Would Your Heritage Tour Group Coming to Vilnius Like to See an Informal Draft of the ‘Banned’ Film on the Holocaust in Sheduva?


VILNIUS—The Defending History community here in Vilnius was proud today again to be a partner, with the non-profit Kopa Studio II and visiting cultural and academic groups, in helping organize informal, free, non-commercial, viewings of the film Petrified Time, which contains the “Satanic Verses of Sheduva” — the historically invaluable eyewitness testimony by the last witnesses to the Lithuanian Holocaust (themselves, now, a few years later, gone too). Filmed by award winning Lithuanian documentary film maker Saulius Beržinis the film is tied up in litigation launched by the “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” in Sheduva, and spearheaded by the museum’s executive director in Brussels, in a lawsuit conducted by a top Vilnius law firm, and ultimately paid for by a South African origin billionaire in Switzlerland. News and updates of the saga here.

What is success when defending history?

Defending History thinks it’s a major success when dozens, hundreds, and thousands of people are gradually being able to watch a film that very rich and powerful forces are effectively (not “officially”) seeking to ban. If your heritage, roots or Jewish-interest tour group is coming to Vilnius in the coming months and might be interested in a private, informal viewing of a draft first version only of a remarkable film effectively banned at present, please be in touch with Defending History (info@defendinghistory.com). To inquire about future online “viewing windows” please be in touch with Kopa Studio II (berkopa@hotmail.com).

The success story today is that for the third time in a few weeks, the legal blockade against the historically significant footage that reflects on core issues of the Baltic Holocaust altogether was broken by the simple good will of local people who provided, gratis, a film viewing room in central Vilnius, and by individual participants in foreign visiting groups and academic and cultural missions.

Today’s viewing was coorganized with some staff and participants of this past weekend’s Paideia (Sweden) international conference held by the Swedish based Europe-wide Jewish studies institution. On 24 May, nearly the entire group of the Workmens Circle (New York) elected to attend a rapidly organized viewing. Then, on 31 May, dozens of people, mostly from Vilnius, and from a wide variety of backgrounds, filled the seats in the viewing room. Retired German diplomat Thomas Pfanne, former culture attaché in Vilnius flew in from Berlin to see the film.

All these groups, and others, felt fortunate to have a question and answer session with the director himself, Saulius Beržinis, after the viewing. A number of younger viewers remarked on the novelty, for them of conventional human meetings overcoming a virtual internet blackout imposed by some very powerful forces who are suing, instead of celebrating, one of Lithuania’s greatest documentary film achievements of recent years.



This entry was posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Film, Free Speech & Democracy, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Saulius Beržinis, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its "Museum of the Lost Shtetl" and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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