O P I N I O N
by Jacob Piliansky
Iam proud to be a Litvak, and I am proud to be a citizen of independent and democratic Lithuania. I very much enjoy walking in our city’s delightful Vingis Park, as well as downtown in the beautiful city center area.
However, I feel suddenly both sad and shocked, when I see neo-Nazi parades with swastikas and other fascist symbols along Gedimino Boulevard on our independence day repeating the yelled chants of “Lithuania for [ethnic] Lithuanians.”
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Jacob Piliansky, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Symbology, Vilnius
Tagged Antisemitism in Lithuania, Bagel Shop (Lithuania), Beigelių krautuvėlė (Vilnius), Glorification of Nazi Collaborators, Holocaust in Lithuania, Jacob Piliansky, neo-Nazi marches, Vingis Park monument
On Friday, October 28th 2016, at 5 PM, I approached the gates of our Choral Synagogue, at Pylimo Street 39, for the weekly Eve of Sabbath service. I saw that the gates were locked shut. Finally I noticed Kalman Krinsky, son of Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, the city’s Chabad rabbi for the past twenty-two years. Kalman told me in Yiddish (we speak Yiddish to each other) that the shul was closed and that the prayer service had been moved to the Jewish community’s building at Pylimo 4.
Jacob Piliansky (1946-2018)
Several dozen Vilnius Jews turned up today for the funeral of Jacob Piliansky at the city’s current Jewish cemetery at Sudervės 28. Decades ago, Piliansky, an engineer by trade, relocated to Washington DC (and for a time to the Netherlands) where he built a new life and career. But when his mother back in Vilnius, the legendary Dobke Jonis, turned ninety, he decided to return to his native Lithuania and live with her for the remainder of their years. Dobke (Dora Piliansky, 1912–2014), who passed away at age 102, was a cultural icon of her shtetl Zézmer (today’s Žiežmariai), whose prolific writings and drawings remain a testament, as does her testimony on the bestial brutality of the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) fascists in June 1941 who turned back Jewish escapees on the roads to ensure they would be trapped in the Nazi choke-hold. She brought up her children — Jacob (Yasha, Yankl) and his older sister Fréydke (Frida Piliansky Zavalkovsky, 1942–2016) — to stand proudly for historic truth and to fear nothing and nobody when it comes to telling the story of Lithuanian Jewry in its homeland. Or plain and simple, to stand up for what is right. Such folks do not often enjoy lifetimes of unbroken popularity or the easiest of times.
Posted in Jacob Piliansky, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius)
Tagged Defending Holocaust History, Dobke Jonis, Jacob Piliansky, Jews in Vilnius, Simon Gurevich, Simonas Gurevicius, Vilnius Jewish community