News & Views

Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  JUOZAS LUKŠA DEBATES

VILNIUS—Two days before tomorrow’s government-sponsored international “academic” conference (on September 10) that glorifies alleged 1941 Holocaust perpetrator Juozas Lukša (without a single paper devoted to the issue of his Kaunas 1941 Holocaust participation), the foreign minister led a high-end Holocaust remembrance ceremony (yesterday, 8 Sept.) bewailing the calamity of the Holocaust and its scale in Lithuania. That ceremony dated the onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust to the first week of September, when the Nazis set up the Vilna Ghetto, and others.

As ever, curious acrobatics seen to be in play in choice of the date to deflect attention from 23 June 1941, the day the barbarity and slaughter were initiated in dozens of Lithuanian towns before arrival of the first German soldiers. June 23rd is the day the Holocaust in Lithuania started according to all Holocaust survivors interviewed over the last thirty years, and it has been particularly painful for them that Vilnius has a street called “June 23rd Street.”

Eyewitness accounts of Lukša’s Kaunas deeds were assembled by Alex Faitelson and Joseph Melamed  regarding the Lietukis Garage Massacre in that last week of June 1941. An early day 2011 motion in the British Parliament cited eyewitnesses to his alleged participation in the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky in Kaunas, also in June 1941 (for more citations see Defending History’s initial report on the Lithuanian parliament’s decision last year to dedicate 2021 to Lukša’s memory). Last week’s Lukša events have included inauguration of a major new monument with an address by the prime minister.

Statements painfully protesting the Lithuanian parliament’s decision to name 2021 for this infamous alleged participant in the Kaunas atrocities of June 1941 have been issued by Faina Kukliansky, head of the official Jewish Community of Lithuania, jointly with Rabbi Andrew Baker, head of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C. The Jewish Community went on (very unusually) to bitterly critique the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” on the glorification of Lukša. Other voices of dismay have come from Dr. Laurence Weinbaum of the World Jewish Congress who edits its prestigious academic j0urnal Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Yakov Faitelson, who recounts his late father’s being honored for telling the truth by the late Lithuanian president and statesman Algirdas Brazauskas.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Double Games, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators

My Letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the Shameful Latvian Waffen SS Monument Plonked in Belgium



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  BELGIUM  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HISTORY  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

Carbuncle in the heart of the EU?  Monument in Belgium glorifies  Latvian Waffen SS who fought for Hitler

 

Note: for background on the monument to Latvian SS war criminals in Zeldelgem, Belgium, please see DH’s Zedelgem section, and for Latvia more generally, Roland Binet’s contributions and DH’s  Latvia section.

 ◊

Flemish historian Pieter Lagrou had this to say in an exchange of correspondence pertaining to the quandary of what to do with that monument in Zedelgem glorifying Latvian Hitlerist Waffen SS men. It so happens that he is the one whose official opinion in this matter will be asked on how to further proceed with the “Latvian Beehive” as the pro-Nazi monument on Belgium soil is known:

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Posted in Belgium, Collaborators Glorified, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet, Zedelgem in Belgium | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on My Letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the Shameful Latvian Waffen SS Monument Plonked in Belgium

Congratulations Pour in to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on 16 Aug. Cancellation of Vilnius Convention Center in the Cemetery (“CCC”)



Agudath Israel of America leads the way (18 Aug. statement; 25 Aug.  Jewish Tribune)

Deans of three top Lithuanian yeshivas, all named for cities in Lithuania, congratulate PM

Lithuania’s prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė “just did the right thing” (Getty Images)

During mid-August lull, many were caught unaware (reports in DHDH UpdatesAlgemeiner JournalJTA)

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Congratulations Pour in to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on 16 Aug. Cancellation of Vilnius Convention Center in the Cemetery (“CCC”)

In Lithuania, President’s Speech, New Monument, and Major Conference Glorify Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities Against Jewish Citizens



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  KAUNAS: 2022 CAPITAL OF EUROPEAN CULTURE

VILNIUS—Not for the first time, the annual Jewish High Holiday period encompassing Rosh Hashonna and Yom Kippur have provided “optimal timing” for state-sponsored activities glorifying Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators. Lithuania’s Seimas (parliament) had  declared that the year per se, 2021, would be dedicated to the memory of Juozas Lukša, identified by eyewitnesses as one of the barbaric butchers of Jews in the Lietukis Garage Massacre in Kaunas in June 1941, during the week when fascist “LAF” (Lithuanian Activist Front) Hitlerist thugs murdered thousands of Jewish neighbors before the Nazis had even taken control. In 2011 a motion in the British Parliament referred to testimony that Lukša was also involved in the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky the same week.

“The hard-working people of Lithuania deserve much better than for their tax euros to be squandered by ultranationalist leaders on state glorification of Hitler accomplices.”

This week’s festivities included, on 4 September 2021, a speech by the president of Lithuania to honor Lukša, a brand new Lukša monument unveiled to  in a village where he operated, with participation by the director general of the Genocide Center, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys. The monument was “consecrated” by a major bishop who holds the title “president of the Commission on the External Relations of the EU”.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Lithuania, President’s Speech, New Monument, and Major Conference Glorify Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities Against Jewish Citizens

Leading Lithuanian (Litvak) Yeshivas Applaud Prime Minister’s Decision to Suspend Vilnius ‘Convention Center in the Cemetery’ (CCC)



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Deans (rosh-yeshivas, Heb. roshei-yeshiva) of three of the world’s greatest Lithuanian tradition (Litvak) yeshivas, located in the United States and Israel, all proud to bear the Yiddish names of the Lithuanian cities from which they hail, today released a letter to Ingrida Šimonytė, prime minister of Lithuania, expressing admiration and gratitude for her recent suspension of the project to situate a national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok/Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius), where thousands would cheer, sing and revel surrounded by multitudes of graves going back over half a millennium.

The project has, in some eyes, tarnished Lithuania’s image over the last seven years, eliciting considerable local and international opposition. Today’s public congratulations from three of the top Lithuanian yeshiva deans, who carry on the traditions of the Gaon of Vilna and numerous other Lithuanian rabbinic luminaries, is widely seen, in the broader context, to help Lithuania rapidly surmount recent setbacks and embark on a new era of Lithuanian-Jewish (and more generally, crosscultural) harmony in the run-up to international celebration of the 700th birthday of the founding of Vilnius (Vilna, Vílne, Wilno) coming up in 2023.

The following English text is a translation from the Hebrew original.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Leading Lithuanian (Litvak) Yeshivas Applaud Prime Minister’s Decision to Suspend Vilnius ‘Convention Center in the Cemetery’ (CCC)

Will Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas Remove Nazi-Collaborator Shrines as it Honors the Great Leonidas Donskis?



OPINION  |  DONSKIS SECTION  |  MUSEUMS  | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  KAUNAS: 2022 CAPITAL OF EUROPEAN CULTURE

Click on the image for details of 21 Sept. conference in Kaunas on role of museums in remembering the past

Vytautas Magnus University, once considered a beacon of tolerance and liberalism, suffered extensive  (utterly self-inflicted)  reputational damage back in 2009 when it inaugurated a lecture hall and bas-relief glorifying Juozas Ambrezevicius Brazaitis, “prime minister” in  Lithuania’s Nazi puppet “provisional government” in 1941. During his brief period as Hitler’s chief puppet in the country, he signed documents confirming transfer of numerous Jewish fellow citizens of his native Kaunas to the nearby Seventh Fort for torture and murder, and later signed the Nazi-ordered documents ordering all remaining Jews of Kaunas into a ghetto, to become the infamous Kovno Ghetto. During his later American career, as a CIA asset and academic, he never once expressed regret over what had happened to the 30,000 Jewish residents of Kaunas.

Then, in 2012, when an international scandal broke out over the Lithuanian government’s decision to fly over and rebury with full honors the Nazi puppet prime minister’s remains, it was, alas a top historian and academic  official at Vytautas Magnus who described the reburial as a grand act of Lithuania’s historic drama, while denouncing the Leonidas Donskis led effort to pull the university out of national ceremonies honoring the Nazi collaborator, in these terms: “This wasn’t the academic community but a decision of the VMU administration which became frightened that they were going to get hit over the head with a club by the Jews.”  For context, see events of May 2012.

LEONIDAS DONSKIS SECTION IN DEFENDING HISTORY

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Translation of Vilnius City Council’s 25 Aug. 2021 ‘Shameful Resolution’ on Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The following is Defending History’s translation of the text of today’s Vilnius City Council resolution posted on its website. See our report, and the earlier news of the prime minister’s widely heralded cancellation of CCC (“convention center in the cemetery”) to which this resolution is a direct response. See esp. the paragraph colored red below for rapid reference, where the resolution condemns the government’s “abandonment” of the CCC.

 

VILNIUS CITY COUNCIL


RESOLUTION

ON VILNIUS PALACE OF CONCERTS AND SPORTS


August 25, 2021, No. 41

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Translation of Vilnius City Council’s 25 Aug. 2021 ‘Shameful Resolution’ on Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

Malát (Molėtai) Museum, in Northeast Lithuania, Invites ‘All the World’ to 29th August Memorial Events



All Welcome!

Sunday 29 August 2021

Eighty years ago to the day, 29 Aug. 1941, all the town’s Jewish residents were massacred in the Holocaust, mostly by local white-armbander (“LAF”) fascists in partnership with occupying Nazi forces

Defending History has a Malát section, which has followed the events — and their meaning — over the last five years

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Bravo! Lithuania Abandons “Convention Center in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery”



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Congratulations were pouring in this morning as soon as Lithuania’s media, led by Alfa.lt’s ace reporter, Arvydas Jockus, one of the few to have provided balanced reports throughout the saga, reported on the Lithuanian government’s decision to abandon the project to cite a national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt, in the Shnípishok section of Vilna (today’s Šnipiškės in modern Vilnius). The Alfa.lt report was followed by BNS (Baltic News Service) confirmation, carried by Lrytas.lt, the business news portal Verslo zinios (vz.lt), as well as 15min.lt, Diena.ltKauno diena, and visosnaujienos.e2.lt, among others.  JTA has reported the new development (and its report carried, inter alia, by Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post, Enlace Judío, and the Forward). Ben Cohen’s originally researched article followed in New York’s Algemeiner Journal.

Ben Cohen in The Algemeiner

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bravo! Lithuania Abandons “Convention Center in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery”

Claims Conference’s ‘Zachor’ Series Releases Video of Ruediger Mahlo’s Interview with Dovid Katz



VILNIUS—The Claims Conference today published on its youtube channel an interview on the Holocaust in Lithuania and its current treatment in Lithuania. The CC’s Ruefiger Mahlo interviewed Defending History editor Dovid Katz a part of its “Zachor” (Remember!) program. Other recent interviews with and webinars by DH’s editor are available via his webinar page.⸗
Posted in Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Claims Conference’s ‘Zachor’ Series Releases Video of Ruediger Mahlo’s Interview with Dovid Katz

Chronicle of the Lithuanian Government’s Campaign to Blame Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Resistance


UPDATED MARCH 2017. See also (older, not updated) Responses page.

2006    2007    2008    2009    2010    2011

2012    2013    2014    2015    2016    2017


PREFACE

The campaign of defamation by Lithuanian state prosecutors and allied elites (particularly in the Genocide Center and the antisemitic right-wing press) has resulted in a number of cherished Holocaust Survivors being smeared as “war criminals” without a single charge ever having been leveled against anybody. Launched in 2006, the campaign, abusing tools such as “pre-trial investigations” and leaks to the media, have sought to brand as “war criminals” the heroes of the war against Hitler. It grew in 2011 with the addition of equally perverse  “libel charges,” launched with fanfare when Interpol (!) was sent to disturb in Tel Aviv the elected head of the last active group of Litvak Holocaust survivors in the world. Then, in 2013, the state’s “red-brown commission” defamed one of Vilnius’s last survivors on equally perverse grounds, all the while putting on “Holocaust events” for naive Western audiences, usually funded by the (unknowing) Lithuanian taxpayer, in venues  including LondonNew YorkToronto, and Vilnius.

A single public letter from the president could fix it all. Instantly.

The campaign of defamation results in permanent calumny in historians’ worksWikipedia, and elsewhere (see below) that is more than a grave injustice to the Holocaust survivors targeted (and their families). It is a deliberate ultranationalist falsification of history in the spirit of the wider campaign to find fault with the victims and make heroes of the perpetrators. These are components of the movement to obfuscate the issues, and downgrade the Holocaust in the spirit of the Double Genocide movement and its central document, the 2008 Prague Declaration.

All but one of the accused survivors — most in their late eighties or nineties — are still alive (as of February 2016). Dr. Rachel Margolis passed away on 6 July 2015, having failed to fulfill her final wish of one last trip to her native Vilna.

A single public letter of apology from the president or prime minister of Lithuania, accompanied by an apology from the state prosecutors, would be the minimal gesture of good will needed to repair the damage. Public defamation can only be (partly) repaired by public apology. Moreover, the state has a splendid last chance to end its relationship with its own Holocaust survivors, after a 700 year history in Lithuania, on a rather higher note than police coming to look for aged women veterans of the heroic Jewish resistance in the forests of Lithuania.

During his own tenure before these events, Lithuania’s eminent late president (later prime minister) Algirdas Brazauskas, a champion of confronting historical truth with courage and dignity, awarded certificates of honor to the selfsame Jewish partisan veterans for the selfsame service in helping to liberate Lithuania from Nazism. . .


2006

22 April 2006.  Article in Respublika accuses Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Holocaust survivor, resistance hero, veteran of the Israeli war of independence and long-time director of Yad Vashem, of being a war criminal on the basis of misquoted, decontextualized passages in his own 1979 book, The Partisan[ADDENDUM of April 2014: One of the chief stone-throwers (final section) is A. Anušauskas, who is today a member of the state’s commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes. In 2006 he was “scientific editor” at the Genocide Center. Since 2008 he has been a member of parliament where he was for some years chair of the Committee on National Security and Defense.]

2007

10 September 2007.  Prosecutors in Lithuania confirm that their investigation of Holocaust survivor, anti-Nazi resistance hero and former director of Yad Vashem Dr. Yitzhak Arad, on suspicion of “crimes against humanity” had been initiated in May 2006. The “investigation” was based on an article in the antisemitic daily Respublika (22 April 2006), in which the special prosecutor and head of the Genocide Center are extensively quoted. In June 2006 the daily triumphantly proclaimed that prosecutors were acting on its earlier article. English summary. See below at 25 September 2008 for “conclusion” of the investigation and the 2010 report of the “Lithuanian Human Rights Association” . . . In 2014, ongoing defamation evident from Wikipedia entry.

2008

29 January 2008.  Article in the daily Lietuvos aidas that called on prosecutors to investigate Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky and Dr Rachel Margolis. English translation.

6 April 2008.  Professor Dov Levin of Jerusalem protests, returning his own earlier award to the president of Lithuania.

30 April 2008.  The Embassy of the United States in Lithuania issues a certificate of appreciation, signed by Ambassador John A. Cloud, to Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky; presented by political officer Joseph Boski at a luncheon organized by the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Comments Off on Chronicle of the Lithuanian Government’s Campaign to Blame Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Resistance

Latvian Government Again Claims that Waffen SS Monument is “Not a Nazi Memorial”



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

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…”  Above, some Latvian Waffen SS members fighting for Hitler during World War II. Now, a monument in Belgium honors them as supposed war heroes…

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Video Released of Marius Ivaškevičius’s Interview with Dovid Katz



VILNIUS—Famed Lithuanian playwright Marius Ivaškevičius interviewed Dovid Katz as his Vilnius apartment on 20 March 2017 as part of the filming for Tzvi Kritzer’s documtentary “The Last Sunday in August” about the slaughter of the Jews of Malát (today: Molėtai) Lithuania. The much more general interview offers sweeping discourse on the Lithuanian Holocaust and its legacies, and sundry difficult related issues. There was a cameo appearance  by  the film’s producer Tzvi Kritzer. The footage released  is unedited but not complete. Unfortunately, the beginning, with Marius’s detailed opening statement and set of questions, is missing from this footage. The documentary, released in 2018, is on youtube.

Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Video Released of Marius Ivaškevičius’s Interview with Dovid Katz

Local and International Opposition to Plans for Convention Center at Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery


[updated]


INTERNATIONAL PETITION AT 53,500 SIGNATURES

SUMMARY OF RECENT NEWS

DEFENDING HISTORY’S SECTION; ROLE OF THE US TAXPAYER FUNDED USCPAHA; OF LONDON’S CPJCE ‘GRAVE-SELLING RABBIS’ 


(I) Groups of leading Litvak (and other) rabbis

(II) Institutions

(III) Individuals

(IV) Lithuania’s Jewish community

(V) US Congress & Israel’s Knesset

(VI) Background

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Local and International Opposition to Plans for Convention Center at Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Alan Dershowitz Calls Plans for Convention Center in Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery a Violation of Lithuania’s Constitution



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Alan Dershowitz, often deemed to be America’s leading constitutional lawyer, confirmed to Defending History this morning that the following statement, that has been circulating in emails and social media, is wholly accurate. The Harvard professor’s statement on the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramont (in the Shnípishok/Šnipiškės section of Vilnius) reads:

“The 2015 Seimas resolution green-lighting the conference center on the Shnipishok cemetery in Vilna, Lithuania, undermines the provisions of the Lithuanian Constitution, Articles 22 and 26. These respective provisions in the Constitution protect religious freedom and religious institutions.

“Beyond raising a compelling constitutional issue, this resolution is wrong as a matter of justice, historical preservation, basic decency and the dignity of the dead.”


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Lithuanian Artist’s Cartoons Illustrate Two Possible Fates for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO ‘CONVENTION CENTER  IN THE CEMETERY’ PROJECT |INTERNATIONAL PETITION

I: City in Love with Its Grand Duchy Heritage, Multicultural Values and Harmony of its Peoples

OR

II: City Intent on Obliterating and Humiliating its Jewish Heritage for Benefit of Some Greedy Business Interests

UPDATES


I


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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Artist’s Cartoons Illustrate Two Possible Fates for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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

83 Descendants of People Buried in Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery File Appeal; London’s CPJCE Cited Extensively



VILNIUS—The following are excerpts in English translation (from the original Lithuanian text) of the 9 June 2021 Appeal filed by 83 plaintiffs still recognized by the court as having proper standing, out of the original 157 claimants, all descendants of persons buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Shnípishok, in today’s Šnipiškės district). These people, whose ancestors paid for their burial plots in freehold perpetuity, do not understand how an EU/NATO member country could plan to cite a national convention center on land surrounded by these graves on all four sides. These excerpts from the translation are limited to paragraphs explicitly citing the London-based “Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe” (CPJCE) which is alleged to accept secret large payments in return for their “permissions and supervisions” of the wanton business-and-profit-led destruction of major Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe.

As detailed in Defending History’s report last week concerning the 10 May 2021 court verdict, the CPJCE’s role has been roundly rejected and condemned by virtually all leading Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) Jewish rabbinic authorities and institutions internationally. The CPJCE has moreover been banned explicitly from further involvement in the Vilnius fiasco by decree of the Conference of European Rabbis duly reported to the former Lithuanian minister of culture, making it clear that the London group has no standing to be representing anyone in the saga.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 83 Descendants of People Buried in Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery File Appeal; London’s CPJCE Cited Extensively

Latest on Latvian SS Monument in Belgium: Latvia’s Well-Oiled Propaganda Machine is On the Job



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  BELGIUM  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HISTORY  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

Before my initial Defending History article last March on the monument to the Latvian Hitlerist Waffen SS on Belgian soil, there had only been one Belgian trying, from December 2020 onward, to get attention to what he deemed an infamy. Wilfred Burie, president and founder of the “Belgians Remember Them” association, alone compiled a list of names of more than 4,000 personnel of Britain’s Royal Air Force, whose planes were shot down in Belgium and, for each person, what became of them. There had been a parliamentary question to the Federal Belgian Minister of Justice to no avail, and, also, some articles published in minor French-speaking newspapers as well as outcries from Belgian Jewish organizations, also without consequences. On April 28, an article of mine was published in the French-speaking newspaper “La Libre Belgique” under the title “Why This Monument in Honor of the Waffen SS in Zedelgem?” with quotes from Lev Golinkin’s pioneering study on Nazi monuments around the world, published in New York’s Forward.

 Then, on May 20 of this year, Michel Bouffioux from the weekly Paris Match Belgium, published his well-documented “Latvian Waffen SS celebrated in Flanders” including interviews with Dr. Efraim Zuroff (Simon Wiesenthal Center) and Dr. Leanid Kazyrytski (University of Gerona in Spain). He subsequently published sequels to his initial article with among other international reactions comments from Lev Golinkin.

Unfortunately, all reactions to that point had been only in the French-speaking part of Belgium. Then, on May 31, the website Apache.be, a Dutch-speaking media outlet, published a well-informed article with the flamboyant title “Great Damage for Zedelgem’s Image from the Latvian Waffen SS Monument,” with interviews of established Flemish historians. And finally, Jan Vanriet, a well-known Flemish painter, son of a Resistance fighter, who had previously been featured in a film about the resistance in Belgium, whom I had contacted on that matter, alerted Flemish-speaking media, and two articles were simultaneously published in Flanders on June 25, in Het Nieuwsblad (“A Sudden Realization: This is a Nazi Monument!”) and De Standaard (“Zedelgem Hhonors 12,000 Latvian Collaborators”).

But the town council of Zedelgem refuses to demolish or remove the monument, saying repeatedly that it is a monument to peace and assuring that a plaque will be added to it, explaining that “there shall be added an extended text in accordance with historical specialists, in order to avoid all susceptibilities” (Het Nieuwsblad, 25 June, 2021).

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Posted in News & Views, Zedelgem in Belgium | Comments Off on Latest on Latvian SS Monument in Belgium: Latvia’s Well-Oiled Propaganda Machine is On the Job

Vilnius Court’s May 10th Verdict Illustrates “Insidious and Tragic” Destruction of East European Cemeteries via London’s CPJCE



VILNIUS—Readers are familiar with an English summary of the Vilnius District Court’s 10 May decision paving the way for a massive national convention center and annex to rise in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Shnípishok, in today’s Šnipiškės district), surrounded by thousands of extant graves on all four sides. Moreover, the entire text of the Lithuanian original is posted for inspection.

Jump to verdict’s excerpts referencing the CPJCE (and AJC)

What may be lost from the summary, and to those unable to read Lithuanian or to access a translation, is the “insidious and tragic” — and in any case central — role played by London’s “CPJCE” (the Orwellian name is “Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe), whose “Aaronite-Satmar” rabbis have been caught on Wikileaks demanding large sums for their “supervisions” (and in effect, permissions) for effectively selling rights to old Jewish cemeteries on ground zero of the Holocaust. The effects of the genocide include the dearth of viable communities of descendants of the buried who would in the course of things guard the dignity of their ancestors’ burial places (see: 2009 Wikileaks cable confirming secret payments; 2015 reports by JTA and the Jerusalem Post; the “Serious Incident Report” to UK’s Charities Commission. See also last December’s “Day of Shame”). Incidentally, the opposing (“Zalmanite”) branch of Satmar hasidism has boldly condemned the desecration of the old Vilna cemetery in a statement signed by the grandrabbi himself.

From the infamous 2015 video to the present court decision, Defending History has been providing a detailed record of at least the publicly knowable aspects of the group’s shameful role in the Vilna scandal, scoffing and belittling the voices of virtually all Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) rabbis internationally (see DH’s section on the CPJCE (plus the classic video) on the broader Vilna cemetery dispute, and summary pages of the international opposition and more recent developments).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Court’s May 10th Verdict Illustrates “Insidious and Tragic” Destruction of East European Cemeteries via London’s CPJCE