US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad
Suspicions Rise on Role of “U.S. Commission for Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” in Plans to Build a $25,000,000 Convention Center in Heart of Vilnius’s Old Jewish Cemetery
VILNIUS—The American taxpayer-funded agency known as the “U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” has a mission statement that stresses commitment to preserving Jewish cemeteries in post-Holocaust Eastern Europe. They are in special danger because of the Holocaust: the people buried have no descendants or relatives to care for the preservation of their final resting place. Moreover, nationalism and antisemitism sometimes come into play, with powers that be not wanting any city-center reminders of major erstwhile Jewish populations in their cities, and in any case, applying very different standards to the preservation of Jewish and Christian cemeteries. The issue was addressed in a 2014 U.S. Congressional resolution.
US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Does Photo-Op with CPJCE in Washington D.C.
The following image and text appeared on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania earlier today.
US Rep of London Rabbis Involved with Vilnius Cemetery Fiasco Boasts of Photo-Ops at the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
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WASHINGTON, DC—The chairman of “Admas Kodesh” today posted on a public Facebook page the following item and images, including an obviously posed photo featuring the chairperson of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, and Rabbi Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee, a close ally of the Lithuanian government and member of its controversial “red-brown commission” that has caused some pain to Holocaust survivors via its support of Baltic “Double Genocide” Holocaust revisionism. “Admas Kodesh” (‘holy earth) is generally used interchangeably for the London-based CPJCE (“Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe”), which is currently involved in a potentially major scandal over alleged payments in return for paid “supervisions” of cemetery desecrations allowed at the old Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. The CPJCE continues to adamantly defend the twenty-five million dollar convention center slated for the middle of the old Jewish cemetery, at a time of virtually unanimous condemnation by rabbis internationally and local people alike. That story was covered in today’s Jerusalem Post.
Who Has Yet to Express a Public View on the Wisdom of Planting a Convention Center in the Middle of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius?
VILNIUS—Public opposition to the placing of a twenty-five million dollar convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery has come from an array of individuals and organizations, in Vilnius and internationally.
U.S. State Department’s 2009 Memo Refers to Rabbis Compliant on Old Vilna Cemetery, the Need for Paying for their Supervision, and — Need for Secrecy
VILNIUS—A memo from the United States Embassy here in the Lithuanian capital, dated 27 May 2009, released by Wikileaks (as PDF) and in the public domain, expressed optimism about solution of the disputes that had arisen over desecration of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery. The cemetery, known to generations of Vilna Jews as Piramónt, is within the Šnipiškės district (itself in Yiddish: Shnípishok).
NEW YORK—Herbert Block’s office today issued the following statement which in effect modifies the Lithuanian government’s published list of members of its new commission on the Lithuanian Jewish heritage. This clarification is now linked at relevant points in Defending History’s recent report on the cemetery saga in Vilnius.
Herbert Block has informed Defending History that, while he was appointed to the new Commission by the Government of Lithuania without prior notice, and was honored by the designation, he formally resigned this position. As a Member of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, a US federal government agency, Mr. Block is not permitted to serve on any body appointed by a foreign government.
Mr. Block attended the May 7, 2015 meeting in Vilnius only as an Observer on behalf of the US Commission.