Lithuania

A Great City’s 700th Birthday: For the Sake of Vilnius, Will They Now Take Down Public-Space Honors for Local Holocaust Collaborators?



The Defending History community celebrates the 700th birthday of Vílna (today’s beautiful Vilnius — capital of the democratic EU state Lithuania; in Yiddish — Vílne; Polish Wilno; Belarusian Vilna; German Wilna) in the spirit of love for a city whose hundreds of years of harmony brought such magnificent cultural achievements in an array of cultures and languages. One of them is its Jewish legacy. Briefest of examples: Thousands of books in Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish were published in the nineteenth century alone. The Gaon of Vilna and the founders of modern Yiddish scholarship walked these streets.

The universally revered founder of Vilnius, Grand Duke Gediminas (Gedymin) built his new capital in 1323 as a harmonious symphony of humanistic diversity, a legacy that endured for many centuries.

“People who love the city actually care about this stuff”

QUESTION: Will the city’s (and country’s) leaders at long last remove the public-space state-financed memorials that glorify participants in and collaborators of the Holocaust in which 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry perished? Here are some of the most obvious candidates for rapid removal. Hopefully before the year’s tourist season gets underway this spring…


The shiny new plaque with bas-relief on facade of Library of Sciences  was erected in 2019 after the dispute over the earlier one. This is on a prestigious public building some three  minutes walk from Vilnius Cathedral and Gedimino Boulevard). It glorifies the brutal Jonas Noreika (subject of his granddaughter Silvia Foti’s  major recent book in the USA). The travesty of Noreika worship was brought to the attention of the English speaking world in Defending History in 2012 by Evaldas Balčiūnas, who is this year’s DH Person of the Year.

“Gediminas is turning over in his grave”


Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Great City’s 700th Birthday: For the Sake of Vilnius, Will They Now Take Down Public-Space Honors for Local Holocaust Collaborators?

Lithuania Learns Important Lessons ― The Hard Way



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  WOMEN’S ISSUES  |  LGBTQ RIGHTS  |  OPINION  |  LITHUANIA  |  UKRAINE

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

The war in Ukraine has truly shaken everyday life in Lithuania. It has, among other things, pushed human rights issues to the background, or reframed them in a strictly military or geopolitical east-west perspective. When information about civilian women being massively and brutally raped by the occupying army reached our shores, a protest was organized at the Russian Embassy in Vilnius. The protest was very similar to the one in Estonia, where Estonian women similarly protested at the Russian Embassy in Tallinn, expressing their solidarity with Ukrainian women by placards depicting victims of sexual violence. They stood by the embassy with horribly blood painted groins and bags on their head. Lithuanian protestors echoed the image. Protesters in Lithuania also brought children’s toys and strollers with them to direct attention to the tragedies of women who got pregnant after being raped. The image was reinforced by “the red pond” because, before the protest, the performance “Swimming Through” took place, during which the famous Lithuanian swimmer Rūta Meilutytė swam across the pond near the Russian Embassy, the water of which had been colored with red dye, to remind the diplomats of the ongoing massacres and atrocities and mass murder in Ukraine.

Lithuanian women activists started organizing various forms of aid to Ukrainian women, from raising funds for mobile gynecological clinics to supplying Ukrainians with hygiene products and pregnancy terminating medication.

Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, LGBTQ Equal Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Women's Rights | Comments Off on Lithuania Learns Important Lessons ― The Hard Way

BBC’s New Documentary Helps Viewers Come to Grips with the Start of the Holocaust’s Genocidal Phase



OPINION  |  ARTS  |  FILM  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

We are accustomed to the frequent excellence of BBC broadcasts, documentaries, and investigative reports. On January 23, 2023, with its documentary How the Holocaust Began featuring historian James Bulgin, BBC 2 struck a welcoming chord, demonstrating powerfully and convincingly that the Holocaust ― in the sense of the genocide per se, unleashed upon Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 ― started in the Baltic States of Lithuania and Latvia.

Through the works of Michaël Prazan (Einsatzgruppen as a book and TV documentary in French), Efraim Zuroff’s untiring crusade against the states in Eastern Europe that still cover up their complicity in the murder of millions of Jews during World War II (see his renowned book Operation Last Chance and the site of the same name at the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem), through the vigorous and constant series of articles on in the web journal Defending History (see also the documentary Rewriting History by Danny Ben Moshe), we, the attentive and honest readers know what the reality of the Holocaust had been in the Baltic States when Jews were hunted as animals, slaughtered as animals by the German forces, and in many cases before they even arrived, also by the local populations “activists.”. We are cognoscenti but it is reassuring to see that the BBC broadcasts an image of far-reaching collaboration by the local populations in the Baltic States with the focus primarily on Lithuania.

Continue reading

Posted in Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Film, History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Roland Binet | Comments Off on BBC’s New Documentary Helps Viewers Come to Grips with the Start of the Holocaust’s Genocidal Phase

Roza Bieliauskienė (1946 – 2023): Cofounder of Lithuania’s Jewish Museum, Longtime Chief Curator, Educator, Specialist on Litvak Artists



ROZA BIELIAUSKIENE  |  OBITUARIES  |  MUSEUMS

The following is a revised text of Dovid Katz’s obituary that appeared on his Facebook page today.

Roza Bieliauskienė (1946-2023)

The world of Jewish Vilna and Litvaks everywhere mourn in deep sorrow the untimely sudden death of our dear Roza (Róze, Reyzl) Bieliauskienė, beloved scholar of Lithuanian Jewish art, long time historian, museum curator, educator, guide and a loyal friend unafraid of untoward local politics and its boycotts. Whether for an old friend or a foreigner she’d never seen before, Roza would rush to help anyone research anything if it was in the field of Lithuanian Jewish culture, history. Here is our 2 hour+ interview with her (entirely in Yiddish) from less than a year ago (recorded and posted in the Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive (LYVA) thanks to the generosity of Remembering Litvaks Inc).

In the interview, she recounts with frankness and dignity the tragedy of how she and others were terminated at the state’s official Jewish Museum during one of the purges intending to turn it largely into a pure-ethno-Lithuanian state public relations unit. Roza, a cofounder of the museum, had been its chief curator, and she built its collections into a substantial museum.

Continue reading

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Obituaries, Roza Bieliauskiene | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Roza Bieliauskienė (1946 – 2023): Cofounder of Lithuania’s Jewish Museum, Longtime Chief Curator, Educator, Specialist on Litvak Artists

Books in the Debate to 2023 — With Latest on Silvia Foti’s “Nazi’s Granddaughter”


[updated]

see also: BOOKS SECTION


Evaldas Balčiūnas reviews Vilnius Genocide Center chief’s new book on the Lithuanian Holocaust; in German translation


Silvia Foti: The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal

UPDATE OF MAY 2022:

Sylvia Foti’s major new book is widely available in English and Lithuanian, among other languages. QUESTION: Why is the center of Vilnius still blighted by an upgraded plaque & bas-relief  (right) and a central boulevard marble slab glorifying Hitler collaborator Jonas Noreika, who masterminded the death of thousands of Jews, and touted his unadulterated hate for Jewish fellow citizens in a prewar book? Why do  Western diplomats, and most visiting American, British and Israeli Jewish dignitaries feel obliged to avoid even the most polite critique of these prominent carbuncles on the face of the European Union? Surely, a true friend of Lithuania would want the best for Lithuania and its international stature, even if a small far-right “history rewriting elite” might feel offended.

Kitos Knygos Books published Lithuanian edition of Silvia Foti’s book; she appeared in Vilnius to launch it at the Feb. 2022 Vilnius Book Fair

See the author’s major op-eds in the New York Times (27 Jan. 2021 [as PDF]), Wall Street Journal (26 Aug. 2021 [as PDF] & Lou Gerber’s 7 Sept.WSJ letter [as PDF]; EU Today (2 Sept. 2021 [as PDF]); author’s BBC Hard Talk interview with Stephen Sackur (15 April 2021); 17 Sept. 2021 report in Spiegel;

Events include: Seminar at Harvard University’s Davis Center; Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (23 Jan. 2022); Palos Heights (Ill.) Public Library (10 May 2022)

Related reports in Algemeiner.com; Andrew Higgins in The New York Times; Gil Skorwid and Patrick Smith on NBC NewsGrant Arthur Gochin in Jewish JournalRichard S. Hirschhaut at American Jewish Committee

Reviews of Foti’s The Nazi’s Granddaughter: Bettina Berch in Jewish Book Council; Liz Mineo in the Harvard Gazette; in the National Book Review.

Background on author’s website.   Spanish edition

When you visit Vilnius, Kaunas and other Lithuanian citizens, be sure to ask the powers that be to remove city-center shrines to brutal Holocaust collaborators that mar this beautiful European country.

See also a selection of street names and public-space shrines across Lithuania and DH’s Collaborators Glorified section. Also: Noreika section.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Books in the Debate to 2023 — With Latest on Silvia Foti’s “Nazi’s Granddaughter”

Roma Heroism in Ukraine Eases Some Prejudice



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  WOMEN’S RIGHTS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

 

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

At the supermarket door here in Vilnius, I met Olga, a Roma woman. I was surprised that security had not chased her away, since she was begging. Even more, they brought her a chair to sit on, since Olga was pregnant. I thought to myself: “What unseen humanity of the security guards!” I have seen more than once how the begging poor were chased away even from outdoor supermarket surroundings. As I started talking to Olga, we were approached by a nice, well-to-do woman, who donated to Olga a lot of food: sausages, sweet curd snacks for children, pasta, and oil. I was again pleasantly surprised.

However, talking to Olga quickly disabused me of my illusions that perhaps there is now more good will towards the Roma. She told me about the new hardships in these years of crises, as well as about how hard it is for vulnerable people to make ends meet these days.

“Do you think I’m not ashamed to stand here with my hand stretched out?”, asked Olga in tears and added: “I have five children. What else can I do?”

It has been a long time since I asked Roma about work, especially mothers of many, because I know very well how their lives so often progress, traditionally married off in chosen matches while in their early teens and, at only say twenty years of age, a woman can be the mother of multiple children.

Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Women's Rights | Comments Off on Roma Heroism in Ukraine Eases Some Prejudice

Notes from my Life



MEMOIRS  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  | HUMAN RIGHTS  |  PERSON OF THE YEAR  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

I was born in Šiauliai on May 27, 1962. My father worked in nearby Kuršėna. My first memories are mostly from there, especially the hamlet Daugėliai, established thanks to a brickyard, and surrounded by forests and the Venta river. My first ten years we children of the common yard rose up against the construction workers who were demolishing the football stadium that we had built with our own hands. For a six-year-old, I was quite adamant, standing up against a construction company truck. Alas, when my mom discovered my struggles, I was forced to rapidly move my resistance underground.

Evaldas Balčiūnas is Defending History’s Person of the Year 2023

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views | Comments Off on Notes from my Life

DH’s 2023 Person of the Year: Evaldas Balčiūnas



PERSON OF THE YEAR  |  LITHUANIA  |   EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  | HUMAN RIGHTS  |  HISTORY

In the decade since Evaldas Balčiūnas began informing the English-speaking world, in a series of articles in Defending History, of the details, scope, and pain of his own country pursuing a state policy of glorifying Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators, the phenomenon has moved from local shadows to the bright lights of open and free debate across the democratic world. His 2012 exposé of Holocaust perpertrator Jonas Noreika ultimately led to the publication in America of a bold new book, The Nazi’s Granddaughter by Sylvia Foti. But back here in Lithuania, Evaldas was lugged into court for years and years on kangaroo charges and harassed extensively. The Defending History team was there at each hearing to provide moral support. The day will surely come when Evaldas Balčiūnas — journalist, educator, rebel, author, and historian — will be honored by Jewish and Holocaust history and remembrance groups internationally, by humanists everywhere, and last but not least, by his own country, as its fearless grand  ethicist of the earlier twenty-first century.

Editor’s memoir

Evaldas Balčiūnas

In 2012, when our small Defending History team headed out (as we did each year) to Kaunas to monitor and document the 2012 neo-nazi city center march, an event that glorified Holocaust collaborators, we went for a coffee after the event. There, our mentor who never missed a march before his final illness, Milan Chersonski (1937–2021), the longtime Vilnius Yiddish theatre director and editor for some dozen years of the Lithuanian Jewish community’s quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania, told us (in Yiddish, of course): “Look, there is one young Lithuanian who has more courage than the rest of the country combined. He has been writing articles on the tragedy of his country’s government organs glorifying Holocaust collaborators in the public space. And unlike others, he’ll be happy for Defending History to publish them in English translation. Trust me, his articles are more important that all of ours that come from Jewish pens.”

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Defending History's Person of the Year, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on DH’s 2023 Person of the Year: Evaldas Balčiūnas

Jerusalem Post’s ‘Report’ on ‘Kaunas Capital of European Culture’ Fails to Even Mention Public Shrines Glorifying Local Holocaust Perpetrators



OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  KAUNAS  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

Not for the first time, the Jerusalem Post has sent a “correspondent” to Lithuania to do a write-up in the professional style of a journalist’s report, that serves in fact to facilitate the project of some branches of the Lithuanian government to falsify Holocaust history (2013 example). This falsification is not in the spirit of classical denial of the last century. It is rather primarily a case of dotting the country with shrines (street names, plaques, sculptures, school and university hall names), all in the public space, all financed by the state, that actually glorify local Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators, while simultaneously investing a fortune in “Jewish events” that will hypnotize naive foreign visitors who like royal treatment, photo-ops with officials, and delightful attention. But a professional journalist, and her publication, have a higher level of responsibility than the average “useful Jewish idiot” who is manipulated into not even noticing, for example, that one of this year’s “Capitals of European Culture 2022” — Kaunas, historically Kovno, Yiddish Kóvne — made it through the year without a single major visiting journalist having exposed the city’s refusal to remove even one of the city’s shrines to collaborators. (There are other major components to the state-sponsored revisionism underway, notably in the realm of academia and history where “Double Genocide” is peddled to downgrade the Holocaust; attempted prosecutions of Holocaust survivors for “war crimes” with no apologies to follow their failure; career destruction of courageous, inspirational Lithuanians who dare dissent, and more.)

QUICK SEARCH

Today’s Jerusalem Post article

Lev Golinkin in the Forward

Defending History’s Kaunas section 

Interactive Kaunas map (in progress)

Continue reading

Posted in Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Jerusalem Post’s ‘Report’ on ‘Kaunas Capital of European Culture’ Fails to Even Mention Public Shrines Glorifying Local Holocaust Perpetrators

Wollongong, Australia is a Long Way from Kaunas, Lithuania: Discovering a Holocaust Collaborator Among Us



LITHUANIA  |  HISTORY  |  KAUNAS  |  MUSEUMS

by Michael Samaras

Michael Samaras at the Wollongong Art Gallery in Australia

Wollongong, an Australian city located about 80 kilometres south of Sydney, is a long way from Lithuania’s Kaunas, which probably made it attractive to Bronius Sredersas. He arrived in 1950, having fled Lithuania ahead of the Red Army in 1944. For the next 25 years Sredersas, one of more than 100,000 displaced persons to settle in Australia, worked in Wollongong’s steelworks. He led an unobtrusive life and acquired an anglicised nickname, “Bob”. He never married and didn’t waste his money. Instead, he saved his pay, frequented auction houses and with a canny eye built a substantial art collection.

In 1976, Sredersas shocked the citizens of his adopted city by presenting his art collection to them. For an industrial city like Wollongong, which didn’t even have an art gallery, this gift was a sensation. It triggered the establishment of the Wollongong Art Gallery which has since grown into a major regional cultural institution.

Sredersas was widely celebrated in the media and an exhibition space within the new gallery was named in his honor. After his death in 1982, his memory was preserved with eminent persons giving lectures in his memory. The gallery erected a plaque and hosted the Sredersas Dinner as a fundraising social event.

In 2018, the gallery staged a major exhibition celebrating Sredersas. Titled “The Gift”, the exhibition included a recreation of his home, a display of the artworks, a video, and a symposium on his life and benefaction.

Publicity for the exhibition included mention that in Lithuania, Sredersas had been a policeman. While I was aware of Sredersas’ life as a steelworker in Australia, his prior career as a policeman was new to me. I knew though that the Nazis had relied on local collaborators, formed into police battalions, to carry out the Holocaust in Lithuania. I was appalled at the possibility that Wollongong, my home town, might be honoring a Holocaust perpetrator and decided to see if I could find out more.

Continue reading

Posted in Australia, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wollongong, Australia is a Long Way from Kaunas, Lithuania: Discovering a Holocaust Collaborator Among Us

Defenders of Truth of the East European Holocaust Mourn Sudden Death of Professor Michael Shafir



We mourn the sudden and untimely death of our dear colleague, mentor and teacher

PROFESSOR MICHAEL SHAFIR

(4 January 1944 – 9 November  2022)

PHOTO: CAROLE LEMEE

The entire Defending History community mourns the  untimely sudden death of the great Holocaust historian, who was in recent months putting final touches on the manuscript of his new book on the East European revisionist campaign, and its many Western and Jewish nochsheppers. Inspired by Randolph L. Braham (1922-2018), among others, Professor Shafir’s papers covering the whole swath of East European governments’ huge investments to “fix” the Holocaust made him the pioneer of the academic and intellectual resistance to state-sponsored Double Genocide revisionism. May his completed book and all his other writings soon be made accessible to scholars and the public alike. His works will live on and in time come to be recognized for their successful exposure of the vast and elaborately financed efforts to obfuscate the Holocaust. For an introduction, please read some of his seminal papers in the field.

Michael Shafir section in DefendingHistory.com

Under construction:

Papers by Michael Shafir


Posted in Double Genocide, History, Hungary, Lithuania, Michael Shafir (1944-2022), News & Views, Obituaries | Tagged | Comments Off on Defenders of Truth of the East European Holocaust Mourn Sudden Death of Professor Michael Shafir

Yet Again, Naive Foreigners in Awe of Annual PR Show by ‘Red-Brown Commission’ (and its Director who Supports ‘War Crime Investigations’ of Holocaust Survivors)



OPINION  |  RED-BROWN COMMISSION  |  MR. RAČINSKAS ON THE HOLOCAUST  |  LITHUANIA  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—With nearly all local Holocaust Survivors now gone, or effectively out of public circulation, Lithuania’s “Red-Brown Commission,” a major European engine for the downgrade of the Holocaust via far-right “Double Genocide” history revisionism  is again in the forefront of PR efforts to bowl over naive foreign visitors and delegations to this city, particularly on September 23rd each year, with “moving Holocaust elegies.” For Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the very choice of Sept. 23 (day of the 1943 liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto by the Germans, two years after the murder of the majority of Lithuanian Jews in hundreds of towns across the land) was seen as a decoy. The day each of them had etched in the heart in perpetuity was June 23rd, when in 1941, violence against Jews broke out in hundreds of locations, with murder documented in around forty — before the first German forces arrived or managed to set up their authority. It was the day when six hundred years of peaceful, harmonious coexistence turned overnight, under Hitlerist propaganda, to dehumanization, humiliation, plunder, rape, injury and murder. To this day, an industrial grade revisionist industry continues to obfuscate or outright deny the history of the First Week (i.e. the last week of June 1941). Indeed, June 23rd is  celebrated by far-right government historians each year as the date of a supposed “uprising” against the Soviets  by the white-armbanded Jew killers who did not “rebel” until the Soviets fled in disarray from Hitler’s invasion, when they began to murder Jewish neighbors across the land unleashing the Lithuanian Holocaust, in which 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry perished. In 2020, Dr. Arunas Bubnys, the chief historian of the second “Holocaust entity financed by the state,” the Genocide Center, celebrated  the “holiday ” alongside banners of two major Holocaust collaborators. He was rewarded a year later with directorship of the Center.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Games, Double Genocide, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas and the State-Sponsored "International Commission" (ICECNSORL) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Yet Again, Naive Foreigners in Awe of Annual PR Show by ‘Red-Brown Commission’ (and its Director who Supports ‘War Crime Investigations’ of Holocaust Survivors)

Rachel Kostanian’s Inspiring Life Story (and Message) Now on German Wikipedia



RACHEL KOSTANIAN  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

Vilnius Cinderella Comes to the Ball (belatedly, and in Berlin)

German Wikipedia’s new entry tells the tale of Lituhania’s Rachel (Rokhl, Rochel) Kostanian, who for decades led a one-woman campaign in Vilnius for truth about the Holocaust, standing up to some very powerful forces. She was a co-founder and long time director of The Green House in Vilnius. Photo: Rachel in Berlin with Thomas Pfanne, former German cultural attaché in Lithuania, after she was honored by the president of Germany. See Defending History’s Rachel Kostanian section.

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Rachel Kostanian | Comments Off on Rachel Kostanian’s Inspiring Life Story (and Message) Now on German Wikipedia

Russian Warship, Go F**k Yourself! (Tale of an Overdue Vilnius Cultural Version)



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH STUDIES FOR HISTORICAL REVISIONISM  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  | YIVO IN LITHUANIA  | MEDIA WATCH  | FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND JUDAIC STUDIES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  | NOREIKA GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

 Look what you can see standing right by Vilnius’s Cathedral Square: The Soviet “Sports Palace” ruin that symbolizes not only antisemitism but also: Soviet/Russian Empire spiritual and political domination of Lithuania’s free spirit. High time to be rid of this carbuncle on the beautiful face of modern Vilnius?

The first phase of the eradication of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in Shnípishok — modern Šnipiškės — and of the people buried there, started back in 1830, contemporaneous with an uprising against the Russian Empire. The November Uprising, as it is now known, started with the will to resist the czarist government’s plans to send the army of Poland — at the time an autonomous kingdom within the Russian Empire — to Belgium and France, as well as with the dreams of restoring Polish independence. In 1831, seeing that the uprising for independence would soon take over Vilna, the Russian Imperial government expropriated a section  of the Jewish cemetery by the bank of the Viliya (now Neris), and established an artillery citadel to keep the freedom-loving city at all times in the crosshairs of its cannon barrels. But even after the establishment of the citadel, more than three quarters of the actual graves (and their stoness or mini-mausoleums, oyhólim) remained untouched. This legendary cemetery is a Litvak pantheon, a monument to the civilization of Lithuanian Jewry. So it is meaningful that its first phase of destruction got underway just as the Russian imperial government’s project to enhance its military presence in Vilna, by making sure that the city’s inhabitants live in constant fear.

A small section of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt. The Soviet Sport Palace was built in its heart. All stones and inscriptions were trashed but thousands of graves survive on all four sides of the building, now an eyesore in the heart of modern Vilnius.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Russian Warship, Go F**k Yourself! (Tale of an Overdue Vilnius Cultural Version)

Updates on Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year Without (So Far) Removing a Single Shrine to Local Holocaust Collaborators


[latest update]

OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  | THE 2022 LEVINAS AFFAIR OF 2022

Congratulations to the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, once known also as Kovno (in Yiddish forever: Kóvne) on its selection as Europe’s “Capital of European Culture” in 2022, sharing the title with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg. But as  the midpoint of the city’s co-reign rapidly approaches, it is necessary, albeit sad, to have to note that not a single public-space glorification of local Holocaust collaborators had been removed. Zero. No city on the planet has as many monuments to local partners in the genocide of that city’s Jews. The 30,000 Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews) of Kaunas were brutally murdered, and the city played the primary role in the launch of the Lithuanian genocide on 23 June 1941, before the arrival of the first German forces. Thousands were murdered before the Germans arrived and/or set up their administration.

See Lev Golinkin’s updated 2022 catalogue in the Forward of public space shrines to Nazi collaborators worldwide

Lithuanian government authorities have  reportedly invested large sums to lure “Useful Jewish Idiots” from the UK, US, Israel, and further afield to participate in “cultural events” intended to obfuscate and deflect from the primary issue: Why are the enablers of the slaughter of Kovno Jewry still honored by street names, plaques and university lecture halls and statues in the city? Local Jewish leaders who have dared to speak up have rapidly been smeared as “Putinists” for daring to criticize the far right’s hold over national history policy (and indeed, the need for such a policy to start with).

But in the waning days of 2021, a “waterfall of truth” began to cascade from an unanticipated quarter. Michael Levinas, son of the celebrated Lithuanian-Jewish born French philosopher Emanuel Levinas, forbade authorities to name a fancy new institute after his father. This was kept under wraps until his 21 Dec.  Le Figaro opinion piece broke the story, and it was duly reported in Lithuania by LRT.lt. See Defending History’s media tracker page for background and updates.

Continue reading

Posted in 'Levinas Center' in Kaunas, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Jonas Žemaitis, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Updates on Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year Without (So Far) Removing a Single Shrine to Local Holocaust Collaborators

In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)


[LAST UPDATE]

by Dovid Katz

Compilation of articles, documentaries, videos, and photos. Plus: from the saga of 2008

See Defending History’s Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky Section

Note: This page is a work in progress. A number of older documents, articles, photographs, and recordings remain to be digitized, catalogued, and posted.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Honor of Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja) on her 100th Birthday (2022)

Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’



Reports in Baltic Times and Delfi

For over a decade Defending History has exposed the far-right”Double Genocide” history-revisionist, Holocaust-obfuscating agenda of the “Prague Platform of European Memory and Conscience” which has repeatedly covered for East European efforts to glorify Nazi collaborators and perpetrators

“Putin’s criminal and barbaric invasion must be countered to the hilt and we must rally unfettered to the cause of Ukraine’s freedom. But for far-right double-genocider revisionists in the Eastern E.U. to take advantage of it for Holocaust obfuscation is just plain wrong.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff is first to respond (in Times of Israel blogs)

Will Western leaders — and institutions dedicated to the history of the Holocaust and leaders in Holocaust education and commemoration — speak out and subject the “Prague Platform” to some long overdue scrutiny, and warn the European Commission about this “new initiative”? European citizens’ hard-earned euros continue to flow to the revisionists whose “unholy bible” is still the Prague Declaration of 2008… Defending History is proud to have helped provide the European parliamentary response, the Seventy Years Declaration

Defending History’s statement on the war in Ukraine

When Ottawa Citizen and The New York Times broke taboo on wartime discussion of East European state-sponsored Holocaust obfuscation

But what is the “Prague Platform”?


 

Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Double Genocide, Estonia, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’

The Nine Lives of Dónal Denham



BOOKS  |  IRELAND  |  NORWAY

 

by Steinar Gil

 

My good friend and colleague for two and a half years in Vilnius, Dónal Denham, has written a book with the title Nine Lives: The Reflections of a Dedicated Diplomat. The book is an interesting, fascinating read about an eventful career in the service of Ireland at home and abroad, enriched by an excellent selection of photos that add life and substance to the text. The author also draws a vivid picture of his early formative years in Ireland and England and student years at Trinity College. He writes warmly about his family, not avoiding the pain of personal losses, exacerbated by separation and distance. Diplomats from all countries would subscribe to his tribute to his wife Siobhan (“without whom nothing worthwhile would have happened to me”) who “as an unpaid ‘trailing spouse’ was a treasure beyond measure, largely unrecognized by officialdom.”

So, which are Dónal Denham’s nine diplomatic lives?

Continue reading

Posted in Ambassador Dónal Denham, Ambassador Steinar Gil, Books, Ireland, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Norway | Comments Off on The Nine Lives of Dónal Denham

‘Morbid Memorandum’ (of AJC+LJC+GWF+Vilnius Mayor) Says Jews in Lithuania ‘Dying Out Altogether’ — While Allocating Millions for New ‘Community Center’ Building on Sacred ‘Great Synagogue Square’



OPINION | VILNA GREAT SYNAGOGUE  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

 

VILNIUS—In the days following publication by Defending History of a report reacting to press releases about a (secret?) “memorandum” signed by the heads of the official “Lithuanian Jewish community” (LJC), the head of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the “Good Will Foundation” (GWF) and the Mayor of Vilnius, a number of conscience-stricken employees at LJC have been sending around copies of various versions of the memorandum, signed on 25 May, during the recent “Fifth Litvak Congress” here in Vilnius.

Update of 13 June 2022: One day following publication of this report, the “Good Will Foundation” published the signed English memorandum, using the wording “is now dying out altogether” to refer to today’s Jewish community in Lithuania, its hopes, and its dreams.

Continue reading

Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Morbid Memorandum’ (of AJC+LJC+GWF+Vilnius Mayor) Says Jews in Lithuania ‘Dying Out Altogether’ — While Allocating Millions for New ‘Community Center’ Building on Sacred ‘Great Synagogue Square’

Evaldas Balčiūnas recenzuoja Arūno Bubnio knygą „Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje“



KNYGOS

Evaldas Balčiūnas

Arūnas Bubnys, Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje. Vilnius: Margi raštai, 2021

Dar vienas Tarptautinės komisijos okupacinių režimų nusikaltimams Lietuvoje įvertinti leidinys. Lig šiol šios komisijos leistos knygos buvo akademiškos ir skaitytojų vertinamos. Be to, jos būdavo leidžiamos ne tik lietuvių, bet ir anglų kalba. Ši – kitokia. Išleista tik lietuviškai. Jei anksčiau leistose monografijose, be kita ko, būdavo komisijos patvirtintos išvados, tai šioje knygoje tokių išvadų nėra. Kiek teiravausi – komisijos mokslininkai šio leidinio tarpusavyje neaptarinėjo…

Bet apie viską nuo pradžių.

Knygos apimama geografija gana plati. Daugiau ar mažiau minimos 23 apskritys ir 140 miestelių. Tai tikrai daug, bet krinta į akis, kad aprašyti miesteliai pagal apskritis pasiskirstę labai netolygiai. Pvz., Šilutės apskrityje prabėgomis minimos kelios stovyklos ir atskirų žydų likimai, bet nėra aprašyto nė vieno miestelio. Iš Marijampolės apskrities aprašytas tik pačios Marijampolės žydų likimas. Gausiausia miestelių aprašymų iš Šiaulių (15) ir Alytaus (12) apskričių. Suprantama, autorius ir taip atliko didelį darbą – lig šiol neturėjome tokio išsamaus aprašymo. Žudynių geografijos prasme platesnis yra „Holokausto Lietuvoje atlasas“, kuriame paminėtos visos didesnės žudynių vietos. Tačiau tame aprašyme nekeliamas klausimas, kas gi atsitiko su atskirų miestelių žydų bendruomenėmis. Mano nuomone, Bubnio knygoje trūksta paaiškinimo, kodėl viskas taip fragmentiška. Skaitydami apie Šiaulių apskritį, galime rasti vieną iš galimų paaiškinimų:

Continue reading

Posted in History, Lithuania | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Evaldas Balčiūnas recenzuoja Arūno Bubnio knygą „Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje“