Lithuania’s Jewish Community Issues

‘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

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

Milan Chersonski: 1937 – 2021



Milan  Chersonski

2 Sept. 1937 – 14 April 2021

From his dozen years as editor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s former quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania

His writings over the last decade in Defending History

His 80th Birthday celebration in Vilnius


Posted in Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Milan Chersonski (1937-2021), News & Views, Obituaries, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Milan Chersonski: 1937 – 2021

From Milan Chersonski’s Years as Editor of the Quadrilingual ‘Jerusalem of Lithuania’



From 1999 to 2011, Milan Chersonski, now a senior staff writer at Defending History, was editor-in-chief of Jerusalem of Lithuania, the newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania that appeared from November 1989 to early 2011 in four separate editions in four languages — English, Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish.

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Posted in Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Milan Chersonski (1937-2021), News & Views | Comments Off on From Milan Chersonski’s Years as Editor of the Quadrilingual ‘Jerusalem of Lithuania’

Is the Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace on the Old Jewish Cemetery?



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO ‘CONVENTION CENTER IN THE CEMETERY’ PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION

by Josifas Parasonis

Iconic roof of the dereleict Soviet sports palace in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. Graphic by  D. Umbrasas / Lrt.lt. In the original publication.

Vilnius’s historical and literary sources confirm that there are a number of burial sites in the city, mostly near Christian and Orthodox churches. Larger cemeteries, including Rasos, Antakalnis (soldiers), Bernardines, Orthodox (Liepkalnis), Jewish cemeteries (Piramont / Snipiskes and Zarétshe / Olandų), Evangelicals (Kalinauskas) and others. The legal regulation of Vilnius city cemeteries started only in the second half of the eighteenth century, when cemeteries near Christian and Orthodox churches were full to capacity (burials ceased in 1865) and separate parishes began burials outside the city.

1487-1830

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Is the Vilnius Concert and Sports Palace on the Old Jewish Cemetery?

Lithuanian Journalists Report the Costs of Desecrating the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH ISSUES  |  MEDIA WATCH  | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO ‘CONVENTION CENTER  IN THE CEMETERY’ PROJECT |INTERNATIONAL PETITION

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Lithuanian journalists are raising questions that the Lithuanian government has yet to answer regarding its plans to repurpose as a modern convention center the Vilnius Sports Palace which the Soviets built on the oldest Jewish cemetery in Šnipiškės. These journalists are informing the Lithuanian public about spectacular increases in projected costs, the rabbinical court’s ruling which prohibits use of the building, the architects who propose reconsidering the future of the building, and the historical documents which show that the Soviets seized the Cemetery in 1940 from the Vilnius Jewish Community, whose rights have yet to be restored.

Skirmantas Malinauskas Publishes Expected Construction Costs of 64 Million Euros

Most dramatically, on September 12, 2020, independent journalist Skirmantas Malinauskas uploaded an hour-long You Tube video. “For the sake of the public interest”, he presented portions of a document leaked to him, namely the technical project submitted in March, 2020 by Karolis Maciulevičius of UAB “ArchiMenai” to Turto Bankas (the State Property Bank). Malinauskas’s investigative videos are supported by 4,000 Patreon subscribers (at about 3 euros per month) and typically viewed by more than 100,000 viewers, and this bombshell may reverberate across Lithuanian media. Skirmantas Malinauskas was until March, 2020 an advisor to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. Prior to that he worked as a journalist for 15min.lt, where he wrote detailed articles on September 20, 2016 and June 7, 2016 about problems in the bidding process for reconstruction of the Vilnius Sports Palace.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Journalists Report the Costs of Desecrating the Vilnius Jewish Cemetery

Heartfelt Plea for Vilnius Jewish Community to Foreign Members of “Good Will Foundation” (& Rabbi Andrew Baker’s Charming Reply)



DOCUMENTS  |  OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY  |  THE STOLEN ELECTION SAGA  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK IDENTITY THEFT

The following is the text of the public letter from three elected board members of the Vilnius Jewish Community, posted earlier this week, on 12 August, on Facebook (as PDF), and the reply received today, on behalf of the Good Will Foundation, by the American Jewish Committee’s Rabbi Andrew Baker, who is also a medal awardee of the Lithuanian government and a long-time member of its Holocaust-revisionist “red-brown commission” that has caused decades of pain to Holocaust survivors and their families.

Related:

State medals for ambitious Westerners who cover for Holocaust revisionism

Destruction of Jewish community democracy in Vilnius

Rabbi S. B. Krinsky was first to expose the moral issues at stake

Abusing the identity of the fragile, struggling Litvak heritage

Battle to save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from humiliation of convention center

(1) Letter from Vilnius Jewish Community board members to GVF board members (12 Aug. 2020):

  • Andrew Eliot Baker (Director of International Jewish Affairs, American Jewish Committee)
  • Julius Berman (Chairman, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany)
  • Herbert Block (Executive Director of American Zionist Movement)
  • Arie Bucheister (The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany)
  • Nachliel Dison (Acting Director General, World Jewish Restitution Organization)
  • Robert James Grey (Chair of the World ORT Restitution Committee)
  • Michael Hilsenrath (World Jewish Restitution Organisation)
  • Mark Barry Levin (National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry)
  • Daniel Mariaschin (B’nai B’rith International)

For years now, millions of dollars/euros have been squandered on the morally corrupt leadership of passport attorney Ms. Faina Kukliansky, who has disenfranchised the Jews of Lithuania by changing the election rules of the official Jewish Community three years ago into a vote by cronies who themselves mostly receive benefits from the Good Will Foundation, which she herself co-chairs, making it unclear which is the bigger conflict of interest: that of the attorney who needs the gov. to rapidly process her wealthy foreign clients’ citizenship applications, or the Good Will Foundation and the official Jewish Community becoming one and the same complex of restitution resources being diverted to the benefit of the same few parties.

There is by now a large list of sources on the de-democratisation, extreme nepotism and supreme shamefulness (and shamelessness) of the Good Will Foundation’s process for disbursing funds deriving from the value of the religious properties of the annihilated Jews of Lithuania. To cite one of many examples, the official trilingual website of the official community has repeatedly been used as a mouthpiece for Turto Bankas’s and some politicians’ wish to turn the Old Jewish Cemetery into a convention centre, in spite of massive local and international protest, (an international petition by one the Vilnius Jewish Community’s members is approaching 52,000 signatures). The website has been used (in three languages) to slander those community members who disagree. The Good Will Foundation has failed to provide even one penny of support it promised for the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community. In a recent reply to a television exposé, the GWF website explained that in reality all decisions go through two boards with eminent international members representing the great international Jewish organisations.

We contend that these international members, enjoying banquets, junkets and honours (sometimes even medals) in Vilnius (and who, unlike locals, have absolutely nothing to fear in the way of career-destroying repercussions) have in fact served as an unethical rubber stamp for the personal benefit of Ms. Kukliansky and her collaborators. They have been assured that their names will remain on some obscure web page. Well, no longer. In the absence of change of policy, we hold each of them as co-equally responsible for the tragic “destruction from within” of Lithuania’s small and fragile Jewish community, and of the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in Lithuania, all for the private ambitions of one wealthy lawyer and immediate relatives, and a circle of cronies. We call on you to speak out with force and ethical clarity.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Heartfelt Plea for Vilnius Jewish Community to Foreign Members of “Good Will Foundation” (& Rabbi Andrew Baker’s Charming Reply)

Motke Chabad Says: Rabbi Forbids His Own Community’s Bagels in Vilnius — ‘Not Kosher’



 OPINION  | HUMOR (OF SORTS)  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  CHABAD IN VILNIUS

by Motke Chabad (Vilnius) (Russian version here)

Midsummer greetings to all my readers! Of course you have not forgotten Motke. Sure, Motke may speak like Motke, with an allegory or a little twist here and there, to enable you, dear reader, to enjoy life and the wonders of the incredible world we live in. But there is something else you know about Motke. When I, Motke, who knows everything about what is happening in my old hometown Vilne give you a document, you better believe that the document is real. No sir, Motke does not deal in Fake News!

The document is of course the document that everyone in town is talking about. Just go around town and ask. What is the sensation this week?

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Posted in A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Chabad in Vilnius, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Motke Chabad, News & Views, What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Motke Chabad Says: Rabbi Forbids His Own Community’s Bagels in Vilnius — ‘Not Kosher’

Virus-Shmirus: Vilnius Yiddish Class Celebrates 20th Session (Safely via Skype)



YIDDISH STUDIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  JULIUS NORWILLA

Julius Norwilla (standing end of table) with his class of Elementary/Intermediate Yiddish at Vilnius’s Jewish Cultural and Information Center (JCIC) in the Old Town, under auspices of the Vilnius Jewish Community in March 2020. On 24 March, with a pandemic upending life in the Lithuanian capital (as everywhere), the students and teacher decided to continue online via skype and have not missed a week. Standing at left is Rima Kazlauskaite, administrator at JCIC.

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Posted in Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Virus-Shmirus: Vilnius Yiddish Class Celebrates 20th Session (Safely via Skype)

On Representation and Morality: Thoughts on Recent TV Interview with Nominal “Chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community”



OPINION   |  MEDIA WATCH  | JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Josif Parasonis (Vilnius)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a working translation, approved by Prof. Parasonis, of his  27 Feb. 2020 article in Lithuanian that appeared on the website of LRT (Lithuanian Radio and Television network), in response to LRT’s 24 January television interview with the chairperson of the (state-sponsored) Lithuanian Jewish Community (translation of the interview; reference in the article to an earlier program is to a 2018 broadcast, online here, at 22 min. mark). Shortly after the appearance of Prof. Parasonis’s article, the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community  (VJC) confirmed on its Facebook page that he represents the position of the VJC. A Russian version also appears on the VJC’s page.  In the event of any matter arising in the text, Prof. Parasonis’s Lithuanian original alone is authoritative. 

The trailer for the 24 January 2020 show on the “Lietuvos Rytas” TV channel was quite intriguing: “Faina Kukliansky on the still resilient discrimination against Jews.” In the course of the program, speaking to its mass audience, the official chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Faina Kukliansky, made a series of dubious statements, some of which are incompatible with moral norms, and some of which may be incompatible with the laws of our country. In my opinion, the public space continues to pretend that the program “never took place.” I have therefore found it necessary to share my thoughts with the public.

The discussion on the program was about Lithuanian Jews, their relations to Lithuanians, the guest’s career and her personal life. When it came to Lithuanian Jews, Ms. Kukliansky talked about them in the past tense, as if she were not one of them, in a dismissive manner: “They are no longer here, they were murdered, it’s not worth harassing the remaining ones. […] Perhaps we could say that there would have been many Einsteins among those who were killed.”

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Posted in A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on On Representation and Morality: Thoughts on Recent TV Interview with Nominal “Chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community”

Professor Leiman Responds to Vilnius Attack on Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition



OPINION  |   MEDIA WATCH  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION 

by Shnayer Leiman

Note: This follows on from our report where links are to be found to the articles that elicited the present discussion.

Anyone who would claim that Ruta Bloshtein, a citizen of Lithuania, born and raised in Vilnius, is anything less than a staunch supporter of what is ultimately best for Lithuania, is sorely mistaken. She is a courageous leader of the Vilnius Jewish community and seeks only truth and fairness in Lithuania’s treatment of its minority communities. An abomination took place in Vilnius when it was under Soviet domination. A Sports Palace was constructed over a historical Jewish cemetery, where for some 400 years, every Jew – man, woman, and child – who died in Vilnius was buried. These include the graves of the Gaon of Vilna’s entire family (parents, wives, and children); R. Abraham Danzig, author of a famous Jewish code of law still in use and studied widely, and his family; and hundreds of other distinguished rabbis, scholars, poets, and scientists.

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Posted in A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Professor Leiman Responds to Vilnius Attack on Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition

What Website in Vilnius would Defame Leading Jewish Woman Activist to Deter Jewish People from Voicing Views?


[LAST UPDATE: 12 JAN. 2020]

OPINION  |   MEDIA WATCH  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  JEWISH COMMUNITY ISSUES

VILNIUS—Yet again, an operative has allegedly been mobilized as fodder to personally attack a member of Lithuania’s small Jewish community as part of a campaign by some state-sponsored “official Jewish community leadership” to intimidate today’s Lithuanian Jews. If they stand up for a Jewish cemetery, and dare disagree with it becoming a national convention center, they will be smeared on the official website as liars, misleaders and secretly paid agents of some mysterious source of riches. This is a tragedy. It is part of a saga that will go down in Jewish history as possibly the worst case of state restitution for prewar Jewish property leading to disastrous results for the present and future of Jewish life on site, while providing glories and power for a tiny local elite and its “boards” of foreign fellow-travelers who relish coming to Vilnius for banquets and photo-ops with the high and mighty.

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Posted in A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Website in Vilnius would Defame Leading Jewish Woman Activist to Deter Jewish People from Voicing Views?

Leading US Rabbis Denounce Lithuanian Government’s ‘Contempt and Derision’ Over Jewish Heritage Coin



 LITVAK IDENTITY THEFT  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Ben Cohen

 

This article appeared today in the Algemeiner Journal in New York City.

A Jewish heritage commemorative coin issued by the Lithuanian government to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of eastern Europe’s greatest rabbis continued to attract controversy on Thursday, as a group of US-based rabbis accused the government in Vilnius of showing “contempt and derision” toward Jewish history with its nationalistic branding of the coin.

The government of the Baltic state announced on Nov. 22 that the ten-euro coin had been minted to mark 2020 as the “Year of the Gaon of Vilna and Jewish Heritage.” The coin ostensibly pays tribute to arguably Lithuania’s best-known Jew, Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman — revered as the Gaon of Vilna. But several commentators have pointed out that the coin features a menorah atop a local symbol known as the Columns of Gediminas — the seal of an illustrious 14th-century grand duke that has now been adopted by elements of the Lithuanian far-right.

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Posted in A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Symbology, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory), When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , | Comments Off on Leading US Rabbis Denounce Lithuanian Government’s ‘Contempt and Derision’ Over Jewish Heritage Coin

How does One Hurt and Humiliate a Person (or a People)?



OPINION

by Ruta Bloshtein

The author is a native of Vilnius hailing from centuries of Litvaks, who has worked for years in the Judaica department of Lithuania’s Martynas Mažvydas National Library. She is a prominent member of Vilnius’s small Orthodox Jewish community. She is the author of the international petition to save the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. English translations of some of her writings are available online. For more on the 10 euro “Gaon coin” referred to, see its DH section. The views reflected in this article are strictly Ms. Bloshtein’s. The Lithuanian original of this article appeared in 7md (PDF of print version).

How does one hurt and humiliate a person (or a people)?

By Actions.

2020 has been declared “The Year of the Vilna Gaon and the Jewish Heritage.” Sounds solemn? It only sounds so. Empty pots make the most noise. What are these words based on? On plans to build a convention center on Jewish graves? On the remains of the Vilna Gaon’s family members and tens of thousands of other Jews. How does that sound? Like a mockery of the close to 50,000 Jews and Non-Jews from around the world who signed the protest petition. How does that sound? Like laughing at the sorrow of the venerable rabbis, of the great leaders of Lithuanian-tradition yeshivas. How does that sound? Like a rape of the very spirit, of the religious and moral norms of the entire nation.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory), When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How does One Hurt and Humiliate a Person (or a People)?

Kokiais būdais galima užgauliai pažeminti žmogų?



OPINION

Ruta Bloshtein

Komentaro autorė — vilnietė, aktyvi mažos Vilniaus žydų ortodoksų bendruomenės narė, ilgus metus dirbanti Lietuvos nacionalinės Martyno Mažvydo bibliotekos Judaikos skyriuje. Ji yra ir tarpautinės peticijos Senosioms Vilniaus žydų (Piromonto) kapinėms išsaugoti rengėja. Kai kurių jos straipsnių angliškas versijas galite rasti atitinkamoje Defending History“ sekcijoje. Daugiau apie komentare minimą „Gaono monetą“ skaitykite jai skirtoje Defending History“ sekcijoje. Komentare išsakyta nuomonė yra ponios Bloštein.

Kokiais būdais galima užgauliai pažeminti žmogų?

Veiksmu, raštu ir žodžiu.

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Posted in Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Vilniaus senosios žydų (Piramonto) kapinės Šnipiškėse, When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kokiais būdais galima užgauliai pažeminti žmogų?

When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

[UPDATE OF 27 NOV: See now the same author’s follow-up article of 22 Nov. including links to the known responses and debates up to that date. See now Ruta Bloshtein’s short essay in DH].

Many in the local Lithuanian Jewish and the international Litvak communities have responded with some shock to the news that the Lithuanian government’s official “Year of the Gaon of Vilna and Jewish Heritage” has been launched by a handsome, shiny 10 Euro Coin that plonks a symbol beloved in recent years of neo-Nazis (and prominently used in their new projects) onto a Jewish Menorah. The symbolism strikes some as evoking the idea that the largely vanished Lithuanian Jews and their language make for one of the “cute Jewish toys” for the ultranationalist camp to exploit in its PR outreach to unwitting foreigners.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory), What Do Fake Litvak Games Look Like?, When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  | INTERNATIONAL PETITION   | JEWISH COMMUNITY ISSUES    | USCPAHA | CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH

by Andrius Kulikauskas

The original Lithuanian text appeared in Bernardinai.lt.

Preamble

הייליקע ליטווישע רבנים, טײַערע חברים און חברטעס, בני ליטא, מײַנע געטרײַע בני ליטא, מיט אהבת ישראל און אהבת ליטא:

Four years ago Prof. Dovid Katz asked me to find a Catholic priest or nun who would publicly speak out regarding the fate of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish cemetery. I failed to do so, but in empathy for my friend, I published an article in the web portal “Veidas” and gave academic talks at three conferences about conceptions which would help us appreciate why it would be meaningful to grant the demand by Jewish believers that we forego the Sports Palace and respect the Jewish cemetery which was there. Tonight in fifteen minutes I will present five images of how I imagine this cemetery, what it could mean for us.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Events, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s Keynote Address at Vilnius Holocaust Day Memorial

Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators; A Roskies-Fishman Conference for Neat Cover?


[updated 29 August 2019]


Twenty years after Joe Melamed named Noreika & Škirpa as Holocaust collaborators in Crime & Punishment. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Skirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of “Noreika Plaque” in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Protest Mayor’s Actions and Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

Media coverage: AFPAJ,  AP/WAPOA7BBCBS,  EJCIHJNS,   JTA,  TOI 

Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prof. David E. Fishman's Lithuanian Adventures, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators; A Roskies-Fishman Conference for Neat Cover?

Summer Glut of Lithuanian Gov. Awards for (Alleged) “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Holocaust Revisionism



OPINION  |  AWARDS FOR WESTERN AND JEWISH ENABLERS  | BACKGROUND TO EAST EUROPEAN HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  |  WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH HOLOCAUST HISTORY FOR POLITICAL GAIN | DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  (AB)USE OF JEWISH, JUDAIC, HEBRAIC & YIDDISH STUDIES  |  UPS AND DOWNS OF ISRAELI POLICY  |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY SAGA  |  YIVO MANIPULATED

More Lithuanian Government Glories & Medals for Alleged “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Baltic Holocaust Revisionism

♦ To the outgoing Israeli ambassador, HE Amir Maimon, after he posed with a portrait of an alleged Nazi collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) in support of the collaborator’s glorification. Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas has reported for years on the collaborator, who is also featured on the front banner of neo-Nazi torchlit parades. The Wiesenthal Center had spoken out in good time.

♦ To the “fudged election” government-backed head of the state-supported Jewish community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, after she granted “legitimacy” to the erection of a statue in Chicago to the same alleged Nazi collaborator, the first on American soil. The same monument was soundly rejected a year earlier by the democratically elected town council of New Britain, Connecticut. Head of the Jewish Agency now calling for monument’s urgent removal.

♦ To the current head of New York’s Yivo, Dr. Jonathan Brent, after a decade of intimate collusion in Holocaust obfuscation, glib betrayal of Holocaust victims and survivors and defamation of Yiddish scholars who disagree with far-right instrumentalization of this fragile language and literature and are loyal to the survivors and their families. See the plea by Vilnius’s last Vilna-born survivor, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Faina Kukliansky, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, ministries, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Summer Glut of Lithuanian Gov. Awards for (Alleged) “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Holocaust Revisionism