Opinion

Story of a Little Roma Boy in Modern Vilnius



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  HUMAN RIGHTS

 

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vitia, a little Roma boy, looks out the window of his poor red house in Kirtimai, on the outskirts of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital

 

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

I thought for a long time about what to report about the situation of the Lithuanian Roma — about their lives today. And I decided to yell you about the little Roma boy called Vitia. Because, by telling his story I will also tell about the painful part of many Roma here in Lithuania in the final months of 2020.

But first a little background.

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Posted in Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Story of a Little Roma Boy in Modern Vilnius

New Lithuanian Parliament Deadline Looms (Nov. 24), Email Campaign Ramping Up



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

A heartfelt thank you for all who responded to our urgent call to write the Budget and Finance Committee of Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament), which met on November 11, 2020. The Committee acknowledged that it received recommendations from 54 groups and individuals to not finance the reconstruction of the Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace Building Complex, which the Soviets built in the center of the historic Jewish cemetery at Piramónt-Šnipiškės. The Committee neither approved nor rejected this proposal but simply passed it on to the Lithuanian government.

At this stage in the budget process, we urge concerned readers to send a second email to the Seimas leadership, as described below, before the Seimas’s crucial session on November 24, 2020.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, 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 | Comments Off on New Lithuanian Parliament Deadline Looms (Nov. 24), Email Campaign Ramping Up

Dramatic Developments in Case of the “Convention Center Project” in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery


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JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION; TO DH SECTION


November 2020:

Next Vilnius court hearing: 24 November (Laisvės Prospect 79A, room 205 [check updates]; case no. e2-625-918/2020). On 12 Nov, Lithuanian parliament member Kestutis Masiulis proposed that state funding not be allocated reconstruction of the old Sports Palace, on grounds that within a few years it would again become inadequate, given the huge parking and other needs. His formal amendment to the budget is available online.

October 2020:

Media reports on the previous hearings (of 1 and 6 Oct.): Defending History (1 Oct.), Algemeiner Journal (2 Oct.), SaveVilna.org (4 Oct.) Jerusalem Post (5 Oct); Defending History (6. Oct); Kapines.org (6. Oct); also earlier report on European Foundation for Human Rights involvement.

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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 Dramatic Developments in Case of the “Convention Center Project” in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Email Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament) to Respect the Old Vilnius 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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

As readers of Defending History know from Julius Norwilla’s recent article, this week is the rare and perfect opportunity for our concerns about the fate of the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt to be heard by Lithuania‘s Seimas.

The Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) is approving a package of investments that it will be making in 2021-2023 to pump Lithuania‘s economy as it battles the pandemic. Among the 49 billion euros of expenditures is a line item of 27 million euros for reconstruction of the Vilnius Sports and Congress Building Complex Project. (See page 3 here and page 84 here). In other words, this is money that will fund the endless desecration of the oldest Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, 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 Email Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament) to Respect the Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

Yakov Faitelson Calls on Lithuania’s Parliament to Reconsider Naming 2021 to Glorify Alleged Participant in 1941 Kaunas Atrocities



OPINION  |  CHRONOLOGY OF THE 2020-2021 LUKŠA DEBATE  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  | LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Yakov Faitelson

Editor’s note: Following the Lithuanian parliament’s decision last June to name the year 2021 for an alleged participant in the Kaunas (Kovno) atrocities of June 1941, rapid protest ensued from Defending History, and in rapid succession, the official Jewish Community of Lithuania in partnership with the American Jewish Committee, and Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, executive director of the World Jewish Congress Israel and director of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations. See Evaldas Balčiūnas’s summary, and DH’s chronology of the debate, which also provides additional sources on the alleged activities of the honoree, Juozas Lukša, including the UK parliamentary statement on his alleged participation in the 1941 Kaunas beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky. Note that the Lithuanian parliament named 2020 for the Gaon of Vilna, and minted a controversial coin to mark that. Before that, the year 2019 had been named for a leader of a murderous Hitlerist militia of 1941.

I respectfully call on members of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas), to read pp. 33-34 in my father’s book, The Truth and Nothing But the Truth (Gefen Publishing, Jerusalem & New York 2006), and to reconsider the tragically misguided proposal to name 2021 for Juozas Lukša (Luksha), a participant in atrocities committed against the peaceful Jewish citizens of Kaunas (Kovno) in the last week of June 1941, when massive local violence broke out before the invading German army had set up its authority.

I would like to emphasize that in his books, my father Alex (Alter-Henoch) Faitelson (1923–2010) provided a meticulously researched description of those tragic events of the Lithuanian Holocaust. As a professional auditor who worked for a major Israeli bank for over twenty-five years, he adhered to very strict rules also in his studies of the Holocaust. He repeatedly encountered and tested — corroborating or rejecting — details of testimonies of his former comrades in the anti-fascist struggle and Holocaust survivors more generally. In the same book, he included chapters “Forgery, Communist Style” (chapter 20), “The Tricks of Memory” (21), and “Everyone’s a Hero” (22), titles that speak for themselves to anyone in the field. In fact, these are part of a larger five-chapter section called Legends and Fables.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yakov Faitelson Calls on Lithuania’s Parliament to Reconsider Naming 2021 to Glorify Alleged Participant in 1941 Kaunas Atrocities

Rewriting of History in Brussels at a Strange New Museum: “House of European History”



OPINION  |    MUSEUMS  |  PRAGUE PLATFORM  |  EU  |  BELGIUM

by Tord Björk

 

The Nazis wanted to exterminate a race and Karl Marx wanted to exterminate a social class. Our  guide at the House of European History museum (HEH) in Brussels is twisting her tongue as she tries to solve the task of simultaneously explaining that Communism and Nazism are the same thing, and yet, somehow not. Visually, the impression of the museum’s exhibition is overwhelmingly slanted toward the notion that they are fully, inexorably and inherently equivalent.

Towering above us in the ideologically most intense part of the museum are huge video screens tilted towards the visitor. These screens, on four islands in the room, are so large that in spite of the hall being generously spacious, they fill up the room. The spectator can feel small in their shadow. On the screens the masses march in honor of the dictator, people are violently oppressed and the imagery makes this museum’s point very clearly: the interwar period was marked by the very same conflict as that after the war until the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin wall fell. That single conflict that is posited as God’s-honest-truth-fact is between Western democracy and (any kind of) totalitarianism. The technically impressive format is meticulously balanced: two huge screens each for the horrific methods of Communism and Nazism. The similarity is indeed visually striking. Stalin and Hitler—in that order— are omnipresent in the midst of terror. As a climax, the hammer and the sickle are projected at the same time as the swastika in meticulously equal format.

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Vilnius’s Future Monument to the Righteous Holocaust Rescuers belongs on Gedimino Prospect



OPINION

Seven years ago, this journal’s opinion section cheered the decision to finally, for the first time, honor one of the real Lithuanian heroes of the Holocaust era, the Rescuers, also known as Righteous of the Nations, in Vilnius. While praising the decision to so honor the inspirational Ona Šimaitė (1894–1970), Defending History lamented the decision to do so out in a suburb just north of the city. The name of our editorial in 2013 was “Vilnius Street Name Proposed for Rescuer Out in Boondocks; But Please Remove Nazi Collaborators from City Center!”

As ever, the Defending History community was pleased to play the role of catalyst while much more powerful and wealthy forces eventually came around to taking up the cause. In the end a streetlet was named for Šimaitė at the technical “edge” of the city center, not very traversed, but progress nonetheless.

Naturally, Defending History was there to report on the street name’s unveiling in 2015.

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Two Visions for the Future Status, Stature & Symbolism of Vilnius (Vilna, Vílne, Wilno)



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

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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 Two Visions for the Future Status, Stature & Symbolism of Vilnius (Vilna, Vílne, Wilno)

Lithuanian Journalists Report the Costs of Desecrating the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Lithuanian journalists are raising questions that the Lithuanian government has yet to answer regarding its plans to repurpose as a modern convention center the Vilnius Sports Palace which the Soviets built on the oldest Jewish cemetery in Šnipiškės. These journalists are informing the Lithuanian public about spectacular increases in projected costs, the rabbinical court’s ruling which prohibits use of the building, the architects who propose reconsidering the future of the building, and the historical documents which show that the Soviets seized the Cemetery in 1940 from the Vilnius Jewish Community, whose rights have yet to be restored.

Skirmantas Malinauskas Publishes Expected Construction Costs of 64 Million Euros

Most dramatically, on September 12, 2020, independent journalist Skirmantas Malinauskas uploaded an hour-long You Tube video. “For the sake of the public interest”, he presented portions of a document leaked to him, namely the technical project submitted in March, 2020 by Karolis Maciulevičius of UAB “ArchiMenai” to Turto Bankas (the State Property Bank). Malinauskas’s investigative videos are supported by 4,000 Patreon subscribers (at about 3 euros per month) and typically viewed by more than 100,000 viewers, and this bombshell may reverberate across Lithuanian media. Skirmantas Malinauskas was until March, 2020 an advisor to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. Prior to that he worked as a journalist for 15min.lt, where he wrote detailed articles on September 20, 2016 and June 7, 2016 about problems in the bidding process for reconstruction of the Vilnius Sports Palace.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Journalists Report the Costs of Desecrating the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

What to Do with Lenin Square and the Sports Palace? Switch Them!



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Professor Vladislovas Mikučianis was the master architect of Vilnius who designed Lenin Square. He also led the commission which deemed that the oldest Jewish cemetery in Vilnius had no historical or aesthetic value. And he wrote the review, in 1972, for “Statyba and Architektūra”, of the newly completed Vilnius Sports Palace, which desecrated the cemetery. We should credit him with a devastating but enduring conception of Vilnius that, like a python’s grip, we have yet to appreciate, and so are needing decades to escape. Lithuanian leaders are intent on repurposing the Sports Palace as a National Convention Center, desecrating the cemetery anew. What to do?

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on What to Do with Lenin Square and the Sports Palace? Switch Them!

“Leave in Peace the Graves of Our Great Vilnius Jewish Ancestors”: Plea Leaps from Defending History to Lietuvos Aidas



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

In 2015, Ruta Bloshtein first publicly spoke out against the Lithuanian government’s unseemly decision that Lithuania’s premiere convention center should be the Soviet Sports Palace, a monstrosity which desecrates the oldest Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. Her article  (that appeared (in Lithuanian and in English translation) in DefendingHistory.com included her plea, “Palikite ramybėje mūsų didžių protėvių Vilniaus žydų kapus” (Leave in Peace the Graves of Our Great Vilnius Jewish Ancestors).

On August 1, 2020, her words became the headline of the main article on the front page of Lithuania’s leading nationalist weekly, “Lietuvos Aidas”. The weekly was founded in 1917 by Antanas Smetona, who in 1918 became Lithuania’s first president. It was revived in 1990, controversially, as the state newspaper of newly independent Lithuania, and privatized a few years later. The weekly has grown in quality under editor Rasa Pilvelytė-Čemeškienė and claims a circulation of 7,000.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Leave in Peace the Graves of Our Great Vilnius Jewish Ancestors”: Plea Leaps from Defending History to Lietuvos Aidas

Will Lithuania’s Parliament Really Name 2021 for Alleged Participant in LAF’s Kaunas Atrocities of June 1941?



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  HISTORY   |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Dovid Katz

According to Lithuanian media reports, the nation’s parliament (Seimas) will be declaring the year 2021 to be dedicated to the memory of Juozas Lukša (Daumantas).

Let us assume for the sake of argument that the identification of Mr. Lukša (Luksha) as one of the brutal murderers of defenseless Jewish neighbors in an infamous photo of the Kaunas Garage Massacre of June 1941, best known from Joseph Melamed’s 1999 Crime and Punishment, published by the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, is erroneous. Then, that the reference to Mr. Lukša in the text (p. 38) in a listing of perpetrators (known from a half century of testimonies from the survivor community), and a photo with other alleged collaborators (p. 105), are likewise mistaken. And that the information on the Association’s website, posted during Mr. Melamed’s lifetime, is also in error.

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Let us even grant that there is no current courtroom-grade proof for the details of the following text from Holocaust survivor Alex (Alter) Faitelson, in his classic memoir The Truth and Nothing But the Truth: Jewish Resistance in Lithuania (Gefen Publishing House 2006, p. 34). It is a text that includes the author’s recollection from after the war: Lukša’s “photograph was found and shown to witnesses who were interrogated. They all confirmed his participation in the torture of Jews in the garage” (Lithuanian translation). Incidentally, in 1993, Mr. Faitelson was awarded a certificate of honor by Lithuanian president Algirdas Brazauskas. He was not some “enemy of Lithuania” who spent his time making up stories about people. He was a Holocaust survivor, heroic member of the resistance and escape, and renowned memoirist.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Dovid Katz, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Will Lithuania’s Parliament Really Name 2021 for Alleged Participant in LAF’s Kaunas Atrocities of June 1941?

Chief Historian of Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” is Key Speaker at Events Glorifying June 23rd 1941 and — Noreika and Škirpa



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  HISTORY   |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  VILNIUS “GENOCIDE CENTER”

Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, chief historian at the state sponsored “Genocide Center” proudly glorifying June 23rd 1941 under the visages of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika (left) and ethnic cleansing advocate K. Škirpa in central Vilnius. Photo: DefendingHistory.com

VILNIUS—The good news is that the press conference at the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) this morning featuring two members of parliament was in the end a small fringe event by the far right, including a renewed attack on Holocaust survivor and resistance hero Dr. Yitzhak Arad, one of the Jewish partisan veterans defamed and harassed by local prosecutors for some years. The evening event in central Vilnius had a dismal turnout of a few dozen people. Both events were dedicated to the glorification of June 23rd, the day the mass murder, injury, plunder and humiliation of Lithuanian Jewry by local Hitler supporters, most prominently the LAF (“Lithuanian Activist Front”) got underway, in a multitude of locations, most lethally Kaunas, before the arrival of the first German forces. Although it is universally accepted by serious historians that the Soviet Army was fleeing Hitler’s onslaught (Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history), the local far right continues to spew the narrative that this was actually a “rebellion” that “drove out” the Soviet army. (See Defending History’s coverage of previous years’ events and debates, an introductory reading list on the history, and the new English translation of extensive survivor testimonies.)

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Chief Historian of Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” is Key Speaker at Events Glorifying June 23rd 1941 and — Noreika and Škirpa

‘New Book’ by Holocaust Killer H. Cukurs Hits Latvia’s Bookstores



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

June 2020. I go to buy some food in the supermarket near where I live. Passing by the display-stand of the “Jānis Roze” bookstore featuring its proud new titles I was shocked to see My flight to Japan (Mans lidojums uz Japānu) by Herberts Cukurs (pronounced [tsú-kurs]). The book was just published, not by some private publisher, but by the Latvian Museum of Aviation in Spilve. Description of the new title on the website Janisroze.lv presents Herberts Cukurs as “the aviator, traveler and man of courage.” No mention of his involvement in the Holocaust.

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Posted in Aleksandrs Feigmanis, Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on ‘New Book’ by Holocaust Killer H. Cukurs Hits Latvia’s Bookstores

Respect Cemeteries in Siberia but also Vilnius



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

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Respect Cemeteries (Gerbkime kapines) is a group of individuals in Lithuania who are working together to keep our country from operating a convention center at the Vilnius Sports Palace on top of the oldest Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. We are focusing on this crisis as the most vital issue to address in fostering Lithuanian and Litvak friendship.

Our approach is to embrace and explore the value of respecting all cemeteries with special attention to Lithuanian points of view. Arkadij Kurliandchik, an elected member of the board of the Vilnius Jewish Community, advises that we won’t be heard in Lithuania if we portray the fate of the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery as a Jewish special interest issue. Instead, if we care about our general humanity, and if we appreciate Lithuanian issues, then we hope to discover the righteous Lithuanians who will argue with us against cynical Lithuanian politicians and developers, and against their ally, the official Lithuanian Jewish Community.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Respect Cemeteries in Siberia but also Vilnius

How to Honor Gaon of Vilna in Style?





Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How to Honor Gaon of Vilna in Style?

Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder


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THE LATEST

Reviews of Bloodlands

Reviews of Black Earth

Instrumentalization?

2012   2013   2014   2015   2016

This journal holds leading historian Professor Timothy Snyder (Yale University) in the highest esteem, and trusts that this select list of reviews taking issue with aspects of Bloodlands of direct concern to DefendingHistory.com will not be taken amiss. It does not include reviews which have engaged in personal attack or pursued grudges, or which focus on other issues.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Australia, Books, Double Genocide, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder

A Vilnius Building for Danse Macabre?



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

by Julius Norwilla

The author is chairperson of the Vilnius Committee for Preservation of Piramont (Šnipiškės) Cemetery. A selection of his English articles is available here.

We return to the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramont (Šnipiškės). Back on December 19, 2019, the Lithuanian State Property Bank (Turto Bankas) announced an agreement with a tiny number of non-representative self-interested Jewish organizations for the development of the Vilnius Congress Center in the old Palace of Sports building surrounded by thousands of still extant Jewish graves going back to the 15th century (remember, graves and tombstones are two different things; the Soviets stole all the stones, and they keep turning up all around town). See Defending History’s report on the Dec. 2019 events here in Vilnius.

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Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court Reconfirms ‘National Hero’ Status of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



THE NOREIKA DEBATE FROM 2012 ONWARD  |  COLLABORATGORS GLORIFIED   |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—Coronavirus or not, Vilnius’s Supreme Administrative Court yesterday issued its dismissal of the appeal against an earlier court ruling that effectively codified in Lithuanian law the conclusion that Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika is indeed a national hero. The Noreika saga reached the English speaking world in 2012, when Evaldas Balčiūnas’s article appeared in Defending History. Mr. Balčiūnas followed up with articles on other perpetrators glorified by the state, and was harassed by years of kangaroo prosecutions (scroll down to May 2014, further articles following). Thereafter, challenges were mounted both here and abroad  to state-sponsored glorification, in a NATO/EU state, of a proven Holocaust collaborator. These  have included Californian-resident wealth adviser Grant Gochin, Vilnius-resident Lithuanian-American scholar Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, who curates a website on the subject, and, most sensationally, Noreika’s own American-born grandsaughter, the Chicago-based author and educator Silvia Foti, whose 2018 article in Salon led to international media coverage and work on a feature film project.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court Reconfirms ‘National Hero’ Status of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

On Representation and Morality: Thoughts on Recent TV Interview with Nominal “Chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community”



OPINION   |  MEDIA WATCH  | JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Josif Parasonis (Vilnius)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a working translation, approved by Prof. Parasonis, of his  27 Feb. 2020 article in Lithuanian that appeared on the website of LRT (Lithuanian Radio and Television network), in response to LRT’s 24 January television interview with the chairperson of the (state-sponsored) Lithuanian Jewish Community (translation of the interview; reference in the article to an earlier program is to a 2018 broadcast, online here, at 22 min. mark). Shortly after the appearance of Prof. Parasonis’s article, the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community  (VJC) confirmed on its Facebook page that he represents the position of the VJC. A Russian version also appears on the VJC’s page.  In the event of any matter arising in the text, Prof. Parasonis’s Lithuanian original alone is authoritative. 

The trailer for the 24 January 2020 show on the “Lietuvos Rytas” TV channel was quite intriguing: “Faina Kukliansky on the still resilient discrimination against Jews.” In the course of the program, speaking to its mass audience, the official chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Faina Kukliansky, made a series of dubious statements, some of which are incompatible with moral norms, and some of which may be incompatible with the laws of our country. In my opinion, the public space continues to pretend that the program “never took place.” I have therefore found it necessary to share my thoughts with the public.

The discussion on the program was about Lithuanian Jews, their relations to Lithuanians, the guest’s career and her personal life. When it came to Lithuanian Jews, Ms. Kukliansky talked about them in the past tense, as if she were not one of them, in a dismissive manner: “They are no longer here, they were murdered, it’s not worth harassing the remaining ones. […] Perhaps we could say that there would have been many Einsteins among those who were killed.”

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Posted in Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on On Representation and Morality: Thoughts on Recent TV Interview with Nominal “Chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community”