Monthly Archives: June 2021

Latest on Latvian SS Monument in Belgium: Latvia’s Well-Oiled Propaganda Machine is On the Job



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  BELGIUM  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HISTORY  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

Before my initial Defending History article last March on the monument to the Latvian Hitlerist Waffen SS on Belgian soil, there had only been one Belgian trying, from December 2020 onward, to get attention to what he deemed an infamy. Wilfred Burie, president and founder of the “Belgians Remember Them” association, alone compiled a list of names of more than 4,000 personnel of Britain’s Royal Air Force, whose planes were shot down in Belgium and, for each person, what became of them. There had been a parliamentary question to the Federal Belgian Minister of Justice to no avail, and, also, some articles published in minor French-speaking newspapers as well as outcries from Belgian Jewish organizations, also without consequences. On April 28, an article of mine was published in the French-speaking newspaper “La Libre Belgique” under the title “Why This Monument in Honor of the Waffen SS in Zedelgem?” with quotes from Lev Golinkin’s pioneering study on Nazi monuments around the world, published in New York’s Forward.

 Then, on May 20 of this year, Michel Bouffioux from the weekly Paris Match Belgium, published his well-documented “Latvian Waffen SS celebrated in Flanders” including interviews with Dr. Efraim Zuroff (Simon Wiesenthal Center) and Dr. Leanid Kazyrytski (University of Gerona in Spain). He subsequently published sequels to his initial article with among other international reactions comments from Lev Golinkin.

Unfortunately, all reactions to that point had been only in the French-speaking part of Belgium. Then, on May 31, the website Apache.be, a Dutch-speaking media outlet, published a well-informed article with the flamboyant title “Great Damage for Zedelgem’s Image from the Latvian Waffen SS Monument,” with interviews of established Flemish historians. And finally, Jan Vanriet, a well-known Flemish painter, son of a Resistance fighter, who had previously been featured in a film about the resistance in Belgium, whom I had contacted on that matter, alerted Flemish-speaking media, and two articles were simultaneously published in Flanders on June 25, in Het Nieuwsblad (“A Sudden Realization: This is a Nazi Monument!”) and De Standaard (“Zedelgem Hhonors 12,000 Latvian Collaborators”).

But the town council of Zedelgem refuses to demolish or remove the monument, saying repeatedly that it is a monument to peace and assuring that a plaque will be added to it, explaining that “there shall be added an extended text in accordance with historical specialists, in order to avoid all susceptibilities” (Het Nieuwsblad, 25 June, 2021).

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Vilnius Court’s May 10th Verdict Illustrates “Insidious and Tragic” Destruction of East European Cemeteries via London’s CPJCE



VILNIUS—Readers are familiar with an English summary of the Vilnius District Court’s 10 May decision paving the way for a massive national convention center and annex to rise in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Shnípishok, in today’s Šnipiškės district), surrounded by thousands of extant graves on all four sides. Moreover, the entire text of the Lithuanian original is posted for inspection.

Jump to verdict’s excerpts referencing the CPJCE (and AJC)

What may be lost from the summary, and to those unable to read Lithuanian or to access a translation, is the “insidious and tragic” — and in any case central — role played by London’s “CPJCE” (the Orwellian name is “Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe), whose “Aaronite-Satmar” rabbis have been caught on Wikileaks demanding large sums for their “supervisions” (and in effect, permissions) for effectively selling rights to old Jewish cemeteries on ground zero of the Holocaust. The effects of the genocide include the dearth of viable communities of descendants of the buried who would in the course of things guard the dignity of their ancestors’ burial places (see: 2009 Wikileaks cable confirming secret payments; 2015 reports by JTA and the Jerusalem Post; the “Serious Incident Report” to UK’s Charities Commission. See also last December’s “Day of Shame”). Incidentally, the opposing (“Zalmanite”) branch of Satmar hasidism has boldly condemned the desecration of the old Vilna cemetery in a statement signed by the grandrabbi himself.

From the infamous 2015 video to the present court decision, Defending History has been providing a detailed record of at least the publicly knowable aspects of the group’s shameful role in the Vilna scandal, scoffing and belittling the voices of virtually all Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) rabbis internationally (see DH’s section on the CPJCE (plus the classic video) on the broader Vilna cemetery dispute, and summary pages of the international opposition and more recent developments).

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Court’s May 10th Verdict Illustrates “Insidious and Tragic” Destruction of East European Cemeteries via London’s CPJCE

June 23rd 2021: 80th Anniversary of Outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust



When “white-armbanders” and LAF followers began to injure, plunder, humiliate and (in 40 locations) murder thousands of Jews across Lithuania (before arrival or set-up  of the first German forces or their setting up their rule)

Will the state and its “history” units finally honor the victims or again perpetuate the far-right pro-fascist false history that this was some minor crossfire in a “great revolt against the Soviets”?  The Soviets were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history — not the local white-armbanded Jew killers.

A freedom fighters’ revolt? Hitlerist white-armbanders surround Jewish women being marched to their death. These militias, responsible for deaths of Jewish civilians in forty locations in Lithuania prior to German arrival, are honored by the state as “freedom fighters”….

The 23rd of June 1941 is the date remembered by Lithuanian Jewry as the outbreak of the Holocaust with onset of  widespread murder, dehumanizing degradation and humiliation of civilian Jewish neighbors by the “white armbanders” and “LAF” forces (whose pamphlets declared explicitly their plans for their nation’s Jewish citizens). But instead of honoring the victims, the state’s far-right historians-in-tow glorify the perpetrators as “anti-Soviet rebels,” a well known historic nonsense: the Soviet army was fleeing Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of the USSR, the largest invasion of human history, not the local Jew-killers with their white armbands. More on the historic background of the Double Genocide revisionism that has evolved into 21 Century Holocaust Denial.

And who will honor the real Lithuanian heroes of 1941 — the amazing, inspirational folks who risked everything to just save a neighbor from the LAF and Hitlerist hordes of the hour?

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Summary in English of Vilnius District Court’s Decision of 10 May 2021



VILNIUS—In the interest of public information, Defending History has posted the original Lithuanian text of the verdict of the District Court of Vilnius City of 10 May 2021  For the benefit of English readers interested in the main points of the verdict, DH has commissioned an English language summary of the decision, that went against the petition filed by 157 plaintiffs, all of whom are descendants of persons buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in the Šnipiškės district of the modern city. The state property bank (Turto bankas) and its partners plan to situate a national convention center in the heart of the site, based on the ruin of the old Soviet sports palace, At the new convention center, thousands would revel each night surrounded by many more thousands of Jewish graves on all four sides. Human rights advocates have pointed out that this would never be the fate of a medieval Christian Lithuanian cemetery,, nor would authorities accept “permissions” from groups proven to take secret payments. For background see, DH’s section chronicling events from 2015 onward, its summary of recent years’ events, and its page slinking to the opposition to the cemetery’s desecration from around the world. Note that the verdict gives the plaintiffs thirty days to appeal. An appeal was duly filed by the plaintiffs within the time allotted

The English summary prepared by Lithuanian legal language experts follows. Note that the reference to the “Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe” (CPJCE) is to the  discredited group of Aaronite-Satmar rabbis in London who have accepted large secret payments coinciding with their “permissions” to desecrate cemeteries on the Eastern European ground zero of the Holocaust. Follow the sad history here. Their profitable involvement has been condemned by genuine rabbinic authorities, including the Conference of European Rabbis, as well by virtually all major Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) rabbis internationally.

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Officials of US Taxpayer-Funded “USCPAHA” in Vilnius (with State Dept. Reps) for Grand Photo-Ops



Triumphal Images are Tweeted

(More for good measure. And more and more…)

The deeply controversial “US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” has for years allegedly been collaborating with government, business and a dubious group of “grave trading rabbis” in London, seemingly determined to humiliate Lithuania’s oldest Jewish cemetery by construction of a national convention center at its heart. This would not be happening were it a Christian Lithuanian cemetery. Massive international opposition is growing. History of the saga. Summary.

But did the American government’s commission officials (or their State Department colleagues in tow) bother while here to even meet with Ruta Bloshtein, author of the international petition calling on the Lithuanian government to move the national convention center project away from the sacred old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery? Her office, in the Judaica section of the national library, is a few minutes’ walk from their gov. meetings. Ms. Bloshtein’s petition has 53,500 signatures to date. There are numerous reports on the recent history of the US taxpayer-funded commission’s role in the affair. Meanwhile, international opposition to desecration of the old Jewish cemetery grows apace.

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A Year and a Half Later: Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s Homage to Nazi Collaborator K. Škirpa Still on Website


[UPDATED / ORIGINAL REPORT 3 MARCH 2020]

COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   KAUNAS MARCHES EU  |  OPINION 

Believe it or not, the Defense Ministry still flaunts its magazine cover glorifying Lithuania’s major  1941 “Holocaust advocate” on its website with no editorial comment or disclaimer from the defense minister (as PDF). Who was K. Škirpa?

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Dramatic Developments in the Life of Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery


[last update]


JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION; TO DH SECTION ON HISTORY OF THE SAGA; TO SECTIONS ON CPJCE; USCPAHA


June 2021

The plaintiffs in the court case, descendants of people buried in the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, employ a new law firm in Vilnius which files the appeal in June 2021 in accordance with the thirty-day deadline imposed by the court that handed down the May 2021 decision. Meanwhile, on 16 June, officials of the US taxpayer funded “USCPAHA” revel in tweets of lavish photo-ops with high officials in Vilnius, without even meeting Ruta Bloshtein, author of the petition whose number of signatories on this date was 53,486. DH reports.

May 2021

Vilnius Court issues a ruling on May 10 supporting Turto Bankas and the builders in their project to cite a new national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish cemetery. Text of the decision, which rejects the legal action brought  by descendants of the people buried in the cemetery. English summary.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dramatic Developments in the Life of Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery