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


February 2021:

Defending History’s views on plunder and humiliation of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery are cited in Aliide Naylor’s essay “Soviet Modernism’s Enduring Baltic Legacy” in Jacobin.

Meanwhile, Mr. Paul Packer, chair of the US taxpayer supported “Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” (USCPAHA), who has failed throughout his tenure to publicly ask, even once, howsoever mildly and politely, for the Lithuanian government to relocate its convention center project away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (ignoring pleas from every part of the world and the international petition), released a self-heroizing press release condemning an obscure Lithuanian parliamentarian who blamed the Jews for the Holocaust (after the American ambassador and many others had condemned the parliamentarian). It is high time for the full record of Washington’s most corrupt federal agency (whose members are honored by the cemetery-selling sub-branch of Satmars when coming to bow before “the rebba”) to be investigated. (For the record: the opposing branch of Satmar Hasidism’s grand rabbi has joined the civilized world in condemning the humiliation of tens of thousands of graves of Jewish citizens of Vilna.)  Defending History is proud to have documented the most recent years of this lamentable history. Various capers of the scandal-ridden agency have been reported over the years in the New York Times (e.g. here, here, and here).  In November 2020, the USCPAHA reached a new low when a newly appointed member was reported in a Times article by White House correspondent Maggie Haberman to have a white-supremacist antisemitic background, adding weirdly to the recent history of (ostensibly) ultraorthodox Jews in hock to the corrupt Satmar affiliated London-based CPJCE. Hopefully, President Biden will abolish this agency soon; it has only ever existed to repay “religious” supporters of political campaigns (of either party) and is inherently a recipe for high corruption resulting in moral sale for money, under “US gov. cover” of the very cemeteries in Holocaust-area Europe that are meant to be the prime object of its protection. Surely, religious donors can be repaid with “harmless honors”…

In Vilnius, Defending History writer Julius Nrwilla published an opinion piece warning against complacency based on what may be illusory advances.

In Washington, the Christian News Journal  (CJN) claimed on 11 Feb. that the State Dept. and its embassy in Vilnius had (finally) taken a moral stand on the preservation of the old Jewish cemetery in the Lithuanian capital. Readers are encouraged to contact the State Dept. and the embassy for firm clarification.

January 2021:

Vilnius court hearing scheduled for 12 January at Vilnius District Court postponed (for queries: court at (Laisvės Prospect 79A, case no. e2-625-918/2020-2021). Meanwhile, Ruta Bloshtein’s petition approached 53.500 signatures.

December 2020:

Hour-long radio show on the topic on 13 Dec. by Vita Ličytė. Vote by Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) budget committee on 16 Dec. striking 2021 start-up funding for the “convention center in the Jewish cemetery project” from the state budget; deletion (irrevocably?) approved by the government. See Julius Norwilla’s prior announcement of the impending vote,  a detailed report on campaign coordinated by Andrius Kulikauskas, and Dr. Kulikauskas’s BNS press release on 23 Dec. 2020, and the Hebrew report in Bayit ve-Gan on 28 Dec.


November 2020:

Next Vilnius court hearing: 24 November (Laisvės Prospect 79A, room 205 [check updates]; case no. e2-625-918/2020). On 12 Nov, Lithuanian parliament member Kestutis Masiulis proposed that state funding not be allocated reconstruction of the old Sports Palace, on grounds that within a few years it would again become inadequate, given the huge parking and other needs. His formal amendment to the budget is available online.

October 2020:

Media reports on the previous hearings (of 1 and 6 Oct.): Defending History (1 Oct.), Algemeiner Journal (2 Oct.), SaveVilna.org (4 Oct.) Jerusalem Post (5 Oct); Defending History (6. Oct); Kapines.org (6. Oct); also earlier report on European Foundation for Human Rights involvement.

September 2020:

In a dramatic tweet, the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) reported on its formal  directive stripping the London-based CPJCE of any authority to meddle further in the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in the Shnípeshok (Šnipiškės) district of modern Vilnius.

Vilnius: Lithuanian journalist Arvydas Jockus publishes two balanced articles in Alfa.lt (9 Sept. and 10 Sept.); Independent journalist Skirmantas Malinauskas posts extensive Youtube video. Summary of latest media by Andrius Kulikauskas. Voice of the major Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) rabbis begins to be heard over machinations by London-based Satmar CPJCE and its partners.

Meanwhile, next Vilnius court hearing set for  1  Oct. DH publishes compilation of visualizations and cartoons. Ruta Bloshtein’s petition approaches the 52,000 signature mark. At Piramónt, preliminary landscape digging turns up human remains…

London Satmar “Declaration of Triumph” over Old Litvak Jewish Cemetery in Vilna

London CPJCE issues a “shameless orwellian statement” (replete with anti-Litvak sarcasm) boasting of “saving” the Vilna cemetery after the Vilnius city council’s agreement with state bank to proceed with convention center and large new annex in heart of the cemetery. Statement, dated 20 Aug, appears on LJC’s state sponsored website on 2 Sept (as pdf). It claims (Satmar “Aaronite sect”) rabbinic support for the humiliation of the cemetery without mentioning the recent rabbinical decisions from Lithuanian  tradition rabbinic masters, including Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and the heads of yeshivas of Telz, Ponevezh and Slabodka (English translation). See also recent words on video by Rabbi Elchonon Baron, head of the Baranovich yeshiva, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. More bona fide rabbinical decisions below.

Background: CPJCE’s campaign of collusion with Vilna cemetery desecration; the classic video; 2009 Wikileaks cable confirming secret payments; 2015 reports by JTA and the Jerusalem Post; Vilnius’s Rabbi S. J. Feffer refers to “London committee”. The “Serious Incident Report” to UK’s Charities Commission. See also last December’s “Day of Shame”…

NOTE 1: The opposing (Zalmanite) branch of Satmar in New York City has itself condemned the London Satmars’ drive to defile and humiliate the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. See the decree by New York Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman (Yekusiel Yehuada) Teitelbaum.

NOTE 2: One of the rabbis on the London Satmar “grave traders’ committee” letterhead,  the late Rabbi Abraham Pinter (1941-2020), a covid-19 victim, broke ranks and himself signed Ruta Bloshtein’s international petition (now at 52,000 signatures).

NOTE 3: 2020 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Gaon of Vilna. Is this the year for his storied resistance against Hasidism to be “avenged” by political London Satmar operatives humiliating and desecrating the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery where Moyshe Rivkes the Be’eyr HaGoylo, Zelmale Valózhiner, Avrohom ben HaGro, the Chayey Odom (Hayei Adam), and many thousands of other Jewish citizens of Vilna still lie buried?


AUGUST 2020: JURIS KAZA REPORTS IN MEDIUM.COM AND IN LAVANGUARDIA.COM. ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS BRINGS THE CEMETERY SAGA TO THE HEART OF LITHUANIAN NATIONALIST MEDIA, AND REPORTS ON HIS GROUP’S 29 JULY LAYING OF HEBREW-LETTERED STONES ALONG THE CEMETERY’S HISTORIC BOUNDARIES, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY.

JULY 2020: TURTO BANKAS & VILNIUS CITY COUNCIL TRIUMPHANTLY ANNOUNCE IMMINENT START OF WORKS, INCLUDING “LARGE NEW RED ANNEX” ON TOP OF GRAVES; EXPANSION FROM 15,600 TO 18,000 SQUARE METER SEATING. In English: Delfi and BT. Julius Norwilla (Vilnius) reports in DH. Rabbi Baron (Jerusalem) responds. Rabbinical court issues notarized English text of rabbinic ban on “the cemetery convention center”…. Yated Ne’eman publishes major new edict signed by leading Litvak rabbis in Israel.

JUNE 2020: NEW VILNIUS-BASED WEBSITE LAUNCHED BY DR. ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS; INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE SAVE VILNA GROWS; VILNIUS’S COMMITTEE LED BY JULIUS NORWILLA, STEPS UP EFFORTS. MEANWHILE, RUTA BLOSHTEIN’S PETITION REACHES 51,000 SIGNATURES (DH’s REPORT; EUROPEAN JEWISH CONGRESS REPORTS).

MAY 2020: 1000-EURO NOTE DEMO ON JEWISH GRAVES BY THREE TOP TOURIST AGENCIES. JTA  & AJ  REPORT. MEANWHILE, MULTIFAITH & HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS WRITE TO US SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO. WASHINGTON DC’S UCSJ JOINS INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN

APRIL 2020: MULTIFAITH PETITION BRINGS TOGETHER 45 CHRISTIAN,  HINU, MUSLIM AND JEWISH LEADERS; SAVE VLNA PROJECT EXPANDS IN US AND ISRAEL

APRIL 2020:  NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG REPORTS, QUOTING ELECTED HEAD OF VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY

MARCH 2020: GROUP OF MAJOR LITVAK RABBIS, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EVANGELICALS IN DC, LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE

FEB 2020: MEMBER OF LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKS OUT; MEDIA COVERS COURT CASE (CITING PROF. J. PARASONIS); DOYEN OF LITVAK RABBIS SPEAKS OUT

JAN 2020: VIDEO OF MAJOR LITVAK RABBIS MEETING WITH LITHUANIA’S AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL; JULIUS NORWILLA’S ARTICLE IN MAINSTREAM LITHUANIA MEDIA (LRT REPRINT)

DEC 2019: A DAY OF SHAME IN THE ANNALS OF LITHUANIAN JEWISH HISTORY?; DEFENDING HISTORY PUBLISHED “SECRET AGREEMENT” IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION

SEPT 2019: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE OLD JEWISH CEMETERY IN VILNIUS.  DR. ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS’S KEYNOTE SPEECH.

APRIL 2019: EUROPEAN FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS GOES TO COURT IN VILNIUS OVER FATE OF OLD JEWISH CEMETERY;

BUT GREEDY BUILDERS AND NATIONALIST GOV. OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO RELY ON “PERMISSIONS” FROM ALLEGEDLY CORRUPT LONDON-BASED “CPCJE RABBIS” EXPOSED BY WIKILEAKS IN GRAVES-FOR-CASH SCHEME.

SHOCKING VIDEO OF LONDON RABBIS FETED BY PRIME MINISTER OF LITHUANIA FOR THEIR PERMISSION TO PLACE CONVENTION CENTER AND ANNEX ON TOP OF OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY IN DEFIANCE OF ALL LITHUANIAN ORIGIN RABBIS WORLDWIDE

ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE PRESERVING JEWISH CEMETERIES


Simon Gurevich, elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community, representing the 2,200 Jewish citizens of Lithuania’s capital, tells the New York Times: “The Soviets didn’t build just coincidentally the Sports Palace there, they built it as part of an antisemitic campaign of destruction of Jewish sites. Is this Soviet despotism a part of the heritage we would like to keep?”

On 5 Sept. 2018 the Vilnius Jewish Community in partnership with a number of regional Lithuanian Jewish communities released an approved English version of their powerful 29 Aug. statement. On 12 September, ten members of the Israeli Knesset wrote to Lithuania’s president.

Could this be the most corrupt federal agency in Washington DC? On moral status of the London-based CPJCE, see the “smoking gun” US diplomatic cable on secret payments and secret digging

RUTA BLOSHTEIN ISSUES MAY 2018 UPDATE TO HER PETITION, WHICH HAS 47,000 SIGNATURES TO DATE; SHE CALLS FOR LONDON “CPJCE” TO BE REPORTED TO THE UK CHARITIES COMMISSION. IN A JANUARY 2019 UPDATE, SHE CALLS FOR PROTESTS TO END THE DESTRUCTIVE ROLE OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER FUNDED “USCPAHA”.


Registry of Opposition to “The National Convention Center” Atop the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės)

PETITION (47,000 SIGNATURES); MAY 2018 UPDATE; JAN 2019 UPDATE12 US CONGRESSMEN; 3 SENATORS10 MEMBERS OF ISRAEL’S KNESSETLOCAL JEWS PEOPLE NEAR & FARLEADING RABBIS;  CHIEF RABBI OF ISRAELVIDEOARTICLES IN LITHUANIAN; 2018 COVERAGE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

Just ONE allegedly “compromised” group of “Aaronite Satmar” rabbis in London, the “CPJCE”, are  allegedly in cahoots with certain Lithuanian government sections, and business & builders’ financial ambitions for the cemetery.

This entry was 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 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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