While closing ‘part’ of its ‘investigation’ against Holocaust survivor and eminent historian Dr Yitzhak Arad, the Prosecution Service of the Republic of Lithuania issues a public call ‘to the society [public] for assistance’ searching for ‘people who can give evidence or have important information’. More incredibly, the prosecutors’ press release attacks Dr Arad’s famous memoir The Partisan, a classic of Holocaust resistance memoir literature, on the basis of an anonymous ‘Doctor of Humanitarian Sciences (expert-historian)‘. And so, the prosecution service that never achieved the slightest punishment of a single Nazi war criminal in connection with the genocide of 200,000 Lithuanian Jews, leaves for posterity its call to the public for ‘evidence’ against the anti-Nazi resistance hero Yitzhak Arad along with a gutless attack on the scholar’s book based on an anonymous trasher. Perhaps the prosecutors’ mysterious ‘Doctor of Humanitarian Sciences (Expert-Historian)’ will muster the courage to come forward and identify himself for history?
Yad Vashem and Lithuania
State Prosecutors Defame Anti-Nazi Resistance Hero Yitzhak Arad while Closing Part of ‘Investigation’; Anonymous ‘Expert Historian’ Attacks Arad’s Book as Public is Asked to Provide ‘Evidence’
Joseph Melamed, chairman of ALJ, Speaks Out Forcefully at Yad Vashem Event to Mark Anniversary of Vilna Ghetto Liquidation
Attorney Joseph Melamed, chairman of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel (at right) delivered the keynote speech today at an event held at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to mark the September 23rd anniversary of the 1943 liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto. Because of the Jewish holidays, the event was moved up to the 20th this year.
Those in attendance included Uri Chanoch, chairman of the Holocaust Survivors’ Association; Mr Michael Schemyawitz (left of photo), head of the Association of Vilna Jews in Israel and director of its Beit Vilna premises in the Montefiore section of Tel Aviv; and the top leadership of Yad Vashem including chairman Avner Shalev and director general Nathan Eitan. The program of speakers and was released in advance (in Hebrew) by the ALJ. Lithuania’s ambassador to Israel, HE Darius Degutis, delivered a conciliatory address (full text here), which included the moving line: ‘It breaks my heart and casts a shadow of shame that among the perpetrators of these crimes were also my countrymen. This cannot be, and will not be, either forgotten or forgiven’.
Yad Vashem, Causing Pain to Survivors with Participation in Lith. Parliament Conference Lauding Collaborators, Withdraws at Last Moment (after Defending History’s Plea)
UPDATE 1: On 27 June 2011 at 3:31 PM (Vilnius time), the Israeli Embassy in Riga (responsible for Lithuania as well as Latvia) emailed DefendingHistory.com to say that Yad Vashem’s participation in the event has been cancelled. This was confirmed in a further email from Yad Vashem at 3:56 PM. In Vilnius, however, the name of Yad Vashem and its designated representative continue to appear on programs and brochures, giving the impression that the event enjoys the formal participation of Yad Vashem. See our public query to Yad Vashem.
According to a conference program posted on the website of the Lithuanian Parliament, Yad Vashem is the only Jewish institution sending a representative to the latest conference mounted by the Lithuanian government in its campaign to downgrade the Holocaust and whitewash the Lithuanian Holocaust’s first murderers (the L.A.F. and other fascist groups), often by glorifying them as ‘freedom fighters’. The printed brochure for the conference, to be held on 29 and 30 June 2011, announces the event as a joint project of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) and the deeply antisemitic Genocide Research Center. One of the Center’s top ‘specialists’ participated in the recent neo-Nazi parade and went on to launch a public antisemitic campaign. He was neither removed from his post nor publicly reprimanded, as the season’s conferences plow ahead full steam.
DefendingHistory.com reported June 7th on Yad Vashem’s announced participation in the Lithuanian parliament’s 29-30 ‘International Conference: The Beginning of the Soviet-German War in the Baltic States in 1941’.
We commented on the pain caused to Lithuanian Holocaust survivors and their families by a decision to confer legitimacy, via the sterling name of Yad Vashem — the world’s premier Holocaust museum and research institution — on a conference held on the seventieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust. The agenda of the Lithuanian-government sponsored event has appeared to be yet another cover for the massive local violence that unleashed the Holocaust here, and to attempt yet again to recast the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), the Provisional Government (PG) and other fascist bodies as supposedly heroic freedom fighters.
In Delirium of Obfuscation: First Day of the Lithuanian Parliament’s Conference on the 70th Anniversary of Hitler’s Attack on the USSR
by Dovid Katz
Today was Day 1 of the Lithuanian parliament’s two-day ‘International Conference: The Beginning of the Soviet-German War in the Baltic States in 1941 — 29-30 June 2011, Vilnius’. It is being held as part of a series of events to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Nazi War against the Soviet Union, unleashed on 22 June 1941.
Račinskas’s Version of ‘Holocaust Education’: Red-Brown Commission Director General Speaks in the Lithuanian Parliament
Updates (newest first):
The following is DefendingHistory.com’s translation (from the tape) of the concluding speech of the 29-30 June 2011 conference (reports here and here), delivered by Ronaldas Račinskas, director general (sometimes listed as executive director) of the government sponsored ‘International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania’ (known for short as the ‘Red-Brown Commission’), which is housed in the Office of the Prime Minister of Lithuania. It can serve as a potent example of the state-sponsored Holocaust Obfuscation movement which presents one face domestically, a second in the European Parliament, and a third to naive Western Holocaust Studies groups.
Yad Vashem Withdraws Invitation to Lithuanian Minister over Campaign against Joe Melamed; British Parliamentarians Move an ‘Early Day Motion’; Melamed Speaks Eloquently at Yad Vashem, Blasts Efforts to Glorify Holocaust Perpetrators as ‘Heroes’
Yad Vashem rescinded the invitations to the Lithuanian culture minister and ambassador to the 19 September event held in memory of the victims of the Lithuanian Holocaust. The cancelation of invitations came in response to the new investigation launched by Vilnius prosecutors (via Interpol) against a Holocaust survivor. The 30 August visit to Mr. Melamed by Interpol liaison officers in Tel Aviv was reported in DefendingHistory.com and by Yossi Melman in Haaretz.
The report on the disinvitation, also by Yossi Melman in Haaretz was rapidly picked up by the Associated Press and carried widely (e.g. CBS News, Fox, MSNBC, Washington Post, YahooNews). Further reports have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Chronicle (London), Mishpacha, and JTA (WJC, JJ, Juedische.at, etc).
O P I N I O N
by David Goshen (Kiryat Ono)
[Editor’s note of 1 December 2012: The letter below refers to the revised Yad Vashem exhibit of recent years, rather than the long-time exhibit removed. Cf. the final point made in DH editor’s June 2009 letter to Yad Vashem.]
The following letter was recently sent by me to the editor of the Jerusalem Post. It had one main object, namely to point out that a major portion of the responsibility for the murder of the Jews of Lithuania lies on the shoulders of the local Lithuanian population and to persuade the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum that the description “killed by the Nazis with the assistance of their local allies” does not by far describe what really took place in Lithuania in the Holocaust. A much abridged version of the letter was published on 30 November 2011.
Unconfirmed Report: Yad Vashem asked to Shore Up Discredited Red-Brown Commission with Three (!) New Members
VILNIUS. Unconfirmed rumors were swirling in “Holocaust politics” circles this week about an alleged request by “very high officials” of the Lithuanian government to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem — through channels including both countries’ foreign ministries — to shore up the status of the widely discredited “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania.” The commission is widely known as the “Red-Brown Commission.”
Holocaust survivors from Lithuania, and their families and advocates, are reporting feelings of “shock and betrayal” at “unbelievable reports” that Yad Vashem might again be lending legitimacy to the Lithuanian government sponsored “red-brown commission.” These accounts derive from a BNS (Baltic News Service) report today that appeared in various Lithuanian media, including Alfa.lt (full translation below), reporting that the president herself signed the decree today for substantial new state investment in the commission.
The Vilnius and Jerusalem rumor mills are equally putting out the word that there had been pressure from the Israeli foreign ministry, itself pressured by the Lithuanian foreign ministry for Holocaust-revising gestures in line with the current Baltic state policy often referred to as “Double Genocide.”
D O C U M E N T S
After more than three years’ wait for a substantive reply to the points raised in a letter to Yad Vashem, and in light of the past week’s shocking revalations about political legitimization by Yad Vashem of the Lithuanian government’s “red-brown commission” that is the engine of Prague Declaration and Double Genocide politics in Europe, DefendingHistory is releasing the full text of the letter of 28 June 2009, and the initial reply received the following day.
In the original the images, numbered 1-7, were included as email attachments. Here they are inserted in the text. [Note: the author’s eleven-year Vilnius University affiliation ended in 2010.]
From: Dovid Katz [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009 1:17 PM
To: גביר יוסי
Cc: ‘Simon Wiesenthal Center-Israel Office’; ‘Dov Levin’; ‘Joseph Melamed’
Subject: from Dovid Katz (Vilnius University)
Greetings dear Yossi (at the moment from Tel Aviv),
Trust this finds you and all at Yad Vashem well and thriving. As you may recall, we corresponded for several months in Spring 2008. I had been (and frankly remain) disappointed that by continuing to allow Yad Vashem’s name to appear as a partner of the Lithuanian government sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” even as the falsification of history (replacement of the very notion of the Holocaust by a paradigm of two equal genocides) continues apace at the European Parliament. Parliamentarians are told: “Look, Yad Vashem is with us….” Of course Yad Vashem has no such intention, and we are in agreement that it’s important for Lithuanian teachers to be educated in Jerusalem but that should be facilitated through any of the various honest NGOs or educators, not the “Red-Brown Commission” whose major current project is passage of the “equal genocide” resolutions in the European Parliament. My two recent op-eds on the topic are in the Jewish Chronicle and Irish Times.
TEL AVIV—The following public statement was received at 2:15 PM Tel Aviv time from the offices of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel at King David Boulevard 1. In addition, the ALJ today released the letter written by its chairman to the head of Yad Vashem (English translation here). Background.
Joseph Melamed, Head of Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors’ Association, Releases Letter to Director of Yad Vashem
TEL AVIV—The office of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel today released the text of the Hebrew letter which the ALJ’s chairman, Tel Aviv attorney Joseph Melamed, sent today to Avner Shalev, the director of Yad Vashem. Images of the letter’s two pages follow (signed letter as PDF). English translation here.
See also the separate English statement which the ALJ released to the media earlier today, following the recent news about the Lithuanian government renewing a much enlarged red-brown commission with the ostensible participation of Yad Vashem.
The following is a translation of the Hebrew letter from Tel Aviv attorney Joseph Melamed, head of the Association of Lithuanian Jews, to Avner Shalev, director of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, in reaction to news reports reporting that Yad Vashem would rejoin the Vilnius-based red-brown commission. In addition, the Association issued a statement to the media today.
Tel Aviv, 3 September 2012
Hon. Avner Shalev
Chairman, Yad Vashem
The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority
The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel was left in shock by the decision of Yad Vashem to renew its activities in the “International” Commission [for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania].
Families of Holocaust Survivors in the US Release Public Letter on Renewal of Lithuanian Government’s Red-Brown Commission
The following is the text of the statement released today by the signatories enumerated below.
Welcome to Holocaust Halloween: The Political Obfuscation of the Holocaust in Lithuania by Lies, Masquerades, Tricks, and Treats
The Soviet occupation of Lithuania is a painful part of its history.
The mass murder of approximately 95% of Lithuania’s Jewish population (noted by historians as the highest percentage of any European country) during World War two is an abomination and blot on the history of Lithuania and its citizenry.
The two events are not equal. Historical sufferings are not identical.
Lithuanian President Refinances Red-Brown Commission
Yad Vashem is Pressed by Foreign Ministry to Join as Holocaust Survivors Protest, after Years of Dissent; Rapid Descent into Morass of Lithuanian-Russian Politics
INTERNATIONAL REACTION: DefendingHistory; Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors in Israel issue statement and open letter; Survivor families (USA); Dr. Clemens Heni (Berlin).
Yad Vashem Sinking Deeper in Lithuanian “Commission” Morass with Political Campaign for Compensation from Russia
The polite fiction that the renewed Lithuanian state sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” will advance Holocaust research and research on Soviet crimes strictly at the academic and educational levels took a big hit today, before even its first meetings.
A BNS report released today confirms that the Commission, officially known as The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, is one of the bodies that will be involved with demanding compensation from Russia for Soviet crimes against Lithuania.
US Documentary Film Maker Releases Correspondence with Yad Vashem on Alliance with Lithuanian “Red-Brown Commission”
The American documentary film maker Richard Bloom, who has produced a number of documentaries on the Holocaust, today released for publication his recent correspondence with Yad Vashem. He said his decision was taken after he failed to receive substantive replies to his recent queries about Yad Vashem rejoining the Lithuanian government’s “red-brown commission.”
Baltic News Service (BNS) has just released yet more convoluted news on the renewal of the “red-brown commission” by, it appears, yet another revised presidential decree. Full text of the BNS report follows below.
“Red-Brown Commission” is Formal Member of Revisionists’ “Platform of European Memory and Conscience”
It was today confirmed by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience that the Lithuanian government’s “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes of Lithuania” (known for brevity as the “Red-Brown Commission”) is a formal member of the “Platform.” This is further confirmed on the Platform’s website under the list of “Platform Members” (right hand column).