Vilnius

Welcoming Springtime in Vilnius with Ever More Repairs at Library of Sciences



 J. NOREIKA | NOREIKA PLAQUE IN CENTRAL VILNIUS | COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

Ides of March 2024:

BUT STILL NO ANNOUNCED DECISION ON FUTURE OF CENTRAL VILNIUS SHRINE TO HITLER COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA. A SHRINE WITH A RECENT STORIED HISTORY. ONE OF A NUMBER OF PUBLIC-SPACE SHRINES IN VILNIUS GLORIFYING LOCAL HOLOCAUST PERPETRATORS.

Ever more antics to avoid having to permanently remove plaque glorifying the Nazi collaborator (or just to delay announcing any decision)? National Library of Sciences in central Vilnius on the eve of the Ides of March 2024. Defending History photos by William Adan Pahl.

Critics ask: Is it all to avoid making the bold decision to leave the plaque and bas relief of Noreika away from the building’s facade and right on the junkpile of Hitlerist paraphernalia — where it justly belongs?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Welcoming Springtime in Vilnius with Ever More Repairs at Library of Sciences

Vilnius Winter Mystery: When the Curtain Comes Down — Noreika or No Noreika?



 J. NOREIKA | NOREIKA PLAQUE IN CENTRAL VILNIUSCOLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

  • Vilnius winter mystery: When the curtain comes down — Noreika or No Noreika? Have they gone over the top to bury the Noreika Question at Vilnius’s Library of Sciences? In freezing  midwinter days, a city, and concerned observers internationally, wonder whether the brutal Holocaust perpetrator’s glory plaque is gone forever as Vilnius comes to embrace Western sensibilities, or whether a powerful clique of far-right antisemitic Holocaust-revisionist officials, academics and operatives will again stand in the way of Lithuania’s progress. Across the river, visible to the right of the Noreika Plaque Curtain are the “two green buildings” erected right on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery earlier this century in a drive to obliterate the storied cemetery, a drive that has now grown to include refurbishment (instead of demolition) of  a hated Soviet ruin in its center. DefendingHistory.com photo by William Adan Pahl.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Winter Mystery: When the Curtain Comes Down — Noreika or No Noreika?

A Great European City’s 700th Birthday: Will They Now Take Down Vilnius Public-Space Honors for Holocaust Collaborators?


[LATEST UPDATE. PAGE PUBLISHED ON 1 JAN. 2023]

VILNIUS—The Defending History community celebrates the 700th birthday of Vílna (today’s beautiful Vilnius — capital of the democratic EU state Lithuania; in Yiddish — Vílne; Polish Wilno; Belarusian Vilna; German Wilna) in the spirit of love for a city whose hundreds of years of harmony brought such magnificent cultural achievements in an array of cultures and languages. One of them is its Jewish legacy. Briefest of examples: Thousands of books in Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish were published in the nineteenth century alone. The Gaon of Vilna and the founders of modern Yiddish scholarship walked these streets.

The universally revered founder of Vilnius, Grand Duke Gediminas (Gedymin) built his new capital in 1323 as a harmonious symphony of humanistic diversity, a legacy that pulsates even today on the city’s charming streets. He is surely looking down on his city aghast at these “monuments” (in effect) to Aryanist ethnic purity, via the glorification of “nationalist heroes” who joined the Holocaust to kill as many Jewish citizens as possible. The Gediminist spirit will emerge triumphant, wait and see…

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Kazys Škirpa, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Great European City’s 700th Birthday: Will They Now Take Down Vilnius Public-Space Honors for Holocaust Collaborators?

A ‘Shameful’ Public Letter by Five Vilnius Architects: Would They Be Saying This About a Christian Lithuanian Cemetery of 500 Years’ Vintage?



DOCUMENTS | OPINION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER | THE “CPJCE” LONDON GRAVE TRADERS | CEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Five eminent Vilnius architects have released to the public domain a letter to the mayor of Vilnius expressing their passionate views on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok section, today’s Šnipiškės in beautiful, modern Vilnius). Many thousands of Vilna Jewish citizens still lie buried in the cemetery, though the Soviets pilfered all the gravestones and constructed the hated “Sports Palace” (long a derelict, dangerous ruin) in its center, followed by construction of “the two green buildings” under Lithuanian sovereignty early in the twenty-first century.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A ‘Shameful’ Public Letter by Five Vilnius Architects: Would They Be Saying This About a Christian Lithuanian Cemetery of 500 Years’ Vintage?

Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Citing ‘Morally Despicable Plan to turn the Shnipishok Cemetery into a Museum’ Tells the World: ‘I will Not Remain Silent’



OPINION | DOCUMENTS2023 “WORKING GROUP” ON VILNA CEMETERYOLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY AT PIRAMÓNT | OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTERCEMETERIES & MASS GRAVES | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS | CHABAD IN VILNIUS

VILNIUS—In a 1 Nov. 2023 statement circulating widely among Lithuanian officials as well as local and international Jewish leaders, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, head of the Lithuanian-tradition Yeshiva Ahavas Torah Baranovich, based in Jerusalem, writing in the capacity of rabbinical emissary to Lithuania representing the Council of Torah Sages of the US and Canada, challenges the extended closure of Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue at 69 Pylimo Street as point of departure for his critique of some of the government’s Jewish policies (including its supply of tens of millions of euros in “restitution” to the alleged control of a tiny number of government-indebted individuals, one of them representing the American Jewish Committee or AJC). The new statement is a follow-up to his publicly released letter to the prime minister and speaker of the Seimas (parliament) of 24 Sept. 2023. Rabbi Baron’s late father was the legendary Litvak head-of-yeshiva Rabbi Aryeh Leib Baron.

The issue of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is the focus of one passage in the just-released statement.

“[…] (like the morally despicable plan to turn the Shnipishok cemetery into a museum)? I will not remain silent, no matter how many groups and people the Lithuanian government manages to pay off and silence through their well-paid proxies.”

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chabad in Vilnius, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Rabbi Elchonon Baron, Citing ‘Morally Despicable Plan to turn the Shnipishok Cemetery into a Museum’ Tells the World: ‘I will Not Remain Silent’

Ruta Bloshtein, Author of Successful Petition, Calls on Jewish Orthodox Members of ‘Cemetery Commission’ to Stand Up for Preservation and Restoration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | VILNIUS | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS

Ruta Bloshtein

VILNIUSRuta Bloshtein, author of the Change.org petition that garnered over 50,000 signatures and played a major role in the internationally praised 2021 cancellation by Lithuania’s prime minister of the project to turn the Soviet-era “Sports Palace” (Sporto rumai) ruin into a national congress center, today released for publication her 25 October letter to the Jewish Orthodox members appointed — in an apparent effort to confer legitimacy — to the current “working group” (commission) established, many believe, to rubber stamp a  state (and Turto Bankas) project to renovate (rather than demolish) the Soviet eyesore that sits in the middle of the cemetery. Without even mentioning the view that hated Soviet ruin should be removed, official commission minutes include an array of future conference-center, museum, memorial and other public space aspirations, including business (and builders’) interests’ visuals, but not including a hint of the extant visuals in support of cemetery preservation and restoration.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein, Author of Successful Petition, Calls on Jewish Orthodox Members of ‘Cemetery Commission’ to Stand Up for Preservation and Restoration of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)



DOCUMENTS | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—In view of diverse characterizations circulating regarding the content of the judgment on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Snípishok/Šnipiškės district), handed down by Litvak Jewry’s highest international rabbinic authority, on 9 February 2020 (14 Shvat 5780), signed also by the late and revered Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (1928-2022) of blessed memory, Defending History is providing the original documents of the certified English translation released by the court, as well as the Hebrew original. This was followed below by the Conference of European Rabbis’ solemn repudiation of any role for the London-based CPJCE, issued on 29 Sept. 2020, after years of documentation of allegedly corrupt activities in the alleged de facto sale of East European cemeteries with which they have no historic ties of any kind.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Documents, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Comments Off on Text of 2020 Litvak Rabbinic Decision on Old Vilna Cemetery and Powerful Statement of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER)

Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?



OPINION | VILNIUS | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Julius Norwilla (Vilnius)

Like my fellow campaigners, over the years, in opposition to the project to plonk a national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (via refurbishment of a hated Soviet “Sports Palace” dump that should have long ago been demolished), I felt nothing but relief and the need to express congratulations back in the summer of 2021 when our prime minister wisely cancelled the project. Over two years later, there is again fear, among Jews, Lithuanians, and many around the world who respect the right of the dead to lie in peace (verily a part of Human Rights), even when they are members of a minority. When the buried belong to a nation’s ethnic majority, there are usual no serious efforts to situate conference centers surrounded by subterranean graves (even when the above-ground gravestones have long disappeared).

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Other Soviet structures in Vilnius: “landmark status” withdrawn & rapidly knocked down

Members of the latest (& current) international commission

Saga of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, The 2023-2024 'Working Group' on the Future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Are Members of the ‘International Working Group’ Being Tragically Misinformed on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?

NATO Conference’s Noreika-Go-Round of Vilnius Monument to Brutal Holocaust Collaborator?


[updated, originally: 8 May 2023]


OPINION | J. NOREIKA | NOREIKA PLAQUE IN CENTRAL VILNIUS | COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

by Mark Blumberg (Tel Aviv)



Lithuanian media has recently reported on the “temporary removal for repairs” of one of the numerous public-space state-sanctioned memorials glorifying local Holocaust collaborators in Vilnius, the nation’s capital. It is the notorious Noreika plaque, affixed to the Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. It is situated a few minutes walk from Cathedral Square in the very heart of the EU member capital city that was once known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania for its extraordinary Jewish cultural and scholarly creativity.

Defending History

SUPPORTS UKRAINE!

The plaque, with its incorporated bas-relief sculpture glorifies Jonas Noreika, a brutal Hitler collaborator implicated in the incarceration, humiliation and genocide of many thousands of Jews in northwestern Lithuania during the Holocaust. Noreika is subject of the truth-telling book of the war criminal’s own granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti, Michael Kretzmer’s major new documentary film, J’Accuse! and over a decade of campaigning by the Defending History team based in Vilnius. In Lithuania, 96.4% of Jewish citizens perished in the Holocaust, in the top league, along with neighboring Latvia, of Holocaust era Europe.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on NATO Conference’s Noreika-Go-Round of Vilnius Monument to Brutal Holocaust Collaborator?

For Vilnius’s 700 Year Celebrations, Antisemitic ‘Artists’ Launch Vicious New Holocaust-‘Justifying’ Souvenir



ANTISEMITISM  |  700 YEARS OF VILNIUS CELEBRATIONS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—This commemorative envelope was purchased this morning, on Easter Sunday, on Pilies gatve, Vilnius’s historic Castle Street that has become the city’s center for souvenir stalls and shops. It is an older antisemitic envelope design seen many times before, picturing the Jews of Kaunas allegedly welcoming the Soviet army into town during World War II (i.e. blaming the Jews for the 1940 Soviet occupation as excuse for the genocide — the Lithuanian Holocaust — that followed a year later, wiping out some 96.4% of Lithuanian Jewry, with thousands murdered in  late June 1941 before the Germans even took over).

 

The caption “explains”  (in Lithuanian) that “on June 15, 1940, numerous crowds of Kaunas Jews welcome the occupying Red Army (archive photo)”. No mention of the vastly larger numbers of Lithuanians, Poles and Russians who turned out. No mention that this canard continues to be used to “explain” the Lithuanian Holocaust. No mention of the failure of the nation’s army to defend the country or the president’s fleeing the country. But plenty of room to link (in English) the antisemitic canard to the current 700 year Vilnius anniversary festivities. Are Western tourists presumed to be idiots?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Double Genocide, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on For Vilnius’s 700 Year Celebrations, Antisemitic ‘Artists’ Launch Vicious New Holocaust-‘Justifying’ Souvenir

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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No Sir. This is No Photoshop.



VILNIUS—Shortly after Defending History published the news yesterday that Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, longtime chief historian at Lithuania’s state sponsored far-right Genocide Center had been nominated by the speaker of parliament as the center’s new director, news published also by New York’s Algemeiner Journal,  a social media campaign began to try to spread a rumor that the DH photo of Dr. Bubnys proudly speaking less than a year ago under banner images of Holocaust collaborators Jonas Noreika and Kazys Škirpa was “photoshopped.” Two of DH’s Vilnius-based team, Julius Norwilla and Dovid Katz, monitored the event from start to finish. Their report appeared the same day, 23 June 2020, the 79th anniversary of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust. Instead of honoring the victims — defenseless Jewish citizens, often older rabbis and younger women brutalized and murdered by the “White Armbander” fascists  — the event, like many legitimized by Lithuanian government institutions, glorified the killers, who are invariably described as “heroic anti-Soviet rebels.” This is of course a patent historic nonsense. The USSR’s forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history, not the local white-armbanded Jew-killers. While the Soviets were in power, the Hitler-backers and murderers of civilian neighbors now adulated as “anti-Soviet rebels” did not fire a single shot. Not even at a local rabbit.

See DH’s sections on Dr. Bubnys, the Genocide Center, and commemorations of 23 June 1941, as well as reviews  of his books on the Vilna Ghetto and on the Kovno (Kaunas) Ghetto.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Kazys Škirpa, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius, Yitzhak Arad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on No Sir. This is No Photoshop.

Defending History Monitors Annual Far-Right Vilnius March on 16 Feb. 2021



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  FAR-RIGHT MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla

VILNIUS—This year the ultranationalist gathering on today’s February 16th national independence day took place in the Old Town, at the newly erected statute of Lithuanian author, scholar and patriot, Jonas Basanavičius, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence of 1918. Beside the national tricolors, I saw two more types of flags for “Pro Patria” and “Nacionalinis susivienijimas” (National Unity). Pro Patria is known as an ultranationalist movement targeting youth and an outlet of homophobic, Holocaust revisionist and xenophobic materials and initiatives. The National Unity seems to be mostly the same group of people, aspiring perhaps somewhat more to national politics.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Defending History Monitors Annual Far-Right Vilnius March on 16 Feb. 2021

DH Community Invites Readers to Join Monitoring Team for “Nationalist” March 11th Vilnius March



VILNIUS—The entire Defending History community celebrates Lithuania’s independence day this coming Wednesday March 11th. Lithuania’s independence and democracy, like those of of neighboring EU/NATO states, are splendid success stories in the annuals of the region. All the more reason to be vigilant — as genuine friends of the Baltics are — against those who would try to insert Nazist values of ethnic hatred and Holocaust revisionism into the mix. We sincerely hope that the “nationalist” march for which the beautiful center of Vilnius is gifted each year will this year not glorify local Holocaust and Nazi collaborators, will not heap scorn on  the nation’s minorities and will not flaunt fascist symbols.

The Defending History team has been monitoring these events since 2008

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius | Comments Off on DH Community Invites Readers to Join Monitoring Team for “Nationalist” March 11th Vilnius March

Hundreds of Far-Right Marchers Chant “Škirpa and Noreika Are Our Heroes” in Vilnius Old Town on Independence Day



  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS—While local and international human rights organizations ignored the gifting of Vilnius Old Town to far-right marchers glorifying Holocaust collaborators, Defending History’s small team, comprising Evaldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz and Julius Norwilla were on hand to monitor the event. The dusk-to-nighttime torchlit procession today started at the Gates of Dawn, with participation of Catholic officials, and made its way downhill through Castle Street, stopping to pay homage at the plaque to Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika, and continuing on to the final destination of the former Škirpa Street (renamed Tricolor Street, after a long campaign started a decade ago by Defending History). Kazys Škirpa, though in Berlin at the time of the Holocaust, was a theoretician of the ethnic cleansing of Lithuania’s Jewish population, and an effective inspirer and cheerleader of local participation in the genocide.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Kazys Škirpa, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius | Comments Off on Hundreds of Far-Right Marchers Chant “Škirpa and Noreika Are Our Heroes” in Vilnius Old Town on Independence Day

Far Right Again Granted Central Vilnius on Feb. 16 Independence Day; They Vow to Glorify Three Nazi Collaborators



They Promise to Glorify Nazi Collaborators Škirpa, Noreika and Brazaitis

Facebook announcement; Event rep’s interview

DH coverage of past Vilnius marches; Kaunas marches; Riga marches. See also marches section. For the 13th year running, Defending History will monitor the event. Hopefully, some human rights and international organizations will also send observers. 

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Human Rights, Kazys Škirpa, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius | Comments Off on Far Right Again Granted Central Vilnius on Feb. 16 Independence Day; They Vow to Glorify Three Nazi Collaborators

Swastikas are Back for Far-Right’s Independence Day March in Central Vilnius on March 11th



NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

EYEWITNESS REPORT

VILNIUS—Today’s neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius had fewer participants than in earlier years, with most estimates putting a cap of 500 on the number. Many were supporters of far-right presidential candidate Arvydas Juozaitis, and made use of his associated symbol and slogan translating “Lithuania is here.” But the black skull-and-crossbones flag with the “Lithuanian swastika” (with added lines) at the top corner was at the front or center of the proceedings from their start at Cathedral Square to their conclusion with some speeches at Lukiskes Square. Former Genocide Center official Ricardas Cekutis was on hand.  There were some organized shouts of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (‘Lithuania for Lithuanians’). The following are some images of the event, which was monitored by Defending History’s correspondent Julius Norwilla and editor Dovid Katz. See Mr. Norwilla’s photo gallery for more photos.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius | Tagged , | Comments Off on Swastikas are Back for Far-Right’s Independence Day March in Central Vilnius on March 11th

February 16th March in Vilnius Avoids Swastikas and Fascist Symbols


NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

EYEWITNESS REPORT

VILNIUS—DH’s on-site monitors here, observing the event for a decade, report on “significant progress”: For the first time in many years, the far-right February 16 march, though at times noxious (e.g. when a group reveled in a “Noreika plaque photo-op”), had no visible banners glorifying local Holocaust collaborators and no visible swastikas on flags, and no organized chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians). By contrast, a few Latvian visitors wore jackets emblazoned with “Waffen SS”. At its conclusion, two of the march’s organizers approached our team for a civil discussion which turned to the participation of “non-Catholic & non-ethnic Lithuanians” in the war of independence leading to the rise of the democratic interwar Lithuanian Republic on 16 Feb. 1918.

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Swastikas in Lithuania, Vilnius | Comments Off on February 16th March in Vilnius Avoids Swastikas and Fascist Symbols

Run-Up to 2019’s February 16th March in Central Vilnius



NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

Are Vilnius Authorities Again Gifting Capital’s Storied Old Town for Far-Right March on Cherished Independence Day?

Last year’s neo-Nazi event featured front banner glorifying a series oflocal Holocaust collaborators; it was addressed by a high Catholic Church official and “honored guest” neo-Nazis from abroad

2018 lead banner: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE”. The “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941. PHOTO: © DEFENDING HISTORY.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Human Rights, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius | Comments Off on Run-Up to 2019’s February 16th March in Central Vilnius

Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”



by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson


Saturday February 16, 2019 will celebrated as Independence Day in Lithuania (marking the 1918 rise of the state; a second independence day, March 11th, marks its 1990 reestablishment). The far-right-nationalists of Lithuania have once again been permitted to march through the central Old Town streets of the country’s capital to praise their so-called heroes. These views on “heroes” held by the Vilnius marchers are pretty much shared by much of the present and past government establishments, as evidenced, for example, by street names and  public plaques and many episodes of glorification of collaborators, including the infamous 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, The OSCE, Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”