According to Vilnius University’s website, a ceremony to open an exhibition of “envelope art” by Antanas Šakalys will be held in the White Hall of the university’s main library on 27 September at 2 PM. Mr. Šakalys’s antisemitic postcards were on sale for many years at the capital’s main Post Office, and were exposed in 2008 by the Jewish community’s newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania.
“Moderate Litvak” Status is Conferred by his Highness, the Norwegian Property Magnate cum Editor-in-Chief of Vilnius
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Thought experiment: Imagine an African American in the city of Columbia, South Carolina, being called an extremist or fanatic for peacefully expressing the opinion that it is offensive for the Confederate flag to be hoisted on the grounds of the state capitol building. Imagine him or her being called extremist or fanatic for failing to be grateful that the flag was, after much protest, moved from atop the dome to the mere grounds of the capitol and its design slightly changed to conform to the Confederate Battle Flag (as a “concession”).
Imagine if a snow-white editor of a web journal singled out for David Duke style praise “Moderate African Americans” who just say “Thank you” when a pathetic morsel of PR is offered up by local authorities in the face of mounting international opprobrium.
There would be public outrage at the racism.
1500 Honor the Waffen SS at Riga’s Liberty Monument; Event is Praised by Latvia’s President, Condemned by Council of Europe’s Commission on Racism
E Y E W I T N E S S R E P O R T / O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
RIGA—According to most estimates, there were around 1500 participants today in the city-center ceremony honoring the Waffen SS, about 1000 police, and about one hundred protesters who turned out in opposition to the event.
The ongoing campaign by some East European governments to repackage far-right ultranationalist politics and policies (with concomitant antisemitic, racist and Nazi-glorifying undertones) as a wholesome British-conservative-style “center right” has suffered a major blow. The battleground of ideas has in recent weeks shifted to the annual Waffen SS commemoration ceremony held at Liberty Monument, the symbolic heart of the capital of Latvia, with the blessing of some of the nation’s top leaders.
O P I N I O N
by David Surjányi
Dozens of people marching on the streets with flags in their hands and badges on their chest.
When they reach their destination a strange looking person steps on the podium and starts to speak. His speech is saturated with hate. He demands a “Jew-free” country. He blames the Roma people for the problems of our society.
And this is not 1944. It is 2012. Here in Hungary.
Council of Europe’s Commission Against Racism and Intolerance Condemns Latvia’s Waffen SS Parades and Celebration of Hitler’s 1941 Invasion
The Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance today published online its 9 December report ECRI Report on Latvia (fourth monitoring cycle). In the 67 page report, the ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance) explicitly condemns the Waffen SS marches enabled and supported for many years by some of the highest echelons of Latvian government and society. There is also reference to the more recent case of celebrating the day of Hitler’s invasion in 1941.
O P I N I O N
by Jared McBride
During my dissertation research in Rivne, I’ve been going through a number of contemporary Volhynian newspapers for articles on a range of historical matters. As a historian of the Second World War, I do not tend to spend as much time with contemporary publications, yet at the end of the day, every activity and research experience is a lesson in some manner when you’re “in country” working.
I spent time working through what I already understood to be the right-wing nationalist newspaper, Volyn’, which is a Rivne oblast’ level paper that comes out once a week. The paper sees itself as the reincarnation of the Nazi occupation newspaper of the same name, which was edited by Volhynian writer Ulas Samchuk, if that tells you anything about the orientation just to start out.
When one orders a run of a paper, you get an entire year at once bound together. I’ll now take you through some of what I saw in the collection for 2002.
Leading Lithuanian Daily Finally Exposes Genocide Center ‘Chief Specialist’ who is a Neo-Nazi Leader; He tells the paper: ‘There was no Holocaust!’
Lithuania’s major daily newspaper, Lietuvos rytas — Lrytas.lt — made some local journalistic history today with an extensive article by Dovilė Tuskenytė on the dangerous mainstreaming of neo-Nazism in the country that succeeded in its principal interview in eliciting the unvarnished tone of the movement. The article’s title in translation: ‘Lithuanian Neo-Nazis, who use paganism for cover, work in state institutions and claim the swastika is only a historical symbol’. There was general agreement in the human rights community that the article represented an important advance and that its author is to be congratulated. An English translation is available here.
The article is accompanied by a series of 23 photographs making very clear the nature of ‘national patriots’ involved in neo-Nazi activity, as well as the intent of the ‘recycled pagan symbols’ used nowadays by neo-Nazi groups. It follows the recent Delfi.lt article exposing government financial support for such groups.
Ms. Tuskenytė’s article contains an interview with the state-sponsored Genocide Center’s Ričardas Čekutis, who continues to be listed as a ‘chief specialist’ by the Center, some five months after serving as one of the organizers and leaders of a neo-Nazi march through the center of the nation’s capital, Vilnius on 11 March. His statements to Ms. Tuskenytė include the following:
“Čekutis says that the world visions of the EU and Adolf Hitler are identical. Čekutis agrees with neo-Nazis on another issue: that there was no Holocaust. The Lithuanian Nationalist Center chairman says that the victims from all countries in World War II need to be counted, and that most of them lost the same amount of people as the Jews who were murdered. He also explains that the figure of victims in the millions is nothing more than a myth created for contemporary Jews to receive different kinds of compensation from different countries.”
Citing recent events in Hungary, in which authors Ben Cohen and Karl Pfeifer had a role to play, the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal has published an article in today’s Jerusalem Post exposing the sharply increased proclivity toward primitive antisemitism in the mainstream press in Hungary. The tendency has picked up steam since election of the right wing of government Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party. The freedom and responsibility of the media have been main issues for the country’s right wing government.
Latvian President Blesses Waffen SS March in Riga; Council of Europe’s Racism Unit Condemns Event; 1500 Turn Out
The president of Latvia endorsed this year’s Waffen SS march, “bowing his head” to his nation’s Waffen SS. Latvia’s ambassador to the UK defended the march. Council of Europe condemns the event. UK MP John Mann. UK Parliament Early Day Motion 2866. 1500 Turn Out.
A wreath for Holocaust survivors was covered by the Waffen SS logo by the event’s organizers. Two anti-Nazi activists exposed the wreath again for a short time, before they were removed by police.
Foreign protesters included Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Jerusalem), Joel Rubinfeld of the European Jewish Parliament (Brussels), Monica Lowenberg, creator of the anti-march international petition (London).
O P I N I O N
by Nida Vasiliauskaitė
There is a view that pro-fascist tendencies in Lithuania are nothing more than a bubble blown by the New Left, an informal intellectual and political movement (not a party), that it is a case of “Communist slander” aimed at peaceful and likeable patriots: those who simply love their Homeland, are proud of it and who—unlike the angry folks from the New Left who are “attacking” good people for no reason at all—do not seek enemies (and do not find them), degrade nobody and are a threat to nobody.
No, for them everyone is a friend. (How different they are from, for example, Nida Vasiliauskaitė, who, as they will tell you, “hates everyone” simply and purely at her own whim and out of bad will, or because she has been “paid” by all the comrades of “Brussels” and “Moscow” banded together. They emphasize that which unites, not that which divides…)
Christine Beresniova, a doctoral scholar at Indiana University (Bloomington) has exposed the disturbingly racist images in a popular Lithuanian language manual that have disturbed foreign Lithuanian language students for many years. The public disclosure is reported today in an article in the main daily newspaper in Vilnius, Lietuvos rytas.
The most infamous image features two pairs of stereotypes. There is the Lithuanian woman in national folk costume and a crown on her head, and as foreign counterpart, a bare-breasted black woman in Africa with weird headgear. The caption to the illustration translates ‘This woman is a Lithuanian, and that one is an African’, as if Africa is a country, one-to-one comparable to ‘Lithuania’.