Litvak Affairs

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LITVAK STUDIES

Holocaust Survivor Community in Shock as Yet Another Survivor Pursued by Lithuanian Prosecutors (and Interpol!), This Time for “Libel”



Vilnius Prosecutors Launch Campaign against Another Holocaust Survivor, 86, this time via — Interpol!

Joe Melamed

At Lithuanian prosecutors’ demand, Israeli Interpol liaison officers speak with Mr. Melamed about the ‘accusations’

Report in Haaretz by Yossi Melman;

DefendingHistory.com reports here and here;

Geoff Vasil in the Jewish Chronicle

 

Yad Vashem withdraws invitations to visiting minster and resident ambassador for Vilna Ghetto commemoration; Coverage inHaaretz by Yossi Melman; Associated Press (→ CBS News, Fox,MSNBC,Washington Post, YahooNews etc);JTA (→WJC, JJ, Juedische.at, etc);Mishpacha

Three British MPs file Early Day Motion 2161 to protest the Lithuanian government’s action

 ISRAEL’S GOVERNMENT MAINTAINS PUBLIC SILENCE

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Posted in Joseph Melamed, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom | Comments Off on Holocaust Survivor Community in Shock as Yet Another Survivor Pursued by Lithuanian Prosecutors (and Interpol!), This Time for “Libel”

Believe It or Not


Vilnius Prosecutors Launch Campaign against Another Holocaust Survivor, 86, this time via — Interpol!

Joe Melamed

Joe Melamed in his Tel Aviv office

At Lithuanian prosecutors’ demand, Israeli Interpol liaison officers speak with Mr. Melamed about the ‘accusations’

Report in Haaretz by Yossi Melman;

DefendingHistory.com reports here and here;

  Geoff Vasil in the Jewish Chronicle

Yad Vashem withdraws invitations to visiting minster and resident ambassador for Vilna Ghetto commemoration; Coverage in Haaretz by Yossi Melman; Associated Press (→ CBS News, Fox,MSNBC, Washington Post, YahooNews etc); JTA (→WJC, JJ, Juedische.at, etc); Mishpacha

Three British MPs file Early Day Motion 2161 to protest the Lithuanian government’s action

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Joseph Melamed, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Believe It or Not

Lithuania Cannot Appease Both World Jewry and Far-Right Extremists


 


O P I N I O N

by Olga Zabludoff

 

I commend Didier Bertin’s knowledgeable and sensitive observations in his article “Lithuania and the Memory of the Holocaust.” My comments here are more in the form of a PS to Mr. Bertin’s words. My take-off point is his reference to the term “Double Genocide,” a government-endorsed concept that has been bandied about in Lithuanian political circles in recent times. But more about this later. Mr. Bertin borrows the term for application in a different dual context: the original genocide of the Jewish people and the current movement on the part of the Lithuanian government to neutralize if not to obliterate the remembrance of the Holocaust.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Double Genocide, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Olga Zabludoff, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania Cannot Appease Both World Jewry and Far-Right Extremists

Red Equals Brown Iconography


The governing establishments in Eastern European states sometimes produce red-brown symbols as part of the wider campaign to give the notion of red-brown equality an aura of official sanctioned status. The effects are obvious: People are being desensitized to the swastika, Soviet symbols are ‘artistically’ (i.e. via political kitsch) recombinated into the new Dual Equal Evil symbols making the revisionist history ‘true’. Severe pain is caused to families of Holocaust Survivors and anti-Nazi Soviet war veterans alike. The continued silence of the European Union, the OSCE and NATO encourages the drift toward the far right, which includes clean-up of the image of Nazi collaborators in elite circles, and glorification of Nazi symbols in more uncouth environments.

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Posted in Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Litvak Affairs, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on Red Equals Brown Iconography

Lithuania Assaults Holocaust Memory



O P I N I O N

by Danny Ben-Moshe

NOTE: This op-ed appeared in today’s Jerusalem Post (and in the Jerusalem Report).


 

Recent developments suggest Holocaust remembrance has fallen by the wayside as a key element of Jewish Foreign Policy, at least as far as Lithuania is concerned.

Holocaust remembrance is a central plank of Jewish Foreign Policy (JFP), a term that encompasses how Israel and Diaspora organizations act on issues of common Jewish concern. The establishment of Yad Vashem in 1953 and the Eichmann trial in 1961 showed how central the memory of the Holocaust was to Israeli public and foreign policy.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Danny Ben-Moshe, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Joseph Melamed, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yivo Manipulated? | Comments Off on Lithuania Assaults Holocaust Memory

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.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Open Debate, Open Society, and Secret Societies

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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Posted in Books, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Dovid Katz’s Review of Timothy Snyder’s ‘Bloodlands’ & Alexander Prusin’s ‘Lands Between’

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

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., 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

Why I am Translating Rozka Korczak’s Vilna Ghetto Memoir



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

The Vilna Ghetto memoir of Rozka Korczak-Marlé (1921–1988) is unfortunately completely unknown to Lithuanians today. I have therefore decided to translate the book into Lithuanian (from the Russian edition that Korczak herself edited), and have published two samples, here and here, on Anarchija.lt.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged | Comments Off on Why I am Translating Rozka Korczak’s Vilna Ghetto Memoir

Wyman Brent’s Speech at the Opening of the Vilnius Jewish Public Library



O P I N I O N

by Wyman Brent

 

Hello Everyone. Thank you for being here today.

No nation has ever become great by embracing racism, prejudice, discrimination, intolerance, and xenophobia. Such a country can only shrink within itself. Its people become small and bitter. No flower ever bloomed brighter nor smelled sweeter after having been dusted with hatred. Such a flower and such a people can only fade away.

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Posted in "Vilnius Jewish Public Library", Events, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Wyman Brent | Comments Off on Wyman Brent’s Speech at the Opening of the Vilnius Jewish Public Library

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.

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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

Joseph Melamed Replies to Article in VilNews.com



The following letter to the editor from attorney Joseph Melamed, chairman of the Assoiation of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, appeared today in VilNews.com.

Dear Editor,

The recent article by Dr. Irena Veisaite agreeing with the antisemitic establishment’s evaluation of the life’s work of Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office and a leading historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust, has been a cause of great dismay to us, the world’s last active organization of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

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The Seventy Years Declaration



O P I N I O N

by Danny Ben-Moshe

This comment appeared today in the Jerusalem Post and is republished here with the author’s permission.

 

On January 20, 1942, the Nazi leadership gathered in a villa on the outskirts of Berlin and adopted the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” The Wannsee Conference, as this became known, from the suburb where the meeting was held, formalized the process that exterminated so much of European Jewry.

As we mark the seventieth anniversary of that 90-minute meeting in which fifteen people condemned millions to death, there are many crucial lessons to learn from the Holocaust. I wish to highlight two.

Firstly, the killing of a people begins not with violence, but through race-based hatred, progressing to institutionalized discrimination and only then culminating in murder. This is why antisemitism, racism and institutionalized discrimination must be addressed, for if left to fester the consequences can be tragic, severe and widespread.

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Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Danny Ben-Moshe, Double Genocide, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The Seventy Years Declaration

The Seventy Years Declaration (Yiddish Text)


 


 די זיבעציק יאָריקע דעקלאַראַציע

צום יאָרטאָג פון דער „ענדלייזונג“ קאָנפערענץ אין וואַנזע

דעם 20טן יאַנואַר 2012 \ פינף און צוואַנציק טעג אין טבת תשע″ב


 צו אָט דעם זיבעציקסטן יאָרטאָג פון דער פאָרמעלער אָננעמונג דורך דער נאַצישער אָנפירערשאַפט פון דער „ענדלייזונג פון דער יידישער פּראָבלעם“, טרעטן מיר די אונטערגעחתמעטע אַרויס, בכדי:

פאַרגעדענקען:

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Olga Zabludoff’s Petition to Stop the March 11th Neo-Nazi March in Vilnius



The following is the text of the petition created by Olga Zabludoff today on Change.org.

Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States: Ban Neo-Nazis from Desecrating the Dignity of Lithuania’s Independence Day

 

This petition was delivered to:

  • Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States
  • Ambassador Zygimantas Pavilionis

Petition by

  •  Olga Zabludoff
  •  Washington, DC

 

For the fifth time in the past five years a neo-Nazi parade (this year with a permit enabling a maximum of 2,000 participants) will march through the heart of Vilnius on March 11, Independence Day, one of the proudest and most significant days for the people of Lithuania. The neo-Nazi theme will be “Homeland.” Their display, if permitted by the government, will be taken by extremists throughout the region and Europe as a stamp of growing approval of neo-Nazi activities and a signal that the murder of about 95% of Lithuania’s Jewry during the Holocaust, largely by local collaborators, is taken lightly by today’s government.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Olga Zabludoff, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on Olga Zabludoff’s Petition to Stop the March 11th Neo-Nazi March in Vilnius

Holocaust Survivors to Demonstrate outside Tel Aviv ‘Sellout Gala’ Slated for March 5th



C O M M E N T

[updated 17 Feb] The following “SAVE THE DATE GALA DINNER” announcement was recently posted on the Telfed Online website [update: page taken down; similar text is at the ILCCI site of the organizing “Israel-Lithuania”]:

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Citizenship, Double Games, Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Joseph Melamed, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, South Africa | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Holocaust Survivors to Demonstrate outside Tel Aviv ‘Sellout Gala’ Slated for March 5th

Joe Melamed, Head of Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, calls on ‘Real Litvaks’ to Stay Away from Tel Aviv ‘Gala Sham’ on March 5th


Developments have started moving quickly in the ill-starred project to host the current foreign minister of Lithuania as “guest of honor” at a Tel Aviv “gala” at the Dan Panorama Hotel on March 5th.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Israel, Joseph Melamed, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, South Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Joe Melamed, Head of Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, calls on ‘Real Litvaks’ to Stay Away from Tel Aviv ‘Gala Sham’ on March 5th

Images from a Survivor Demonstration at the Dan Panorama in Tel Aviv


Most counts put at eighteen the number of participants in a small, polite but determined picket line outside the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv this evening. The protesters, Holocaust survivors from Lithuania and their supporters, sported signs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish taking to task the government-manipulated gala evening being held inside the hotel by “Yisrael Lita” at which the Lithuanian foreign minister, a determined opponent of accurate Holocaust comemmoration, was “guest of honor.”

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Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors Protest Tel Aviv “Gala”


Kovno Ghetto Survivor and Resistance Hero Joe Melamed, 87, Leads March 5th 2012 Picket Line Against “Sellout Gala” at the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama

Lithuanian Foreign Minister and Brothers Zingeris are Greeted by Protesting Holocaust Survivors

A FIRST-TIME PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LEYVIK HOUSE YIDDISH CULTURE CENTERTHE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL OFFICE AND THE ASSOCIATION OF LITHUANIAN JEWS IN ISRAEL

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Efraim Zuroff, Israel, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, South Africa | Comments Off on Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors Protest Tel Aviv “Gala”

Holocaust Survivors Picket TA ‘Gala’ Where South African Bigwigs Honor Lithuanian Right-Wing Politician


Kovno Ghetto Survivor and Resistance Hero Joe Melamed, 87, Leads March 5th 2012 Picket Line Against “Sellout Gala” at the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama

MORE IMAGES

Lithuanian Foreign Minister and Brothers Zingeris are Greeted by Protesting Holocaust Survivors

A FIRST-TIME PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LEYVIK HOUSE YIDDISH CULTURE CENTER, THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL OFFICE AND THE ASSOCIATION OF LITHUANIAN JEWS IN ISRAEL

Report on YNET.  The Times of Israel.  15min.lt.  Itongadol.com.  Agencia Judia.  Forverts (Yiddish Forward).    Background.  More.

Holocaust survivors Shlomo Cheskov (left, from Shavl/Šiauliai), and Joseph Melamed (from Kovno/Kaunas) at the Tel Aviv demonstration. Mr. Cheskov’s sign says (in Yiddish) “With our partisan heroes, against neo-Nazism. We are here!” Mr. Melamed’s (in Hebrew) addressed to the South African businessmen diners at the gala dinner: “Dear Diners! Where is your conscience? Your solidarity with Holocaust survivors and resistance fighters and partisans?” Photo: Bella Bryks-Klein.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Boxes, Israel, Joseph Melamed, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, South Africa, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Holocaust Survivors Picket TA ‘Gala’ Where South African Bigwigs Honor Lithuanian Right-Wing Politician