Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its “Museum of the Lost Shtetl”

Šeduva  (Shádov):  The Memorial Events of Friday 9 October 2015



E V E N T S   /   O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

On Friday 9 October 2015, the Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund Society presented the results of their work on the project Lost Shtetl. There were, taken together, over two hundred visitors on the day. They included pupils of Vilnius’s Sholem Aleichem school and of the Šeduva high school, representatives of the Jewish community of Šiauliai (Shavl), Lithuanian Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky, the mayors of nearby towns, a deputy minister of foreign affairs, and ambassadors or embassy representatives of many countries, including the Netherlands, Japan, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Japan, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Comments Off on Šeduva  (Shádov):  The Memorial Events of Friday 9 October 2015

August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities



Summer and Fall 2016: 75th Anniversary

of the Nazis’ annihilation, with vast local collaboration, of Lithuania’s Jews in the towns, villages, provinces; implementation of ghettoization and mass murder in the cities.

Perhaps among the simplest, most minimalist measures of a municipality’s sincerity (beyond PR bonanzas, photo-ops and legitimizations via useful foreigners): (a) Modest town-center information board on the origins, history, culture, contributions and (true) fate of the town’s Jewish citizens; (b) Rapid removal of any local shrines, street names, museum tributes etc. to the local collaborators and murderers. “You just can’t make heroes out of the killers and expect to cover it up with some annual PR event for the foreigners.”

Language and respect for the victims: In addition to Lithuanian and English, will new memorial texts (including those at forest mass graves and old cemeteries) continue to include Yiddish, the language of 100% of the murdered Jews in all these towns? For many years, Lithuania has had a uniquely admirable record in this regard.

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Posted in Birzh (Biržai ), Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl", September 23rd Commemorations | Comments Off on August and September 2016 Memorials for Destroyed Jewish Communities

A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  MUSEUMS

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

VILNIUS—The Litvak world, internationally fragmented and weak, yet so vibrant and creative, has been cheered by news reports of the new shtetl museum to rise in the near future in Shádev, a Lithuanian town of many centuries of Jewish heritage where a great rabbinic personality, Reb Móyshe Ha-Góyle (“Moses the Exile”, Méyshe Ha-Géyle in deep Litvish pronunciation, Moshé Ha-Golé in Israeli Hebrew) thrived in the fifteenth century.

A good shtetl museum here will be a blessing to the Litvak, European Jewish, Yiddish and shtetl heritage internationally. It will be a blessing to modern, democratic Lithuania. To this day, the basket of idols of the contemporary Jewish market downplays the magnitude of Yiddish language, literature, and culture, shtetl culture and heritage, and the magnificent East European Jewish legacy more generally. News media have gone with reports by AFP and by JTA, and there is more on the project’s website.

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Posted in Arts, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Major New Shtetl Museum for Shádev (Shádov, Shádeve, Today’s — Šeduva)

Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Interviews by several Defending History staffers with several dozen members of Vilnius’s Jewish community over the past several days have turned up what seems to be a widespread sense of (citing terms that recurred frequently in the conversations) “disappointment” or “shock” at the “unbelievable changing of the rules of an election in the middle of the campaign.” (Such mini-surveys are not scientific, and a professional survey of today’s Jewish community on a number of issues is a critical desideratum here.)

The change seems to be in the cause of in effect disenfranchising the actual living Jews of Lithuania by suddenly decoupling the numbers of living, resident Jews from votes cast for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, for which elections are scheduled, as of today, for May 28th (for recent developments see the DH section on Vilnius Jewish Life). A number of those interviewed mentioned the role of the “Good Will Foundation” that allocates funding for the community’s administration, including elections, from the government finance provided as restitution for prewar communal religious Jewish property. Some of its allocations have been highly controversial.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”

Gurevich Explains How Kukliansky, Levin, Žakas, and Kanovich Control 40% of Votes in “Kangaroo Election”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), candidate for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, today issued a statement on his public Facebook page inviting members of the community to participate in the electoral conference for chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community, to be held this Wednesday evening 24 May 2014 6 PM (18:00) at the Karolina Hotel in Vilnius. His statement, in Lithuanian, reminds readers that the recent attempts to cancel the conference (whose date was democratically voted on by a clear majority of Vilnius Jewish Community Board members) would result in the application of the “new rules” decided on in the middle of the current campaign that would effectively disenfranchise 2,200 Vilnius Jews by recounting their votes from the present 22 or so (via the longstanding formula of 100 people = one vote) to one vote, while each of the elite power brokers in the chairperson’s circle (not all of whom live in Lithuania) would in effect have the votes to decide the entire future of the Jewish community, resulting in a tragic undermining of the future of the actual living Jewish people in Lithuania. To make matters worse, various of these “machers” have two or three votes each.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl", Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gurevich Explains How Kukliansky, Levin, Žakas, and Kanovich Control 40% of Votes in “Kangaroo Election”

Adopting Antisemitic Trope, “Official Jewish Community Website” Blasts 300 Vilnius Jews as “Mainly Russian Speakers Calling Themselves Jews”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Over 300 members of the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC), representing all adult age groups, and constituting the numerically largest such conference this century, this evening elected a new VJC chairman at the Karolina Hotel in Vilnius. Professionally organized, members with voting rights had to present their membership cards and separate ID at conference tables organized by initial letters of surnames. The proceedings, started with a few sentences of Yiddish by Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevicius), were meticulously conducted bilingually, with all proceedings in both Lithuanian (first) and (then) Russian in an atmosphere of democratic catharsis of an East European Jewish community, many of whose members have felt sidelined by the interests of a handful of elites close to government circles in recent years. The assembly included virtually all of the known personalities of Vilnius Jewry who do not happen to have employment at Pylimo Street 4, the official community’s headquarters (but there were a few of those too, as well as some from the official synagogue minyan).

ORIGINAL POST ON WEBSITE OF STATE-SPONSORED “JEWISH COMMUNITY”

After the election of the new chairperson came elections for twenty-one members of the Vilnius Board. Also, a resolution was adopted cancelling the recent attempt to disenfranchise some two thousand Vilnius Jews by recounting their votes as a single vote (while the heads of various NGOs, including the not-yet-built Sheduva Lost Shtetl Museum, have two or more votes each).

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl", Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Comments Off on Adopting Antisemitic Trope, “Official Jewish Community Website” Blasts 300 Vilnius Jews as “Mainly Russian Speakers Calling Themselves Jews”

Museum of The Lost Truth: A Lithuanian Drama



OPINION  |  MUSEUMS  |  SHEDUVA  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS  |  HUMOR (OF SORTS)

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Evaldas Balčiūnas informed the English speaking world of a series of state honors for alleged Holocaust collaborators, starting with Jonas Noreika back in 2012. He paid a hefty personal price for it (scroll down his DH section to 2014). 

PREAMBLE

The Lost Shtetl is a massive, holistic project to reclaim the Lithuanian Jewish heritage of Šeduva (Shádeve, older Shádev). Plans include a multimillion euro state-of-the-art museum complex scheduled to open in 2020 that is slated to become an international tourist attraction. Now is an excellent time for public comment and observers’ contemplation.

“The Lost Shtetl” will not be a generic community of faceless Litvaks. It will make tangible the lives of real individuals. But will we learn about the real individuals from the town and its region who destroyed them? Their names and faces? Or will we simply tuck them away into the phrase: “The Nazis and their local collaborators murdered 664 Šeduva Jews in Liaudiškiai forest”?

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl", South Africa | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Museum of The Lost Truth: A Lithuanian Drama

Elena Rimdžiūtė: Video of Christian Witness to the Holocaust in Šeduva, in Northern Lithuania



VILNIUS—The Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive (LYVA), a Defending History affiliated project, providing hundreds of Yiddish language video interviews in the “Lithuanian lands” (today’s Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, eastern Ukraine and northeastern Poland), conducted from 1990 to 2020 has just released a Holocaust-history extract from a longer interview, conducted in May 2000 in Šeduva, northern Lithuania, with the town’s last Yiddish speaker, the Christian Lithuanian native of the town, the late Elena Rimdžiūtė. As is evident from the clip, the interviewer, Dovid Katz, was focused on Elena’s Yiddish folksongs, and the Holocaust arises, at first tangentially, when Elena speaks of her friends who are no more.

See DH’s Šeduva section

The clip on Youtube is accompanied by a draft English translation (in the “Description Box”). This remarkable woman’s honesty, integrity, and desire to Just Tell it Straight, makes for a striking contrast with the current Baltic academic establishment’s claptrap about Prague Declarations, equivalence of totalitarian regimes, tale of two Holocausts, and fairy tales about the “uprising against the Soviets” celebrated in Vilnius’s Genocide Museum (recently renamed), and promoted by the state-sponsored Genocide Center and numerous public shrines to local Holocaust murderers of 1941.

Here is Ms. Rimdžiūtė’s genuine Šeduva Yiddish rendition of the beloved song, where a girl explains that she wants neither new clothes from the tailor nor shoes from the shoemaker but expresses her sadness that all the other girls have boys (altered in the final stanza to ‘get married’). The clip is followed by a draft English translation concluding with a transcription of song in Šeduva Yiddish.

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Posted in Documents, Film, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Elena Rimdžiūtė: Video of Christian Witness to the Holocaust in Šeduva, in Northern Lithuania

The Holocaust in Šeduva, a Town in Northern Lithuania



ŠEDUVA  |  HISTORY  |  MUSEUMS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Just like each and every other town in Lithuania, Šeduva (Sheduva) has as the most barbarous episode of it history the Lithuanian Holocaust. It is not easy to tell this story. There are many narratives that contradict each other, with many omitted or unclear episodes. The omissions can be partly explained by the current policy of historical memory in Lithuania, as well as by the authority of some organizations that thsemlves took active part in these horrible events. Narratives that are unfavorable to them are denied, downplayed, or classified as “information warfare” (in other words: “Russia”). I have previously written about the difficulty in asssessing assorted narratives here.

The summary version of of the Šeduva Jews’ massacre that I recounted includes these critical dates:

June 25, 1941: The Nazis occupy Šeduva.

July 22, 1941: Šeduva’s Jews are driven into the town’s ghetto established to incarcerate its Jewish citizens.

August 25t, 1941: The city’s 665 Jews are  murdered in Liaudiškiai forest. But a few of the Jewish families of volunteers (veterans) of Lithuania’s War of Independence in 1918 are “allowed” to live, under the condition that they abandon their Jewishness and get baptized. The residents of Šeduva and its vicinity observe the public baptism at the church. A couple of weeks later those baptized are driven to Panevėžys and also shot dead, like all their unbaptized brethren who were not “saved by baptism” for having volunteered over two decades earlier to fight in the nation’s War of Independence. The only one who survived was Ms. S. Nolienė, who was hidden by the priest M. Karosas.

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Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Holocaust in Šeduva, a Town in Northern Lithuania

A Jewish Museum Without a Single Jewish Staff Member? (in a country with 3,000 Jewish citizens)


[UPDATE / original publication 1 Feb. 2022]

Opinion  |  Sheduva, Lithuania  |  Museums  |  Litvak Affairs

2022 is “Can you imagine?” year…

Can you imagine a museum in South Africa dedicated to the history of Apartheid without a single African member of staff on site?

Can you imagine a museum in Mississippi on Confederate state slavery without a single African American member of staff on site?

Can you imagine a museum of Lithuanian shtetl history in Lithuania without a single Jewish member of staff on site?

Yes.

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Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl", South Africa | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on A Jewish Museum Without a Single Jewish Staff Member? (in a country with 3,000 Jewish citizens)

Would Your Heritage Tour Group Coming to Vilnius Like to See an Informal Draft of the ‘Banned’ Film on the Holocaust in Sheduva?



OPINION | FILM | FREE SPEECHBOLD CITIZENS | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVA | IT PAYS TO DEFEND HISTORY

VILNIUS—The Defending History community here in Vilnius was proud today again to be a partner, with the non-profit Kopa Studio II and visiting cultural and academic groups, in helping organize informal, free, non-commercial, viewings of the film Petrified Time, which contains the “Satanic Verses of Sheduva” — the historically invaluable eyewitness testimony by the last witnesses to the Lithuanian Holocaust (themselves, now, a few years later, gone too). Filmed by award winning Lithuanian documentary film maker Saulius Beržinis the film is tied up in litigation launched by the “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” in Sheduva, and spearheaded by the museum’s executive director in Brussels, in a lawsuit conducted by a top Vilnius law firm, and ultimately paid for by a South African origin billionaire in Switzlerland. News and updates of the saga here.

What is success when defending history?

Defending History thinks it’s a major success when dozens, hundreds, and thousands of people are gradually being able to watch a film that very rich and powerful forces are effectively (not “officially”) seeking to ban. If your heritage, roots or Jewish-interest tour group is coming to Vilnius in the coming months and might be interested in a private, informal viewing of a draft first version only of a remarkable film effectively banned at present, please be in touch with Defending History (info@defendinghistory.com). To inquire about future online “viewing windows” please be in touch with Kopa Studio II (berkopa@hotmail.com).

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Free Speech & Democracy, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Would Your Heritage Tour Group Coming to Vilnius Like to See an Informal Draft of the ‘Banned’ Film on the Holocaust in Sheduva?

Kopa Studio II Issues Statement on Temporary Link for Free Online Viewing of Film on Sheduva Holocaust



FILM | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | LITHUANIA | LITVAK AFFAIRSFREE SPEECH | MUSEUMS | SHEDUVA

VILNIUS—Kopa Studio II in Vilnius, the continuation of the fabled Kopa Studio that for thirty years has provided the gold standard in historical truth on the Holocaust in Lithuania (and has had to be reconstituted after a campaign of embittered legal action from some “powerful forces”), released the following statement today:

*
Dear Friends, Dear Enemies!

Today, 16 June 2023 at 12 noon Vilnius time, we have posted on Vimeo, until 22 June, an informal, non-commercial private share of the first version of Petrified Time, the documentary film on Sheduva (Šeduva) we were privileged to have worked on for years in partnership with the partnering museum.

For the link please apply to Kopa Studio II (at: berkopa@hotmail.com) or to Defending History (at: info@defendinghistory.com), or to Saulius Beržinis or Dovid Katz on their Facebook pages (via Messenger only, please). As ever, we will be grateful for your feedback on the first version of the film.

Saulius Beržinis, Sigitas Siudika
Kopa Studio II


 

 

 

Posted in Arts, Film, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Comments Off on Kopa Studio II Issues Statement on Temporary Link for Free Online Viewing of Film on Sheduva Holocaust

B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand Issues Press Release on Saulius Beržinis Award



FILM | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVA  | BOLD CITIZENS

VILNIUS—B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand today issued the following press release accompanying its lifetime achievement award earlier this month to Lithuanian filmmaker Saulius Beržinis (see also DH’s report on the dramatic saga in the background).

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Posted in Arts, Australia, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand Issues Press Release on Saulius Beržinis Award

Did Sheduva ‘Lost Shtetl Museum’ Block Release of Saulius Beržinis’s Film on Fate of Town’s Jewry (‘Catch & Kill’)?


[LATEST UPDATE; ORIGINAL PUBLICATION 27 APRIL 2023]

OPINION|FILM|BOLD CITIZENS|SAULIUS BERŽINIS|SHEDUVA | MUSEUM OF THE LOST SHTETL

Partial chronology of recent events in the life and times of modern Lithuania’s first major Holocaust truth teller, documentary film maker

Saulius Beržinis

JUMP TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

JUMP TO UPDATES

DEFENDING HISTORY’S BERŽINIS SECTION

What is it all about? Allegedly, a major gang-up was for years underway against Vilnius’s beloved documentarian Saulius Beržinis who was perhaps the first to tell the truth about the Holocaust in Lithuania. His 2018 Rogatchi Humanist of the Year Award was presented the following year in a Vilnius ceremony that included the ambassadors of Finland, Norway and the United States. Back in 2004 he was Lithuania’s Person of Tolerance, and American journalist Ben Smith, in a 2001 feature article in the Forward, chronicled his earlier work including his sensational 1990s filmed interviews with actual Holocaust perpetrators.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Did Sheduva ‘Lost Shtetl Museum’ Block Release of Saulius Beržinis’s Film on Fate of Town’s Jewry (‘Catch & Kill’)?

Yom HaShoah 2024: Please can you spend five minutes and six seconds to watch something?



OPINION | COMMEMORATIONS | EVENTS | SHEDUVA & ITS NEW MUSEUM

by Dovid Katz

[UPDATE OF 10 MAY 2024: YOUTUBE FILM TRAILER REMOVED BY “MUSEUM OF THE LOST SHTETL”]

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Dovid Katz, Events, Museums, News & Views, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Yom HaShoah 2024: Please can you spend five minutes and six seconds to watch something?

“Museum of the Lost Shtetl” (or “Lost Truth”?) Forces Removal of Saulius Beržinis’s 5 Minute Youtube Trailer



OPINION | FILM | BOLD CITIZENS | SAULIUS BERŽINIS | SHEDUVA | MUSEUM OF THE LOST SHTETL

Five Minutes & Six Seconds:

The Satanic Verses of Sheduva, Lithuania?

Our take:

Shame on the directors, donors, and staff of the “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” in the town of Sheduva, Lithuania, that has just had the five minute and six second  trailer to Saulius Beržinis’s classic Holocaust documentary on Sheduva removed from Youtube:

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” (or “Lost Truth”?) Forces Removal of Saulius Beržinis’s 5 Minute Youtube Trailer