Editor’s note: The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office today released for the record the following September 2007 email exchange with the director of the Los Angeles based “Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute” (VYI).
Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office Releases 2007 Correspondence with LA Board Chief of Vilnius Yiddish Institute
I N T E R V I E W
Efraim Zuroff is interviewed in Belgrade by Aleksandar Roknić. Translation from Danas, 28 December 2013, by Vesna Milosevic.
Efraim Zuroff: World War II History is Being Rewritten
Even if I were Superman I wouldn’t be able to bring to justice all remaining Nazis. Of course not. It is impossible. Nobody can do it. But if you ask me what is better — a bit of justice or injustice, I would always say — a bit of justice. You know, to me it is clear that even when the last Nazi dies, a battle is not over, because it begins over and over again.
And it is a battle with history which is more important than people may think and understand. Facing the history with sincerity is the best way to build a better future, says Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, while answering a question on whether he thinks that he would be able to bring to justice all remaining Nazis.
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today issued a statement of support for the strong protest by the leadership of the Hungarian non-Orthodox Jewish communities (Mazsihisz) against efforts by the Hungarian government’s “Veritas Institute” to falsify the narrative of the Holocaust in Hungary and attempt to hide the important role played by locals in the mass murder of Hungarian Jewry.
In a statement issued here today by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center expressed its strong opposition to the recent statement by Veritas Institute director Sandor Szakaly, who referred to the summer 1941 deportation of about 16,000-18,000 Jews from Hungary to Kamenets-Podolsk (now Kamianets-Podilskyi) in German-occupied Ukraine, where the overwhelming majority were murdered, as a “police action against aliens,” when in reality it was clearly a crime against humanity and the initial massacre of the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry.
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today urged the Croatian authorities to expedite the prosecution of Auschwitz guard Jakob Dencinger, who was discovered living in Osijek by the Croatian daily Jutarnji List late last week.
In an op-ed published on 6 Feb. in Jutarnji List by the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the importance of bringing Dencinger to justice was emphasized. The original 2 Feb. English text of Dr. Zuroff’s article appears here.
According to Zuroff:
O P I N I O N
The following is the original English text, received today from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office in Jerusalem, of its director Efraim Zuroff’s public letter to Croatian authorities, published in Croatian translation on 6 February, and referred to in a press release from SWC earlier today.
Efraim Zuroff on Tablet Magazine’s Co-Sponsorship of Lithuanian Government’s Yivo Event, and a Suggestion for Yivo’s Audience
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter, and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, has posted the following comment on the website of Tablet magazine, as one of the comments to a new book review. The comment also appears separately on Facebook.
JERUSALEM—The following statement was issued today by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.
WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL DIRECTOR LEADS PROTEST AGAINST EXTREME RIGHT INDEPENDENCE DAY MARCH
16 February 2014 KAUNAS, LITHUANIA—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Director and chief Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff yesterday afternoon led a protest against an ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi march in honor of Lithuanian Independence Day, held here, in Lithuania’s inter-war capital, whose large and important Jewish community was virtually totally annihilated during the Holocaust by the Nazis, with highly significant participation of Lithuanian volunteer collaborators.
(Reposted from today’s Jerusalem Post)
O P I N I O N
Three events took place this weekend which reflect the ambiguities of contemporary Jewish life in the Baltics and particularly in Lithuania, the largest of the three new democracies. In reverse order, on Sunday, ultra-nationalist groups staged an Independence Day march, which included anti-Semitic themes, in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s interwar capital and the country’s second largest city.Continue reading
Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Statement on the Death of Lithuanian Jewish Community Leader Dr. Shimon Alperovich
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office issued this statement today in the wake of the passing of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the former Chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish community (PDF here):
Wiesenthal Center Mourns the Passing Today of Courageous Leader of Lithuanian Jewish Community
“It is with great sorrow that we learned of the passing last night of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the venerable leader for many years of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Dr. Alperovich displayed great courage and fortitude in leading the renewed Lithuanian Jewish community and fought bravely against the ongoing efforts to minimize local participation in Nazi crimes and the promotion of the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist atrocities.
Vitas Tomkus’s daily tabloid, Respublika has, alongside its sister title, Vakaro Žinios (Evening News, also owned by Tomkus) in many views inflicted tangible damage upon Lithuania and its image. The papers leave a long trail of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic invective, not seldom in sensationalistic formats that mirror the 1930s.
The most notorious instance was perhaps the 2004 front page featuring the unseemly cartoon of the The Jew and The Gay holding up a globe under the headline “Who runs the world?” recycled (and again, on page 1), in 2009. Vakaro Žinios (Evening News) even featured a sickening photo montage of the then head of the Jewish community Dr. Shimon Alperovich, and a Soviet-era abacus, with text suggesting the Jews were conspiring to defraud the Lithuanian people. More recently, a front page was devoted to a local rabbi with a headline about Jews not having to pay taxes. The word Žydai (Jews) alone was in massive size type, as on numerous occasions, e.g. when the paper accused “The Jews” of plotting to steal the building housing the Culture Ministry. It is almost all out of a dark satire.
Hungary’s Supreme Court Forbids Local Media to Use the Term “Far Right” in Describing the Far Right Jobbik Party
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized a decision by Hungary’s Supreme Court which recently ruled that local media cannot refer to the Jobbik party as “far right.”
UPDATE: See now Efraim Zuroff’s 14 June 2014 op-ed in the Jerusalem Post
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed outrage at the announcement of an online beauty pageant for “Miss Hitler 2014” as publicized by a neo-Nazi group on VKontakte, Russia’s largest social networking service. Contestants who are supporters of Nazism and sufficiently antisemitic may submit a Nazi-themed selfie to compete for this dubious prize.
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized steps taken by the Latvian delegation to UNESCO which effectively cancelled an exhibition about the Holocaust in Latvia scheduled to open this coming Sunday at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
SEE ALSO JTA REPORT
In a statement issued here by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called the action by the Latvians “an outrageous and ultimately futile attempt to hide the extensive Latvian collaboration with the Nazis in perpetrating Holocaust crimes” and urged UNESCO officials to consider steps to enable the exhibition, titled “Stolen Childhood: Holocaust Victims Seen by Child Inmates of the Salaspils Nazi Concentration Camp,” to be shown to the public.
According to Zuroff:
“This step by the Latvians is part of a systematic effort by the Baltic countries to hide the truth about the extensive collaboration with the Nazis of Balts in the implementation of the Final Solution in their native countries, as well as in Poland and Belarus. Instead of complaining that the exhibition risked damaging her country’s reputation, Latvia’s chief delegate to UNESCO should have welcomed an effort to expose the wartime collaboration of so many Latvians as part of an honest confrontation with her country’s bloody Holocaust past.”
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Wiesenthal Center Blasts Vilnius Genocide Center’s Involvement in Jewish Community’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Event
The Simon Wiesenthal Center today issued a statement expressing dismay that Vilnius’s state-sponsored Genocide Center (full name: Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania) was included in the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s annual program marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. The third of three events was dedicated entirely to a book produced by the Center. The only announced speaker for the event, the book’s author, is known for rejecting known elements of the historic narrative of the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry, for his support for monuments for pro-Hitler forces, and for participation in far-right pro-fascist journals.
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office here today released the text of a letter sent by director Dr. Efraim Zuroff to the mayor of Kaunas, Lithuania, Andrius Kupčinskas, concerning the neo-Nazi march scheduled for February 16th. See also Defending History’s correspondence with the mayor’s office and our background summary.
The text of the letter is as follows:
February 12, 2015
Meras Andrius Kupčinskas
Laisves al. 96 201 kab.
Dear Mayor Kupčinskas,
Efraim Zuroff is Lone Protestor at Far Right’s March in Central Tallinn on Independence Day
Publicized with the slogan “Estonia for Estonians,” today’s event was the second of four in the “Baltic month” (16 Feb—16 March) of city center state-approved events, on Tuesday Feb 24th (independence day) in Tallinn. March’s organizers include racists, Holocaust deniers, and glorifiers of Estonia’s Waffen SS whose members swore loyalty to Adolf Hitler. One of its leaders has led events to celebrate the 1941 “liberation” of Estonia by the Nazis. Delfi report and video. Posdtimees. More video. SWC’s press release.
UPDATE: ZUROFF REPORTS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
TALLINN—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized a march held late yesterday in the center of the Estonian capital to mark Independence Day, which was sponsored by the Sinine Aratus (Blue Awakening) youth movement closely affiliated with the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE).
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office today released the following letter from its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to the mayor of Vilnius, Artūras Zuokas, concerning next week’s planned neo-Nazi march slated for the center of the city on the nation’s independence day.
Three Down, One to Go, in Efraim Zuroff’s Odyssey to the Baltic Month of Neo-Nazi Marches
On Eve of Planned Neo-Nazi March, Statements by Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center
VILNIUS—On the eve of the planned neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius, slated for 3 PM on March 11th, Lithuania’s independence day, the chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Faina Kukliansky, issued a statement on the community’s website, which was followed within minutes by a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director of East European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The full text of both statements follows: