Vilna’s Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf)

‘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’

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

Historic Conference on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Site is Open to All



EVENTS  |  VILNIUS GREAT SYNAGOGUE  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK TIMES

VILNIUS—Excitement in Jewish-interest circles in Lithuania and its region is building in anticipation of next week’s open international conference on the future of the site of the historic Great Vilna Synagogue. Destroyed during and after the war, an unsightly Soviet era school was then plonked on top (somewhat analogously, morally and aesthetically, to the unsightly old Soviet “sports palace” atop the city’s old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt).

The conference, to be held in Vilnius next Monday and Tuesday, 4 and 5 September 2017, is free and open to the public. Everybody is welcome. But pre-registration is required at the website of the organizing NGO, Litvak World.

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Dr. Shimon Alperovich, Former Chairman of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Motivates his Doubts on Plans to Rebuild the Great Synagogue



SHIMON ALPEROVICH  |  GREAT SYNAGOGUE AND ITS SQUARE

Dr. Shimon Alperovich, who was chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania from 1992 to earlier this year when he retired, gave an interview today on the contentious subject of the project to rebuild the Great Synagogue in Vilnius’s old town. It was lovingly known in Vilna Yiddish as di gréyse shúl or di shtót-shul.

Dr. Alperovich stressed that he was speaking in a personal capacity.

The interview is available, in Yiddish, on YouTubeContinue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Shimon Alperovich (1928 – 2014), Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf), Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Shimon Alperovich, Former Chairman of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Motivates his Doubts on Plans to Rebuild the Great Synagogue

“Moderate Litvak” Status is Conferred by his Highness, the Norwegian Property Magnate cum Editor-in-Chief of Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

Getty Images

Thought experiment: Imagine an African American in the city of Columbia, South Carolina, being called an extremist or fanatic for peacefully expressing the opinion that it is offensive for the Confederate flag to be hoisted on the grounds of the state capitol building. Imagine him or her being called extremist or fanatic for failing to be grateful that the flag was, after much protest, moved from atop the dome to the mere grounds of the capitol and its design slightly changed to conform to the Confederate Battle Flag (as a “concession”).

Imagine if a snow-white editor of a web journal singled out for David Duke style praise “Moderate African Americans” who just say “Thank you” when a pathetic morsel of PR is offered up by local authorities in the face of mounting international opprobrium.

There would be public outrage at the racism.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Dovid Katz, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism, South Africa, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf), VilNews.com, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on “Moderate Litvak” Status is Conferred by his Highness, the Norwegian Property Magnate cum Editor-in-Chief of Vilnius

List of Lithuanian Government’s ‘Fake Litvaks’ is Leaked to the Media


This journal reported on 6 September 2010 on an elaborate plot by the Lithuanian government’s ‘Jewish manipulation department’, as the informal grouping is known in Vilnius diplomatic circles, to usurp (some would say ‘hijack’) the ethnonym Litvak and abuse it to cover for — and facilitate — the state’s policies on Double Genocide and antisemitism with ‘Jewish’ projects.

Did any of the ‘Fake Litvaks’ actually sign the 2011 public letter protesting the capital’s neo-Nazi march?

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Posted in Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, News & Views, Vilna's Great Synagogue & its Courtyard (Shúlheyf), What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Comments Off on List of Lithuanian Government’s ‘Fake Litvaks’ is Leaked to the Media

Ruling Party Members Propose Plan to Divert Restitution to Vilna Ghetto ‘Disneyland’ Project, Attacking Local Jewish Community as Illegitimate


The English version of a clandestine plan (dated 21 Nov 2009) to thwart honorable restitution of prewar communal Jewish property to the Jewish Community of Lithuania was leaked to this website today. Incredibly, the plan was proposed by the ruling party in the country’s parliament without informing the government’s long standing negotiating partner — the Jewish Community of Lithuania.

The plot is diabolically simple: to dispense with the communal restitution under negotiation for over a decade (and agreed by every other new-accession EU state), and to ensure that not a single Holocaust Survivor sees any benefit in his or her lifetime. Instead, funds would be poured into ‘morbid tourism’ projects, particularly the white elephant follyesque rebuild of the Great Synagogue (destroyed during and after World War II) as part of the ‘Disneyland Vilna-Ghetto Dead-Jew Tourist Park’ which is anathema to the country’s living Jewish community.

The most offensive part of the document is the passage claiming that the living remnant Jewish survivor community does ‘not have any direct connection with the victims and communities’. This is a diplomatic reformulation of the antisemitic canard that the Jewish community of Lithuania is not legitimate. The claim is part of the wider strategy of pretended friendship toward foreign Jews and prewar Jewry that goes hand in hand with disdain for living local Jews.

Text of the document in English translation.  A July 2009 article written in a similar spirit by the former director of the ‘Litvak Foundation‘ [!] claimed that two-thirds of Lithuanian Jews are ‘aliens from the East’. Report here.

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