margolis (2009). Editor’s comment.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Dov Levin (1925 - 2016), Israel, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dov Levin (1925 — 2016)

Letter from a German Soldier in Kaunas, 29 June 1941



DOCUMENTS   |   HISTORY

by Andreas Kuck

The following letter, presented in German facsmile of the original and in a draft English translation, was sent by German soldier Heinrich Sandt (1908 — 19??) from Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania, on 29 June 1941 (the letter is both dated and stamped with the date). He was a member of the 10th Company of Infantry Regiment 89 (later Grenadier Regiment 89). He wrote the letter to his wife Elisabeth about what he witnessed in Kaunas. The 89th appears to have crossed the Nemunas (Nieman River) on 25 June 1941. 

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Posted in Documents, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views | Comments Off on Letter from a German Soldier in Kaunas, 29 June 1941

Major German Holocaust Scholar Slips (Again) into Baltic Nationalist Discourse



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFAIRS  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION

by Dovid Katz

East European state-sponsored “Holocaust Fixing” continues apace. The distinguished German scholar and author of a major two-volume work on the Lithuanian Holocaust, Professor Christoph Dieckmann, has given a major interview intended for the general public on the popular Delfi.lt news portal. He was in town for an IHRA conference held in intimate collaboration with the Lithuanian government’s units on the Holocaust and Jewish affairs, including the Red-Brown Commission, of which Prof. Dieckmann is, surprisingly for many of his genuine admirers, a longtime member and apologist.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Germany, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Prof. Sarunas Liekis | Comments Off on Major German Holocaust Scholar Slips (Again) into Baltic Nationalist Discourse

Baltic Holocaust: Second Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized



by Rafael Katz

Note: See for introductory remarks the author’s earlier January 2015 summary of the project and his posting today of the digitized text of the First Stahlecker Report.

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Posted in Documents, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rafael Katz, Raphael Katz | Comments Off on Baltic Holocaust: Second Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized

Baltic Holocaust: First Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized



by Rafael Katz

The two Stahlecker Reports summarize the inner workings of Einsatzgruppe A during the Baltic invasion of Operation Barbarossa, which set in motion the Holocaust. We herewith offer a digitized version of the two reports. For an introduction to the reports and links for download please see our earlier article in January 2015. As of now, we have digitized half of the reports, and will give notice once we complete the conversion. The full reports can be viewed in their JPG version via the link above. Below we offer a digitized version of 1-100 from 1-143 of the first report, and, on a separate page, 1-73 of 150 from the second report.

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Posted in Documents, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rafael Katz, Raphael Katz | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Baltic Holocaust: First Stahlecker Report (1941) Digitized

New Defending History Section: The Legacy of 23 June 1941



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

 A new section has been added today to Defending History’s existing repertoire, one dedicated to the legacy of 23 June 1941, which for the Jews of Lithuania and other countries represents the onset of the Holocaust east of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop line, a day after the launch of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, his attack on the then Soviet Union. On this day in a number of countries, including Lithuania, Latvia and (western) Ukraine, local “freedom fighters” began to molest, humiliate and butcher innocent Jewish neighbors before the arrival of the first German forces. Nothing can be more painful in the 21st century than pro-Western governments, elites, institutions and societal leaders glorifying the day as one of alleged uprising against the Soviet Union. For one thing, it is falsification of history: the Soviet forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, the largest in human history, not the local Jew-killers. For another, the current glorification of the Holocaust’s first local perpetrators is an affront to civilized society, human rights and basic decency. The new section is The Legacy of 23 June.

Historically, it is important to note that the mischaracterization of the onset of the Holocaust in a number of East European countries as a “rebellion against the Soviets” is worse than mistaken, it is a distortion in the interests of ultranationalist, far-right rewriting of history. These “rebels” did not fire a shot when the Soviets were in control. You cannot rebel against an army that is fleeing an external invasion. The Soviets were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history, not the LAF Jew-killers. . .

Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on New Defending History Section: The Legacy of 23 June 1941

Really? A Street in an EU Capital Named for 23 June 1941?



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  LEGACY OF 23 JUNE  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

June-23rd-Street-in-Vilnius

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Vilnius street named for 23 June 1941, and once again: events to honor the shameful day in Lithuanian history, when, guided by the LAF and its provisional government, political, moral and religious leaders turned on their Jewish neighbors in a hate campaign that was to end with the highest rate of Holocaust murder in Europe. More here. More on this and other offensive street names and public shrines. And — How are members of the tiny surviving Jewish minority in Lithuania supposed to feel about this? Holocaust survivors and their families and descendants internationally?

INTERNATIONAL PETITION. See also DH articles by Andrius Kulikauskas, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, Leonidas Donskis, Nida Vasiliauskaitė. Also: DH section on The Legacy of 23 June 1941. DH pages on: LAF intentions; painful street names; dry-clean of the week of 23 June 1941.

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Really? A Street in an EU Capital Named for 23 June 1941?

Vilnius, 23 June 2017: Nationalists Glorify Atrocities with Posters on Genocide Museum Fence



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  MUSEUMS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

(Department of Philosophy & Cultural Studies, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University)

On June 23, 2017, the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Association (Lietuvos laisvės kovotojų sąjunga) organized a commemoration of the June 23, 1941 anti-Soviet uprising with a complete lack of sensitivity for Lithuanian victims of the Holocaust.

The official celebration at the Parliament’s Independence Square included an elaborately choreographed flag raising by the Lithuanian Army’s Honor Guard, music by the Armed Forces Orchestra, a reenactment of the Declaration of Independence with its hopes for a place for Lithuania in Hitler’s New Europe, and a speech by Vytautas Landsbergis, patriarch of modern-day Lithuania.

More by Andrius Kulikauskas. Articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas; Milan Chersonski; Leonidas Donskis; Nida Vasiliauskaitė.  See also:
DH section on The Legacy of 23 June 1941. DH pages on: LAF intentions; painful street names; dry-clean of the week of 23 June 1941.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius, 23 June 2017: Nationalists Glorify Atrocities with Posters on Genocide Museum Fence

Vilnius Municipality Endorses Old Town Motorcycle Gala to Celebrate June 23rd



  JUNE 23rd MEMORIALS  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM

With “extraordinary insensitivity” Vilnius Municipality again endorses Old Town motorcycle gala to celebrate June 23rd, day the Lithuanian Holocaust broke out (initiated by the LAF “heroes” being celebrated)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Vilnius Municipality Endorses Old Town Motorcycle Gala to Celebrate June 23rd

Landsbergis and Pavilionis Address June 23rd Rally in Central Vilnius



  JUNE 23rd MEMORIALS  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM

by Julius Norwilla

Today’s central Vilnius event celebrated the 77th anniversary of the 23 June 1941 “uprising.” Between fifty and sixty people took part. Half of them are members of the motorbike  club. The event was organized by the Lithuanian Seimas (parliament). The Seimas was represented by three MPs – Žygimantas Pavilionis, former ambassador to USA; Audronius Ažubalis, former foreign minister; and Laurynas Kasčiūnas. One of the speakers was the Roman Catholic priest and motorbiker Egidijus Kazlauskas who spoke about the suffering and the perseverance of Lithuanians when persecuted by deportations to the eastern Soviet Union. Vilnius city Mayor Remigijus Šimašius was not present, but he has sent his greetings via advisor Mindaugas Kubilius.

A guest of honor was Vytautas Landsbergis, the elder statesman who was modern democratic Lithuania’s founding head of state. In the new century he became a European parliamentarian dedicated to revision of World War II history, most famously via the Prague Declaration which he signed. The event was co-organized by the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Union (Lietuvos laisvės kovotojų sąjunga).

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Events, History, Julius Norwilla, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on Landsbergis and Pavilionis Address June 23rd Rally in Central Vilnius

Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941



LEGACY OF JUNE 23  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  NOREIKA SAGA

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BACKGROUND ON LEGACY OF 23 JUNE IN LITHUANIA (AND BEYOND). SAMPLES OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONYBACKGROUND.

EVENT DESCRIPTION GLORIFIES HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA (BACKGROUND)

Question: Is this city really ready to be the Capital of European Culture for 2022?

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941

Chief Historian of Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” is Key Speaker at Events Glorifying June 23rd 1941 and — Noreika and Škirpa



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  HISTORY   |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  VILNIUS “GENOCIDE CENTER”

Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, chief historian at the state sponsored “Genocide Center” proudly glorifying June 23rd 1941 under the visages of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika (left) and ethnic cleansing advocate K. Škirpa in central Vilnius. Photo: DefendingHistory.com

VILNIUS—The good news is that the press conference at the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) this morning featuring two members of parliament was in the end a small fringe event by the far right, including a renewed attack on Holocaust survivor and resistance hero Dr. Yitzhak Arad, one of the Jewish partisan veterans defamed and harassed by local prosecutors for some years. The evening event in central Vilnius had a dismal turnout of a few dozen people. Both events were dedicated to the glorification of June 23rd, the day the mass murder, injury, plunder and humiliation of Lithuanian Jewry by local Hitler supporters, most prominently the LAF (“Lithuanian Activist Front”) got underway, in a multitude of locations, most lethally Kaunas, before the arrival of the first German forces. Although it is universally accepted by serious historians that the Soviet Army was fleeing Hitler’s onslaught (Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history), the local far right continues to spew the narrative that this was actually a “rebellion” that “drove out” the Soviet army. (See Defending History’s coverage of previous years’ events and debates, an introductory reading list on the history, and the new English translation of extensive survivor testimonies.)

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Chief Historian of Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” is Key Speaker at Events Glorifying June 23rd 1941 and — Noreika and Škirpa

June 23rd 2021: 80th Anniversary of Outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust



When “white-armbanders” and LAF followers began to injure, plunder, humiliate and (in 40 locations) murder thousands of Jews across Lithuania (before arrival or set-up  of the first German forces or their setting up their rule)

Will the state and its “history” units finally honor the victims or again perpetuate the far-right pro-fascist false history that this was some minor crossfire in a “great revolt against the Soviets”?  The Soviets were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history — not the local white-armbanded Jew killers.

A freedom fighters’ revolt? Hitlerist white-armbanders surround Jewish women being marched to their death. These militias, responsible for deaths of Jewish civilians in forty locations in Lithuania prior to German arrival, are honored by the state as “freedom fighters”….

The 23rd of June 1941 is the date remembered by Lithuanian Jewry as the outbreak of the Holocaust with onset of  widespread murder, dehumanizing degradation and humiliation of civilian Jewish neighbors by the “white armbanders” and “LAF” forces (whose pamphlets declared explicitly their plans for their nation’s Jewish citizens). But instead of honoring the victims, the state’s far-right historians-in-tow glorify the perpetrators as “anti-Soviet rebels,” a well known historic nonsense: the Soviet army was fleeing Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of the USSR, the largest invasion of human history, not the local Jew-killers with their white armbands. More on the historic background of the Double Genocide revisionism that has evolved into 21 Century Holocaust Denial.

And who will honor the real Lithuanian heroes of 1941 — the amazing, inspirational folks who risked everything to just save a neighbor from the LAF and Hitlerist hordes of the hour?

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Prof. David E. Fishman's Lithuanian Adventures | Tagged , , | Comments Off on June 23rd 2021: 80th Anniversary of Outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust

Roland Binet’s New Musical Composition to Mark 80th Anniversary of Onset of the Baltic Holocaust



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  BELGIUM  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HISTORY  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  LEGACY OF JUNE 23rd 1941

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

Just close your eyes and imagine. It  is a warm June summer day, you have suffered more than a year of tyranny under the Soviet regime and now the Germans have invaded your country of birth. You are being led with some sixty other fellow Jews into a large garage courtyard. Around, a row of spectators, Lithuanians, even children, and German soldiers of all uniform colors. And, in front of you, thugs armed with batons, cudgels, bludgeons, and metal bars. Then, you can see it clearly: by small groups of around 10 men, your fellow Jews are led to the center and bludgeoned to death, slowly or savagely. They are the luckier ones. Others have high-pressure hoses inserted into their bodies to cause them to explode, to the delight of the adoring audience. This happened in the Lietukis garage in Kaunas on June 27, 1941. And 100% of those who carried out the actual violence, with unfettered enthusiasm, were local Lithuanian nationalists (now glorified in some museums and history books as “anti-Soviet freedom figfhters”).

NEW MUSICAL COMPOSITION ON 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF SUMMER 1941 IS ON YOU TUBE

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Posted in Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Latvia, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Comments Off on Roland Binet’s New Musical Composition to Mark 80th Anniversary of Onset of the Baltic Holocaust

Dr. Bubnys’s New Book on the Lithuanian Holocaust: More Obfuscation and Far-Right History-Spin to Minimize Local Participation?



Opinion | Books | Dr. Bubnys & Official State Holocaust Research in Lithuania | Red-Brown Commission | Genocide Center | Politics of Memory | Lithuania | History

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Prolific historian, director of the state’s Genocide Center, and far-right activist. On 23 June 2020, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys addressed an ultranationalist rally celebrating the 79th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion (and onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust), flanked by large posters of Jonas Noreika and Kazys Škirpa, two major collaborators in various phases of the genocide of Lithuanian Jewry (96.4% were killed). In his speech he taunted the (silent) DH observers on hand. See reports here and here, and DH’s section on Dr. Bubnys’s work and positions over the years.

Arūnas Bubnys’s book The Holocaust in the Lithuanian Provinces (Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje, Margi raštai, Vilnius, 2021) is another publication of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania (ICECNSORL). Up until now, books published by the Commission were academically written and appreciated by a sophisticated readership. Moreover, they were always published in both Lithuanian and English. This book is different. It is available only in Lithuanian. Previously published monographs would also include Commission-approved conclusions; this book has no such thing. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Commission’s academics did not discuss the book among themselves before its publication. But let’s start at the beginning.

The book is geographically quite extensive: 23 counties and 140 towns are cited. This is really a lot, but it is also quite obvious that the coverage of towns in different counties is unequal. When it comes to Šilutė county in western Lithuania, for example, several camps and fates of individual Jews are mentioned in passing, but no single town is described. For the Marijampolė county, only the fate of the Jews of Marijampolė itself is presented.  Šiauliai xounty (15 towns) and Alytus County (12 towns) are the most extensively covered.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Books, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Bubnys’s New Book on the Lithuanian Holocaust: More Obfuscation and Far-Right History-Spin to Minimize Local Participation?