Lithuania

Litvak Studies Institute Protests “Fake Litvak” Game by Politicians; Director Mikhail Iossel Issues Statement



Professor Mikhail Iossel, director of Summer Literary Seminars (SLS) and the newly established Litvak Studies Institute (LSI) released this statement today on the LSI website [archived copy].

 

Litvak Studies Institute Protests Lithuanian Government’s “Fake Litvak” Forum, Calls on State to Halt PR Gimmickry and Reverse Anti-Jewish Policies

Posted in Press — 20 July 2010

For the dwindling number of aged Litvak survivors who grew up in the East European Jewish civilization decimated by the Holocaust, the anti-Jewish and Holocaust-distorting policies of the Lithuanian government in recent years are deeply painful.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Games, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Mikhail Iossel, News & Views, The Great SLS About-Face, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Litvak Studies Institute Protests “Fake Litvak” Game by Politicians; Director Mikhail Iossel Issues Statement

Litvak Leader Prof. Mikhail Iossel Gives Major Radio Interview


Professor Mikhail Iossel, founding director of the Litvak Studies Institute (LSI), has given a major radio interview on salient Litvak issues to RCI — Radio Canada International. The sound track of the interview is available here. For more information, see coverage on the LSI site.

 

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Mikhail Iossel, The Great SLS About-Face | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Litvak Leader Prof. Mikhail Iossel Gives Major Radio Interview

Last Jewish Fort is Vanishing


A leading news portal attacks visiting Israeli soldiers for a planned visit to the Last Jewish Anti-Nazi Fort, where  around 100 Jewish escapees from the Vilna Ghetto found refuge in 1943 and 1944. The fort’s remnants are rapidly disappearing. Campaign mounted for its preservation.

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Lithuania, News & Views | Comments Off on Last Jewish Fort is Vanishing

The Genocide Museum



‘The Museum of Genocide Victims’

Gedimino Boulevard 42, Vilnius

A summer 2010 visit to a major Baltic tourist attraction. 

by Dovid Katz

Images by Richard Schofield  (© R. Schofield)


 


THE QUESTION: Can you imagine a Museum of Genocide Victims — in the capital of a country with the highest proportion in Europe of Holocaust genocide of its Jewish population — that does not mention the word Holocaust or the name of the nearby infamous mass-killing site, where 100,000 civilians were murdered? That avoids any reference to the actual genocide that occurred in the country? That includes antisemitic exhibits with no commentary? That is state-sponsored in the capital of a European Union member state?

Continue reading

Posted in EU, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Genocide Museum

Swastika Sanitization



In May 2010 a Lithuanian court legalized public displays of swastikas, with nearly no reaction from foreign embassies or human rights groups. Reports here and here. Jewish community’s reaction here. See also the page on Antisemitism. On the term swasticals, see our report for 8 May 2010.

REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION

11 March 2008

Gedimino Boulevard, Vilnius. This is the ‘Lithuanian swastika’ with the added lines meant to evoke the ‘Columns of Gediminas‘.  Details and video of the parade here.


16 February 2010

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Swastika Sanitization

When Will the Truth Finally Set Us Free?



O P I N I O N

by Leonidas Donskis

I will admit that when I read political analyst Kęstutis Girnius’s comments on the Lithuanian Provisional Government and the Lithuanian Activist Front, and about the supposedly low level of academic research and documentation of these phenomena, I found myself in a state of disbelief that a person whom I consider one of the most sober-minded and most insightful of our political commentators could write this. Without citing his earlier statements on radio and in publications on this topic, here is the link to Kęstutis Girnius’s latest commentary [English translation]:

Continue reading

Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Double Genocide, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Leonidas Donskis, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yitzhak Arad | Comments Off on When Will the Truth Finally Set Us Free?

Sir Martin Gilbert Releases August 2008 Letter on his Resignation from the Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission”


Sir Martin Gilbert has today authorized publication of his 24 August 2008 letter to this journal’s (future) editor. The facsimile follows. The letter had confirmed his April 2008 resignation from the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known informally and for brevity as the “Red-Brown Commission”), citing the Yitzhak Arad affair.

In view of the subsequent developments, the 24 August letter also cites the need for the Commission to condemn the defamation of additional Holocaust survivors Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Professor Sara Ginaite, and Dr. Rachel Margolis. Professor Gilbert’s authorization for publication came after the Commission’s website failed to remove his name from the list of members in spite of his resignation on principle.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, United Kingdom, Yitzhak Arad | Comments Off on Sir Martin Gilbert Releases August 2008 Letter on his Resignation from the Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission”

Esther Goldberg Gilbert on Life’s Work of Rachel Kostanian, Intrepid Director of Vilnius’s ‘Green House’ Holocaust Museum



VILNIUS—Esther Goldberg Gilbert, wife and partner to Sir Martin Gilbert and an accomplished Holocaust scholar in her own right, published a profile today of Rachel Kostanian, the widely admired director of Vilnius’s Green House, which many consider to be the only honest Holocaust exhibit or museum in the entire country. The PDF is available here, and a facsimile follows. Please use handles in the upper left hand corner to turn pages.

20108SeptGGoldergOnKostanian
Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Rachel Kostanian | Comments Off on Esther Goldberg Gilbert on Life’s Work of Rachel Kostanian, Intrepid Director of Vilnius’s ‘Green House’ Holocaust Museum

‘Holocaust Year’ in Lithuania, 2011, is Converted 1 Week Later to ‘Year of Freedom Defense, Memory of Great Losses [minus the Holocaust]’


One week ago today, on 21 September 2010, this journal reported on a document released by various Lithuanian embassies on the ‘Resolution of the Republic of Lithuania on Declaring the Year 2011 as the Year of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania’ (read document here).

In addition to ‘condemning the genocide perpetrated against Jews by Nazis and their collaborators in Lithuania’ the resolution pledges itself to ‘honoring the residents of Lithuania who fought against Fascism’. [In its report, HITB naturally asked for immediate action to halt the kangaroo investigations of Holocaust Survivors who did just that; to dismantle antisemitic exhibits in state museums; and to halt the campaign for the ‘Double Genocide’ model of history in Europe.]

At the solemn September 21st ceremony at the mass murder site Ponar (Paneriai), member of parliament Emanuelis Zingeris informed the assembled diplomats, citizens and visitors that the Seimas had unanimously approved the resolution and that 2011 would be dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, a most appropriate gesture, on the 70th anniversary of 1941, when nearly all of Lithuanian Jewry was annihilated by the Nazis, with the massive participation of local nationalist forces who are on occasion glorified in modern Lithuania as ‘anti-Soviet partisan heroes’ (see e.g. the Genocide Museum’s narrative).

Many of the assembled at Ponar went away believing that the Seimas had turned a new page in the country’s perception of its Holocaust history.

But today, one week later, September 28th, the Seimas announced the following ‘slightly revised’ version of its plan for the focus of 2011: ‘Parliament announces 2011 as year of freedom defense, memory of great losses in Lithuania’ (as per the text of BNS’s report in English here). The parliament’s own official statement is here; full English translation here, with the corrected English title: ‘Year of Commemoration of the Defense of Freedom and Great Losses’.

Frankly, there is unease in the Jewish community as to whether this title and text leave open the possibility that the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) and PG (Provisional Government),  both massively complicit in the early stages of the Lithuanian Holocaust, are going to be celebrated as ‘defenders of freedom’ (or anti-Soviet patriots) during the 2011 seventieth anniversary of events unleashed by Hitler’s invasion of 22 June 1941.Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Games, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on ‘Holocaust Year’ in Lithuania, 2011, is Converted 1 Week Later to ‘Year of Freedom Defense, Memory of Great Losses [minus the Holocaust]’

Gathering in the Forest to Remember the 8000 Jews of the Svintsyan Region


Some eighty people gathered at midday today, in an eerie mix of wind and autumn sun, at the forest mass grave memorial site just outside the town once known in Yiddish as Svintsyánke (or Nay-Svintsyán; now Lithuania’s Švenčioneliai, interwar Poland’s Nowo-Święciany). Such is the custom every year on the first Sunday in October, to remember the eight thousand Jewish civilians murdered there after a gruesome ten days of imprisonment, deprivation of basic human needs, and torture, in makeshift barracks here at the site, in October 1941. The eight thousand Jews were marched (with the lame and the old transported on wagons) from their hometowns in the area to the site on September 27th. They were all shot over a two-day period on the 7th and 8th of October 1941.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Poland, Svintsyán (Švenčionys) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Gathering in the Forest to Remember the 8000 Jews of the Svintsyan Region

Jewish Community’s Alperovich Writes to Parliament, as Government’s ‘History Apartheid’ Becomes Official Policy


Dr Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, has written to the chairperson of the Lithuanian parliament, MP Irena Degutienė, concerning the most recent travesty of the government’s ‘Jewish merry-go-round’, as one Western ambassador put it, off the record, during yesterday’s German National day event at Vilnius’s Old Town Hall.

At the September 21st commemorative ceremony at Ponar (Paneriai), the mass murder site of 100,000 civilians  (70,000 of them Jewish), mostly at the hands of the Nazis’ fascist collaborators here, the government’s MP Emanuelis Zingeris (now head of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee), boasted of a parliamentary resolution to declare 2011 the year of Holocaust Remembrance in Lithuania.Continue reading

Posted in Double Games, Double Genocide, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Shimon Alperovich (1928 – 2014), What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Comments Off on Jewish Community’s Alperovich Writes to Parliament, as Government’s ‘History Apartheid’ Becomes Official Policy

Esther Goldberg Gilbert Continues to Honor Courage of Rachel Kostanian, Critiques Lithuania’s Policy of ‘Holocaust Downgrade’ and Ongoing ‘Investigations’ of Kostanian



Esther Goldberg Gilbert, wife and partner to Sir Martin Gilbert and an accomplished Holocaust scholar in her own right, today published a second bold article in the Canadian Jewish News on Holocaust issues in Lithuania. The new piece, a follow-up to her first on the subject last month, became necessary, in the view of some observers, in light of a renewed campaign of harassment, degradation and attempted dismissals , against Ms. Kostanian, enabled and enacted out by the highest echelons of the parent museum’s government sponsored leadership, as well as the state’s “Double Genocide industry.” The new  article is available as PDF, and herein:

2010Oct7EstherGoldberg (1)

 

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Rachel Kostanian | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Esther Goldberg Gilbert Continues to Honor Courage of Rachel Kostanian, Critiques Lithuania’s Policy of ‘Holocaust Downgrade’ and Ongoing ‘Investigations’ of Kostanian

Lithuanian Parliament’s ‘Dualism’ Strikes Again


Readers recall that the Lithuanian parliament’s 21 September proclamation of 2011 as the ‘Year of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania’ (text here) was mysteriously reincarnated one week later, on 28 September, as the ‘Year of Commemoration of the Defense of Freedom and of Great Losses’ (text here) with accompanying press explanations restricting the 1941 aspect to Soviet deportations to Siberia and no mention of the Holocaust among the ‘great losses’ (text here).

The text and press releases gave rise to fears that plans were still underway to sanitize, revise and glorify the memory of the 1941 LAF and Provisional Government collaborators of the Nazis. This painful subject was dealt with in a recent statement from the Jewish Community of Lithuania.

The ensuing History Apartheid, as this journal called it (2011 dedicated to one thing for foreigners and Jews and another for the country itself, in effect)  led to a letter to the chair of the Seimas from the head of Lithuania’s tiny but proud Jewish community (text here).

A check today of the official website of Lithuanian parliament (the Seimas) added a further curious aspect to the parliamentarians’ thinking. The English version of the website explains that 2011 has been proclaimed as the ‘Year of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania’.

The corresponding sentence on the home page of the Lithuanian version of the official Seimas website indicates however that 2011 is the designated ‘Year of Commemoration of the Defense of Freedom and of Great Losses’.

One Western diplomat who requested anonymity commented to this journal: ‘You see, if you live long enough, you live to see everything’.

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Double Genocide, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Humor (Of Sorts), Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Media Watch, ministries, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Lithuanian Parliament’s ‘Dualism’ Strikes Again

Green House Reopens in Vilnius; Kostanian is the Star


The Green House, as the Holocaust exhibit of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania is internationally known, was formally relaunched today in Vilnius after a closure of several months for renovations, technical upgrading of a number of exhibits and the addition of video screens and other facilities.

Rachel Kostanian (left) and Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky celebrate at the Green House’s Relaunch. Photo: Sebastian Pammer.

In a massive show of support for Rachel Kostanian, its beloved guardian and director since its inception over two decades ago,  the diplomatic corps came out in force, including the ambassadors of  Austria, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, UK and chargés d’affaires or consuls of Bulgaria, the Netherlands and the United States. There was a sense of relief that Ms Kostanian and her staff had succeeded to preserve not only the vast majority of images, texts and topics from the venerated old exhibit, but also its key message of straight-talking Holocaust studies that stays clear of the obfuscating discourse of ‘artificial balances, mitigations and excuses’ that runs rampant in this part of Europe.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Events, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rachel Kostanian | Comments Off on Green House Reopens in Vilnius; Kostanian is the Star

U.K. Ambassador Simon Butt Visits tbe Vilna Yiddish Reading Circle, Offers Moral Support


The British ambassador to Lithuania, HE Simon Butt, today visited Professor Dovid Katz’s Vilna Yiddish Reading Circle, an advanced Yiddish- in-Yiddish institution that Prof. Katz initiated in September 1999. As guest of honor, Ambassador Butt, who listened to participants reading from the works of Yiddish authors with interest, was invited to say a few words. He told the assembled hat he deeply understands their concerns over resurgent antisemitism, ultranationalism, Holocaust revisionism and the attempted defamation of Jewish partisan heroes. He made it clear that “he is on the case” and gave reasons for hope and optimism.

Front row, from left: Prof. Dovid Katz (standing); Dr. Shimon Alperovich, chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania,, Ambassador Simon Butt, and Prof. Izaraelis Lempertas (Israel Lempert). Standing at right at the back if Carole Lemee, a university lecturer from France visiting in Lithuania.

Posted in Ambassador Simon Butt, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, United Kingdom, Yiddish Affairs | Comments Off on U.K. Ambassador Simon Butt Visits tbe Vilna Yiddish Reading Circle, Offers Moral Support

Revolving Posters at Ponár


Continue reading

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Revolving Posters at Ponár

Revolving Posters at Ponar?


Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai) is the mass murder site outside Vilnius where around a hundred thousand civilians were murdered by the Nazi regime. Some 70,000 of them were the Jews of Vilna and its region.

Before the war the site was known as a bucolic holiday and picnic spot set in the forest. During the year-long Soviet rule in 1940-1941, large pits were dug for an oil storage facility. After the Nazi invasion the site was converted to a mass murder operation with the ready-dug pits serving as mass graves.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Revolving Posters at Ponar?

Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors ask U.S. Embassy in Vilnius to Clarify 64,000 Euro Holocaust Education Grant


Joseph A. Melamed

The Tel-Aviv based Association of Lithuanian Jews, the world’s most active association of Holocaust Survivors from Lithuania and their progeny, today released to the media the letter which its chairman, Joseph A. Melamed, sent on 16 September 2010 to Anne E. Derse, America’s ambassador to Lithuania. Mr Melamed, a Tel Aviv attorney and former Israeli diplomat, told DefendingHistory.com that his office hopes to receive a reply “in the nearest future”. The full text of Mr Melamed’s 16 September letter:

Continue reading

Posted in Joseph Melamed, Lithuania, News & Views, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Comments Off on Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors ask U.S. Embassy in Vilnius to Clarify 64,000 Euro Holocaust Education Grant

Interior Ministry ‘Specialist’, writing in a Mainstream Publication, calls the Murder of Six Million Jews ‘a legend’


The mainstream Lithuanian magazine Veidas (Veidas.lt), a glossy publication available at every news stand in the country, published on its website on 14 November an article under the rubric of ‘History’ titled ‘The Nurnberg Military Court Tribunal: The Biggest Legal Farce in History’. Original here.  Full English translation here.

Continue reading

Posted in Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Interior Ministry ‘Specialist’, writing in a Mainstream Publication, calls the Murder of Six Million Jews ‘a legend’

US Embassy’s ‘Secret’ Holocaust Conference is ‘Fiasco’


The Survivor community and its supporters, Holocaust studies and commemoration circles, and numerous members of the Lithuanian Jewish community felt betrayed by the largely secret Holocaust education conference organized by the US embassy in Vilnius from 29 November to 3 December 2010, in close cooperation with local state-sponsored ‘Double Genocide’ proponents. The event included excellent individual scholars and educators, both from Lithuania and abroad, alongside notoriously obfuscationist local institutions, including the ‘Red-Brown Commission’ and the Genocide Research Center.

The American embassy’s conference in Vilnius was the subject of comment in  The Tablet (US), and in the London Guardian (by Efraim Zuroff and Dovid Katz).

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Lithuania, News & Views, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Comments Off on US Embassy’s ‘Secret’ Holocaust Conference is ‘Fiasco’