Lithuania

‘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.

International members of the Good Will Foundation’s board contacted each confirmed they believed the document was made public. They all agreed that ethically speaking, “it is public.” In any case, it is in fact a public document signed by heads of public institutions, all of which are financed by the taxpayers of Lithuania. As the memorandum’s text has not (yet) appeared on the websites of the LJC, AJC, GWF or the Vilnius municipality, Defending History takes the opportunity, as a public service in a free, transparent and democratic society, to put public documents in the public domain:

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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:

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Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again: Secret Memorandum on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Courtyard



OPINION | VILNA GREAT SYNAGOGUE

by Dovid Katz

It has not been easy for our embattled team to keep Defending History going for over a dozen years now, based here in Vilnius. But as with other small but committed projects committed to speaking out for historic justice whomever it will please or displease, misconceptions can flourish. For example, this journal has indeed opposed the misuse of millions of Lithuanian citizens’ hard earned tax euros for campaigns to “equalize” for new generations (and today’s West) Nazi and Soviet crimes (the “Red-Brown” Commission); to target Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance by smearing them as “war criminals” (state prosecutors); to establish as European heroes brutal participants in the Holocaust (the Genocide Center and Museum); efforts by government bodies (foreign ministry under some governments) to insist on European Union cave-in to the revised Baltic far-right historiography (note the Prague Declaration and DH’s response: the Seventy Years Declaration received personally a decade ago by the president of the European Parliament).

UPDATE OF 7 JUNE 2022:

A senior employee of the official ‘Lithuanian Jewish Community’ has asserted to DH that the secret memorandum contains the line: ‘After World War II, the Jewish community in Vilnius and Lithuania declined significantly and is now dying out altogether’ (thereby sentencing, over the signature of the mayor, the official community head, and a major figure from the American Jewish Committee) our small but creative, dynamic, variegated and life-loving Vilna community to imminent and utter demise)…

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again: Secret Memorandum on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Courtyard

Another ‘Fake Litvak Congress’? Litvaks of Lithuania are Excluded on Orders of Election-coup ‘Pylimo 4 Bosses’; Photo-op Foreigners In Town for Gov. Hosted Event



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  | WHAT DO FAKE LITVAK GAMES LOOK LIKE?  |  VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY’S STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH EVENTS FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  | WHEN GOV. MINISTRIES MEDDLE IN FRAGILE MINORITY CULTURE (& HISTORY DEBATES)  |  LITHUANIA

by Dovid Katz

Most Lithuanian government officials in diverse branches of its democratic government, including so many in its Culture and Education ministries, its local museums and libraries, its schools and cultural centers, have a warm and healthy attitude toward both the historic weight and tragic fate of the nation’s Jewish minority. This is important to keep in mind as we come yet again to provide a voice for the voiceless: the manipulation of the fragile Litvak and Yiddish culture, of the last survivors and their families, and of Holocaust history by some small and lavishly financed “Jewish fix-it units” including the Genocide Center, Genocide Museum, Red-Brown Commission, and a scattering of “Jewish, Yiddish and Litvak” centers in central Vilnius, a good part of which exclude from all professional participation people — including top specialists in the relevant field — who dare disagree with state revisionism on the Holocaust. In some cases, this policy brings about the succeeding phase of “Jewish” addresses without a single Jewish member of staff (think African American Cultural Center in Alabama, staffed by pure lily-whites who won’t mess up and peradventure say something contrary to local “patriotic” history-book narratives demanded by nationalists).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Dovid Katz, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, ministries, News & Views, Opinion, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Another ‘Fake Litvak Congress’? Litvaks of Lithuania are Excluded on Orders of Election-coup ‘Pylimo 4 Bosses’; Photo-op Foreigners In Town for Gov. Hosted Event

Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, State-Defamed Jewish World War II Partisan Hero, Turns 100



BLAMING THE VICTIMS  |  FANIA BRANTSOVSKY SECTION  |  HISTORY  |   EVENTS  |  YIDDISH CULTURE LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

 

The following is a paste-in of today’s Facebook post by Dovid Katz marking Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky’s 100th birthday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The original, along with its Comments section is on FB, accompanied by a modest selection of photographs of Fania, and of Fania with Dovid and others over the years.

Clockwise from upper left: Fania is at far left in family photo from 1932 or 1933 in front of her father’s shop on Vilna’s Zavalna St. (today Pylimo in Vilnius); Fania showing visitors the underground bunkers where she lived while fighting the Nazis in the Jewish partisan fort in the forest (now sinking into the ground, Fania’s last wish is that it be restored and preserved for posterity); Fania and fellow partisan veteran Chasia Langbord Shpanerflig sing the partisan hymn at a May 9th memorial; Fania bring honored at a banquet at the residence of the Irish ambassador to Lithuania, HE Dónal Denham in a pushback against state attempts to prosecute and defame her and other veterans of the Jewish partisans with ambassadors from Norway, Austria, France, the UK and other Western nations joining in; Fania in the Vilna Ghetto (1941-1943); with Dovid enjoying looking at some old Vilna Yiddish books together.

HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY TO DEAR FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY (FANIA BRANCOVSKAJA)

Today, May 22nd 2022, is Fania’s 100th. It has been a privilege to know her and work closely with her for some thirty years. A graduate of Vilna’s remarkable secular Yiddish school built by the legendary Sofia Markovna Gurevitsh, she went on to suffer loss of her entire family in the Holocaust. Her own incarceration in the Vilna Ghetto lasted from the Ghetto’s first day to its last, when she escaped to join the Jewish partisans with whom she fought heroically in the forests of Lithuania against the Nazis, based in the wooden underground bunkers at the “Jewish fort” outside Vilnius, which Fania dreams to this day will be restored and preserved for future generations to remember the Holocaust and the Jewish resistance (it is at present literally sinking into the earth). To come together to make this happen would be Fania’s most cherished 100th birthday present. (Alas efforts to date have faded with various organizations’ timidity, but may that now rapidly change!).

For a summary of the story of the Last Jewish Fort, please see Defending History’s report.

Please try to imagine the mental cruelty Holocaust survivor Fania (who lost her entire family, herself survived by joining the anti-Nazi resistance, becoming a hero of the free world) has had to endure from a major state-sponsored commission in an EU member state. This has been covered in a major documentary film (alternate link). See also recent ultranationalists’ defamation of Fania

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Comments Off on Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, State-Defamed Jewish World War II Partisan Hero, Turns 100

Is Walking Down a Street Named for a Murderer Now Considered ‘Holocaust Remembrance’?



Opinion  |  Collaborators Glorified  | Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas  |  Politics of Memory  | Lithuania  |  History

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Just another street name in a pleasant part of Kaunas, this year’s Capital of European Culture? Author thinks that “Kaunas and its people deserve better”…

Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas (1915–1948) is remembered by the Republic of Lithuania for his anti-Soviet guerilla activities after the war but without regard for the three separate periods of his activity in service to Nazi activities to exterminate the Jewish people. He did indeed join the anti-Soviet partisan resistance movement in the spring of 1945. And, before his death, he did become the head of its Tauras County unit. Those who heroize this period of his activities emphasize his efforts in establishing military discipline and order in the county. His critics, in turn, are more likely to make reference to his order to the Žalgiris Detachment, subordinate to the Tauras County, to annihilate Russian (Soviet) civilian settlers (“colonists”) in Opšrūtai, who had been transferred to Lithuania according to the Soviet-Nazi repatriation agreement (often with little or no input from these folks themselves). Thirty-one persons perished in Opšrūtai, including fourteen children. In the partisans’ descriptions of the battle, it is easy to notice that their task was to eradicate all colonists, including children. Those who justify the atrocity against civilians, including children, say that it was necessary to thwart the russification of Lithuania.

Lithuania’s policy of historical memory was quite straightforward on this issue: it built a monument to the partisans of the Žalgiris Detachment in Opšrūtai. Ethnic cleansing of Jews, if done by “our own nationalist heroes” in Lithuania, is still seen, it seems, as acceptable.

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Posted in Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Is Walking Down a Street Named for a Murderer Now Considered ‘Holocaust Remembrance’?

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.

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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

Subtle Art of State Antisemitism ― East European Style (with ubiquitous nod to glorification of Holocaust collaborators)



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)

On the 4th of April 2022, the website of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a news item titled (in Lithuanian, here translated) “Lithuania will expand cooperation with Yivo Jewish Research Institute, preserving and publicizing Lithuanian Jewish history” (as PDF). The site’s English language section uses the headline wording “Lithuania to expand cooperation with Yivo Institute for Jewish Research to protect and promote the history and heritage of Lithuanian Jews” (as PDF).

The news article contains information about the visit of the esteemed American scholar, Dr. Jonathan Brent, the executive director and CEO of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research in New York, also a famed educator and academic publisher, with his colleagues, and their meeting with the deputy foreign minister. The news item appears intent on communicating to the world how much our country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs cares about its Jewish and Yiddish legacy and how sensitive it is to the history of Lithuanian Jewry.

Both the Lithuanian and English versions are illustrated with a three-photo gallery portraying three scenes of the meeting: shaking hands at the welcome, a moment at the meeting table and the final with those at the meeting posing for the official photo-op.

Everything seems to be done according to the usual protocols of such meetings, at which the professional photographer takes numerous photos from start to finish, culminating with the final photo-op. Then the few dozen shots are whittled down to the most informative and appropriate handful for publication. The ones that make the point best. Elementary.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, ministries, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like?, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Subtle Art of State Antisemitism ― East European Style (with ubiquitous nod to glorification of Holocaust collaborators)

Books in the Debate 2022 — 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.

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Posted in Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Books in the Debate 2022 — With Latest on Silvia Foti’s “Nazi’s Granddaughter”

Dr. Bubnys’s New Book on the Lithuanian Holocaust: More Obfuscation and Far-Right History-Spin to Minimize Local Participation?



Opinion | Books | Dr. Bubnys & Official State Holocaust Research in Lithuania | Red-Brown Commission | Genocide Center | Politics of Memory | Lithuania | History

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Prolific historian, director of the state’s Genocide Center, and far-right activist. On 23 June 2020, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys addressed an ultranationalist rally celebrating the 79th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion (and onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust), flanked by large posters of Jonas Noreika and Kazys Škirpa, two major collaborators in various phases of the genocide of Lithuanian Jewry (96.4% were killed). In his speech he taunted the (silent) DH observers on hand. See reports here and here, and DH’s section on Dr. Bubnys’s work and positions over the years.

Arūnas Bubnys’s book The Holocaust in the Lithuanian Provinces (Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje, Margi raštai, Vilnius, 2021) is another publication of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania (ICECNSORL). Up until now, books published by the Commission were academically written and appreciated by a sophisticated readership. Moreover, they were always published in both Lithuanian and English. This book is different. It is available only in Lithuanian. Previously published monographs would also include Commission-approved conclusions; this book has no such thing. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Commission’s academics did not discuss the book among themselves before its publication. But let’s start at the beginning.

The book is geographically quite extensive: 23 counties and 140 towns are cited. This is really a lot, but it is also quite obvious that the coverage of towns in different counties is unequal. When it comes to Šilutė county in western Lithuania, for example, several camps and fates of individual Jews are mentioned in passing, but no single town is described. For the Marijampolė county, only the fate of the Jews of Marijampolė itself is presented.  Šiauliai xounty (15 towns) and Alytus County (12 towns) are the most extensively covered.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Books, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Bubnys’s New Book on the Lithuanian Holocaust: More Obfuscation and Far-Right History-Spin to Minimize Local Participation?

New York Jewish Museum: Latest to be Duped into “Legitimizing” Lithuanian Far-Right Holocaust Revisionism?



MUSEUMS | JEWISH EVENTS ABUSED TO MAKE “KOSHER” HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM | POLITICS OF MEMORY | COLLABORATORS WHITEWASHED

Is New York City’s Jewish Museum the Latest Western Jewish Institution to be Duped into “Legitimizing” Lithuanian Nationalists’ Far-Right Holocaust Revisionism?

See Michael Casper’s new exposé in Jewish Currents

Are “useful Jewish idiots” addicted to photo-ops, funding and junkets being duped into joining “Kaunas Capital of European Culture 2022” year? (without Kaunas removing a single public monument to Holocaust perps)

For background see Defending History’s coverage of the revisionists’ “Jewish cover-it-up  investments” over more than a dozen years

Andrius Kulikauskas on the Greimas exhibit at Lithuania’s National Mažvydas Library (2017); on the Library’s setting up of the Adolfas Damušis Center glorifying a Nazi collaborator (2017)

Dovid Katz on the (ab)use of East European museums to “legitimize” Double Genocide and far-right Holocaust revisionism; Defending History’s Museums section

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , | Comments Off on New York Jewish Museum: Latest to be Duped into “Legitimizing” Lithuanian Far-Right Holocaust Revisionism?

27 Months Later: Lithuania’s Defense Ministry Still Flaunts Website Homage to Hitlerist Theoretician of Ethnic Cleansing of Jews


[UPDATED / ORIGINAL REPORT 3 MARCH 2020]

COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   KAUNAS MARCHES EU  |  OPINION 

Believe it or not, the Defense Ministry still flaunts its magazine cover glorifying Lithuania’s major  1941 “Holocaust advocate” on its website with no editorial comment or disclaimer from the defense minister (as PDF). Who was K. Škirpa?

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 27 Months Later: Lithuania’s Defense Ministry Still Flaunts Website Homage to Hitlerist Theoretician of Ethnic Cleansing of Jews

Ottawa Citizen & N.Y. Times Break Media Silence on Self-Damage of Eastern NATO/EU Democracies by Public-Space Adoration of Holocaust Collaborators



OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  LATVIA  |  UKRAINE  |  RIGA MARCHES

by Dovid Katz

Mainstream Western media has, it seems, finally begun to “notice a detail” that has been rather inscrutable to the wider public. Ukraine is a country where in 2019, 73.22% of voters chose a Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky in the second and final round of voting, a result verily impossible in any of today’s great Western democracies, including the United States and Britain. Indeed a Jewish president whose family boasts proud World War II veterans of the Holocaust-era Red Army’s and the Allies’ struggle against Hitler. That is no “pro-fascist” country. Period, full stop. Having been a regular visitor to Ukraine for a period spanning more than a decade (for Yiddish expeditions and sometimes delightful conferences), I can attest to the open, welcoming, multiethnic and multicultural tolerance and grand humor of this great country’s people.

What is the upshot? That just as elsewhere in pro-Western Eastern Europe, a small but disproportionately powerful coterie of far-right pseudo-patriotic history rewriters, among them highly educated and sophisticated historians, politicians and state apparatchiks, all Holocaust revisionists in their passion to have as national heroes Hitler collaborators, have done so much harm to their own countries. It’s enough to peruse Defending History’s sections on Croatia, EstoniaHungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and more (see Countries). Incidentally, the motivation of these small, overly influential elites is (mis)guided by two forms of racism: inability to concede their nations’ leaders acted wrongfully during the Holocaust (what country’s history has no dark spots?), and the demented desire for a (supposedly) ethnically pure country (in other words, quiet satisfaction with the results of accomplished ethnic purification).

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Latvia, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Ottawa Citizen & N.Y. Times Break Media Silence on Self-Damage of Eastern NATO/EU Democracies by Public-Space Adoration of Holocaust Collaborators

Today’s Far-Right March 11th Parade in Vilnius



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  FAR-RIGHT MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla

VILNIUS—On our National Independence Day today, the 11th of March, approximately two hundred far-right nationalists and their sympathizers marched in the center of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, with permission of the city’s and national authorities. The march, following a route of many years’ standing, started at Cathedral Square and ended up in Lukiškės Square. But this year’s gathering was unusually short, taking up less than one hour. The main outlets of the Lithuanian media covered the event, generally obfuscating its far-right character.

What else makes this year’s march different from the marches of the previous years and from the march on February 16th? First, naturally, support for Ukraine, now under a vicious military campaign by Russian military forces, dominated the event. The rally was opened and closed by playing melodies and singing two national anthems: of Lithuania in Lithuanian and of Ukraine in Ukrainian.

Julius Norwilla’s photos at the event

Second, the provocative far-right slogan “Lietuva Lietuviams!” (Lithuania for Lithuanians!) was today used explicitly, featuring beforehand on the Facebook page banner preceding the event, thereby emphasizing the group’s fear of citizens, residents or refugees who are not pure ethnic Lithuanian (perhaps a contradiction to the professed support of Ukraine?). During the march, it was screamed out repeatedly. Defending History’s  monitoring and reporting of the far-right marches starting back in 2008. Sometimes the far-right slogan, implying illegitimacy or no human rights for non-ethnic-Lithuanians in Lithuania, is at times reduced to a single chant word: “Lithuania! Lithuania! Lithuania!”

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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 Secretly-Financed, Free-of-Jewish-Staff "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)

Authorized Translation of Michael Levinas’s Dec. 2021 ‘Le Figaro’ Op-ed on Kaunas’s ‘Levinas Center’



Defending History’s Belgian correspondent Roland Binet has translated the 21 Dec. 2021 op-ed published in Le Figaro by Michael Levinas entitled “Pourquoi je suis opposé à l’inauguration, à Kaunas, en Lituanie, d’un centre qui porte le nom d’Emmanuel Levinas”.  Michael Levinas has agreed to allow Defending History to publish his Le Figaro opinion piece in full, in English, and has approved Roland Binet’s translation, which follows.  Michaël Levinas is a French pianist and composer of renown. He has this year been appointed Vice-President of the French Academy of Fine Arts, has taught at the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance and has been made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.  

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Why am I Opposed to the Inauguration in Kaunas, Lithuania, of a Center that Bears the Name of Emmanuel Levinas

By Michaël Levinas

Following the publication on FigaroVox of Salomon Malka’s text entitled “Lithuania celebrates the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas”  Michael Levinas asked us to publish his reaction to this information. Michaël Levinas, a pianist, is honorary professor at the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris, as well as a member of the Academy of Fine Arts. He is the son of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas.

It was through an article signed by Salomon Malka in FigaroVox that I was informed of the inauguration of an Emmanuel Levinas center in Kaunas, which took place on December 6 within the setting of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Thus, it is through the press alone that I, as the exclusive holder of the moral rights, and responsible for the use of my father’s name when it concerns his work, learned of this ceremony which honored a major French personality. A noteworthy fact: it was held only in the presence of the Embassy of Israel, and in the absence of the Embassy of France in Lithuania and the Embassy of Lithuania in France, and this, in defiance of the reservations that I had publicly expressed as a son regarding the use of my father’s name, Emmanuel Levinas, in a historically tragic context.

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Thanks to Danutė Selčinskaja and Stanislovas Stasiulis, We found Families who Saved My Parents During the Lithuanian Holocaust



Lithuania  |  History  |  Persons of the Year  |  Litvak Affairs

 

By Miriam Kagan (Kahn) Lieber (New York)

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My family was delighted to learn that Defending History 2022 Persons of the Year are the inspirationally courageous Lithuanians who risked all to save my parents and a small group of their friends from certain death in Kovno by hiding them in the forests near their rural homes.  This is our amazing tale of discovery, in brief.

In the summer of 2019, my cousin traveled to Lithuania to visit the country where much of our family originated, home to my parents, Berl and Raya Kagan, and aunt, Nechama Ilman Himmel. It was our good fortune that he met Stanislovas Stasiulis of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, who introduced us to his colleague Danutė Selčinskaja, long time head of the museum‘s department for discovering, recording and acknowledging Rescuers of Holocaust-era Lithuania.

Danutė knew the story of six heroic Lithuanian peasants from the hamlet of Karalgiris who rescued eight Jews from the Kovno Ghetto. She was very familiar with the story that had been published in post-war newspapers in Lithuania and in the book, Unarmed Fighters (Ir be ginklo kariai), but despite several attempts, lacked the documentation to confirm the accuracy of the story.

She was not yet familiar with my father’s diary, published in 1955 in Yiddish in New York by the Congress for Jewish Culture, entitled A yid in vald (A Jew in the Woods). The entries in the diary would confirm what was written in several post-war publications about this rescue, including the first names of each of the rescuers. She, along with Stanislovas, quickly grasped the historical value of the published Yiddish diary as it provided an in-depth picture of the rescuers of the Holocaust period in Lithuania. And due to Danutė‘s hard work and dedication she brought to fruition the long overdue recognition of these righteous Lithuanians this past September.

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DH Editor on Simple Ethics of ‘Kaunas Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS  |  KAUNAS

by Dovid Katz

This comment is adapted from the author’s Facebook post of 3 Dec. 2021.
As someone who has enjoyed many visits to Kaunas, and enjoyed meeting its wonderful, warm, tolerant people for three decades now, I’m the first not to ever blame them for the city’s (and national) authorities having made it the city with the most public-space monuments to local Holocaust participants/partners/collaborators of any in the world, including street names, plaques, busts, bas-reliefs and more for the likes of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika, Holocaust-era ethnic cleansing theoretician K. Škirpa, and the head of Hitler’s Nazi puppet government J. Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis (even the “liberal” Vytautas Magnus university has a lecture hall and bas-relief glorifying him!).

It all strikes outsiders as a kind of bizarre circus macabre of a celebration of those whose first order of business was the butchering of the city’s 30,000 citizens who were Jewish, a celebration of Nazism and the Holocaust. It is a true friend of Kaunas who would now publicly call for the removal of these shameful street names and monuments. And, when folks accept lavish invites, ego-trips and honors in “Capital of European Culture” programs, we only ask that they speak out publicly, with dignity, calling for the removal of public-space state-sponsored shrines to the local “white-armbander” Hitlerists who launched the Lithuanian Holocaust in Kaunas on 23 June 1941, before the first German soldiers arrived. If they do, they acquit themselves with honor. If they don’t and allow their use as “foreign Jews” to further betray the victims of the Holocaust and the simple historic truth, for a mess of lentils, they shall duly go done in the darkest alleys of Jewish and European history as Useful Jewish Idiots (so-called “UJIs”) — at best.

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French Composer and Pianist Michael Levinas, Son of Philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, Explains Opposition to Wanton Use of Father’s Name in Kaunas’s New ‘Levinas Center’



 OPINION  |  USE OF ‘JEWISH PROJECTS’ TO DEFLECT FROM HOLOCAUST OBFUSCATION  |  ‘LEVINAS CENTER’  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |   KAUNAS  |  FRANCE

PARIS—The French Jewish journal Actualité Juive  published in its print edition a full-page interview (as PDF) with the eminent French composer and pianist Michaël Levinas, concerning his protest at a new center in Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas (once Kovno, Yiddish Kóvne), being named for his late father, the great French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995). An authorized translation is available. Coinciding with the European Union’s naming of Kaunas as “Capital of European Culture” for 2022 and the city’s refusal to remove even one of the many street names, shrines, plaques and monuments to local Nazi collaborators who helped ensure the massacre of nearly all the city’s Jewish residents in 1941, and who participated in the unleashing of the Holocaust in Lithuania even before the arrival of the first German soldiers in late late 1941, the composer’s powerful moral protest represents a singular voice of justice, reason and moral courage to date.

See also op-ed in Le Figaro

&

Levinas Center Media Tracker

The composer’s stance stands in marked  contrast with many others, including artists, assorted academics and a wide range of Western wannabees, who are accepting funding, honors, junkets, invites, and photo-ops with “important people” in return for an unspoken assurance of silence in face of the city’s refusal to take down a single shrine to the local perpetrators of the Holocaust.

The following is a PDF of Michaël Levinas’s interview in the print edition of Actualité Juive of 13 January 2022:

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Editor’s Comments on Defending History Persons of the Year 2022


[UPDATE]


OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  LITHUANIA

by Dovid Katz

Note: An earlier version of this comment appeared on Dovid Katz’s personal Facebook page on 31 Dec. 

Each year on New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight (Vilnius time), our Defending History community publishes its Person(s) of the Year, in most years, and this year once again, chosen from among the most inspirational and eternal of Lithuania’s 20th century heroes: the amazing people who risked everything, starting with themselves and their children and families, to just save a Jewish neighbor and fellow citizen who was targeted for death by the Nazis and their local collaborationists and lackeys. Most years, and this year again, we are fortunate to have an authoritative summary of the achievements of the folks we are honoring prepared for the Persons of the Year series by Danutė Selčinskaja, longtime director of the Project for Commemoration of Rescuers of Jews at the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History in Vilnius. With brevity, authority and humanity, Danutė tells the tale of our 2022 Persons of the Year: Tadas Pocius and Barbora Urbonavičiūtė-Pocienė; Antanas Volskis and Stanislava Volskienė;Leonas Vaidotas and  Stanislava Vaidotienė — all of the tiny speck of a village Karalgiris… All simple people of the land whose heart and soul stood entire heavens and firmaments above so many with education, jobs, money, authority, and all the rest.

See Defending History’s Persons of the Year

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