Lithuania

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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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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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 Secretly-Financed, Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Holocaust in Šeduva, a Town in Northern Lithuania

2022 Persons of the Year: Tadas Pocius & Barbora Urbonavičiūtė-Pocienė; Antanas Volskis & Stanislava Volskienė; Leonas Vaidotas & Stanislava Vaidotienė — in a village called Karalgiris



PERSON OF THE YEAR SERIES  |  LITHUANIA  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  HISTORY

by Danutė Selčinskaja

Berl Kagan (Kahan)

Eminent scholar, author, and Holocaust survivor Berl Kagan, often known as Berl Kahn (1908-1993)  renowned in his pre-war Lithuania youth as a scholar, lecturer and editor  (of the newspaper Dos Vort), worked after the war in New York at the Yivo (Yiddish Scientific Institute, later Yivo Institute for Jewish Research) from 1954, is widely known for his concise encyclopedia of Jewish towns in prewar independent Lithuania, the final volume of the encyclopedia of Yiddish literature plus a volume of addenda, and numerous other works that are regularly consulted in our second decade of the twenty-first century. Fewer people, perhaps, are aware of his much more deeply personal work, A Yid in Vald (A Jew in the Forest), his Holocaust memoir.

While hiding from the Nazis and their local henchmen in the Lithuanian forests, he felt the need to record what he, his wife Raya, and his wife’s sister Nechama had to endure in the Kovno Ghetto and, from 1943, hiding in the barn of the inspirationally courageous peasant Tadas Pocius (known to friends as Tadeush) in Karalgiris village and, later, in the woods outside the Pocius family’s farm. Since there was no paper to write on, Kagan would write in between the lines of a paperback that he carried with him. In 1955, based on these clandestine records, Kagan published A Yid in Vald. After his death, his daughters Ada Kagan and Miriam Kagan Lieber ensured that the book would appear in English translation A Jew in the Woods.

Defending History’s Person of the Year series

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Posted in Danutė Selčinskaja, Defending History's Person of the Year, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2022 Persons of the Year: Tadas Pocius & Barbora Urbonavičiūtė-Pocienė; Antanas Volskis & Stanislava Volskienė; Leonas Vaidotas & Stanislava Vaidotienė — in a village called Karalgiris

Chronology: 2021 Dedicated to Glorifying Juozas Lukša (Daumantas), Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities


[LAST UPDATE]

JUMP TO MOST RECENT: On 23 Nov. 2021, Vilnius inaugurated a square named for the alleged 1941 Holocaust perpetrator

YAKOV FAITELSON; LAURENCE WEINBAUM; FAINA KUKLIANSKY & ANDREW BAKER; DOVID KATZ; BRITISH PARLIAMENT MOTION

23 June 2020: “Setting the stage”: After the longtime ultranationalist head of the “Genocide Center” is replaced by a meek looking “member of the Tatar community” in attempt to repair the disastrous image of an EU/NATO democracy financing a Nazi-whitewash ethnic-purity-inclined institute paid for by the state, the chief historian of the Center (a longtime member of the state’s “red-brown commission”) delivers a fiery June 23rd speech proudly flanked by huge images of two proven Holocaust collaborators, J. Noreika and K. Škirpa.  Defending History was on the scene and reports.

29 June: 2020  In response to media reports, Dovid Katz presents a case against the official state naming of the  upcoming year 2021 for June 1941 LAF activist Juozas Lukša, invoking the publications of Alex FaitelsonJoseph Melamed and a British parliamentary motion. Cnaan Liphshiz reports in JTA (also in Jerusalem PostTimes of IsraelEuropean Jewish Congress).

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Painful Setback for Vilnius’s Standing in the West: Square is Named for a Brutal 1941 LAF Holocaust Collaborator



Photo: Baltics.news

City Council Opens Brand New Square Named for Alleged 1941 Holocaust Murderer Juozas Lukša (“Daumantas”) in spite of pleas and testimony from the (late) last Holocaust Survivors who provided evidence.  Macabre note: A few city council members told us off the record that placing the square away from the city center or old town represents “a grand compromise with the Jews”… Some have cited far-right demands for the square to be opposite the Jewish Community building.

See Defending History’s chronology of the 2021 debate, including links to Alex Faitelson’s book, British Parliament members’ 2012 early day motion, and 2021 calls from World Jewish Congress’s Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and (very unusually) the American Jewish Committee. See essays by Defending History’s Dovid Katz and Evaldas Balčiūnas.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Painful Setback for Vilnius’s Standing in the West: Square is Named for a Brutal 1941 LAF Holocaust Collaborator

Finally, a “Feminine Government” for Lithuania



OPINION  |  WOMEN’S RIGHTS  |  FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Finally, a “feminine government” for Lithuania. Having won the 2020 election, the right-wing parties formed a “feminine” government, led by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, with liberal Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen taking the chair of the Speaker of the Seimas. One could be tempted to see this as a victory for liberalism and feminism in the Baltics, since the Social Democrats, who were in the majority for several terms, would either include no women in their government or at best, entrust to them one or two ministries of lesser importance.

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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 Secretly-Financed, Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Elena Rimdžiūtė: Video of Christian Witness to the Holocaust in Šeduva, in Northern Lithuania

Open Letter to (1) Archimenai; (2) Institute of Design & Restoration; (3) Sigitas Kuncevičius; (4) Vilnius Architecture Studio



Archimenai

Institute of Design & Restoration

Sigitas Kuncevičius

Vilnius Architecture Studio

Dear Colleagues

Most regrettably, and we hope with no foreknowledge on your part, the state property bank Turto Bankas mentions you all by name in a public post dated 23 September, the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto by the Nazis and their collaborators. According to this shameful report (whichh does not even botgher to mention the Jewish cemetery or the London-based paid vassals), you have personally agreed to participate in works to restore the miserable Soviet ruin that was once the Sports Palace, and that sits in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės) surrounded on all four sides by extant graves. As you know this would not be happening if it were thousands of Christian Lithuanian graves going back a half millennium and including great heroes of the people. The years-long saga has attracted massive international and local protest as well as a petition signed by, as of today, 53,678 people. Turto Bankas’s prominent participation in a day of shame has made it into the annals of Lithuanian Jewish history. By contrast, a talented young Lithuanian artist has shown us all the stark contrast between the two visions for Vilnius. Courageous Lithuanian intellectuals have spoken out with dignity and passion, including Julius Norvila and Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Their successful work has been recognized in international media.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Open Letter to (1) Archimenai; (2) Institute of Design & Restoration; (3) Sigitas Kuncevičius; (4) Vilnius Architecture Studio

Updates & Aftermath to Lithuanian Gov’s Cancellation of Vilnius “Convention Center in the Cemetery”


[latest update]

Congratulations (16 Aug 2021) to Lithuania’s gov on cancelling convention center

Ben Cohen in The Algemeiner

HISTORY OF THE LAST 7 YEARS

JUMP TO MOST RECENT…

16 AUG 2021—Defending History reports on the Lithuanian government’s cancellation of the “convention center in the cemetery” citing Alfa.lt and BNS and derivitate media reports. Congratulations are offered on the historic turnabout.

17 AUG 2021—The official state-sponsored “Lithuanian Jewish Community,” in a shock to many Jewish people, reported the news with this headline: “Almost Half Million Euros Wasted on Palace of Sports Reconstruction Project” (as PDF)

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Updates & Aftermath to Lithuanian Gov’s Cancellation of Vilnius “Convention Center in the Cemetery”

Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  JUOZAS LUKŠA DEBATES

VILNIUS—Two days before tomorrow’s government-sponsored international “academic” conference (on September 10) that glorifies alleged 1941 Holocaust perpetrator Juozas Lukša (without a single paper devoted to the issue of his Kaunas 1941 Holocaust participation), the foreign minister led a high-end Holocaust remembrance ceremony (yesterday, 8 Sept.) bewailing the calamity of the Holocaust and its scale in Lithuania. That ceremony dated the onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust to the first week of September, when the Nazis set up the Vilna Ghetto, and others.

As ever, curious acrobatics seen to be in play in choice of the date to deflect attention from 23 June 1941, the day the barbarity and slaughter were initiated in dozens of Lithuanian towns before arrival of the first German soldiers. June 23rd is the day the Holocaust in Lithuania started according to all Holocaust survivors interviewed over the last thirty years, and it has been particularly painful for them that Vilnius has a street called “June 23rd Street.”

Eyewitness accounts of Lukša’s Kaunas deeds were assembled by Alex Faitelson and Joseph Melamed  regarding the Lietukis Garage Massacre in that last week of June 1941. An early day 2011 motion in the British Parliament cited eyewitnesses to his alleged participation in the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky in Kaunas, also in June 1941 (for more citations see Defending History’s initial report on the Lithuanian parliament’s decision last year to dedicate 2021 to Lukša’s memory). Last week’s Lukša events have included inauguration of a major new monument with an address by the prime minister.

Statements painfully protesting the Lithuanian parliament’s decision to name 2021 for this infamous alleged participant in the Kaunas atrocities of June 1941 have been issued by Faina Kukliansky, head of the official Jewish Community of Lithuania, jointly with Rabbi Andrew Baker, head of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C. The Jewish Community went on (very unusually) to bitterly critique the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” on the glorification of Lukša. Other voices of dismay have come from Dr. Laurence Weinbaum of the World Jewish Congress who edits its prestigious academic j0urnal Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Yakov Faitelson, who recounts his late father’s being honored for telling the truth by the late Lithuanian president and statesman Algirdas Brazauskas.

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Posted in American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Double Games, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Honoring Holocaust Victims One Day, and Two Days Later — Perpetrators

Congratulations Pour in to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on 16 Aug. Cancellation of Vilnius Convention Center in the Cemetery (“CCC”)



Agudath Israel of America leads the way (18 Aug. statement; 25 Aug.  Jewish Tribune)

Deans of three top Lithuanian yeshivas, all named for cities in Lithuania, congratulate PM

Lithuania’s prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė “just did the right thing” (Getty Images)

During mid-August lull, many were caught unaware (reports in DHDH UpdatesAlgemeiner JournalJTA)

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Congratulations Pour in to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on 16 Aug. Cancellation of Vilnius Convention Center in the Cemetery (“CCC”)

In Lithuania, President’s Speech, New Monument, and Major Conference Glorify Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities Against Jewish Citizens



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  KAUNAS: 2022 CAPITAL OF EUROPEAN CULTURE

VILNIUS—Not for the first time, the annual Jewish High Holiday period encompassing Rosh Hashonna and Yom Kippur have provided “optimal timing” for state-sponsored activities glorifying Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators. Lithuania’s Seimas (parliament) had  declared that the year per se, 2021, would be dedicated to the memory of Juozas Lukša, identified by eyewitnesses as one of the barbaric butchers of Jews in the Lietukis Garage Massacre in Kaunas in June 1941, during the week when fascist “LAF” (Lithuanian Activist Front) Hitlerist thugs murdered thousands of Jewish neighbors before the Nazis had even taken control. In 2011 a motion in the British Parliament referred to testimony that Lukša was also involved in the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky the same week.

“The hard-working people of Lithuania deserve much better than for their tax euros to be squandered by ultranationalist leaders on state glorification of Hitler accomplices.”

This week’s festivities included, on 4 September 2021, a speech by the president of Lithuania to honor Lukša, a brand new Lukša monument unveiled to  in a village where he operated, with participation by the director general of the Genocide Center, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys. The monument was “consecrated” by a major bishop who holds the title “president of the Commission on the External Relations of the EU”.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Lithuania, President’s Speech, New Monument, and Major Conference Glorify Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities Against Jewish Citizens

Leading Lithuanian (Litvak) Yeshivas Applaud Prime Minister’s Decision to Suspend Vilnius ‘Convention Center in the Cemetery’ (CCC)



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Deans (rosh-yeshivas, Heb. roshei-yeshiva) of three of the world’s greatest Lithuanian tradition (Litvak) yeshivas, located in the United States and Israel, all proud to bear the Yiddish names of the Lithuanian cities from which they hail, today released a letter to Ingrida Šimonytė, prime minister of Lithuania, expressing admiration and gratitude for her recent suspension of the project to situate a national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok/Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius), where thousands would cheer, sing and revel surrounded by multitudes of graves going back over half a millennium.

The project has, in some eyes, tarnished Lithuania’s image over the last seven years, eliciting considerable local and international opposition. Today’s public congratulations from three of the top Lithuanian yeshiva deans, who carry on the traditions of the Gaon of Vilna and numerous other Lithuanian rabbinic luminaries, is widely seen, in the broader context, to help Lithuania rapidly surmount recent setbacks and embark on a new era of Lithuanian-Jewish (and more generally, crosscultural) harmony in the run-up to international celebration of the 700th birthday of the founding of Vilnius (Vilna, Vílne, Wilno) coming up in 2023.

The following English text is a translation from the Hebrew original.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Leading Lithuanian (Litvak) Yeshivas Applaud Prime Minister’s Decision to Suspend Vilnius ‘Convention Center in the Cemetery’ (CCC)