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.”
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”).
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.
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).
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).
The 23rd of June 1941 is the date remembered by Lithuanian Jewry as the outbreak of the Holocaust with onset of widespread murder, dehumanizing degradation and humiliation of civilian Jewish neighbors by the “white armbanders” and “LAF” forces (whose pamphlets declared explicitly their plans for their nation’s Jewish citizens). But instead of honoring the victims, the state’s far-right historians-in-tow glorify the perpetrators as “anti-Soviet rebels,” a well known historic nonsense: the Soviet army was fleeing Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of the USSR, the largest invasion of human history, not the local Jew-killers with their white armbands. More on the historic background of the Double Genocide revisionism that has evolved into 21 Century Holocaust Denial.
And who will honor the real Lithuanian heroes of 1941 — the amazing, inspirational folks who risked everything to just save a neighbor from the LAF and Hitlerist hordes of the hour?
VILNIUS—In the interest of public information, Defending History has posted the original Lithuanian text of the verdict of the District Court of Vilnius City of 10 May 2021 For the benefit of English readers interested in the main points of the verdict, DH has commissioned an English language summary of the decision, that went against the petition filed by 157 plaintiffs, all of whom are descendants of persons buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in the Šnipiškės district of the modern city. The state property bank (Turto bankas) and its partners plan to situate a national convention center in the heart of the site, based on the ruin of the old Soviet sports palace, At the new convention center, thousands would revel each night surrounded by many more thousands of Jewish graves on all four sides. Human rights advocates have pointed out that this would never be the fate of a medieval Christian Lithuanian cemetery,, nor would authorities accept “permissions” from groups proven to take secret payments. For background see, DH’s section chronicling events from 2015 onward, its summary of recent years’ events, and its page slinking to the opposition to the cemetery’s desecration from around the world. Note that the verdict gives the plaintiffs thirty days to appeal. An appeal was duly filed by the plaintiffs within the time allotted
The English summary prepared by Lithuanian legal language experts follows. Note that the reference to the “Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe” (CPJCE) is to the discredited group of Aaronite-Satmar rabbis in London who have accepted large secret payments coinciding with their “permissions” to desecrate cemeteries on the Eastern European ground zero of the Holocaust. Follow the sad history here. Their profitable involvement has been condemned by genuine rabbinic authorities, including the Conference of European Rabbis, as well by virtually all major Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) rabbis internationally.
The plaintiffs in the court case, descendants of people buried in the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, employ a new law firm in Vilnius which files the appeal in June 2021 in accordance with the thirty-day deadline imposed by the court that handed down the May 2021 decision. Meanwhile, on 16 June, officials of the US taxpayer funded “USCPAHA” revel in tweets of lavish photo-ops with high officials in Vilnius, without even meeting Ruta Bloshtein, author of the petition whose number of signatories on this date was 53,486. DH reports.
Yitzhak Arad (originally Rudnitzky), a native of Svintsyán (Švenčionys, Lithuania, some 90 km north of Vilnius) passed away peacefully in Tel Aviv on Thursday. He was laid to rest Friday at Kibbutz Einat near Tel Aviv. His dramatic career included fighting the Nazis as a bold partisan in the forests of Lithuania, fighting with equal heroism in the air and ground forces that won Israel’s war of independence, rising to brigadier general, becoming a major Holocaust scholar and author, serving as director general of Yad Vashem for two decades (1972-1993), and, in the twenty-first century, becoming the first of a series of Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance to be publicly accused by Lithuanian prosecutors of “war crimes” (with not a shred of evidence) as part of a massive campaign of Holocaust revisionism and inversion emanating from the state and its lavishly sponsored “genocide center” and “red-brown” commission as well and numerous elite operatives in the media, academia and literature.
The Holocaust revisionist who started the campaign against Arad in 2006 (in an infamous interview in the antisemitic Respublika representing the state’s “Genocide Center“) is today the nation’s Minister of Defense (!). It was, it turned out, the opening salvo in a years’ long saga that came to include Dr. Rachel Margolis (1921-2015), Ms. Fania Brantsovsky (1922- ), and other heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance regarded as “war criminals” by the far-right revisionist history units financed by East European states and their centers, professors, press maestros and operatives on an industrial scale.
Arad was the first Jewish partisan veteran to be libeled (in 2006) by kangaroo prosecutions of Lithuania’s “history fixing” units in the effort to revise Holocaust history. One major component of the multilayered effort, epitomized by Lithuania’s state-sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” and its Genocide Research Center, has entailed painting Holocaust victims who survived by joining the resistance as perpetrators and perpetrators (particularly of the atrocities of 1941) as victims. Follow the ins-and-outs in Defending History.
VILNIUS—Shortly after Defending History published the news yesterday that Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, longtime chief historian at Lithuania’s state sponsored far-right Genocide Center had been nominated by the speaker of parliament as the center’s new director, news published also by New York’s Algemeiner Journal, a social media campaign began to try to spread a rumor that the DH photo of Dr. Bubnys proudly speaking less than a year ago under banner images of Holocaust collaborators Jonas Noreika and Kazys Škirpa was “photoshopped.” Two of DH’s Vilnius-based team, Julius Norwilla and Dovid Katz, monitored the event from start to finish. Their report appeared the same day, 23 June 2020, the 79th anniversary of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust. Instead of honoring the victims — defenseless Jewish citizens, often older rabbis and younger women brutalized and murdered by the “White Armbander” fascists — the event, like many legitimized by Lithuanian government institutions, glorified the killers, who are invariably described as “heroic anti-Soviet rebels.” This is of course a patent historic nonsense. The USSR’s forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history, not the local white-armbanded Jew-killers. While the Soviets were in power, the Hitler-backers and murderers of civilian neighbors now adulated as “anti-Soviet rebels” did not fire a single shot. Not even at a local rabbit.
Secret ballot: 76 for, 34 against,8 abstentions, 2 spoiled ballots
Algemeiner Journal reports of 15 April and of 22 April
Roland Binet, a Belgian composer working out of De Panne, has just released on Youtube a new video comprising his musical composition to a series of photographs by his wife Francine Binet taken during their joint visit to Riga in 2012, the Latvian capital, to monitor that year’s far-right March 16th parade. The annual marches glorify the Waffen SS, which fought for the Nazis and whose members all swore the oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler. Mr. Binet is a veteran contributor to Defending History. His most recent and for many, quite startling piece, divulges the hard-to-believe erection of a monument to the Latvian Waffen SS in a town in Belgium.
[most recent update]
Authorities in Riga, Latvia, who tolerate marches and memorials for the nation’s Waffen SS, that fought for Hitler and swore an oath to him, are nonetheless careful not to allow an overt monument to Nazi forces in Riga. How is it that modern-day glorifiers of the Waffen SS have managed to persuade a town in Belgium to host just such a monument (pictured in both images above)? The monument stands at the “Brivibaplin” in Zedelgem, a town situated in the province of West-Vlaanderen (West Flanders) in Belgium; GPS coordinate’s are 51.15 lat. 3.1333 long, some 20 kilometres west of Bruges.
What does Latvia have in common with Flanders in Belgium? Believe it or not: a monument in honor of Latvian Waffen SS on Flemish soil in Belgium, a country in the heart of the European Union and prime home of the European Parliament. The Latvian Waffen SS was part of Adolf Hitler’s forces in wartime, Holocaust-era Eastern Europe and its member all swore an oath to Hitler. So how could this be? This is how the official press release put it on the day:
“On 23 September 2018, in the Belgian town of Zedelgem, the ‘Monument to Freedom’ sculpted by Latvian sculptor Kristaps Gulbis was unveiled. The monument is dedicated to the Latvian Legionnaires, who did not lose faith in freedom for the Latvian State, during the winter of 1945 to 1946 when they were held in Zedelgem prisoner of war camp.”
As excerpt from Mr. Valters Nollendsorf’s speech on the occasion:
VILNIUS—Rachel Kostanian, doyenne of Holocaust history dissidents in Lithuania and beyond led, for over a quarter century, a tiny little museum in a wooden green house — it came to be known internationally as The Green House — high up a driveway invisible from the street, that insisted on telling the bitter truth about the Holocaust. Though part of the state’s Jewish museum complex officially, she personally raised support for its own major projects and publications and kept the editorial control independent. Her museum told the truth about the Lithuanian Holocaust, starting with the mass campaign of murder, plunder, humiliation and violence unleashed by the “Lithuanian Activist Front” (LAF), and other local “White-Armbanders” before the first German soldiers even arrived in June 1941. The huge “Genocide Museum” on the city’s main boulevard, by contrast, some seven minutes’ walk away, has a large hall dedicated to glorification of these same collaborators as supposedly heroic leaders of an anti-Soviet “rebellion” (a strange term here, as the Soviets were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history, not the local white-armbanded fascists). As it turns out, the issue comes to the fore in 2021, with the 80th anniversary of the events looming, and the nation’s parliament having named the year in honor of an LAF member accused of atrocities.