News & Views

Yet Again, Naive Foreigners in Awe of Annual PR Show by ‘Red-Brown Commission’ (and its Director who Supports ‘War Crime Investigations’ of Holocaust Survivors)



OPINION  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION  |  MR. RAČINSKAS ON THE HOLOCAUST  |  LITHUANIA  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—With nearly all local Holocaust Survivors now gone, or effectively out of public circulation, Lithuania’s “Red-Brown Commission,” a major European engine for the downgrade of the Holocaust via far-right “Double Genocide” history revisionism  is again in the forefront of PR efforts to bowl over naive foreign visitors and delegations to this city, particularly on September 23rd each year, with “moving Holocaust elegies.” For Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the very choice of Sept. 23 (day of the 1943 liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto by the Germans, two years after the murder of the majority of Lithuanian Jews in hundreds of towns across the land) was seen as a decoy. The day each of them had etched in the heart in perpetuity was June 23rd, when in 1941, violence against Jews broke out in hundreds of locations, with murder documented in around forty — before the first German forces arrived or managed to set up their authority. It was the day when six hundred years of peaceful, harmonious coexistence turned overnight, under Hitlerist propaganda, to dehumanization, humiliation, plunder, rape, injury and murder. To this day, an industrial grade revisionist industry continues to obfuscate or outright deny the history of the First Week (i.e. the last week of June 1941). Indeed, June 23rd is  celebrated by far-right government historians each year as the date of a supposed “uprising” against the Soviets  by the white-armbanded Jew killers who did not “rebel” until the Soviets fled in disarray from Hitler’s invasion, when they began to murder Jewish neighbors across the land unleashing the Lithuanian Holocaust, in which 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry perished. In 2020, Dr. Arunas Bubnys, the chief historian of the second “Holocaust entity financed by the state,” the Genocide Center, celebrated  the “holiday “alongside banners of two major Holocaust collaborators. He was rewarded a year later with directorship of the Center.

In fact, from day 1, in 1998, the “Red-Brown Commission” (as it was dubbed years ago by Western ambassadors), which is officially called the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” was bitterly opposed by Lithuanian Holocaust survivors who had the courage to speak out right to their last breaths. Defending History has assembled many of the documents in chronological order for the last decade and a half of the saga. Many of today’s unsuspecting visitors to Vilnius, and enjoyers of “Holocaust remembrance honors and banquets” are blissfully unaware of this history.

But for icing on the cake, this week’s gushing report in Jewish News Syndicate ends with a dramatic heartfelt quote from the Commission’s executive director, Ronaldas Račinskas, who was equally proud to tell a German documentarian, on the record, on video, why it was necessary, in his view to put Fania Brantsovsky and the “others” (i.e. Rachel Margolis, Yitzhak Arad, Sara Ginaite, and more) through pre-trial investigations for “war crimes.” This is part of the chapter that the Economist back in 2008  called Blaming the Victims.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas and the State-Sponsored "International Commission" (ICECNSORL) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Yet Again, Naive Foreigners in Awe of Annual PR Show by ‘Red-Brown Commission’ (and its Director who Supports ‘War Crime Investigations’ of Holocaust Survivors)

Rachel Kostanian’s Inspiring Life Story (and Message) Now on German Wikipedia



RACHEL KOSTANIAN  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

Vilnius Cinderella Comes to the Ball (belatedly, and in Berlin)

German Wikipedia’s new entry tells the tale of Lituhania’s Rachel (Rokhl, Rochel) Kostanian, who for decades led a one-woman campaign in Vilnius for truth about the Holocaust, standing up to some very powerful forces. She was a co-founder and long time director of The Green House in Vilnius. Photo: Rachel in Berlin with Thomas Pfanne, former German cultural attaché in Lithuania, after she was honored by the president of Germany. See Defending History’s Rachel Kostanian section.

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Rachel Kostanian | Comments Off on Rachel Kostanian’s Inspiring Life Story (and Message) Now on German Wikipedia

Russian Warship, Go F**k Yourself! (Tale of an Overdue Vilnius Cultural Version)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH STUDIES FOR HISTORICAL REVISIONISM  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  | YIVO IN LITHUANIA  | MEDIA WATCH  | FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND JUDAIC STUDIES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  | NOREIKA GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

 Look what you can see standing right by Vilnius’s Cathedral Square: The Soviet “Sports Palace” ruin that symbolizes not only antisemitism but also: Soviet/Russian Empire spiritual and political domination of Lithuania’s free spirit. High time to be rid of this carbuncle on the beautiful face of modern Vilnius?

The first phase of the eradication of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in Shnípishok — modern Šnipiškės — and of the people buried there, started back in 1830, contemporaneous with an uprising against the Russian Empire. The November Uprising, as it is now known, started with the will to resist the czarist government’s plans to send the army of Poland — at the time an autonomous kingdom within the Russian Empire — to Belgium and France, as well as with the dreams of restoring Polish independence. In 1831, seeing that the uprising for independence would soon take over Vilna, the Russian Imperial government expropriated a section  of the Jewish cemetery by the bank of the Viliya (now Neris), and established an artillery citadel to keep the freedom-loving city at all times in the crosshairs of its cannon barrels. But even after the establishment of the citadel, more than three quarters of the actual graves (and their stoness or mini-mausoleums, oyhólim) remained untouched. This legendary cemetery is a Litvak pantheon, a monument to the civilization of Lithuanian Jewry. So it is meaningful that its first phase of destruction got underway just as the Russian imperial government’s project to enhance its military presence in Vilna, by making sure that the city’s inhabitants live in constant fear.

A small section of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt. The Soviet Sport Palace was built in its heart. All stones and inscriptions were trashed but thousands of graves survive on all four sides of the building, now an eyesore in the heart of modern Vilnius.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Russian Warship, Go F**k Yourself! (Tale of an Overdue Vilnius Cultural Version)

Will ‘Jewish’, ‘Litvak’ & ‘Yiddish’ Parts of ‘Kaunas 2022 Capital of European Culture’ Festivities Include Calls for Removal of Kaunas’s Hurtful Public Shrines to Holocaust Collaborators?



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF PERPETRATORS & COLLABORATORS  | ‘JEWISH’ EVENTS AS DEFLECTION  | KAUNAS CITY DECISIONS OVER THE YEARS

KAUNAS—The last Holocaust survivors in this city that gave birth to the Lithuanian Holocaust on 23 June 1941 (before the first German soldiers arrived, later that week) are in pain to learn that their government is now investing in foreigner-rich “Jewish” and “Litvak” and “Yiddish” events as part of gala PR for this year’s Kaunas 2022 “Capital of European Culture” program — without also removing the city’s shrines to the most infamous collaborators and perpetrators of the genocide. The Defending History community congratulates Kaunas on the European year of honor, while urging its foreign participants and honorees to politely and with dignity call  (publicly!) for Kaunas to kindly remove its prominent state-sponsored public-space shrines, monuments and memorials to major local Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators. By speaking out, with dignity and publicly, they would be successfully countering the moral taint of ipso facto being used as “Useful Jewish Idiots” (known as “UJIs”) to cover for the ongoing failure to remove even one such shrine and thereby participating actively (and having been forewarned) in the current (East European based) incarnation of Holocaust revisionism and denial (covered up with lavish “Jewish events”). By failing to do so, they would bring moral taint upon themselves for all time, while deeply offending the legacy of the victims and survivors, and more broadly, the rights of minorities everywhere to life without genocide.

The Kaunas region even has a state school named for an alleged killer at the June 1941 Lietukis Garage Massacre, one about which the British Parliament weighed in.

Kaunas 2022 tourist sites include a state-university sculpture and lecture hall (!) named for the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) who signed papers sending groups of Jews from Kaunas (in Yiddish Kóvne) to a nearby murder site and the rest to ghetto incarceration; a street named for brutal Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika (see his granddaughter’s courageous new book); a school named for J. Lukša, implicated in some of the most barbaric Kaunas atrocities before the Nazis arrived (including the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky; even the British Parliament weighed in on that one); a street and plaques for “theoretician and cheerleader of ethnic cleansing and genocide” K.  Škirpa; a street for Holocaust collaborator Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas; and more (see map with links to photos, and more street names). While some foreign Jewish glory and photo-op seekers have failed the basic test of moral integrity, Lithuania’s own intrepid ethicist, Evaldas Balčiūnas, has stepped up for a decade with a series of detailed articles on state glorification of Holocaust collaborators (and, far from a fun-trip, poster, and photo-op,  he has paid a big price).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Kaunas, News & Views | Tagged | Comments Off on Will ‘Jewish’, ‘Litvak’ & ‘Yiddish’ Parts of ‘Kaunas 2022 Capital of European Culture’ Festivities Include Calls for Removal of Kaunas’s Hurtful Public Shrines to Holocaust Collaborators?

Discourse on the Baltic States: What About the Painful Missing Link?



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  BELGIUM

by Roland Binet  (De Panne, Belgium)

My attention was recently caught by an article in a Flemish-language newspaper here in Belgium (“Living in fear of the Russian bear” in De Standaard of 5 September 2022), where the author writes that he had studied in 2005 at the University of Vilnius. The article speaks eloquently — and accurately — about the loss of freedom that came upon the people of Lithuania when the USSR invaded and occupied (for the long haul) Lithuania in 1940. It speaks of the many people deported to Siberia by the NKVD, it speaks warmly of the postwar fight of the Forest Brothers, and it speaks openly about the current fear that Putin’s Russian Federation might try again to incorporate their country into their revanchist program, a fear the author calls “Potsdam II.”

There is, however, disturbingly, quite a stupendous missing link in this abridged history of Lithuania in the twentieth century. Where had the quarter million Jews (the figure on the eve of the Holocaust) of the country disappeared to “overnight” (as centuries go), during that fateful century? Had there ever been a Jewish minority in Lithuania at all? When I looked at the author’s pedigree, I understood why the Jews had not played any role of significance in his biased dialectical discourse. Joren Vermeersch is a historian (of sorts) and an accomplished author. He is also a representative (stand-in, as we call it) for the Belgian House of Representatives, for the “N-VA.” This is the nationalist Flemish party that has its historical roots in the collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. The party that has systematically fought for an amnesty for Nazi collaborators. The party in which the grandparents or parents of some of the present actual leaders had been condemned by the Belgian State for collaboration with the enemy. Nobody is guilty of sins of their ancestors, but when there is a pattern of such pedigree being considered a great plus for current leadership, and that pedigree is subtly glorified rather than disowned, we have a current moral problem that merits discussion in the public square.Continue reading

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Updates on Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year Without (So Far) Removing a Single Shrine to Local Holocaust Collaborators


[latest update]

OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  | THE 2022 LEVINAS AFFAIR OF 2022

Congratulations to the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, once known also as Kovno (in Yiddish forever: Kóvne) on its selection as Europe’s “Capital of European Culture” in 2022, sharing the title with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg. But as  the midpoint of the city’s co-reign rapidly approaches, it is necessary, albeit sad, to have to note that not a single public-space glorification of local Holocaust collaborators had been removed. Zero. No city on the planet has as many monuments to local partners in the genocide of that city’s Jews. The 30,000 Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews) of Kaunas were brutally murdered, and the city played the primary role in the launch of the Lithuanian genocide on 23 June 1941, before the arrival of the first German forces. Thousands were murdered before the Germans arrived and/or set up their administration.

See Lev Golinkin’s updated 2022 catalogue in the Forward of public space shrines to Nazi collaborators worldwide

Lithuanian government authorities have  reportedly invested large sums to lure “Useful Jewish Idiots” from the UK, US, Israel, and further afield to participate in “cultural events” intended to obfuscate and deflect from the primary issue: Why are the enablers of the slaughter of Kovno Jewry still honored by street names, plaques and university lecture halls and statues in the city? Local Jewish leaders who have dared to speak up have rapidly been smeared as “Putinists” for daring to criticize the far right’s hold over national history policy (and indeed, the need for such a policy to start with).

But in the waning days of 2021, a “waterfall of truth” began to cascade from an unanticipated quarter. Michael Levinas, son of the celebrated Lithuanian-Jewish born French philosopher Emanuel Levinas, forbade authorities to name a fancy new institute after his father. This was kept under wraps until his 21 Dec.  Le Figaro opinion piece broke the story, and it was duly reported in Lithuania by LRT.lt. See Defending History’s media tracker page for background and updates.

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Posted in 'Levinas Center' in Kaunas, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Jonas Žemaitis, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Updates on Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year Without (So Far) Removing a Single Shrine to Local Holocaust Collaborators

The Defending History Community’s Statement on Putin’s Barbaric Assault on Ukraine (and the Free World)


[UPDATE — STATEMENT ORIGINALLY ISSUED ON 25 FEB. 2022]

The Defending History community joins in calling for immediate restoration of peace and security for all the people of Ukraine, condemning unequivocally the savage and barbaric invasion — and rain of death and destruction — by a neighboring big power, led by our century’s most dangerous and deranged warmonger dictator.

As a small gesture of spiritual solidarity, our Yiddish Studies team has constructed a modest new collection of videos of Ukraine’s last Yiddish speaking survivors. Ukraine alone spans every modern dialect of the language.

Posted in News & Views, Ukraine | Comments Off on The Defending History Community’s Statement on Putin’s Barbaric Assault on Ukraine (and the Free World)

In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)


[LAST UPDATE]

by Dovid Katz

Compilation of articles, documentaries, videos, and photos. Plus: from the saga of 2008

See Defending History’s Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky Section

Note: This page is a work in progress. A number of older documents, articles, photographs, and recordings remain to be digitized, catalogued, and posted.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)

Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’



Reports in Baltic Times and Delfi

For over a decade Defending History has exposed the far-right”Double Genocide” history-revisionist, Holocaust-obfuscating agenda of the “Prague Platform of European Memory and Conscience” which has repeatedly covered for East European efforts to glorify Nazi collaborators and perpetrators

“Putin’s criminal and barbaric invasion must be countered to the hilt and we must rally unfettered to the cause of Ukraine’s freedom. But for far-right double-genocider revisionists in the Eastern E.U. to take advantage of it for Holocaust obfuscation is just plain wrong.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff is first to respond (in Times of Israel blogs)

Will Western leaders — and institutions dedicated to the history of the Holocaust and leaders in Holocaust education and commemoration — speak out and subject the “Prague Platform” to some long overdue scrutiny, and warn the European Commission about this “new initiative”? European citizens’ hard-earned euros continue to flow to the revisionists whose “unholy bible” is still the Prague Declaration of 2008… Defending History is proud to have helped provide the European parliamentary response, the Seventy Years Declaration

Defending History’s statement on the war in Ukraine

When Ottawa Citizen and The New York Times broke taboo on wartime discussion of East European state-sponsored Holocaust obfuscation

But what is the “Prague Platform”?


 

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Double Genocide, Estonia, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’

The Nine Lives of Dónal Denham



BOOKS  |  IRELAND  |  NORWAY

 

by Steinar Gil

 

My good friend and colleague for two and a half years in Vilnius, Dónal Denham, has written a book with the title Nine Lives: The Reflections of a Dedicated Diplomat. The book is an interesting, fascinating read about an eventful career in the service of Ireland at home and abroad, enriched by an excellent selection of photos that add life and substance to the text. The author also draws a vivid picture of his early formative years in Ireland and England and student years at Trinity College. He writes warmly about his family, not avoiding the pain of personal losses, exacerbated by separation and distance. Diplomats from all countries would subscribe to his tribute to his wife Siobhan (“without whom nothing worthwhile would have happened to me”) who “as an unpaid ‘trailing spouse’ was a treasure beyond measure, largely unrecognized by officialdom.”

So, which are Dónal Denham’s nine diplomatic lives?

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Posted in Ambassador Steinar Gil, Books, Ireland, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Norway | Comments Off on The Nine Lives of Dónal Denham

‘Morbid Memorandum’ (of AJC+LJC+GWF+Vilnius Mayor) Says Jews in Lithuania ‘Dying Out Altogether’ — While Allocating Millions for New ‘Community Center’ Building on Sacred ‘Great Synagogue Square’



OPINION | VILNA GREAT SYNAGOGUE  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

 

VILNIUS—In the days following publication by Defending History of a report reacting to press releases about a (secret?) “memorandum” signed by the heads of the official “Lithuanian Jewish community” (LJC), the head of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the “Good Will Foundation” (GWF) and the Mayor of Vilnius, a number of conscience-stricken employees at LJC have been sending around copies of various versions of the memorandum, signed on 25 May, during the recent “Fifth Litvak Congress” here in Vilnius.

Update of 13 June 2022: One day following publication of this report, the “Good Will Foundation” published the signed English memorandum, using the wording “is now dying out altogether” to refer to today’s Jewish community in Lithuania, its hopes, and its dreams.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Morbid Memorandum’ (of AJC+LJC+GWF+Vilnius Mayor) Says Jews in Lithuania ‘Dying Out Altogether’ — While Allocating Millions for New ‘Community Center’ Building on Sacred ‘Great Synagogue Square’

Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again: Secret Memorandum on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Courtyard



OPINION | VILNA GREAT SYNAGOGUE

by Dovid Katz

It has not been easy for our embattled team to keep Defending History going for over a dozen years now, based here in Vilnius. But as with other small but committed projects committed to speaking out for historic justice whomever it will please or displease, misconceptions can flourish. For example, this journal has indeed opposed the misuse of millions of Lithuanian citizens’ hard earned tax euros for campaigns to “equalize” for new generations (and today’s West) Nazi and Soviet crimes (the “Red-Brown” Commission); to target Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance by smearing them as “war criminals” (state prosecutors); to establish as European heroes brutal participants in the Holocaust (the Genocide Center and Museum); efforts by government bodies (foreign ministry under some governments) to insist on European Union cave-in to the revised Baltic far-right historiography (note the Prague Declaration and DH’s response: the Seventy Years Declaration received personally a decade ago by the president of the European Parliament).

UPDATE OF 7 JUNE 2022:

A senior employee of the official ‘Lithuanian Jewish Community’ has asserted to DH that the secret memorandum contains the line: ‘After World War II, the Jewish community in Vilnius and Lithuania declined significantly and is now dying out altogether’ (thereby sentencing, over the signature of the mayor, the official community head, and a major figure from the American Jewish Committee) our small but creative, dynamic, variegated and life-loving Vilna community to imminent and utter demise)…

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again: Secret Memorandum on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Courtyard

Happy 60th Birthday to our Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas, Unique Lithuanian Ethicist



Happy Birthday, Evaldas!

A major unheralded ethicist of our times

Lithuania’s most intrepid pursuer of historic truth and its defense. A decade ago, his series “Why Does My Country Honor Murderers?” included his 2012 revelation to the English speaking world on the Holocaust collaboration of “national hero” Jonas Noreika. From 2014 onward he was for years dragged into court in a prosecutorial campaign of kangaroo hearings and harassment. Defending History stood with him with pride. Today his work (selection in English) is sometimes undercredited elsewhere. But not here. Happy Birthday Evaldas!

Evaldas Balčiūnas at the Vilnius court where he was repeatedly harassed for telling the truth about local Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators. Defending History came to each and every hearing to provide support. After years of harassment he was found ‘not guilty’…

RELATED: Dovid Katz’s personal birthday tribute to Evaldas Balčiūnas.


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Another ‘Fake Litvak Congress’? Litvaks of Lithuania are Excluded on Orders of Election-coup ‘Pylimo 4 Bosses’; Photo-op Foreigners In Town for Gov. Hosted Event



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  | WHAT DO FAKE LITVAK GAMES LOOK LIKE?  |  VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY’S STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH EVENTS FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  | WHEN GOV. MINISTRIES MEDDLE IN FRAGILE MINORITY CULTURE (& HISTORY DEBATES)  |  LITHUANIA

by Dovid Katz

Most Lithuanian government officials in diverse branches of its democratic government, including so many in its Culture and Education ministries, its local museums and libraries, its schools and cultural centers, have a warm and healthy attitude toward both the historic weight and tragic fate of the nation’s Jewish minority. This is important to keep in mind as we come yet again to provide a voice for the voiceless: the manipulation of the fragile Litvak and Yiddish culture, of the last survivors and their families, and of Holocaust history by some small and lavishly financed “Jewish fix-it units” including the Genocide Center, Genocide Museum, Red-Brown Commission, and a scattering of “Jewish, Yiddish and Litvak” centers in central Vilnius, a good part of which exclude from all professional participation people — including top specialists in the relevant field — who dare disagree with state revisionism on the Holocaust. In some cases, this policy brings about the succeeding phase of “Jewish” addresses without a single Jewish member of staff (think African American Cultural Center in Alabama, staffed by pure lily-whites who won’t mess up and peradventure say something contrary to local “patriotic” history-book narratives demanded by nationalists).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Dovid Katz, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, ministries, News & Views, Opinion, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Another ‘Fake Litvak Congress’? Litvaks of Lithuania are Excluded on Orders of Election-coup ‘Pylimo 4 Bosses’; Photo-op Foreigners In Town for Gov. Hosted Event

Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, State-Defamed Jewish World War II Partisan Hero, Turns 100 Today



BLAMING THE VICTIMS  |  FANIA BRANTSOVSKY SECTION  |  HISTORY  |   EVENTS  |  YIDDISH CULTURE LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

 

The following is a paste-in of today’s Facebook post by Dovid Katz marking Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky’s 100th birthday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The original, along with its Comments section is on FB, accompanied by a modest selection of photographs of Fania, and of Fania with Dovid and others over the years.

Clockwise from upper left: Fania is at far left in family photo from 1932 or 1933 in front of her father’s shop on Vilna’s Zavalna St. (today Pylimo in Vilnius); Fania showing visitors the underground bunkers where she lived while fighting the Nazis in the Jewish partisan fort in the forest (now sinking into the ground, Fania’s last wish is that it be restored and preserved for posterity); Fania and fellow partisan veteran Chasia Langbord Shpanerflig sing the partisan hymn at a May 9th memorial; Fania bring honored at a banquet at the residence of the Irish ambassador to Lithuania, HE Dónal Denham in a pushback against state attempts to prosecute and defame her and other veterans of the Jewish partisans with ambassadors from Norway, Austria, France, the UK and other Western nations joining in; Fania in the Vilna Ghetto (1941-1943); with Dovid enjoying looking at some old Vilna Yiddish books together.

HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY TO DEAR FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY (FANIA BRANCOVSKAJA)

Today, May 22nd 2022, is Fania’s 100th. It has been a privilege to know her and work closely with her for some thirty years. A graduate of Vilna’s remarkable secular Yiddish school built by the legendary Sofia Markovna Gurevitsh, she went on to suffer loss of her entire family in the Holocaust. Her own incarceration in the Vilna Ghetto lasted from the Ghetto’s first day to its last, when she escaped to join the Jewish partisans with whom she fought heroically in the forests of Lithuania against the Nazis, based in the wooden underground bunkers at the “Jewish fort” outside Vilnius, which Fania dreams to this day will be restored and preserved for future generations to remember the Holocaust and the Jewish resistance (it is at present literally sinking into the earth). To come together to make this happen would be Fania’s most cherished 100th birthday present. (Alas efforts to date have faded with various organizations’ timidity, but may that now rapidly change!).

For a summary of the story of the Last Jewish Fort, please see Defending History’s report.

Please try to imagine the mental cruelty Holocaust survivor Fania (who lost her entire family, herself survived by joining the anti-Nazi resistance, becoming a hero of the free world) has had to endure from a major state-sponsored commission in an EU member state. This has been covered in a major documentary film (alternate link). See also recent ultranationalists’ defamation of Fania

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Comments Off on Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, State-Defamed Jewish World War II Partisan Hero, Turns 100 Today

Is Walking Down a Street Named for a Murderer Now Considered ‘Holocaust Remembrance’?



Opinion  |  Collaborators Glorified  | Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas  |  Politics of Memory  | Lithuania  |  History

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Just another street name in a pleasant part of Kaunas, this year’s Capital of European Culture? Author thinks that “Kaunas and its people deserve better”…

Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas (1915–1948) is remembered by the Republic of Lithuania for his anti-Soviet guerilla activities after the war but without regard for the three separate periods of his activity in service to Nazi activities to exterminate the Jewish people. He did indeed join the anti-Soviet partisan resistance movement in the spring of 1945. And, before his death, he did become the head of its Tauras County unit. Those who heroize this period of his activities emphasize his efforts in establishing military discipline and order in the county. His critics, in turn, are more likely to make reference to his order to the Žalgiris Detachment, subordinate to the Tauras County, to annihilate Russian (Soviet) civilian settlers (“colonists”) in Opšrūtai, who had been transferred to Lithuania according to the Soviet-Nazi repatriation agreement (often with little or no input from these folks themselves). Thirty-one persons perished in Opšrūtai, including fourteen children. In the partisans’ descriptions of the battle, it is easy to notice that their task was to eradicate all colonists, including children. Those who justify the atrocity against civilians, including children, say that it was necessary to thwart the russification of Lithuania.

Lithuania’s policy of historical memory was quite straightforward on this issue: it built a monument to the partisans of the Žalgiris Detachment in Opšrūtai. Ethnic cleansing of Jews, if done by “our own nationalist heroes” in Lithuania, is still seen, it seems, as acceptable.

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Posted in Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Is Walking Down a Street Named for a Murderer Now Considered ‘Holocaust Remembrance’?

Subtle Art of State Antisemitism ― East European Style (with ubiquitous nod to glorification of Holocaust collaborators)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH STUDIES FOR HISTORICAL REVISIONISM  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  | YIVO IN LITHUANIA  | MEDIA WATCH  | FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND JUDAIC STUDIES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  | NOREIKA GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

On the 4th of April 2022, the website of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a news item titled (in Lithuanian, here translated) “Lithuania will expand cooperation with Yivo Jewish Research Institute, preserving and publicizing Lithuanian Jewish history” (as PDF). The site’s English language section uses the headline wording “Lithuania to expand cooperation with Yivo Institute for Jewish Research to protect and promote the history and heritage of Lithuanian Jews” (as PDF).

The news article contains information about the visit of the esteemed American scholar, Dr. Jonathan Brent, the executive director and CEO of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research in New York, also a famed educator and academic publisher, with his colleagues, and their meeting with the deputy foreign minister. The news item appears intent on communicating to the world how much our country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs cares about its Jewish and Yiddish legacy and how sensitive it is to the history of Lithuanian Jewry.

Both the Lithuanian and English versions are illustrated with a three-photo gallery portraying three scenes of the meeting: shaking hands at the welcome, a moment at the meeting table and the final with those at the meeting posing for the official photo-op.

Everything seems to be done according to the usual protocols of such meetings, at which the professional photographer takes numerous photos from start to finish, culminating with the final photo-op. Then the few dozen shots are whittled down to the most informative and appropriate handful for publication. The ones that make the point best. Elementary.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, ministries, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like?, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Subtle Art of State Antisemitism ― East European Style (with ubiquitous nod to glorification of Holocaust collaborators)

Books in the Debate 2022 — With Latest on Silvia Foti’s “Nazi’s Granddaughter”


[updated]

see also: BOOKS SECTION


Evaldas Balčiūnas reviews Vilnius Genocide Center chief’s new book on the Lithuanian Holocaust; in German translation


Silvia Foti: The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal

UPDATE OF MAY 2022:

Sylvia Foti’s major new book is widely available in English and Lithuanian, among other languages. QUESTION: Why is the center of Vilnius still blighted by an upgraded plaque & bas-relief  (right) and a central boulevard marble slab glorifying Hitler collaborator Jonas Noreika, who masterminded the death of thousands of Jews, and touted his unadulterated hate for Jewish fellow citizens in a prewar book? Why do  Western diplomats, and most visiting American, British and Israeli Jewish dignitaries feel obliged to avoid even the most polite critique of these prominent carbuncles on the face of the European Union? Surely, a true friend of Lithuania would want the best for Lithuania and its international stature, even if a small far-right “history rewriting elite” might feel offended.

Kitos Knygos Books published Lithuanian edition of Silvia Foti’s book; she appeared in Vilnius to launch it at the Feb. 2022 Vilnius Book Fair

See the author’s major op-eds in the New York Times (27 Jan. 2021 [as PDF]), Wall Street Journal (26 Aug. 2021 [as PDF] & Lou Gerber’s 7 Sept.WSJ letter [as PDF]; EU Today (2 Sept. 2021 [as PDF]); author’s BBC Hard Talk interview with Stephen Sackur (15 April 2021); 17 Sept. 2021 report in Spiegel;

Events include: Seminar at Harvard University’s Davis Center; Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (23 Jan. 2022); Palos Heights (Ill.) Public Library (10 May 2022)

Related reports in Algemeiner.com; Andrew Higgins in The New York Times; Gil Skorwid and Patrick Smith on NBC NewsGrant Arthur Gochin in Jewish JournalRichard S. Hirschhaut at American Jewish Committee

Reviews of Foti’s The Nazi’s Granddaughter: Bettina Berch in Jewish Book Council; Liz Mineo in the Harvard Gazette; in the National Book Review.

Background on author’s website.   Spanish edition

When you visit Vilnius, Kaunas and other Lithuanian citizens, be sure to ask the powers that be to remove city-center shrines to brutal Holocaust collaborators that mar this beautiful European country.

See also a selection of street names and public-space shrines across Lithuania and DH’s Collaborators Glorified section. Also: Noreika section.

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Posted in Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Books in the Debate 2022 — With Latest on Silvia Foti’s “Nazi’s Granddaughter”

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?

New York Jewish Museum: Latest to be Duped into “Legitimizing” Lithuanian Far-Right Holocaust Revisionism?



MUSEUMS | JEWISH EVENTS ABUSED TO MAKE “KOSHER” HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM | POLITICS OF MEMORY | COLLABORATORS WHITEWASHED

Is New York City’s Jewish Museum the Latest Western Jewish Institution to be Duped into “Legitimizing” Lithuanian Nationalists’ Far-Right Holocaust Revisionism?

See Michael Casper’s new exposé in Jewish Currents

Are “useful Jewish idiots” addicted to photo-ops, funding and junkets being duped into joining “Kaunas Capital of European Culture 2022” year? (without Kaunas removing a single public monument to Holocaust perps)

For background see Defending History’s coverage of the revisionists’ “Jewish cover-it-up  investments” over more than a dozen years

Andrius Kulikauskas on the Greimas exhibit at Lithuania’s National Mažvydas Library (2017); on the Library’s setting up of the Adolfas Damušis Center glorifying a Nazi collaborator (2017)

Dovid Katz on the (ab)use of East European museums to “legitimize” Double Genocide and far-right Holocaust revisionism; Defending History’s Museums section

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , | Comments Off on New York Jewish Museum: Latest to be Duped into “Legitimizing” Lithuanian Far-Right Holocaust Revisionism?