News & Views

Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)



DOCUMENTS | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—In view of diverse characterizations circulating regarding the content of the judgment on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Snípishok/Šnipiškės district), handed down by Litvak Jewry’s highest international rabbinic authority, on 9 February 2020 (14 Shvat 5780), signed also by the late and revered Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (1928-2022) of blessed memory, Defending History is providing the original documents of the certified English translation released by the court, as well as the Hebrew original. This was followed below by the Conference of European Rabbis’ solemn repudiation of any role for the London-based CPJCE, issued on 29 Sept. 2020, after years of documentation of allegedly corrupt activities in the alleged de facto sale of East European cemeteries with which they have no historic ties of any kind.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), The 2023 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Comments Off on Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)

A Different Kind of Holocaust Artist: Auschwitz Survivor David Olère’s Unedited and Unabastracted Realism



OPINION  |  ARTS  |  BOOKS  | HISTORY  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

I want to share with our readers a remarkable book with reproductions of paintings and drawings by and about David Olère who had been a member of a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz-Birkenau. But after the war he felt his mission was to bear witness to the truth, including the horrendous scenes he had seen and himself been part of: Vergessen oder Vergeben – Bilder aus der Todeszone by Alexandre Oler and David Olère [= David Oler]; zu Klampen! (Verlag- Springe/Deutschland; originally published in French in 1998 by his son Alexandre Oler: Un genocide en heritage.

Despite the millions of Jews killed by bullets or who died of beatings, pogroms, hunger or ill treatment in Poland and in the Republics of the USSR, the iconic symbols of Nazi evil remain, for a large segment of the world population, the gas chambers and crematories of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the five other extermination camps in Poland. Historians have stressed the fact that the Nazi killers and their helpers sometimes found those mass slaughters by bullets or asphyxiation inside trucks where monoxide of carbon had been injected to be too tedious and harsh to bear for the executioners. So, Nazi Germany switched to mass killings in gas chambers with Zyklon B and – concerned about leaving traces – devised the crematories. Searching for the roots of this industrialization process, Simon Wiesenthal had already come to that conclusion very early (as quoted by Guido Knopp in Die SS – Eine Warnung der Geschichte).

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Posted in Arts, Books, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on A Different Kind of Holocaust Artist: Auschwitz Survivor David Olère’s Unedited and Unabastracted Realism

Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?



OPINION | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

Like my fellow campaigners, over the years, in opposition to the project to plonk a national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (via refurbishment of a hated Soviet “Sports Palace” dump that should have long ago been demolished), I felt nothing but relief and the need to express congratulations back in the summer of 2021 when our prime minister wisely cancelled the project. Over two years later, there is again fear, among Jews, Lithuanians, and many around the world who respect the right of the dead to lie in peace (verily a part of Human Rights), even when they are members of a minority. When the buried belong to a nation’s ethnic majority, there are usual no serious efforts to situate conference centers surrounded by subterranean graves (even when the above-ground gravestones have long disappeared).

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Other Soviet structures in Vilnius: “landmark status” withdrawn & rapidly knocked down

Members of the latest (& current) international commission

Saga of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?

Furore over the ‘Baron Memorandum’ to Lithuania’s Prime Minister and Speaker of Seimas


[LAST UPDATE: 15 OCT.]

DOCUMENTS | OPINION | HUMAN RIGHTS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTERCEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | CHABAD IN VILNIUS

First, the documents.

All these recent documents, circulated by now to hundreds (if not thousands) of recipients, whether by direct email blast or by multiple forwards of such blasts (by their own authors’ offices and supporters), are, needless to say, now in the public domain, and form part of an important record for the issues of today, and for the chronicles of history.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Furore over the ‘Baron Memorandum’ to Lithuania’s Prime Minister and Speaker of Seimas

Will Working Group Have Courage to Just Say No to New Wave of Building & Profit from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery? And — a Tale of Two Green Buildings



OPINION | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER

Is this what “Jewish cemetery restoration in Holocaust-stricken Europe” looks like? For details of the results here of new builds and refurbishments on Jewish cemeteries, click on the image. As the buildings on the cemetery were going up, there was a long parade of government (and builders’) assurances that the dignity of the cemetery would never be violated there. Photo by William Pahl for DefendingHistory.com

by Dovid Katz

On the 4th of May this year, Defending History published the official document issued by the Office of the Prime Minister of Lithuania announcing the members appointed to the latest commission (“Working Group”) on the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the historic Shnípishok district, today’s Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius). In the accompanying Opinion piece, the DH community expressed the view that “Never before has a state commission been empaneled on such a ‘Water is wet’ question. Of course the capital’s last Soviet eyesore (and symbol of brutal foreign domination) should be demolished and the 500 year old Vilna Jewish Cemetery restored. […] The argument that it can’t be touched because its preservation status is sacred and immutable to the end of time is an insult to modern democratic Lithuania and all who hold her dear.”

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Will Working Group Have Courage to Just Say No to New Wave of Building & Profit from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery? And — a Tale of Two Green Buildings

Yad Vashem Director Dani Dayan, Speaking in Lithuanian Parliament, Boldly Raises the Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators Noreika, Škirpa and Krikštaponis


[UPDATES TO 3 OCT. 2023]

OPINION | IT PAYS TO DEFEND HISTORY | YAD VASHEM AND LITHUANIA | ISRAEL SECTION | ISRAEL DEBATE CHRONICLE

by Dovid Katz

The modest but resolute Defending History community, in Vilnius and internationally, in unanimity today expressed heartfelt congratulations to Yad Vashem director Dani Dayan who broke dramatically, and publicly, with decades of what the last Lithuanian Holocaust survivors considered to be tragic betrayal and appeasement, often under presumed political pressure (see our report from earlier this week and Defending History’s section “Yad Vashem and Lithuania“).

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan (photo courtesy Yad Vashem)

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Posted in Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Israel, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Yad Vashem and Lithuania | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yad Vashem Director Dani Dayan, Speaking in Lithuanian Parliament, Boldly Raises the Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators Noreika, Škirpa and Krikštaponis

Painfully, Yad Vashem Heads for Vilnius Event, Again ‘Legitimizing’ the ‘Red-Brown Commission’, an Engine of Holocaust Revisionism



OPINION | RED-BROWN COMMISSION (SECTION) | DOUBLE GENOCIDE | LITVAK AFFAIRS | LITHUANIA | YAD VASHEM & LITHUANIA  | ISRAEL ISSUES (SECTION)

Prof. Dina Porat of Yad Vashem will chair the Vilnius event on the Vilna Ghetto this Wednesday 20 Sept. featuring (among others) Ronaldas Račinskas and other officials of the state-funded “Red-Brown Commission” — one of Europe’s major engines of Double Genocide revisionism and the Prague Declaration.

VILNIUS—As long as Lithuanian Holocaust survivors were alive, they protested with their last breath against the motives and agenda of the Lithuanian government financed Red-Brown Commission (officially known, à la Orwell, as the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes of Lithuania” or ICECNSORL). Readers can visit a page documenting these protests from 1998 onward, reports of the painful episodes and sagas over the decades, and perhaps most painfully, the heartfelt begging by the last survivors, asking Yad Vashem to resist Foreign Ministry pressure and have nothing to do with the commission. Perhaps the best known document is the September 2012 letter to Yad Vashem by the late Joseph Melamed, legendary chairperson of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, the world’s leading and last organization of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors.

UPDATE OF 22 SEPT 2023:

See now Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan’s dramatic and historic speech at the Lithuanian Parliament that turns a new leaf in the pained Lithuanian chapter

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Mažvydas National Library (Issues Arising), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, September 23rd Commemorations, Yad Vashem and Lithuania | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Painfully, Yad Vashem Heads for Vilnius Event, Again ‘Legitimizing’ the ‘Red-Brown Commission’, an Engine of Holocaust Revisionism

Saulius Beržinis’s ‘Censored Film’ on Lost Shtetl Sheduva: Lithuania’s ‘Satanic Verses’?


[LAST UPDATE; ORIGINAL PUBLICATION 27 APRIL 2023]

OPINION | FILMBOLD CITIZENS | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVA

Defending History proudly supports modern Lithuania’s first major Holocaust truth teller, documentary film maker

Saulius Beržinis

JUMP TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

JUMP TO UPDATES

SEE BERŽINIS SECTION

What is it all about? Allegedly, a major gang-up is underway against Vilnius’s beloved documentarian Saulius Beržinis who was perhaps the first to tell the truth about the Holocaust in Lithuania. His 2018 Rogatchi Humanist of the Year Award was presented the following year in a Vilnius ceremony that included the ambassadors of Finland, Norway and the United States. Back in 2004 he was Lithuania’s Person of Tolerance, and American journalist Ben Smith, in a 2001 feature article in the Forward, chronicled his earlier work including his sensational 1990s filmed interviews with actual Holocaust perpetrators.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Saulius Beržinis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Saulius Beržinis’s ‘Censored Film’ on Lost Shtetl Sheduva: Lithuania’s ‘Satanic Verses’?

B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand Issues Press Release on Saulius Beržinis Award



FILM | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVA  | BOLD CITIZENS

VILNIUS—B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand today issued the following press release accompanying its lifetime achievement award earlier this month to Lithuanian filmmaker Saulius Beržinis (see also DH’s report on the dramatic saga in the background).

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Posted in Arts, Australia, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand Issues Press Release on Saulius Beržinis Award

Books in the Debate: New Titles for Autumn 2023


[updated]


see also: BOOKS SECTION


FOR AUTUMN 2023

A MAJOR NEW ACADEMIC COLLECTION:

War and Remembrance. World War II and the Holocaust in the Memory Politics of Post-Socialist Europe

Edited by Paul Srodecki and Daria Kozlova

Twelve papers in three sections: “Conceptual Frameworks”, “State Memory Narratives and their Public Perception” and “Museums, Memorials and Monuments as Controversial Objects of Cultural Memory”

Defending History’s comment: “One of the rare academic collections on the subject whose contributors are generally truly independent, in sharp distinction to volumes featuring academics whose state-sponsored jobs, financing, medals, honors and junkets lead them to serve as de facto state history policy surrogates, apologists or ‘history fixers’. This volume is a must-read for the reader desiring to keep abreast with the latest scholarly work in the bona fide investigation of massive state investment in the revision of history.”

PUBLISHED BY BRILL | SCHÖNINGH. PUBLISHER’S PAGE ON THE BOOKPRELIMS & CONTENTSPDF OF FLYER.

A MAJOR NEW WORK OF FICTION:

The Enemy Beside Me

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Posted in Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Books in the Debate: New Titles for Autumn 2023

B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand Honors Filmmaker Saulius Beržinis, Bold Fighter for Historic Truth



BOLD CITIZENS | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVAFILM

THE INTRICATE SAGA IN THE BACKGROUND


 

Posted in Arts, Australia, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand Honors Filmmaker Saulius Beržinis, Bold Fighter for Historic Truth

Wrong Choice for the New “Flemish Canon” in Flanders Region of Belgium



OPINION  |  HISTORY  | BELGIUM  |  EU

 

by Roland Binet  (De Panne, Belgium)

A few weeks ago my wife and I visited a number of British Commonwealth military cemeteries from World War I in Belgium’s Ypres area, which is in western Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region in the north of Belgium. Starting in October 1914, Ypres had been attacked by considerable German forces but held its ground and remained part of the Allies’ front line until November 1917 when the line was joined by Anzac and Canadian soldiers, going on to reach Passendale, thus breaching the German army’s hold on the Ypres Salient in the west of Belgium.

I always feel a deep admiration for all those young men, the young privates as well as their officers who were sometimes much older. I come to see there graves in these Commonwealth military cemeteries. They were young men who came from New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland, England, and Scotland. They also came from India and Nepal and fought here in Belgium as volunteers, career soldiers or conscripted troops, to defend “brave little Belgium.” In Western Flanders, there are hundreds of such cemeteries where courageous men were laid to rest in what has been poetically termed “Flanders’ Fields,” a place that is forever British, with places of worship and by way of a common memory.

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NATO Conference’s Noreika-Go-Round of Vilnius Monument to Brutal Holocaust Collaborator?


[updated, originally: 8 May 2023]


OPINION | J. NOREIKA | NOREIKA PLAQUE IN CENTRAL VILNIUS | COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

by Mark Blumberg (Tel Aviv)



Lithuanian media has recently reported on the “temporary removal for repairs” of one of the numerous public-space state-sanctioned memorials glorifying local Holocaust collaborators in Vilnius, the nation’s capital. It is the notorious Noreika plaque, affixed to the Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. It is situated a few minutes walk from Cathedral Square in the very heart of the EU member capital city that was once known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania for its extraordinary Jewish cultural and scholarly creativity.

Defending History

SUPPORTS UKRAINE!

The plaque, with its incorporated bas-relief sculpture glorifies Jonas Noreika, a brutal Hitler collaborator implicated in the incarceration, humiliation and genocide of many thousands of Jews in northwestern Lithuania during the Holocaust. Noreika is subject of the truth-telling book of the war criminal’s own granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti, Michael Kretzmer’s major new documentary film, J’Accuse! and over a decade of campaigning by the Defending History team based in Vilnius. In Lithuania, 96.4% of Jewish citizens perished in the Holocaust, in the top league, along with neighboring Latvia, of Holocaust era Europe.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on NATO Conference’s Noreika-Go-Round of Vilnius Monument to Brutal Holocaust Collaborator?

Notes and Updates on Silvia Foti’s ‘The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal’


[LATEST UPDATES]

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

UPDATE OF JULY 2023: NOREIKA PLAQUE COMES DOWN FOR NATO CONFERENCE. FOR HOW LONG?

UPDATE OF JULY 2022: Foti’s The Nazi’s Granddaughter is reissued with the new title Storm in the Land of Rain

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.

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Kopa Studio II Issues Statement on Temporary Link for Free Online Viewing of Film on Sheduva Holocaust



FILM | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | LITHUANIA | LITVAK AFFAIRSFREE SPEECH | MUSEUMS | SHEDUVA

VILNIUS—Kopa Studio II in Vilnius, the continuation of the fabled Kopa Studio that for thirty years has provided the gold standard in historical truth on the Holocaust in Lithuania (and has had to be reconstituted after a campaign of embittered legal action from some “powerful forces”), released the following statement today:

*
Dear Friends, Dear Enemies!

Today, 16 June 2023 at 12 noon Vilnius time, we have posted on Vimeo, until 22 June, an informal, non-commercial private share of the first version of Petrified Time, the documentary film on Sheduva (Šeduva) we were privileged to have worked on for years in partnership with the partnering museum.

For the link please apply to Kopa Studio II (at: berkopa@hotmail.com) or to Defending History (at: info@defendinghistory.com), or to Saulius Beržinis or Dovid Katz on their Facebook pages (via Messenger only, please). As ever, we will be grateful for your feedback on the first version of the film.

Saulius Beržinis, Sigitas Siudika
Kopa Studio II


 

 

 

Posted in Arts, Film, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Comments Off on Kopa Studio II Issues Statement on Temporary Link for Free Online Viewing of Film on Sheduva Holocaust

Would Your Heritage Tour Group Coming to Vilnius Like to See an Informal Draft of the ‘Banned’ Film on the Holocaust in Sheduva?



OPINION | FILM | FREE SPEECHBOLD CITIZENS | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVA | IT PAYS TO DEFEND HISTORY

VILNIUS—The Defending History community here in Vilnius was proud today again to be a partner, with the non-profit Kopa Studio II and visiting cultural and academic groups, in helping organize informal, free, non-commercial, viewings of the film Petrified Time, which contains the “Satanic Verses of Sheduva” — the historically invaluable eyewitness testimony by the last witnesses to the Lithuanian Holocaust (themselves, now, a few years later, gone too). Filmed by award winning Lithuanian documentary film maker Saulius Beržinis the film is tied up in litigation launched by the “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” in Sheduva, and spearheaded by the museum’s executive director in Brussels, in a lawsuit conducted by a top Vilnius law firm, and ultimately paid for by a South African origin billionaire in Switzlerland. News and updates of the saga here.

What is success when defending history?

Defending History thinks it’s a major success when dozens, hundreds, and thousands of people are gradually being able to watch a film that very rich and powerful forces are effectively (not “officially”) seeking to ban. If your heritage, roots or Jewish-interest tour group is coming to Vilnius in the coming months and might be interested in a private, informal viewing of a draft first version only of a remarkable film effectively banned at present, please be in touch with Defending History (info@defendinghistory.com). To inquire about future online “viewing windows” please be in touch with Kopa Studio II (berkopa@hotmail.com).

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Free Speech & Democracy, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Would Your Heritage Tour Group Coming to Vilnius Like to See an Informal Draft of the ‘Banned’ Film on the Holocaust in Sheduva?

New Public Model of 19th Century Vilna Features Czar’s Military Base, Omits Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIESLITVAK AFFAIRS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

Model of 19th century Vilna: Russian citadel — there. Old Jewish cemetery — not there. Just empty moonscape.

VILNIUS—Last month, the major Baltic news service BNS reported that a dynamic new outdoor exhibition, called “Pavilion: Vilnius 200 Years Ago” would open at the National Museum of Lithuania. Indeed, a handsome new webpage on the museum’s website gives more detail.

A model (“maquette”) of the city two hundred years ago is now to be enjoyed at the foot of Gediminas’s Hill, in the square right in front of the museum. The scale model is based on Imperial Russia’s 1830s plans for the development of the city after the suppression of the 1830 uprising, known as the November Uprising.

But instead of the half-millennium old Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (at Piramónt, in the district right across the river called Šnipiškės, Yiddish Shnípeshok), on the right bank of the Neris River (the Viliya), in front of Gediminas’s castle mount, there is a disproportionately large citadel. The huge cemetery and its numerous mini-housletsare not marked at all. The citadel of the imperial Russian army is the largest and perhaps the most prominent object in the entire layout.

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Posted in 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 New Public Model of 19th Century Vilna Features Czar’s Military Base, Omits Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Time for France’s Embassy in Vilnius to Just Say ‘Non!’ to French Bookstore that Features Books Glorifying Lithuanian Holocaust Collaborators


[UPDATED 29 MAY]


OPINION | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS | FRANCE  | THE ‘FRENCH BOOKSTORE’ IN VILNIUS

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—The French bookstore located in the building housing the Institut français / French Cultural Center, all part of the French Embassy compound here in Lithuania’s capital, has for many years been featuring smack in the middle of its prominent show window at Didžioji St. No. 1 in Vilnius Old Town, in the row of books closest to the viewer outside, books in English or Lithuanian (nothing to do with France or French) that are dedicated to glorifying Holocaust collaborators who supported and enabled the genocide of 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry.

Jump to author’s memoir

Whenever, over the years, this issue has been brought up to French Embassy diplomats, French Institute leadership, the answer has been the same, along the lines of “It is not our bookshop, it is a private French-themed bookshop that simply rents the space from us. We are not responsible. The French Embassy is not responsible, the French Institute is not responsible, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is not responsible.” Nevertheless, we would like to pay tribute to French diplomats who did make an effort over the years. On 7 May 2020, for example, the then ambassador, HE Claire Lignières-Counathe took action. She reported back: “The French book shop on Didžioji gatvė is not part of the French Institute. But we pointed out to the owner that to present this book in the shop window could hurt people. He agreed and removed the book from the shop window.”

One week later, the book was back. And that goes to the heart of how a far-right, Holocaust-revisionist, Hitler collaborator glorifying (hence ipso facto antisemitic) enterprise has been, as one midlevel French diplomat put it to us off the record, “making a monkey out of our embassy in the third decade of the twenty-first century.”

In the city’s everyday life, and all the more so for thousands of tourists from around the world, the details of ownership are unknown and of little interest. It is the universal public perception that comes into play when a French themed bookshop is housed in the building of the French Embassy compound in Vilnius, just to the right of the French Institute’s handsome blue sign.

Visitors to town can be forgiven for thinking the French bookshop is affiliated with the Institut français (blue sign at left). Photo: Defending History.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, France, French bookstore housed in Institut français & French Embassy compound in Vilnius, likes to feature (English) titles glorifying local Holocaust collaborators. What gives?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Time for France’s Embassy in Vilnius to Just Say ‘Non!’ to French Bookstore that Features Books Glorifying Lithuanian Holocaust Collaborators

Defending History’s 5000th Issue



VILNIUS—Today marks Defending History’s five thousandth day of publication. Please check out the top menu, esp. Sections and Authors; and, those interested in Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) studies and Yiddish, please see left menu. And — please support defending history by supporting DefendingHistory.com.

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Israel Chronicle


[most recent update]

Israeli Foreign Policy and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe (1990 — 2023)

JUMP TO LATEST

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem and Lithuania, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel Chronicle